Hello Everyone! Happy St. Patrick's Day!
So I recently just saw Moana and I couldn't help but think of our other sea-faring cats, Growltiger, Grumbuskin, Tumblebrutus, and, of course, the Lady Griddlebone. This is kinda an origin story for the four of them. Just be warned, this is my first time writing romance.
I stared at the beating waves from the pier. Why didn't cats go explore their depths? Of course, my father would kill me if he knew I was here, but what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him, right? A yell sounded from the Junkyard. I sighed. Dad probably wanted to teach me more leader stuff. After all, I was the oldest child and heir of the Jellicle Leader, Solomon, and I was going to be the Leader when he died.I ignored the shouting. As I watched the waves lap at the pier posts, I started to sing quietly.
"I've been staring at the edge of the water
'Long as I can remember, never really knowing why
Why did I love the water when everybody else shuddered at the very mention of the stuff? I was the only cat I knew who could swim and it was very amusing to my younger brother, Deuteronomy. He would throw sticks and stones into the river and I would fish them out for him. He loved how I dived through the water like a furry fish. Dad, however, did not.
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try
I wished that I could pay attention to my dad while he lectured on and on about how to take care of a tribe, but I'd rather listen for hours to the sea and the sailor cats who populated the docks. I was a familiar face among the crowd, the sailors sought me out so they could take me on a tour of their ships. I'd always bring a rat or two or a fish back from the docks for the ever-growing tribe. I wasn't as irresponsible as Dad thought I was.
Every turn I take, every trail I track
Every path I make, every road leads back
To the place I know, where I can not go, where I long to be
Dad had lately forbidden that I go to the docks or even the river except under adult supervision. I wasn't a kitten anymore. and I was safer near the water than any other cat. But no matter how hard I tried, I always found myself near the water, either at the river or at the docks. I tried to explain my urge to go to the water, but nobody understood, except Deuteronomy.
See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I'll know, if I go there's just no telling how far I'll go
Nobody knew how far that line went. Some of the more superstitious cats claimed that the line was the border between the Earth and the Heaviside layer and that the Earth was flat. I had proved to them several times that the Earth was round through scientific and mathematical means, but they called me impertinent and sentenced me to kitten duty.
I know everybody on this island, seems so happy on this island
Everything is by design
I know everybody on this island has a role on this island
So maybe I can roll with mine
Dad had told me several times that he wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become Jellicle leader. But I couldn't bring myself to pay attention to the long list of troubles the Tribe had, from kitten discipline to simple territory arguments. Nobody seemed to realize that there was an entire world out there. I tried to be satisfied with my role in the tribe. After all, it wasn't everyday that a queen was given the chance to be the Jellicle Leader. But I couldn't, not with a whole world waiting to feel a cat's tread for the first time.
I can lead with pride, I can make us strong
I'll be satisfied if I play along
But the voice inside sings a different song
What is wrong with me?
The tribe healer had often analyzed me to figure out why I like water and didn't want to be Leader, and often claimed that my mother had dropped me on my head, to which I always hissed and stalked away to the river. The water always calmed me down, kept me from doing something rash. But nobody could insult my mother. They could insult me all they want, but nobody. touched. my. mother.
See the light as it shines on the sea? It's blinding
But no one knows, how deep it goes
And it seems like it's calling out to me, so come find me
And let me know, what's beyond that line, will I cross that line?
I hated the patronizing looks that the older cats gave me when I appeared dripping wet, but the smooth wetness that permeated my fur was worth it. I loved the water so much, I had even started to make my own canoe to journey down the Thames and see the sights of England and eventually get to the docks to board a boat to the unknown. I hated the life of the Jellicles: they thought they were safe from thieves and disasters. But I wanted to see the beauty in the world and I was aware of the dangers.
The line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I'll know, how far I'll go"
"Bravo," a voice said behind me. I whirled around and hissed at the cat who had dared trespass on my musings. It was a large tom, obviously a sea cat. His coat was hanging off him, very baggy and seedy. He was a tiger-striped tabby, and had several gold rings in his left ear. His eyes were a sea foam green and seemed to pierce my very soul. I curtsied slightly, like my mother taught me.
"Thank you. But it really wasn't that good. I was just thinking," I protested. The sea cat bowed with a small smile.
"Be that as it may, that was one of the most beautiful songs me ears have heard. Allow me to introduce your humble servant, milady. I am Growltiger," he took my paw and kissed it gently.
"Very glad to meet such an admirer, Growltiger. I am Griddlebone," I giggled. "Would you like to have a seat?"
Growltiger and I talked for hours on the pier, talking about sea-faring, the merits of different sail materials, and what we would do if we had the money to get a ship.
"When I get the ship I'm promised, I'm gonna name her the Griddlebone after the queen who captured me heart in a net," Tiger purred. I blushed and purred as he placed his arm around my shoulder. Another shout came from the direction of the Junkyard. I sat up quickly and shoved his arm off.
"Everlasting cat! I forgot I had lessons today! I'm so sorry, Tiger, but I have to go. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?" I apologized quickly and dived into the ocean, paddling for all I was worth. Dad was going to kill me. I quickly caught a large fish that swam into my jaws and climbed out on the banks of my river. A quick shake and I ran to the Junkyard with the fish still flopping in my mouth. I was so dead.
The first person I ran into, literally, was my little brother, Deuteronomy. He clapped his paws excitedly and jumped up and down. "Griddle's back and she has a huge fish with her, enough to feed the entire tribe for a month!" I chuckled and ruffled his head fur.
"Maybe not the entire tribe for a month, but it should make Dad happy that I was gone so long to catch such a fish. How's Mom, Deut-Loops?" I said as I dropped the fish into my paws. Mom was pregnant again, her fourth time, and her due date was drawing close. I was secretly hoping for a little sister, I already had two brothers: Gus and Deut-loops. His face fell.
"Momma's hurting. She says that the kitten is coming early. I'm scared, Gridds," he whispered, eyes wide. "Is Momma gonna go to Heaviside?"
I picked Deut up along with my fish and hurried through the Junkyard. Please, Everlasting Cat, let my mother be okay. I prayed silently. All the queens were probably with her, helping Mom with the birth. "Deut-loops, I need you to find Gus and the other kittens. Keep them from bothering Mom," I ordered as we drew close to the family den. I set him down and bit off half of my fish. "eat this if you guys get hungry." I passed the fish half to him and hurried into the den.
Dad was pacing furiously outside the bedroom he shared with Mom. I tried to slip past him into their room."Griddlebone, where in the world have you been?" Dad rumbled. I quickly showed him my fish and tried to hurry inside the room to my mother. "Come on, Grids. You were swimming, I know that. And in the ocean, no less. I can smell the brine," he pulled me toward him. "Don't deny it, Gridds."
"Fine, I was at the docks and I got caught up in one of the sailors' stories, okay?" I spat angrily. "I know those sailors like my own family, dad. And they respect me, unlike some people around here."
Dad looked pained. "Who's been giving you a hard time, Grids? I haven't seen you this riled up since I banned you from swimming, which I notice you broke the rules again."
I jerked away from him. "Everyone's been giving me a hard time just because I wanna see the world. I don't want to stay here looking after cats who can't see past their own noses and I most definitely don't want to be the Jellicle Leader!" I shouted. A small creamy queen popped her head out of the room.
"Solomon, your wife wants to see you and the drowned rat," she said, pointedly ignoring me. I hissed curses I had learned from the docks under my breath at her. That she-pollicle was among those who hated my aquatic endeavors with an almost-religious passion.
"Thank you, Opal. We shall be only a moment more. I need to talk to my daughter," Solomon said. Opal nodded and vanished back into the room. "Veronica Griddlebone, you listen to me, young lady," I gulped. Dad never used my first two names in the same sentence unless I majorly screwed up. "I am okay with your passion for water. I am okay with you going on day-long hiatuses to the river. But I am not okay with you spending your time with questionable sea cats and ignoring your family, especially when your mother is giving birth. From now on, you are grounded. You may go to the river, but no going to the docks and no seeing non-Jellicle toms! Have I made myself clear?" Dad shouted. I crossed my arms.
"Crystal," I shouted back. "And while you're at it, why don't you acknowledge that Deuteronomy would make a better leader? I don't want this!" I stormed into the bedroom and sat by my mother's side. "Hi, Mom. Are you alright?" I held up my fish. "I brought something for you to eat." Mom smiled wearily at me and my fish.
"Thank you, my little mackerel. Do you want to say hi to your new brother?" She whispered above the other queens hisses to not let the freak touch the new kitten. I nodded and Mom placed a tuxedo kitten in my arms.
He was slightly chubbier than Deut and Gus when they were born, and he had white spats. I smiled down at him. "What are his names?" I murmured. "I haven't decided, but I was thinking something along the lines of Christopher for his sensible name," she sighed. "This is the trouble with naming kittens, you have to choose the right names for their personality."
I mumbled, "Christopher. Jistopher. Bistopher." Among my other peculiarities, I could rhyme almost anything. The only words I couldn't were my own name, Griddlebone, and orange. My eyes widened. "I've got it! Bustopher Jones! Jones is his sensible name, but goes after his peculiar name, Bustopher!"
"Bustopher Jones," my mother said quietly. The kitten stretched, yawned and settled back in my arms. "Bustopher Jones it is then."
The door quietly creaked open and the queens hurried out. Three familiar figures entered and sat around the nest. My two little brothers and my father.
I gently kisses Mom and whispered, "I'll let the men in and give you some space. I'll be in my room if you need me." As I got up from my seat, I ruffled Deut's and Gus's headfur and glared at my father.
"Hello, Solomon. This is your new son..." I heard Mom say. I shut the door and stomped up to my room. Dad had effectively ruined my good mood.
My room was the highest up in the Junkyard and overlooked the river. Even though it was one of the smallest rooms in the den, it was mine and stayed away from the rest of the family. I loved most of my family, but I needed some alone time every so often. I had decorated it with stuff I found by the docks: disgarded fishingnets too old to be used anymore, sand dollars, sea glass, shells, and driftwood. It wasn't much, but I was the only cat who had a glass window.
A small pebble on my window broke my train of thought. I glanced down at the ground and nearly fell out of my room. I cranked my window open.
"Growltiger! What are you doing here?" I whispered.
He bowed and called up to me, "I'm saying good evening to me pearl of the ocean, and Gridds, I found a ship and crew. We can leave tonight if you are ready."
"Tiger, my mother just gave birth and the Jellicle Ball is next week. I'm coming of age, and my dad will kill me if I wasn't there," I pleaded. "I'll come with you the day after."
Growltiger nodded and sighed. "Alright, milady. Would you like to meet the first mate and boatswain for our ship?" I nodded and scrambledd down from my room to the ground. We nuzzled and two toms coughed slightly.
They came out of the shadows and saluted. "I'm Grumbuskin, ma'am, First mate," the first said. He had a brown patch of fur over his left eye. I turned to the other tom, "if he is First mate, then you must be the boatswain," I purred as Growltiger pulled me closer to him. The other cat nodded.
"The name's Tumblebrutus, milady. Grumb here is me twin." Tumblebrutus had a patch of brown fur over his right eye, and was in every respect like his twin. The two sea-cats couldn't have been much older than me, and I was coming up on seventeen. But if Tiger trusted them, then so did I. I kissed Tiger on the cheek.
"They're perfect, Tiger. I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got a new baby brother and a livid father to navigate. I'll see you after the ball, darling."
"I shall be countin' the seconds 'til I see me Pearl again. So far I'm up to four!" Tiger purred and kissed me back on the lips. We made out for a couple minutes until Grumbuskin or Tumblebrutus gave a small cough and my father stomped up the stairs to my room.
"Gotta go, Tiger. My dad's coming and he isn't exactly fond of sea-cats," I gasped as he and I broke away from each other, "And I'm going to have a hard time explaining this scent as it is. Dad has a nose like a blood-hound!" The sea cats nodded and slunk away while I clambered up to my window. I barely managed to jump into my nest and cover myself with a blanket before a small knock rapped on my door. It opened and my father came in.
"Gridds, can I come in?" he said. I grunted and prayed that he wouldn't smell Growltiger on me, especially since I had been making out with him. He sat on the edge of my nest. "Gridds, how did you come up with your little brother's name?"
"Mom wanted something along the lines of 'Christopher', and I came up with Bustopher and Jones just seemed to fit with it," I mumbled, "now go'way. I would like to sulk alone, if you don't mind."
"Gridds, I do mind, and you are hiding something from me, sweetheart," Dad chuckled. "Is it a fancy for a tom? As long as he's in the Tribe, you can pursue any tom you want. Any tom you choose would love your eccentricities."
I sat up suddenly and allowed him to take a big whiff of my scent. "Dad, don't be mad, but I met this tom at the dock, and he really likes me and my 'eccentricities' as you call them. His name is Growltiger, and he does come from a tribe near the docks."
Dad frowned at me. "Griddlebone," he warned.
"Dad, just listen. you just said I could have any tom I want, and I want Growltiger, and he wants me. I told him that I wouldn't come with him until the Ball, but he wants to be my mate. He has two friends that I've met so far, and they are real gentle-toms. They salute me and call me 'Ma'am' and 'Milady' and-"
"Veronica Griddlebone! I have had enough of your shenanigans! I said any tom in the Jellicle Tribe! Not some stray tom that knows you have a duty and tries to lead my kitten astray! You are my only daughter and I have to make sure that your mate is good enough for you! And you are never going to mate with someone from another Tribe! I hearby ban you from seeing anyone outside of the Tribe and you are on kitten duty until the Ball!" Dad shouted and slammed the door behind him.
"Fine! I'll just go somewhere where I'm appreciated! Not this sorry excuse for a Tribe!" I screamed back at him. I started to cry as I packed up my things in an oilskin bag one of my sailor friends had given me. It wasn't much, just a couple day's rations, my braiding project and a small calligraphy kit from Deut and Gus. I quickly wrote a note saying that I had run away and to not come looking for me: I didn't want to be found. I left where my family could see it and slipped out of my window. I crept down to the river and splashed in with my oilskin bag in my mouth.
"Luv ya, Deut-Loops, Gus, Bustopher, Mom. Luv ya, Dad. Sorry it's come to this," I murmured as I filled my lungs with air and swam to the docks. It was only a matter of time and a couple of questions later when I stood on the pier to board the ship belonging to Growltiger. I climbed aboard and spun into my Tiger's arms.
"Gridds? I thought you said you weren't comin' 'til next week after the Ball," he purred, "Not that I'm upset at me Pearl."
"Change of plans, Tiger. Let's blow this joint." I purred back. As Tumblebrutus whistled commands to the rest of the crew, Growltiger and I held each other in our arms, and watched as The Griddlebone pierced the gibious moom with her masts and sailed to unknown lands.
The song is "How Far I'll Go" from Moana. Digital cookies for everyone who reviews! They make me happy after a long day of school and homework! More reviews, the faster I'll get chapters uploaded!