Chapter 6

Macavity had been pacing in circles in the corner of the abandoned warehouse where he and his tribe lived. His tail kept swishing to and fro in displeasure while his henchcats kept a fearful distance away from him. Suddenly, he stopped and turned towards his followers.

The toms and queens around him gulped.

"These humans are a serious problem. They're becoming a hindrance to us. And that one human— Mistoffelees' human…" Macavity trailed off, his whiskers curled in displeasure. He sat down and pondered over what to do with her. Macavity had always prided himself in his ability to escape without leaving any witnesses behind— at least, not human ones, anyway. But now, a human had finally seen him. If he didn't deal with her soon, she could report him to the police. If that happened, these humans would hunt him down relentlessly.

"Do you want us to catch this… human?" Asked a striped, orange tom hesitantly.

Macavity frowned as he mulled the thought over in his mind. Then, he said, "No, not yet. We don't know what this human is capable of. And we don't know how many people she's told about what she saw that night. For all we know, she might have alerted the police already."

Macavity was silent while he pondered on what to do. After awhile, he finally said to two of his followers, "You two, go to Mistoffelees' human home and watch her. Find out who she talks to and what her conversations are about. I need to know if she's told anyone about us," Then, to another pair, he said, "You two, go to the nearest police station and check for any wanted posters or alerts that could lead to me."

Then, to the rest, he said, "The rest of you, patrol around the junkyard, but don't attack. Old Deuteronomy's bound to be on alert by now. I need to know what his plans are, where his Jellicles are throughout the day. And if you see any weaknesses, report to me. Now go!"

The toms and queens around him scattered right away. A precious few stayed to guard their kittens, most of whom were Macavity's progeny. As for Macavity, he slunk into a shadowy corner to ponder his next strategy.

oOo

Tonight wasn't a Jellicle moon, but many of the cats were all gathered at the junkyard anyway. Old Deuteronomy had decided to send a few cats to fetch those who live with humans so they could safely go to the junkyard. Even Mistoffelees decided to visit the junkyard, as did Skimbleshanks, Victoria, Bombalurina, and a few other cats who had human families. Like most nights, there wasn't anything particular going on tonight. Some toms were crowding around Gus as he retold the story of the time he played Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell. Though the cats had heard it a million times before, they still loved to sit by him and listen.

On the other corner of the junkyard, away from the hearing range of the toms crowding around Gus, some of the queens and kittens were talking excitedly about the upcoming Jellicle Ball. It would not be held for another three months or so, depending on the moon phase, but it was the highlight of the year for any Jellicle.

"What about you, Jemima? You'll finally be a eligible this year. Think you'll find a mate at the Ball?" Bombalurina asked.

Jemima's tail twitched nervously. She glanced at the toms gathered around Gus, then hastily looked away before anyone could notice where exactly she was looking, or rather, whom she was looking at.

"I don't know. I haven't thought about it yet," Jemima said, her tail swishing to and fro.

Etcetera, who had been listening this whole time, nudged Jemima's shoulder.

"Aw, come on!" Etcetera said with a grin. She glanced at the group of toms gathered around Gus and said to Jemima, "There's got to be at least one tom you like."

Jemima tried not to blush. She licked her paw in embarrassment, then said, "I don't know. We'll just see."

Etcetera glanced at the group of toms again, then grinned. "I heard some of the young toms are finally eligible this year."

"Really? Who?" Asked Victoria.

"Pouncival, Quaxo, Mistoffelees and Tumblebrutus," Etcetera said.

"Rum Tum Tugger's still available," Bombalurina said with a saucy smile as she too, eyed the group of toms crowding around Gus.

"Pfft. Tugger's been available for the last five years— and he'll probably stay available for another five. He likes being a bachelor too much," Demeter said.

Bombalurina looked at the enigmatic tom with the wild mane, then sighed sadly.

"What about Munkustrap? He hasn't got a mate yet. Think he'll finally choose someone this year?" Asked Jemima. She tried not to let her tail move when she mentioned his name, but it was such an unconscious gesture, she could've sworn her tail twitched a little.

Apparently, Demeter caught the twitch, because the queen grinned at Jemima.

"Why, are you interested?" Demeter said with a very. wide. grin.

"W-what? No. I was just… curious. That's all," Jemima blushed and looked away.

"Meeewww!" The other queens and kittens mewled and nudged Jemima's shoulder teasingly.

"Sooo…. Munkustrap, huh?" Etcetera giggled and grinned at Jemima.

"N-no, no! I was just curious! Really!" Jemima said with a hint of panic and embarrassment in her voice.

"Sure, you are," Bombalurina said with a knowing grin.

"Meoowwrrr," Jemima pouted and blushed at the same time.

Meanwhile, unknown to the queens and kittens, one of the toms had overheard them. And he was grinning. Widely. With a confident air, he strutted towards Munkustrap, who was among the group of toms sitting around Gus.

"Guess what I heard?" Rum Tum Tugger said as he clapped a hand on Munkustrap's shoulder.

"Do I really want to know?" Munkustrap eyed Tugger suspiciously.

Ignoring Munkustrap's suspicious glance, Tugger continued.

"So… the queens and queens-to-be are talking about the Jellicle Ball, see? And guess whose name came up?" Tugger said.

Munkustrap rolled his eyes. Hadn't they had this conversation a million times before? "Let me guess, yours?"

"Well of course my name came up!" Tugger said smugly, "But guess who else was mentioned?"

"Who?" Several young toms asked anxiously.

Tugger grinned, then said nonchalantly, "Apparently, someone's been asking about our fearless protector."

"Someone's asking about Rumpus Cat?" Munkustrap frowned incredulously.

Tugger gave Munkustrap an annoyed look, then said, "I meant you."

"Ohhh." Several toms chorused at once and looked at Munkustrap, who was suddenly feeling very self-conscious.

"Who? Who was asking about Munkustrap?" Alonzo asked, his tail twitching in anticipation.

Tugger gave everyone a very wide grin, then said, "Now that would be telling."

Several toms yowled in disappointment. Gus, however, was smiling.

"Well isn't that nice? Munkustrap, perhaps it's time for you to choose a mate this year, especially now that you have a queen inquiring after you," Gus said with a grandfatherly smile at Munkustrap.

"I… ah…I…" Munkustrap was speechless. His ears flattened nervously. He glanced at the group of gossiping queens and queens-to-be and couldn't help but wonder which of them had been asking about him.

"And you as well, Tugger," Gus said to the cat with the wild mane.

"Now where's the fun in that? After all, I wouldn't want to disappoint the queens by suddenly becoming unavailable, now would I?" Tugger smirked.

"Rum Tum Tugger, I do believe you love bachelorhood far too much," Skimbleshanks said while shaking his head in disapproval.

Tugger grinned widely.

"And what about you four? Any queens in mind?" Skimbleshanks asked the four young toms who were finally eligible this year: Pouncival, Quaxo, Mistoffelees and Tumblebrutus.

Pouncival's tail twitched nervously, Quaxo shyly scratched his ears, Tumblebrutus suddenly found the ground very interesting while Mistoffelees had that deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.

"Well—"

"You see—"

"I don't think—"

"It's too soon to—"

The four nervous young toms chorused their excuses at the same time.

Gus sighed. "Young toms these days. You young 'uns think you have all the time in the world. Back in my day, toms would leap at the chance to finally be able to choose a mate. Why, the Jellicle Ball was much more interesting back then, what with toms competing for their chosen queens."

Many of the still-single toms looked away guiltily— except Rum Tum Tugger, of course, who simply didn't care.

.

.

TBC...

.

.


A/N: So here we finally have our second main pairing in this story: Munk/Jemi. They'll be featured quite a bit in future chapters.

And in case you haven't noticed, Quaxo and Mistoffelees are two separate characters in this story. They have different fur patterns, especially on their legs and paws. So, rather than giving Misto a chameleon-like ability to change the color of his fur, it makes more sense for me to treat them as two separate cats. (Hmm... Chameleon-Misto. Now there's an idea...)

(Please ignore the ugly dots on the side. FF .net apparently won't let me add an extra blank space after a paragraph, so I had to make do so as not to make the chapter look horribly scrunched up).