After a long day of play, a little orange striped kitten found himself wandering away from his twin sister to a patch of flowers. His sister loved flowers, and he loved them too. They reminded him of her, all pretty and delicate. Flowers were something to protect, just like her. Plucking a daisy from the ground, he poked it and sniffed it to make sure there wouldn't be any nasty surprises popping out at his sister. Finally satisfied to see it was as perfect as her, he scurried back over to her and held the flower out with a feeble, cute little grin.
"Here ya go, Teazer." He said shyly, scuffing his toe a little on the ground. He hoped she'd like it. She deserved to be happy. He wished he could tell her how she made the daisy pale in comparison. A little Rumpleteazer squealed and took the flower, holding it delicately to her nose and batting her eyelashes at her brother, obviously pleased. This made Mungojerrie happy as well.
"Aw, thank you Jerrie." Leaning over, she gave him a peck on the cheek that made him blush, feeling even more pleased with himself. He felt light as air when she gave him little kisses. He loved her affection.
He loved his sister.
Though, he'd yet to realize he loved her more than any brother should. It didn't matter yet; they were kittens, only seven years old. Some cats noticed, but they simply reasoned that he'd grow out of it. He didn't know any better, he'd learn. He'd learn that it wasn't right; he'd figure it out himself. It was a silly infatuation, maybe even a game. Maybe he just wanted to keep her safe; maybe he was just overprotective, eager to keep her happy. Suddenly, the flower was dropped and Teazer excitedly grabbed Jerrie's arm, shaking it. He looked to her, startled and wide eyed as she grinned broadly and shook his arm.
"Oh! Munkus asked us to come play with him, remember?" She grinned at her slightly-taller brother, who looked a little frustrated. She had a crush on the older Munkustrap, and Mungojerrie was jealous. Why did he want them to play, anyway? He was twelve and they seven; it was a decent enough difference. Usually Munkus and Tugger were wrapped up in more 'important' business than little kittens. Inside Jerrie's confusion and frustration welled up at this. He didn't want to share his sister with anyone, but she was making it so difficult. Why couldn't they just go home and play together? They could bother the family dog, that would be fun. They could filch some food from the cupboards or steal some of the kids' toys. Why did they have to include other kittens in their activities?
Then he noticed Rumpleteazer was running off, so he scurried to follow her as he usually did. It was like watching a well-trained puppy. He'd follow her obediently to hell and back; he didn't want her getting hurt, and feared this was some cruel trick. Perhaps Munkus wouldn't be part of the trick, but it was very likely Tugger was planning something. Tease the little kitten; make her think she was special. Teazer was special in Jerrie's eyes, but he knew Tugger did not appreciate her like her did. Quickly gaining on her, he took her paw and held it tightly, not willing to let go. He had to watch her and make absolutely sure Tugger did not lay a paw on her. That tom always had something up his sleeve, and it was never any good. He was a menace to all kittens everywhere, yet somehow he managed to get so much positive attention.
"C'mon!" She chirped cheerily, tugging on his paw to make him come as he lagged a little. He loved the way she talked, the sweetness in those brown eyes. Picking up the pace, he made sure he was right beside her as she skipped forward. He just wanted to cuddle with her forever, he realized. She was so perfect in every little way; he wished he could tell her that.
Was that wrong? No, couldn't be. Everyone felt this way. She was such a wonderful little queen, who wouldn't love her? She gave affection to anyone who needed it, played with all the little kittens, and brought smiles to everyone's faces. Sure she could be a troublemaker, and Mungojerrie was too. Though he took a lot of her blame; such a sweet little creature did not deserve any problems. She stumbled a little over her feet and Mungojerrie immediately stopped to help her with her balance, asking her if she was fine. She nodded and cheerily gave him assurance that she wasn't hurt. He didn't want her getting hurt, he wouldn't let that happen. He'd take a bullet for little Teazer. He'd give his own life for her. Nope, nothing would ever touch her and cause pain. She was too perfect.
All too soon they came across the older group of kittens; Munkustrap being the oldest of the group, Tugger a year younger. Bombalurina next, then Demeter who was only a year older than they were; Teazer smiled brightly and released Jerrie's paw to run over and give the other queen a hug. Jerrie felt abandoned and pouted after her. He'd taken her paw for a reason, and expected her to hold on. Sighing, he watched her hug Demeter and rocked a little on his heels. His gaze slid over to Tugger, who smirked at the little tom, and Mungojerrie felt heat on his face from embarrassment.
"Aw, poor little tom, his sister left him alone," Tugger cooed mockingly. Bombalurina snickered and missed the disapproving look Demeter shot her. Bombalurina wasn't quite Tugger's age, but saw herself above the younger crowd. Just as well, since Tugger seemed to have taken a liking to her and dragged her around everywhere he went. He'd shove her away as soon as any other queens were about, but she usually got her revenge. Tugger refused to fight (messed up his mane, after all) and yet he had bruises. One could only make a connection between the angered queen kitten, whom had quite a temper, and the tom who constantly pushed her away then tugged her back.
"I just went to hug my friend. Don't make fun of my brother." Teazer said defensively, puffing up to the arrogant tom kit. Mungojerrie felt a bit of foolish pride at his sister; she loved him enough to stand up to a larger tom. Though, if anything did happen Jerrie would hop in and take over the battle, but the thought was there and he appreciated it. Tugger, however, let out a loud laugh and shook his head, an irritating grin on his face.
"What do you plan to do if I don't quit?" He asked with that obnoxious smirk. That alone made Jerrie want to slap Tugger across the face. That tom really needed an attitude adjustment, and no one was giving him one! Maybe one day he could teach that tom kit a lesson, then the whole junkyard would shower him with praise. Especially Rumpleteazer. That's the only one that mattered.
"Tugger, stop." Munkustrap said smoothly, looking down to his somewhat younger brother with distaste. Munkus, oddly enough, seemed to be the only one able to control Tugger to any degree. Old Deuteronomy was too busy to give the toms all the attention they needed, and they didn't have mothers. Munkus' mother had to move away with her human family, regretfully leaving her son where she knew he would be safe. Tugger's mother was some tramp Deuteronomy had thought he loved. When she had Tugger she kept him until he didn't need to nurse any more and dumped him here. Sometimes Jerrie wondered if Tugger was more suited to a life in the streets.
Tugger made a snide face at his brother before rolling his eyes and crossing his arms over his chest moodily. He hated being told what to do, and always ended up rebelling anyway. His brooding wouldn't last for long, Jerrie knew. Munkus shook his head, obviously resisting the urge to start nagging his brother, and turned a broad grin to Mungojerrie.
"I'm sorry, he doesn't have any manners to speak of-" a disbelieving snort from Tugger "-so I have to remind him." Munkustrap shrugged, the look on his face giving the impression he couldn't care less. In all honesty he was always frustrated with his brother; then again, Munkus looked at rules and followed them as best as possible. Tugger shot his brother a dirty look and one side of his lip rose into a small snarl.
"Dad says to quit controlling me." Tugger muttered darkly, but when Munkus gave him a dangerous look he promptly shut up. Munkustrap, unlike Tugger, didn't have an issue with little scraps. He didn't like fighting, and rarely even play fought, but if the situation called for it he did not protest. In light of this, Tugger did his best to stay on his brother's good side. He wasn't eager to get his perfectly groomed mane mussed. Tugger forgot his brother, though, as Bombalurina began giving him attention. She had a lazy smile on her face as she stroked his mane idly, smoothing down the growing ruff around his shoulders. He loved attention, and she gave it all too eagerly. Jerrie felt his anger towards Tugger transfer to Bombalurina somewhat; she loved the enemy.
Mungojerrie disliked Tugger and all he was. He had no respect, no kindness. It frustrated him that such a tom could act so disrespectful of any cat, especially his sister. His little paws clenched into fists at his sides as he watched Tugger whisper something into Bomba's ear. She grinned and giggled, ignoring Munkustrap's death glare. No. No tom should be so high and mighty about himself. He would have to teach him a lesson. He couldn't let him go on without realizing how wrong he was. A little growl starting up in the back of his throat, he began running. Bombalurina turned her head and that stupid smile left her face as she scurried out of the way. Tugger put his paws up, his eyes wide as Jerrie landed atop him.
"Hey! You little-" Tugger exclaimed, trying to push the flailing Mungojerrie off of him. Jerrie pounded the larger tom's chest with his paws, the growling noise coming from his throat sounding much like a refrigerator. Tugger's claws emerged and pressed dangerously on Jerrie's little shoulders, but he ignored them. This tom had a lesson to learn, and Jerrie was going to do it! Soon enough Munkus had his arms around the kitten's waist and pulled him away, leaving Tugger disheveled and angry. Mungojerrie continued flailing as the bigger tom struggled to carry him away. Tugger immediately adjusted his mane and Bomba shot the orange striped kitten a dark look before obsessively teasing Tugger's mane into a presentable shape. Munkustrap set down the striped tom, who glared up at him. Why had he interfered? He was teaching Tugger a lesson! Of all cats in the junkyard, Munkustrap should have appreciated that the most!
"Look, you can't just go around tackling cats. That's not how it works." The tone in his voice made it sound like he was speaking to Tugger. Mungojerrie was not Tugger! How could he speak to him that way? That made the anger boil up inside of him, and he knew it would be a long time before he forgave the gray tabby.
"I don't care! Come on, Teazer." He walked over to his sister and grabbed her paw, but she shook her head and backed away, jerking her paw out of his.
"I want to play here."
He stared at her for a moment before growling and storming away. He heard them talk about him as he left, but he was angry so decided he didn't care. His own sister didn't want him! Well, this was not a pleasant situation. He loved his sister but she how could she choose them over him? He was sweet, and caring, and made sure nothing bad happened to her. They were. . . rude and annoying and couldn't care less. Little Jerrie plopped down on the ground and sniffled, rubbing viciously at his eyes to make the tears stop. Why couldn't she see she had hurt him? Couldn't she see his little heart breaking? Oh, why was he crying? Toms don't cry! Toms have to be strong for their mates, and if he wanted Teazer to be his mate one day he'd have to be very strong. Nodding to himself, he stood and clenched his little paws at his sides, turning and heading back the other way.
The only cat that acknowledged his return was Tugger, who scowled at him and gave him an inappropriate hand gesture. Jerrie would have to tell Jellylorum about that later; everyone knew Tugger's attitude had taken a sharp turn for the worse, and anyone who didn't tell the adults about his antics could get in trouble as well. This time, the tiger striped kitten didn't even dignify Tugger with a glare (and that would probably tick off the arrogant kitten more than anything) and instead walked over to Rumpleteazer. He gently prodded her shoulder and again scuffed his toe on the ground as she turned around and smiled at him. Those brown eyes made him melt every time.
"I'm glad you're back, Jerrie."
"Yeah." He smiled at her sheepishly as she rocked a little back and forth. That smile of hers felt like a special gift to him, he loved it. It was so addictive to him. It made him jealous when she smiled to another tom; he deserved all of her love. He wanted it so badly, other toms just wanted to hurt her. Couldn't she see that? He could make her so happy, so happy.
"Yeah. . . what?" Teazer tilted her head at him, blinking sweetly. He inwardly gave himself a jolt. How had he forgotten what he was going to say? It was so important, too. He had gotten lost in her eyes, her smile, her cute little nose. . .
"Teazer, will you be my mate?" The words sounded so feeble, and Tugger's eyebrows shot up on his forehead higher than Jerrie had ever seen them. Munkustrap gave the same sort of smile the adults gave when they saw kittens walk for the first time. So proud of then and their new accomplishments; Tugger saw Munkus' face and rolled his eyes.
Meanwhile, Teazer giggled in a bubbly way and covered her mouth with her paw. Her brother was so sweet to her! How could she say no to that lopsided grin? And he had stood up to Tugger, she wouldn't forget that any time soon.
Jerrie was happier than he could ever express. The queen he loved just said she'd be his mate. He heard Tugger snicker and Munkus promptly telling him to be nice, but he ignored it. Behind Rumpleteazer, Demeter exchanged a glance with Bombalurina who shrugged. They didn't see why Jerrie was so happy; this was something a lot of little kittens did. When they were good friends with someone they asked them to be their mate. It wasn't a real agreement, it would not last through time, but it was still done.
Jerrie grabbed Teazer's paw and led her away, smiling in a slightly smug manner. They could go home now and play with each other, like mates did. The other cats were no longer a concern to him; they didn't matter. She didn't need them anymore, and he knew he didn't. But as soon as she realized he was taking her away from the group, his precious queen protested.
"What about the others?" Her eyes looked so sad; it wrenched his heart a little. What was wrong? She'd said yes, didn't that mean something? Why wasn't she as happy as he was? He felt confused.
"Mates don't need anyone else." Jerrie said with a pout, frustrated anew when she took her paw out of his grasp. He just wanted to be with her forever, couldn't she see that? Why did she want to frustrate him by protesting? Soon enough he would properly learn how much of a tease queens could be, even more so when Rumpleteazer shook her head in confusion.
"It's just a game." She gave him a smile. "It's no big deal." She grinned at him and turned to walk back to the group of kittens, all chattering noisily now. Even so, those words seemed to echo in his mind.
'It's just a game.'
As she walked away, Mungojerrie stood there stunned. So his heart was just a game. Well, that was new. He always thought his heart was supposed to be important. Was love a game? It must be a very cruel game. He let out a weak laugh and followed after her, trying to cover up what was obviously a mistake.
"Yeah, just a game. . ."
Later that night, when both the kittens were comfortably nestled in their bed at home, Mungojerrie found himself watching her as she slept. She was so adorable and perfect, why was she playing with his heart? She didn't realize she was doing it, probably, but it hurt. Oh well, he'd just have to try harder to make her see, make her see how much he loved her.
There was a clap of thunder and Rumpleteazer jolted awake with a scream. Times like these made Jerrie wish they had their parents. The kitten tiredly whimpered and looked to her brother, cuddling up against him. He wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on hers, closing his eyes.
"When did the storm come in, Jerrie?" She asked softly, curling up against him. He wished she would never move from where she was, he loved this. Just holding her as she was frightened; it was too perfect for any words he knew.
"Not long ago," he said in a low, comforting voice. "But it'll pass soon." He smiled even though she couldn't see it and patted her back reassuringly. A tired giggle and a yawn from her as she settled against him made him realize how tired he himself was.
"I love you, Jerrie."
"I love you, too."
She didn't know how much those words meant to him.
A/N: I'm trying out something I never did even when my teachers tried to make me do it. Whereas I usually type out the story and go back and fix up spelling and grammer errors, this time I'm going back and fixing it up feverishly three times or so. I describe things more, I guess. More useless typing than I usually do. Point being, when I wrote this chapter in the same style as I usually do, it was barely three pages long on Microsoft Word. By the time I was finished it was just shy of being six pages long so... enjoy. The whole story will be typed like this; it takes longer but the results are nice. 'You Owe Me Nothing In Return' will continue to be typed in the somewhat sloppier style; I think it works better for that particular story.