Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer had spent a happy morning at their human home getting up to their usual mischief. Things were broken, food spoiled and a good time had by all, except the human mother who now had to clean up. Today they had used the old kid trick to get away with the fun. They had got the human child, who was about 4 years old, hyper by playing with him, and he had run around the house after them. By the end of it the mother didn't know who had caused the most damage. Exasperated, she shooed the cats out of the house and sent the child to his room. Laughing and re-enacting various moments, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer headed to the local park. The park was a lovely little area. There were some human playthings but it was mostly a field with a medium sized pond at one end. The two Jellicle's loved coming here when the weather was nice. Not only was it relaxing, it was also the place they had first declared their mating pledge. Of course it required a Jellicle leader to make the mating official, but to them that beautiful night was the big one.
They reached the pond and were just about to sit down together when all hell broke loose. Three large Jellicle's leaped out of a bush at them. The three Jellicle's were of various colours. One was grey with a few black markings. He had one eye and was slightly clumsy, but he made up for this with brute strength. Another was fairly clean and pure white, he was agile and the first to catch out Mungojerrie. Jerrie ducked away from the first attack, which had come from the grey at face height, but as he duck the white rammed into Jerrie, knocking him down. Jerrie quickly slashed his claws on the white back and pushed his aside, rolling to his feet. The grey then dug his claws into Jerrie's right shoulder and pulled down. Jerrie yowled in pain before pushing the grey away with his claws.
The third Jellicle focused on Rumpleteazer and was all black, he was clearly a weaker fighter, but also didn't mind playing dirty. His main method was to grab his opponent and try and force them to the ground. Rumpleteazer may have been light enough for this to work but she was also frisky enough to only stay down for a second. Unlike her mate she only suffered bruises.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer had no idea why they were being attacked, but they had a feeling Macavity was involved. No sooner had the thought entered their minds, Macavity showed up. He slinked between the fighters, as if they weren't even there. He casually stepped to one side, missing the grey Jellicle as Mungojerrie threw him to the ground, and took a step the other way to avoid the final swing of Rumpleteazer's round kick against the black Jellicle. The kick had connected wonderfully with the tom's crotch, he doubled over in pain as Macavity used Rumpleteazer's brief moment of unsteadiness to grab her. She screamed her mates name and he stopped. The white tom, which had been on Mungojerrie's back was thrown off but managed to land on his feet. A split second later Mungojerrie slammed his elbow into the white toms stomach without even looking and the white too doubled over in pain.
Macavity had one of his long arms tightly around Rumpleteazer's torso, pinning her arms to her side. He had lifted her off the ground slightly, meaning she had no momentum to back kick him with. His other arm was resting across her front with his paws fully extended at her throat. He had seen plenty of human movies and knew the position was cliqued, but he did love to see the look in others eyes as he threatened they're dear ones. Rumpleteazer was squirming but had no hope of escaping Macavity's vice like grip. Her breathing was heavy, more from fear than exertion. Her face showed her fear, Rumpleteazer was an open book when it came to her emotions, and nothing was hidden. Mungojerrie could also see the repulsion on her face, Macavity was breathing on the side of her face and her neck, his breath hot with the thrill of the battle. Mungojerrie stood looking at his mate. His emotions were hidden from his face but inside he ached with worry, with the fear of losing the love of his life, and with anger for himself for letting her get into this position. His body stood strong but his breathing was heavy, matching his mates. There was some blood on his fur, most of it coming from the deep scratch on his shoulder, but there were various smaller scratches on his arms and torso. He was relieved to see Rumpleteazer free of wounds, a dangerous voice at the back of his mind said 'for now…'
"Mungojerrie dear boy. If I didn't know any better I'd say you've lost your touch. There was a time when those toms would have been kittens play to you. I'm disappointed to see you hurt. I sent the weaker fighter after Rumpleteazer; perhaps I should have sent him after you?" A dangerous grin was on Macavity's face.
"Wot do ya want Macavity?" His eyes didn't leave Rumpleteazer.
"I'm here to offer you your rightful place in my little family. Don't reply right away, you'll want time to think this over I'm sure. For now I'll take this beautiful creature with me, as reassurance you will actually think about my offer. And don't even think about getting your little Jellicle friends together to stage a rescue, if I even sense one I will kill her instantly. When you return to me then your mate can go free." And without another word Macavity was gone taking Rumpleteazer with him. There was no fancy display, as he normally used, he just disappeared.
Mungojerrie started forwards to where they had been before stopping. He vaguely noticed that the three attackers were gone as well, but his mind was focused Rumpleteazer. He had to save her, but he knew Macavity, if he said he would kill her then her would. That meant a rescue was defiantly out. Mungojerrie couldn't go running in alone, he'd be killed instantly. Perhaps Misto could… maybe? He did it a year and a half ago with Old Deuteronomy. But if he asked for everyone's help they would want to know what was going on, he couldn't tell them the truth. Him and Teazer had hidden it for years. They'd throw them out if they knew. Mungojerrie stood for almost an hour trying to think. There was no answer, Macavity had got him again. Reluctantly Mungojerrie headed towards the Junkyard. If nothing else he needed to get Jellylorum and Jennyanydots to look at his wounds, they were starting to sting and he couldn't save his Teazer if he was in pain.
Mungojerrie entered the yard slowly. He hoped there wouldn't be many Jellicle's around, but, to his dismay they were everywhere.Most were in groups on the main floor. They were in their normal groups relaxing, enjoying the present weather of the day. Some were sitting on junk piles, but they were all in the main area. It was as if their Jellicle senses had told them to be there.
Jerrie hadn't seen that many all at once since the last Jellicle Ball when Old Deuteronomy had been given the choice. Munkustrap had been granted leadership of the tribe, as everyone had expected. He was Old Deuteronomy's oldest child and had looked after the tribe for as long as anyone could remember. When Munkustrap took over Demeter, his mate couldn't have been more proud. Now they had a kitten together, a beautiful little queen that had her father exact patterns but in her mother's colours.
Munkustrap was the first to notice Mungojerrie lurking in the shadows.
"Rumpus! Jerrie, what happened to you?" He jumped up from in front of the car and speed over to the tiger tom. Demeter followed carrying their kitten. Munkustrap looked around but couldn't see Rumpleteazer, which shocked him because the two were rarely ever seen apart.
"Where's Rumpleteazer Jerrie?" Mungojerrie bowed his head in shame, and to hide the tears. He opened his mouth to answer but was interrupted.
"She's right here. And don't worry; I didn't hurt her at all." Macavity had appeared on the tyre still holding Rumpleteazer. This time he had one claw firmly dug into her arm, but he still kept a claw at her neck. Everyone turned to face him. Hisses' broke out among the tribe and everyone stood. Munkustrap made his way in front of everyone and prepared to fight should the situation require it. Before he knew what was happening Mungojerrie pushed in front of the silver tabby, ignoring the pain from his shoulder.
"She's got nuffin' er do wif this Macavity." Mungojerrie all but yelled. He looked directly into Macavity's eyes, trying to look stronger than he felt.
"Doesn't she? I believe she's the reason you left our family Mungojerrie." Everyone started to look uneasy. They knew Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer had once worked for Macavity, but they hadn't known any details. Mungojerrie said nothing.
"Does your new family know about your old one my boy?" Fear entered Mungojerrie's eyes and his expression faltered. "No? Families should know the truth about each other dear nephew." Gasps filled the mouths of many Jellicle's. Mungojerrie's ears flattened in shame. "You didn't even tell them that. My my, how much they have to learn."
Macavity now addressed the whole tribe, keeping his claws firmly at Rumpleteazer's throat to ensure no-one would try anything.
"Yes Mungojerrie is my nephew. I practically raised him. I'm rather hurt to learn he never mentioned that. I suppose he also failed to mention that he was my number one prodigy. He was quite a nasty Jellicle before I stupidly gave him this queen to use as a decoy." Macavity would occasionally provide his workers with a Jellicle he no longer cared for to take the fall should anything go wrong on a mission. More often than not this meant the decoy would be killed as the worker ran.
"Mungojerrie was a thief, as you know. He WAS also an excellent fighter." Macavity briefly glared his disappointment at the tom before returning to the rest of the tribe. "And quite a skilled killer." If Mungojerrie could disappear he would of. He could feel the shock of his fellow Jellicle's drilling into his back, and the shame that followed.
"In fact I believe he even killed a couple of your nearest and dearest." Mungojerrie looked as surprised as everyone else. "Yes, I believe, Cassandra, your brother was killed by my nephew, and Alonzo, your dear mother." Horrible memories flooded in front of Mungojerrie's eyes. A white queen with black markings and a tom who was almost the twin of Cassandra now that he thought about it. Both killed because they failed to keep up their ends of deal with Macavity. Mungojerrie was sent to kill them, he wasn't given any details about the Jellicle's, he never was. The only blessing was that Mungojerrie didn't thrive in painful killings as his uncle did. At least they had died fast.
Alonzo and Cassandra almost leaped on Mungojerrie, claws fully extended and ready to get revenge, but they were held back by the Rum Tum Tugger and Bombalurina.
"Well well. Now you know. Mungojerrie, my nephew, the thief, the bully and the murderer. If only I had time to tell you more stories, but alas my patience is wearing thin. Mungojerrie will you accept your fate and rejoin me?"
'The fool' Macavity thought. 'This is such a delightful plan. Shame Mungojerrie out of the Junkyard, he'll have no choice but to join me. Kidnapping Rumpleteazer was just for fun.' Macavity had just taken her to his lair and waited until Mungojerrie went to the yard to carry out the final part of his plan. Although he had to admit, Mungojerrie had taken so long getting there that Macavity almost dragged him there.
Mungojerrie stared at his mate again; she hadn't moved her eyes from him. He could see tears building up in her eyes. Not tears of fear but tears for her mate's pain.
Quietly Mungojerrie let out his answer."I won't." His voice cracked but he didn't care.
"Fine. You'll return to me one day Mungojerrie. Where else can you go?" With his characteristic laughter Macavity pushed Rumpleteazer towards her mate and vanished, this time putting on much more of a show. What appeared to be ground lightning cracked where he had been standing as he disappeared.
Rumpleteazer ran toward him and threw her arms around Mungojerrie. She sobbed loudly into his uninjured shoulder. He held her tight; eyes screwed shut, tears falling silently. He knew he would have to turn around and face the tribe, but for now he was just relieved to be holding his mate again.
The tribe were still. Even Alonzo and Cassandra had stopped, but they were still held in place just encase. Everyone either looked at Mungojerrie or Munkustrap, seeing who would make the first move. Munkustrap was first; he stood out of his defensive stance and took a step towards Jerrie.
"Mungojerrie…" Mungojerrie slowly turned, still clinging onto Rumpleteazer.
"Aw of its true, every wor'" His voice was still quiet. His eyes found Teazer's before his head jerked up and he looked straight as Munkustrap, his voice filled with a new found confidence. "But it's got nuffin' ter do wif Teazer, punish me but leef 'er out of it"
Munkustrap sighed before taking a scan of the tribe. Everyone looked to him. This was his first major task as leader and he knew what he had to do. Tantomile and Coricopat nodded at him to agree as his eyes met theirs. They had done a scan of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer's minds to get the truth.
"If we may, we know more of the story." Tantomile started as she and her mate stepped forwards in perfect sync.
"Mungojerrie, Rumpleteazer, we apologise for invading your minds but the story must be told and you are in no state to do it." Coricopat continued.
"Mungojerrie was indeed raised by Macavity. He lost his father, Macavity's brother at a young age and is mother took Mungojerrie and his sister to Macavity as she didn't know what to do without her mate. Macavity kept Mungojerrie away from his mother as much as possible and raised him as his heir." He paused and his mate continued.
"Mungojerrie did indeed do terrible things while there. But he didn't know any other way of life, that was until Rumpleteazer was given to him. She told him of a life outside of Macavity's lair. A life with humans and other Jellicle's, a life she had lead before she was taken by Macavity. They fell in love and vowed to leave. When the time came they managed to escape quite easily, because of Mungojerrie's status in the lair, no-one questioned his free movement in and around the lair. They came across our tribe and were granted sanctuary by Old Deuteronomy. To try and live a normal life they lied about their involvement with Macavity to us all. But, if we may put forward a personal opinion, my mate and I don't hold that lie against them. Mungojerrie had no idea he killed Idris and Flora." Cassandra and Alonzo hissed at the mention of their fallen family members' names. Tantomile continued.
"Macavity never gave out details, he just told Mungojerrie who to take care of." Everyone listened carefully. It was not the first time Tantomile and Coricopat had told someone life story while the Jellicle was standing next to them. But this was one of the vaguer ones. Many presumed the vagueness was to save them from the no doubt gory details.
Munkustrap knew it was his time to make a judgement. He looked towards his mate and kitten. Demeter was holding their daughter protectively against her shoulder, the kittens wide eyes stared at her father. Munkustrap sighed and turned to Mungojerrie.
"I never thought I'd be saying this to you Jerrie, but as leader of this tribe I have to ask you to leave. You are exiled from the moment you leave this yard. Your years of being a solid and dependable member of this tribe keep me from putting a death sentence on your head. But I cannot let you continue to be a member having learned this truth today." He paused and looked at Rumpleteazer. "Rumpleteazer, you are still welcome here as you have done no wrong. But I will understand if we see less of you."
Mungojerrie loosened his grip around Rumpleteazer's waist to show she was free to stay if she chose to, but she responded by gripping him tighter and declaring her love.
"Wot did I say ter ya when we pledged Jerrie, it takes a minute ter 'ave a crush on someone, an 'our ter loike someone and a day ter love someone - but it takes a lifetime ter forget someone. I'm not leavin' ya."
"Thank you Teazer." He stood aside, putting an arm around Rumpleteazer's waist. He turned to face the tribe."I'm sorry for everythin' I did, I really am." And without saying another word the tiger twins slowly headed out of the Junkyard towards their human home.