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One

Walking from his band practise, satisified with todays rehearsal, he runs one hand through his unruly dark blonde curls, which immediately flop back into position, and he sighs. His shoulder length hair is a pain to keep tidy, but the women dont seem to mind. His brown eyes sparkle as he remembered how she threw herself all over him last night.
"Cassy." He murmurs, remembering her long dark hair all around his face when she kissed him, and her slender body....but, as with all the others, 'Cassy' is soon to be a distant memory, and another girl whose phone calls he wont return. He strolls down the street, smirking to himself as the women passing eye him, admiring his body, and heck he feels good. In fact, he'd feel better if 'Cassy' hadnt picked his wardrobe. She picked out the way-too-tight black pants, and a blue teeshirt. "She was a weird girl," he thinks, impeccably neat, with her long dark hair always loose, her clothes brown or black.
He shakes his head, clearing his head as he reachs the bus stop. Today the car is in for repair to the metalwork, and so he's had to arrange another method of transport. The bus.

Today there is one woman at the bus stop, of about 20, completely engrossed in a book.
"Excuse me," he says, remembering his manners for a minute, "Know what time the bus is due?"
"Any minute now." She looks at her watch, and back to the book.
"I know what you're thinking," he grins, but she obviously doesnt see the grin, as she doesnt look up. "My convertible's in the garage."
"Is that so? How interesting." She still doesnt look up, doesn't even feign interest.
"Hmm. Tough cookie," he thinks. He looks at her properly. "Probably not even my type. Too...gothic maybe? Vampire like? And land's sakes, she's reading...'Planets in Orbit'? Weird dame." He sits down beside her, and doesnt say another word.

~*~

She bets he thought she was single. She believes in belonging to herself a while longer. She knows, somewhere out there, is her soulmate, her constant companion, who will never leave her side, and she doesnt intend to waver from her thoughts of keeping herself to...well....herself. She looks up for a instant as he sits beside her, and she stifles a giggle as the bench creaks. But she ends up instead looking at the back of his head, gazing for quite some time. She's sensed something that makes her feel she has to do this. Suddenly she can see what he's thinking. No pain to her, just this sudden realization. It startles her. She's always been into astrology, astronomy, in the belief that there is something else out there, something far beyond reach, but she never thought she had powers like this, to see into other's thoughts...
She closes her eyes, and gradually it comes to her, as she focuses....
"He's thinking......about.....a....girl....wait.....her name......name.....Cassandra....Cassy.....ooh......whoops.....looks like they had..a....very nice time together...."Smiling to herself, enjoying this newfound power, she goes back to concentrating. "He's in a band.....plays....guitar.....the girl sitting next to me is a total gothic vampire!"
She switches off the concentration, looks back at her book, and screams "ACK!" to herself. Another one who thinks that way. She tries desparately to focus on the Orbit of Saturn, trying to remember how many rings of cosmic dust it has, but to no avail. She's not that bad looking, she's thinks. Sure, she has short black hair, cut into a bob just past her ears, wearing her favourite black jeans with a low cut ribbed white top, and a long velvety black coat to keep out the October winds. This combo, if she remembers right, makes her skin seems paler, and more....gothic. "Oh well."
A tap on the shoulder makes her look round. "The bus is here," he indicates the red vehicle approaching.
"Thank you," she stands, shoves the book into her bag, and boards the bus ahead of him.

~*~

I didnt want to leave them, until I was sure they were going to be safe.
I wander into my old home, and see two of them on the tyre. They are older now by a few years, but theres no mistaking them. Its Victoria, and Etcetera.
Victoria is still small, but she's mature. I can see it. The bump helps, of course, for me to realize this. Etcetera is also older, but still the bouncy kid I always loved. No one could help but love Cettie. Not even...no. No!
I hide the thought, and turn away, but my eye is caught by the shadow sneaking up on the two queens. I gasp, hold my breath, cover my eyes, knowing I cannot spring to defend them now.
But it is only Pouncival, dropping down from the old chair above, that acts as a vantage point across the yard. He looks similar to when I last saw him, brown and a metallic grey-white colouring to his fur, the brown patches now darker as he's getting older. The white queen gives a gasp, and I hear the dark striped and white queen telling him off. But he just grins, and takes her in his arms.
I smile. Pouncival and Etcetera. Well well. Coricopat was right after all. I flinch at the name.

Pouncival holds his arms above his head then, rising to his feet, and I see how the other Jellicles respond, gathering in a small circle around him and the two queens. He has a simple quiet authority now, and they all seem to respect that so much. And to think I used to worry he would never grow up.
Someone passes me, brushing ever so slightly against me, and I hiss inwardly, unsheathing my claws. Then I go rigid, afraid they may sense me, and I dont want that. The figure emerges from the shadows beside me, and I sigh to myself. It's just Tumblebrutus, who wanders over to the other Jellicles. He looks so similar to his brother Pounce, but now a little more like Tugger was. He's more brown furred than white, but still has that distinctive patch of brown over his eye.

The other Jellicles are all surrounding Pouncival, who's talking, but I dont listen. It wont apply to me. I look at them all again. I see Electra at the back of the group, she's blackish-red, still shy, and as Tumble goes over she sees him, and approaches him, and licks his nose, and they settle down together, tails twined together.
Vicki is now off the tyre, sitting with...Misto. Wow. She never used to like him. He rubs her tummy slowly as they sit together. I smile again. Two little Peter Pans, who will never grow up. As I watch, he leans to kiss her softly on the mouth, and takes her paw in his. She cuddles into him a little, her white tail swishing. Then she grooms his white fur, and I hear the tuxedo cat purring a little, before he nuzzles her back.
On the tyre, theres Pouncival with Etcetera. How cute. He has his paw on her leg, as she sits there with him. I've heard talk of her becoming First Queen. She certainly will have her work cut out. Pouncival stops talking to the cats for a second, and licks Etcy's nose. And then they all start cheering. I start listening to Pounce for a second. He's talking about the Jellicle Ball, how Cettie is to be his mate. I wipe away a tear. I wish I was there to share it with them all.

Theres a swish of red to my left, and I turn to see Rumpleteazer coming into the yard. She sits at the back, a half smile on her face. I wish I could go and hold her, tell her it will be alright. But I can't. There's no Mungojerrie, and she's missing him. Heavisides it doesn't take a genius to work that out. There's so few of them left. There's no Plato...no Jemima...after they....
No!....When they.....went....to... I can't stop crying thinking about it...Jemima died...of heartbreak..Plato was..Macavity's alter ego....and he killed....all four of them. She told me...before she left........please remember....me....please remember....
Then he came back....I was weak....I struggled to stay alive....he took the rest of them when I was weakened...all seven of them...but he left me...I wonder why I was left alive..but now, I'm safe. The kittens defended themselves after.... They defeated Macavity, or Plato....whoever he was...I watched them...

And as I lay that day, the kittens gathered around me. I normally complain about that, but there was no time or energy. I sought Pouncival out with my eyes, and beckoned him forward with one paw.
"Yessss?" He asked me cautiously.
"Pounce." I'm careful with my breaths of air, using them conservatively.
"I saw how you fought. You were excellent."
The other Jellicles murmur in agreement, something about the vicousness of a Pollicle Dog.
"That's why.....I'm....going..to...make you.....leader..." I gasp out.
"What?!?!?!?!" It's like a red hot poker up his butt, and I grin weakly, slightly.
"The tribe Pounce. Look after it for me...."
"No! I can't! I don't know what to do!" He grabs my paw, but it's too late.
"I think you know. Do your best." I slip away, my breathing erratic.
"NO! NO! DON'T LEAVE ME DADDY!" Electra screams. I watched her. She held me in her arms, burying her face in my chest fur, and Tumblebrutus held her and rocked her when she came up from holding me. Poor kit. Now, just like all the others, she is virtually orphaned.
Pounce sat back, in shock. I think he still is, in some ways. The rest were numb...are numb, or so I think. I cant remember much from back then. It's kind of hazy.
I remember being in Vicki's cavelet more recently, and she came in. She sat down on the mattress, put her hands under it, and pulled out these three photos. One is of her with Skimbleshanks and Jellylorum, her mother and father, the second is Electra with me and Jellylorum, and then the last one is all of us, the photo being taken after several unsuccessful attempts to set it right. She sat there for a whole hour, hugging her family to her chest, looking at them every now and then, and tears rolling down her cheeks. I bet she wished we were there to see her give birth. Poor kit, she's scared. She whispers to Skimbles and Jelly too. I saw her up on the tyre looking at the moon, and drifted up to be near her, and heard her talking as if they could hear her. But they can't. They are somewhere else. In the future.
But Vicki is still back two years ago, in the past, when we went out picnicking on the grass verge alongside the stream. It was me, Skimble, Jellylorum, and her and Electra. And we found this little box that flashed and made pictures. We used the box until it didnt work anymore, and then put it back. We took the pictures, waited for them to dry, and divided them up. Vicki got the best ones. Electra didn't mind.

Oh, Everlasting Cat, it hurts to look at them. And I guess now's the time to go. One final look, and I turn. The Heaviside beckons.
"Hello?" Mistoffelees is not far away, he comes into the shadows, stands in front of me. "I know you're there."
"You sensed me?" I turn back.
"Yes."
"Is everything okay?" I ask him, memorising his black and white fur.
"Yep. Vicki's having two kittens. With me. They'll be twins I guess.."
"You bet kiddo. And as lovely as the pair of you."
"Thanks. We'll tell them all about the Jellicles they should have known and didn't."
"Thanks Misto. I should go. They're calling me."
As I ascend to the Heaviside Layer at long last, my work finished, I feel Misto watching me go. And I hear him call softly, "So long, Munkustrap."


Chapter 2
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