Note: Well, here it is at long last! The final chapter! Ironic how this is Chapter 47 and 47 is the number used most often in Star Trek (which is what I did the most fanfiction about before I became interested in writing fanfiction about CATS). After a mere six months and eight days (yeesh), I'm finally finished! You know something strange? Originally, I intended for this fanfic to be short, like only about fifteen chapters long. But based on its word count, as of right now, at slightly over 170,000 words, this is actually the longest CATS fanfic that has ever been posted on this site! It surpassed the last holder of that title: "Macavity's Carom" by SummerRose12 at slightly over 160,000 words (Sorry, Gabby!). By the way, you may have noticed that I've changed my profile picture. That's a picture of myself. As you can see (well, you can probably see if you enlarge it), I'm trying to grow a moustache. I'd say it's developing very nicely so far. What do you think? If you have any thoughts, just add them to your review.
Second Note: In the first chapter of this story, I happened to mention that this entire fanfic takes place in-between chapters 1 and 2 of another of my CATS fanfics, "Choices" (Except for Chapter 23 and the first two-thirds of Chapter 40). If you've read "Choices," you should know that the events of Chapters 2-19 happened between the previous chapter and this one. Oh, and if you're at all pissed off at Mungojerrie for playing a role in Growltiger's fall, don't worry; he redeems himself in "Choices." Also, the events of chapters 20-24 mostly happen alongside this chapter. However, about a quarter into this chapter, it will go into another flashback, but then return to the present. (If you have no freaking idea what I just said, I don't blame you. But don't worry; it won't be too hard to follow along).
Third Note (This is the last one, I promise!): Grumbuskin, almost all of my OC characters, and the other members of the crew won't be mentioned in this chapter, but this is not the last time you'll hear from them. I'll explain all of that at the end of the chapter. Now, here we go!
Months later, the next Jellicle Ball finally arrived.
Many things had happened in the past few months. One of the most significant changes was that the tribe had gained a new member: Mungojerrie.
Mungojerrie had become a prominent member of the Jellicle Tribe, in fact. He helped them maintain their resources, organized security, demonstrated courtesy towards everyone, and even became the mate of Jemima's older sister, Rumpleteazer. Over time, the two of them became known as "the Notorious Couple of Cats."
Mungojerrie's contract with Macavity had been terminated one night when he had defied Macavity's orders directly. Rumpleteazer had inadvertently stumbled onto his hideout, and the ginger cat had ordered Mungo to kill her. Not only did Mungo refuse, but he helped Rumple escape. Subsequently his Boss delivered a vicious punishment onto the calico tom, brutally beating him and throwing him out of a third-story window.
Fortunately, Rumpleteazer managed to save Mungo in return and take him back to the Jellicle Tribe. Even though everyone was suspicious of him at first, everyone came to trust him in time. Rumpleteazer was the first to trust him before anyone else.
Tumblebrutus found it that the two of them made an interesting couple. If someone who had never seen them before got a good look at them, they probably would have assumed that the Notorious cats were siblings. After all, they were both tiger-striped, they both spoke with cockney accents, and they both had a talent for snatching things that did not belong to them. But everyone with any common sense knew that the two of them were mates and not siblings.
(Note: The last four paragraphs are all bits taken from the first few chapters of "Choices.")
In the present day, it was time to celebrate the Jellicle Tribe's most sacred of traditions. Every member of the Tribe was determined to make this Jellicle Ball worthy of remembrance.
Indeed it would be, especially for Tumblebrutus. About an hour before the ball began, he talked with his brother Pouncival.
"Pounce, I'm going to do it," the white and brown tom told his slightly younger brother, "I'm really going to do it."
"Tumble, calm down," chuckled the grey, brown, and white tom, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to ask Jemima to be my mate," Tumblebrutus replied, "As soon as the last song is over, I'm going to do it. I know that her parents and my parents are alright with it; I asked them myself. So then all we'd have to do is get Old Deuteronomy to perform the ceremony. That will be very simple."
Pouncival patted his brother on the back and said "I hope you know what you're doing, Tumble."
Tumblebrutus glared at his brother, almost demanding "What does that mean? Are you implying there is something wrong with Jemima?"
"No, of course not," replied the grey, brown, and white tom, "I think I should rephrase that; what I meant to say is that I hope you two are happy together. I want you to be happy, Tumble."
"Really?" remarked Tumble.
"Yes, really!" said Pouncival, "You're my freaking brother! I want you to be happy."
Tumblebrutus nodded, saying "I am, Pounce, I already am. But in about twelve hours, I'll be even happier."
At exactly ten o'clock that night, the Jellicle Ball began.
The opening song was the same as always - "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats." Most members of the tribe had a solo line in the first part of this song. However, Tumble noted that everybody was just showing up in the clearing and singing their lines without doing any interesting moves. He wanted to sing his solo with a little more style. So right after Quaxo sang his line, Tumble jumped forward and did a handspring and a somersault as he sang "Have you been an alumnus of heaven and hell?"
He noticed that he sang that line in a rather deep voice. Usually, his voice was a little higher. But he did not mind.
What really got everybody's attention was that Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer sang their next lines without their accents.
After that song, the Jellicle Ball went by pretty smoothly. It wasn't until after Rum Tum Tugger's song when they started deviating from the schedule.
That was when an elderly queen appeared in the junkyard. Her coat was torn, stained with sand, and she appeared to have suffered a great deal of physical abuse.
Tumblebrutus noted that the queen seemed to be in pain. He and Quaxo started to approach her. Quaxo reached her first, but he was stopped by Munkustrap. The Jellicle Protector kept back the tuxedo tom and gave the elderly queen an icy glare.
Jemima approached the queen next, but Skimbleshanks stopped her, too.
When Tumblebrutus tried to approach the queen, Jellylorum held him back.
After about a minute of this routine, the queen started singing. Then Demeter started singing about the queen.
Near the end, the gold and black queen mentioned the elderly queen's name: "Grizabella the Glamour Cat."
Tumblebrutus recognized that name anywhere. Not only was this queen a former star in the world of cats, but she was once a member of the Jellicle Tribe.
She had actually been Old Deuteronomy's mate and the mother of all three of his sons: Munkustrap, Rum Tum Tugger, and Macavity.
Then one day, she left the tribe to fulfill her lifelong desire for adventure. Most of the adults turned their backs on her after that; Demeter was one of the few exceptions. She still felt that Grizabella deserved the aid, but even she was somewhat disturbed by the elderly queen's appearance.
After Grizabella left, Bustopher Jones had his own song. Then the Ball had another deviation: Macavity showed up. He did not actually appear in the clearing, but everyone knew he was there, thanks to Demeter. She had... unpleasant history with him, and she could sense him whenever he was close by. Everyone quickly hid in the junk when she called out "Macavity!"
Fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm. However, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer had snuck out just before Grizabella's song, and they had returned from a heist. After the two of them sang their own song, the rest of the Jellicles returned to the clearing.
That was when Old Deuteronomy showed up. After his song, Munkustrap had everybody put together a skit of a famous event known as "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles."
The skit was a disaster. The timing was terrible, the actions were lousy, and only Munkustrap seemed to care an inkling. During a part where are the toms were supposed to be Pollicles on a march, Tumble had accidentally marched the wrong way. Alonzo had to knock him on the head to make him realize this error.
The one-plus side was that the actual Rumpus Cat had agreed to show up. Admetus had claimed that he had sought the cat superhero out personally for this. However, for some reason, Admetus did not return to the clearing after he had gone to notify the Rumpus Cat.
After the skit, Macavity made another appearance. When Demeter shouted "Macavity!" again, this time everyone else saw him for a moment.
Once the tension calmed down, the all-dancing session of the Jellicle Ball began.
Halfway through it came the part that Tumblebrutus was looking forward to the most. That was the Mating Dance sequence.
Tumblebrutus had asked Jemima to be his partner many weeks in advance. Of course, she had not even considered the idea of doing it with anyone else; she felt that Tumble was the only tom for her.
After the first-half of the all dancing session was over, everybody slowly lowered themselves to the ground. Then they watched as Victoria performed the full Mating Dance with... Plato.
Originally, Victoria had arranged to perform the dance with Quaxo, but some "problems" had arisen between the two of them, as had some problems between Plato and his queenfriend Electra. Subsequently, the two pairs switched partners for the night.
That mattered little to most the Tribe, least of all to Jemima and Tumblebrutus. During the Mating Dance, they kept their attention focused exclusively on each other.
After Victoria and Plato began the mating dance, Tumble and Jemima cuddled up next to each other and nuzzled affectionately. They took a moment to study each other, and became enraptured by the sight of each other.
The two of them became progressively more sexually excited with every passing second, as they became more and more intimate.
The two of them entered a state of arousal without any foreplay whatsoever. Finally, they gave in to their desires.
That marked the night the two lost their innocence to each other.
After the mating dance, everybody typically slept for a while. Once the rest of the Jellicles were... "finished," as well, they all lied down on the ground and fell asleep.
When everybody woke up a few hours later, Grizabella returned. After Alonzo chased her away, the second-half of the all-dancing session of the Ball began. This half was even more vigorous than the first half.
At the end of it, Grizabella came back a third time, and everyone left the clearing except her and Old Deuteronomy.
When the second half of the Jellicle Ball began, everybody gradually returned to the clearing. Grizabella had left again, and Old Deuteronomy had barely moved. Tumblebrutus lay down on the left side of it. From there, he saw that on the other side of the clearing, Jellylorum and Skimbleshanks were helping Gus outside. Jennyanydots brought out a paint can for the elderly tom to sit down on.
Skimble and Jenny found seats on the ground while Jellylorum sat on the ground by Gus' side.
Gus happened to gaze over at Tumblebrutus, and he smiled at his grandson. Tumble returned the smile.
Gus was the only member of the Tribe older than Old Deuteronomy, yet he still had not had a song sung about him at the Jellicle Tribe before. However, that night, he would finally get one.
First, Old Deuteronomy was going to present the rest of the Jellicles with another philosophical lesson.
Once everyone was settled, their elderly patriarch began to chant:
"The moments of happiness...
We've had the experience, but missed the meaning.
And approach to the meaning... restores the experience
In a different form..."
Tumblebrutus wondered what these words meant. Old Deuteronomy sometimes had a habit of being a little too vague in his preaches.
Nevertheless, he continued speaking:
"Beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness.
The past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only,
But of many generations."
Old Deuteronomy paused for a moment and then finished with:
"Not forgetting... something that is probably quite ineffable."
Everybody thought about this lesson. They were very uncertain as to what its meaning was, as it could have been interpreted in several different ways.
Just then, Tumblebrutus noticed Coricopat, Tantomile, and Jemima - the three same members of the Tribe that had accompanied him to Hampton - were all sitting close to each other in the center. Coricopat lowered himself towards the ground on his knees and raised his right arm in the air behind him. Tantomile held her brother's right paw in her left paw, and then she sat up and held out her right hand to Jemima. Jemima slowly took Tantomile's paw in hers, and stood up on her hind legs. Then, she sang in her harmonious voice:
Turn your face to the moonlight.
Let your memory lead you,
Open up; enter in.
If you find there, the meaning of what happiness is,
Then a new life will begin."
Tumblebrutus was awed by Jemima's words, as well as her tone. He knew that she had a beautiful singing voice, but he had no idea it was so... beatific. It was as if an angel was singing in the form of his queenfriend.
Suddenly, Tumble - along with everyone else - understood what this philosophy's hidden message was all about.
Tumblebrutus liked Jemima's interpretation of Old Deuteronomy's lesson. He repeated it with everyone else, including Gus:
Turn your face to the moonlight.
Let your memory lead you,
Open up; enter in.
If you find there, the meaning of what happiness is,
Then a new life will begin."
After taking a moment to reflect on these words, everyone rose to their hind feet, including Gus.
Gus struggled to move to the direct center of the clearing. Walking on his hind feet was a difficult skill for an elderly cat such as himself to master.
Old Deuteronomy got up off his tire and went to help Gus. Everybody else went to sit on the piles of junk in the back of the clearing.
Once Gus was comfortably settled on his paint can once again, Munkustrap helped Old Detueronomy back up onto the tire.
Then, Jellylorum stood by Gus' side and began singing his song.
It was a very touching song, in Tumblebrutus' mind. It discussed Gus' prolific career, his numerous accomplishments, and all he had contributed to the theatre itself. He was arguably the most successful person in the tribe.
But to Tumble, the absolute best part of the song was near the end of the song. At that part, Gus stood up, walked to the front of the clearing, and sang:
"I once crossed the stage... on the telegraph wire
To rescue a child when... a house was on fire.
And I think... I can still... much better than most
Produce... bloodcurdling noises -" then he made a retching sound (an attempt to make a "bloodcurdling noise") - "to bring on the ghost."
Then he sang what Tumble regarded as the single best verse in the song:
"And I once played Growltiger... could do it again..."
That made Tumblebrutus smirk. It reminded him of what he and his grandfather had accomplished several months earlier.
"Could do it again..."
How that brought back the memories.
"Could do it agaaaaaaaain..."
... (Flashback to the end of the last chapter)
Tumblebrutus had told his grandfather all about his idea to make a musical out of Growltiger's life. Gus seemed to become interested in the idea almost immediately, as his grandson had enough detail about the Bravo Cat to write three plays.
After Gus discussed the idea with his theatre troupe, they concurred that it would be a decent idea, as well.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Tumblebrutus and Gus worked tirelessly on this new project. Both of them took it very seriously. In fact, Gus was determined to make this play his masterpiece.
Tumblebrutus wanted to include as much detail as possible, but he also factored in the possibility that a Siamese or other foreign cat would see the musical, so he did not include any information that would compromise the cover of the surviving members of the Demagogue's crew.
When Tumble and Gus started putting up flyers for the upcoming musical, it caught the attention of many cats. As soon as they set up the estimated date of the show's opening, a great many cats in the city started booking their tickets.
At one point, Ralpharite sent them a secret one-way telegram, telling them what they should include and should not include in the play. He even told them about how Victor's missing paw had been replaced with a hook.
After writing out the musical numbers, Gus had his orchestra compose a musical score. He was given very satisfying results.
Tumble had managed to convince the other Jellicles to perform in the very first rendition of the play, and they would each play the role that best suited their personalities.
Naturally, Tumblebrutus was cast as himself, Jemima was cast as herself, and Coricopat and Tantomile were cast as themselves.
Everybody else was cast as another person. Tumblebrutus and Gus decided to cast Munkustrap as Grumbuskin (They looked very much alike and they were strong, authoritative yet supportive figures. Both of them were also second-in-commands; the first of the Jellicle Tribe, the second of the crew of the Demagogue). Gus cast himself as Growltiger and Jellylorum as Griddlebone. These were the first arrangements they made with regards to the casting.
Most of the cast members had more than one part. A few exceptions were Tumble, Jemima, Coricopat, Tantomile, Gus, Jellylorum, and Munkustrap. These were playing what were considered to be the seven main roles of the play.
With regards to makeup and costume design, they spared no little detail.
In fact, when Tumblebrutus saw his mother dressed up as Griddlebone, he was amazed by how beautiful she looked. He always thought that his mother was beautiful for a queen of her age, but she looked absolutely stunning dressed up as Griddlebone.
[Note (Sorry for another one, but I feel the need to enlighten you about this): I know that most of you probably imagine Jellylorum as a middle-aged or elderly queen, mostly because of Susan Jane Tanner's age when she portrayed her in the movie. However, in most versions of the play, the actress that plays Jellylorum is much younger. I think she's only really supposed to be a number of years (cat years, not human years) older than Demeter and Bombalurina. In fact, I saw CATS in April when it was on tour. I got my tickets in December (four months in advance) and My Mom and I drove for three hours down to Houston, Texas just to see it live. It was definitely worth it; we got to sit in the fourth row. But my point is, in the 2010/2011 tour, Jellylorum was played by Lindsay O'Neil, who could not have been older than 27. And she was GORGEOUS. In fact, in my opinion, I'd say she was perhaps the second most beautiful woman on that stage, behind only Aubrey Elson, who played Sillabub (I don't know why, but to me, it seems like the actress that plays Jemima/Sillabub always somehow ends up being the most attractive one. I mean, we got Sarah Brightman from the original West End Cast, Whitney Kershaw from the original Broadway Cast, Veerle Casteleyn from the movie version, and Jo Gibb once understudied her). Anyway, my point is, every time I think of Jellylorum now, I don't think of Susan Jane Tanner; I think of Lindsay O'Neil. Just wanted to let you know this.]
After that, all that was missing was a name for the musical. After much deliberation, they decided to entitle it Growltiger's Last Stand.
Finally, after six weeks of writing and composing, Gus invited his entire theatre troupe as well as all the critics in the city to see the play at the Junkyard (It was customary for the critics to see a musical performed by a non-professional troupe before it ever got released).
Gus had succeeded in convincing his entire theatre troupe as well as every critic in the city to see the Jellicle Junkyard's production of the musical. The Tribe had set up a stage in the clearing where everyone could see them clearly. A huge curtain was up in the air (Quaxo was the one to thank for that feature. Because of his magical ability to move objects, Gus had put him in charge of the tech crew).
After all the critics and Gus' theatre troupe got settled, Asparagus came out onto the stage and said "Queens and Gentletoms, thank you for coming tonight. The credit for what you are about to see must go to three certain individuals: My father, my son, and my son's former employer. The three of them are about to tell you the true story of a cat we all regarded as a monster. So, without further ado, I give you... Growltiger's Last Stand."
As Asparagus walked off the stage, everyone gave him a friendly applause.
Then Gus slowly entered stage right. He had wrapped himself in a large, starched brown tarp, which he used as a type of cloak. When he was in the center of the stage, a huge poster fell in front of the curtains, with the words "Growltiger's Last Stand" printed on it in huge letters.
Soft music started playing in the background as Gus turned his back to the audience.
Fifteen seconds later, he threw off his makeshift cloak and turned to face the audience, laughing maniacally. He looked as much like Growltiger as you could possibly imagine.
This took everyone by surprise, but it quickly caught their interest.
The music intensified while Gus continued to laugh. He picked up his cloak and tossed it to the side.
The curtains slowly raised, the lighting increased, and Gus walked to the center of the front of the stage, giving a maniacal laugh. The music continued to grow in intensity.
The stage was set up as the bridge of the Demagogue, which Tumblebrutus had helped recreate from memory.
There were six other cats on stage at that time: Tumblebrutus (played by Tumble himself), Grumbuskin (played by Munkustrap), Victor (played by Alonzo (he already had the hook on his paw)), Carbucketty (played by Pouncival), George (played by Plato), and Bill Bailey (played by Admetus).
After the music played for about thirty seconds, Gus ceased his maniacal laughing. Then Tumblebrutus, Grumbuskin, Carbucketty, Victor, George, and Bill Bailey all began to sing:
"Growltiger was a Bravo Cat who traveled on a barge.
In fact, he was the roughest cat that ever roamed at large."
Victor stepped forward and sang solo, using a few gestures with his hook: "From Gravesend up to Oxford he pursued his evil aims..."
Bill Bailey sang next: "Rejoicing in his title of..."
"'The Terror of the Thames!" finished Growltiger. He gave another sinister laugh.
The music played for a few more seconds. Then George sang: "His manners and appearance did not calculate to please."
Carbucketty sang: "His coat was torn and seedy; he was baggy at the knees."
Tumblebrutus sang: "One ear was somewhat missing; no need to tell you why."
Grumbuskin sang: "And he scowled upon a hostile world from one forbidding eye."
The six toms on stage other than Growltiger sang together:
"The cottagers of Rotherhithe knew something of his fame!
At Hammersmith and Putney, people shuddered at his name!
They would fortify the henhouse; lock up the silly goose...
When the rumor ran along the shore..."
Growltiger finished the line "'Growltiger's on the loose!'"
Then he wickedly laughed again.
Bill Bailey walked up to Growltiger and sang "Woe to the weak canary that fluttered from its cage."
As part of the script, Growltiger knocked him over as Carbucketty stepped forward and sang: "Woe to the pampered Pekingese that faced Growltiger's rage."
Growltiger knocked him over, too. Then George stepped up and sang: "Woe to the Bristly Bandicoot that lurks on foreign ships."
Growltiger knocked him over as Victor finished the verse: "And woe to any cat with whom Growltiger came to grips."
After he got knocked over as well (being careful not to land on the hook), Victor, the other three toms on the ground, Tumblebrutus, and Grumbuskin sang:
"But most to cats of foreign race his hatred had been vowed!
To cats of foreign name and race no quarter was allowed!
The Persian and the Siamese regarded him with fear!"
Grumbuskin sang solo: "Because it was a Siamese... had mauled his missing ear."
At that point, the opening song ended. The lighting on the stage dimmed a little as Tumblebrutus and Munkustrap stepped forward. A spotlight focused on the two toms.
Tumblebrutus, getting into his own character, looked up at Munkustrap and said "Commander, wherever did the common people hear these rumors? These lies about our Captain... they're outrageous!"
"The truth of reality is that not all of them are lies, Tumblebrutus," said Munkustrap, in his Grumbuskin character, "However, they are indeed rumors, and rumors spread like wildfire in the city."
Tumblebrutus sighed, looked off to the side, and spoke aloud "If only people knew his story the way we did..."
Both toms did not have that much experience with acting, but their performances were actually quite believable.
After Tumble's second line, the spotlight faded out.
The playbill told the audience that the first scene took place the day immediately after the assault on the Demagogue. The performers were actually supposed to be the ghosts/spirits of the fallen crew. All except Grumbuskin and Tumblebrutus. The playbills informed the audience that they were still alive.
The next opened up five years earlier and began on the day when a younger Growltiger (played by Asparagus) and a younger Grumbuskin (still played by Munkustrap, but with a few quick modifications done to his costume to make him look younger) signed up to join the feline navy.
The following scene took place on the HMS Ptarmigan, and it included Commander Baltrow (played by Skimbleshanks) and Captain Vearhin (played by Bustopher Jones).
Then there were a couple scenes with Joezcam (played by a Jellicle named Augustus, the father of Cassandra and Exotica), and the scenes where Growltiger murdered him.
The next few scenes jumped around a little, until they arrived at a scene that took place five weeks before the assault on the Demagogue. However, many of them demonstrated some large acts of kindness that Growltiger had shown towards others.
Much of this part of the musical took place from Tumblebrutus' point of view. These scenes explained various things, such as how Tumble had come to join the crew, how the war with the Siamese started, and how the war ended. It also had a minor subplot of Tumblebrutus' romance with Jemima. Gus had agreed to the idea of putting that in, but Tumblebrutus made sure that the play did not focus too much on him and Jemima. After all, the whole point of writing this play in the first place was to tell people the story of Growltiger's life, not Tumblebrutus's.
The first half of the play ended on the bridge of the Demagogue, just like the first scene in the play. It involved Growltiger (played again by Gus) summoning Tumblebrutus, Grumbuskin, Dominev (played by Admetus), Placondgo (played by Plato), and Ralpharite (played by Alonzo).
The second half began with the reconnaissance party arriving in Molesey and taking shelter at Hampton Court.
Most of the second half focused on two plotlines: the reconnaissance party's activities in Hampton, and the conspiracy between Genghis (played by Asparagus) and Macavity (played by a Jellicle named Wangidet, the father of Plato and Admetus).
One of the things Ralpharite had sent Tumblebrutus in his telegram was the news that Macavity had been the one who had gotten a mole on board the ship. He had also sent him a request to think up a reason other than Growltiger's children for why the recon party had travelled to Hampton. So Tumble and Gus had written in the script that the recon party was just there looking for "them."
They did not specify what "they" were, until they came across Roshedam (played by Rum Tum Tugger, which Tumble considered to be the single dumbest casting decision for the whole play). There, they also encountered Dawlimer (played by Quaxo), Scurtena (played by Electra), and Bellazni (played by Etcetera).
However, never once in the script or playbills did anyone refer to them as Growltiger's children. The children's role in the play was something the audience was allowed to interpret freely.
The final scene returned to the bridge of the Demagogue. It featured the same characters played by the same performers in the first scene, except Tumblebrutus and Munkustrap were not on stage. And this scene took place on the night the Demagogue was attacked.
Soft music began playing in the background.
Then Victor, George, Bill Bailey, and Carbucketty (played once again by Alonzo, Plato, Admetus, and Pouncival respectively) began singing gently:
"Now on a peaceful summer night, all nature seemed at play.
The tender moon was shining bright, the barge at Molesey lay.
All in the balmy moonlight it lay rocking on the tide -
And Growltiger was disposed to show his sentimental side."
At that moment, three more characters came onto the stage. Griddlebone (played by Jellylorum) entered stage left near Growltiger (still played by Gus). Grumbuskin (still played by Munkustrap) and Tumblebrutus (played by Macavity (Just kidding; who do you think played him?)) entered stage right.
(Note: the following four lines are the very lines I mentioned in chapter one; the lines that I based this entire fanfic on)
Grumbuskin stood tall and sang aloud:
"Growltiger's bucko mate, Grumbuskin, long since had disappeared.
For to the Bell at Hampton, he had gone to wet his beard."
Tumblebrutus then did a front handspring and sang aloud:
"And his bosun, Tumblebrutus, he too had stol'n away -
In the yard behind the Lion, he was prowling for his prey."
The two of them then left the stage while Victor, George, Carbucketty, and Bill Bailey went to the back of the stage.
"In the forepeak of the vessel, Growltiger sate alone..."
"Concentrating his attention on the Lady Griddlebone."
The four toms in the back:
"And his raffish crew lay sleeping in their barrels and their bunks."
Then a group of Siamese cats (played by everyone else) started approaching from the back of the stage. They sank in high voices:
"As the Siamese came creeping in their sampans and their junks."
Growltiger: "Growltiger had no eye or ear for aught but Griddlebone."
Griddlebone: "And the lady seemed enraptured by his manly baritone."
Both: "Disposed to relaxation and awaiting no surprise..."
Siamese: "But the moonlight shone reflected from a thousand bright blue eyes.
And closer still and closer... the sampans circled round.
And yet from all the enemy there was not heard a sound.
The foe was armed with toasting forks and cru-el carving knives.
Growltiger and Griddlebone: "And the lovers sang their last duet in danger of their lives."
The next part, Tumblebrutus had improvised in the script. Ralpharite had mentioned in his telegram that Victor had heard Growltiger and Griddlebone singing just after he regained consciousness from his drugged glass and just before the Siamese attacked. He told them it was the Italian opera from one of Growltiger's favorite plays.
Tumblebrutus decided to insert part of "the Ballad of Billy McCaw" instead, remembering how well the Captain and Griddlebone had sung it at the Mariners' Gala.
Once that was over, the music intensified and Jemima sang offstage:
"Then Genghis gave the signal to his fierce Mongolian horde.
With a frightful burst of fireworks, the Chinks they swarmed aboard!
Abandoning their sampans, their pullaways, and junks,
They battened down the hatches on the crew within their bunks!"
The Siamese slowly started to advance on the crew of the Demagogue.
Griddlebone: "Then Griddlebone she gave a screech, for she was badly skeered;
I'm sorry to admit it, but she quickly disappeared.
Growltiger: "She probably escaped with ease; I'm sure she was not drowned."
Siamese: "But a serried ring of flashing steel Growltiger did surround!"
The next five minutes involved a fight scene between Growltiger and his four senior staff members against the boarding Siamese army. One-by-one, the crew of the Demagogue fell. George had his throat slit, Carbucketty was garroted, Bill Bailey was shot in the back, and Victor was thrown overboard after losing his paw (Alonzo had attached a detachable prosthetic paw to his real one in order to manage this part).
Other a dozen Siamese bodies were scattered across the deck, and Growltiger continued fighting until he was overpowered.
The Siamese sang on:
"The ruthless foe pressed forward in stubborn rank on rank.
Growltiger to his vast surprise was forced to walk the plank.
He who a hundred victims had driven to that drop
At the end of all his crimes was forced to go ker-flip, ker-flop!"
While those lines were sung, the Siamese forced Growltiger over to the side of the ship. Growltiger was forced to jump over it and a huge "splash" sound was heard. The music got a little stronger as the Siamese sang the last set of verses:
"Oh, there was joy in Wapping when the news flew through the land!
At Maidenhead and Henley, there was dancing on the strand!
Rats were roasted whole at Brentford and at Victoria Dock!
And a day of celebration was commanded in Bangkok!"
After that, numerous bells sounded through the air. These were the same bells that had been rung everywhere the day Growltiger's defeat had become known.
The audience was speechless. The critics and Gus' theatre troupe were astounded by what they had just scene. It was... incredible.
There was applause for a good five minutes after that.
Within the next week, Growltiger's Last Stand was performed at a major theatre for CATS. Gus still played Growltiger, while all the other parts were covered by his troupe.
The play itself received rave reviews. Every single critic who saw the play gave it a "Pass," which resulted in the play having a perfect rating of 100 out of 100. Gus' next highest-rated play - A Demon Within - had a rating of 96 out of 100.
The play also became a major financial success, grossing nearly one and a-half times as much its opening week as A Demon Within.
Support for Growltiger gradually increased overtime as well. A great many people actually felt ashamed for celebrating his death.
Tumblebrutus considered that to be the best thing the musical had managed to accomplish.
Gus was proud of his grandson for helping him write one final play.
Unfortunately, a few months after Growltiger's Last Stand opened, Gus had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which made both of his front paws twitch. That was when he had decided to take a long break from acting. He was far from even considering the idea of retirement, however.
... (Fast-forward back to where we left off at the Jellicle Ball)
Gus stood in the clearing, looking off to the side. He thought he saw a specter of himself as Firefrorefiddle from A Demon Within and a specter of his son Asparagus as Genghis.
Both figures bowed to him and faded out of his vision.
Gus turned back to the front of the clearing and sang softly with a note of sadness in his voice:
"These... modern productions... are all... very well.
But there's... nothing... to equal... from what I... hear tell...
That moment... of mystery...
When I made... history..."
Slowly, he started tearing up. Jellylorum quickly came over to him to comfort him.
It almost broke Tumblebrutus' heart, seeing his grandfather so upset. But at least he had helped him contribute one final work of art to the world of theatre. Knowing that he had led a successful life was what really mattered.
After that song, Skimbleshanks got his own song about his job. Tumble found it odd how both of Jemima's parents got a song that year (Jennyanydots' song taking place immediately following the "Invitation to the Jellicle Ball."), yet neither of his parents did. But that did not really bother him.
That song was much more jovial than the previous song, and some found it to be the most enjoyable so far.
And then... Macavity showed up once more. Demeter did not even have to shout "Macavity!" this time.
But she did anyway. A few moments after she did, the ginger cat himself showed up with three of his henchcats. While Macavity cast a spell on the tribe to stun them where they stood, the henchcats captured Old Deuteronomy.
Just before leaving, Macavity whispered the following words into Munkustrap's ear as he passed him by: "If the queens perform a number about me regarding my talents and my reputation, I'll give Father back!"
Once Macavity was gone, Munkustrap gathered up the toms and told them to spread out and search the yard.
While searching, Tumblebrutus found himself worried for Jemima's safety. After all, she was alone with the queens right out in the open. Granted, all the queens knew how to defend themselves, but Macavity's henchcats were strong.
Tumblebrutus recalled something Growltiger had told him on many occasions: the importance of keeping one's family safe. He realized that if the Siamese were to discover that he was a member of the Jellicle Tribe, the Siamese would probably hunt the tribe down to find him. Even though the Siamese support in the city was very low (some of the credit for this went to Growltiger's Last Stand), they could still pose a threat.
He realized that they would most likely go after whoever was the closest to him. If Jemima was to be his mate, that would be her.
He began having the same worries Growltiger had about Griddlebone and his children. He loved Jemima deeply, but he did not want to compromise her safety.
For the first time that night, he began to wonder if he really should ask her to be his mate.
He decided to just see how the events of the night turned out.
After the musical number, Macavity did indeed return Old Deuteronomy, or what appeared to be the ancient leader. But Demeter revealed to everyone that this person was really just Macavity in disguise.
Macavity tried to drag Demeter away, but Munkustrap and Alonzo saved her.
The two toms did their best to fight Macavity, but they were both defeated.
Mungojerrie moved in after the two guardians of the Tribe had fallen. He attacked his former Boss directly.
That was when everyone moved in on the ginger cat. Ultimately, Macavity accepted defeat, and shorted out the Tribe's electricity to make his getaway.
Once he was gone, everyone became concerned with finding Old Deuteronomy and restoring the lights. That was when Rum Tum Tugger suggested consulting the aid of one "Magical Mr. Mistoffelees."
This was Quaxo in his alternate form. He showed up, restored the lights, and - after spinning around on one foot about twenty-four times without pausing - performed a trick to bring Old Deuteronomy back.
After Mistoffelees disappeared in mid-air, everyone calmed down.
Macavity and his henchcats had left, Old Deuteronomy had been brought back safely, and the Jellicle Ball was about to come to a close.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a lovely voice from the back of the clearing:
See the dew on the sunflower..."
Everyone turned and saw Jemima standing on the hood of the TSE-1.
Tumblebrutus was hypnotized by her voice once again. Just hearing his queenfriend's voice made him feel that his earlier worries were unwarranted. It occurred to him that as long as he took good care of Jemima, the Siamese could never harm her.
Jemima continued singing:
"And the rose that is fading...
Roses wither away.
Like the sunflower, I yearn to turn my face to the dawn.
I am waiting... for the day."
Munkustrap turned to face everybody and told them:
"Now, Old Deuteronomy just before dawn
Through a silence you feel you could cut with a knife
Announces the cat that can now be reborn
And come back to a different Jellicle life."
Everyone gathered around Old Deuteronomy on the right side of the clearing, waiting for him to utter a name.
Then Mistoffelees sharply turned around. Everybody else did this, as well. Grizabella had come back one more time.
Tumblebrutus still wanted to help her, but no one would let him. So he just went to the left side of the clearing with Pouncival. Everybody else had their backs to Grizabella, so he did the same, though he was very reluctant.
For a few seconds, nothing happened. Then the Mystical Divinity started playing music in the background.
Someone began to sing:
Turn your face to the moonlight.
Let your memory lead you.
Open up; enter in.
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is,
Then a new life... will begin."
Tumblebrutus was able to determine that the voice belonged to Grizabella. Despite her outward appearance, she had a wonderful singing voice.
Tumble looked over his shoulder. Grizabella was standing alone on her hind legs in the center of the clearing. Even though almost all the Jellicles had their backs turned to her, she was determined to be heard by them.
Old Deuteronomy and Munkustrap were the only ones that did not have their backs turned to Grizabella. She turned to the left side of the junkyard and sang on:
All alone in the moonlight.
I can smile at the old days;
I was beautiful then.
I remember the time I knew what happiness was.
Let the memory live again."
It was not hard for Tumblebrutus to imagine a young and beautiful Grizabella. Her beauty and figure was well-known, and Tumble could see past her current appearance.
He, Pouncival, Etcetera, and Electra slowly turned around. On the other end of the junkyard, Plato, Admetus, and Exotica gradually did the same thing.
Grizabella sang on:
"Burnt out ends of smoky days;
The stale cold smell of morning.
The street light dies, another night is over.
Another day is dawning."
During that verse, Alonzo, Jennyanydots, Skimbleshanks, Cassandra, Coricopat, Tantomile, and Demeter all turned around to look at Grizabella.
Grizabella continued to sing:
I must wait for the sunrise...
I must think of the new life...
And I mustn't give in.
When the dawn comes,
Tonight will be a memory, too,
And a new day will begin."
During that verse, Rum Tum Tugger, Victoria, Bombalurina, Mistoffelees, Asparagus, and Jellylorum had all turned to Grizabella. At that point, every single cat in the junkyard was facing her.
Despite the fact that everyone forgave her for whatever she had done, Grizabella suddenly lost her self-confidence. As the music intensified, she collapsed onto her stomach and laid still.
Several of the Jellicles appeared to be seriously concerned for her. Tumblebrutus looked around, thinking Why doesn't somebody do something?
Suddenly, Jemima sang from the platform behind the TSE-1 in her heavenly voice:
"Sunlight through the trees in summer;
This was the third time that night when Tumblebrutus heard Jemima sing. But this time, it was perhaps the most beautiful thing he had ever heard in his life. Her voice practically penetrated his soul; the words she sang carried so much meaning to them.
It was just so amazing to the white and brown tom.
Grizabella slowly sat up and looked to the front of the clearing. She sang with Jemima:
"Like a flower, as the dawn is breaking..."
Grizabella sang the next line in solo:
"The memory is fading..."
While she sang that line, Tumblebrutus was finally certain. He had no doubt left in his mind that he wanted Jemima to become his mate.
Grizabella rose to her feet as the music intensified. Then she sang:
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun.
If you touch me,
You'll understand what happiness is.
Look; a new day has begun."
Everyone looked off to the side. The sun was just starting to rise over the horizon.
Music continued to play gently.
Tumblebrutus waited for something to happen.
At one point, Victoria stood up. She slowly started to approach Grizabella. Just before she did, she looked back at Old Deuteronomy. He gave her an approving nod, beckoning her to go forward.
Victoria stood right behind Grizabella and gently placed her paw in the elderly queen's.
A smile slowly came onto Grizabella's face.
Everybody got a chance to hold Grizabella's paw in their own. Tumblebrutus smiled at her as she passed by him.
Old Deuteronomy bowed to her.
Tumblebrutus quickly figured out that Old Deuteronomy had made his decision.
As everyone sang "Journey to the Heaviside Lair," Old Deuteronomy led Grizabella up to the tire. The Great Staircase slowly descended from the sky. Grizabella stepped on it, looking back only once at her former mate. He urged her forward, smiling at her radiantly.
When Grizabella reached the top of the stairs, the Great Staircase rose back up.
Then it was time for the final song, "The Ad-dressing of Cats."
This song had plenty of depth and meaning to it, which was what several members of the Tribe particularly enjoyed about it.
A few minutes later, the Jellicles faced the rising sun and sang powerfully:
"A cat's entitled to except
These evidences of respect.
So this is this, and that is that...
And there's how you ad-dress a cat."
Old Deuteronomy joined them:
"A cat's entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
So this is this, and that is thaaaaaaaat...
And there's how you ad-dress aaaaaa... caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!"
A week later, Tumblebrutus and Jemima were stargazing on top of the TSE-1. Just a few days earlier, the two of them had become mates. They could not have been happier than they were right then.
Tumblebrutus said "Jemima, do you remember that 'Moments of Happiness' thing that Old Deuteronomy brought up?"
"Yes, Tumble," she replied, "What about it?"
"Well, I've been thinking about it, and I think I finally understand what the interpretation he had you present means," he told his mate.
Jemima turned to face her mate and asked him "What might that be?"
"I think each verse had its own meaning," he stated, "The phrases 'turn your face to the moonlight' and 'let your memory lead you' may incite a person to recall their greatest moments of happiness, such as, their moments with a particular person."
"That could be," she agreed.
"Then this 'open up, enter in' part would involve giving your complete trust to this person," Tumble told her, "From there, our relationship with this person could tie in to the part 'if you find there the meaning of what happiness is.' Perhaps something we would actually do with this person would tie in."
Jemima quickly realized where he was going. She stated "So the 'then a new life will begin' part... you think it actually refers to the concept of... procreation?"
He smirked and told her "That is exactly what I think. Old Deuteronomy must have been emphasizing the quality of life to us."
Jemima smiled at her mate in return and told him "That actually makes plenty of sense to me, Tumble. That viewpoint explains plenty of detail."
Tumble turned to her and commented "You and I already know about how much value is in a life."
"That's one of the reasons why I'm interested in creating some of it someday," Jemima told him.
Tumblebrutus remained smirking and told her "I'm glad you and I have a similar interest."
The two of them looked back up at the sky. They tried to search for constellations, but they were already focused on each other, as well as what they had just talked about.
Someday, the two of them would indeed help to create life. They would indeed have children of their own. But for the present, they planned to simply cherish their time with each other.
Well, I'm finally done! Whew, *wipes brow* what a chapter!
Just so you know, I plan to write another fanfic in the future that tells the story of what happens next. You see, chronologically, this is number 2 in a set of 6 fanfics that will tell a story. I have a talent of writing these fanfics in a manner in which each one can be read and understood on its own, but if you're interested, here's the order they follow:
1. Hidden Truths of the Hidden Paw (Tells the story of Macavity's life)
2. The Boatswain
3. Choices (Focuses on Mungojerrie's life. Eventually it introduces a subplot of Grumbuskin and his group trying to hunt down Genghis and kill him.)
4. Someone To Watch Over You (Ongoing; focuses on Admetus moonlighting as the Great Rumpus Cat and winning Etcetera's love. It also focuses on the surviving crew of the Demagogue and their resistance to the Siamese fleet.)
5. Magic Meets Love (Quaxo and Victoria have kittens of their own)
6. Untitled Ending.
As soon as I've finished "Someone To Watch Over You," I'll probably begin work on number 6. I plan for it to be even more epic than this one. Most likely, it will be darker, more dramatic, and more suspenseful, but I plan for THAT one to be my masterpiece.
Grumbuskin, Ralpharite, and the rest of the named crew will show up in that one. So, if you liked them, that's something to work forward to.
By the way, while a lot of the characters in this story are my OCs, there are six characters that are in a way just semi-OCs:
Grumbuskin - he was in the "Growltiger's Last Stand" sketch in West End's original cast as a member of the Bravo Cat's crew. Originally, I had him die in "Choices." But after looking back on all he did here, I decided to go back and rewrite it so that he lives.
Victor - he is also in Growltiger's crew. When I saw the show in April, I noticed one of the crewmembers in the "Growltiger's Last Stand" sequence had a hook-hand. I decided to make it be him.
George - another member of Growltiger's crew in the original West End cast.
Bill Bailey - the West End version of Tumblebrutus (hence the addressed connection of appearances between the two in Chapter 20)
Carbucketty - the West End version of Pouncival (hence the addressed connection of appearances between the two in the same chapter as above)
Sillabub - the Broadway version of Jemima (hence... well, you know)
Have a nice day! I love you all! Thanks for reviewing!