These stories are fan-fiction, and are not intended to infringe on the rights of others in any way. The Thundercats characters are copyrighted by Lorimar Telepictures, Rankin-Bass Productions, Turner Broadcasting, or whoever owns the current rights. I post this freely, and make no profit other than the satisfaction that my fellow fans and I get from these stories. Enjoy!Chapter Three: The Hurt
The show went well—nothing spectacular, just “well.” The band was playing mechanically, as if everything was rehearsed. Many people were disappointed because ThunderManx’s bass solo was exactly like what he recorded on the album that everyone seemed to have: he played as though he were working on a job. Unfortunately, his mood carried over to the others, and even DeathClaw wasn’t doing many original moves during his guitar solo. Skiffy was pacing back and forth behind his bar, occasionally looking up to examine their movements to see what, or rather, who the problem was. ThunderManx tried looking back towards Stripe several times, but Stripe was either looking away or down at his drum kit.
When the show was over, Stripe was sitting alone at a table and staring into a glass of juice. As depressed as he was, he didn’t want anything with alcohol in it—it just wasn’t his thing.
WildKat and DeathClaw were standing in the middle of the floor and talking with a few people while ThunderManx was standing off to the side staring at nothing. ThunderManx jumped a little when a female voice with an exotic lilting accent said, “Well, well, well, long time no see, big guy!”
ThunderManx whirled around with a big smile on his face. “Leppi!”
She held up a finger and shook it. “Uh uh. I’m not a kid anymore.”
ThunderManx smiled warmly and nodded. “Sorry Lepraa, it’s been a long time.”
“Indeed. Funny that we ended up like this, eh?”
ThunderManx eyed a streak of bright red in her long black hair and reached for it. “What’s this?”
Lepraa swatted his hand away. “Uh uh—hands off the merchandise, boy-o.”
“Heh heh. Okay. Hey, have you met the others?”
“No, but I see your drummer’s got problems.”
“Oh. It’s not him, it’s… it’s…”
Lepraa put a finger to his lips. “I get the drift.”
ThunderManx felt a weird pang of jealousy that didn’t belong—it was as if he felt jealous of Lepraa touching him. He shrugged it off and started to get an idea. “Hey, would you like to meet him?”
Lepraa looked uncertain. “I don’t know.”
“Please? It would cheer him up.”
“You know how I feel about that sort of thing.”
“Still?” He paused for a moment. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…”
“Hush. I’ll say hello. You just go back to what you were doing.”
ThunderManx looked a little confused. “Okay. It’s good to see you again.”
Lepraa said, “Righty-o” and waved over her shoulder as she walked away.
ThunderManx’s breath hitched as he looked off to the side and saw a white cat sitting on a high shelf: it was staring at him in a way that looked possessive. He walked back to the others and tried to forget her, but he couldn’t help but think he felt Kitara’s mixed feelings for him.
“Hey, that Lepraa girl is a babe!”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. I guess so, Claw.”
“I know she’s your friend and all, but there’s no denying the effect she has on the crowd. I think Klaw will go a long way, bro.”
“Because they’re named after you, right?”
DeathClaw smirked. “Of course! Well, they’re good, she’s hot, and look.” DeathClaw pointed behind ThunderManx
ThunderManx glanced back to see her approaching Stripe. Every eye in the area was fixed on the two of them. “Oh, great.”
“You know, staring at your drink won’t make it any colder.”
Stripe looked up with glassy eyes. “Huh? Oh.”
“Good show. You drum very well.”
Lepraa frowned and said in an irritated voice, “Can’t a girl give you a compliment?”
“I’m sorry, yeah—thanks. You were very good yourself.” Stripe looked up and realized she was very attractive up close. The white stripe that traveled up her chest and throat became a white mask on her face that intrigued him as well as everyone else. The facial pattern that most thunderians had was a slightly lighter shade than the rest of their body fur, but hers was a sharp transition between white and black—he found his eyes lingering on her face.
“Mind if I sit down?” Lepraa was starting to feel impatient, but she found herself drawn to the light yellowish markings on Stripe’s face and body.
“Oh, sure.” He was starting to feel the depression slipping away.
“Cool. I’m White Stripe.” He offered his hand, which she took reluctantly and shook very briefly.
Lepraa got an amused look on her face. “I’d say your name describes me better than it does you. So, you’re not quite a tiger, are you?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. My mom is half white tiger and half cheetah, and my dad was a total cheetah.”
“But no spots, eh?”
Stripe looked at his arm and smiled. “Yep, no spots. Guess I’m just a weird yellow-white tiger-something.”
Lepraa smiled. “Well, I was called a weird black leopard because of my white.”
“Yes, way—now all the people I grew up with are jealous of me. Sweet revenge, you know?”
“So, is that why you’re a singer?”
Lepraa smiled mischievously. “Pretty much.”
Stripe chuckled and started to relax. Even though every male and female eye in the vicinity was on them, he was too distracted by her to care.
On the other side of the room, ThunderManx was watching Stripe and Lepraa talking. He started to feel better about Lepraa because she no longer looked like she was talking to him as a favor. Maybe he did some good for both of them. Suddenly, ThunderManx felt like he was about to cry, but he had no idea why. He headed for the door to get some fresh air. Outside, it was dark and warm. The first moon was slowly sinking below the horizon behind some trees, and none of the other moons were visible, making it unusually dark.
He knew she was following him. He couldn’t see or hear her, but he sensed her presence somehow. He walked deeper into the woods and came to a clearing with some benches and picnic tables. He sat down on the nearest one and yelled at nothing. “Stop following me!”
ThunderManx was hit by a wave of sadness and anger that made him queasy. “Did you hear what I said? GO AWAY!”
He heard the leaves rustle behind the trees and suddenly felt like he was going to break down and start crying again, even though he didn’t feel sad. His anger started to slip away as he heard sobbing in the distance.
“I… I… can’t.”
ThunderManx started to get up to leave, but he felt an overwhelming wave of mixed feelings coursing through him that made him dizzy. Kitara slowly approached him with dim sparkles in her lower eyelids.
ThunderManx said, “Yes you can. You’ve done enough damage.” He realized his own eyes were also starting to tear up.
Kitara sat on the end of the bench in a half-hunched position. “I didn’t know. I didn’t…”
“Know what? That you ripped my heart out of my chest?” ThunderManx felt a stabbing pain in his side and rubbed at it. He knew something was seriously wrong as he saw her jabbing her own side with the claw of her thumb. ThunderManx suddenly felt frightened and stood up. “What the hell did you do to me?” He was starting to realize that he was feeling her emotions as well as his own.
She looked up into his eyes and spoke shakily, “It’s a soul-bond. I didn’t think… I didn’t know it…”
ThunderManx sat back down and tried to calm himself with some deep breathing. “Okay, tell me everything, and breathe deep. I can feel your nervousness, and it’s irritating me.”
Kitara waited a few moments and started to breathe in rhythm with him, making them both relax somewhat. “It’s an elf thing. They… they bond their souls together.”
“Huh? You’re no elf.”
“No, but one fell in love with me when we were both very young. He partially bonded with me but his parents made him take it back. They broke the bond with their magic. We both grew up, and he got married to an elf girl like his parents wanted. He was fine, but I was still torn inside. I have this ability to bond with someone, and I thought you were the one. I’m sorry.”
ThunderManx felt stunned as he tried to comprehend what was happening to him. He felt this instinctive pull towards her that didn’t belong in him, and the anger was still there under the surface.
“When we were… touching… kissing… I… I… I never felt that good before. Elves don’t do that. They’re… mental. That’s all it is with them. When they love, they just stare at each other—it’s all inside. It’s wonderful, but not as wonderful as real touching.” She absently stroked the fur on her arm, making ThunderManx shiver from feeling it too. “I was wrong to touch your friend… I’m so… so… sorry.” Kitara started to cry openly.
ThunderManx felt like crying too, but held back. He could feel how sincere she was, and couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. “Okay, I guess it’s cool.”
Kitara looked up at him and said, “I… I… love you, ThorrManx.”
ThunderManx felt tears starting to well up in his eyes. “I… love you too.”
Kitara got up and almost jumped on him, trying to kiss. ThunderManx resisted and started to stand up.
“Maybe we should take this slow, okay?”
Kitara sniffed back some tears and slumped against the backrest of the bench. “Okay, I guess you’re right.”
ThunderManx sat back down, put his right arm around her, and drew her close. “Look. The third moon is rising. Let’s just admire it, Kitara.”
Kitara started to purr lightly and sighed. “Okay.” She breathed in and out a couple times and felt her nerves calming down. She wiped the tears from her eyes and looked intently at ThunderManx as he stared up towards the rising moon. She felt his mood and followed his gaze to the Third Moon of Plundarr. She sighed again and said, “It’s beautiful.”
ThunderManx leaned sideways, pulled her closer, and rubbed his cheek against her temple. He smiled and started his deep-throated purr. “Not as beautiful as you are.”
They admired the rising moon for the better part of ten more seconds.