Disclaimer: I don't own Cats the Musical.
Misto's Unexpected Bath
Mistoffelees had found the perfect place to practice his new magic trick. His hiding place was a clearing close to three miles outside the junkyard, surrounded by trees and housing a small lake. He was sure no one would be disturbing him here.
Which was exactly the reason he'd traveled so far from the tribe's territories in the first place. This new trick was something he wasn't willing to share quite yet. It was a little more complex then anything he'd tried so far and he did not want any witnesses to what he predicted to be an evening of epic and potentially embarrassing failures.
This idea of his had stemmed from his convenient ability to keep his coat 100 % dry even in the worst of torrential downpours.
He'd started off slow, of course, using small puddles of water he found in back alleys and nooks around the junkyard when he was sure no one was looking.
He'd quickly discovered that repelling large quantities of water away from his paws was impossible from within the water, so if he was already ankle deep his paw from there down would get soaked. An unfortunate discovery to be sure.
But it led to an epiphany: the less water he made direct contact with the easier it was to stay dry. So when faced with more then randomly falling droplets of water the easiest way of staying dry was to not breach the surface water.
And that was the revelation that lead him to his secluded lake away from prying eyes, to practice walking on water.
Sure enough, after a day of tireless practice Misto was able to glide across the surface of the lake as if there was a thick layer of ice between him and the water. It required a lot of effort on his part, massive doses of concentration and self control and impeccable balance were required to keep himself from sinking into the drink.
Now Misto is a cautious little cat by nature, it comes with being shy, but he couldn't help but wonder if it was possible to do more then simply walk on the water. And it wasn't like there was anyone around to see if he learned he couldn't, so… was it possible to dance on the water?
He shook himself of the thought. "Don't be ridiculous, Misto," he told himself, "Don't try catching a bird if you can barely catch a cricket."
Despite his more logical side the thought continued to tickle inside him, causing the fur on his ears to prickle excitedly and electricity to tingle on the tips of his claws. "It's an absurd idea." He reminded himself firmly. "To think, dancing on water." That last word was drenched with a healthy dose of sarcasm.
And yet…the idea simply wouldn't leave.
Flexing his claws in anxious uncertainty he slowly slid his right hind paw out in a small arch over the water.
The movement created a moderately sized ripple to spread out and Misto used this as a guide for his other paw, which resulted in more ripples.
A delighted smile danced across his lips and small sparks lit his claws. Slowly his dance changed from cautious experimentation to pure playful enjoyment.
He moved over the water effortlessly, momentarily forgetting the massive amounts of effort simply walking had required just moments before. The water flowed around him, trailing small waves behind one paw as he swung in a circle, one leg extended to glide over the surface. His arms were extended above his head and sparks leapt from his claws.
He switched legs and directions, his speed picking up along with the size of the disturbance to the water he left behind.
Before he knew what had happened he was leaping and twirling, skipping and rolling among the waves his dancing had worked up on the lake. The once tranquil water was a roiling mass of splashes, waves, ripples, and explosions caused when his sparks met water.
Closing his eyes and throwing his head back he spun across the water, arms now outstretched to either side of him as his paws guided him in one tight circle after another, simply letting the flow of the waves direct his motion.
He was grinning as he enjoyed the warmth of the sinking sun and the tickle of water droplets playing across his still dry fur. He opened his eyes lazily and for a moment he thought he was hallucinating. There, standing on the shore of the lake framed by two phenomenal bursts of electricity and water, silhouetted by the setting sun, was Rum Tum Tugger.
And that was all it took; his concentration broke on his next leap, and when he came down again his paw glided into the water instead of over it. There was a split second where he gasped in surprise before plunging beneath the surface. The water pushed all his fur in the wrong direction, then pulled it back uncomfortably close to this body as he surged upward, kicking and splashing his way to the surface, and the shore, coughing and spluttering the whole way.
Tugger had collapsed on the shore, laughing his tail off as Quaxo dragged his sorry pelt out of the lake.
The small black tom sent a scathing glare at the interloper before heading to one of the few patches of sunlight left, not bothering to raise onto his hind legs as he moved across the ground. He plopped his sopping body onto the ground, grumbling to himself.
"I hate you." He growled at Tugger when the tom sauntered over, still chuckled heartily to himself.
"You just keep telling yourself that luv." Tugger teased, golden eyes dancing with mirth.
Quaxo sent the flirt one more withering glare before ignoring the tom completely. He lifted one mangy looking paw to his face and eyed it with a grimace. A moment later he sighed heavily and brought said paw to his lips.
It had been so long since he'd had to dry his fur, and he wasn't looking forward to the laborious task.
Tugger watched him in silence for a long time, simply admiring the rare gleam the water gave Quaxo's inky fur. It was an effect even the Jellicile moon wasn't able to replicate. His fur now clung to Quaxo's body in a way Tugger had never seen before, and it made his mouth water.
Now, Tugger wasn't a tom accustomed to being ignored, and so, when it became apparent his little friend was ready to pretend he didn't exist, he took matters into his own paws.
"Aw, don't be like that Misto." He cajoled, "It's not as if I made you fall in." Indeed that had been the last thing on Tugger's mind when he'd been watching Quaxo dance. The small tom was beautiful when he danced, that had always been true, but surrounded by those waves, soaring splashes, dazzling explosions, and lit by the fading sun Quaxo was simply hypnotizing.
That spell had been broken, of course, by his spectacular fall and subsequent mad dash to dry land. But now that the hilarity that had gripped Tugger had passed a new enchantment was pulling him back in. The sight of Quaxo's small wet body was making Tugger's blood boil and he was dying to sink his fangs into that.
Misto glowered at him from over his shoulder his rare blue eyes flashing, before turning his back on Tugger completely and continuing to ignore him.
A devilish smile tugged on Tugger's lips. Oh yes, he could play this game.
As silently as possible he crept up behind Misto, maneuvering on all four paws until he was in just the right position. Then he leaned forward and dragged his tongue in one broad, clean stroke up the back of Quaxo's neck.
The smaller tom bristled, his back shooting straight, his ears perking and his tail puffing out, "What are you doing?" he hissed in alarm.
Tugger ignored this reaction and repeated the treatment on the other side of Quaxo's neck, savoring the silky texture of the other tom's fur on his tongue just as much as the intriguing shiver that ran through that small body.
Tugger arched forward, plastering himself to the smaller tom's back as he breathed hotly into one silky black ear, "Why, helping you groom, of course." He purred, following up that declaration by trailing his tongue teasingly up that delicate appendage, to nibble lightly on it's tip.
Quaxo's breath hitched and Tugger could feel him fighting back a purr. "W-well don't." He continued to hiss, though his voice came out somewhat breathless, much to Tugger's delight. "I'm perfectly capable of grooming myself." He finished.
Tugger trailed his claws lightly through the fur on Misto's sides and abdomen as he returned his attention to Quaxo's neck.
"Oh, I'm sure you can." He murmured seductively against the fur, nipping lightly before continuing to lap at the other's throat.
Quaxo shivered again, opening his mouth to protest, but all that came out was another embarrassing purr. He snapped his jaws back together, trying to keep the whimper contained in his throat when Tugger's teasing claws became more bold and his lips moved to the juncture between Misto's neck and shoulder.
A plaintive mewl left Misto's lips very much against his will and he could feel himself melt into the larger toms embrace.
A rustling in the bushes to their right had Quaxo jerking away from Tugger, who sighed in exasperation. The young tom landed in a low defensive crouch a few feet away, fangs bared and sparks lighting his now unsheathed claws. Tugger thought he looked adorably ruffled, with just bits of his fur dry enough to bristle in warning.
Quaxo needn't have been so alarmed, because three familiar heads popped out of the foliage, giggles issuing forth into the clearing. Misto remained tense for a moment, his mind not quite caught up with his eyes, then he sagged in relief, rolling his eyes at the typical interruption. Not that he wasn't grateful to have escaped Tugger's attentions, because he was, obviously.
Sitting himself delicately down on the bank of the lake a good distance away from Tugger's groping paws, Misto set about his previous task of drying out his fur.
"Tugger!" Etcetera cried excitedly, bounding eagerly towards her object of affection. "What are you doing all the way out here? It took us all afternoon to find you." Misto held back a snort at that, he could very well imagine the young queen wasting her day away looking for the flirtatious tom.
Quaxo had just started grooming his paw again when Tugger turned his amused eyes on him. The little Tux obviously thought he'd gotten away from him, but Tugger wasn't about to let his prize escape. "Well," He purred, silkily extracting himself from his fans avid claws and swaggering the short distance to the smaller tom, and draping himself over his slender shoulders, a crooked smile twisting his lips as he looked at his groupies. "Misto here was out playing a little to close to the lake, and, silly little tom he is, slipped, and fell right into the water." Two of the three queens gasped in dismay, eyes wide and eating up every word he ushered like it was gospel.
Victoria wasn't quite so taken in, she'd never known her brother to be particularly clumsy, in fact, Quaxo was extraordinarily graceful and she had a hard time picturing him falling into the lake.
Misto flushed under the scrutiny, but before he could speak up in his defense Etcetera interrupted, "That's a silly thing to do, Mistoffelees, don't you know water is wet." She interrupted, crinkling her nose cutely.
Tugger's booming laugh made Quaxo jump, but the bigger tom kept a firm grip on him and he wasn't able to use his surprise as a means of escape a second time. "Yes, yes it was a very silly thing to do." Tugger agreed, eyes glittering with amusement, which Misto very much did not appreciate. "That's why I, being such a kind and generous…friend." No one but the tux noticed the inflection the Rum Tum Tugger placed on that last word, nor how his grip tightened minutely on Quaxo's shoulders. "Offered to help groom his fur dry."
Squeals erupted from all three excitable girls, Victoria seemingly having completely forgotten her earlier suspicions. Quaxo winced at the high pitched sound, but Tugger just grinned even more widely. "Oh Tugger, that's so sweet of you." Cooed Jemima, Etcetera seemed to have slipped into some sort of trance or daydream…one that Quaxo was quite sure he did not want to know the contents of.
Victoria moved forward to inspect her brother, taking in his still shiny coat and dripping whiskers. "Your still soaked clear through." She murmured, a worried frown on her brow. "You must be freezing." She added, sharing a nuzzle with the dark tom.
Quaxo was going to reassure her he was fine and he would have his fur back to normal in no time, but Jemima's soft voice interrupted him, "Night will be here soon. You'll catch your death if your not dry."
With those words Misto felt a sense of foreboding settle over his shoulders, a heavy mantle that made his heart sink and his stomach do flip flops that he would very much like to ignore. A giggle from Etcetera and Quaxo's fate was sealed. Before he was even aware of the movement he found himself back in Tugger's lap being nuzzled affectionately from behind as three pushy queens preened and groomed his slick wet fur.
Quaxo couldn't deny it felt very good, though he'd never tell Tugger that. And although he wasn't altogether comfortable with the attention, he felt a purr work its way out of his throat.
An answering rumble from Tugger followed by a slightly suggestive lick to his neck and Misto melted; relaxing into Tugger's warm embrace and letting the queens dry out his fur. Maybe just this once he'd let someone else take care of him.