Disclaimer: Okay, CATS doesn't belong to me. This idea was also inspired by Mystitat's Fanfic Idea Page (it's not my fault that that chick has such an abundance of great ideas.) It has also been written by JellicleMuse, which explains why you recognize the plot. Though I asked both of them if I could write it anyway, and they said yes, so here I am, writing it.
A/N: This is basically the first time I'm trying to write Bombalurina properly, so I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me how it went.
I hope you all had a pleasant holiday with lots of presents and good food!
One: Paige's Kitty
What first alerted the Rum Tum Tugger that his youngest human was on her way home, was always the steps in the stairs. She had a special way of taking two steps at the time, like she couldn't wait to get home. The sound always made Tugger awake completely from his catnap and stretch out before trotting off into the kitchen.
He knew Paige's routine perfectly well by now. When she came home from school she always dumped her backpack in the hallway, and then she came straight into the kitchen to make herself a snack and feed the cat. That was why he always parked himself perfectly by the kitchen cupboard, to be as close to the food as possible. He was hungry.
There was a thud from the hallway, and Tugger grinned to himself. Only a moment afterward Paige swept into the room, her brown hair tousled and her cheeks reddened from the strong wind outside.
"Afternoon Tiggery," she greeted him. "I didn't wake you from your nap, did I?"
"As a matter of fact you did," replied Tugger, although of course Paige didn't understand him. "But no matter. I'm hungry. Where's my food?"
Almost as if she'd heard what he said, Paige opened the door to the bottom cupboard, where the tins of cat food were stored. The family had given up the idea of just buying one brand of cat food for their pet a long time ago. He would love chicken one day and refuse to eat it the next, and Paige was basically the only person in the household who could stand having to feed him. She usually just opened the cupboard and allowed him to bustle about in there until a tin had been properly selected, and then proceed to open it and serve him. She always made a sandwich for herself in the time it took for him to decide, and then the two ate together.
Today, Tugger picked the tuna. He rolled it out on the floor and came out of the cupboard. Paige grinned at him.
"An excellent choice, sir Tiggery," she said and picked up the tin.
When she had emptied half of the contents in his food bowl and refilled his water, she sat down with a glass of milk and cheese on toast.
"You know the school dance I've told you about?" she asked him conversationally.
"Since it's all you ever bloody talk about, yes," muttered Tugger into his food bowl.
"Well, I was hoping Andy would ask me out, but today I found out he's taking Lucy Briggs..." Paige sighed glumly. "Not really a surprise, but, you know... It would have been nice to have a date to that dance. Every girl in my class is going, and I'm the only one without someone to go with."
She finished her milk in silence. Tugger lifted his head and meowed in what he thought was a somewhat comforting way. There was a sadness in her eyes that he didn't quite like. Paige smiled a little at him.
"What's that you say, Tiggery?" She stood and picked him up into her arms, pressing him against her chest. "Oh, I would love to go to the dance with you!"
She began waltzing around the kitchen with him, humming some sort of nonsense song to herself. Tugger allowed it for a moment or two. The girl was sad, of course, and as her cat it was one of his duties to make her feel better. But then, there were limits. Human dancing was boring and involved too much spinning, so after a minute or so he meowed loudly to make her stop.
Paige sighed and put him back down on the floor. "Sorry Tiggery."
Then, to his horror, her face scrunched up and she started crying. The tears came immediately, and she sank to her knees sobbing as if her heart was bursting.
"Aw now, babe, don't be like that..." Tugger started rubbing himself against her legs and head-butt her playfully. "I didn't mean it like that. You can spin me around for a little while longer if you want. But then you'll have to clean vomit out of the carpet, and I know you just hate doing that." He purred softly. "Don't cry."
Paige's hand reached out and stroke him over the head. Her fingers ran through his mane and made him purr even harder. She smiled through her tears.
"You're nice to me," she whispered and pulled him into her arms again.
She sat there on the floor, stroking and petting him affectionately for several minutes. Tugger let down all defences and just enjoyed it. There were times when you just had to stand being cuddled, and this was one of them.
"Why doesn't anyone like me?" asked Paige silently as her tears started falling again. "Am I really that repulsive? I wouldn't be such a bad girlfriend, I think. I'd be a really good one. You think it's because I'm too fat?"
"Nah, you're not fat, babe," murmured Tugger and curled up on her lap. "Any boy would be lucky to have you. They just don't know what's good for them, that's all."
"It is, isn't it? Maybe I should get on a diet. As of tomorrow, no more sweets. Forever. Except possibly on Saturdays. And I'll start exercising too."
Tugger knew full well that Paige wouldn't keep those promises. She had broken them hundreds of times before. But making them made her feel good about herself, so...
Paige sniffled. "You know I'm getting rather good at saying that now. I almost believe it myself."
She started sobbing again. This time, there just didn't seem to be any end to her tears. She hugged Tugger as tightly as she dared and kissed him on the head. He tolerated it. This wasn't the time for pride.
"Okay Paige," she said to herself after a while. "Pull yourself together. Okay. Breathe."
She forced her own breathing to slow down until the shivers in her breaths disappeared, and then she let go of Tugger and stood up. She went back into the kitchen and cleaned up after her snack, and then she went into her bedroom. Tugger followed her, partly to keep an eye on her and partly because he was bored. He jumped up on his special place, the green comfy chair in the corner with a view over the bed, and there he curled up comfortably. Paige sat on the bed and grabbed her pillow. She hugged it thoughtfully.
"There," she said. "That's better."
Her sadness was still in her eyes, but it lay dormant for now. There were quite a lot of things that Tugger really hated; mostly they involved other people making decisions for him, but now he found that he really didn't like the look on Paige's face when her eyes looked like that at all. No, not at all.
"I really would like a date for the dance," mumbled Paige. "Wouldn't that be something, Tiggery? Yeah..."
She lay down on the bed, still with the pillow in her arms. She yawned. Paige was very much like a cat in the aspect that she enjoyed taking a nap when she got home from school. Her mother didn't like that and claimed that she ruined her night sleep, but Paige did it anyway. Now she crept down beneath the sheets and closed her eyes.
Tugger jumped up into the bed and made himself comfortable. He was thinking. He rather liked his weird little human. He knew he was a difficult cat to have around, actually he took a certain amount of pride in that, but still he appreciated a mistress who stood by him and cared for him despite his ways. Paige's parents just got annoyed with him for being so contrary all the time, but she had never even raised her voice at him.
He wanted to help her. That was a rather peculiar feeling for the Rum Tum Tugger, wanting to help someone. He didn't do that a lot.
He waited until Paige had fallen asleep, and then he jumped off the bed and padded up to his cat door. Paige's father had had it installed ages ago, when the family grew tired of opening the door for him every time he decided he wanted out or in. The door was actually located in Paige's window and lead out to the roof, from which there was no trouble getting down to street level if you were a cat. Tugger did just that. Without any trouble he descended into the alley behind the house. He trotted off, calm in knowing that the collar he was wearing kept him safe from cat-catches and that his legs would keep him safe from stray dogs.
He reached the Jellicle junkyard, which was bustling with life. Jennyanydots was having a class in crocheting with the mice and the cockroaches in a corner, and she gave Tugger a kind smile when he walked past her. He nodded back and grinned.
The queen kits stood huddled together, probably admiring something new and priceless that Victoria's humans had given her, but they immediately looked up and sighed dreamily when they saw him coming.
"Ladies," he grinned. "Always a pleasure." He caught sight of something gleaming around the white kitten's neck. "Victoria, love, is that a diamond collar?"
"Yes," she whispered, her blue eyes huge and dazzling as she stared at him.
"Love it. You look fantastic."
He winked at her. "Catch you later. Bye, ladies."
"Bye Tugger!" they chorused and giggled in delight.
Tugger had barely gone two steps before Bombalurina showed up. She sassed up to him, smiling flirtily.
"I was wondering when I'd see you again, baby," she purred in his ear. "So when are you coming to visit me? I'll guarantee it will be worth your while."
"Hmm..." Tugger ran his eyes up and down her body. "Perhaps later. I have a previous engagement with a certain magical cat."
"Do you love Mistoffelees more than you love me?" asked Bombalurina, smiling.
Tugger nuzzled her, purring in the way he knew made her crazy. "He wishes, babe."
She sighed contentedly and pressed up against him, but he pulled away.
"Sorry, love. Gotta go."
Bombalurina sent him a dark glance, but said nothing and stormed off. He had upset her. Again. Ah well. She always forgave him and begged him to come back, which he would be happy to do, later. Right now he had another mission, although granted, it did seem rather far away at the moment now that he was with his peers.
He found Mistoffelees stretched out comfortable on the Jellicle tire. The tuxedo had his eyes closed, but he still said: "Hello Tugger" when the maned cat approached.
"Hey Misto. What that some sort of magical thing that you just did? Did you like... feel my aura or something?"
Mistoffelees quirked a smile and opened his eyes. "Oh yes. It was the magic thing called 'listening.' One can hear you coming a mile away, mate."
Tugger grinned. "That's what Bombs usually says, too."
Mistoffelees turned pink. "I thought I told you, none of that around me."
"I know. But it's just so funny to embarrass you." Tugger sat down next to the magician. "Anyway. There was something that I wanted to discuss with you. Don't worry," he said when he saw the look on Mistoffelees' face, "it's nothing 'disgusting.'"
Mistoffelees sighed. "Okay, go ahead."
Tugger took a deep breath. "Say you have this human, right?"
"And she's sad, because there's going to be a dance at her school, and no one's invited her to go, right?"
"With you so far."
"And you want to help her."
Tugger fell silent.
"That's it, then?" said the magician after a moment of silence. "That's your problem? Your human giving you trouble?"
"She doesn't give me trouble, she's the one in trouble. And I want to help her. Is there anything I can do?" Tugger sighed. "I've never had a female sob like that around me before."
"I should hope not. That means you're obviously doing something right."
Tugger grinned. "I might just make a kidder out of you yet. Seriously though, Misto, I wish there was something I could do to help her out."
"But there isn't. You're a cat and she's a human. Why do you care so much anyway?"
"Paige has been good to me," said Tugger simply. "She tolerates my disobliging ways. Few people do that, you know."
Mistoffelees rolled his eyes. "You don't have to tell me."
"I want to do something for her." There was a pause. "Hey, I've got a wild and somewhat crazy idea..."