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It was late enough that the sun was down, and Deuteronomy was upstairs in his office, doing...whatever it was he did after he’d made sure everyone had eaten and bathed, when Munkustrap heard a knock at the door. In previous years, he would have gone upstairs, hollering for Deuteronomy, but he wasn’t a kitten anymore. He was eleven, and that was practically an adult!

 

“Coming!” Munkustrap called, gesturing for Rum Tum Tugger to stay in the living room. Unlike Munkustrap, he was still a kitten, after all. True to form, Tugger hopped off the couch and scampered after him, to the front door. Ugh, of course. Munkustrap scowled as he walked over to the entryway.

 

“You never listen to me, Tugger!” Munkustrap stopped in front of the door and crossed his arms. “I’m gonna be the boss of you some day, so you have to do what I say.” It was true, after all--Munkustrap was the eldest child who still wanted the job, so that meant he would inherit everything Deuteronomy had built, and it was his job to take care of everyone within that. Being his brother, Tugger definitely counted there.

 

Tugger snorted and rolled his eyes, clearly unimpressed with this argument.  “Are you gonna open the door or make them wait until I say sorry? ‘Cause I ain’t.”

 

Ugh! The worst brother. The worst. But...he was right. Munkustrap opened the door, and for a moment he thought that maybe Tugger had called it a little too late--had the caller had gotten fed up and left?--until he glanced down and saw a bundle on the doorstep.

 

A bundle with a tiny, furry head sticking out. Tugger gasped, and Munkustrap bent down silently to pick it up. The cloth was clean and wrapped tightly, and there was a note pinned to the front of it. As Munkustrap scanned the note, his eyes widened. Holy smokes. Tugger was straining to see, and he wasn’t exactly great at reading yet, but he knew more than enough to understand the note.

 

“Well, he’s really ugly,” Tugger commented, preening his own fur.

 

“His eyes aren’t even open yet! You looked a lot like he did when you were this little, so there.” Munkustrap thought he was kind of cute, anyway. He had a white face, framed by an awful lot of fluffy black fur. Like if Mr. Bustopher was younger, and also less fat. A lot less fat.

 

“I can tell he’ll still be ugly, when he does open ‘em.”

 

“Ugh, oh my god . Go get Dad and stop being mean to the kitten, or I’ll make sure he grounds you for...a week!”

 

And for once, Tugger decided not to be contrary, and listened to Munkustrap the first time he asked, running up the stairs. Munkustrap could only assume that he understood that maybe having a conniption was a bad idea when the consequences could involve a living, breathing kitten neither of them knew how to take care of.

 

That’d been sixteen years ago. Deuteronomy had taken the kitten in, and elected not to tell him about his...unique origins, choosing rather to raise him under the impression that he’d been born into the family. Munkustrap had accepted it then, and accepted it now, although as he aged he had his reservations.