Spoilers: "The Rapture".
Characters/pairings: Jimmy, Castiel, Claire, Amelia. Gen.
Beta'd by: twoskeletons
Disclaimer: SPN and its characters do not belong to me.
A/N: Written for gabby_silang as part of Novakfest at spn_jimmynovak. Gabby asked for kittens, uncomfortable knowledge and the vast distance between members of a tight-knit family, among others. The prompt I chose to use is: "So one time, when Misha was asked what he'd like to see happen for Castiel, he replied with something like "I'd like him to go full human. Sort of meld with Jimmy, and go back to his wife and kid. That'd be cool." And that is fucking horrifying. So, you know. More, please." Hopefully, I delivered.
Summary: Claire gives you her cat.
You can tell the cat is there even before you see it. There's a familiar sound to its paws when it walks, the drag of its claws against the deck, the heat of its body as it considers how high it needs to jump in order to get past your legs.
The cat is the only one that dares to come outside while you are there. At first, Sally and Carl tried. They are, after all, your hosts. Yours, and Amelia's, and Claire's. They wanted to welcome you, but they didn't understand. They cannot understand.
Amelia was next, and she understood just enough.
Claire never came. She understands more than anyone else, possibly knows more about you than even you do. She gives you space, and peace, and quiet.
And she gave you her cat. Or, perhaps, it's the cat that gave itself to you, but Claire did not object. For that, you're grateful.
Amelia says, "You want to go back, don't you."
You answer, "Yes."
Amelia purses her lips, and with startling clarity you know she's chewing on the inside of her cheek. Sometimes you'd kissed her after she did that; could feel the indentations in her flesh. Finally, she settles on something. "I'm glad you're here."
She turns around and leaves you be, and she's confused. She doesn't know whether she wants you to stay or leave.
Six days after arriving at Carl and Sally's, and you still haven't gone any farther than the front gate of their yard. You occasionally sit on their front steps and look out at the horizon. It's not introspection -- it's looking at the sky and being able to name every atom and every molecule and being unable to manipulate them at will.
It's being paralyzed at the thought of going back into the vastness that is the outside world.
On the seventh day, Claire follows the cat out. While the cat darts off of your lap, she sits down on the step above yours, the one that digs into the small of your back, and while the cat sets on destroying its rose bush, she says nothing.
Claire is a young woman now. Her hair has darkened and turned brown, her face has become more angular. You remember what it was like, picking her up when she fell asleep in the car on the way home, and you remember what it was like to be her, to pump her blood through her body while you were saving her life.
You know she remembers you searing through her veins and setting her alight. There is no need to ask her whether she remembers. She does.
The sky turns yellow to the sound of your silence, and then orange, and then a bloody red that deepens into purple as you watch. Claire's cat has abandoned the rose bush and has turned to hunting a bug no one else can see.
It's easier to look at the cat than look at the girl who should be your daughter.
And the worst of it is that she understands.
originally posted at dreamwidth