Jenny, Misto, and Bomba searched frantically through the junkyard, desperate to find Tugger.
They asked just about everyone they could find, tore apart Tugger's old den where he used to bring back queens to, and even checked the old catnip patch, knowing if they didn't find him he would probably hurt himself and the kittens.
Bomba was of course panicking, as anyone would if someone had just found out their spouse who had run off to drink was carrying your offspring. And also happened to be male.
"Wait, what?" thought the red queen, as she skidded to a halt suddenly, the others running ahead a little before stopping and turning to see why she had stopped.
"What the crud?" demanded the red queen, as she panted for a moment, looking up at Misto and Jenny with wide eyes. "Just-just how? I mean, there's no way he's preggers. He won't even give me a kitten! This is...rediculous..."
She could barely even say it, as Misto and Jenny looked at her so gravely, she knew it was true, however ludicrous it truly was, she found the more she wanted to deny it, the more she believed them.
"Oh Bomby..." begun Jenny, approaching the queen and placing a sympathetic paw on her shoulder. "I it's hard to believe"-"Hard to believe? Toms aren't supposed to be pregnant!" Burst out Bomba, throwing off Jenny's paw and backing away.
Slowly the red queen sank to the ground, covering her face with her paws so that they coudln't see she was fighting back tears. "He would never even give me a kitten! He was careful to make sure that didn't happen, said I had too nice a figure to spoil it carrying a litter, and now..." She chocked down a sob, determined not to let the others see her cry, as that would just make her feel worse if the others saw her tear up.
The old Gumbie cat slowly approached her, reaching out toward her again and lightly touching her arm, simply because she knew Bomba needed the comfort of someone close to her. "Honey, listen, we know he's like that. We know he didn't want to be a father, and this situation is beyond tragic, if a little ironic. But we need to find him, otherwise he's gonna do something stupid that will hurt or kill your kittens." She emphasized the your so that Bomba would focus on the urgency of the situation, and not just dwell on the tragedy of it.
"But... he can't really be pregnant! You're just lying to me, as some kinda sick joke. I'll never get to be a mother," she said, looking up at Jenny accusingly, her face contorted in fear and anger.
Misto stood off silently as this was going on, hating the fact that he was playing the role of the idiot male who never knew what to say, slowly stepped forward and got down on his knees, coming to eye level with the distressed queen.
"Bomba, look... I've never had kittens, so I could never fully appreciate what you're going through. Not really. But right now we need to focus on finding Tugger, because these kittens inside him are yours, and we need to keep him from hurting them, so that this way y-you can be a mother." His voice shook slightly here as the red queen looked up at him, gazing into his eyes intently, as if searching for the reassurances he was saying in his eyes as well.
Slowly, the red queen stood up, Jenny steadying her and Misto holding both of her arms for comfort.
Bomba stared at both of them for nearly a minute, as if breathing in through her gaping mouth every word they said, and then threw both her arms around them and held them in a tight embrace.
"I'm... I'm gonna be a mother, even if Tugger doesn't stay after he has the kittens, but w-will you two please be the god-parents?" she asked, almost begging as she let go and hugged them both seperately.
"We will dearie, but first we need to find him," said Jenny, still holding the emotional queen's hand.
"I know," whispered Bomba, looking around seriously, determined not to let her mate hurt her unborn kittens.
They found him. In a small clearing. About to begin on a bottle of scotch (gee, I wonder where he got that?)
The sly Tum popped the cork on the bottle, pulling it out and tossing it aside, bringing it to his nose first for a nice wiff of the bouquet, glad to be getting back to his life, finally.
"Hmmm, if only Bomba could see me now... why she would frick'in join me!" he laughed to himself, raising the bottle to his lips, unbeknownst to him, his mate hiding behind a junk pile and about to come out.
Bomba suddenly jumped out from behind the junk pile and stood right if front of him, the maine coon's eyes going wide at the sight of his mate.
"Stop," said Bomba, drawing slow, almost gasping breaths from the entensity of the moment, as Tugger still held the bottle of scotch tightly in his paw, so close to his lips. "Stop, or you'll hurt our kittens."
To this Tugger just raised an eye, fighting back the urge to laugh as he stared at the desperate queen, who seemed to be caught up in some insane cherade to keep him from enjoying himself.
"What are you talking, about our kittens? What kittens?" His voice was almost comical, as he genuinely thought this was a joke, as he brandished the bottle in a nearly threatening manner.
"Our kittens," she breathed, raising her paws as if wordlessly begging for him to stop. "The kittens that, thanks to Macavity's experiment, are now inside you. My kittens."
"You're still carrying on about that," shrugged Tugger, almost laughing out loud. "Still going on about how much you want kittens, and you actually think I'm pregnant? Maybe Mac did do something to you, or to your brain at least."
As he said this he once again brought the bottle up to his mouth, but at this Jenny and Misto both popped out of the bushes at the same time; originally having wanted to hang back and see if Bomba could handle Tugger herself, but since Tugger obviously had no respect for his mate, it was time to call in the rienforcements.
"Tugger, put down that bottle, or do you want to have deformed kittens?" said Jenny sternly, looking at Tugger with narrowed eyes, paws on her hips as she stared the young tom down.
"It's true, Tugs," said Misto, contemplating knocking out the mane coon with a spell. "Listen, you're my best friend, I wouldn't just be saying something like this to pull your leg." He said this with brutal earnestness, not even making eye contact with Tugger, as if sorry he had to be telling him this, which of course he was.
"What we have here is a case of mass ludicrusness, obviously brought on by paranoia, that sparkly stuff Misto does, and that nursing and poking with needles and..." he trailed off here, pointing the bottle at each of the cats present as he said this.
"Tugger, we need to get you prenatal care"-"and the proper magical knowledge of this spell and what it's doing"-"get you on vitamins"-"potions..." At this the Gumbie cat and the magician both turned and faced each other, realizing that war had just been declared and that they would be fighting each other for the right to care for Tugger throughout the whole pregnancy.
"I'm. Not. Pregnant." The mane coon stated, turning away from them and lifting the bottle to his lips. He was about to take a gulp of the scotch, knowing it would burn his throat, but wanting to scare the others. But then he caught his mate's eye, the pleading look she had on her face as she stood there, scared to step forward and try and stop him.
Tugger hestitated for a moment, and then a moment longer, before turning his head slowly so that his eyes met the others', staring intently at him. "Right?"
None spoke, their silnce said it all, and a blood curdling feeling ran through Tugger's body at that moment.
If there were kittens in him, he didn't want to hurt them.
"You're not lying," he said, feeling numb all over, and he suddenly and without warning let the bottle drop to the ground to shatter, as he slowly covered his face with his paws and walked back toward his mate with his tale between his legs.
Tugger sat on the low bench in Jenny's den, as the old Gumbie cat hustled through her stores of vitamins and natural herbs.
Bomba sat by his side, stroking his arm with an unsteady paw, torn between the desire to comfort her mate, and the feeling that this was sick and unnatural, and that she should reel back and not want to make any contact with him.
She knew she had to accept this, but staring at Tugger's flat stomach, and thinking that he was carrying kittens, it... it just freaked her out. Still she would stick this out because they were her kittens, and because she loved Tugger.
Misto sat opposite of her and Tugger and watched them with an intent gaze, hardly blinking although his eyes were half closed. He didn't know what to say or do, after all, he had never dealt with a pregnant tom before, and although he wanted to be in the middle of this, he found that even being near Tugger made him feel like he had to wash himself all over.
"Tee tee tum," hummed Jenny, as she got into her most matronly mode, as she always did at the prospect of new kittens. Even now, when this would obviously be the most unconventional litter the tribe had ever seen, she was still her chirupy self about it.
When the old Gumbie cat's arms were full and she was done with her puttering, she walked back over to Tugger and Bomba, to give them what they needed and to instruct them.
Tugger hadn't said a word since they had arrived at her den, and blandly stared past the Gumbie cat as she brought him the bottles, looking almost catatonic as Jenny proceeded to give him instructions.
"Alrighty now, you're going to need to take these vitamins to keep your healthy, get plenty of rest..." she trailed off here as she handed each bottle to Bomba, as Tugger wouldn't take them.
"Give him two of these pills, one of these every morning, one of these twice a day, and one of the rest once a day," she whispered to Bomba, handing her the bottles one at a time.
The red queen simply nodded, squeezing Tugger's knee as she sat there in remorse of all of this, even it wasn't her fault. "Why so many?" she asked dryly, realizing just how many jars were in her lap.
"Well, since his body is not meant to carry kits, I'm afraid we're having to make up for the nutrition they won't get ourselves. Just make sure he eats plenty and healthfully, but if he wants to keep his nice body, (she blushed as she said this), he needs to try and put on the kitten weight you slowly."
"Tugger, we know this is hard, but we'll get you through this. We just need you to accept this"-"Well I can't."
It took them all a second to realize that Tugger had even spoken, and then they were all taken aback, as they waited in anticipation for him to continue.
"I... no, this doen'st happen. Period. I'm not pregnant, shoot this is probably just a scheme of Bomba's for me to get her pregnant," he said bitterly, looking at his mate with malice. "If you want a kitten so much, I can arrange that, but this is just insanity."
He then stood up, looking down at Bomba harshly, not caring about the hurt look on her face. For a moment he contemplated knocking the jars and bottles out of her hands, but realized that would just be too cruel.
So instead he headed for the door, not looking back at any of them, pausing only when he got to the door, saying in a dark voice, "you'll find the door locked when you get home, Bomba. But if you manage to get in, then fine. But I'm not leaving the den until you stop this foolishness." And with that he left without even looking back.
Bomba just stood there frozen, finding herself unable to speak as she felt as though in no time they had gone backwards from where they were. A chill came over her at the thought of dealing with this in a never ending cycle, until the feel of warm arms wrapped around her shoulders, and she leaned into Jenny's comforting embrace.
Misto too, although the aloof tom normally didn't know what to say or do, simply put his paw on her arm and left it there, saying in his most sincere voice, "don't worry, Bomba. We'll help you take care of him..."
Bomba almost wanted to throw off their arms and react defensively, but she knew she couldnt' afford to act so stupidly right here.
"He'll come to terms with it, he can't deny what's happening to his body for long."