A few weeks later, Mungojerrie was practicing his writing
A few weeks later, Mungojerrie was practicing his writing. Most cats knew how to read, especially thieves; you needed to know the hazards in your environment. Not near as many could write. Macavity had made sure Jerrie could write; the ability to make fake notes was a coveted one. However, he was afraid to let anyone know he possessed such ability. He felt it may seem suspicious, as writing was not something normally taught to cats. It was a common habit in the higher areas of thievery.
So, after he felt he had re-captured the previous beauty of his handwriting, he hid the papers and plopped back on the bed. The past few weeks had been surprisingly productive. Him and Demeter were getting close; dangerously close, almost. He felt that queen was grasping at him for understanding. He worried she was reading more into it than friendship. He was still trying to re-understand his sister. He had almost failed to realize how much a cat could change in three years. She was slowly starting to forgive him, and they were beginning to schedule little thieving sessions. They had had their first one the night before, and he felt it brought them that much closer together. It was like getting back to the good old days.
Now, Bombalurina was an entirely different story altogether. That queen made him feel like a man-whore. Evidently, he was one of many in her harem. He had finally gotten the situation straight – or as straight as it could be – about her. She was technically with Tugger, and the two apparently had a healthy relationship, but also a very. . . open one. Supposedly the two had agreed they could sleep with other cats so long as it didn't cut into their time together. Tugger was often out of the junkyard prowling the streets, so during those times Bombalurina was quite happy to toy with the toms she could find.
Did this bother Jerrie? Yes, a little. He was nothing more than a sex toy to her. But at the same time, perhaps this was what he needed. No commitment to worry about, but he could fulfill his needs. He could live with that.
Jerrie smiled a little to himself and walked out the door. Life was good for the moment. He was headed to Bombalurina's before he helped Demeter watch the kittens. Jennyanydots was out on the trains with Skimbleshanks, and Jellylorum was busy helping out poor old Gus (who, as Jerrie had learned, had even worse health than he did years ago) so the kittens needed someone to watch after them. He was also becoming friends with the same little patched tom kit that had been eager to hear his stories; Pouncival. He had secretly promised the kitten sessions on stealing and fighting. The little kit was very attentive and ready to learn, but maybe just a little too willing to be just like Jerrie. He'd have to be careful.
Approaching Bomba's den, he ran his fingers through his headfur a few times before opening the door. She answered with a smile, having expected him, and he stepped inside.
"You're a bit early, but I'm glad you're here." She purred, walking over to the bed and stretching herself out on it. He allowed his eyes to feast on the sight before he walked over and ran his paw over her back.
"You're sure Tugger is out today?" He asked softly, always paranoid of the tom walking in. He still hadn't met him, and wasn't planning to. He and Tugger had never gotten along, and he didn't expect that to change. Bomba writhed happily at his touch before speaking.
"Oh, he said he'd be out all morning at his owner's shop. The little attention whore is just soaking up the perks of being a shop cat." She purred and rolled over on her back giving him a sultry look. "Please stop worrying about it, little Jerrie." He smiled at her and lay down next to her, putting his paw on the side of her face and turning it towards him.
"I can't help it, Bomba. What would he think if he saw us?"
"He knows it doesn't mean anything."
She said that as if it would keep him from worrying, and forced an end to all conversation.
The two had just been lazily lounging on the bed when there was heavy knocking on the door. Bombalurina shot up and stared at it as she heard; "Bomba, let me in."
"Damn!" She swore under her breath as Mungojerrie scrambled out of the bed. She quickly turned to him and shoved at him. "Go into the other room! Maybe I can distract him and you can get out or something."
Jerrie scrambled to do as he was told, and pressed himself against the wall in the other room of the den, listening apprehensively. So much for her 'he knows it doesn't mean anything' reasoning. Now she remembered Tugger and Jerrie never got along? He quickly glanced around to try and find some other way out. Damn it. As he heard the door open, he froze and tilted his ear to try and catch every little sound.
"Oh, hey Tugger."
"Who were you talking to?" He heard Tugger walk in, and Bomba gave a half laugh.
"No one; I was asleep."
"No, I'm pretty sure I heard someone else in here." He heard after a pause.
"Oh, dear, there's no one-"
"Aha!" Jerrie's head snapped over to see that undeniable smirk of Tugger's. The tom hadn't changed much at all since Jerrie had left; he did notice a few new accessories, however.
"I knew there was someone in here," he said, turning to look at Bomba out of Jerrie's sight. "And I see why you may have wanted to hide him from me. . . So, Jerrie, it's been a long time. I'd heard you were around and, quite frankly, I'm insulted you didn't stop by to visit."
"I must have lost my head." Jerrie said with a growl, flattening his ears against his skull. "Perhaps I should leave you to your darling scarlet queen."
"Oh, so you won't even stay to chat?" Tugger asked with an amused expression on his face as he watched Mungojerrie step around him. "And here I thought you had been raised with better manners than that."
"I was. Then, I found out I really didn't need them."
Jerrie exited the den, grinding his teeth together as he headed towards the kittens' play area. Tugger still rubbed him the wrong way, after all this time. You'd think a cat would change.
Back inside the den, Tugger turned to Bomba with a raised brow.
"So, you wanted to hide your new play thing from me?" He sounded rather amused.
"I was afraid you wouldn't like it. After all, I remember how he never liked you." She said softly, stepping up and cuddling against him. He wrapped an arm around her and shook his head.
"Yeah, well, I figure forgive and forget. Obviously he thinks different. Just promise me," she looked up at him and he smirked at her. "Next new playmate, tell me who it is."
Mungojerrie was at the play area much earlier than the kittens were supposed to arrive, but he stopped short when he saw there was already someone there. Pouncival had a stick in his paw and was evidently trying to mimic some fighting moves. Jerrie's foul mood lifted a bit and he grinned. That kit wasn't starting anything good for himself.
Pouncival reminded Mungojerrie immensely of himself. The kit loved to bounce around and cause mischief. He was outgoing and had a similar sense of humor, apart from this sick sadistic side that Jerrie didn't like seeing. Pouncival thought pain and embarrassment was funny; in the back of his head Jerrie ruefully mused him and Macavity may have gotten along rather well. Hopefully it was something the kitten would grow out of.
Jerrie found himself pausing. 'Something he'll grow out of.' How many times had he heard that? He inwardly scowled at himself. Never count on such things. He had even told himself he'd grow out of his own diseased thoughts, but look at where he was now. He was burying himself in lust with a cat he didn't even have respect for, to mask his inward passion. Damn it, why did he have to have such a beautiful sister? Why did she have to be the only one he wanted? Why couldn't he just be normal?
He shook his head and went back to watching Pouncival right as the kitten twisted himself about so sharply he toppled over. Jerrie grinned despite his raging thoughts and stepped into the clearing.
"Ah, kit, you got it all wrong again." Pounce's head snapped over and a wide, bright grin spread over his kitten face. He scrambled to his feet and bounced on his heels, grasping the stick tightly in his paw.
"Oh, oh, can you show me some more? Y'know, 'fore Deme comes back and says no?" Mungojerrie found himself laughing at the kitten's enthusiasm. He dug around for a make-shift weapon and came across a broken pen. Twirling it in his paw, he turned to the excited kit with a smirk.
"All right, but remember the rule; don't tell anyone else." He said as he tossed the pen in the air and caught it in his other paw. Pouncival's eyes brightened up and he nodded vigorously.
"I won't, I promise. Now c'mon!" The kitten assumed what he seemed sure was the proper fighting stance, and Jerrie stifled a chuckle. He was having flashbacks to when Macavity was teaching him these tricks, all that time ago. Luckily for little Pounce, he was a much more forgiving teacher.
"First, we still need to work on your stance. The way your standing isn't going to help you much in the offensive. You need to be light on your feet." He took a swing at the kitten and it collided with his shoulder right as he tried to dance away. "See, you've got yourself planted too well. You can't get away fast enough."
The lesson continued on until Mungojerrie could hear the chattering of Etcetera (and then her yelp when Electra gave her the swat she always had ready). Pouncival plopped down on the ground, then sprawled out on his back. The kit was beat, and Jerrie was still up and ready to go. He chuckled and grabbed the kitten's ankle.
"Get your furry bum over here, you're about to get trampled." He said as he laughed, dragging the kitten out of the way. Pouncival could well get up on his own, but preferred to playfully groan as he was dragged across the ground. Jerrie dropped his ankle and shook his head, smirking. He liked this kit, even if he wasn't all good.
"Is Pounce acting up again?" Demeter asked in an amused tone, surprising Jerrie. He shook his head with a grin.
"Nah, just being a bit difficult is all. So, anyone else doing the same?"
"Electra seems to be in a particularly bad mood today, but what else is new?" They both chuckled and settled down to watch the kittens play.
You know, he actually loved these everyday chores. They were so simple, but for him enjoyable.
"So, that's how Jemima ended up here?" He asked, tilting his head. Demeter nodded as they walked away from the kitten's sleeping den.
"Yes. Grizabella decided she needed to explore, so she left the poor dear here. Munkus and Tugger were very upset as well. Grizabella had taken them in when they were younger."
"And when was this?"
"About six months after you left."
He had never been close to Grizabella, but had known of her. She used to like taking in the motherless kittens and treating them like her own, and Jemima was raised to think the absolute best of others. Perhaps Mungojerrie would have never left had he allowed himself to get close to the sweet queen.
"Why do you suppose she did?" He asked after an awkward pause.
"Maybe as the kittens she cared for got older she started to feel abandoned, I don't know." Deme shrugged. "I feel terrible for Jemima. She was only nine when it happened."
The little queen was twelve now, and sweet as could be. She didn't say much, but her eyes were bright with wisdom that far surpassed her age. She was a big contrast to the other kits. The kitten Etcetera was fourteen, sister to Victoria and Mistoffelees who were both seventeen. They were all the kits of Jellylorum and Admetus, though everyone had been amazed when the little tom had been born black as sin. Victoria and Mistoffelees were usually helping their mother care for their grandfather, Gus, so in his failing health they were seeing even less of them. Etcetera was a little spacey; her eyes often glazed over as she was imagining some new fantasy or she was about to blurt out something loud and random.
Then, Etcetera was never without Electra. The rust-striped queen had a temper to match the colour of her fur. No one was sure of where she came from, as she was dropped off near the junkyard one day by humans. She always seemed rather spiteful to those that actually had parents to rely on, and wasn't afraid of letting her opinion known. She was a spit-fire, and often bullied the timid Tumblebrutus.
Tumble was Jennyanydots' son, which was probably obvious in his well-behaved nature. He usually had all of his mother's attention he could ever want, and was awfully meek without it. She didn't seem to think his clinginess was towards her needed any attention called to it, so no one really commented. He liked hanging out with Pouncival, though, which Mungojerrie knew would get him into trouble one day.
Then there was Pouncival, a little kit that needed no explanation. He just was. There was no clear story as to how he got here, or why he was, but Jerrie liked the kitten, even if he didn't want to share his life story.
He suddenly realized he had gotten very quiet, and Demeter was staring at him oddly. He paused, then laughed nervously.
"Sorry. I've been gone so long; I'm still tryin' to remember all that I used to know." He said apologetically, and she nodded with understanding.
"I don't blame you. It's hard enough to remember everything when you've been here for years and talked to everyone every day. . ." Demeter paused and looked down at her paws, sniffing. Jerrie tilted his head at her.
"What is it?"
"I'm just. . . I don't know. I'm so bored. Everything is the same, day after day. Even the gossip gets boring. Nothing exciting ever happens to me." She turned to him, looking at him with those big blue eyes. Jerrie felt himself resisting the urge to edge away from her. "You're the most excitement I've had in a while. Pretty sad, huh?" Jerrie shook his head.
"Nah, not really. But I'm a bad character; a nice queen like yourself wouldn't want to associate with me." He said it jokingly, and she laughed, but it was truth. He was leading her into things she'd normally have nothing to do with, he knew. He wished he didn't have to. . .
"Teazer, shush!" Jerrie hissed to his sister. He loved going out with her, but Heaviside she couldn't keep herself quiet! He constantly had to remind himself these were just for fun. His instincts insisted they needed to be as quiet as possible or they would get punished, but as it was the worst that would happen would be getting batted by a broom. Humans could be so touchy sometimes. He playfully shoved his sister in the arm.
"Oh, Jerrie, don't be so uptight," she said teasingly, swinging her loot bag and catching him in the back as he trotted ahead of her. He looked back at her with a look of mock distaste before smirking.
"Yeah, well, you stay so far behind and you won't be getting' anythin' to bring back home!" At that, he leapt up onto a windowsill and slipped right inside the house. Teazer let out a squeal and quickly scrambled up after him, standing up beside him on the other side of the window. Jerrie smirked at her before she pouted and pushed him off balance, sending him tumbling downward.
"Oh!" Teazer scrambled to the edge to peek down and make sure he was fine, giggling when she saw he had landed safely (though disgruntled) on a pillow. He closed one eye and glared up at her, though there was no force behind it. Teazer giggled and leapt down beside him.
"You're such a clutz, my dear brother." She said with her nose in the air, tossing her loot bag over her shoulder and walking away with a dignified air. Jerrie smirked, but quickly leapt up and followed after her when he found himself staring. He dragged his bag carelessly, watching her as she sniffed some chocolate and shoved it into her bag with the intent of taking that back home.
"And what do you need that for?" He asked with a cocky grin, leaning on the leg of a table. She turned with her brown eyes wide, and he noticed brown bits on her whiskers. Jerrie quickly covered his mouth with his paw to mask a smirk. Rumpleetazer's eyes got even wider (if possible) and she wiped her mouth off.
"I happen to like chocolate." She grumbled, throwing a wrapper at him which he dodged with ease.
"You're goin' to make yourself fat, you realize." Jerrie said nonchalantly as he wandered into the kitchen. It wasn't until he heard a thunk somewhere behind him that he realized he had unknowingly walked out of the line of fire of a chocolate missal his sister had thrown. He let out a half laugh and peered into the kitchen. His sister had a habit of being all about the fun, but he still couldn't get around his need to scout out the place. There was a food bowl; smelled of dog. He couldn't tell exactly what sort, so simply hoped it wouldn't be a threat. It hadn't come along to challenge them yet, at least.
"Next house we hit should have cats in it," he heard his sister say behind him (and she sounded like she had something else in her mouth) so he turned and gave her a questioning look.
"Why? So we can get in a fight?"
"No, 'cause then they may have some catnip. And I ain't had any in so long. . ." She purred and ran her paw over her chocolate filled bag. "It would be a fantastic thing, to run off with two bags full of catnip, wouldn't you say?" Mungojerrie paused for a moment before shrugging.
"I suppose. . ." He was slightly surprised to hear his sister enjoyed such pleasures. He himself hadn't had any in quite some time; the cat he turned into when he did was not a cat he liked. But if she liked it, he'd get her as much as she wanted any day. . .
He wandered through the kitchen, through what appeared to be a living room, into another room; from the looks of it, a bedroom. He peered around to make sure there was no pollicle about to cause trouble before walking in further. After a little prowling, he found a small collection of jewelry. Before he had a chance to think, he was stuffing his bag full of necklaces and rings. Sometimes, he saw objects such as this and simply had to have them. . . once they were stolen, he didn't care who he gave them to. He just felt like he needed to snatch them up when he had the chance. He knew it was some sort of problem he should get helped with, but he didn't care; no one needed to know so long as he knew how to hide it.
"Um, Jerrie?" His sister sounded somewhat fearful, so he turned quickly to see her leaping up on the bed. There was a rather large dog sniffing after her, though it didn't jump up to follow her. Mungojerrie squinted at the pollicle; it didn't seem like it had dangerous intent, and the humans appeared to be out for the night so it wouldn't have anyone to warn. . . so perhaps they would be fine. However, he was not willing to take any chances.
"Hey, dog," sometimes pollicles could speak back, however primitively. The dog turned its snout to look at him and wandered over, sniffing. It was white with black spots. What were those called? Dalimotans or something? Oh, what did it matter? It was sitting here staring at him somewhat blankly and he was trying to figure out why it had spots!
"Are you dumb dog, or can you not hear me?" Jerrie asked, raising an eyebrow. It was looking at him so intently, yet not responding in any way. If it was going to harm him wouldn't it had already done so?
"She no hear."
Mungojerrie's head snapped over to look at another pollicle; a much smaller, fluffier one. It was a male – he could tell just from its voice – and walked with a certain dignity.
"She's deaf?" Jerrie asked, hoping to clarify and be positive. He looked back to the dog in front of him as she sat down on her rump, her tail wagging slightly. Rumpleteazer gave him a helpless look.
"I say she no hear, you no hear too?" The dog said with a grumpy tone. "You no be here, bad cat." He said with a growl, his fur fluffing even more. Jerrie's eyes began darting around for a quick exit. Although he was confident he could get out himself, he didn't think his sister was quite as adept. His eyes settled on the window above the bed. It was cracked just slightly. That'd do.
"No, I'm not supposed to be here, but," slinging his bag over his shoulder, he strode confidently to the edge of the dresser, the deaf dog watching his curiously as he did. "I will be leaving soon."
He leapt off the dresser, dashing to the bed and up onto the window. Both the dogs began barking like mad, and Mungojerrie quickly hooked his fingers underneath the window's edge. As he pulled, it refused to budge. And his sensitive ears told him the humans were entering the house. With the sound of the pollicle's obnoxious barking, this was the first area they would go into!
"Damn!" Jerrie's frustration turned to fear as the window still wouldn't budge, and Rumpleteazer joined him in desperation, and right when it was nearly too late the window opened just enough for Mungojerrie to shove his sister out. He grabbed the bags, shoved them out, then managed to squeeze himself out into the cold night air. He landed not-so-gracefully beside the striped queen, who was shaking her head and rubbing a bruised arm, and scooted closer.
"You all right?" He asked softly, putting an arm around his sister. She nodded hurriedly and grabbed her bag, standing. Mungojerrie felt a bit rejected, but at the same time knew they did need to get out of there. Grabbing his own bag full of useless valuables, the two striped twins ran off into the night towards the junkyard.
Sometimes, he wondered why he thought this was fun.
The two collapsed inside of Mungojerrie's den in a fit of exhausted giggles.
"My, was that fun or what?" Teazer asked breathlessly, pulling her bag into her lap and pulling out some chocolate with a triumphant smile. Mungojerrie grinned at her, tossing his bag over his shoulder so it hit the wall of the den with an unceremonious thump.
"Yeah, but I'm beat." He hadn't expected the pollicles, or the humans, or the broken window. He was starting to get rusty just from this month and a half break from stealing. A month and a half; he couldn't believe it had been so long already. He had two more weeks before his deadline met him, but he felt he already had everything set. He almost wished he didn't, but this was his job. . .
"Well," Teazer had a mouthful of chocolate that she had to swallow as she turned to her brother. "I'd best be home, now. They'll wonder where I've been if I don't." She smiled at him and he tried to give her one in return. "I'll leave my bag here, if you don't mind."
"Nope, I don't mind. I'll talk at you later, Teazer."
"I'll see you tomorrow."
Mungojerrie watched his sister leave, yawning tiredly. Usually he was upset when his sister left, constantly worried he wouldn't see her again, but tonight he was actually fine. His mood, which had been slightly forced, dropped considerably, however. He came to the realization he was very tired, and flopped back on his bed. He rubbed his face with his paw.
"Why?" He drew the word out loudly, groaning. He wasn't exactly sure what he meant by it, but it felt good to let it out nonetheless. With a sigh, he rolled over on his side and pulled a blanket over himself. After a bit of settling down, and about thirty minutes of his mind racing, he finally managed to get himself lulled to sleep.
"Mungojerrie?" The striped tom jerked around as he was suddenly woken by a soft voice, instinctively trying to find his knife, which of course was on the other side of the room. When he remembered where he was, he peered up to see the face of a startled Demeter.
"Sorry, Deme, you scared me there. . ."
"I'm sorry, Jerrie." She said apologetically, sitting down on the bed as Mungojerrie sat up and rubbed his eyes. He looked at her groggily, unsure of why she would be here.
"What time is it?"
"Around noon. Jellylorum was around today to watch the kittens, so I wanted to see if you would like to go out and do something." She smiled somewhat weakly, and Mungojerrie gave her one in return. Actually, that didn't sound too bad. Even though he was still tired, he could do with a nice stroll and a meal.
"I think I'd like that. We could go out to the boat docks and catch a couple fish." He grinned as Demeter smiled and nodded.
"Would you like to go now?"
"Sure thing, Deme."
The two Jellicles lazily walked along the edge of the river down near the water, Jerrie trying hard to hide his hungry glances at the water. He was starving, and fish sounded delicious. He could hear Demeter chattering beside him but wasn't exactly paying any attention.
"-And then Etcetera is just sitting there staring at me as if she can't understand a word- Are you listening?"
"Hmm?" Mungojerrie turned to give her an apologetic smile. Sorry. I'll admit I wasn't exactly hanging on every word you said. I'm kind of hungry, actually."
"Oh," Demeter waved a paw dismissively, "that's fine. Why don't we stop here and see if we can catch something? Seems as good a place as any."
The two walked down to the very edge of the water, Jerrie's stomach growling. His mouth was watering just from the thought of chewing on a nice, juicy fresh fish. The two settled down next to the water with anticipation, and the minutes ticked away. It was a waiting game, and he didn't like to wait when it came to his stomach. Most of the cats would wait for hand-outs from the fishermen, but damn it he just wasn't comfortable around humans anymore. All those times he'd cuddled in the lap of his humans seemed so far away now. Everything from back then was like a different life. Was a different life. . .
Suddenly, in his distracted state, Demeter splashed in the water. Evidently a fish had swum by that he hadn't even noticed. She almost had it, but its thrashing caused her to topple over in the water. The fish got away, and Mungojerrie chortled softly as he reached down to pull the gold queen from the water. She squealed out of surprise, throwing them both off balance, and he fell down backwards. Demeter laughed as she laid on top of him, and Jerrie started laughing along.
But soon he realized he was the only one laughing. He stopped and looked up at Deme, who was sitting astride him, staring down at him with her lips delicately parted. Suddenly, he felt uncomfortable. Before he could gently push her off, she'd leaned down and kissed him roughly. His paws flew out to the sides away from her, not responding. What was he supposed to do? He'd been worried something like this would happen, and it had.
At his adverse reaction, Demeter quickly realized her mistake. She quickly sat up and moved off him, looking away and biting her lip. The striped tom sat up and smoothed down his chest fur nervously.
"I'm sorry, I just thought-"
"No, no, it's okay, really." He said hurriedly, not wanting her to be upset about it.
"I think I'm going to go back home," the embarrassed queen said softly, standing and brushing herself off. Part of Jerrie felt bad for embarrassing her, but he wasn't going to kiss her back. He didn't feel that way about her.
'You don't feel that way about Bombalurina, either.'
But that was different. The scarlet queen wasn't looking for love. She didn't expect more from him like Demeter did. Demeter was Macavity's, not his. Bast, that was cruel. He was handing this sweet, fragile queen over to a tom he knew so well, yet knew nothing about.
He watched after her as she rushed away, forgetting he was hungry. He just needed some time to think. Time to relieve himself of his guilt, more like it.
He didn't know what he was doing anymore.
I know it's taking me forever to write this sucker, but now I'm past my personal 'boring' points so things are allowed to get interesting. The next chapter is going to reveal why the title is put in the format it is. I'm really getitng excited; the simply idea of a brother loving his sister, and his creative way to get her to love him, has evolved more than I could have hoped. I can't say how proud I am of this fic's progression, and how pleased I am that everyone is enjoying it. Loves to you all!
I know it's annoying I have a habit of uploading a chapter twice, at least (sue me) but since I haven't uploaded anything in so long I forgot to add the spacer bars. Hardy har har. It didn't read well without them.