“What are you doing here?” Her voice was a barely trembling breath, as he crept around her, looking her up and down. “If they see you, I’ll get in trouble.”
“Then, they won’t see me.” He replied gently. “Come with me, I have to talk to you…”
Nodding, hesitantly, she followed him, trusting him implicitly, not even wanting to question his presence. Glancing around the darkness of the yard, she instinctively moved closer to him.
Clambering to the top of the junkpile, he turned to hold out his paw to help her up, smiling down at her, his eyes twinkling in the moonlight, as she sat down lightly. Her own eyes shone up at him.
“What did you want to talk to me about?” She whispered, holding out a paw and gesturing for him to sit next to her. “What was so important that you risked your life to come and see me?”
“Don’t exaggerate.” He replied, with mock-severity, taking her paw in his. “They wouldn’t hurt me. They never could.”
“I know.” She nodded, a slight smile playing on her lips.
“But I had to see you.” He murmured, looking into her wide young eyes. “I had to tell you that I…I…” He faltered, gazing down at their joined paws, slowly raising his eyes to meet hers.
“You what?” Her voice caught in her throat. She had always hoped, but had never imagined it would happen.
“I love you.” He replied huskily. “I’ve wanted to tell you for so long, but I couldn’t think of a way to get close to you.”
“But…” She scrutinised his face, shaking her head slightly. “What…what about Demeter? I thought you loved her…”
“No.” He shook his head vehemently. “That’s what everyone thinks, but its not true. I can’t love her. She has always been too afraid of her own shadow…I couldn’t cope with that. That’s why I love you. You are everything she isn’t. Secure, happy, brave… beautiful.”
Looking up into his dark eyes, no…beyond his eyes, she could see that he was telling the truth. Right down to the core of his soul. He loved her and no one stood between them.
“I love you too.” She whispered finally, drawing close to him, curling against his chest, with an easy familiarity. “I love you.” She repeated, as if to make certain that he could hear what she was saying to him.
“You…you’ll be my queen, then?” He pulled away from her a little to look down at her, holding his breath.
“You bet I will.” She murmured, squeezing his paw tightly.
Touching her face, he could barely believe it had finally come to pass. He had dreamt of no one but her for so long and now, he had her. She was his…and yet, it was he who belonged to her.
Her wondering eyes roamed down his body, a soft purr of pleasure escaping her, as she drew him into her arms, just wanting to hold him close…to feel the warmth of his body against hers. To not be lonely ever again.
“You are so beautiful.” He whispered huskily, nestling against her chest, his legs in a wild tangle with hers, the tips of his ears brushing under her chin. “Why did I wait so long to tell you?”
“Cos you were silly.” She whispered back softly, tracing a claw lightly down his chest, smiling as he shuddered slightly.
“Are we going to tell the others?” He murmured, his eyes closed, as he buried his face in her soft thick fur, one paw gently tracing down the sleek curves of her slender body.
“Maybe we should.” She murmured. “They’re always trying to get me to pair off with one of the other toms…perhaps this will finally shock them into silence and make them leave me alone.”
“They better leave you alone.” He reached up and kissed her soft lips, as her gentle paws tangled in his wild mane, his dark eyes meeting hers. “You’re my queen now and no one will take you away from me.”
Paw in paw, they started to climb down the junkpile, when a terrifying scream of “Macavity!” rang out in the silence of the evening.
“NO!” Her paw was torn from his and he was sent sprawling, pinned to the ground by two of the newcomers companions, his arm twisted cruelly behind his back, as his face was forced into the ground.
Raising his face painfully to the ginger cat that stood before him, he pleaded, “Don’t hurt her. Kill me if you want, but don’t hurt her…please.”
Around him, members of the Jellicles were gathered by the ginger cat’s dark henchcats, looking confused and worried…even afraid.
“You should have stayed with your own kind.” The ginger cat spat at the young queen, who cowered behind him. “Mixing the blood of the strays and Jellicles is asking for trouble.”
“I don’t care!” She sobbed. “I love him!”
“What’s going on?” One of the older queens looked at the raging ginger tom and the queen crouching miserably behind him.
“We have a traitor in our midst.” He sneered coolly. “And to purge such a sin, we must kill him.” He gestured to the pinioned tom, disdain in his icy green eyes. “Right now.”
“NO!” Throwing herself forward, the young queen knocked aside her lover’s captors and wrapped her arms tenderly around him. “If you want to kill him, you’ll have to kill me too.”
A deathly silence fell among the cats, as they stared down from the defiant young queen to her father and to the tom she protected, tears of rage and pain streaming down her face.
“But…he… why are you protecting him? He’s evil!” One of the queen’s closest friends whimpered pitifully.
“No, he’s not!” She retorted sharply, gently touching the torn flesh on his face with a soft moan. “Can’t you see? You’re all the same! You don’t accept anyone who is different!”
Her lover looked up at her, a questioning expression in his eyes. “How can you be so sure?” He whispered hoarsely.
“Exactly,” Her father growled. “We all know what he’s done in the past. You say that’s not evil?”
“You were all wrong about Grizabella…I could see that she wasn’t what she seemed.” She replied softly, licking her tom’s wounds gently. “You never look beyond the name…you never look at a cat as a cat.”
“I don’t know.” She replied honestly. “And I don’t care. All I know is that I love him. Either you all accept that…and him. Or I leave with him.”
Narrowing his eyes, her father stepped forward, scrutinising the tom that knelt before him coldly.
What can you offer my daughter?” He asked shortly.
“My life.” The younger tom replied, raising his head. “I love her more than anything I ever held dear and all I ask is for your blessing.” Raising himself on his knees, he lowered his head and held out his paw to the older tom. “I beg you to accept me.” He whispered softly.
Glancing around at the rest of the cats, Skimbleshanks locked his gaze with Munkustrap’s. The silver tabby shrugged expressively, nodding imperceptibly as Skimbleshanks hesitantly touched his paw to the kneeling Macavity’s.
Immediately, a cheer erupted from the crowd of cats, as Jemima threw her arms around her father. “Thank you.” She whispered.
Looking past her, as all of the Jellicles enveloped Macavity in a massive embrace, he smiled and shook his head. “No, my dear,” He replied equally softly. “Thank you. Thank you for helping us to see.”