So here goes nothing… my first attempt at writing a CATS fanfic, and my way of thanking all the other authors here for their own marvelous stories.
Writing a Cats fanfic is a strange exercise in finding the balance between "Well, they're cats" and "But really, think of them as people dressed as cats." This fandom is truly fantastical!
Disclaimical: T.S. Eliot created these kitties, Andrew Lloyd Webber made them sing and dance. I just play with them, like so many toy mice. Cyrano and Jezebel are my own creations, but they're barely a blip on the radarn compared to the other characters.
Now, to warnings: This fic will contain slash of the Tugger/Mistoffelees variety. It will also contain graphic sex scenes (also of the Tugger/Mistoffelees variety) and a bit of violence.
I hesitate to spoil things too early, but I'd rather warn in case this is someone's ultimate turn-off: this story will also contain eventual mpreg (or tompreg, if you prefer a more accurate term). It's an idea I've had floating around my head for a while, as I sat there wondering just how Mistoffelees pulled those seven kittens 'right out of a hat'. Didn't Tugger look awfully proud while singing that line?
Extraneous details: As far as the familiar relationships go- this seems to be a bit of a sticking point for certain people. Some Jellicles can be viewed as either mates or siblings; others can be parents and children, etc. I believe nothing is set in stone in canon, and there's enough wiggle room for everyone's own interpretation. I've chosen my own interpretations; I don't mean to step on anyone else's opinions, I've really just gone with whatever seemed simpler, story-wise.
I also have a few original characters in there, but they are minor, and only serve to fill in certain roles in the story. The main players will only be established characters.
Also note: this story begins at the previous year's Jellicle Ball.
Enough chatter! Now it's storytelling time. Enjoy, and if you have any feedback for me, I would be thrilled to read it.
A big, big, heartfelt thank-you to CrazyIndigoChild for beta'ing, and to both CrazyIndigoChild and DontBeAZombie for kindly welcoming me to the fandom.
1. Dramatical Cats
Munkustrap always loved this time; in the few days preceding the Jellicle Ball, a sort of thrumming energy always fell on the junkyard, plunging it into rare quiet.
Gone were the kits' playful shrieks, the toms and queens' discussions and arguments and gossip. All were busy with preparations—warming up voices, preparing for dances and performances—and all were suffused with the traditional, restless liveliness brought on by the occasion and the looming appearance of the Jellicle Moon.
There was something about this time that left Munkustrap with a sense of peace, despite the ever-present stress of the festivities and responsibilities involved. The moon had risen high in the sky a few hours ago, bathing the junkyard in a cool blue light. Not hardly as bright as the proper Jellicle Moon would be in a few days, but enough for Munkustrap's eyes to easily adapt to the twilight as he calmly paced about, stopping here and there to greet a fellow Jellicle or to watch a group busy with their activities. He had left Alonzo on watch that night specifically to have this rare free time to watch over the tribe.
Leaping up on top and then behind an old, discarded refrigerator, Munkustrap smiled and nodded at the sight of the three older queens sitting behind the makeshift den. Jennyanydots sat with a young kitten curled up on her lap; besides her were Jellylorum and Jezebel, each gently stroking the heads of the young kits wrapped around their feet, happily listening as Jenny told them a story.
Jenny paused for a moment to cheerfully wave at Munkustrap, careful not to disturb the half-dozing kittens. She had kindly volunteered this year to care for the kits who were still too young to attend the Jellicle Ball, an ever-shifting yearly responsibility. It would mean she could not attend this year, but Munkustrap vowed that she would have a splendid time next year to make up for her duties.
Continuing his walk, Munkustrap passed a small group of toms whose attempts at a dance practice had devolved into a tussling session. It was only after the silver tabby had passed the group that he became aware of the tread of none-too-subtle paws on the ground, followed by a familiar scent.
"Strange," said Munkustrap, swiveling his head towards the new arrival. "It looks like the Rum Tum Tugger, and it smells like him, and yet it doesn't sound like him, since my ears aren't ringing. Whatever happened to your cheerful fan club?"
Tugger, strutting alone, was an unusual sight. Without his seemingly ever-present cohort of squealing queens, the Maine coon looked almost bare, as though someone had shaved off his prized fur.
"The ladies need to practice for the ball," Tugger said, shrugging elegantly as he settled besides Munkustrap. "Besides, couldn't it be that I want to talk to my brother in peace?"
"It could be," Munkustrap agreed. "But it rarely is, unless I happen to have something you want. And whatever it is, the answer is no."
"Presumptuous, aren't we? You don't even know what I'm here to ask."
"Correct me if I'm wrong," Tugger said, gaze drifting down to casually inspect the end of one perfectly-pointed claw. "But you are planning to tell the story of the Pekes and the Pollicles at the Ball this year?"
"You know I am. We're already preparing for it."
"In that case, I would like to offer you the honor-"
It was all Munkustrap could do to keep his tail from lashing. "No."
"… Of having the Rum Tum Tugger himself-"
Tugger gave a disdainful sniff. "Does that mean you've already chosen the Jellicle who will perform as the great Rumpus Cat?"
"Not yet," Munkustrap admitted. "I was thinking of asking Admetus to perform this year."
"Admetus!" Tugger huffed. "But he has no flair. No charm! Munk, though I can't understand why you insist on putting on this story at every Jellicle Ball…"
"It's Old Deuteronomy's favorite," Munkustrap said. "It's a tradition."
"… I would give up nine lifetimes' worth of fish paste to see it done correctly. Only once. You do recall last year's performance."
Munkustrap couldn't hide a grimace. Indeed he did remember; in a fit of madness, he had asked Skimbleshanks to play the Rumpus Cat. The railway cat's annoying sense of accuracy had caused him to slink into view much earlier than his cue to debate with Munkustrap about whether it had actually been a Peke or a Pom who had started the ruckus. The assembled Jellicles, waiting for their part, had fallen asleep by the time the argument had been resolved. Old Deuteronomy had been greatly amused by the faux pas. Munkustrap had most certainly not.
"And do you remember the year before?"
"Tugger…" Munkustrap shook his head and gave his brother a warning glare. Though he doubted he could shake the insistent tom so easily, he leapt up onto the top of a row of rusted, hollowed-out cars, following the natural bridge created by the old metal heap.
"We never figured out how Gus managed to set fire to his Rumpus Cat costume, but I'm fairly certain that wasn't part of the story. It did make for a spectacular finale. It only took a few weeks for the fur to grow back on your tail, didn't it?"
Never had Munkustrap wished more strongly to run into one of Tugger's amorous and shrill admirers, if only for the distraction. He gladly would have sacrificed his hearing for the sake of his sanity at the moment.
Tugger stayed annoyingly close as Munkustrap continued to follow the irregular path of rusted metal, to a distant corner of the junkyard. It was one of the many secluded spots in their habitat where the cats liked to retreat for privacy.
Munkustrap stopped before being spotted by the two Jellicles there; Tugger followed his lead, complacent for once, noiselessly sitting atop the metal roof.
Not quite out of earshot of the two toms, Demeter sat listening to her father, Cyrano, rehearse a song for the Ball. Though Cyrano was not as old as some of the tribe's other cats, the tom had had enough sorrow to last a few lifetimes. His ginger-and-white fur had long turned dull and dusty, his manner meek and defeated.
Though Jellicles dared every year to ask who would be chosen to travel to the Heaviside Layer, Jellicles rarely dared to presume to know who the candidate would be. It was considered disrespectful to Old Deuteronomy's wisdom to vocally favor a Jellicle over another for this important yearly choice. Despite this, there seemed to be an unspoken consensus among Jellicles that Cyrano was likely to be chosen this year.
"I have to say, I never care for this," Tugger commented, though Munkustrap wasn't certain if he was referring to Cyrano's song, or Demeter's state as she hugged herself sadly and listened to her father. "Watching the candidates for the Heaviside Layer is such a depressing part of the Jellicle Ball."
"No jokes, Tugger," Munkustrap said. This time he couldn't resist lashing his tail out in irritation; surely Tugger knew better than to mock his brother's mate.
"No jokes at all," Tugger said, with genuine compassion as he watched the scene below. Munkustrap sometimes forgot about his brother's empathetic side. If only he didn't work so hard to hide it. "Demeter's family could use a break."
Tugger was right about that. Demeter had barely been out of kittenhood when her mother had been abducted and eventually found dead, all under Macavity's direction. Demeter had grown up with a special loathing for the so-called Hidden Paw. Cyrano, for his part, had simply lapsed into sadness, too far gone for anger.
It wrenched Munkustrap's heart that there was nothing he could do to help Demeter heal from this tragedy, but perhaps seeing her father ascend to the Heaviside Layer and find a new, peaceful Jellicle life would ease her spirits.
Leaving Demeter and her father in peace, Munkustrap quietly turned and followed the car rooftops back towards the center of the junkyard, Tugger still trailing behind.
"We have wagers about the Pekes and Pollicles story, you know," Tugger said, breaking the glorious silence.
Everlasting Cat, give me strength, Munkustrap sighed.
"Some of us are betting on how long it will take until you serve up a perfect rendition of the story, despite your insistence on miscasting the Rumpus Cat role. The rest of us are wondering how long it will take until you entirely give up on performing it. Personally, I'm expecting a mid-story nervous breakdown right around the part where-"
"All right," Munkustrap said with a hiss. He turned and jabbed a paw into his brother's spotted chest. "All right, you can play the Rumpus Cat this year. But listen to me Tugger: you will follow the story, you will follow my lead, and if you embarrass me in front of our father, you'll be banned from ever playing so much as a peke, ever again. Understand?"
"It will be a performance to remember," Tugger said. He made a grand show of rising to his legs and bowing to his brother. Had he been a pollicle, Munkustrap was certain his tail would be wagging.
"That's what I'm afraid of," Munkustrap sighed. "Now would you please go make yourself useful somehow?"
"Go help some cats with their singing, help clear off the middle of the junkyard by the tire—anything. As long as it's far away from me."
"Whatever my brother desires."
"And I don't think the young queens need any help with their dancing."
Munkustrap saw the slight waver in his brother's retreating steps, only to be brushed off with a flourish.
The tabby sat on his haunches and shook his head. For the most part, he enjoyed the few days before the Jellicle Ball.
The Jellicles had many traditions. And one of them was that interesting, unusual things always happened at the yearly Ball.
Try to tell me Tugger wouldn't be desperate to play the Rumpus Cat, at least once! Go on, try!
Thank you for reading. More to follow soon!