Jellylorum and Jennyanydots sat on the back of the old car, knitting and talking. "Only a few more days, Jenny." Jellylorum said with a smile. The Gumbie was pregnant, and due to deliver any day. Just as Jenny opened her mouth to reply, Coricopat came rushing up to the two queens.

"Excuse me, ladies, but I'm afraid Tantomile is in need of your assistance…" the striped tom said in a low voice.

"What? What's wrong?" Jellylorum asked, her voice etched with concern. Coricopat looked slightly uncomfortable, an unusual expression for him.

"Just…..just follow me," he said, disappearing around a corner.

Exchanging looks with Jenny, Jelly shrugged and put down her knitting. Jenny did the same, and both queens quickly followed Coricopat.

He was waiting for them outside an old, broken desk, with a tattered piece of cloth hung over the empty space beneath it for a door. Pausing, he slipped behind the cloth, and the queens followed suit.

What they saw shocked them, to say the least. Tantomile was lying on a pile of old blankets, and appeared to be in heavy labor. "What on Earth…." Jenny murmured, too startled to move.

"She's pregnant." Coricopat said simply. "We didn't tell anyone, and it's only one kitten, so she didn't show very much."

Jelly had already started tending to the laboring queen, but Jenny still stood in the same place, a puzzled look on her face. "But….who's the father? She has no mate."

Coricopat paused, then said quietly, "I am. We are mates as well as siblings. That's why we informed no one of her pregnancy."

Jelly and Jenny looked from Tantomile to Coricopat with identical expressions of disbelief on their faces. Tantomile begged tiredly, "Please, don't tell anyone. Please…." She trailed off in a moan of pain. Jelly quickly went back to tending to her, with Jenny helping as best she could.

Two hours later, a small ball of fur lay curled up next to Tantomile, sleeping. The kitten was a female, and she didn't really even resemble her parents that much. She had the black, gray and white coloring, but there was red spattered on her in places, making her appear slightly like Demeter. This made some sense; Demeter was distantly related to the twin mystics. She also happened to be Jenny's niece.

"Jenny, there is a favor we must ask of you," the new parents said in unison after Jellylorum had left. Jenny looked slightly startled.

"What is it, my dears?"

Coricopat looked at Tantomile and drew a deep breath. "We want you to adopt our daughter. She doesn't deserve to live with the confusion of having her mother and father also be her aunt and uncle. You're going to have your kittens soon, so no one would suspect anything."

Jenny's eyes widened in shock, then darted back and forth between Coricopat and Tantomile. "Well….well I…." She paused, then sighed resignedly. "I'll have to talk to Skimbleshanks," she finished, then started to leave. She stopped at the doorway and turned back around. "By the way, what's her name?"

"Jemima."

~*~*~*~*~*~

"….so they want us to adopt the kitten." Jenny explained to Skimbleshanks later that evening. The orange tabby sighed and ran a paw over his eyes. "Well, Ah s'pose it'd be f'r th' best…" he said slowly.

Jenny nodded, then sighed heavily. "I'll go by and tell them in the morning. Goodnight, dear," she murmured, settling down to sleep.

However, Jenny never got to Tantomile and Coricopat's that morning. In the very early hours of the morning, Skimbleshanks was awakened by Jenny tugging at his arm. "Wha? Wha is i'?" he mumbled, blinking his eyes open in the darkness.

"Skimbleshanks, it's time. Go get Jelly. And tell her to get Tantomile's kit and bring the wee thing here. She has to be here so the others will think she's mine." Jenny whispered urgently. The Railway Cat immediately jumped to his feet and took off in search of Jellylorum.

A few minutes later, he returned, followed closely by Jellylorum, who cradled the sleeping newborn Jemima in her arms. Handing the kit to Skimbleshanks, Jelly hurriedly began to tend to Jenny, coaxing the queen through her labor. It wasn't long before a female kitten slightly resembling Rumpleteazer was born. Jelly looked at the kitten and closed her eyes. "Oh, Bast…" she whispered softly.

"Wha? What is i'?" Skimbleshanks asked worriedly, then caught sight of the tiny queen lying limp in Jellylorum's paws. A loud wail was heard from Jenny as Jelly wrapped the dead kitten carefully in some blankets and set the bundle aside. Gently setting the still-sleeping Jemima down in a blanket-lined basket, Skimble wrapped his arms around his sobbing mate.

"Shhh, darlin'…..i's all right….." he murmured softly, rocking her back and forth. Jellylorum watched her brother and her best friend pityingly, sighing softly. She let them grieve a moment, then said softly, "You still have to deliver one more kitten, Jenny. I'm sure this one will be fine."

Jenny continued to sob softly for almost another half-hour before the contractions for the second kitten started coming. Jemima woke up shortly afterward and begin to mewl softly, so Skimble picked her up and walked her around the small enclosure, humming softly. As the first dazzling rays of dawn broke over the horizon, both parents and aunt were overjoyed to hear the sharp cry of a newborn kit.

"It's a queen, and she's just fine!" Jellylorum cried happily. This little queen was tortoiseshell marked; in fact, she even resembled Jemima a bit. "That makes things a whole lot more believable..." Jelly thought to herself, as she carefully handed the squirming little creature to the proud mother.

"Oh Bast, thank you…" Jenny whispered, hugging her daughter to her as Skimbleshanks sat down by her side, still holding Jemima in his arms. Suddenly, Jenny grew quiet and looked over at the motionless bundle lying nearby. "Let me see her, Jelly."

Hesitating slightly, Jelly picked up the stillborn and handed her to Jenny. Gently stroking the lifeless form, Jenny said shakily, "Her name shall be Lilith, because she belongs to the night. And this one," she said, looking at the softly purring kitten cradled in her other arm, "Is Electra, because she was born in the bright and radiant first light of day."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Years passed. Jemima and Electra both grew into adolescence, and were as different as night and day. Electra was often times a very talkative tomboy, choosing to wrestle with Pouncival or chase chipmunks with Tumblebrutus rather than primp and groom with Victoria or play dolls with Etcetera. Several Jellicles thought that Electra might grow up to become the next Gumbie cat. She was a very hard-worker, and could always be trusted to watch kittens younger than herself. As contradictory as it was to her tomboyish nature, she enjoyed knitting and crocheting, and loved to help her mother teach the mice and cockroaches.

Jemima was much quieter, more contemplative. She had friends her own age, but she spent most of her time in solitude. Late at night, instead of sleeping, she could more often than not be found sitting on the trunk of the old Ford, staring with unblinking eyes to the moon. When she wasn't alone, she was commonly around Tantomile and Coricopat. Although the young queen had no idea why, she felt a bond with the twin mystics; not just a bond between the three of them, but a greater, more divine link that they all seemed to share with the stars.

The day after the Jellicle Ball, Jenny noticed that Jemima was being exceptionally quiet, even for her. The young queen kept looking towards Coricopat and Tantomile, a very solemn expression on her face. That evening, she came up to Jenny and asked in a low tone, "Mother?"

"Yes, dear?" Jenny asked cheerfully, although in her heart she knew the subject of the coming question.

Jemima took a deep breath, then asked firmly, "How exactly am I connected to Tantomile and Coricopat?"

Jenny closed her eyes, wilting inwardly. She had known that the question would come someday, but how was she to answer it honestly? "Jemima.." she started, then shook her head slightly. "We'll talk about this when your father gets home." she finished firmly, then walked away.

With a soft sigh, Jemima turned back to watching the twins again. They both looked up simultaneously, and her eyes locked with their gaze for a moment. For the first time, she realized that her own eyes were identical to theirs. "Papa, come home soon...." she thought to herself as she turned away.

That night, after Electra had gone to sleep, Jenny and Skimble sat down with the kitten they had raised for years as their own. Exchanging glances with her mate, Jenny took a deep breath. "Jemima.....there's something we need to tell you. I don't quite know how to say this; Heaviside knows it isn't going to be easy. But.....the truth of the matter is...."

"Tantomile's my mother."

Jenny and Skimble both jumped, startled, and stared in shock at Jemima. After a long, tense moment of silence, Skimbleshanks found his voice. "How did you know?"

Jemima shrugged slightly. "Well, it makes sense...I look like her and Cori, I've always felt very closely linked to both of them.....since she's my mother and he's her identical twin. But there's one thing I haven't figured out....who's my father? And why was I raised by you both?"

Jenny closed her eyes with a sigh. Skimble gulped and said hesitantly, "Jemima......Coricopat is your father. You were born the day before Electra and Lilith - " He paused as Jenny drew her breath in sharply, and he took her paw and squeezed it lightly. Although both Jemima and Electra knew of Lilith and visited her tiny grave on their shared birthday, the stillborn queen was rarely talked of because it still upset Jenny. Skimbleshanks cast a glance at Jemima, who was staring at him with shocked eyes, and continued, "You were born the day before they were, and since Coricopat and Tantomile didn't want anyone to know the truth about their.....erm....relationship..... they asked Jenny and I to adopt you and raise you as our own."

Silence. Finally, Jemima said in a calm, if slightly confused voice, "Oh. Okay, then. Goodnight. " She stood up quietly and slipped away.

Skimble exchanged a worried glance with Jenny. "Should we go after her?"

Jenny shook her head, sighing. "No. Let her be alone with her thoughts for now. She needs time to think."

~*~*~*~*~*~

The moonlight shown down brightly on the young queen sitting on the car trunk. She stared up at the brightness with unblinking eyes, her thoughts scrambled together in her head. After a moment, she closed her eyes and just let her mind go to wherever her heart led it.

So, spiritually and biologically, Coricopat and Tantomile were her parents. "Parents.....funny, they don't feel like parents...." she thought idly. For years, she had spent a lot of time with the twins, gotten to know them and their ways, gotten to understand and feel the connection that all three of them shared with the Earth and the heavens above.

But they weren't her parents.

Jemi blinked open her eyes, slightly startled at her own thought. "They're your parents......Papa told you that..." she told herself, then stopped. Papa. All this time, Jennyanydots and Skimbleshanks had been the two cats she loved most in the world, the couple who had raised her and taken care of her since she was born. They had loved her as their own, and never until today had they shown any indication of being anything other than her parents.

Smiling suddenly, Jemima stood up and ran back to Skimble and Jenny. They looked up at her, both sets of green eyes identically questioning.

"It doesn't matter. You're my parents, not them. It doesn't matter that I'm their blood and not yours; you've both raised me better than I think they ever could have." Jemima said breathlessly. "All my life, I've been so proud of you both. Every day, I think of how blessed I am to have such wonderful parents, parents that take care of me and love me for who I am." She stopped and threw her arms around both of them. "I'll always be yours, Mama and Papa. Always."