Disclaimer: I don't own CATS!
Hey everyone, I'm sorry it's been so long, I've been kinda busy and kinda dreading working on this chapter because I knew I'd have a lot of work to do with the end of it. So please enjoy the fruits of my labor!
Oh, and to those following, Sex, Drugs, and Munkustrap, I'm currently working on the next chapter.
Okay, so I've covered all that. What else can I say but please review? Um... how about enjoy!
Oh, and I took out that thing about fourth wall jokes because I realized it sorta came across as making fun of the readers, which was not my intention. Sorry about that.
Tantomile crept through the hallway of the lodge, quietly slinking through the shadows in that way only a cat knows how to do. The dark hallways seemed to stretch forever, but that didn't bother the psychic, she could see in the dark, after all.
In her paws she gripped a cloth napkin, the ends tied up so as to form a kind of sack, the contents of which she was determined to get to a certain cat.
It was almost midnight, her family were all in bed, but this was important. She had to deliver this package. To her it was urgent, because it had to do with the survival of one of their party.
But beyond what she felt was her obligation, she really didn't mind doing this. In fact she rather enjoyed any chance to walk around and be by herself. The lodge was nice and quiet. The dark night was so pleasant, the warm air seeming perfect, especially as she would sneak by a cold window. Yes, she was glad for the excuse to go on a late night walk.
Quietly she made her way down the hall, staying close to the wall so as not to be seen. When she got to the end she found her goal, one of the lodges many closets. She opened it silently, sneaking in the barely open doorway and quickly shutting it behind her before anyone could see.
In the closet she squatted down and sat on her haunches, feeling around on the floor until she found a loose match and a candle on a candle stick. Quickly she struck the match and lit the candle, shaking the match to put it out as the light revealed what, or whom I should say, she had come to find.
Exotica sat curled up against the wall, looking down in defeat. She would not meet Tantomile's gaze, wouldn't even look up at her, feeling as though she ought to instead hide out of sight.
"I brought you your share from dinner," said Tanto, noting how thin Exotica looked, deciding to bring her more next time she found her, even if it meant less for herself.
"Hmmmm," sighed Exotica, staring blankly at the door as Tanto opened the cloth napkin to reveal a nice peace of seared salmon with asparagus and a roll. She didn't want to look at it, didn't want to eat.
"Exy, I explained your situation to Webber. He said I can bring you your meals," said Tanto sweetly, pushing the food toward Exotica.
"What situation?" asked the dark queen stiffly, narrowing her eyes at Tantomile.
"You're crippling a-social tendencies, maddening shyness, and extreme self-loathing. All of which are completely unwarranted. If you would just allow us to reach out to you instead of recoiling every time someome shows you love... I know you don't believe me, but you might be happy," said the psychic, trying to reach out to Exy.
"You waste your time with me," said Exotica, not touching the food. "I'm unreachable, I always just wind up hurting myself or others again."
"But you've never hurt anyone," said Tanto, scooting forward toward her friend. "Every time anyone in your family get mad, you assume it's your fault. Every time you see something go wrong, you blame yourself. You've convinced yourself of all these horrible things, and you won't allow yourself to live because you can't see the world any other way."
"You know what my dad used to tell me?" asked the queen, looking up desperately at Tanto. "He used to tell me, "don't try, do. And if you can't do, don't try." He said unless I was perfect, I'd be unlovable,"
"You're dad was a bastard," said Tanto flatly, to which Exy started to tear up as she laughed, until tears poured down her face freely and she was almost in stitches. This went on for a minute, until Exy finally recovered herself, seeming to become the creature of misery again. "That night, when you accepted back the unlovable, why did you do it?" asked Exy, looking at Tanto seriously
"Because she needed mercy. As in forgiving her despite the fact that she didn't deserve it. But do you know what the difference is between you and Grizabella?" asked Tanto, looking seriously at her friend.
Exy simply shook her head no, embarrassed she was being made to geuss, since she thought of herself as always wrong.
"The difference, is that you have done nothing to deserve the isolation and misery you bury yourself in," said Tanto, lightly touching her friend's shoulder before getting up and leaving, shutting the door behind her.
Exotica sat quietly thinking this over for a few minutes, and then finally went for the food Tanto had left, her whole self overwhelmed by just the touching gesture of her friend making sure she didn't starve in her attempt to isolate herself.
"Okay, so all of you support the animal rights movement?" asked John, trying to get all of this straight. This coversation had been going on for about two hours, John acting uncharacteristically thick headed since the idea of all the world's Jellicle Cats sharing the same idea seemed highly implausible
"for the hundreth time, yes," said Tugger, about ready to claw his mane out, he was so frustrated.
"No matter what other things the individual Jellicle thinks?" asked the actor, raising an eyebrow as if to see if this placed any challenged to what they had just been discussing.
"Yes, we all believe in animal rights. Because we're cats, and a lot of us have human owners, so of course we want humans to treat us right. Even Admetus, who's a Communist, believes in animal rights!" Tugger said forcefully, tired of trying explain this very simple concept to John.
"Okay, okay, I get it...wait, Admetus is a Communist?" asked John, unsure of whether he should laugh at this or be horrified.
"yep, and a liscensed welder," said Tugger, tucking the collar back in it's case and putting it back under his mattress.
At this the human's jaw nearly dropped, he couldn't imagine Addie with a welding gun.
Tugger noticed the human's expression and grinned, now beginning to enjoy this conversation. "Yeah, it's frightening, especially when he welds off his meds," said Tugger, with a sigh as he stretched.
The human was quiet for a minute, staring at Tugger strangely before getting up and saying, "you wanna drink?"
"We do a lot of that, don't we?" was the Jellicle's response, turning his head to the side questioningly.
"Well, the chances of us getting out of here are slim, so why not?" asked John, to which the Jellicle just nodded as the actor handed him a beer.
After taking a sip, Tugger wiped his mouth and said, "if that's the case, I'm gonna have to propose to Bomba quick."
"Exactly, just like of we see anything alcoholic, we better drink it quick," said John with a wink.
"Hmmm, I can drink to that," said Tugger, raising his bottle. Then he put it down after another sip and instead picked up a dance magazine and begun flipping through it. "I don't know about you, but I am very bored. Let's look through magazines and try to figure out which models are gay."
"That's just insane, how about we watch cult-classic movies and stuff ourselves on that fudge my mother sent with me?"
"Sounds good to me," said the Jellicle, looking through the shelf of terrible flicks until he came upon the worst movie ever made, 'The Room.'
Jemima sat on Etcetera's bed, licking herself. Since Misto had been diagnosed with a magical cold, she and the kittens had moved in with her sister. It was pretty nice, being able to have a little girl time... at least after the little monsters are asleep.
Cettie gently pushed the bathroom door open and stepped out, she had just taken a 'human shower,' as the Jellicles called them. After running the towel over her went fur, the queen layed it down on the floor and sat down, beginning to lick herself to finish drying.
Jemima watched her sister with a strange look on her face. She was definitely happy she had finally found someone, but seeing her sister trying out something so human and then doing a total three sixty and acting so cat just was not only too weird, but it brought up a lot of questions she wanted to ask. Her sister had some 'splain'in to do.
"So, you and that Australian guy," she begun, to which Cettie looked up at her confusedly.
"What Australian? Drew is from New Zealand, I thought you knew that," she said with a laugh.
"Oh, sorry... but seriously, you and the human. Ummm, don't we have a word for that? Humanality?" asked Jemmi, in her most teasing voice.
"What? You just made that up! There's no word for it, except forbidden," she whispered this last part, looking around as if the walls had ears.
"Oh yeah, that's the word I was thinking of," giggled Jemmi, to which Cettie tried to swat her upside the head.
"Hey, if the humans find out about this, they'll think it's disgusting. So don't you go around talking about this, sis," said Cettie, as she begun licking her paws.
"You know, those human habits you've picked up, like taking showers instead of tongue baths and searching for things with flashlights and constantly worrying about the time..-"hey, we've all picked up a few habits"-"Yeah, anyway," said Jemima, annoyed about being inturrupted right when she was getting to her punch line.
"...Well I was thinking..." she continued, as she inched her way toward the bathroom, Cettie eyeing her suspiciously the whole way. "...that if you're going to do things like a human... you might as well go all the way!" and with that she picked up the blow dryer and turned it on, cringing as the harsh sound hit her sensitive ears.
"EEeek!" squealed Cettie, as she jumped up to get away from the horrible sound, only to have Jemima chase her.
"It's gonna get you!" laughed Jemi as she made chase, snickering every time Cettie jumped away and covered her ears miserably, unaware that she was getting close to the end of the extension cord.
"Hsssssssss" she hissed, as Jemima cornered her, trying to bring the blow dryer right up to her sister, when it came unplugged.
"Jemi, what the freak"-"watch your language," said Jemima, tossing the hair dryer aside and offering her paw to ther sister, who immediately clasped it and stood back up.
"You're horrible," she muttered looking away before sighing saddly. For a minute there was quiet between them, until Cettie sighed and said, "it is illegal for me and Drew to be together, isn't it?"
"You know how Munk would react, go all altru-crazy and act like a drunken politician. But don't worry, sis. You know I love being a rebel, and if you love this human, I can't say no," said Jemi, putting her paw on her sisers shoulder.
"Thanks, sis. I knew you would stand by me, but...what's a politician?" asked Cettie, unsure about particular terminology among different groups of humans.
"Oh, you know, it's those people who get paid to wear suites all day and other humans choose them for the position of wearing suites all day. There's also lots of name calling and holding up signs and taring and feathering," said Jemi, half wishing she didn't know all this.
"Really? Well I'm in for an interesting conversation with Drew."
Jo sat on the stairs looking out the window at the wind and snow still blustering outside, wondering if it would ever stop. She didn't want to die here, didn't want to be found in a lodge filled with snow, having frozen to death. She was so angry with Webber she could just spit nails.
But worse than that, she felt like the loneliest person in the world.
So many strange feelings troubled the poor woman, feelings she couldn't explain. Some things she didn't want explained, she just didn't want them to exist. She didin't want any of this to be happening, didn't want to be here. Why did she have to be stuck in this horrible place where she could do nothing but watch her partner in crime fall for a member of another species? And why was she not okay with this?
"I never had a thing for Drew," she said under her breath. She wanted to mean it, she was so angry with herself, so she stood up and said it to the darkness. "I never had a thing for Drew!"
"I don't think I buy that," said a voice behind her, startling her.
Jo immediately stood up and turned around, every muscle in her body tense as she stared at the strange figure standing abover her on the stairs. She couldn't draw a breath, as the cloaked phantom-like figure seemed to loom over her, his hood covering his face.
"No, I don't buy that, but there are more important thoughts to dwell on," he said, in a very charming, devonaire voice.
Jo should have been offended by this, but somehow she wasn't. In fact, she was more intrigued than anything. This person, whoever her happened to be, didn't seem threatening, but instead filled her with a kind of fascination.
Slowly, the cloaked figure walked gracefully down the stairs and walked into the center of the room. Now that he was out of this shadows, Jo could tell his cloak was a mix of black and scarlet lining, and he carried himself with the airs of aristocracy.
"There are more important things to dwell on, like love and beauty... this beautiful night, for instance. And of course, music," he said this last word with a poetic pronunciation that made the word seem filled with wonder, and it did just that to Jo.
Then he gestured around the room, Jo following where he pointed with her eyes when something strange begun to happen. The room begun to fill with fog, and candles begun to alight all around them, and a small fire came to life in the fireplace.
"Music, is what you need to focus on, my dear. Although the kind of music is up to you," he said, holding out his gloved hands to Jo. Then he stepped closer to her, getting close enough to touch her face, but not quite, and then he begun to sing:
"Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation Darkness stirs and wakes imagination
Silently the senses abandon their defenses
Helpless to resist the notes i write
For I compose the music of the night"
Jo watched, completely entranced as he circled her and touched her hair, and then begun to walk back into the center of the room. As he sang the candles begun to move about him as if compelled by some unseen force, but somehow she new it was the music. Her pulled out a few sheets of music and let them gently fall the toe ground, the candles illuminating the prettily drawn musical score.
"Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendour
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender
Hearing is believing
Music is deceiving
Hard as lightning, soft as candle light
Dare you trust the music of the night.."
As he sang this, he approached her again and played a bit with her hair, and yet she was completely calm, even though she new at least part of her should be scared. But he seemed so... she couldn't explain it. She would trust him, even thought at this point anything could happen and she wouldn't try to resist, she was so under his spell.
"Close your eyes for your eyes will only tell the truth
And the truth isn't what you want to see
In the dark it is easy to pretend..
That the truth is what it ought to be..."
Here he approached a piano that Jo never realized was there before, and he ran his hands down more sheets of music, as if curessing the notes.
Then he turned back to her, raising his arms as if being swept away by the music.
"Softly, deftly, music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night"
He turned around and walked to the other side of the room, Jo following him slowly, wanting to be closer to him, as a gate was lowered from the ceiling and he grabbed it with both hands. It was strange, and frightening. Was he trapping her? Because Jo felt perfectly okay with it.
"Close your eyes start a journey through a strange, new world
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before
Close your eyes and let music set you free
Only then can you belong to me"
He let go of the gate and started walking toward her again, Jo backing up a little nervously now. As he sang the word, free, he raised his arms and allowed this note to carry him away a little, Jo turning around as if she couldn't take the beauty of it. Then he walked up to her and put his arms around her again, Jo leaning into him as she felt his arms embrace her.
"Floating, falling, sweet intoxication
Touch me, trust me, savour each sensation
Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in
To the power of the music that I write
The power of the music of the night"
He ran a hand over her face, and as he let go of her, Jo wouldn't let go of his hand as he led back into the center of the room. Then, as he sang these last words, he let go of her hand and grabbed the curtain on one of the windows, pulling it down: the snow had stopped! Jo stared in wonder and fear, so entranced and terrified and overjoyed, she couldn't do anything but stare at the most beautiful sight that could have met her eyes at that moment. And yet this strange figure was still here to entice her into more wonder, so she looked back at him to see what he would do next.
"You alone can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the night"
Her put both his arms around her, and in the light of the candles and the little bit little bit of moonlight that was coming in from the very top of the window, he pulled her into a kiss. Her lips met his and she swore his were as soft as velvet. It was so strange, kissing someone who's face she had never seen before. She didn't know what to think, except she was going to lose herself in this for at least this moment.
Pulling away, he let go of her hands, and took a bow. And then, with a wave of his cloak, everything, the candles, the fog, the fire in the fireplace and the gates, all were gone. Jo stood alone in the dark room, holding onto the enchantment, the hope, and the music of the night.
No one knew it, but at that moment, a certain magical tom gave a very gentle sneeze in his sleep, causing an explosion of activity to take place down in the basement.
I love leaving cliffhangers, I don't know why, but to me it's a great way to end a chapter. Please review!