A/N: This story begins some time before the Jellicle Ball. It ends just afterwards.
The story is mostly centered on Victoria, but there are many side-plots concerning Etcetera, Jemima and Electra. It gets a bit dark in later chapters. There's some coarse language and mild sexual themes. Nothing explicit.
Please feel free to review even though the story is complete. I'm online nearly every day and will make my best effort to reply to all reviews. :)
Enjoy the crazy ride!
Disclaimer: I don't own CATS or any of its characters! You may think I'm genius, but I'm not ACTUALLY amazing. There. It's out in the open.
Forever Until Now
Chapter 1;; Attraction
Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of him, and he smiled lazily at her, not even realizing the effect he had on her.
Two pairs of eyes…green and gold.
Few know the power that they hold.
A deadly secret, never to be told.
Not to the world, at least.
"Why are you leaving?"
She didn't turn to face him. She knew what would happen if she did. He would pull her back, of course. It would be all too easy for him…
"I have to leave," she told him, her voice gentle, yet at the same time, forceful. "I can't stay anymore. It's too dangerous…" She bit her lip, still not facing him. "You're too dangerous."
He didn't move to stop her. "If you go back," he said, "How do you know that they're going to accept you?"
"I don't. But it's better than staying here!" she cried out. "I thought you were good! I loved you! But evidently, those feelings aren't mutual." She lowered her eyes bitterly. "You can't love, can you…?"
The throng of cats watched in awe as the beautiful white queen slowly slid into the splits, doing it with such ease that any outsider would believe that it was a simple movement. It wasn't – the white queen was the only cat who had perfected it. As she stood up to indicate that she was finished, her audience broke into noisy applause, and she blushed quietly.
"Marry me Victoria!" yelled one of the more boisterous toms, making her blush further. The cats all laughed at his outburst.
"Victoria." The oldest cat, who had been sitting higher up than the rest, stood up. Munkustrap, a tall, dark grey tom who had been sitting with him, gingerly helped him up. "Victoria, your talents…are incredible. You are surely the best dancer I have seen in a very long time, and that's saying something. And you still haven't quite reached maturity…it's a very hard idea to grasp, but here you are."
"Thank you," Victoria replied sincerely, eyes shining. "Thank you, Old Deuteronomy…that really means a lot to me."
Old Deuteronomy's eyes twinkled. "My pleasure, Victoria."
At this, the cats all began to disperse, some wandering off, others staying behind to speak to the young queen. Her friends, Jemima, Etcetera and Electra hung around impatiently as cats spoke to her. Jellylorum, who was Victoria's mother, nuzzled her daughter proudly. Her father, Asparagus, watched on, standing tall. Munkustrap told her, "Well done," before padding over to where Demeter was waiting for him.
Victoria took all the admiring comments with the same, sweet smile, but her eyes kept lingering to Plato. Ever since she'd been a kitten, she'd been attracted to the tom. She never told anyone, no matter how much Etcetera pestered her about who she liked.
It was hard for her to resist him, though. He was tall and handsome, with a laid-back personality that Victoria admired. He was less playful than his friends, but in a very attractive way. Just recently, he had begun to appear in Victoria's dreams as a tall pale figure, always simply watching her with beautiful, serene eyes. She liked to imagine that those eyes were glimmering with love, but in real life, it never seemed that way. Without thinking, she sighed.
A strange sound came from somewhere close to Victoria. She looked up, startled, and saw a blur of red as Macavity looked away. There was a very distinct sneer turning his lips up. Victoria watched him for a second more before glancing in another direction, biting her lip. All the younger cats like herself were a bit frightened of Macavity. He was a son of Old Deuteronomy, brother to Munkustrap and Tugger, but he was very different than all the other Jellicles, especially his two brothers.
While Munkustrap had a very caring personality, and wished only to look after the Jellicles, Macavity couldn't care less about his tribe, his family. He was a bit of an outcast among them. And while Tugger was a very laid-back, social cat with numerous fans (usually of the female gender) Macavity didn't have a single friend in the tribe.
Victoria, who was very unfamiliar with the strange red tom, couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Though he'd been said to be a nasty cat, he'd never done anything to harm the white queen. She shook away these thoughts, feeling a little perturbed. Feeling sorry for Macavity? It was only a matter of time before he went too far and would be forced to leave his comfortable life among the Jellicles. Probably the only reason he stayed was because of the safety that the Junkyard offered; out in the streets, it was a harsh world.
She was aware of his gaze upon her once again, and she tried to meet it squarely. He stared at her for a long time, eyes scrutinizing her every aspect. She blushed, trying hard not to stand down from those dark, penetrating eyes. Then, she felt an odd feeling come over her. She felt like she was in some sort of trance, getting sucked into those dark, mysterious eyes.
"You were amaaaaazing, Vicki!" Etcetera gushed, bouncing forward to Victoria. Shocked out of her dreamy state, she nodded vaguely at her friends. Suddenly, she was hyperaware of reality, because gathered around her were the toms –the toms, meaning Pouncival, Misto, Tumblebrutus…and Plato. Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of him, and he smiled lazily at her, not even realizing the effect he was producing from her. She smiled nervously.
She quickly checked to see if Macavity was still staring at her, but he had completely disappeared. He's so weird, Victoria thought to herself, feeling uncomfortable.
"So, you do want to marry me, right, Vicki?" Pouncival smirked slyly. Victoria stuck out her tongue at him. She knew that he was just teasing. He pretended to like all the queens, especially the beautiful ones. Bombalurina was a favorite of his, but she paid little attention to the younger tom.
"In your dreams," Victoria retorted. Everyone laughed lightly.
"Then who do you want for your mate?" Plato smirked. Victoria's heart sped up, just a little. She could feel it jumping up her throat. You? She thought to herself wistfully, her eyes glazing over a little. Her friends didn't miss it.
"VICTORIA LIKES SOMEONE!" Etcetera screamed, jerking Victoria out of her little fantasy. She let out an indignant cry and without thinking about it, slapped Etcetera across the face. Etcetera let out a gasp of shock, and stepped back slowly, whimpering. Victoria's eyes widened in horror, and she fell to her knees in an impossibly graceful way that only made Etcetera blubber and trip over backwards.
"I'm so sorry! I-I didn't mean to!" Victoria mumbled, remorse showing on her face. She felt cruel for hitting her own friend, and with Etcetera being the sweet, but immature queen she was, it was only made worse. Jemima and Electra stood back, wide-eyed, unsure of how to fix the situation. The toms all milled around awkwardly, until finally Plato stepped forward and bent down to comfort Etcetera. A sudden stab of jealously pierced Victoria through, and her apologies faded on her lips. The guilt faded from her eyes to be replaced by a flash of bitterness.
But no one was looking at the white queen anymore. They were watching as Plato spoke softly and kindly to Etcetera. "Etcy, take deep breaths. Now, don't cry. You're not a baby anymore. Come on, now." He gently wiped the cascading tears from Etcetera's eyes as she slowed her breathing and looked up at him.
"Thank you, Plato," she whispered in a tight voice, standing up. Then she looked at Victoria, who was staring at the ground in an effort to hide her smoldering eyes.
"It's okay, Vicki…I guess you would rather…keep your thoughts private," Etcetera murmured hesitantly, perplexed about the way Victoria was acting. The white queen wouldn't even look at her friends.
"I shouldn't have," she said in a low, strangely harsh voice, before sending a fleeting glance towards the way Plato and Etcetera were standing together.
"Nothing to worry about then, right?" Etcetera said hopefully. Victoria averted her eyes and with slow, graceful movements, trotted away from her friends and out of the Junkyard. The cats all glanced helplessly at each other, all of them baffled as to what had put the queen into such a sudden, dark mood.
"She wasn't herself," Jemima said quietly, an anxious look on her face. "I don't know what was wrong with her, but it really wasn't like her."
"I know," Etcetera mumbled sullenly. "She never hits anyone. Especially not like that…it hurt." She placed a paw on her cheek gingerly, whimpering at the burning sensation that still lingered. Her friends murmured sympathetically.
"She'll get over it," Plato shrugged. He had moved away from Etcetera now, but he kept his thoughtful eyes upon her. She was oblivious to his gaze. "She's gone off by herself now, so she has the time to think about how silly she's being." Jemima looked towards him, uncomfortable with the way he was so completely disregarding her friend.
"It's not quite like that," she told him quietly, sternly. Being an attentive cat, she had her suspicions about the way Victoria felt for Plato. She had long ago figured that Victoria adored the tom, so it felt almost traitorous to just sit there and let him talk about her in that way. "Victoria is never like this. There must be something wrong."
"Oh…" Plato glanced at Jemima, unruffled. "Then maybe someone should talk to her about it."
Jemima frowned impatiently at him. Toms. They're so oblivious, she sighed inwardly.