Munkustrap was shouting his name but Mistoffelees ignored him. He had bolted from behind the crates once he saw Mungojerrie was in trouble. "Monster!" he shouted as he charged Macavity. He landed on Macavity's back, his front claws gripped the larger cat by his shoulders. The magical cat then pushed his back feet into Macavity's spine causing the evil cat to arch the wrong way. Macavity was shocked at the sudden attack from behind. Mistoffelees then latched onto Macavity's scruff, forcing his head back. Macavity was immobilized. Mungojerrie was still on his back, however due to the actions of Mistoffelees he was no longer pinned. He moved away then turned to face the wild cat. He clamped his jaws on Macavity's throat. Macavity couldn't move with Mistoffelees grip and the added pressure Mungojerrie was applying to his neck was making it difficult to breathe. He tried to claw at Mungojerrie and was successful on one attempt in scraping his claws along Mungojerrie's injured side. However instead of causing the tabby to release his hold Mungojerrie clamped his jaws even more so. He was oblivious to his surroundings. He was consumed by his hatred to allow anything to distract him from the helpless form in his grasp. Mistoffelees continued to apply pressure to Macavity's back and still pulled at his shoulders and his neck. Black spots started clouding Macavity's vision. He attempted again to slash at Mungojerrie but the tabby avoided the action by swatted the paw away, his grip never shifting.
Munkustrap ran forward, he could hear the rasping coming from Macavity as he tried to breathe. His eyes were large and dark, his tongue hung out and was tinted blue. Munkustrap slowed to walk to Mungojerrie's side. "Mungojerrie, don't do this, you don't want to kill him." Mungojerrie never blinked, he only shifted his jaw to tighten his grip. Munkustrap could see Macavity was slipping away. "Mungojerrie, please think about what you are doing. You don’t want to take his life, think what Rumpleteazer would say." Mungojerrie eyes began to clear, and focus, then filled with tears. His grip on Macavity's throat remained tight. "Well at least I got his attention." Munkustrap thought. He raised a paw to Mungojerrie's shoulder. "Let him go Mungojerrie, you don't want his death on your conscience." Mungojerrie trembled with frustration. He did want to kill this vile beast and yet the words that Munkustrap had said were true. Rumpleteazer would not have wanted it this way. Macavity was limp; Mistoffelees' own hold was the only thing keeping him up. Munkustrap could see the frustration etched on Mungojerrie's face. He knew this was a hard decision for his friend. "Macavity doesn't have much more time," he thought to himself watching the evil cats' shallow breathing.
Rumpleteazer jumped down from the small window ledge landing nimbly without a sound behind the crates. She quietly made her way around them and paused slightly to listen for any sound. She could hear Munkustrap speaking to someone. Quietly she rounded the crates and was shocked at the sight before her. Munkustrap was speaking to Mungojerrie. Mungojerrie had a wild uncaring look in his eyes, and yet he also seemed to have a look of complete sorrow at the same time. She saw Macavity's neck in his jaws, and was startled to see the position that the evil cat was in. He was arched painfully backwards, his head was pulled back his front paws dangling, neither toughing the floor. Then she caught the sight of Mistoffelees. He had a death grip on Macavity's scruff, his back legs digging into the others' back, and his front claws embedded into Macavity's shoulders. "Mungojerrie?" she whispered, still recovering from her shock. The small marble fell from her mouth and clinked to the ground. It bounced slightly a few times and rolled across the floor and stopped at Mungojerrie's paws. Mungojerrie's eyes blinked. Mistoffelees maintained his hold. Slowly Mungojerrie relaxed his jaw, not that he wanted let Macavity go, but he couldn’t believe his eyes, his love was standing in front of him. Alive. Releasing his hold completely he took a step forward stepping on the marble. " 'ow did that get in 'ere?" He looked to her direction once more. He wanted to hold her, and yet he was terrified that if he touched her she might vanish, like she was just a vision of his mind. She seemed to read his thoughts and ran to him without hesitation.
Munkustrap looked on at their reunion with a smile, and then abruptly he snapped his head around to Mistoffelees. The tuxedo had shifted his grip, and was now latched on to the area where Mungojerrie had been. Never had Munkustrap seen his friend with such a look of revenge. His emerald eyes seemed darker somehow. Munkustrap took a deep breath. "Okay leader, your friend needs your help, let's see if you can do this one right." He moved closer to Mistoffelees' side. "Misto?" no response. "Mistoffelees, listen to me." The eyes remained dark. Munkustrap touched the tuxedos' paws that were digging in to the evil cats' shoulders. Slowly he pulled them away; blood began to ooze from the wounds. Munkustrap turned his attention to his friend's eyes. "Mistoffelees, do not let yourself be taken into hatred like this. I know how you feel about Macavity and I know that you want nothing more right now to end his life, what you decided to do will show if you are any better than this monster." Mistoffelees listened to the words of his friend, he knew the older cat was right, he could never forgive himself if he took another's life in this manner. His eyes seemed to flash and return to their emerald green, his body relaxed and his jaws released their hold. Macavity's head dropped to the floor. Mistoffelees looked at the fallen feline; he was holding his breath. Munkustrap leaned over Macavity's form silently listening. He caught the sound of his rasping and the slow rise of his chest. "He's going to live Misto. He's going to be very, very sore, but he's going to live."
Mistoffelees relaxed, exhaling. "Guess you could say I faced my greatest fear?"
Munkustrap smiled at his marvelous friend, "In more ways than one Misto. I'm very proud of you."
Alonzo limped to the entrance of the warehouse, "Bomb, you and Quaxo stay here and keep an eye on our 'friends'." he gave a sharp look to Sainan and Kurai who only hissed back at him. "Tugger, let's see what went on inside." Alonzo turned and limped through the entrance, Tugger walked close by.
Macavity was on his side, without the slight rise and fall of his chest he looked completely lifeless. Munkustrap sat next to Mistoffelees, both looking at the fallen cat.
"You know it would have been so easy to kill him." the tuxedo whispered.
"Taking a life is easy Misto, anyone with hatred or vengeance in their heart can do that." Placing a paw on the younger cats' shoulder he continued "I think you saved Mungojerrie's life today, and you have shown that not only are you a true friend, but a Jellicle in the truest form."
Mistoffelees smiled at the compliment "You're going to make a great leader, Munku."
Mungojerrie looked into Rumpleteazer 's eyes for what seemed like the first time in a lifetime, " 'ello" he whispered.
Rumpleteazer felt tears gathering in her eyes, " 'ow are ya love?"
Mungojerrie did a quick check of his injuries, "My side feels like it is on fire, and something's beating about in my 'ead," he gave her a wink and rested his head on her shoulder, "and I 'ave never been better."
Rumpleteazer smiled at his response, and then her eyes caught the slight twinkle of the marble on the ground. "Oh! I almost forgot." she exclaimed as she picked it up and presented it to him. " This is for you Jer, I've never seen anything quite like it and it reminded me of you."
Mungojerrie smiled warmly "It's marvelous Teaz, thank you." pawing at the marble, one other thought entered his mind, "Now what am going give to you?"
"Wow! You guys really took care of him!" Tugger shouted as he entered. His outburst surprised them all.
Alonzo limped in slowly, "Munkus? Misto?"
They both hurried over to the black and white tom, noticing his torn shoulder. He shrugged, and winced in pain for his efforts "It only hurts when I move." he said trying to set their concerns at ease.
Munkustrap could see that although there was a fair amount of blood on his fur the wound itself seemed to have stopped bleeding. "What did the other guy look like?" he asked with a grin.
Alonzo smiled triumphantly, "Neko isn't going to forget our encounter anytime soon. I got him clean across his face, every time he takes a drink he's going to see a wonderful little reminder staring right back at him."
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer walked over to join them. " Rumple and me are going 'ome." Mungojerrie stated, he glanced at Mistoffelees once as they left, but said nothing.
"I guess he still hates me." Mistoffelees whispered.
Munkustrap started to respond however the tuxedo cut him off. "It's okay Munku, Rumpleteazer is safe and Macavity is defeated." He gave a slight smile.
Munkustrap noted the disappointment in his friends' voice. "Have to talk to him about this later." He told himself. "How are the others?" he asked turning to Alonzo and Tugger.
"Bomb and Quaxo are watching Sainan and Kurai, and Neko and Kuroi are out for the count." Alonzo replied.
Munkustrap looked over to Macavity's form, Mistoffelees' words echoed in his mind, "It would be so easy to kill him" he shook his head and turned to the entrance, "Let's go."
"Look! It’s Macavity!" Quaxo shouted.
Kurai and Sainan both whipped their heads around to the direction he was pointing.
Quaxo was in hysterics "Got you AGAIN!!"
Bombalurina gave an exasperated sigh, "You know Quaxo, it was funny the first 5 times, but now your pushing it."
Quaxo tried to get his laughter under control, "I know! But they keep falling for it!"
Kurai and Sainan ignored them, and talked amongst themselves. Quaxo shrugged, "Poor losers, bad tempers, make excellent party gifts. Would you like one for here or to go?."
Bomb giggled at his remark. Turning she saw Munkustrap and the others emerge from the warehouse. As they approached she grew worried, "Munkustrap, where is Rumpleteazer and Mungojerrie? They aren't… hurt are they?"
"No Bomb, they're fine. They just left out the back once everything was over." Munkustrap walked over to where Neko and Kuroi lay. "I guess these two are out for the count."
"What about the boss?" Kurai whispered to Sainan.
"I bet they killed him." Sainan replied loudly enough for the others to hear.
Tugger gave a short laugh, " I bet you wish he is dead. I mean what would he do to you guys knowing we beat you so easily?"
Bombalurina made a mock worried face, "Oh no Tugger, you don't think he would do anything to them?"
Quaxo saw where this was going; "You don’t suppose he might to something say…painful, or permanent?"
The two Maine Coons were visibly shaken, and took a step closer to their fallen partners. Neko began to stir "What the.." as he tried to get to his feet he angrily kicked at Kuroi's limp form. "Get off!" he growled angrily, and was immediately sorry as the pounding in his head increased. Sainan attempted to comfort him but he rudely shoved her away. Once able to stand he glared at the Jellicles that stood around. He grinned wickedly as his eyes met Alonzo's. He noted the gash he had inflicted on his shoulder and the dried blood that contrasted sharply with his white and black coat. "This is far from over." He growled. He brought his paw up to his eye and felt the clean slice that ran over his eyelid and down his cheek. "I owe you big."
Alonzo stood painfully and glared back at him, " We can settle this now." he growled.
As Sainan moved to back up Neko, Kurai moved away from his irritated form not wanting to do anymore fighting if she could help it.
Mistoffelees padded over silently to the white and black tom determined to back him up should he need it. Alonzo smiled slightly at the younger toms' action. His eyes were still locked on Neko.
Munkustrap moved quickly and placed himself in-between the four cats. " There has been more than enough fighting." he stated. While he knew Alonzo would never back down from a challenge, Munkustrap was determined not to allow him to engage in a meaningless fight. And he knew that with Alonzo's injury it would not even be fair.
"I can take him Munkustrap." Alonzo said, he took a few painful steps forward trying not to let his discomfort show. Mistoffelees followed him silently.
Munkustrap turned his head slightly," I said there will be no more fighting, that is final Alonzo."
Tugger, Quaxo and Bomb glanced around at each other surprised at Munkustrap's tone. Then they turned to Alonzo, who slowly brought his gaze to Munkustrap. The large black and white flicked his tail, he had wondered if Munkustrap was going to return and take the role of leader. His ears twitched as he regarded the large silver and black tabby, with slight hesitation he gave a simple nod of his head and nothing more. Munkustrap inwardly relaxed. He was almost certain for a moment the tom was going to challenge his decision.
Neko watched the silent exchange and grew furious, preparing to strike. " Don't think this is over Alonzo, it is far from it!"
Munkustrap whipped his head around, "Don't even think about It." he growled.
Neko halted his advance but still bristled. "Both of you better watch your backs. This won't go forgotten."
Munkustrap turned his back on the threat, "I'm sure you won't let us down." He walked next to Alonzo and Mistoffelees "Com'on, we're done here. Let's go home." he called over his shoulder to the others.
Neko was in a rage, "No one turns their backs to me." He growled quietly. Slinking to the floor he crept his way closer to the retreating group. "No one turns their backs to me!!" he shouted as he lunged at Alonzo. Munkustrap turned quickly to intercept the attack however Mistoffelees was already in motion. While the others had anticipated a reaction from Neko, Mistoffelees had sensed the motion before the others. The tuxedo hissed, flashing his fangs as he whipped around and lashed out with his claw with all force. His claws raked across the larger Maine Coon's already scarred face and sent the evil cat spinning to the ground.
Sainan was immediately at his side, "Neko! Oh your eye! Does it hurt much?" she turned her head and hissed at the magical cat.
Neko shoved her away angrily; " I've got blood running down my face! What do you think it feels like!?"
Mistoffelees flicked his tail then returned to Alonzo's side. Both Alonzo and Munkustrap were surprised at the younger tom's quick action. They smiled as he approached.
Finally they were heading home. Walking along the other side of Alonzo, Munkustrap reflected on the day's events. Everyone had helped; they were a true team. Mistoffelees was definitely showing signs of confidence in himself as well as trust in others. He looked over Alonzo's shoulder to glance at the tux. Sensing eyes on him Mistoffelees turned his head to meet Munkustrap's. The Jellicle leader smiled at his remarkable friend. Mistoffelees' eyes lit up and he returned his own electric smile.
Everything was going well, Munkustrap was feeling better than he had in days. "Now all you have to do is resolve this small problem with Mungojerrie and everything will be fine…" a small voice in his head reminded him.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer walked home in silence. Both were enjoying each others company and were content to know the other was safe. The past few days had seemed like months and they were eager to go home and get some well-deserved rest. "Together" they thought as one. As they approached closer to their home they noticed flashing lights and many strangers standing in their yard. Keeping out of view they crept through the doorway. Rumpleteazer was unimpressed as everything was as much as a mess as she had left it. Mungojerrie on the other hand was thoroughly shocked at the state the home was in. "You weren't 'aving a party with out me, were ya?" he whimpered.
"Of course not!" Rumpleteazer exclaimed realizing for the first time that she had said nothing of the break in. "You won't believe what 'appened!" She went about explaining her ordeal and how she had masterfully taken the would-be-thieves by herself, "..And they were breaking and trying to steal our stuff!"
Mungojerrie's eyes grew large as she told her story; he looked her over nervously, "Teazer! I didn't know! Are ya 'urt? Did they 'arm you at all?"
She rubbed her head against his chest "It's great to 'ave you back Jer." She purred.
"Then you're okay? No problems?" he asked still concerned.
She smiled up at him and nodded. "Never felt better in my life."
Mungojerrie relaxed finally convinced he looked at her mischievously "They didn't swipe any of our stash did they?"
Her smile only widened.
"Mommy! I can't find them anywhere!" one of the girls wailed from the other room.
The dynamic duo shared baffled looks, "Let's see what they are on about." Teazer suggested.
As the peered around the doorframe they could see both young girls crying uncontrollably. "Kiken is gone! Konran is gone! They're never coming back!"
Their mother tried to calm them but was having no success. One of the girls pulled away from her and ran to the other room, her eyes red and her cheeks were tear stained. The lady looked at her husband, "What are we going to do? Who knows what happened to the little dears while we were away? You don't suppose the burglars…. You don't think…" she couldn't dare say what she thought might be true.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer stared on at the site before them with wide eyes. " I don’t believe it!" Mungojerrie exclaimed.
"Neither do I…yeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" she screamed as she was lifted in the air.
"MOMMY! I found her! I found Kiken!" she squeezed the her tight, "And Konran's here too!"
Mungojerrie braced himself for the inevitable and was not disappointed as the other girl ran in and scooped him up in her arms. It took every once of will power not to cry out as the girl squeezed his injured side. The girl's parents shared sighs of relief and were equally pleased to see the troublemakers. The man knelt and scratched Mungojerrie's head, then he noticed his clawed side. "Give him to me, sweetheart. Let me make sure he is okay." The youngest daughter reluctantly handed Mungojerrie to her father and waited anxiously.
"What is it?" His wife inquired gently, not wanting to alert or frighten the girls.
"It looks like he has a slight injury to his side. Don't worry though, it doesn't look terribly serious." The lady stepped away momentarily, "Let me take Kiken too, she will want to be with Konran." The man said as he reached down and removed her from his daughters' grasp. Rumpleteazer was never more grateful.
His wife reappeared with a washbowl and a small cloth. She took Rumpleteazer from his arms and dabbed the warm compress over Mungojerrie's wound. Once again Mungojerrie had to fight not to cry out at the warm cloth connected with his side. Once she was done with her ministrations she handed Rumpleteazer to her husband and took the girls by the hand. " Let's thank the policemen for all their help, Okay?" The girls looked at the furballs in their fathers' arms, they pulled at his arm and he bent down slightly so each girl could plant a small kiss on each feline's head. Then they followed their mother to the kitchen.
The man turned and started to ascend the stairs, frowning as he noticed that one of the matching Ming vases that were on either side of the banister was smashed. "Well at least the burglars didn't break both of them." Mungojerrie's ears perked and he met Rumpleteazer's eyes.
"Saved one for you love." she smiled.
Mungojerrie kicked out with his back feet, connecting with the vase and sent it crashing to the floor. The man stiffened as he heard the vase crash. Grumbling only slightly he took the two upstairs and placed them on the bed in the guestroom. Closing the door behind him he whispered to himself with a smile, "Those horrible cats."
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer heard the comment and curled next to each other. "It's good to be home." they purred as one.
Coricopat and Tantomile had sensed the others returning and signaled to Skimbleshanks to alert Old Deuteronomy. Quaxo, Bombalurina and Rum Tum Tugger were talking all at once, finishing each other's sentences. The old Jellicle leader was relieved that they had all returned safely. Alonzo sat quietly and favored his shoulder. Munkustrap sat next to him and asked him again. "Are you sure you're okay?" Alonzo sat tall, wincing as he did so and replied the same. "Yes Munk, see…I'm fine." he rotated his shoulder gingerly. Cassandra had been keeping watch and was overjoyed when she saw the group return. She was immediately concerned as she saw Alonzo limp through the entrance. Quietly she made her way to him and sat by his side. She gave him a soft smile and placed a tentative paw on his uninjured shoulder. Alonzo was very happy to see her.
Deciding that he didn't really need to be present and knowing that he needed rest, Munkustrap nodded approval to Alonzo's unasked question, excusing him from the rest of the meeting. Alonzo smiled his thanks and walked away with Cassandra. Munkustrap was still watching the couple when he felt a presence beside him. Mistoffelees only sat next to him with out a sound. Quaxo was becoming louder by the minute and Bomb was also enjoying replaying the day's events. Tugger was really enjoying himself as the three of them continued their interpretation of the fights. Old Deuteronomy couldn’t help but chuckle at their antics. They looked like kittens again. Once the trio had finished their side of the story Munkustrap explained what had happened in the warehouse and the true story about Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. Mistoffelees still remained silent. Munkustrap was careful to describe just enough about the fight, without including the intense moments of both Mistoffelees and Mungojerrie. Old Deuteronomy could tell the young leader was holding something back but he was proud that Munkustrap was taking responsibility for dealing with the problems of the others without his help. After everyone had calmed down and the others who had remained behind asked all their questions, he addressed the group. "I am very proud of what you accomplished today. You have all learned some very valuable and important lessons about yourself and your friends. I think it is definitely time everyone settle in and got some well deserved rest." He glanced around at his family and smiled in approval, then said goodnight and headed to his own home.
Munkustrap stretched mightily and made his way to the velvet cushion, Mistoffelees following quietly. Both were nearly bowled over by a small multicolored blur that shot past them like fire. "Jemima….?" Munkustrap began only to be bumped by Mistoffelees as the tux danced away nimbly as Electra, Etcetra and Victoria shot past him. "Wha?"
Bomb and Tugger were too busy half-flirting, half-fighting, half-whatever with each other to notice the energetic bolt dash right for them. Jemima plowed right into Tugger's stomach forcing a loud, "UUMPH!!" as she collided with him. Victoria and Electra dug their claws to the ground to slow themselves, while Etcetra was only too happy to go with the flow and fall right into Tugger's arms. "What is this all about?" Tugger asked once getting his breath back.
Jemima had her small foam ball clutched tightly in her jaws. "Dey wanted my fuffy red tingy!" she said through clenched teeth.
Tugger looked at her quizzically then noted the small foam ball she had. "Oh! I see..Well this is easily solved." he removed the ball from her mouth and without a warning, he slashed it with this claws dividing the ball into four equal parts. Electra, Etcetra and Victoria were extremely happy and bounded away with their small treasure.
Jemima held her portion and could only stare at it as her bottom lip quivered and her eyes filled with tears. Tugger and Bomb walked away not noticing her sorrow. It did not escape Mistoffelees masterful eyes however and he quickly bounded next to her. " Don't worry Jem! Really it's okay!" he gently took the small piece of the ball from her paw and cupped it in his own. "All we need to do is add a little magic, you'll see!"
Jemima dried her tears with the back of her paw and watched Mistoffelees carefully. She had really liked that little ball.
Munkustrap watched as Mistoffelees continued his trick. The tux covered his paw with the other and shook them in the air. Then he brought his paws down within inches of her nose. "I need you to say the magic word, Jem. You have to whisper it softly to the small piece."
Jemima thought hard, but no word would come to mind. "I don’t know any." she whispered tears filled her bright eyes once more.
Munkustrap sat next to her and whispered in her ear. Jemima's face lit up and she leaned forward whispering "Mistoffelees."
Mistoffelees smiled warmly then brought his paws to his own nose and blew once. Keeping his eyes on Jemima, he shook his paws twice then tossed them up in the air. Jemima followed the motion and was completely awestruck as after a few moments a complete red foam ball came down and rested at her paws. She lifted it gently as if it were going to break. "Thank-you, thank-you, THANK-YOU!" she said still unable to believe what happened.
Mistoffelees chuckled, "Anytime Jem."
He watched as she bounded away full of joy once more. Then just as soon as he had been feeling good about himself, he began to feel just the opposite. He was only slightly unsure of what he should do. He had wanted to return to the yard with Munkustrap but at the same time had also wanted to return home. The way that Mungojerrie had treated him still bothered him and made him feel uncomfortable.
Munkustrap could see the younger tom was in deep thought and offered his help. "Want to talk about Mungojerrie?"
Mistoffelees grinned at his friend and made his way to the cushion, " Thanks Munku, but I think I'll be okay. At least through tonight. I'm tired!"
Munkustrap still looked at him unconvinced, "Misto…"
"No really, Munku. I'm fine." the tux interrupted, "I promise to talk to you about it tomorrow."
Munkustrap accepted his promise and stretched the length of the cushion. "Nothing like velvet, eh Misto?"
The tux kicked him over slightly making room for himself and nestled in, "Nope Munku, nothing like it at all."
Munkustrap jaw dropped slightly, with a small trace of a grin "Ooh, that was so rude."
"Get up!" Neko growled as he stomped on Kuroi's tail for the third time
Kuroi brought his head up with a jerk, and was immediately sorry as his vision blurred and his head throbbed. "Ok…O..k…I'm up already.." he grumbled. He could see Kurai was at his side and noticed at once the long gash that ran down the left side of Neko's face, from his eyebrow to his cheek. "Whoa…what did I miss?"
Neko stomped his tail once more, and jerked back as Kuroi lashed out. "I said knock it off!" he hissed.
Sainan stood next to Neko, "Are you sure you really want to go in there?" she questioned, unable to hide the fear in her voice.
Neko turned to stare at her, "What else would we do?! Walk away and leave him there?"
"Yea, well what if he is alive?" Kurai cut in, "What do you think he's going to do to us after everything that happened?"
Neko lashed his tail; "I don't think you know what I'm going to do if you don't go in there with me." he threatened.
Kuroi slowly got to his feet, "You mean you don't know if they killed him or not?"
Neko rolled his eyes, "Does it look like we know if he's dead?" He walked to the entrance expecting the others to follow suit. "Don't make me drag you over here." He called over his shoulder. "Bunch of wimps.."
Slowly the others followed.
Macavity lay sprawled on his back in the middle of the floor of the warehouse. He lay staring at the darkness around him. "They are going to be very, very sorry they didn't kill me when they had the chance." Twisted laughter emerged from his torn throat, burning as it did. The horrible sound echoed off the walls of his lair.
Neko stopped in his tracks at the awful sound. "Mabey…. Mabey we should come back later…."