No, I do not have any idea what this is. In case you were wondering. XD For a prompt on the meme, which asked for Arthur as Mistoffelees and Eames as Rum Tum Tugger. This is the result.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inception or Cats!
Arthur was in a bad mood, all because it was cold outside. The days had been getting shorter and shorter, as they were wont to do, and frost had started to form on the leaves in the park. Arthur didn't have a very good coat for cold weather, and he found himself sleeping later and later, curled up in bed, his nose like to fall off frostbitten. That particular morning he had woken up after midday, throwing off his whole schedule. He'd had to run out to the corner to catch the bus, and even then, had arrived almost too late to see his friend Cobb and his two children on their daily walk. Though he was glad of their company, Cobb apologetically showed him that he had no more food to share, and so Arthur went away without lunch.
He licked his paw aristocratically and tried not to listen to his stomach growling.
From behind him came the soft, rumbling purr of Eames, most likely just getting back from his daily tour of the theatre district. Arthur's right ear flicked back, but otherwise he ignored the other cat, focusing on a particularly stubborn knot of fur by his elbow.
"Hello, darling," said Eames, ignoring Arthur's ignoring and butting his head against Arthur's side. He got a face full of tail for his trouble, but it didn't seem to bother him. Instead, he sidled up to sit beside Arthur, his fur a little bristly against Arthur's sleek shoulder. "You look good today."
"I look good every day, Mr. Eames," Arthur replied loftily, shifting to stand a tad unsteadily on his back feet so he could wash the tie-shaped black fur on his chest.
"I know." Eames smiled cheekily and started nosing at Arthur's cheek. "You smell like that man again. Don't tell me you're trying to get adopted?" The words were light, but underneath was a current of darker emotions; pity, disgust, fear. Yes, Eames had come from a house, or so Saito had told Arthur when he and Ariadne were just kittens rolling around in a cardboard box. Arthur had been jealous, back then.
"No, I'm not." He didn't really need to explain himself to Eames, but, inexplicably, he felt bad. "He lives in a place I can't go, anyway. But his children are kind. I'm going to show them some magic tomorrow."
"Oh you are?" Eames brightened again and stood, stretching. His tail flicked back and forth at the tip.
"Yes, I've been working on something new." Arthur stood as well, satisfied for now with the state of his fur. He scratched absently at his ear and then headed back through the junkyard.
"Show me," purred Eames, trotting after him. "I love your magic."
Eames loved a lot of things, including, if one could believe the latest gossip, Tadashi, Nash, and Robert, who wasn't even one of the crowd, living as he did in a fancy apartment building three blocks away. Robert ate fish every day, and sometimes Eames came back to the yard smelling like salmon. Arthur took it in stride. A year ago, in the summer darkness behind the popcorn stand, he hadn't believed Eames anyway.
Or so he said.
"Just a minute, then. I need to get ready." Arthur leapt nimbly up onto a tire, wended his way between a pair of rusting birdcages, and into the grand piano where he lived, batting away the bubblewrap he used to block the entrance. It was chilly inside, and damp, but come nightfall, Arthur knew it would be much warmer than outside. Absently, as he pawed through his bedding, he wondered where Eames would be sleeping that night.
Hmmm…. This was taking longer than it should. Arthur nosed aside the corner of his pillowcase, paw seeking his totem, his magic red die. He had found it years ago when he was running away from a gang of Pollicles looking for trouble. It was special.
It was also missing, nowhere to be found.
What Arthur did find, however, was a longish, brown hair, clinging to the wall of the piano, snagged on a splinter. Had to have been, because Eames would never have left behind such evidence had he been aware of it. Arthur frowned, bristling.
"Eames!" he yowled, shooting out of the piano, just in time to see him streaking off along the fence, tail held jauntily. "Get back here!"
"Oh, you'll have to catch me first, Arthur!" crowed the tom, pausing on a post to stick his tongue out. Then he was gone again, disappearing among the piled mattresses on the south side of the yard. In a few short seconds, Arthur had lost all sight of him. Eames was incredibly good at hiding.
"Dammit." He halted at the beginning of the mattress alley and cleaned his paw, thinking. Smell wasn't going to be much use; the whole area smelled of Eames and Saito and Peter, a message to outsiders to keep away from the junkyard. It had all been re-marked recently as well, since the rain of the past weeks had somewhat diluted the protection. Arthur sighed. "Eames, just give it back!" Of course there was no answer, and Arthur grimly slipped into the mess.
It was quiet, for the most part, at this time of day. Most of the activity went on at night, as most of the Jellicles had more important things to take care of during the day. Arthur counted his visit with Cobb among these, but he also frequented the schoolyard and the library. Sometimes, books would be left open, or left low enough that he could knock them down. Arthur fancied he could read, and perhaps he could; in any case, he knew a lot about the workings of the city. He collected newspapers, too, and when he wasn't shredding them for insulation, would sit and figure out the pictures and maybe the gist of an article or two before necessity drove him on.
His sister Ariadne was always about in the old city, trying to climb up the facades of churches, the city hall, and the curious Gothic building that had been meant as a cathedral but which now housed a gymnasium and a day spa. She liked to sit on the roof and watch the city go by, possibly keeping her hand in by battling pigeons for the best spots. There was a gargoyle on the rainspout that she fancied. It had, in fact, been an imaginary friend to her in the first few months after they were taken from their mother and tossed out on the street. He worried about her, but she told him not to. She was old enough to look after herself.
He still caught himself listening for her as he turned the corner by the paint cans, wishing he could hear her singing to entertain Saito or the scratch of her claws in the frozen ground as she tried to show him the arch she had seen, or the columns, or the fire escape. Instead, all he could catch was the wind in the trees, and the rattle of a chipped screwdriver as it rolled down a slab of metal siding. He stilled and tensed, sinking lower to the ground. Eames had to be around here somewhere…
There! He coiled as a flash of brown entered his vision from the right, but was knocked off his feet before he could spring. Eames was heavier than him, and it was all muscle under that fur; he found himself rolling across the dusty ground, ending up flat on his back.
"Do you give up?" Eames asked, his broad paws planted firmly on Arthur's chest. "You really should pay better attention, darling."
"Just give it back," Arthur growled, trying to bat at Eames's face. He wasn't using his claws. Yet. "You're not supposed to come into the piano. I thought we agreed on that."
"Don't be so mean." Eames eased off a little, but didn't let Arthur up. "It was raining and you weren't in. I was just borrowing the space."
"Does that mean you also get to steal my property?" Arthur twisted suddenly and got to his feet, backing up and circling Eames, his ears automatically flattening.
"I was just looking," Eames said calmly, probably amused by Arthur's reaction. "It's a very pretty piece of plastic."
"I want it back!"
"Okay, okay! Don't hiss." Eames shook his head and started walking, away from Arthur. "It's over here. Come on."
Sullen, Arthur followed. Though Eames held a favorable position at the yard – being Saito's adopted son – and though he was in charge of several duties such as protection and care of the kittens, it was hard to think of him as mature. If anything, he had the mind of a kitten himself. He was constantly chasing tail, disappearing for days on end, and getting into fights with the Pekes and the Pollicles, not to mention other cats. He had once even claimed to be in heat to try and convince Arthur to mate with him, but since the popcorn stand Arthur hadn't wanted anything to do with it. He supposed that, since then, Eames had used the line on Robert and gotten a better response.
He tried not to glower too hard at Eames's back as the older cat led him under a decaying pool noodle and into an antique dollhouse, missing most of its furniture but still lovely. It was big enough for Eames to curl up on the ground floor, and, indeed, there was a ratty pile of rags, papers, and other random doodads in the corner where the cat slept. Arthur immediately spotted his die among them. He quickly went over and picked it up in his mouth, making to leave.
"Arthur, are you going already?" Eames looked at him plaintively with his clear, gray eyes, more hopeful than anything.
"Yes," said Arthur around the plastic.
"You could stay," Eames suggested. "I have food."
And right at that moment Arthur hated him, because Eames knew he was too hungry to ignore such an offer. He considered going anyway just to spite him, but his stomach growled loudly, shutting down that train of thought while it was still in the station. Instead, he found himself sitting, tucking his tail around his feet to stave off the chill, depositing his totem on the ground before him. "Fine."
"Excellent!" Eames seemed genuinely cheerful as he rummaged through his things. He emerged with an open can of-
"Tuna?" Arthur stared. "Where did you get that?" His mouth watered and he started to purr despite himself, barely audible. Even so, Eames grinned.
"From a friend of mine." He nudged the can toward Arthur. "Eat. You're skin and bones, practically. Can't do magic if you look like a skeleton."
Still, Arthur hesitated. "When you say 'friend' you mean Robert, don't you?" His whiskers twitched.
"And if I do?" Eames was looking at him with a curious expression. "It's food, either way. Does it matter where it comes from?"
"Yes!" Arthur pushed the can away, his insides quailing. "I don't want anything from your new toy tom!" And there, he'd finally said it, right? The months after he'd heard about the pair that he'd spent making sure he and Eames only saw each other on the day of the full moon, when all of the Jellicles convened… The weeks spent sleeping at the library because he didn't want to see Eames hanging outside the piano… The days he spent walking the street outside Robert's house… The hours he spent in melancholic solitude, too tired to even practice his magic… All of that was out in the open now. Arthur rose. "I'll go find something else. I'm sure we're both very busy, and I don't want to bother you."
Eames was staring at him, wide-eyed. "Darling! The notions that get into your pretty head!" He got up and blocked the door before Arthur could leave. "I'm not with Robert!" He shivered and Arthur could feel it along his body. "I haven't been with anyone since you, that one night in the park. You remember. Bloody long time ago…"
"What? But you're always there…" Arthur would admit to being a little tense; his tail was swishing back to forth in irritation and, now, sheer confusion.
Eames sighed, rubbing his chin along Arthur's back. "It's because he… Well, he lives in a house. He knows what it's like. And he's not happy." Eames shrugged. "The people he lives with don't even know where he is most of the time, and they don't care. I had to take him in last week because he'd fallen from the window and couldn't get back inside. And there was one day a couple of months ago when he thought the family was going to adopt a new kitten. He nearly made himself sick trying to prove to the kid that he was just as spry as he'd always been." Eames shook his head. "I mean, he's young, but he's not too young. I had to pull him out from behind the washing machine."
"That's… I didn't know." Arthur relaxed the tiniest bit.
"Of course you didn't," said Eames. "I didn't want you to." He left Arthur's side and returned to the can of fish, giving it a pointed look. "Doesn't look too good for my reputation if I'm having some sort of crisis that only a town cat can fix. Now eat."
Quietly, Arthur did, finishing most of the can at Eames's insistence. "Thank you," he said afterward, pleasantly full.
"My pleasure." Eames was smiling again. But Arthur couldn't leave well enough alone.
"What about Nash and Tadashi?"
Eames laughed. "I thought you were a hard cat to make jealous, Arthur. Now I'm learning that you'd rather just keep it inside." He licked a paw, slowly, pink tongue smoothing over his fur. "Did our night mean so little to you that you'd think I'd just throw it away?"
"You know that isn't true," Arthur mumbled. He scooted closer to Eames.
"Well, good." Eames stopped haphazardly grooming himself and gave Arthur his full attention. "So how about that magic?"
Arthur just leaned over and licked him.
Licking is so much less classy than kissing, but they're cats. o_o In case you didn't know.
Review, please! It makes me happy! And maybe I'll actually write something that's not crack...