I know, I know, it's been a while. Well, more than a while, like a freaking long time. I had massive writer's block for a while about how to end the story and then I honestly just forgot I had a story to finish until I watched Top Cat again and it was the Jazz episode. And then I realized I should probably get on that last chapter. I know, I'm an awful person. Anyway, here it is! The last chapter! It's pretty much all dialogue, really this chapter is just for closure. And I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's read this! Mostly to those who favorited and alerted the story and actually reviewed all the chapters. Really, I can't thank you enough. :)
Benny's little legs propelled him towards Top Cat's trash can, which, until last night, had been abandoned. He still had a hard time believing last night wasn't a dream, it was too good to be true.
At first, the misery had been too much to bear. History repeating itself, especially after the faint glimmer of hope of getting Top Cat back, had caused the entire gang to go into an almost comatose state. No one said anything for at least two minutes after the swarm of ambulances (when had those shown up?) and police cars swallowed TC.
Finally, Choo-Choo became unable to wait any longer. "I've got to see what's going on," he said adamantly, concern apparent in his voice. The rest of the gang, undoubtedly thinking the same thing, followed him up to where the police tape and large police officers dictated they could go no further.
"Listen, our good friend TC, the one who almost just drowned in the river, we really need to see how he's doing, so could you just, uh, let us pass?" Fancy attempted to make his way past one of the guards.
"Sorry", he said gruffly. "No one unauthorized past this point."
"Authorized? But, like, man, come on," Spook pleaded.
That was when Benny saw Dibble in the background.
The shrill cry caught the attention of everyone within fifty meters of the area, including the tired-looking policeman. He made his way over to the tape.
"There you guys are, I've been lookin' all over for ya—"
"Is he OK, Dibble?"
"Relax, Benny, I think he's fine. I just saw him trying to refuse medical attention over by that ambulance."
The entire gang let out a sigh of relief. If TC wasn't letting a doctor near him, then he was probably fine. And back to his old self.
"Ah, there he goes again…he should really let that guy take his temperature…why don't you guys go on back to the Alley? Top Cat will go there as soon as he can, I guarantee that."
Benny and Choo-Choo looked like they might object, but one stern glance from Dibble told them it was useless. They turned around and followed the rest of the gang back to their beloved Alley.
Apparently, however, they were all more severely exhausted than previously thought, because they were asleep within five minutes of waiting for Top Cat.
Which was why Benny was so excited to see him this morning. He knew there would most likely be repercussions for waking him up before the sun was at the midpoint location in the sky, but at the moment he didn't care. He just wanted to see him and make sure he was all right, since Benny had never gotten solid proof last night.
"TOP CAT!" He screamed as he removed the trash can lid.
The trash can was empty.
That couldn't be right. Top Cat was almost never up before noon, and he wouldn't be up early after the events of last night, that was for sure. If everyone else was that exhausted, surely TC would be at least double that?
Benny dropped the lid and ran back to the sleeping gang, all in very uncomfortable-looking positions in the middle of the Alley.
"Choo-Choo! Wake up!" Benny shook the pink cat with all the force he could muster. "Spook? Brain? Fancy?" He shook each cat in turn, and after an endless minute of unsuccessful attempts they finally started to stretch and rub their eyes.
"What? What? Duh, where's the fire?" Brain's voice was even duller than usual.
"Did any of you see TC come in last night?" Benny asked.
The entire gang blinked confusedly. And then it hit them.
"Aw, MAN, we, like, totally konked out!"
"Did you see him, Benny?!"
"CRAP, how did that happen?"
"I don't know, but he's not in his can," Benny answered their outbursts.
"Why not? It's not noon yet…." Choo-Choo mused.
"Do you think, something, like happened?" Spook asked.
"Something ELSE?" Fancy said. "What else could happen NOW?"
"Yeah, I mean, duh, how many people could possibly be out to get Top Cat?"
Complete silence followed that comment as the gang turned to stare at Brain.
"You're right, that was a stupid comment even for me…"
"Which brings us back to where is he?" Benny asked, on the verge of hysteria.
Top Cat leaned against the fence sipping his latte listening to their argument. He didn't even try keeping the smile from his face.
"How are we supposed to know? Aw, MAN, like how could we fall asleep?"
"Think an accident happened?"
"Like what? TC isn't exactly accident prone, not counting the events of last night…"
"Which weren't even his fault. Do you think Bo…?"
At this, TC grimaced. Stupid little Bo. He hadn't meant to leave the gang for a year. And honestly, that year had been hell for him. A job? Not his high ace card. His hours of sleep had been severely cut back. Not to mention he was a bit rusty from all the honest work he'd unwittingly put forth for a stupid company. He didn't even know what they did anymore. Something with numbers.
He had missed this Alley. Incredibly. Mostly, he'd missed the gang. The only reason he hadn't put a stop to the conversation by announcing his presence yet was because his ego rather enjoyed listening to the frantic concerns of the gang. He felt like a bear hibernating the entire winter only to wake up and discover it was spring.
"Maybe he liked being Dave…maybe he went back…"
Benny's voice, filled with heartbreak, made Top Cat choke on his coffee. Time to end the conversation.
"Like being a boring pencil pusher with boring pencil pusher friends? In New Jersey, of all places?"
Benny didn't even bother turning around first to make sure it was really him, he just sped through a 360 degree turn and barreled his way over to Top Cat, knocking his latte onto the ground as he tackled him. Ha, he was such a little kid sometimes.
"TC! TC! TC! Where were you?!"
"If you get off me so I can breathe, I'll tell you."
"Sorry, TC, sorry!"
Benny jumped off of TC faster than he had tackled him. The rest of the gang was already behind him.
"Now, then," Top Cat said as he brushed himself off, "I woke up around 6 this morning and, since old habits are hard to shake, decided to go get myself a latte."
"But it's almost eleven o'clock", Choo-Choo pointed out.
"You didn't let me finish. I couldn't just leave without explaining everything to my work colleagues, could I? That would be rude. And whatever Dave was, Top Cat is not rude."
"Oh…right, I guess you couldn't…" Fancy said. "What'd they say?"
"I wasn't paying attention. Something about how horrified they were that I lived in an alley? And something else about gambling being a sin, I don't remember."
"But, duh, isn't that rude?" Brain asked.
"Who asked you? And then I made a quick stop at the nearest ATM machine." Top Cat produced a wad of bills from one his vest pockets. "Working certainly has its advantages. They don't outnumber the disadvantages, but still."
"Whoa, how much cash you got there, pops?" Spook's eyes were larger than saucers.
"I forgot to count it, I just withdrew it from savings with Dave's card and then chucked it into the nearest trash bin. I figured we could treat ourselves to a nice dinner at the first posh, fancy, over-priced restaurant we could find."
"Jesus, you're back in town a day and you've already started your cons again? Come on, Top Cat, where'd you get that money?" TC turned around to realize that Dibble was standing right behind him, a stern expression on his face.
"Well obviously, Dibb, you tuned into the conversation about five seconds too late. Had you been listening, you would've overheard—eavesdropping is quite rude, I might add—that this money is completely legit. I withdrew it from Dave's savings account and then threw away the card."
Dibble's face softened at the mention of Dave. "Oh…well then I guess it's legal…" Top Cat didn't fail to notice the trace of disappointment in Dibble's voice.
"Relax, Dibb, I think I've got an overdue library book or something you can play with."
"Officer Dibble, would you like to come to dinner with us tonight?" Benny asked.
"Well thanks, Benny, but I've got my beat to patrol. I'll see you guys later. Top Cat, no funny business," he said as he continued his path down the Alley.
"No problems there, Dibb," TC said. "Wouldn't want you cramping our style anyway. Come on, men, let's hit the pool hall."
Kind of a sudden ending, I know, but I thought it fit. Thanks again to everyone who read this! (Or is reading this.) Please please please please PLEASE review!! After all, it is the last chapter. Although there might be a sequel coming soon. If the idea I'm toying around with works out. Wow, I ramble. Thanks again!