Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Disney Crossover including Aristocats, Lion King, Robin Hood, and House of Mouse
Character/Pairing: Thomas/Duchess, Robin/Marian, Simba/Nala
Challenge/Prompt: fffc #17.06: Weird & Hilarious: Book Titles: Fashion Cats
Word Count: 2,473
Date Written: 20 March 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
Her long, fluffy, white tail tucks securely around her hind quarters as the lights dim. She's still not too certain at all about being here, neither that she wants to actually be here for what's coming or that she wants to be seen here. This sort of establishment, after all, certainly isn't a place where a lady should be seen. The tip of her tail twitches as she daintily sniffs the air. "Come on, Marian," she urges quietly. "It's not too late for us to slip out without being seen."
"Are you kidding? I'm not going to miss Robin strutting his stuff in this!" Marian's bushy tail whisks beneath her dress.
Duchess sighs and tries to settle into her high seat. They could slip out together and go unnoticed, but she's quite certain anything she does in this place will bring her unwelcome attention. Most people still think she's a single mother, after all, and she is certainly a step above the type of riff raff that tends to populate these places. The fact that many other Princesses and Duchesses are gathering at the tables all around them never impedes on her mind. This not a place where she should be, and Duchess knows it. Madame would have a fainting fit if she could see her now!
"Hey, Marian. This seat taken?"
Oh, please say yes! Please say yes! Duchess thinks to herself, her tail whisking away from her body and thumping the seat as though it's got a mind of its own.
"It is now, Nala. Welcome aboard." Marian's smile is as bright and calm as though this was just any other night and any normal place for ladies to gather. "Is Simba going to be walking tonight?"
"Of course." Nala grins, and the lioness' long, tawny tail swishes behind her. "Robin?"
"Of course," Marian replies. "He wouldn't miss this for the world, and I certainly wouldn't miss him!"
"Thank goodness," Duchess murmurs underneath her breath though not quietly enough, "that Thomas did not deign to become involved in this! It's bad enough Scat Cat and his band are providing the music."
"You say that like this is a bad thing," Nala comments, looking at Duchess.
Duchess gulps and lowers her proud head a little, remembering that lions are some of the mightiest carnivores on the face of the planet.
"This is for charity after all," Marian points out. "They're nothing to be ashamed of, Duchess, for helping out a good cause. All those starving animals . . . " Marian shakes her head dismally.
"And the ones who have been beaten and otherwise suffered at the hands of their owners." Nala's furry skin flinches, but her tail strikes the air and her claws knead the leather seat beneath her. "I'd like to get my claws in them just once! They'd never hurt an animal again!"
"It is horrible," Duchess agrees, "the things that humans do to our brothers and sisters!" Glancing at Nala, she adds, "Our cousins."
"We're all related, you know," Nala tells her. "Not just us cats, but all animals. We're all brothers and sisters connected in the one great circle of life."
Duchess nods. She's heard that song before -- everybody has here at Disney --, but she's never really given the words much thought. She's always been more focused on the score and teaching her kittens the right notes. "I should really call and make certain my little ones are tucked in." And maybe she can slip out the back door while she's at it.
"Nonsense! You know they're fine. They're with Madame and Roquefort, and we're all safe here at Disney. Mickey keeps a tight reign on the villains."
"Be that as it may, I'd still feel better knowing they're fast asleep -- "
"And thinking you could slip out the back door right after your phone call." Marian eyes her friend knowingly. "Now shush," she says, her tail swishing again. "It's starting!" Excitement shines suddenly in her eyes as the lights dim and Mike swings down.
"Ladies and gentlemen, cats and dogs, kids of all ages, Princesses and paupers, we have a very special show for you tonight! In just a few more minutes, we'll be beginning our very first Fashion Cats walk! You'll see some of Disney's finest specimens -- lions, tigers, and panthers! Oh my! -- walk their stuff down this red carpet, and yes, all of the outfits they're wearing tonight are available to be owned and custom made to fit your size and body type! Rather you're a cat, dog, bear, centaur, or yes, even that elephant sitting in the corner shooting those peanuts a little too close to the stage -- watch it, buddy! --, our brave, little tailors can make these outfits to fit you purrrfectly! All proceeds of tonight's show, and forty five percent of all clothing sold, is going straight to the ASPCA! Now, without further adieu, I bid you: Be. Our. Guests!"
He sweeps out of the way, and the spotlights shine on Lumiere and a dozen other enchanted candlesticks, silverware, cups, and plates. As they spin and dance and Lumiere belts out the words to his favorite song, Duchess' silken fur begins to itch with her rising nerves. "I really should go check on them," she murmurs again.
"You're not going anywhere," Marian tells her, "even if I have to sit and hold your hand myself."
"But, Marian -- " Duchess begins to protest.
"No 'but's, Duchess. I told you tonight is girls' night out, it's my night to pick our entertainment, and we are going to enjoy ourselves!"
"Pass the catnip," Nala rumbles quietly.
"Catnip?!" Duchess squeaks. "Catnip?! I told you, Marian, this is no place for a lady!"
"Just relax, Duchess. Have some yourself." Marian rubs her fingers before Duchess' wide, innocent eyes, and before the mother cat can move, tiny, green pieces of a very natural herb drift down directly before her nose. Her blue eyes zero in on the nip, and she inhales though she knows she shouldn't. The impact is immediate as her mind begins to drift and her nerves are chased away.
"First up we have the King of the Jungle himself, sporting a royal cap and a hat fit for a King! No need to leave your palace jewels at home, ladies. Just put them in this hat, and let your man do the guarding for you!"
Nala lets out a long, low whistle at the sight of her mate. Applause ripples throughout the club along with other hoots and whistles. Simba pads across the stage and then back again, pausing only to wink at Nala. He shakes his mane and whisking tail to the version of Hakuna Matata that Scat Cat and his gang are banging out on the club's instruments.
"Coming from the right, we have Bagheera, dressed all in black leather, and from the left, Shere Khan, ladies and gents, in the sharpest business suit any cat can own!"
A scream comes from the table to the left of theirs as the panther strides across the stage, heading directly toward the tiger. Duchess looks sharply at the female cats at that table, and her mouth drops open as one of them faints, literally falling out into the aisle. "That's it!" she declares, leaping gracefully down from her seat and missing the two predators circling each other. "I will not tolerate this inanity one moment longer!"
"Just give it one minute more!" Marian pleads. "Then, if you still don't like what you see, I'll go with you!"
"You should come with me any way! This is no place for ladies of our caliber!"
"One minute more, and I will if you still want to go!"
"Of course I'll see want to go!"
"And now, straight from the alleys of Paris, . . . "
Duchess whirls back around, her luxurious, white fur bushing out and her blue eyes going wide and round like saucers. "He didn't!"
" . . . we have none other than the coolest cat of his time period, Mister Abraham DeLacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley the Alley Cat!!!"
"No! No! No! No!" Duchess cries, shaking her head. She starts to bound for the stage, but two rhino guards cut her off. She backs up, a very unladylike hiss escaping her startled mouth. Looking around and hearing the other cats already beginning to fawn over her man, Duchess turns and leaps for the table where Marian and Nala are still sitting.
"Duchess, it's okay!" Nala tells her. "He's just doing it to help the charity!"
"But he didn't tell me he was doing it!"
"Because you wouldn't understand," Marian tells her, reaching out and gently but firmly grasping her small body. "Now stay still or you'll embarrass him!"
"He's embarrassing me!" Duchess hisses.
"Really?" Nala asks, her tail jerking. "Look at the cat do his stuff! He knows what he's doing -- "
"Yeah, he's turning every queen in this club onto him! I told you this was no place for us!" she cries, looking at Marian.
The club is alive with screams, applause, and wolf whistles. Roses hit the stage. Thomas leaps into the air, grasping a ruby red rose with his teeth and throws it directly at Duchess. It lands right before her feet. She looks at him in surprise, and he winks. Scat Cat's music is deafening, especially when coupled with the exclamations coming from every table in the room, but Duchess knows her mate. She knows what he mouths to her, and she relaxes. "I've only got eyes for you, babe." He whishes his tail in her direction before turning to finish his walk.
"See?" Marian asks, relaxing her hold on Duchess. "He's doing it to help charity, but he's still only got eyes for you!"
"That's like Simba!" Nala adds. "Everybody thinks because he's a lion, he's got to do all the lionesses in our tribe! It's unheard of for a lion to have a single mate, but although he cares for everybody in our tribe, I'm the only one who he beds down with!"
"You have to trust your man a little," Marian adds more gently. "Don't you know every fox in Disney has her own tale about being wooed by my Robin? But I know he only wants me. He only loves me, just like Thomas only loves you."
A sly smile creeps across Duchess' furry mouth. Her bushy tail jerks, and her delicate, pink-tinged ears wriggle. "He is rather sexy, isn't he?"
"I'd say!" Nala exclaims. "Look! He's even got a pair of underwear on the stage!"
"And a key," Marian whispers.
"I'll kill them!" Duchess exclaims, swatting at empty air with her claws.
Marian looks down at her in surprise.
"There's no need," Nala says gently. "Don't you think I've felt the same way about cats throwing themselves at my Simba? But what matters is that we love each other and I know he'd never cheat on me just as I'd never cheat on him. We only have eyes for each other."
And that was the very thing Thomas had mouthed to her in front of the entire night club, Duchess remembers with both a warm fire growing in her kitty heart and the pink tipping her ears running through the soft, white fur on her startled face.
"But what's wrong with helping charity when you can?" Marian continues.
"I . . . I suppose nothing," Duchess mews. Her ears twitch back and forth. "But he should have told me!"
"He should have, yes, and he tried to, but you wouldn't hear of it. You didn't want to be involved with this place at all. That's exactly why I had to make you come tonight."
"You knew?" Duchess asks accusingly, her blue eyes flicking up to her friend.
"Of course I knew. Robin and I have no secrets from each other. I know every one who's going to be on the stage tonight, including the surprise performer from another world -- "
"Surprise performer?" Nala asks, leaning closer, her green eyes alight with curiosity.
"I don't want to know!" Duchess snaps, her tail swishing. "It doesn't matter any way! I've only got eyes for him, too!"
She leaps from the table even as she hears Marian whispering something about a puss in boots and starts to run back stage. The two rhino guards move to block her again, but she darts straight between the bigger one's legs this time. They clunk horns as they turn at the same time to chase after her, but Scat Cat calls to them, "Let her go, boys! She's with us!"
They sit down hard with matching pouts below their aching horns but don't argue with the leader of the band. "Thank you!" Duchess, ever one to remember her manners, calls back to her friend, but she doesn't slow. She keeps running until she runs straight into Thomas' arms. He's waiting for her and embraces her tightly with a deep and loving purr. His tail curls around hers.
"I'm sorry," he starts to say.
"No, I'm sorry," she interrupts with a soft pant. "I should have listened. You did try to tell me."
He nods, his head bumping gently and soothingly against her delicate, furry shoulder. "I did," he agrees, his white-tipped tail curling around hers. "I wanted to help. It's an important cause."
She touches her nose to his. "I know it is," she agrees, "and your heart was in the right place."
"It always is," he vows, "but it always belongs to you."
"And mine," she declares, nuzzling him closer and licking the fur on his cheek, "is always and forever only yours!"
The crowd before the stage goes wild. She can hear her friend yipping and quite nearly baying with very unladylike behavior. Roars follow Marian's high pitched voice. Thomas sees the way Duchess' wide eyes trail back to the stage. "Do you want to watch the rest of the show?" he asks with a flick of his long tail.
"Whatever for?" she asks, gazing back up at him with love. "I have no need of their show or of their men." She starts to purr. "You'rrre all I want, darrrling, all I need forrreverrr."
"As you are forrr me, my Prrrincess," he purrs back. He knows she has no real royal blood running through her veins, but as for as he's concerned, she's a far better Princess than any real royalty anywhere in Disney or beyond. She's his Princess, his love, and all he needs truly forever. Bumping her cheek with his nose, he leads her into the nearest room, where the lights are already out, and away from the world at large. She's all he needs, all he wants, all he loves, and he proves that to her again and again with every lick, nibble, and kiss as the world outside goes wild.