A/N: Hi there! So yeah, this is my first story and i am extremely excited to get it posted! This is an entry for BroadwayKhaos's contest Jellicle Week June 2012 (go check it out!). I know the story is not perfect but I am proud of it. I could have spent many more hours on this to make it meet my standards but that would never happen because Im never completely satisfied! lol. Anyway I hope you enjoy it! Its a bit different than other things Ive seen lately. Finally, PLEASE REVIEW it means sooo much! Thank you very muchly,
Disclaimer: I own nothing but plot! Also thanks to BroadwayKhaos for the pairing because when I PMed her with questions about the contest she used these two as an example and the idea invaded my brain! Okay Ill seriously shut up now! Thanks for reading!
The Lost Years
The sun was shining brightly over the magnificent city of London, for the late afternoon. A breeze was blowing through the trees making it a mild day for the normally scorching month of August. In a remote corner of the city sat a large Junkyard. The vast area was covered in piles of old car parts and tires as well as any other type of garbage one could imagine. Although, from the outside the "Yard" looked horrid and disgusting, in the center of everything was a clearing that served as a home to a large group of cats. These cats were known to the humans of the area as Jellicles. Most of these cats had human homes nearby, however, they often preferred to stay in the Junkyard with their feline companions.
On this early summer evening most of the Jellicles were just waking up from their afternoon naps. Yawning and stretching the cats slowly emerged from their dens in groups of two or three. Every now and then a single Jellicle would wander from their cozy home. In the far left corner of the Yard sat a large, old, gas oven from which the door had been broken off of. This particular piece of rubbish doubled as a home to a brown and white patched tom and a petite, scarlet, calico queen. Tumblebrutus and Jemima, names typically thought of as odd by humans, came out of their flat simultaneously stretching and enjoying the warmth of the sun. Tumble and Jem had been best friends since they were kittens and had been mated about two years ago at the Jellicle Ball when they had finally come of age.
Rubbing up against his mate, Tumble gently sat down next to her. Looking over at the young queen he could see the sadness in her eyes and placed one of his brown forepaws on her white one. Reluctantly Jemima looked at Tumble and tried to disguise her emotions by smiling. Unfortunately for her Tumble knew her all too well. Gently he kissed Jemima on the cheek uttered, "I'll leave you to yourself for a bit," then ran off in the direction of the main entrance where a group of his friends had gathered and were batting an empty can between them.
Taking a deep breath Jemima tried to compose herself before walking across the lawn. Slapping on a fake smile she made her way to the top of the old, broken down Ford known to the Jellicles as the TSE-1. Basking in the sunlight as she went, the young scarlet queen waved and briefly spoke to some of her closest friends. Only wanting some time alone Jemima swiftly climbed to the top of the TSE-1.
Situating herself in the sun Jem soaked up rays and heat radiating from the piece of metal beneath her. Looking out over the plot of land she called her home, Jemima observed the day's activities. Clusters of cats sat in the sun chatting all around the Yard while a few of the new additions to the tribe chased each other and played games as they zigzagged through the adults. A small smile, but genuine, smile crossed Jem's face as she watched the kits and thought about her own kittenhood days and how she would often play with her and run through the adults. Kittenhood. Further thought on the matter made tears well in her eyes again and she turned away from the scene. Absentmindedly Jemima plucked a flower that had been growing in a crevice of the old car and gently twirled it between her claws.
"It's just like the day he left," Jem thought to herself as a tear trickled down her cheek.
Almost exactly two years ago on a day just like the one today, Jemima had just arrived back at the Junkyard from visiting her human's home. Sunlight glistened off of her silky fur as she walked through the green grass. Greeting everyone as she went by Jemima soon found herself encircled by a group of her kitten friends. Among them was Victoria, whom was recently mated to Plato but still loved playing with her best friends, Etcetera, Electra, Pouncival, and Tumblebrutus. All five kittens exchanged gestures of welcome with the small princess and the all began a game of tag. Now, at this time, the "young ones", as the elders liked to call them, were not necessarily kittens but they weren't adults yet either. The young cats still had the playful instinct in them but were also starting to develop and interest in the opposite sex. A few of the tweens had already started pairing off. Etcetera and Pouncival were nearly always together, Victoria as already stated was mated to Plato whom was a tad bit older than she. Like Victoria, Electra gravitated toward a slightly older tom as well, Asparagus Jr. This left Tumble and Jem slightly out of the mix. Although they were mind-numbingly close, neither kit felt an attraction to the other-at least not at the time.
As the game of tag continued Jemima suddenly noticed that two of the usual members of their group were missing. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, although quite a bit older than the kits enjoyed the games they played and would often join them. Noticing the odd absence of the tiger twins Jemima stopped dead in her tracks.
"Guys," she called loudly so that the other five kittens could hear her small voice. "Guys, where are Jerrie and Teazer?"
"I don't know, Jem," called Pouncival from her right side. "I haven't seen them yet today. They must still be at their humans' place."
"Hm, I guess so," she thought aloud. "I'm going to go look out for them on the TSE, I'll let you know when they're coming. Go on without me," the small cat replied, walking to the old car and waving a paw at her friends. The remaining kits simply looked at each other and shrugged. It wasn't unusual for Jemima to leave a game to look for someone or just wander off by herself to contemplate things.
"Jerrie and Teazer are never late," Jemima thought to herself as she climbed to the top of the TSE-1 to look out over the entrance in search of her friends. "I hope everything is alright."
Like Jemima and Tumble, she and Mungojerrie had always been very close friends. Actually, they were closer than she and Tumble. From the moment they had met when Jem was only a little kit, something clicked between the two of them. Both cats were slightly misunderstood by everyone else and this gave them a common ground. They could talk about anything and everything with each other. They could tell each other things no one else, not even the orange tabby tom's twin sister would understand. The two young cats spent every moment that they could together. As the pair grew older, their feeling for one another began to change. It was obvious that the love that they felt for each other was changing from that of friendship to romance. However, neither tom nor queen-kit would admit it for fear of rejection. Only just a month ago had the two began courting. It all started when Mungojerrie had let his true feelings about the princess slip during one of the couple's late-night talks. Jemima was ecstatic when she heard and understood what was said to her. Immediately the scarlet princess had let her own guard down and let her feelings flow. That night the two young cats agreed to try their hand at forming a relationship together. It was agreed that no one else in the tribe would know about it just yet. They didn't want to face the ridicule from the rest of the tribe about the age difference, and whatever else they would say about the mischievous tom and the delicate flower of a queen kit. Plus, they just didn't want any interference when they were trying to figure out the mechanics of a relationship. Jem and Jerrie both agreed to the terms and thus the young romance had begun.
Sitting on the rusty trunk, the youngest queen thought about her handsome tom-friend. She had missed him greatly in the days that they had been with their humans and was ready for them to be reunited. Thinking back on the past week Jem couldn't help but feel warm. She really was starting to fall for the silly brute and could only hope that the feelings were mutual.
Snapping out of her daydream Jemi glanced towards the gate that served as the main entrance to the Junkyard. Only a matter of yards away she could see a pair of orange tiger cats approaching the tall iron structure.
"Jerrie and Rumple are heeeerreeee," Jem exclaimed clambering off of the car remnants and blowing past her friends towards the front entrance. Skidding to a stop beside one of the guardians, Alonzo, Jemi sat at his feet panting and trying to catch her breath.
"Where's the fire kiddo," chuckled the black and white guardian.
"Mungo…Rumple…almost…here…," the kit managed between breaths.
"Ah. Well, that explains it," stated Alonzo. "You really do love those nuts don't you," he said patting Jemima between the ears and ruffling her head fur.
"More than you know," Jem thought to herself, a slight blush highlighting her cheeks.
At this point both Jemima and Alonzo could see the burglar cats rounding the corner to the gates. Jemima moved out of the way as Alonzo pulled back on the gate with all of his strength, then let it swing to its open position. With the sight of Jerrie coming straight at her, Jemima began to fidget and dance around as she waited for them to cross the threshold. Seeing as she was still not yet of age she wasn't allowed to cross the line without prior permission or an escort.
"Calm down kiddo, you're makin' me dizzy," Alonzo playfully scolded putting both paws on Jemima's shoulders to hold the queen-kit still.
In a matter of seconds Jerrie and Teazer crossed the threshold and were immediately ambushed by a flash of scarlet. Both tiger cats let out and "oof" as Jemima flung herself on them, tightly hugging both cats around the neck.
"Sorry guys! I couldn't hold her back any longer," Alonzo said from behind the orange, white and scarlet cluster.
"That's alright," came a female voice from the pile of fur, with a distinctly cockney accent. "We're glad to see you too Jemi," Teazer chuckled.
"I missed you guys ," the small queen said as she released the twins and gave Jerrie an "I-especially-missed-you look."
"We missed you too Jem," the two said in unison. Unlike Coricopat and Tantomile, the mystic twins, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer didn't normally speak in unison. In fact, half of the time they were in completely different worlds. The coordination of the two's speech made Jemima's ears perk up. She knew for a fact that this "phenomenon" only occurred when the cats were feeling an extreme, and usually negative, emotion. Automatically Jemima turned her head sharply to Jerrie, her eyebrows raised. She wanted to know what was going on and she wanted to know now.
"I'll tell you in a bit, love," Mungojerrie mouthed to his young queen-friend. Smiling at the end of the sentence he tried to wink at her as he always did, however, the smile didn't quite reach his eyes. This did not unnoticed by Jemima and it made her even more uneasy. She knew something was wrong and she desperately wanted to know what it was.
Quickly squinting her eyes and pouting at Jerrie Jemima tried to recover her composure.
"We missed you two playing tag with us this morning," Jem informed the twins. "It wasn't the same without you."
At this Jem swore that she saw Rumple's eyes briefly swell with tears. However, with a quick blink she was back to her normal, bubbly self.
"Well then, what'd'ya say we start over," Rumple squealed then exclaimed, "Tag you're it," and hitting Jerrie on the shoulder she took off running towards the clearing where the other kittens quickly caught on to the new game.
"Come on Jem. What do you say we tag-team her ay," Jerrie asked, holding out his paw and looking Jemi straight in the eyes.
"Alright," Jem said. She couldn't resist those gorgeous emerald and she put her paw in Jerrie's, who gave it a loving squeeze before they took off running after the others.
The group of kittens and the two young adults played well into the evening switching between games of tag, and hide and seek, while also taking short breaks to catch their breath. Other than those small breaks the group really only stopped once and that was to have dinner with the rest of the tribe. The large group of cats always ate main meals together. In the center of the clearing the cats would gather in a large circle around the mound of food that was always present. Picking up food from the center each cat would then find a spot among friends to eat and socialize.
As usual, this evening, the kits were the last ones to arrive at dinner. Each grabbing a sizable helping, they situated themselves between the adults. Jemima squeezed herself between Jerrie and Tumble and was quite content to eat in the company of her two best friends.
Dinner ended as the moon ascended into the sky and one by one cats were dismissed from the group. The kits, despite being the last to arrive, were the first ones to leave and went off chasing one another once again. That was, all of the kits but Jerrie and Jemima. . The couple, having stuffed themselves full, stayed put in their spot. Jerrie had sprawled out, lying on his back, giving Jem the incentive to curl beside him and rest her head on his muscular chest. Gently, Mungojerrie began stroking Jemima's head fur, causing a soft purr to erupt from deep inside the kitten's chest. Snuggling closer to Jerrie, Jemima nuzzled her nose into the tom's chest fur, eliciting a reaction identical to hers. Smiling to herself Jemima was happy to live in the moment but she knew that there were more pressing issues at hand. She had to figure out what had been bothering Jerrie all day. Taking a deep breath she mustered the courage to ask the question she had been suppressing all day.
"Jerrie," Jem said meekly. "Are you going to tell me what's on your mind?"
Jemima felt her head move up and down as the tiger tabby sighed heavily. Sitting up sharply Jem eyed her tom-friend who was now propped up on his elbows. Gazing into the petite princess's eyes Jerrie slowly got to his feet.
"Follow me," he said taking one of her tiny paws in his. Jerrie lead Jemima away from the center of the center of the Yard and the accusing eyes of the other inhabitants.
Crawling up and over the large tire, Jerrie pulled Jemima behind a broken closet door that had just been rested against a towering junk pile. As soon as the two cats were completely concealed by the door, Jerrie pulled Jem into a tight embrace. Reluctantly, Mungojerrie finally released Jemi. When the young queen looked into Jerrie's face she saw tears in is normally cheerful eyes. Instantly her own eyes began to sting with tears.
"Jerrie tell me what's wrong. I need to know," Jemima pleaded.
Jerrie nodded his head silently, swallowed, then began.
"I thought you deserved to know before the rest of the tribe and I wanted to be the one to tell you," he started. "Teazer and I are moving," Jerrie explained, tears dangerously close to spilling.
"Wh-Where to?" Jemima's voice shook. Jerrie wouldn't have been this upset if it was somewhere nearby so he could stay at the Junkyard or at least visit every now and again.
"We're moving to America. New York, to be exact."
"Amer-America? Everlasting cat…" Jemima's knees gave way as the meaning of the news hit her and took her breath away. She sat down in the dirt trying to regain her thoughts.
"How long," she asked letting the tears fall from her captivating eyes. Jerrie sat down behind Jemima, wrapped his arms around her waist and carefully pulled her into his lap.
"I don't know Midge." Normally, Jerrie would have earned a playful smack for the nickname; however, this time she allowed the tom to guide her face to his chest where she wept softly. Jemima hated when people made fun of her height, but with Jerrie it was different. The nickname was a show affection and he was the only one whom Jem would allow to use it.
"My humans were talking about the move and they mentioned something about it being for "business." I really don't know when we'll be back. Teaze and I can only hope that we will be."
With the prospect that she may never see Jerrie again Jemima let the grief that she was feeling consume her. Her small body wracked with sobs and Jerrie pulled her closer to him, never wanting to let go. Tears formed in his own eyes and splashed onto the shoulder of the small queen.
Finally able to regain control, after what seemed like an eternity, Jemima asked "When do you leave?"
"Tomorrow. We didn't want the tribe, and especially you, to dwell on it." Jemima closed her eyes tightly desperately trying to hold back a new wave of sobs.
"C-Can't you just stay a few days more," Jem begged. "The Ball is only a week away. We can become mates. Then you won't need your human family and neither will I. We can both live in the Yard together."
"Midge, I wish I could. You know I do," Mungo said lifting the young queen's chin to look into her eyes. "But you know we can't leave our humans until were mated. I have to go. Look, I know we'll be back. I just do. I don't know when but I know I'll see you again. I'll come back for you no matter what. Maybe…Maybe you can just wait to be mated like I am. You-"
"No, Jer. You know I can't," Jemi interrupted. "I'm the Protectors daughter. I have to be mated right when I come of age. You know that, and I can't leave with you 'cause I can't leave the Yard until I come of age," she said practically reading Jerrie's mind.
"Bast! This sucks!" That statement from the tiger tom got a small, but sad chuckle out of the couple.
"It's not fair," said Jem. "We haven't had enough time together."
"I know." Jerrie rested his head on top of Jemima's and lightly kissed it. "Do you think we should tell them about us?"
"No. It'll just make things harder. No matter what you're going to have to leave. Besides it's not like it will change the rules," Jemima retorted.
Jemima pulled out of Jerrie's arms and stood slowly, pulling her tom-friend up with her. Not wanting to be apart from Jem at all, Jerrie pulled her small frame back to him and wrapped his arms tightly around her waist. Wrapping her own arms around the same area of the tom Jemima instinctively laid her head back on his chest.
"You're right. Why make things more complicated," Jerrie mumbled into Jemima's cheek fur.
Pulling her head back, Jemima looked into Jerrie's face. Without realizing what she was doing Jemima whispered "I Love You."
A little taken back by the bold statement Mungojerrie blinked a few times.
"Oh great. He doesn't feel the same way. Now I really blew it," Jemima thought lowering her head in shame.
Suddenly the scarlet princess felt warm breath on her face and Jerrie's lips seamlessly met with hers. Jemima's eyes gently fluttered shut as she leaned into the kiss. Passion burned through both of their bodies as they relished the moment. All too soon the kiss was broken but they both clung to each other for dear life.
"I Love You too," Jerrie said pulling back and looking deeply and affectionately into the young queen's eyes. "More than you could know."
The two shared another amazing kiss, and then sat gazing at the stars for quite some time.
"We need to go tell the tribe the news," Jerrie said stroking Jem's back.
"I guess so," Jemima's eyes once again filled with tears and she threw her arms around the tabby's neck and sobbed into it.
"Dammit," Jemima choked. "I thought I was done crying."
Jerrie chuckled and pulled her body flush against his and whispered, "I hate to break it to you love, but it might take a while for that to happen."
"Yeah, I know. Let's just go get this over with. I'll finish bawling with the rest of the tribe."
"That's what I love about you Midge. You're never too sad to make a joke," Jerrie laughed.
"Or I'm just a really great actress," Jem said before stealing one more kiss and leading her partner back to the clearing.
The rest of the night was sad for everyone. Each cat said their goodbyes to the twins with tearful expressions on their faces. For Jemima, the night became increasingly worse. As the hours passed by she knew that her time with Jerrie was limited. She wouldn't have the chance to say goodbye in the morning because of the early departure time. Slowly cats began to return to their dens to retire for the night. Jemima was the last one to go. She walked the twins to the gate and said her last goodbyes. Neither of the three cats had a dry eye. While Teazer had her back turned and was gazing at the Junkyard for one last time Jerrie snuck in one last passion filled kiss.
"I will come back for you. No matter what," Jerrie whispered before gathering Teazer and solemnly turning to walk back to their human home and away from the Junkyard.
The moonlight cast beautiful shadows of the twins on the walls of the alleyway and Jem said her last goodbyes, silently, as she made her way back to her sanctuary. On top of the old Ford Jemima was free to let her emotions run free and she knew that her friend, the moon, would always be willing to listen.
Jemima hadn't realized how long she had been daydreaming on the car. Her face was stained with tears and she tried to dry the tufts of fur at her cheeks. Gazing into the clearing Jem saw that the others were gathered for dinner. Reluctantly she headed down to join the tribe for the meal.
Dinner and the rest of the night went by in a haze. Jemima couldn't shake the memory of that night so many years ago that had changed her life so drastically. She and Tumble turned in early that night, however, Jemima couldn't sleep. She had an odd feeling that was keeping her up but she couldn't put her claw on what it was. Giving up on sleep, Jem went back to the TSE and moon gazed until she finally fell asleep.
Jemima awoke the next morning to a beautiful sunrise. Blinking her eyes due to the sudden shock of bright light, Jem couldn't figure out why she had awoken so early. Especially since she hadn't gotten to sleep until late last evening. Instinctively she gazed out over the wall of the Junkyard. Rubbing her eyes roughly with her fists Jem couldn't believe what she saw. Two identical cats were walking down the alley to the Junkyard. The two cats moved into the sunlight and Jemima was able to see the pattern and colors of the felines' coats. She was shock by what she saw and a lump formed in her throat.
"Jerrie…" Jemima gasped.