Chapter 1: Story of My Life / C’est La Vie, Mon Ami
Skrt skrt skrt. Ratalouis was scampering down a Parisian street when he caught a glimpse of a beautiful rat making her way into the distance. No matter what he tried, that ratemoiselle would simply not get out, get out, get out of his head. With that One Thing consuming his mind, he chased after her. When he finally caught up to the gorgeous refined aristocrat, he placed his paw on her shoulder (?) (A/N: do rats have shoulders?).
“Hey babe,” he squeaked smoothly. The beautiful rat, Eleanor, looked confused at the charming peasant rat who had just spoken to her.
“Do I know you?” she inquired.
“I’m Ratalouis. I’m gonna take you somewhere amazing, just trust me darling.” He grabbed her paw and they went dashing down the streets of Paris and zigzagged between rococo-influenced buildings, dodging humans’ steps along the way. Eleanor felt strange and out of place by letting this cute mischievous-looking rat guide her, but she was beginning to enjoy the feeling of taking a chance and breaking free from her rigid bourgeoisie routine.
At last, they arrived at the base of the unapologetically daunting Eiffel Tower. Ratalouis turned to her, grinned cheekily, and said, “Come along, darling. Only the bold ones reap the fruits of life.”
With that, he began to ascend the looming tower. Eleanor took a deep breath and followed after him. Once they reached the top, they paused and took in the view around them.
Eleanor’s crimson orbs dilated as she took in the hustle and bustle of the city.
“It’s beautiful up here!” she squeaked.
Ratalouis solidified his gaze on her and smirked as he said, “Not as beautiful as you, love. Nobody Compares To You™.”
She blushed. Then, in a surprise to herself, she began to open up, saying, “You know, I come from a rigid, aristocratic background. None of the rats in my sphere would ever be as daring or forward as you. It’s just so austere in my world,” then she sighed and blushed some more, “thank you for helping me take a chance to break my own mold. You’re quite endearing.”
Ratalouis nodded knowingly, “I know what you mean, babe. I’m in the music business and it can get really restricting. Story Of My Life. But I think it’s important for us to just Live While We’re Young.” After taking in the view some more, Ratalouis smirked and said, “I’ve got another adventure for us.”
They scampered down the Eiffel Tower together and arrived at a nice looking apartment.“El, I’ve got some people I want you to meet.”
They dashed through the rat door (this rat door is a modification in the normal human-sized apartment door. It’s like a doggy door but for rats) and faced four beautiful British human boys.
“These are my boys,” Ratalouis smirked as he rushed to the top of Harry’s fluffy head of hair. Eleanor gasped.
“Humans?! How do you know them?”
“This is my band, One Direction,” Ratalouis explained.
“Nice to meet you,” said Niall.
“Nice to meet you,” said Liam.
“Nice to meet you,” said Zayn.
(All of the boys responded, except Harry because he was being controlled by Ratalouis.)
“Bringing a girl home on the first date?” Niall snickered.
“Shut up, lad,” Ratalouis defended.
“Well, Eleanor, you seem lovely,” Zayn winked, “would you like to see us perform?”
Eleanor emphatically squeaked, “Of course!”
The boys picked up their instruments and Ratalouis picked up Harry’s thick locks of hair. Ratalouis counted off, “5 6 7 8!” and the boys began strumming and singing the song “What Makes You Beautiful”. Ratalouis controlled Harry’s head like a masterful puppeteer, working the surface area like it was a sixteenth century stradivarius violin. Through Ratalouis, Harry’s vessel of a body was able to reach astounding pitches and rock out on the guitar. The masterful rat could truly tug on audience member’s heartstrings by tugging on Harry’s hair. Ratalouis kept his eyes on Eleanor the entire time and saw the way her eyes sparkled toward him. He meant every lyric and danmgn she felt that. He really did something.
As the performance ended, Eleanor clapped with her tiny rat paws. She felt as though it was the Best Song Ever.
“That was amazing!” she exclaimed, “No- it was more than amazing. That was fabulouis.”
“There’s more where that came from,” said Niall.
“There’s more where that came from,” said Liam.
“There’s more where that came from,” said Zayn.
“Well, I think we better call it a night,” Ratalouis smirked, hopped off of Harry Styles, and walked Eleanor to the rat door.
“It was lovely meeting you,” Eleanor said.
“So I’ll see you at 2:00 at the city fountain, babe,” Ratalouis proposed.
Eleanor was flustered, “Wha- What?! I’d love- I mean- but-I have a schedule! I have a meeting with my humanities tutor-”
“Alright, it’s a date!” Ratalouis smirked as he shoved Eleanor out the rat door and scurried back to his British boys. She lay outside the apartment in stark astonishment.
It’s a date I guess, she thought to herself.
Chapter 2: The Plot Thiccens
Eleanor had managed to rearrange her schedule so that she could meet up with her new flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants rockstar rat guy friend boy interest dude. Although his F-boy tendencies and suave attitude repelled her interest, she was deeply attracted to his zest for life and spontaneity. She had accessorised her dainty bourgeoisie fur with some back highlight (yes, that is highlighter applied to her back. She’s out here stuntin the sleek look) and an elegant pair of sunglasses.
At 2:08, Ratalouis showed up looking like your typical pop icon rat in a boy band. “Why, hello lovely,” he mused.
“So what are we doing?” Eleanor asked.
He smirked and said, “Just come with me this way.” They scampered up to a small, inviting cafe.
As they crossed through the doorway, classically French tables and chairs towered over them. The room had a sweet and simple atmosphere which was accentuated by gorgeous streams of sunlight and minimalist decorations. The shouts of French bakers pleased the rodents’ pairs of rat ears.
“Why, this place is so charming,” Eleanor noted as she picked up a baguette crumb. She stared at it in awe. She had never been a forager before. As she debated taking a bite out of it, Ratalouis stopped her and proceeded to feed her a baguette crumb with his own rat paws. Eleanor bit down on the food and accepted it with intrigue and minimal embarrassment.
“Come on Eleanor,” Ratalouis teased, “act like an animal every once in a while.” Eleanor twitched her whiskers sassily and said, “Act like an animal? You know I didn’t grow up learning how to do that.”
Ratalouis winked and smirked simultaneously-- a smwirnk if you will-- and said, “Well I guess I’ll have to teach you.” With that, he picked up a grape and a bit of cheese he had found on the floor. “Try them separately,” he suggested.
Eleanor munched on the cheese and then munched on the grape. “That was good.” Ratalouis got a gleam in his eye as he said, “Now, try tasting them together.” She exhibited a blatant sense of confusion, but warily complied with the instructions. When the grape and cheese combined on her palette, she closed her eyes and began to visualize fireworks appearing before her.
“Ratalouis, this is genius!”
“I’m glad you enjoyed the good stuff, babe. Now we’re just left to enjoy all these baguette bits.”
Eleanor began collecting and indulging in bread crumbs.
“I think I’ve got the hang of this foraging thing!”
“Oi, I’d say you’re learning quickly, darling!” Ratalouis smirked.
Then, as Ratalouis and Eleanor reached for the same bread crumb, their paws brushed up against each other. Cuz every time they to-o-ouch, they get this kind of ru-u-ush (baby say yeayeayeyayeahyeah).The accidental contact caused the rodent pair to blush deeply but they refused to look away from each other.
“You know, I regret not kissing you last night,” He admitted, leaning closer to the fine aristocRAT. Eleanor was suddenly drawn to him and reciprocated his forward lean.
“I guess we’ll have to make up for that right now. I consent,” she said before their rat mouths collided. Alexa play “Kiss You” by One Direction. Their tongues battled for dominance and-- jk jk it was just a nice little smoocho. . . . . for the first 10 seconds. Then it was five minutes of Sdjbfsdbflks jdbflkjsadflksajfhlks.
Ratalouis was the first to break away. He looked at his mini Supreme rat watch and breathlessly squeaked, “I have band rehearsal coming up! I’m afraid I have to go. This date will have to be postponed. Unless… you want to come with me, love?” Eleanor grasped his popstar paw and they scurried to his recording studio.
-at the studio-
“Aye, it’s Eleanor!” said Niall
“Aye, it’s Eleanor!” said Liam
“Aye, it’s Eleanor!” said Zayn, “You’re always welcome in the studio, dear.”
“Hello boys, and thank you, Zayn,” Eleanor answered.
All of the boys were in an industrial glass box with headphones and microphones at the ready. Once Ratalouis mounted Harry’s head as per usual, the recording manager gave a signal and began playing the backup track to their song. Eleanor listened intently as One Direction belted out the words to their new song, “Drag Me Down”. Eleanor found herself lost in the rocky energy of the music--that was, until she looked up and a pair of brown eyes brought her back. The steady eye contact she maintained with these baby browns was charged with a sense of connection. Then she realized that rather than the beady orbs of her beau, Ratalouis, these were the earthy orbs of his bandmate Zayn Malik. Eleanor felt slightly uncomfortable because of her attachment to Ratalouis and averted her gaze to the technologically complex soundboard.
Then she fixed her line of sight on Ratalouis; the charming rat who was starting to color her skies and teach her about life. Despite her initial impressions and their strange meeting, she felt herself falling for this rat.
The recording session came to a close and Ratalouis rushed out of the recording room and clasped Eleanor’s paws. “Hey love, would you come out of the room with me?”
“Of course,” Eleanor followed.
Chapter 3: Sinusoidal feelings
Ratalouis and Eleanor scurried into the empty hallway. “What is it?” Eleanor asked anxiously.
Ratalouis took a deep breath and spouted, “Eleanor, darling, I’ve been thinking a lot about You And I™ recently…Look, I fancy you,” his beady orbs dilated, “I fancy you like crazy and I swear you’ve got that one thing. When I’m with you I forget about all the nonsense and craziness of life. What I’m trying to say is… would you like to properly be in a relationship with me, babe?”
Eleanor’s whiskers twitched in delight as she squeaked, “Yes, absolutely!”
Eleanor moved out of her upper class owner’s refined rat cage and into Ratalouis’ funky cage setup within One Direction’s apartment. Everybody adjusted to the new living situation and Eleanor stuck with the boys through their dance rehearsals and recording sessions. Ratalouis took his new rat gf on dates to the park, the cheese market, and even the louvre. The love-dovey rodent pair was swept up in their whirlwind romance, almost as if they were in a trance, drunk on love and life (*Que montage of beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” as they did their daily rat activities*). Several weeks passed, and the intensity of their relationship had died down a bit but the pair still, you know. Had feels.
One morning, Eleanor awoke to the urgent sounds of Niall’s strained voice. Ratalouis was gone because he went to work out on the industrial wheels in one of the rooms which had been turned into rat gym. Against her own will, she remained in a conscious awake state and could overhear Liam urging Niall, “Come on lad, you’ve got to get it together! We’re eight days away from heading out on our world tour- eight bloody days!” to which Niall groaned, “I know, I know, I’m sorry bruv. I’ll be sure to get the lyrics sorted out before we take over Cologne.” Eleanor laid there in shock. The sensation of wood chips pressing against her fur could hardly combat the numbness that engulfed her body. A world tour? In eight days?? Her precious Ratalouis had never mentioned that before. Suddenly, Ratalouis entered the cage, his fur dripping with sweat as though his body was fresh off the rat gym.
“Morning, dear,” he made his way over to Eleanor and gave her a quick nuzzle. “Ratalouis, we need to talk,” she said.
“About what?” he smirked.
“The fact that you’re going on a world tour and you didn’t even tell me,” Eleanor expressed in a cold but refrained manner. Ratalouis’ smirk fell.
“Oh, right. That. Well, I figured I didn’t need to tell you in advance.”
“You figured wot, m8?” she squeaked concernedly.
“I figured we’d just jump across that rat trap when we got there, you know. You’re such a solid gf, Eleanor, I figured that you’d be on board and act as the designated groupie for the band and it would be a fun adventure. Or if you weren’t interested in nonstop travel for 10 months, you could just hold down the fort in Paris and we could make the long distance relationship work somehow,” he supplanted. Eleanor nearly choked.
“Ten months, Ratalouis?!”
“I can see now that you’re cheesed, and sure it may temporarily feel like a slight eternity, but it’s relatively short compared to my other tours and the infinite expanse of time in the grand scheme of things!” Ratalouis justified.
“Yes, I’m cheesed off, but it’s not just that! It’s the fact that you didn’t consider that I’d want this to be communicated to me for any reason at all,” she cried, “We’ve got eight bloody days left and I’m just now hearing about this!”
“Well I’m sorry, Eleanor, I’ve got a lot going on with routines, rehearsals, and recordings so I’ve- I’ve got a lot on my mind and I’m just trying to enjoy the moments we have left together! Is that such a crime?” Ratalouis raised his voice.
“Withholding information and sabotaging the future of our relationship? Yes, that is a crime!” Eleanor blew up, “What, because you’re a rockstar you can’t consider other people’s feelings?! Is that it?! They just don’t matter in comparison to what’s going on in your life?!”
Ratalouis shook his head with indignation. “I thought you’d get it.”
“And I thought you’d have the sensibility to communicate your thoughts like a typical partner would in a committed relationship!” Eleanor screamed, sobs cutting through her own words.
“The world’s not ending because we haven’t ironed out all the details yet, you prissy proper!” Ratalouis released. He instantly regretted the words when he saw the way Eleanor’s face wilted with pain.
“No, Eleanor, I-” it was too late. She dashed out the door. Ratalouis was left with the pieces of their argument relentlessly battering against his anguished mind. An energy of tragic loss and destruction permeated the air like radiation at the ruins of Chernobyl. He stopped himself from exhaling a series of sobs and fled to the recording studio so that he could bury his emotional conflict under the focus of his music.
Chapter 4: Sad Rat Hours
Eleanor wandered down the streets of Paris, not particularly caring about where she was headed or whether she could find her way back. When she found a relatively clean gutter, she crawled into it and released a shaky breath. It was like dropping a glass jar; all the sadness just spilled out of her in fragments.
What have I gotten myself into? Eleanor grieved. She thought about how her relationship with Ratalouis started off as a grand adventure but morphed into a power dynamic in which Ratalouis made all the calls and she simply followed after him. Her every moment of every day was spent either supporting One Direction or giving energy to Ratalouis. She was always the one chasing after him so she could meet his emotional needs and support him in his difficult role as a busy popstar. But, she was left emotionally drained and unsupported. She’d left all her comforts-actually, she’d left everything- for this life, and although Ratalouis treated her with affection, dates, and compliments, she sensed that she didn’t have his true respect. The words prissy proper reverberated through her mind. Warm tears began to drip down her fuzzy cheeks. Had she been so submissive, lost so much of her own identity, that Ratalouis thought it was okay for him to treat her like this?
Ugly sorrowful squeaks escaped her mouth. With the combination of their disastrous argument and the fast-approaching world tour, there was likely no way their relationship could recover. In just a few days, the pawp icon would be snatched and whisked away by the call of 1,000 stadiums. She didn’t have to analyze a million different dimensions Dr. Strange style to know the constant reality that Ratalouis could no longer be hers. Her chest tightened at that revelation, but acceptance slowly started to filter through her mind. With that sense of clarity, she dried her bleary orbs and made her way out of the gutter and stood out in the open, just observing all of the humans as they walked to and fro. Somehow, being a bystander in life seemed to soothe her soul in the moment; it prompted her to reflect on the simple fact that she existed- a universally shared concept; ultimately, everybody on earth is in various stages of their journey; for instance, the man panicking over a phone he dropped down a sewer is facing a moment of despair and the woman getting proposed to in a bistro is experiencing a moment of elation. Eleanor reflected on the fact that her present pain was just one of many steps in her long, growing journey on this Earth, and furthermore, that she was not the only soul bearing the burden of heartbreak.
Then, as Eleanor lifted her keen rat eyes about the bustling Paris scene, she landed on the familiar sight of three beautiful twinks with lavish style. She gasped. One Direction.
As Eleanor lifted her keen rat eyes about the bustling Paris scene, she landed on the familiar sight of three beautiful twinks with lavish style. She gasped. One Direction. Feeling refreshed after having a good cry-and-introspect sesh, she scurried up to the towering boys.
“Hey, Eleanor! What are you doing out here?” said Zayn.
“Hey, Eleanor! What are you doing out here?” said Niall.
“Hey, Eleanor! What are you doing out here?” said Liam.
“I just came out here to think,” Eleanor admitted.
“Tight,” said Niall.
“Tight,” said Zayn.
“Tight,” said Liam.
“So what are you thinking about?” Zayn asked concernedly.
“Well,” Eleanor sighed and then poured out, “I just don’t think Ratalouis and I can be together anymore. We had this awful argument and things are coming crashing down. His schedule is so busy, he’s lying, and I’ve just realized that I’m actually not that fond of how he treats me.”
“Oh,” said Niall.
“Oh,” said Liam.
Zayn, the only boy with free will, gave an annoyed glance at his musical mates and turned to Eleanor. Under his breath, he uttered in rat pitches, “Do you want to talk about this some more in private? These dull playback machines aren’t going to be much for conversation, and I think I can get us out of here.”
Eleanor was confused but warily nodded.
Zayn gave a subtle nod back and turned to his boys. “Oi, look, it’s a pigeon!” Zayn announced while pointing frantically behind them.
“It’s a pigeon!?” Niall shouted.
“It’s a pigeon!?” Liam shouted.
As the boys turned in excitement and eagerly tried to spot the “pigeon”, Zayn swooped up Eleanor into one of his big guy-sized pant pockets and made a dash through the crowd of people.
He had his eye on the prize; a taxi parked 500 meters up ahead. Then, he heard the familiar steps of Liam and Niall catching up behind him.
“Why did you run off, Zayn?” they both yelled, “We’re supposed to be headed in one direction, not two directions!”
Zayn cursed and picked up the pace until he was full-on sprinting. He gasped and panted, but at last he made it to the taxi and ducked into the backseat before the boys could reach him. Zayn locked the doors and threw a wad of cash at the taxi driver. “Get us to the Plaza hotel!” he urged. The white-haired driver raised his eyebrows and aggressively peeled onto the road. Once Zayn had a chance to catch his breath, he pulled up the divider between the taxi driver and took Eleanor out of his pocket.
“You alright?” Zayn asked gently to the rat in his hand.
Eleanor nodded timidly. “That was crazy. What did you do that for?”
“I’ve been dying to get away from those clods for just one moment,” he answered bitterly, and then his demeanor softened, “and you looked like you really needed somebody to listen and be there for you. So what’s going on?”
“Well, my relationship with ratalouis feels very one-sided in terms of effort. And I can’t help but feel hurt by the way he jabs at my bourgeoisie background as if I’m some sort of close-minded freak,” she squeaked.
Zayn frowned empathetically. “I’m sorry, Eleanor. You don’t deserve that kind of treatment,” he asserted, and then followed up with, “and, I know we haven’t talked all that much, but every time we’ve chatted in the studio I’ve felt like you have this amazing air of intelligence about you. It’s amazing and it’s inspiring. You’re a refined rat, Eleanor, and that’s deserving of respect. I know you don’t need validation from me, but Ratalouis’ comments shouldn’t get you down.”
“Thank you Zayn,” Eleanor’s already-resolved heart seemed to grow an extra layer of strength and affirmation.
Zayn smiled as he added, “Now, you didn’t hear this from me-- Ratalouis is one my closest mates after all and he’s loads of fun-- but I’d say you’re out of his league. He’d never admit that because the fame can really get to his small rodent head (no offense, Eleanor, your cognitive functions are actually astounding) and I think he needs a dash of humility sometimes.”
“Isn’t that the truth,” she laughed. All at once, she realized just how good it felt to laugh again. It’d been a long time since she’d done that.
They let the silence hang in the air as they looked at each other. Zayn’s beautiful brown orbs began to signal sparks to her the way they did in the studio long ago.
“Hey, Zayn, thanks for helping me,” Eleanor gushed. “It’s like you don’t see me as a diRtY rAt or an eLiTiSt MeMbEr of the uPpErClAsS. You treat me like, well, me.”
“I just feel like rats are people too,” Zayn shrugged, “I mean, we’ve got Ratalouis in the band for crying out loud and he’s one of my closest mates.”
Hearing Zayn bring up her bf Ratalouis nearly ruined the moment for Eleanor as she recalled the fact that they were still technically dating and hadn’t ever broken up. She was internally bashing her head against her own code of conduct and values as she contemplated whether she should act morally (wait to resolve things with Ratalouis) or act selfishly (cheat on Ratalouis). Then, she decisively hardened her heart and let the flames of vengeance/toxicity consume her.
“It’s really admirable that you’re a rat ally. Not to perpetuate a negative rodent stigma or anything, but, would you say you’re willing to lie down with the rats and wake up with the fleas?” Eleanor spoke suggestively.
Zayn was into it. “I mean, I can be an animal in b*d,” he winked.
Suddenly, the taxi came to a stop and the driver announced that they’d arrived at the Grand Plaza Hotel.
Zayn carried Eleanor as he exited the taxi and they both marveled at the setting sun’s colors.
“Shall we get a room?” Zayn asked.
“Well it’s getting dark,” Eleanor noted, “and we’ve got to continue this somewhere.” Then she blushed, “But then again… a rat and a human, we’ll disturb the residents and employees for sure-“
“So what, we’ll piss off our neighbors,” Zayn said defiantly, slipping into a melodic tone with that boy band voice of his, “in the place that feels the tears, the place to lose your fears.”
With that, they checked into their hotel room. The sounds of squeaking, tenor belting, and Zayn and Eleanor’s voices saying “Aw, rats!” filled the night.
Chapter 6: The Ballad of Ratalouis (AKA Mr. Brightside)
Chapter by TheNextShakespeare
What was Ratalouis doing while Eleanor was calling a cab and [Zayn] was taking a smoke and she was taking a drag?
After the argument, Ratalouis was at a loss for words, he was absolutely squeakless, and so he coped by channelling Harry’s lifeless vessel to emote the guilt and angst that were pent up inside of him. Too tired to actually control Harry, Ratalouis uttered an incantation which possessed Harry to shred the electric guitar. A new intern walked into the practice room and their fight-or-flight responses instantly kicked in at the horrifying, confusing sight of a boy with glazed-over eyes playing demonic rock tunes. “Just keep scrolling!” Ratalouis hissed aggressively. The intern bolted out of the room and slammed the door closed, leaving Ratalouis with the privacy and isolation he initially set out to attain. The walls of sound emitted by Harry assisted Ratalouis in concentrating and dissecting his turbulent train of thought.
Ratalouis reflected on the fact that he practically slaved over his musical abilities so that he could do something great, be something great. It felt like nobody truly understood the immense sacrifices involved in his lifestyle; he couldn’t see his family, he couldn’t breach his dictative contract, and he had to keep memorizing hundreds of dance movements, lyrics, and chord progressions. All of this culminated in him being darnd near burnt out. But Eleanor was the bright spot in his life; he truly enjoyed spending time with her.
Then, the spirits of Mr. Moseby and Cody from Suite Life of Zack and Cody came to him, saying “How do you lose a woman?!” “You forget to cherish her”.
He admitted to himself that it wasn’t fair to Eleanor how he had cut her off in the past few weeks and taken his stress out on her.
Ratalouis came to the realization that the saying “when you care about something, you work for it” not only applied to jobs, abilities, and goals, but also people and relationships. He swore he wouldn’t let another serious miscommunication happen, and he especially would not call Eleanor a rich thotty under any circumstances. In short, Ratalouis vowed to shape up and respect women (but more specifically his woman), becoming a Woke King.
He felt a renewed sense of purpose and optimism as he came to the conclusion that they didn’t have to throw the relationship away, and that his growth and apology could move them through this rough patch. He had the tools now to collaborate and compromise. But, he knew Eleanor would need to see action on his part in order to believe him, so he devised a plan in which he would purchase an exquisite bouquet of flowers and give them to her. (This sounds like a simple plan, but basic transactions are actually quite difficult for rats to do.)
So, a determined Ratalouis scampered out of the studio and took to the bustling Parisian streets. He used his powerful sniffer to locate a flower shop.