Relationship: Alonzo/Munkustrap


Just one day without peril, was it too much to ask?

Apparently so if mother nature had anything to say about it. Alonzo shook the rainwater out of his eyes and ears only to immediately be soaked in another wave of rain. The storm came in fast, faster than anyone had anticipated, leaving everyone to scramble for shelter.

It was by sheer luck that Munkustrap had been teaching the kittens how to hunt and had ended the trip by his and Alonzo's den, making it easy to simply scoop the kittens inside and shelter them from the rain. Of course, throwing Etcetera, Electra and Tumblebrutus in a small space was just asking for disaster, but at least for now they were behaving.

That left two wayward kittens unaccounted for and neither Alonzo nor Munkustrap were going to rest until they were found. Not that they favored certain kittens over the others, but Pouncival and Jemima were the youngest and therefore the most vulnerable.

"Pounce! Jemima!" Alonzo strained his ears, trying to hear a response above the relentless hammering of the rain. It was night impossible to hear his own shout, let alone the small voice of a kit-

"'onz!"

There. It was faint but unmistakably one of the kittens he was searching for. In between piles of junk Alonzo darted back and forth out into the rain, trying to keep from being swept away by the streams of rainwater surging between the piles of junk. This was a place where few cats ventured, for it was near the outskirts of the yard and where the human activity was the most frequent.

Heavy machinery had gouged deep trenches in the dirt, allowing the rain and mud to fill them and create a temporary river of rainwater, mud and debris. It was dangerous enough for a full grown cat, certainly perilous for a kitten, and of course this is where Alonzo found who he had been searching for.

It was not unexpected to see Pouncival sitting high up near the top of a junk pile, as he usually spent most of his time clambering around the junkyard, but it was unsettling to see the look of terror on his face as the rain and winds threatened to sweep him off into the rushing water and mud below.

And he wasn't alone.

Alonzo could just see the tiny figure of Jemima being pushed up away from the more unstable debris. Pounce was doing his best to keep her steady, being much more experienced at scaling the mountains of trash, but even he was having trouble keeping his footing on the sleek surfaces. The two huddled near the top of the pile, soaked and shivering and miserable but thankfully alive.

"Lonz!" Pounce finally caught sight of him and waved his arms. "Get us outta here!"

"I will but I need to go back for Munk!" There was no way Alonzo could carry two kittens back on his own in such perilous weather, even if they were the smallest kittens in the tribe (a fact that Pounce would no doubt adamantly disagree with).

"What?" Pounce yelled back.

"Stay! There!" Alonzo shouted in return. As much as he hated to leave them he had to, placing blind faith in that they could stay safely where they were until he returned.

Every minute counted, that Alonzo knew, and frantically he searched for Munkustrap, hoping that around each corner he would find the silver tabby. The uncertainty that always lingered in the back of Alonzo's mind crept up on him again, making him doubt that he would be fast enough, strong enough, clever enough to find the Jellicle Protector, why was he so slow, so weak, so lost-

"Alonzo!" Munkustrap's voice smashed his self doubt into a million pieces. The silver tabby's very presence boosted him more than any pep talk could. "Did you find them?"

"Yes, but we have to hurry!" With no time to waste Alonzo led him towards the outskirts of the junkyard.

Already the water had risen to dangerous heights. Pounce was pressing Jemima up against the junk, trying to shield her from the rain, both looking thoroughly soaked and miserable and terrified. Munk wasted no time in finding a large plank of wood and directing Alonzo to help him lay it out over the waters, propping it up between the piles of junk to form a bridge over the water.

"Climb this way!" Munk shouted over the storm. "Carefully but quickly!"

Pounce nodded and nudged Jemima in the side to get her moving. Carefully they navigated their way down to the plank, moving as quickly as the rain allowed, leaving Munk and Alonzo to watch anxiously from their side. It looked like they were going to make it.

At least until mother nature once more decided to up the peril.

A rusted bicycle that had been dislodged by the rain wobbled in the wind, shifting and sliding right towards the kittens. They were so busy trying to pick their way toward the bridge that they did not notice the danger up above.

"Above you!" Alonzo screamed. "Look out!"

It was Pounce who moved first, leaping over Jemima and tackling her out of the way. This left him to get hit with the shifting metal, the force of the impact sending him flying onto the makeshift bridge. With a bounce and a roll he landed square in the middle of the plank and lay still.

Jemima dodged the bicycle but couldn't stop the pull of gravity that had taken hold of her. She slipped and fell, tumbling head over feet into the water below. Before Alonzo could even draw in breath to shout a silver blur shot past him, diving headfirst into the murky waters.

Alonzo felt his heart jump into his throat as his eyes darted between the water and the bridge. Pounce hadn't moved since he had been hit, clearly stunned by the impact, but Munk had surfaced with Jemima either. What was he supposed to do? Who was he supposed to help?

There was no time to waste. Pounce was threatening to fall off the bridge, his small body limply bouncing on the plank as it was buffeted by the wind. Alonzo gave one last look at the water and turned to the bridge.

He would have to trust that Munk would be able to save himself and Jemima. It was a blind trust that could only come from years of knowing Munk, a trust that Alonzo would never have placed in any other cat, including himself.

Once Pounce was securely in his grasp Alonzo ran back to the shelter, using his long limbs to carry them safely over the treacherous terrain, smoothly dodging fallen debris and trying to keep the kitten calm. Through it all Pounce was awake but wisely stayed still, closing his eyes and tucking his face into Alonzo's shoulder, leaving the black and white cat to take them to safety.

Finally they made it back to Alonzo and Munk's den. Etcetera, Electra and Tumble were immediately upon them, pawing at Pounce as Alonzo gently set him on a blanket and worked to dry his waterlogged fur.

"Lonz!"

"Lonz, where're Munk and Jemi?"

"Pounce, did you fall in a lake?"

"No." Pounce dazedly tried to shoot Tumble a glare but it turned into a grimace. The tabby was favoring his side, wincing and curling up tighter on himself.

"Let me look at you." Alonzo hurriedly did his best to examine the kitten.

"'m fine." Pounce tried to shoo him away. "Go get Munk and Jemi."

"Not until I know you haven't broken anything."

"They're more important." Pounce batted away his paws. "I mean it."

Part of Alonzo wanted to admit that he wanted nothing more to abandon the kittens to go after Munkustrap, a fact that ashamed him, but stubbornly he ignored Pounce's and his own protests to continue his examination. After a quick once over he determined that Pounce was merely bruised and not seriously injured, much to his and everyone else's relief.

"Told you I was fine." Pounce grumbled. "I'm sturdy."

"You're something." Etcetera giggled.

"Hey, leave me alone, you've been all cozy in here while Jemi and me were climbing for our lives-"

"I'm going to go back out now." Alonzo ran an eye over the four kittens, who were all staring back up at him in various mixes of alarm, enthusiasm, confusion and worry. "Electra's in charge until Munk and I return."

"What?" Pounce and Tumble both exclaimed. "Electra? But-"

"I mean it. Behave." Honestly Electra was the first name that sprung to his mind but it was too late to change it. Munk was much better at dealing with kittens, somehow always knowing what to say and how to act, never letting his uncertainty show.

A dangerous notion wormed its way into Alonzo's mind as he stepped back out into the rain. What if Munk didn't make it back? What if he had needed help back at the water, what if he had been calling out for help as Alonzo rushed Pounce to safety? What if leaving had been the wrong choice? What if-

"Alonzo!" Never had his own name sounded so wonderful in his ears. Through the rain and the wind he could make out the staggering form of Munkustrap, carrying Jemima in his arms, both soaked to the bone but alive.

"Thank Heaviside." Alonzo rushed forward to help. "I thought-"

"I'm fine, let's get inside." Munk kept hold of Jemima. "I've had enough of the rain."

Again all the kittens clambered over them as they went back inside, but Alonzo was able to quiet them while Munk and Jemima dried their bedraggled fur as best they could. Eventually Jemima was settled into the pile of kittens to warm up, both Electra and Etcetera snuggling her between them, while Tumble and Pounce kept her entertained with as much acrobatics as they could fit into the small den.

Munk gave the group a once over before settling down at the entrance of their den for a quick breather, Alonzo immediately joining him and pressing up against his side. The tabby put an arm around him and brought him in close. There were no words that needed to be spoken. All they needed was to hold one another again.

It was inevitable that the steady drumming of the rain combined with the shared warmth of the den would bring a wave of exhaustion upon them all. Once Alonzo was certain that Munk wasn't going to keel over or disappear he allowed Munk to steer him towards the sleeping kittens.

"I'll keep watch over them." Munk promised as he settled up against the wall. "You should get some sleep."

Back to the old 'I never need to sleep' attitude. Any other time Alonzo would have argued but already he was feeling his eyes drift shut. Something about having a den full of happy, purring kittens and his mate at his side sent him into a vaguely confused, very contented state of relaxation. Maybe he could handle kittens after all.

When Alonzo next awoke he was confused to hear a dull roaring in his ears. Blearily he raised his head to peer down at the source of the irritating wake up call, only vaguely surprised to find that both Pounce and Tumble were the cause of the tabby toms had claimed Alonzo's legs as their own personal pillow and were snoring up a storm.

Somehow the two of them managed to be a nuisance despite being completely unconscious. Pounce snorted in his sleep and kicked Alonzo right in the shins while simultaneously throwing one arm over his head and punching the cat square in the ribs, all in an attempt to get comfortable. Tumble, who was used to sleeping next to the constantly flailing limbs, didn't move a muscle, completely dead weight on Alonzo's already asleep leg. There were definitely going to be bruises in the morning.

Not that Munk was much better off. Electra and Etcetera had burrowed in on either side of him, pinning him in place, while Jemima curled up on his lap and rested her head up against his chest. Despite being literally buried in kittens he looked more content than Alonzo had ever seen him before. There was even a small, wistful smile on his face.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Alonzo asked, keeping his voice low.

"Mm?" Munk, mind obviously a million miles away, slowly came back to the surface.

"What were you thinking about?"

"Oh, you know…." Again with the wistful look. "Do you ever think about having kittens someday?"

"Kittens?" Alonzo repeated. "Having kittens?"

"Yes."

Alonzo looked down at the monsters using him as a pillow and the blanket of kittens on his mate.

"Have you taken a look around?" He asked, only a little sarcastically.

"Oh, well, these little ones don't see me as a parent. More of a guardian."

"Munkustrap. Munk." Alonzo resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose as once more he felt overwhelmingly exasperated towards the love of his life. "Listen to what you said."

"What? I'm not their father."

"But who risked his neck out in the storm to make sure they were all safe? Who dove into dangerous floodwaters to pull Jemima out? Who is currently comforting everyone during one of the worst storms of the year?"

"I did. I am. But I am not-"

"No. You are as much of a father to these kittens as anybody else."

"But all the above includes you as well."

"I didn't save Jemima." Alonzo reminded him.

"But you saved Pounce." Munk countered.

Pounce stirred at his name, once more inadvertently punching Alonzo in the ribs as he snuggled closer. Alonzo looked wistfully at the silent, small, mercifully still form of Jemima curled in Munk's lap.

"Want to trade-"

"No." Munk cleared his throat. "No thank you."

The rain petered out after a while, turning from a harsh roar into a soothing drum. The den was warm and cozy, the perfect temperature to curl up in and take a long nap. It was altogether too easy to be lulled to sleep among the soft breathing of slumbering kittens.

Alonzo closed his eyes and settled down, purring contentedly, not even minding the fact that Tumble had latched onto his tail and was drooling on his fur.

"Lonz." A push. "Lonz."

"Uh?" Fuzzily Alonzo raised his head and squinted through the darkness.

Something once more pulled him out of the peaceful slumber he had fallen into. As his eyes focused he was suddenly aware that Tumble was just centimeters from his nose. It took everything he had not to let out a surprised yelp.

"Yes?" He asked.

"Um."

"What is it?"

"Uh, I dunno." Tumble wiggled a bit.

"You woke me up for something." Normally he would have been a little more polite with the kitten but he had been having a really nice sleep up until now. Judging by the soft, methodical breathing coming from his left he could safely assume that Munk was still asleep.

"Um." Tumble leaned in closer. "I think Pounce's scared."

Alonzo glanced down at Pounce, who was so sound asleep that the Rumpus Cat himself could come crashing through their den and he wouldn't so much as twitch.

"Pounce is scared." Alonzo repeated.

"Yeah."

"Of?"

"Uh, 's real dark." Tumble was trembling. "And- and Pounce doesn't like it."

"I see." Alonzo did not see. In fact, he really wanted to close his eyes and not see anything, but there was a frightened kitten in front of him and it was too sad of a sight to ignore.

"Come here." Alonzo sat up and motioned for Tumble to sit close to his side.

"But Pounce-"

"He's fine." Alonzo lifted his arm, Tumble immediately tucking up against his fur.

Something moved in the dark. All of Tumble's claws sank into his skin. Alonzo stifled a yelp.

"Lonz?" Etcetera's sleepy voice asked. "Is it time to go to school?"

"No. Go to sleep." Thankfully the command worked. Alonzo really could only handle one distressed kitten at a time. It was beyond him how Munk could handle all of them at once.

"Lonz?" Tumble whispered. "'s real dark in here."

"It's alright."

"But- but what if something gets us?"

"Nothing's going to get you. For one they wouldn't be able to fit with seven of us in here." The fact did not comfort the scared kitten glued to his side. "And they'd have to get past Munk and myself, and we won't let that happen."

"Oh."

"Also we're cats. We're supposed to like the dark."

"Yeah." Tumble shifted restlessly against him. "Um, thanks."

"For what?"

"For getting Pounce. I forgot to say it earlier. But thanks for saving him."

The fact that Tumble thought that Alonzo was expecting a thank you for doing what any sane cat would have done broke his heart a little.

"I would have done the same for anyone. Munk too. You know that, right?"

"Yeah. I just… I was really scared and Pounce being out there."

Alonzo thought back to the sight of Jemima and Munk disappearing under the water. Instinctively he pulled Tumble a little closer to him.

"I know. I understand." He sighed. "But we're all fine, I promise. Now please go to sleep."

"I'll try." Tumble did not move away but instead buried his face in Alonzo's fur and tucked himself in as close as he could. It would have been a heartwarming sight if it didn't leave Alonzo in an uncomfortable position.

Somehow Alonzo managed to fall back into a bit of a doze before he was pulled out again. This time it wasn't Tumble who woke him, but rather the tiny distressed sounds of the tiniest kitten in their care.

Jemima was whimpering in her sleep. As Alonzo's eyes adjusted once more he could see that Munkustrap was awake and gently rocking her back and forth, singing softly to her.

It was a familiar melody, one Alonzo could have sworn he had heard before, but the name escaped him. Munk was full of knowledge of old, half forgotten songs, songs ranging from memorable ballads to silly ditties to lullabies to even the occasional sea shanty.

This song was most like a lullaby, the melody invoking feelings of comfort and safety and happiness found in the shared love between the singer and the audience. Munk's voice flowed over the unspoken fears and soothed them into quiet nothing's, leaving only a tranquil relaxation that was impossible to resist.

In this moment Alonzo fell in love with Munkustrap all over again. This quiet, private moment as Munk did everything he could to protect the tiny kitten from a nightmare, his soft song driving away the darkness, this was the moment where he was the most beautiful being Alonzo had ever seen.

Jemima quieted down, falling back into a peaceful slumber. Munk hummed a little longer to be sure she was safely asleep. Once he was quiet Alonzo shifted a bit so he could properly lean up against his mate, gently moving Etcetera so he wouldn't squash her between them.

"Did I wake you?" Munk whispered as Alonzo rested his head on his shoulder.

"No."

"It's been quite a night."

Alonzo thought back through the perilous evening they had, the terror he felt while witnessing Munk dive into the waters after Jemima, the helpless feeling of not knowing if it would be the last time they ever saw one another again. The fact that they were safe, alive, and sitting in a den of kittens seemed like a dream compared to what happened just hours ago.

"I love you." Alonzo had to get the words out before they were swept up by fear.

"I love you too." Munk replied, a little confused.

"I mean it. I have never loved anyone as much as you."

"What brought this on?"

"I… I just need you to know it. Really know it.*

"I do know it." Munk kissed the top of his head. "I promise."

"Good." Alonzo settled down again.

"I'm still thinking about kittens." Munk reminded him.

"Fine. I will consider it. But let's finish taking care of the ones we're currently stuck with."

Munkustrap's laugh was quiet but easily filled up the space. Alonzo sighed and closed his eyes. They would continue the conversation when they weren't up to their necks in kittens, he was sure of it, but, just maybe, he wasn't completely adverse to the idea.