Thanks for waiting for the final chapter! This has been a lot of fun to write and I hope you enjoyed reading it!
Pounce was, for once, glad that he was in Bomba's body. At least now he could look down at Tumble instead of feeling like Tumble was looking down at him. Although somehow his brother still managed to corner him and demand to know just what he had done to make Misto do the body swap in the first place. For some reason Tumble seemed to think that the whole situation was Pounce's fault, which it most certainly wasn't.
His earlier conversation with Misto was rather brief and not very exciting. Misto had asked him to stand still while he did some glowy magical stuff and then left, muttering about 'magical transference of energies' or something, he wasn't too sure. All Pounce knew was that not long after that Tumble found him and shoved some food in his face before starting his own interrogation.
"I told you, what me and Misto were doing is not important." Pounce was sorely tempted to throw the leftover piece of chicken at Tumble's head.
"And I'm telling you that it is." Tumble insisted. "You've been sneaking off in the middle of the night to hang out with Misto and apparently do some serious magical stuff. I know Misto would never hurt anybody on purpose, but he can do some pretty dangerous stuff. And this whole body switching thing is so weird. What if you had ended up in like, Macavity's body or something? Or lost your brain entirely?"
"That wouldn't happen." Pounce did have to think about what he would have done if he had been put in Macavity's body. He shuddered.
"Look, you know you can tell me anything, right?" Tumble said, suddenly serious. "If there's anything bothering you or making you upset, I can help. Unless… was it something I did?"
Pounce did not like the look that Tumble was giving him. It was a rare look of hurt that did not suit him at all. With an overly dramatic sigh Pounce flung the chicken to the floor and sat down, hauling Tumble down to sit with him.
"Ugh, fine, I'll tell you. You're not gonna leave me alone otherwise and I don't want you thinking that you did something wrong, because you didn't." Pounce pulled his legs up to his chest, resting his chin on top of his knees.
"Well?" Tumble prompted.
"I've been meeting up with Misto in secret because I wanted him to teach me how to do some stuff." There. He said it. Now Tumble could properly rib him for being so secretive about something so dumb.
"Huh?" Tumble tilted his head to the side in confusion. "Stuff like what?"
"Nothing important. Just… how to dance better." Somehow admitting the fact was more embarrassing than being stuck in Bombalurina's body.
"But you already can dance." Tumble tilted his head to the other side, staring at him like he had grown an extra head.
"Not as good as you. I really want to be good at next year's ball so I asked Misto one day if he'd show me some stuff. Night time is the only time he's free so I've been sneaking out at night to take lessons."
"Oh, Pounce." Tumble tried to hug him but it was much more awkward trying to hug Bomba's body.
"It's dumb, I know, but I wanted to keep up with everybody. And I was having a hard time figuring out the steps so I complained to Misto about how I wished that I could just swap bodies with you since you're real good at dancing and stuff. Misto suggested that instead of turning me into you we could just try and make me a little taller and then… well, I must have been thinking of Bomba when Misto cast the spell."
"But what about Munk and Tugger?"
"Well, the first time Misto cast the spell nothing happened. We thought it just didn't work but that must've been when Tugger and Munk switched."
"That's rough." Tumble said sympathetically. "Guess I got lucky you didn't think of me."
"Eh, you probably wouldn't even notice."
"I definitely would notice if I woke up in your body."
"Hey Tumble, could you not… you know, tell anybody? About the lessons?"
"Yeah, sure." Tumble shrugged.
"Yes, Pounce, I promise not to tell anyone about your big secret with Misto. There's not really a reason to tell anyways. But you're gonna have to be less secretive about it. Pretty sure that Bomba thinks you and Misto have some secret thing going on between you two."
"We do have a secret thing. I just told you."
"No, Pounce, not like that. Like… you know, like you're together."
"But we are together. We've been together every night-"
"Heaviside above you can be so dense sometimes." Tumble groaned and shook his head. "Forget it. It's not worth trying to explain."
Pounce opened his mouth to retort but was interrupted by the arrival of Munkustrap. The silver tabby sauntered over and raised an eyebrow at the two of them, an amused smirk dancing across his face.
"And what are you two up to over here? I have to admit, it's not often I get to see Bomba and Tumble hanging out together."
Right. Tugger was in Munk's body. Somehow Pounce forgot.
"We weren't doing anything." Tumble automatically said out of habit.
"Yeah, that's what's got me curious." Tugger crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at them. With Munk's eyes the curious gaze was more intense than usual.
"Well, we weren't." Pounce insisted as he climbed to his feet. Bomba's feet. He missed his own feet.
"Uh huh." It was amazing how Tugger could put so much doubt into two syllables, even though he was speaking in a voice that wasn't his own. "You know you're going to have to tell me eventually. There's no keeping secrets from me."
"Fine, I'll tell you." Tumble glanced up at Pounce. "But you can't tell anybody else."
"Tumble, you said you wouldn't tell!" Pounce shrieked. In Bomba's voice he hit a new high that caused everyone's ears to fly back in alarm.
"Everlasting Cat, keep it down!" Tugger clamped his paws over his ears. "Munk's trying to sleep and Misto's still working on fixing this whole body swapped thing. And I'm sure that both of them, as well as myself, would like to have their hearing!"
"Tumble, you can't tell him, you promised-"
"Shut up Pounce, he's not gonna leave us alone until we tell him!" Tumble tried to shoulder Pounce aside but it was much more difficult for him to shoulder the taller cat. "And it's not that big a deal."
"I was telling Pounce about the new stuff I'm doing for the ball next year." Tumble quickly said, giving Pounce a meaningful look. "He was helping me figure out the choreography."
Pounce opened his mouth, preparing to be outraged, but quickly shut it again. His brother had kept his promise of secrecy and came up with a believable excuse. Guess he had to give Tumble some credit.
"That's it?" Tugger shrugged. "You two need to lead more interesting lives."
"Pretty sure being in Bomba's body is interesting enough for Pounce right now." Tumble said.
"Yeah, well, hopefully that will be changed soon." Tugger glanced back towards the rest of the room. "It was interesting being in Munk's body for the first hour or so but I'm ready to get back to my own self."
"We're all ready for you to go back to yourself too." Bomba interrupted, appearing on top of the back of the couch.
"How long have you been up there?" Pounce asked, mildly disturbed to watch himself lounge about.
"Not long. I never knew just how good this body was at climbing things." Bomba flicked her tail and sat up into a crouch. "Not to mention how high you can jump. I'm impressed."
Pounce took a minute to glow at the praise before switching back to being disturbed, especially when Bomba launched herself off the couch and flew through the air, tucking into a roll and bouncing onto her feet next to the others.
"Hey, don't kill me! I need that body!" Pounce protested. "It's the only one I've got!"
"Up until now, at least." Tumble muttered.
"You're fine." Despite the fact that Bomba now shorter than him she still managed to ruffle the fur on top of Pounce's head. "Your body is also quite resilient."
"Could you please stop talking about Pounce's body like that? Especially when you're currently inside it?" Tugger raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, it's really weirding me out." Tumble nodded in agreement.
"You just don't know a good thing when you see it." Pounce sniffed.
"Neither do you, you-" Tumble was interrupted by the arrival of Tugger's body, who looked haggard and like he had not slept at all. His mane stuck up in all different directions and he held himself with a world weary posture that didn't suit him.
"If you could all stop yelling at each other, that would be much appreciated." Munk said, voice low. It was not a suggestion. "If we are caught by Misto's humans and thrown out before this situation can be resolved I will not be pleased."
"Sure, Munk." Tugger gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. "We'll keep it down. Why don't we go check on Misto and see how he's coming along?"
Tugger draped an arm over Munk's shoulders and steered him away, glancing over his shoulder at Tumble, who caught the look and nodded.
"Yeah, I'm gonna go and, uh, and see if there's- if there's… uh, any more food." Tumble trotted after the others, leaving Bomba and Pounce alone.
"Your brother isn't very subtle, is he?" Bomba chuckled once they were alone.
"Out of the two of us he's usually the subtle one." Pounce shrugged. "Dunno what's gotten into him today."
"I can imagine he might be a little caught off guard by the fact that his brother has been turned into me."
"I told him to stop staring." Pounce muttered. "'s not polite."
"Sure, it has nothing to do with the fact that you have a secret crush on me?" Bomba gave him a knowing wink.
"No- wait, you know?" Little by little his world was crashing down around his shoulders and there was nothing he could do about it.
"Pounce, everyone knows."
"You know, I'm flattered."
"Yeah, well, I think I'm gonna go die now." If it were possible for the ground to swallow him up whole he would gladly allow it. Anything to avoid what was inevitably going to be the most awkward conversation of his life.
"Please don't die." Bomba said. "To quote somebody I know, 'it's the only body I got'."
"Wonder who said that."
"Pounce, I know that being stuck in my body was probably not how you wanted to get to know me-"
"Please, please stop saying it like that-"
"-but I want you to know that while I was very surprised to be swapped with you, I think I've come to understand some things about you that I wouldn't have known before all this."
Pounce could only imagine what some of those 'things' could have been.
"And you know, when I was talking with Misto, he said some very nice things about you. He said you were full of potential."
"Yeah, I'm sure he did." Pounce muttered.
"I'm being honest here. And I'm trying to make you feel better." Bomba flicked his nose with her tail. "You really do have potential. To be honest, it's been kind of fun jumping around and climbing on things. You're an agile little guy, you know?"
"Please don't call me little." Pounce groaned. "I can't help it if you're so much bigger than me."
"Excuse me?" Her words were dangerously calm.
"Er, forget that I called you big. You're not big. You're just-"
"How about we both just ignore the unflattering adjectives and pretend that neither of us said anything."
"You know, after all this, we should spend more time together." Bomba rubbed up against him. While it was strange to have his own body nuzzling him he still felt a small degree of comfort. "I overheard you talking to Tumble about wanting to learn how to dance better. I could show you some things."
That was enough to make up for the seemingly never ending train of embarrassment Pounce had found himself on. If only he wasn't currently wearing the body he desperately wanted to flirt with. And, despite it clearly being Bomba's actions, watching his own body flirt with him didn't do much for his pride.
"Right. Uh, well, after this is all sorted out I will, uh, definitely take you up on that." Thankfully he didn't squeak in Bomba's voice.
"I bet you will." Bomba smirked and looped her arm in his. "Let's go find Misto and see if he's ready to get this show on the road."
Mistoffelees was about ready to get the show on the road, once he could round up everyone and arrange them into their proper positions. Tugger and Munk had found him tracing lines in the plush carpet and were watching him while keeping a respectful distance. Tumble, however, had ignored the literal crackle of magic in the air and was following him around with unashamed curiosity.
"So what are you doing now?" Tumble asked, pointing to the four indentations Misto was adding to the circle he had drawn.
"Marking out where everyone needs to stand."
"Why do they need to stand there?"
"So that I can ensure that whatever magic I give off doesn't accidentally hit the wrong target."
"You're saying you might shoot somebody by accident?" Tumble's eyes grew wide, much like Pounce's had when Misto had first explained the somewhat erratic nature of his magic. Of course, Pounce had nearly been struck by lightning during last year's Jellicle Ball when Misto had first shown off his powers, a fact that the tabby tom did not hesitate to bring up time and time again.
"It's a precaution. Just in case." Misto explained. "But it won't happen."
"I think I remember Pounce telling me that he almost got electrocuted by some magic when you-"
"If you'll excuse me, I need to concentrate." Misto shooed him away.
"Go get Pounce and Bomba and tell them we're ready to start." The magical cat watched Tumble hurry away, not wanting to incite any magical wrath.
Not that Misto felt particularly wrathful, but he had to admit that he was a little nervous after discovering just how much trouble his magic had caused. Pounce being swapped with Bomba was, admittedly, a hilarious happenstance (not that he would ever say that out loud), but causing Munk and Tugger to swap was a bit more troubling. How that incident had occurred without him intentionally causing it was beyond him. Hopefully it would be easier to fix the problem now that everyone was together.
It didn't take long for Tumble to return with the others. Misto nodded approvingly and gestured for everyone to come closer. Better to try fixing things sooner than later. Munk, seeing the four dots around the circle, quickly herded everyone into place without being prompted. It was readily apparent that Munk's inclination and ability to wrangle cats was not merely limited to his own body but clearly ingrained into his very soul.
"Thank you, Munk. Now, everyone please stand still." Misto gave the circle a critical eye. "Tugger, step forward a little."
"You just told me to stand still." Tugger's mouth turned up in an aggravating smile.
"Yes, but I need you to move closer." Misto pointed. "Stand here."
"But how can I do both-"
"Tugger, for the love of the Everlasting Cat, do as he says or I will personally ensure that you won't have to worry about ever moving again." Munk ground out through gritted teeth.
"Munk, I don't believe I have ever heard you threaten Tugger like that in my life." Bomba commented as Tugger moved into place. "You should threaten more often. It would definitely make a point."
"I apologize. I'm just… I'm ready to go back to normal." Munk said, pinching the spot between his eyes.
"Oh, don't apologize. Tugger definitely deserved it."
"Whose side are you on?" Tugger demanded.
"The side that wants to get back into her own body so she can get on with her life." Bomba said, drawing herself up to her full height, which, seeing that she was in Pouncival's body, was admittedly not much.
"If it's all the same to you, I'm gonna step out of the room until you're done." Tumble said, inching towards the door. "I don't wanna be caught in some magical stuff by accident."
"I assure you that the risk is relatively low, but it's not a bad idea." Misto said, nudging Pounce forward an inch. "Perfect. We're ready to begin."
"So what do we do?" Tugger asked.
"Just stand still. I'll take care of the rest." Misto stepped into the middle of the circle, fur starting to sparkle and glow.
Honestly the circle wasn't necessary to perform the body swap magic and was more of a visual tool to keep everyone still, but it did help him get into the right frame of mind. Also it looked more professional. Sometimes the most important element of the magic was simply the belief that whatever he was intending to do would work, as evidenced by the fact that Tugger's song about him was powerful enough to enable him to bring back by Old Deuteronomy at last year's Jellicle Ball. Not that Misto would readily admit it, but without Tugger's encouragement he didn't think he would have been able to perform such a feat.
"Can you imagine what Lonz and Demeter will say once we're back to normal?" Tugger's question interrupted Misto's thoughts. "Bomba, you should have seen the look on their faces when they found out what happened-"
"Tugger, please be quiet." Misto said, hurriedly trying to focus his wandering thoughts.
"You said to stand still, not that we needed to be quiet."
"Well now I'm saying to be quiet. Please."
While it may not have been visible to the naked eye, Misto could clearly feel the magical energy in the air around him, igniting his spirit and prompting him to move in an impromptu dance around the circle. There wasn't a particular routine or choreography to the movement, just pure instinct, and he couldn't help but revel in the feeling of being one with the magical energy that moved him. This was truly his element and nothing could go wrong.
"Presto!" Misto flourished, pausing in the center of the circle. Everyone held their breath.
"Uh, is something supposed to be happening?" Tugger asked, still clearly in Munk's body. "Because nothing's happening."
"Uh oh." Pounce said, worrying his still ginger tail. "This is what happened last time."
Munk's eyes darted back and forth. "Is everyone still where they were before?"
"Yes." Bomba pouted.
"Yes, unfortunately." Tugger said. "Hey, Sparkles, why didn't it work?"
"I don't know." Misto frowned. "It felt like worked."
"Maybe you should do it again?" Pounce suggested. "Like last time?"
"I don't think it's such a good idea to wildly cast magic if it's not working the first time around." Munk said, the only indication of his nervousness being the constant flick of his tail.
"Do you want to be stuck like this forever?" Tugger asked. "Because if he doesn't try again then we're going to be stuck like this. And forever is a long time."
"Fine. But if nothing happens again then we need to think of something else."
"Something will happen." Misto said determinedly, bringing his paws up to try again.
After a bit more dancing something definitely did happen. Unfortunately it wasn't what anyone wanted to happen. Simultaneously everyone fell to the carpet, clutching their heads and complaining of a headache. Misto could only watch as traces of horror and unwanted realizations manifested on everyone's faces. Suddenly Tumble staggered back towards the circle with a slightly manic smile on his face.
"This isn't so bad." Tumble said, looking down at himself and nodding in approval. "Not as handsome as my original self but I can live with this."
"Excuse me?" Munk looked outraged, then suddenly murderous. "Like hell you're staying in my body!"
"No, wait, you're gonna kill me for real if you-" Tumble's shriek was cut off as Munk tackled him mercilessly to the floor.
"That's enough of that, you two." Pouncival tried to cut in but was easily shoved aside. "You're only going to end up hurting my body as well as Tumble's."
Misto took a deep breath to steady himself, only to nearly jump out of skin when Bomba's paw landed on his shoulder.
"While this is a very interesting sight I'd very much like to be back in my original body now." Bomba said.
Tugger nodded, running a curious paw through his mane. "Let me guess, Tugger's in my body?"
"Yeah. Not bad, might I add."
"Keep your paws to yourself." Bomba, who was now in Tugger's body, sauntered over to stand by Misto. "What happened?"
"Well, it worked. To a degree." Misto allowed Tugger, who clearly was inhabiting Bomba's body, to keep his paw on his shoulder. Right now he was trying to piece together who had been swapped with who.
"Pounce, give me back my body right now!" Munk's body shouted at Tumble. Clearly that was Tumble in Munk's body. Which probably meant that Pounce was in Tumble's body. That put Munk in Pouncival's body, judging by the weary disapproval radiating from the tabby kitten.
"Incredible. No matter what body Munk's in he still can give off the 'disappointed dad' vibes." Tugger remarked.
"Misto, what can we do to fix this?" Munk asked, turning away from the sight of his body pinning Tumble's body to the ground. Clearly it was a very one sided fight.
"I'm afraid that the only other option is to return to the junkyard and cast the spell where it was originally cast." Misto didn't want to try and explain the logic behind it, but his instincts were telling him to return to where he and Pounce had first cast the magic. It would do more harm in the long run if he ignored his gut.
Luckily Munk seemed to understand. "Very well. We're leaving now."
It took a bit of struggle but eventually Tumble and Pounce were pulled apart and herded out the door. Thankfully it had stopped raining. Misto could only hope that once they were back at the junkyard and properly bathed under the moonlight that things would go according to plan. Hopefully.
Back in the junkyard, unaware of the events transpiring elsewhere, Demeter sighed and curled up closer to her temporary roommate. Neither she nor Alonzo felt inclined to spend the night alone, not without knowing the current status of the body swapped victims, so they had settled down together in Demeter's den to try and get some sleep. It was hard to tell if Alonzo was truly asleep or not, but at least his deep, steady breathing was soothing enough for her to close her eyes and doze to.
She must have fallen asleep at some point because the next thing she knew she was blinking awake with a slight headache. Carefully she sat up, rubbing her eyes with her paws and trying to stretch without disturbing Alonzo. A flash of black and white in front of her eyes made her pause.
What happened to her fur? Slowly Demeter stared down at herself. Rather, she stared down at…. Alonzo, who was no longer sleeping beside her, instead replaced by a gold and black queen that looked disturbingly familiar. Demeter did her best not to shriek but she desperately needed confirmation of what she sincerely hoped was not true, so she settled for violently shaking the still sleeping cat's shoulder.
"Mmph." Demeter watched as her own body rolled over and pawed at her face. "What's wrong?"
"You… look at you. Look at me." She whispered, cringing as Alonzo's voice came out of her mouth. The voice was enough to make the other cat's eyes fly open.
"Oh, I am not prepared for this." Demeter watched her own eyes trace the lines of her body. Slowly the gaze turned towards her. "Please tell me you're Demeter and not someone else."
"Yes. I'm Demeter." She was still herself, at least on the inside. On the outside, however, she was clearly Alonzo.
"Fantastic." There was no mistaking that sour look as anyone but Alonzo's, even if it was currently being displayed by Demeter's face. "Absolutely fantastic. Is anyone safe at this point? Who's going to switch bodies next, I wonder?"
"How did this even happen?" Demeter asked, staring down at her now black and white fur.
"It has to be Misto. But I thought Munk and the others were trying to fix this, not cause more problems."
"Maybe they don't know that we are now… like this?"
"Probably." Alonzo sighed. "I guess it could be worse."
"Thanks." Demeter couldn't help but feel offended at his disappointed tone.
"No, that's not what I meant." Alonzo quickly backpedaled. "I mean, out of the queens in the junkyard, I'm relieved that I'm in your body. At least I know you well enough. Although Bomba would be fine too, I guess, if I got stuck with her body. She's not that bad."
"I'm not going to tell her you said that."
"I'd appreciate it if you didn't." Alonzo absently rubbed at the fur on his new arms. "At least now we now know how the others felt."
"Horrified." Demeter blurted out without thinking.
Alonzo sniffed but did not comment. He was too busy standing on his new feet and smoothing down his mussed up fur, trying to make himself presentable.
"Well, I'm not going to sit around and wait for Misto to figure out what happened on his own." Alonzo said once he was satisfied with his grooming. "Who knows how long it will take for the others to come back."
"Don't leave me here by myself." Demeter hurried after him as he headed towards the edge of the junkyard. Just how he managed to maintain his slinky steps in her body was beyond her. She did have to admit that having longer legs was a plus, especially since her longer stride allowed her to catch up to him quickly.
The journey back to the junkyard was uneventful. Not that Tugger was complaining. Despite the uniqueness and excitement of the situation he was more than ready to go back to his usual handsome self. Of course, it would take hours for him to groom his poor fur back to perfection, but it was a task he was more than willing to handle once he was back in his own body.
To everyone's surprise Demeter was waiting for them at the edge of the junkyard. Instead of hiding in the shadows like she usually did she was instead standing out in the open, staring at them all with a dignified displeasure that did not suit her in the slightest.
"Demeter!" Bomba bounded forward, sweeping the smaller queen up into a hug.
To everyone's surprise Demeter slid out of Bomba's grasp, quickly smoothing her fur back into place. Alonzo appeared behind her, eyes widening at the sight of them all but oddly hesitant to approach. He was hunched slightly forward, body tense, and looked as if he were ready to bolt at any moment.
"Lonz, what's wrong?" Munk asked, stepping closer to him.
"Pounce? Are you back in your body?" Alonzo asked as Demeter put an arm around him in a comforting gesture. The gold and black queen seemed unusually protective of him.
"Alright, who's who now?" Demeter demanded. "Because that's not Pounce. He's never stood up straight in his life."
"Hey!" Pounce protested. "That's just rude!"
"Who are you?" Tugger demanded back. "Because you sure aren't Demeter, not with that attitude."
The sour look that Demeter gave him was all Tugger needed to put two and two together. And he wasn't the only one to make the connection.
"Oh no." Misto muttered under his breath, quiet enough that only Tugger could hear.
"Alonzo and I were swapped." The real Demeter said, leaning up against her own body in clear distress. Alonzo, despite now being the shorter of the two, still managed to stand over her protectively.
Bomba joined the two. "Deme, it's me, Bomba. I'm in Tugger's body now."
"How did that happen?" Demeter asked. "Last time I heard you were in Pounce's body."
"Misto tried to do the reverse swap and messed it up." Bomba shrugged.
"It was an accident but I don't intend on it happening again." Misto said defensively.
"Like you didn't intend on having us all swap in the first place?" Tumble asked, placing his hands on his hips.
"Hey, leave him alone. It's not like you can do magic." Tugger tried to cuff him upside the head but missed.
"Please wait to hit him when he's back in his own body and not mine." Munk said.
"It was not my intention to cause such a problem for everyone." Misto said. "But if you'll all-"
"I bet it wasn't your intention, but here we are now." Alonzo interrupted, clearly displeased.
"You have no reason to complain." Tugger felt his own exasperation boiling over. "You've only been swapped for what, twenty minutes? If you can't handle that then you're just a-"
"And you have no right to tell me what I can and can't do!" Alonzo got right up in his face and poked his chest with a claw. "Not after how you treated me earlier today."
"Well, excuse me for being freaked out for waking up in Munk's body and not knowing what was going on, next time I'll just roll over and make out with you like you wanted, how's that?"
"That's not what I wanted and you know it!" Alonzo shoved him.
Tugger shoved right back, nearly bowling the smaller queen's body over.
"Hey, watch it! Don't hurt Demeter's body!" Bomba ran forward to catch Demeter's body before it could hit the ground.
"Well, you tell Lonz to shut up and I won't have to fight him!" Tugger stomped his foot, accidentally stepping on Pounce's tail, prompting the kitten to shriek and wildly swing his arms in alarm.
"Ow! Hey!" Tumble whined as Pounce accidentally punched him in the ribs. "Watch where you're swinging my arms!"
"Tugger stepped on my tail!" Pounce protested.
"Don't let him step on my tail!"
"I didn't! It wasn't my fault!"
"Why were you hanging out so close to him anyways, I knew I couldn't trust you alone with my body for five minutes-"
"You're just being a big butt over your stupid tail, I'm the one who got hurt-"
"Why you-" Once again Tumble tackled his brother to the ground. Due to Tumble currently being in Munk's body, he had enough force behind the tackle to not only shove Pounce to the ground, but was also able to knock Tugger back into a hissing Alonzo.
"Get off of me!" Alonzo tried to scratch Tugger but was held back by Bomba.
"Don't you dare scratch my body." Bomba warned.
"Just stop fighting, you're all losing your minds-" Demeter tried to step in and was promptly knocked head over tail by Tumble and Pounce's erratic wrestling.
Tugger had just enough wiggle room to cushion Demeter's fall with his back. Bomba yowled at the sight of her body being squashed by Alonzo's, leaving Alonzo free to jump at Tugger again. Tugger shoved Demeter off of him and tried to make a run for it, only to run headfirst into Misto, who was so busy focusing on his own magic that he hadn't even thought to get out of the way of the brawling cats.
To say it was chaotic would be the understatement of the year. And there was one cat in particular who had had enough.
"SHUT UP AND STAND STILL!" Munk roared over the arguing crowd.
As one everyone turned to stare at him. Somehow, despite being in Pounce's body, Munk managed to loom over them all, giving everyone a very stern and deeply disappointed look.
"Now." Munk said, voice tight. "Everyone is going to let go of each other and stop arguing. We are all going to stand where Mistoffelees wants us to stand. We are going to do so quietly and in an orderly fashion. We are not going to question why things have turned out the way they did or who has the most problems. Misto is going to cast his magic and set things right. Once this is all said and done, I am going to go to bed. And no one is going to disturb me for at least twenty four hours. Is that understood?"
"I said, is that understood?"
"Yes." Everyone chorused.
"Excellent." Munk turned to Misto, who by sheer force of magical willpower managed not to flinch. "Please, proceed."
"Er, yes. Thank you." Misto shook himself. "If everyone would stay where I direct you to stand, that would be most helpful."
It took a couple minutes for everyone to be arranged to Misto's liking. Under the light of the full moon the magical cat's fur sparkled and shimmered with his magic, casting everyone around him in a pale blue glow. Tugger couldn't help but admire the sight. Across the circle Munk shook his head in a warning, but Tugger wisely kept his mouth shut, not wanting to disturb Misto's focus.
"Right. We're going to succeed this time." Misto clapped his hands twice, small sparks of magic crackling between his paws. His eyes held an unearthly glow.
"Yeah, that looks better. Your eyes are doing the glowy thing like they did before." Pounce said. "Right before I fell asleep."
"Are we going to just pass out here out in the open?" Bomba asked, exchanging a worried look with Demeter.
"Yes, you will pass out, but I will ensure that you are all returned home safely." Misto did not elaborate on just how he would accomplish such a thing.
"I trust you." Tugger said with as much sincerity as he could muster.
Misto smiled at him. "Thank you. Now, if you would all stay still and stay quiet, we will try this again."
The last thing Tugger remembered before the world went dark was the sight of Mistoffelees dancing in the moonlight, surrounded by the invisible aura of magical energies swirling around them all. It was a sight that he would not soon forget.
When Munkustrap opened his eyes it was morning. Immediately he threw his arms up in front of his eyes, instantly gratified to see the familiar silver and black fur. The relief he felt was almost enough to bring him to tears. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Alonzo sitting stiffly on the other side of the bed and watching him carefully.
"Lonz, is that you?" Munk sat up.
"Yes." Alonzo's voice was hesitant. "Are you Munk?"
"Yes. I promise."
"Oh thank the Everlasting Cat." Alonzo immediately hugged him. "I was afraid of who I was going to wake up next to."
"What about everyone else?" Munk wondered. "Did they all end up back where they were supposed to be?"
"I believe so. At least, no one's come by to complain. I think they've all taken your words very seriously and won't disturb you until the twenty four hours are up."
"Ah. Well, I might have been a little carried away at the time."
"No, we all deserved to be yelled at. Even if I did want to punch Tugger I should have waited until he was back in his own body before attacking him."
"That's probably a good thing to keep in mind for the future." Munk settled back down and closed his eyes.
"Did you want to go check on the others?" Alonzo asked, amusement evident in his voice.
"If what you say is true then I have at least until nightfall before anyone disturbs me. I intend to make the most of it." Munk blindly reached out and pulled Alonzo down next to him. Alonzo's laugh was the last thing he heard before he fell back into a blissful slumber.