Chapter 9: Blue

Disclaimer: I still don't own Cats (I'm pretty sure I've forgotten this the past few chapters. I never owned Cats in that time frame either)

Midnight hit the neighborhood of Brook Hollow, and all the residents slept soundly and peacefully in their beds. The street was filled with a calm sort of quiet as the spring breeze played a lullaby in the leaves of the perfectly manicured trees that lined each side of the street. Not a single branch or blade of grass was out of place as all of the houses looked exactly the same in neat little rows. Each house was set back from the street creating a neat little yard held in by some form of white or wrought iron fences.

Deep in the shadows cast by the trees and houses, two small figures seemed to easily morph from shadow to shadow, passing as quickly and quietly as possible. Two tabby cats hugged the houses' fence line as they scanned the abodes they passed, uttering not a sound. Both cats were almost identical: they had a cream base coat with black and orange tabby patterns creating chaotic tiger stripes. The cat leading was at least a head taller that the one behind him. The leader's broad shoulders and muscular build clearly identified him as a young tom. The feline close behind him was a petite and slim queen. Her tiger stripes were a little less prevalent, on her legs and her chest, creating a small cream bib.

The two continued to trot down the street, closely analyzing each structure. The queen abruptly stopped in front of a house that appeared just the same as every other house on the block. She looked to her side to see the tom still trotting down the street, totally unaware that she had stopped. "'Ey! Jer! This is it!" She whispered, motioning wildly with her paws, calling tom back to her.

The tom's full name was Mungojerrie, but he went by so many nicknames he had lost count. Jer was the name always used by his sister and partner-in-crime, Rumpleteazer. He actually preferred Jerrie, but once you grow up with a cat, there's no way you can change what they decide to call you. With a small sigh of exasperation, Jerrie spun around and stalked back towards the queen. "Foine, foine! But 'ow can ya even tell tha difference Teazer? Oll tha 'ouses look the same ta me! Wot if we just used tha 'ouse down at tha end? That way we got a good escape route jus 'round the corner."

Teazer shook her head enthusiastically, eyeing the house hungrily. "Nope! This un's it! See that tree there, gives perfect access to tha second floor window. That way, if they gots a peke, we should be able to avoid it! Most pekes sleep on tha first floor. An Oi know they gots a young'un, Oi'm not sure, but those there curtains are pink, so Oi'm 'oping they're 'ers." Teazer pointed just past the large oak tree that reached to the window. It was completely dark now, and Jerrie couldn't tell what color the curtains were, but he trusted his sister.

Jerrie gave a brief nod and pulled apart the two cloth bags that he had been carrying. He quickly separated them and handed one to Teazer and kept one for himself. He sized up the house before them and silently slipped through the large space between two wrought iron fence posts. Blending into the shadows with the skill of professional thief, Jerrie crossed the lawn and stopped at the roots of the large tree.

A flash of color caught the corner of Jerrie's eyes as Teazer pulled up beside him. Both cats stared up at the gnarled structure looming above them. It was a lot more intimidating and ominous looking up close. The tree was obviously old. The trunk was so large they were pretty sure that not even a grown human male could wrap his arms around it. Deep grooves cut what almost looked like mazes down the trunk. The countless branches twisted and turned as they reached for the stars, easily getting lost in the chaotic mass. Neither cat could follow a single branch all the way to its end.

Jerrie quickly noted each crooked branch and each knobby bump, calculating all the routes he could take. He wasn't too concerned about reaching the window, climbing was always easy. What did worry him was getting back down. From the labyrinth of branches and leaves, he could tell that the descent would be quite a challenge. They would have to be extra careful tonight. There was no way they'd be able to make it down that tree fast enough if the household woke up. The time that it would take them to escape would give any human time enough to run to the front lawn and catch them.

The two cats glanced at each other and exchanged a mischievous smile. With a casual shrug, Jerrie began to propel himself up the trunk. Each tabby held their bag securely in their mouths as their claws dug deep into the bark of the tree. After a few tense minutes, the twin thieves reached the first branch. They climbed out onto the limb to catch their breath and give their claws a rest. They glance up to see how far they had left to go. Luckily, the tree was so tall, that they had only had two more branches to climb in order to reach the window.

The branches were climbed in record time and with relative ease. Jerrie cautiously walked halfway across a branch, bending his knees to accommodate the movement of the limb from his weight and the breeze. Then, with a confident leap, the tom sailed through the air and landed all four paws securely on the windowsill. He crouched low and waited, ears strained towards the window. Once Jerrie was sure that no one had heard him, he peeked into the window in an attempt to ascertain if they were truly entering the house in the child's room.

Jerrie cracked a smile. The curtains were definitely pink, he was pretty sure that if it were light out, they would've blinded him. However, they were securely drawn shut, and the tabby tom couldn't see into the room. There wasn't even a crack for him to use to his advantage. Luckily, they seemed pretty thin, and he couldn't discern any light shining inside. He determined that they were safe and turned to signal Teazer to come to the sill.

Teazer made a graceful jump onto the sill, not once dropping her clownish grin. She quietly placed her bag on the sill beside her and began work on the window. Her paws appeared as if they were fumbling along the pane and frame, but the skilled feline knew exactly what she was doing. In no time, the window slid up, giving the thieves access to the room. The queen let out her unique laugh, but was immediately shushed by Jerrie. He rolled his eyes as he swiped the queen across the ears. He wasn't going to get caught because she couldn't keep her pride in check. Rich families in such a nice neighborhood always left their windows unlocked anyways, he'd be more impressed once she opened a securely locked window.

Their paws made a soft patter on the floor as the two cats jumped from the window into the room. They were in the kid's room, which was perfect. If the child did wake up in see them, she would immediately call for her parents, giving them time to escape. Plus, the little trinkets that kids kept were more of what they wanted anyways.

The two immediately split apart without saying a word as they slipped into their well-rehearsed routine. Teazer jumped on top of the dresser and immediately began rummaging through the jewelry boxes and other containers. Jerrie remained close to the ground, looking through the toys and other trinkets lost under the bed and other furniture. His main goal was to find batteries and anything that made light; those were as valuable as gold in the feline world.

This house was an excellent find! The child had an infinite number of toys with batteries and small flashlights and other sources of light. Jerrie wasn't sure he had ever filled his bag solely with batteries before. He could hear Teazer trying desperately to muffle her giggles of excitement.

Jerrie could sense that time was running short. The two cats had everything planned to a tee, and it was so practiced that neither of them needed to say a word. They always spent exactly seven minutes in each house and then left no matter what. It didn't matter if there were still areas left to explore; it wasn't worth the risk. Jerrie wasn't sure how they had settled on seven, but it was more than five but less then ten. That was all he knew.

The tom instantly began to pick up the pace; he had maybe a minute or half a minute left. He didn't want to pass up anything valuable. He hung close to the bookshelf, scanning the floor. Just as he reached the end of the structure, he froze. Tucked securely in the corner between the wall and the shelf, a beautiful white cat slept on a pink satin cushion. Luckily, the two hadn't woken the cat up.

Jerrie paused, unable to look away. He could easily tell from the contours of the cat's body that it was a queen. She was thin and small, probably the same size as Teazer. She was sleeping so peacefully, and she seemed to be having a pleasant dream. Jerrie could see a ghost of a smile play at the corner of her lips. He had never felt so entranced by another cat.

Suddenly, Jerrie felt an overwhelming feeling. He couldn't help but sit and wonder, what color were the queen's eyes? He was sure that they were beautiful, but were they green like the growing earth or leaves dancing in the breeze? Perhaps they were a rich brown, like luxurious, creamy chocolate. Or what if they were golden, like the warm summer sun?

"Jer!" A high-pitched voice called from the window.

Jerrie spun around in slight shock from the interruption. He immediately held his paw to his lips, silencing Teazer. The queen rolled onto her back, stretching her paws in the air, but didn't waking up. Jerrie breathed a sigh of relief. Some of it was because the queen wasn't woken, but most of it because he realized that the window was positioned on the same wall as the shelf. That meant that the bookcase hid the queen from Teazer's curious eyes. He'd never hear the end of it if she had seen him staring at some queen.

Without another pause or backward glance, Jerrie slung the bag over his shoulder and jumped to the sill. He took in a deep breath as the fresh air blew into the room. This was his favorite part of any heist; running a clean getaway with all the loot. He eyed the tree again, taking care to calculate each jump he would need. The odd bend in the trees put his mind ill at ease, unsure of the best way down. Once he was satisfied with his course, Jerrie pulled on the loose strings that were attached to the bag and securely tied them around his neck and waist. At least he had made sure to calculate his new weight.

After a final deep breath, Jerried jumped into the air and began to navigate his way to the ground. The tree proved more difficult than he had expected. With his momentum hurtling him towards the ground, Jerrie only had time to react, acrobatically leaping from branch to branch. Eventually the tom landed safely on the ground with a quick roll to keep from breaking his ankles. Not quite as graceful as he wanted it, but at least no one was around to see it. Well, no one but Teazer, and he didn't really care what his sister thought.

Teazer rolled next to him and jumped to her feat. Clearly she had struggled down the tree as well. Once both cats were back on their paws and ready to run, they took off down the street, chuckling and giggling as they went. They would sort through the loot later. For now, they just wanted to revel in the thrill of the crime.

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The early morning sun created long shadows down a nearby street. The twins found themselves in a back alley; Teazer was almost entirely in the dumpster, looking for scraps of food. Only the twitch of her tail could be seen from Jerrie's position on the ground. Not that he was paying too much attention; he was still going through the prime treasures they had received from their loot. He needed to decide what he was going to present to Macavity. The deal that he was supposed to give all of the valuable loot to Mac, but Jerrie and his sister usually only gave the Napoleon of Crime about 70% of it, keeping the rest for themselves. It was a very risky game giving Mac only enough for him to be satisfied, and if they ever got caught, it'd be over. However, the fact that they didn't trust any cat allowed them to continue to play the game in relative secrecy.

Jerrie was contemplating a beautiful silver locket and trying to decide whether he wanted to keep it or paw it over when a breeze wafted down the alley. His ears perked as he greedily sniffed the air. Something smelled familiar, though he couldn't tell exactly what it was.

Cautiously, the tabby tom navigated his way down to the other end of the alley and poked his head out into the street. With a quick sweeping glance, Jerrie gasped and immediately retracted his head. He recognized those garden aromas; they were in an alley off of the same street that they had robbed the night before. Now Jerrie was pretty certain that the young girl didn't even notice her things were gone yet, but every burglar knows that you don't go back to the scene of the crime the very next day!

Jerrie was about to yell at his sister when an entrancing sight arrested his attention and stopped his call in his throat. Cattycorner from the alley was the household with the gnarled tree that they had robbed. Standing beautifully and almost commandingly on the sill of that top, center window was the beautiful alabaster queen. It almost appeared as if a marble queen sat on the window, surveying her kingdom for eternity. The queen's fur swayed dreamily in the morning breeze. This couldn't be real; Jerrie assumed he must still be half-asleep and dreaming of the queen he had seen last night.

All Jerrie needed was some breakfast to wake him up and tide him over. Just as he was about to call the apparition a dream and jump into that dumpster with Teazer, the queen took a graceful arching leap and lunged for the tree. Jerrie immediately recognized the implications of such an action as he recalled how hard it was for him to descend to the earth, and he was a professional! Was this beautiful, young queen trying to harm herself? There was no way she'd be able to make it down unscathed.

Instinct screamed for Jerrie to take off across the street in attempt to help the cat, but his calculating mind immediately stopped him. What could he really do? She'd hit the ground before he made it to event the closest root. And if she managed to slow her descent enough from him to get to the trunk, he couldn't really do much but climb the tree and watch her plummet past him. His only option was to pray that she caught a branch and held on for dear life, giving him time to think of a plan without blowing his cover.

Jerrie watched with his mouth open in shock as the queen began to flip and swing expertly from branch to branch. It seemed as if a perfectly practiced path had been laid out before her, and not a drop of sweat or ounce of exertion was present in her descent. The performance became more like dancing than acrobatics. Every hold, every shift in weight, every arching leap from one branch to the other was gracefully executed as she made the descent look easy. The finale came as four alabaster paws lightly landed on the ground with a slight bend in the knees. There was no rolling and no extra step to maintain balance; it was as if the cat had simply jumped from a low ledge, not a large tree.

After a moment to breath the fresh air, the queen quickly trotted towards the street. She squeezed her head through the fence posts and glanced both directions down the street. The street seemed clear and the rest of her body slipped through the fence and the queen began a quick, happy trot down the street.

Without a second thought as to what exactly he was doing, Jerrie took off after the petite figure before he could lose her around the corner. He didn't even think to call back to Teazer and let her know where he was going. He kept just far enough back that she wouldn't notice his presence, and as insurance, he hung close to the buildings so that he was ready to duck into any ally or crevice if she decided to look around.

Luckily Teazer had noticed his disappearance and saw him take off down the street. She quickly caught up to the tom. "Wot the 'ell are ya doin', Jer?"

Jerrie quickly shushed his sister and hung closer to the walls. The queen didn't seem to hear Teazer, or didn't care. "Shhh! That queen there was in the 'ouse last noight."

Teazer lowered her voice to a whisper, but wasn't convinced. "Oi didn't see 'er….but so wot?"

The tabby tom continued to keep his eyes glued on the swaying white tail as he continued to follow his prey. His mind began to race as he tried to think of an excuse. He couldn't tell her he didn't know why. Then Teazer would just turn around and drag him back to their hideout. He couldn't lose track of this queen now. Something told him that he needed to catch up to her. As Jerrie scrambled for an idea, a sharp edge dug into the pad of his paw. He glanced down to see a silver chain flowing from his clenched fist. He recalled the locket still clasped in his paw. He quickly clung to the idea. "Well she wos! An I figured that see moight lead us to more stuffs!"

Apparently that was the only excuse that Teazer needed as a huge grin appeared on her face and she glanced down to admire the beautiful pearls around her neck. She ran a quick paw over them and gave an enthusiastic nod. She immediately fell back behind Jerrie and hung close to the buildings as well.

The two tabbies followed the white queen in secret for a few blocks. It was almost comical as they ducked behind objects and into alleys at every small noise, but they never lost track of their snow-white queen. Eventually the houses and city streets faded away and became more sporadically spaced out before melting into nothing. The two thieves hung back behind a dilapidated pick up truck seemingly abandoned on the curb of the street.

Looming at the end of the street was a huge chain link fence extending far to the left and the right, enclosing a large space. It was almost more than either cat could fully comprehend. As they peered through the fence, they couldn't miss the large piles of trash constructed throughout the enclosure.

To the surprise of both cats, the delicate queen walked right up to the fence and slipped elegantly in a small hole created by the fence peeling away from one of the main posts. What on earth could such a beautiful queen want in a dumpy junkyard? In mere seconds after squeezing under the fence, the object of their pursuit disappeared among the various junk piles. Jerrie couldn't seem to wrap his head around what he had just witnessed.

Teazer seemed to be having similar thoughts as she continued to stare at the hole in the fence. "Wot's goin on…?" She breathed in disbelief.

Jerrie shook his head and began to trot towards the junkyard. "Oi dunno." He called back over his shoulder. "But Oi'm gonna foind out!" As Jerrie made it to the hole, the noise hit him. The yard was filled with the sound of singing, chatting, and laughter. It sounded as if quite a large number of cats were gathered somewhere in the yard; more than he and Teazer could take on or sneak past on their own territory. By the time Teazer made it to fence next to him, Jerrie had made up his mind. They were going into the junkyard, but they were going to walk in the front gate. That way, they could enter under the ruse of peaceful but curious cats. No one knows their faces, and they could always use fake names if they had to. Jerrie just had to know what was in the yard and who that queen was.

Teazer had learned long ago to never question her brother when that determined glint entered his eyes. She loyally but cautiously followed her brother as the walked along the fence, determined to find the main entrance. It took a while to find it, but they eventually did. There weren't any cats immediately visible, but the gathering was loud enough that the twins determined they could easily follow the sound. However, after only a few steps, the yard became dead silent; not even the scurry of a rat or a gush of wind could be heard. It was an eerie kind of silence that seemed to bear down on the trespassers as they swore the felt eyes watching them.

Jerrie and Teazer continued to walk along a well-worn path, glancing around nervously. They couldn't help but feel that they were being followed and watched; yet they couldn't see anyone. If they hadn't heard the gathering only seconds earlier, they would have sworn they were truly alone in an abandoned junkyard.

Eventually the path broke into a large clearing. Standing in the middle of this large opening among the piles was a muscular, silver tabby. The tom stood in a very commanding position with his arms crossed over his chest and his legs ready to spring should the siblings try anything silly; he clearly wasn't very trusting. However, he was the only cat that the two could see. What had happened to all the cats they had heard earlier?

The silver tom cleared his throat, reclaiming the tabbies attention as they searched the clearing for the seemingly ghost cats. "Who are you?" There was clearly no small talk or niceties with this cat.

Jerrie swallowed hard. He couldn't use his name, he was known far and wide as an agent of Macavity, but he couldn't take too long to answer because then they would get suspicious. After the briefest moment of contemplation, Jerrie answered without a stutter, "Oi'm James, an this 'ere's moy sista-"

"Olivia's moy name" Interrupted Teazer with a smile. They provided simple, everyday names, but that is usually what was expected of ally cats. Don't want to get too fancy, it makes it too easy to track down the name and know that it's fake. There're tons of cats named James and Oliva, so their cover would be kept.

The tabby eyed them suspiciously and seemed to look past the twins. "Alonzo?" Jerrie and Teazer glanced over their shoulders, surprised to see a tall black and white patched tom blocking their exit. They hadn't even heard or sensed him behind them. This was an entirely different type of cat they were dealing with.

The patched tom, Alonzo, simply shook his head and gave an indifferent shrug. "Nothing to report Munk. They just walked in the yard and came straight here. Don't seem suspicious or anything."

The two glanced back to the tom that went by Munk. The silver tabby sized the cats up for a second time, but this time a little less harshly. After a tense moment, a gentle smile broke out on the leader's face as he stepped forward, holding his paw out in greeting. "Hello James and Olivia. It is a pleasure to meet you." Each of the siblings extended their paws hesitantly in return. Munk continued, "I'm Munkustrap and the tom behind you is Alonzo." He then stepped back, holding his arms out, motioning to the rest of the clearing. "And the tribe gladly welcomes you to the Jellicle Junkyard."

Just as Munkustrap said the last portion of his speech, dozens of cats began to appear from the shadows and crevices of the junk piles. How had Jerrie and Teazer missed all those cats? They hid so well in such a short amount of time, it was almost mind blowing.

Young patched toms seemed to wrestle with each other up by a wooden chair as each tried to get a better look at the newcomers. Two matronly queens held a cream tabby and a tortoise shell queenkit close to them. The two kittens craned their heads in curiosity. There were more cats than Jerrie could fully process. Munkustrap continued to talk to the twins as Jerrie continued to scan the cats still coming out of their hiding spots. He suddenly froze and went stiff.

Blue!

A deep, bottomless blue, like the ocean. Or as blue and mysterious as the ice that topped mountains; steadfast and enduring. A shade that one could stare at forever and lose themselves completely, like the sky. The color of everything deep and hypnotizing. The color of everything that he couldn't live without. Why didn't he think of that earlier? Now that he saw them, it was obvious that those eyes couldn't do anything but a sapphire blue.

The beautiful white queen that had unknowingly brought him to this yard was sitting elegantly on the hood of a black car hood next to another small black and scarlet queen who had large, gazing eyes. The snowy queen sat just like a statue, watching the twins with a suspicious gaze. When Jerrie met her eyes, they quickly became filled with a questioning look. The orange tabby quickly pulled his paw behind his back, hiding the chain the he remembered he was holding. The queen tore her eyes from Jerrie and refocused them on Munkustrap. Jerrie soon followed.

The silver tom had just finished extending his wordy welcome to the two cats, offering them a den and place to stay if they so chose. Jerrie knew he had heard the word Jellicle before and he mentally tried to place it.

During his mental search, Teazer quickly stepped forward and gave a polite nod and generous smile. "Thank ya so much, Mistah Munkustrap. Moy brutha and Oi really do appreciate it, but-"

"But we wouldn't wont to burden ya unless ya're sure it wouldn't be a botha." Jerrie quickly interrupted as he stepped forward and grabbed Teazer's arm. If looks could kill, the daggers Teazer was shooting at him would have dropped Jerrie right there. The tom's mind had gone into a panic when he realized that she was going to turn down the offer. They couldn't leave, not yet; he had to know who that queen was.

The rest of the tribe quickly descended upon the siblings, surrounded them with welcoming smiles and words. Teazer and Jerrie tried to accept the greetings with as much graciousness as they could muster. During the commotion, Jerrie noticed no white queen had come to greet them. He immediately stood on the tips of his paws in an attempt to peer over the heads of the cats surrounding him. He caught a glimpse of the car boot. The petite queen was still sitting there with a small smile, but her fair white companion was gone.

The two cats tried their best to remember everyone's names as they were quickly ushered to an available den deep in a junk pile, supported by an industrial freezer. The den was pretty bare and plain, but they were free to decorate it as they saw fit. There were a few threadbare blankets and pillows folded neatly in the corner. However, the rest of the tribe told them that they were welcome to anything they found in the piles in the junkyard, and if they found something they liked, they could keep it. Jerrie had to admit, it was kind of nice to have a place to call a home.

As soon as the tom shared that sentiment with his sister, she turned on him with pure fury written on her face. She placed her paws securely on her waist and shook her head. "Jer! We can't! We shouldn't be 'ere at oll! These are the Jellicles! Wot's wrong with ya?"

Jerrie shrugged as he plopped down on the blankets in the corner, reclining against the pillows. "I dunno. It's koinda noice ta 'ave a place away from smelly ol' Mac." Teazer immediately shushed Jerrie with fervent glances around the den. One never knew when one of Mac's agents was around and listening.

The argument quickly escalated. Luckily the twins were well versed in fighting while keeping their voices down. But just because they could keep their volume at a practical level didn't mean the words weren't venomous. Teazer reminded Jerrie that Mac didn't like the Jellicles. Then, in addition to that, they hadn't successfully completed a heist in a week. If they didn't turn in this past trip's loot, they would be overdue, something that Mac did not take kindly to. And to top it off, she didn't like the feeling of this tribe, it was almost fake: too good to be true.

Jerrie exploded at Teazer's remarks. She was free to leave if she really wanted. But she had no right to speak to him about Macavity. He was the one who was an agent to the Napoleon of Crime. It was his name that was tied to the Monster of Depratvity. And Macavity only knew about him. Teazer was simply his sister and assistant, flying under the radar. She had nothing to lose; she was risking nothing in this endeavor. And she was lying. He saw the way her face lit up when she was welcomed by other cats she could consider friends. After his final infuriating statement, Jerrie stormed out of the den.

The angered tom needed fresh air and to stretch his muscles. He decided that it was a good time to meet some of the cats on a more individual level. He did interact with a few of the Jellicles, but the meetings were awkward and shallow. It seemed like everyone was still trying to make out these strange new cats with odd accents. Jerrie decided that he needed a cover story for his life, and settled on the fact that his sister and he were just everyday ally cats.

Eventually the dens and the lounging cats began to thin out as Jerrie moved on to lesser-visited areas. He had heard stories of mystic twins that lived farther away from the main clearing that peaked his interest. He'd have to be careful around them because they could sense emotions and thoughts, but he couldn't quell his curiosity.

As the tabby tom scoured the piles for the hidden den, he stumbled upon a secondary clearing. It was much smaller than the main one, and the loose dirt indicated that it was rarely visited. Jerrie was about to shrug the space off and continue with his search when a flash of color caught his eyes. The entrancing queen that had led him to this welcoming place was elegantly stretching in the middle of the clearing. Her limbs painting beautiful lines against the junk behind her, as her fur seemed to glow in the setting sunlight.

As she bent forward to touch her toes, crystal blue eyes glanced up and caught Jerrie in their gaze. The tom immediately blushed, as if he had been caught a peeping tom. He hadn't really done anything wrong, but somehow a sense of shame gripped him. "'Ello." He mumbled, glancing at his wringing paws and then back to the hypnotizing feline.

"Hello." She purred as she stood and began stretch her arms across her body. Those sapphire orbs never left Jerrie as he continued to glance all over the clearing with occasional glimpses of the queen.

An awkward silence filled the clearing as the queen continued to stretch and Jerrie couldn't help but fiddle. In an attempt to alleviate the pressure he felt building, Jerrie blurted out, "Noice 'yard ya oll gots 'ere."

A smirk spread under those beautiful eyes as a small chuckled emitted from her throat. "I think so too." She stated, a soft, seductive purr filling her voice.

Another silence fell as she continued stretch. Jerrie was in agony. Normally if this was any other cat, he would have simply walked away. However, he didn't think anything would be able to tear him away from this mysterious queen. He made another attempt at conversation, "So, um… Moy name's James."

The queen smirked again as she did a quick practice kick. Jerrie was amazed as her knee came up to her shoulder. He didn't even know it was possible to kick that high. "I heard." She purred, laughing again.

Jerrie blushed. Of course she had heard, she was there when he introduced himself to the whole tribe. He felt so stupid, but he really didn't know where else to go. "Hehe, of course. It's a pleasure to meet ya Miss…?"

The beautiful queen straightened and her blue eyes became even more intense, if that was possible. After what seemed to be a moment of consideration, she slowly began to walk towards Jerrie, her hips and tail swayed almost seductively. She stopped only inches away from the tabby. The queen leisurely leaned forward. Jerrie found himself falling into her hypnotizing eyes as he took in her scent. She was so close that he could see each piece of fur on her face as well as the feint blush of her pink skin underneath. Jerrie felt the urge to pull her close and kiss the queen, but he quickly fought the feeling away. Instead, he became stiff and his breath became staggered.

The queen's smirk grew wider as her eyes sparkled mischievously. "Victoria. I'm Miss Victoria. The cat from the family that you stole from last night." Her voice still purred as she laughed again. She kept her face close to Jerrie's for a moment before simply brushing him aside and strolling away. Over her shoulder she called back, "But you can shorten my name however you'd like…Jer."

With that last statement, she was gone, leaving Jerrie frozen in shock. He wasn't sure whether it was from Victoria's overwhelming beauty or from the realization that she had been awake during the whole heist the night before. However, for some reason, he wasn't worried that she would rat him out. Her actions made that clear. Too bad he didn't know her character too well, or he would have sworn she was interested in him.

After Jerrie pulled himself out of his self-induced paralysis, and quickly trotted after her. For some reason, he hoped that he could catch up to Victoria, but he knew that it was a futile effort. He had stood like a stupid statue for too long. Victoria was long gone and he had no clue as to her direction. So instead, he resumed meeting the rest of the tribe. He learned of the Jellicle Ball and Victoria's role as a key dancer. He could only imagine how beautiful her dancing was.

The weeks passed and Jerrie managed to mend his relationship with Teazer who decided to stay. She was glad to have a home and a family surrounding her. However, she still jumped at any noise in the junkyard and worried everyday. Throughout these weeks he also made a point to visit with Victoria everyday. During each meeting, the young queen seemed aloof, and yet interested in what Jerrie had to say. She never again called him Jer, and always called to him as James. Additionally, he could always find her in that same clearing at the same time each day. He was pretty sure that wasn't her usual habit, especially when he still found her there, under a chair protruding from a pile, while a storm raged through the yard.

The meetings ranged in subject from the weather for the day to more in depth conversations about her past and her hopes and dreams. Jerrie tried his hardest to keep the focus away from himself, but he couldn't avoid it. With much discretion, he would talk about the travels and the treasures he had 'stumbled' upon. But Macavity and the idea of stealing never came up.

The two also taught each other various skills. Victoria taught Jerrie some graceful moves that only a ballerina or a Jellicle could master. In return, Jerrie tutored Victoria on a range of acrobatic flips and other maneuvers. The two grew closer and closer each day.

One day, he decided that he needed to find Victoria so that he could atone for his actions and give her back what was rightfully her owner's. He didn't have the courage to take the well-loved pearls from Teazer, but he quickly grabbed the silver locket he had brought with him on the first day. As usual, Victoria was waiting patiently in her clearing. She didn't even pretend to stretch anymore; she simply waited in the shade of that trusty chair.

Jerrie settled down on the ground next to her and gave his crooked smile. "Well 'ello there Vickster!" He purred.

Victoria rolled those beautiful sapphire eyes, but still laughed. "Hey James. What you got there?" She glanced at his clenched paw. How was she so observant?

Jerrie willingly held it out and uncurled his paw. The beautiful silver locked caught the light and glittered, sending light spots all over her alabaster fur. "Ya see, it's yours. Well, it's actually your little girl's. It's from that noight… a whoile ago. Oi never really apologized loike ya deserved. Oi'm sorry. Now ya can take it back ta 'er." Jerrie stared down in shame, holding his paw out and waiting for the verbal reprimand as she took the trinket from his paw.

However, nothing happened for a few seconds as Jerrie squirmed in the uncomfortable silence. Eventually the tom felt a gentle touch lower his arm as that beautiful laughter filled his ears. "Don't worry about it James, if you like it, you can keep it. That girl has everything she wants anyways. She will probably never notice it missing."

"But-"

"And I appreciate your apology, but it doesn't matter. You guys didn't harm anyone. As I said, she won't ever know you were there. If she does, her parents will just buy her replacements. You guys will probably put that stuff to better use anyway." That alluring purr crept back into her voice.

That purr could probably make him do anything, but he couldn't let it sway him this time. "No." He stated, closing his eyes as he fought the hypnotizing affect of her voice. "I want ta give it back ta ya. Please take it." Jerrie raised his arm again, pushing it closer to Victoria.

The downy queen gingerly took the beautiful chain and locket from his paw. "Since you insist." She smirked as she balled it up in her paw. She quickly changed the topic, requesting another story from Jerrie.

That was one thing that Jerrie learned about Victoria more than anything else. She was fascinated by the outside world. All she knew of was her house, the yard, and the simple path in between the two. She wanted to explore, to see other worlds, other cultures. She wanted to learn as much as she could about the world. She always begged for Jerrie to tell her stories of other cats and tribes. However, during his stories, he tried to convince her that it was as dreamy as she thought, that it wasn't a glamorous or fascinating life. A cat on the street could barely survive. She seemed to brush the thoughts aside and always asked for more.

As Jerrie began to wrap up his story about his heist in The Lake District when a loud explosion rang across the clearing. Victoria took hold of Jerrie's arm and pulled him close to her. "Macavity." She whispered in terror.

A different kind of terror rushed through Jerrie as he realized that he and Teazer could be in some serious trouble. He quickly convinced Victoria to hide in an old dresser and made her promise not to leave until he came to find her. The young queen willingly promised as Jerrie gently closed the doors.

He rushed to the clearing just in time to see Macavity deliver a crippling blow to Alonzo's stomach. The tom would be okay, but he wasn't going to be able to fight anytime soon. Macavity turned towards the clearing, ready to take on his next challenger as he laughed devilishly.

As Macavity scanned the crowd, his gaze fell on Jerrie. The fiery tom's face transformed from pure enjoyment to fury and betrayal. Piercing gold eyes seemed to enter Jerrie's mind as he felt as if his skull had split and a flood of emotions and maliciousness drove into his brain. Jerrie screamed in pain as he fell to his knees and cradled his head in his paws. Through blurred vision, he saw Teazer hiding in their den as Macavity turned and fled from the yard, a new purpose set in his mind.

Teazer was at Jerrie's side in no time as she desperately tried coaxing him to his feet, demanding to know what was wrong. Through a ringing head and bleary eyes, Jerrie placed his paw on the queen's shoulders and gave a knowing nod. "Go pack." He whispered.

That was all Teazer needed and she fled into their den. Luckily, the other cats were busy attending to other wounded members as well as discussing how the cat had slipped into the yard. Jerrie was able to wave Jelly aside, insisting that he was okay, and slipped out of the clearing and towards where he had left Victoria.

By the time he reached the dresser, the ringing in his ears had stopped and his mind had cleared enough for him to think in full sentences. He carefully pulled open the doors as an eager Victoria burst out and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'm so glad you're okay! Was it Macavity? Did you fight him? Are you sure you're okay?"

Jerrie managed to calm the panicked queen, though he wasn't sure how he was going to tell her what he needed to; not only did she probably not want to hear it, but he didn't want to speak his thoughts into reality. Jerrie took Victoria's snowy paws in his own, and stared earnestly into those ocean eyes. "Victoria, there's a lot Oi haven't told ya." He quickly held up a paw to silence her attempted interjection. He needed to get it all out. "Moy real name is Mungojerrie, and as Oi'm sure ya know from tha name, Oi am one o' Macavity's agents." He tried his best to ignore her look of shock. "Well, Oi use ta be. Anyways, that scuffle wos Mac. An 'e saw me. 'E was pissed. Moy sista, Teazer, and Oi need ta leave. Otherwoise the 'yard'll never be safe."

Victoria shook her head as if she couldn't fully understand. "No, no! You'll both be safe here. You said 'used to be'. You aren't anymore. Everyone is your friend! We'll take care of you both. You have to stay!" Her paws squeezed Jerrie's tight.

Jerrie gently squeezed back as he maneuvered his paws so that they encompassed hers. "No, Vicks, we've gots ta leave. When Mac saw me, 'e tried ta mentally attack me. Whoile 'e did that, 'e also sent a message. 'E doesn't take loightly ta betrayal. 'E's after moy life, and 'e'll stop at nothin to get me. It'll only double 'is attacks on the 'yard and put everyone…and you in danger! We've gots ta leave!"

Victoria continued to shake her head, unable to look at him with her piercing gaze like she usually did. "I-I'll go with you. You can't leave!"

Jerrie let out an exasperated chuckle that didn't really hold any merriment. "Ya can't Vicks, it's too dangerous. If Mac's afta me, you'll be in danger too. Oi jus' can't let ya come. You're the one I wont ta protect tha most."

Victoria started to blink profusely, assumingly to fight back the tears. "You just can't leave me! I-I think I love you."

Jerrie was floored. What a different Victoria was sitting before him compared to the one he met weeks ago in this exact clearing. Such a sweet, loving kitten had replaced the confident, alluring Victoria. This was exactly the thing that Jerrie had prayed wasn't true. Long ago, he had accepted his feelings for the beautiful queen. As much as he hadn't believed in it before, he loved Victoria. He could deal with his one-sided feelings, assuming she only saw him as a good friend. But now that she had confessed, how was he supposed to leave knowing that he was breaking both of their hearts?

Victoria quickly yanked her paws free from Jerrie's and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him close and nuzzling his cheek. "Please…" Was all she could manage to mumble.

Eventually even her pleas faded into silence as the two cats held each other close. Jerrie wasn't sure that he could voice his feelings, knowing that he was leaving, so he hoped that his arms around her waist would convey those loving whispers and humbled apologies locked in his heart.

Night found the two huddled together under the chair that had served as their sentinel for the past weeks. Jerrie had one arm wrapped around Victoria's shoulders with his other paw resting delicately on her leg. Victoria had her arms wrapped firmly around his waist, loathe to let go. The two felines waited silently for Teazer to appear with Jerrie's luggage and the signal to leave.

Conversation slipped into an air of nonchalance as they spoke of the upcoming departure as casually as they could. It appeared to be the only way that they could deal with the future. Victoria pulled one paw from around Jerrie's waist and began to absentmindedly trace the stripes on his chest. "What do you expect me to do, stay here and wait for you? What if you never come back?"

Jerrie cracked a smile, knowing Victoria wasn't serious. "Well, ya know that Oi'll be back as soon as Oi can: either when Mac is defeated or forgets about me. And Oi guess Oi don't really expect it…but Oi was 'oping ya would."

Victoria was silent as she nestled her head deeper into his shoulder.

Jerrie pulled his head back so he could look down at the beautiful queen curled against him. "And when Oi come back, Oi'll take ya travelin, oll ova tha world!"

Victoria's ears flicked as she smiled at the promise. "What if it's years later and I already have a mate?" She glanced up with those crystal blue eyes. They were hard and cold like ice. Jerrie could tell that even though she accepted her emotions and knew it was what needed to be done, she was still upset that he was leaving without her. Then again, could he really hold that against her? If the roles were switched, he would struggle to forgive her, even if he understood.

"As Oi said, Oi really 'ope ya won't…that would just break moy 'eart. I could never love another queen besides you." He purred, kissing the top of hear head.

The luxurious purr erupted from deep in her chest as Victoria shook her had, burying her face in his shoulder. Through his fur she mumbled. "I could never look at another tom. I'll always wait for your return, even if it's in Heaviside."

Jerrie contemplated if it was silly that they could have such a deep connection in such a short amount of time. His answer was no. It wasn't silly at all, it was true love. During his contemplation, he felt his paw lifted as Victoria gently placed something in the pad before closing his paw around it. She gave his paw a gentle kiss and released it. Jerrie pulled his paw up to his face and opened it. Delicately resting on his pad was the beautiful locket he had stolen and then returned. He looked back at Victoria with a cocked eyebrow.

Victoria allowed a ghost of that alluring smirk to grace her features. "Well, since the day you gave it back, I stole it from my owner as mine. (You're a bad influence by the way.)" She gave a quick chuckle before continuing, "So take it with you, but make sure you return it. It'll also remind you of me and keep you away from any exotic queens you may meet."

Jerrie smiled at first at the sentiment, but the grin eventually faded. It really hit him that he finally found love and he had to leave it behind. Yes, it was for her safety, but even the best reasons couldn't soften the pain he felt. He quickly slipped the locket over his head and around his neck, the silver heart resting right next to his actual one. "Oi'll always wear it 'til tha day Oi get back." He purred as he pulled the queen closer, catching her in an impassioned kiss. They remained locked together until the heard Teazer trotting up to the clearing.

The two broke apart as she entered; it was now or never. If either remained in the other's embrace any longer, they'd never let go. Jerrie grabbed his bag from Teazer and held his paw over the locket and the heart. He quickly darted forward, giving Victoria one last kiss before scaling the fence, his sister not far behind. The two landed safely on the other side of the fence and began to flee into the night. As the distance they covered began to grow, Jerrie threw one last glance over his shoulder.

He watched as a beautiful white queen clung to the fence and crystal blue tears fell from sapphire eyes.

A/N: Sorry. This is another one that got carried away. I like it, but I think it could've been better. As I finished it, I realized this might have been more of a plot line that was meant for a multi-chapter story. Oh well, I don't think it turned out too bad. I also wanted to write a story more of rambunctious Jerrie versus little prissy Victoria, but that kinda got spun out of the story. Maybe I'll make another story or one-shot sometime. I may also take this and elaborate it into a full chapter story; going beyond this end…I dunno. Anyways, I'll stop rambling. Please, please, oh please let me know what you thought! Review! :D It really helps with the writing process. Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading.