Mistoffelees stared at Astrocharmer coldly, causing her to shudder and a take a few steps back. Inwardly Mistoffelees was in emotional chaos.
"You're not mad at me, are you Daddy?" Astrocharmer said softly, her voice high with fear. Mistoffelees sighed and shook his head as he sank to his knees. He held Astrocharmer in his arms gently.
"No, I'm not mad at you." He paused collecting his words. "Jessiben... he was a dear friend of mine, and he's no longer with me, he's up in the Heaviside, and Daddy misses him very much. Daddy doesn't like to talk about it because it hurts him." He sighed. "Now why don't you go play with Jemima and your other friends okay?" Mistoffelees said softly before ushering Astrocharmer outside. "Now go tell your mother that I'm going to be late coming home and that she should ask Alonzo to escort her, okay?" Astrocharmer nodded and smiled at him. Mistoffelees smiled back, trying to appear okay, but Astrocharmer could see in his ice blue eyes that he wasn't. She dashed off, deciding to appease him this once.
Mistoffelees sighed as he saw Astrocharmer disappear in the distance. He looked down at his paws and saw the drying blood, Macavity's blood. The one that had caused him so much pain and fear, gone. He didn't want to touch it. Shutting the door behind him he went to one of the ponds in the parks to clean up. He reached a bush and removed his collar. He stared at, and his brass nameplate. He was housecat, he was a father, he was defending his children and his friend's mate and children. But he was not born housecat, not like his children, his mate, his friends, he was unknown. Like the unknown power that went through him earlier, his claws digging deep into the flesh... he shook his head and placed the collar deep into a bush so it wouldn't be stolen. Sighing, he jumped into the lake with a splash. The icy water swarmed around him and froze him temporarily. He watched numbly as the blood flowed off of him and made red waves in the water. There was so much of it. He kicked it away fiercely, not wanting to look at it. Finally it disappated and he looked down to his now clean coat. The white was white, and the black wasn't sticky. He crawled out slowly and fumbled with his collar, his numb fingers unable to keep a grip upon it.
"Here, let me help you with that." A soft kind voice said as it buckled the collar around his throat. Mistoffelees sighed before turning around to his mate.
"Thanks Vicki." He said softly, not meeting her eyes for a moment. "Why are you here and where's Astro and Ben?" He his voice a little louder. Victoria smiled wanly.
"They're with Alonzo, playing." She put an arm around his shoulder. "You're soaking wet, come on, let's get under a tree and get you dried off." She said as she guided him to a far off tree. Mistoffelees made no protest and followed without a word. They sat under the elm, watching the stars as they slowly appear in the night sky. Victoria sighed and placed her hand over Mistoffelees' damp one. She wanted to ask him something, something that had been bothering her since he got back.
"Mistoffelees?" She said, turning to him. She waited until Mistoffelees' bright blue eyes focussed on hers. "What was that cat, Yawsus, talking about, knowing you when you were growing up, what did he mean you couldn't interrogate anyone?" She said softly. Mistoffelees' body went numb.
"Nothing." He mumbled. "Nothing, he was just trying to make me angry Vicki, nothing more." He whispered wishing that it were so. Victoria could tell he was lying, she bit her lip. She moved to sit in front of him.
"Mistoffelees what isn't it you're telling me? I want to know." She said softly. Mistoffelees stared at her a moment, his eyes looking forlorn and old, like those of soldiers lost in the battlefields of their minds.
"It's nothing Victoria." He repeated solomnly. Victoria felt like growling in frustration. She stood angrily glaring at him.
"Mistoffelees what is it! What is it you're hiding? I'm your mate, I deserve to know more about you than you're telling me. Why won't you tell me? I thought you trusted me!" Victoria said, exapserated. She looked at him for a second. "What happened between you and Macavity?" Mistoffelees was about to protest but Victoria cut him off. "It's something to do with Macavity isn't it? Please Misto, just tell me." She begged. Mistoffelees looked to the ground before standing, not making eye contact.
"We'd better go pick up the kits." He said softly before walking towards the junkyard. Victoria stared at him, totally confused by his behaviour before following.
Mistoffelees lay in his shared wicker basket with his mate and two children. They were sleeping soundly as the clock chimed two. But he couldn't, and so he watched them and tried to sort out his meloncholy. He was frightened, frightened for his children and his mate. There were two reasons that he could sort out, the first was Yawsus, he would seek revenge, he knew him that well, and they would be his first target. The second was himself. He didn't know what had possessed him to do such a horrible act, and much less enjoy it. He was scared because, he might do it again. He had attacked Macavity and ripped him to shreds, with little or no effort. Macavity was weak, that he had seen as he'd entered, but he'd attacked just as if he was in his prime, he had had the upper hand, and now felt guilty for using it. It wasn't on honorable even grounds that they had fought. Mistoffelees was younger, stronger, quicker, and not mention a wizard. Macavity was old, feeble, and lame with some parlour tricks and blind rats. He didn't know, he just felt so... dirty. He felt like he had been the tormentor, not Macavity. He felt like he had fallen to his level, with the scum of the earth and even lower. He looked to the three angelic sleeping faces. They were so peaceful and content, they'd never gone hungry, they'd never been without shelter, he made sure of that, and now, he didn't feel right to be with them. Looking at them one last time, he took off his collar and walked out the door, hoping to protect them with his absence.
To be continued...