Lord help me, I've discovered Cats fan fiction. And I like it.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

The Naming

Deuteronomy stepped into the covered wooden box where his mate, Exedoia, was staying. Only the refined grace that came with being the leader of the Jellicle Tribe kept him from bristling with excitement. Exedoia had given birth yesterday morning but, in accordance with tradition, no one had been allowed in to see them, not even he, the kittens' father. The Lord dictated that no one but the kitten's own mother could be with them their first night, as a messenger of the Jellicle Moon would come to each kitten in their first dream and bestow upon them the name that only they could know.

Now, as their father and tribe leader, it was his honor to bestow the kittens with the names that would be used throughout the tribe.

Exedoia was a beautiful, shot-haired silver tabby with a lean build and regally-defined features. When she locked eyes with her mate, she purred contentedly and stretched out along the tattered blanket to give him a better view of the three little bundles of fur curled at her side.

Though he had done this dance with many a mate and sired the birth of many a litter in his long years, Deuteronomy never ceased to be amazed at the innate beauty of a newborn kitten. This litter was a small one – only three kittens, all of them toms – but it was no less beautiful.

Sharing a wordless nuzzle of congratulations with Exedoia, Deuteronomy turned his attention to the kits. The eldest of the litter greatly resembled his mother, his sleek silver fur already streaked with a few black strips. Though he was as blind as his newborn brothers, he lifted his head when Deuteronomy looked his way, already searching through the air with his nose.

Deuteronomy smiled. This one was already sharp as a tack.

Deuteronomy leaned down to meet the searching nose with his own, nuzzling the kitten forehead-to-forehead. Then he licked the little tom's forehead three times in christening and whispered a name in his tiny ear. "Munkustrap."

The kitten squeaked quietly as though satisfied with the name and settled back into the folds of cloth.

Deuteronomy had barely turned away from the newly-christened Munkustrap when the smallest and youngest kitten – the proverbial runt of the litter – began mewling for attention. He was a skinny little thing, with longish black hair and a mane of silver-blonde, which shook around his head as he struggled and failed to get his feet under him.

Deuteronomy chuckled at the kitten's feistiness, catching him as he slipped down to keep him from hurting himself. He repeated the same christening motions on his youngest kit, pushing him up to reach his ear. "Rum Tum Tugger."

Tugger yawned, pushing the Naming aside as though it were nothing, and reached over to take Munkustrap's ear in his toothless mouth. Munkustrap mewled in protest, batting at his brother in annoyance, but Rum Tum Tugger just gave the ear another playful tug and rested his head on Munkustrap's shoulder so he could continue to hold on as he slept.

Deuteronomy smiled as the bond already building between the two kittens, then finally turned his attention to the third of their litter.

This one was…strange. Very strange.

Of the three, he looked the most like his father, most of his body hidden long silvery fur, but it was still matted up from the birthing and appeared molted, especially where the black undercoat beneath it all showed through. Throughout everything that had happened, he had not reacted even once to either his brothers' moving or his father's presence. He was curled the farthest away from their mother's warmth, as though he were trying to put as much space between himself and his brothers as possible. When Deuteronomy nuzzled against him the way he had the other two, the final kitten barely stirred, curling away from his father's touch.

Deuteronomy frowned, making eye contact with Exedoia, who had a sad expression on her face. She stretched out one paw to touch the still-nameless kitten gently. He didn't even move.

Deuteronomy leaned down dutifully, applying the three christening licks to the last kitten's forehead. "Macavity."

The kitten pulled away without another sound.

On the other side of the box, Rum Tum Tugger rolled over in his sleep, finally letting go of Munkustrap's ear and sliding down into Exedoia's soft fur. Munkustrap rubbed at his ear sleepily, snuggling up against his mother and brother contently. Macavity remained curled in the far corner, resistant to all of his mother's subtle pleas.

Deuteronomy looked over the new family with mixed feelings of joy, pride and curiosity. Clearly, these new toms had an interesting future ahead of them.

He just had to wait to see what new memories would unfold.