I do not own Supernatural or Stargate.AN:
So, this is what happens when you graft certain Stargate characters into the Supernatural-verse. Just so you know, the Stargate shebang? Never happened. Completely not applicable.
Also: this fic takes its name from the very lovely book of the same title by Colleen McCullough. If you've read it, you'll also get why I gave the cat that particular name.
Cassie was five when she saw her first spirit.
Jack had headed out on a hunt with Bill Harvelle, and it was the second time he had left her and Charlie with Ellen at the Roadhouse. It was only for a couple of days, but they seemed to go on forever (they always did when their dad wasn’t there). Even Jo wasn’t much fun – she had school, and was several years older than the O’Neill pair. They spent the afternoons together anyway, mooching round watching TV and wondering if tonight was going to be the night Jack came back.
It was the third night that it happened.
Cassie came awake to the sound of scraping under her bed. She gasped and grabbed her pillow, listening, wide-eyed with fear as whatever-it-was scrabbled around, letting off the occasional soft snarl. Next thing she knew there was panicked squeak, cut abruptly short, and a muted snapping sound.
She watched, as on silent feet, a shape padded out from under her bed and sat in the shaft of light filtering in through the window of the Harvelle’s spare room. Beyond it, Charlie was sound asleep in the opposite twin bed. Only Cassie was witness to whatever creature had wandered out of nowhere…
It was a cat.
But it was also a see-through cat.
That was new.
Cassie lay watching it for a while. It simply sat in the moonlight, meticulously washing its delicate transparent ears. Each of its whiskers was whisper-fine, only catching the light at certain angles so that one second they were invisible, the next they were bright arcs of white on either side of the little teacup face. Cassie admired the cat’s smoky coat, the way it looked almost blue, and the neatness of its four matching snowy paws. White socks, Ms. Carter had called them – her old cat Percy had had them too.
When the cat tilted its head and looked at her a smile split her face, and she sucked up a gasp of pleasure.
He had a white face, this cat, to go with his socks and bib, but over one eye was a black patch. A pirate
patch. From his two-tonal face his eyes shone, jewel-bright, the colour of new leaves when the sun shines through them.
Cassie thought he was fantastic
Very slowly, holding her breath, she shuffled forward under the blankets and wormed one hand out.
“Puss, puss, puss,” she whispered, the way Ms. Carter had taught her to do with Schrödinger.
She wondered worriedly if ghost cats could be called like real cats; Schrödy always came when he was called.
The little blue cat looked at her with his marvelous emerald eyes. His smoky ears went back and forth. Will I, won’t I? Will I, won’t I? He bent his head…
Only to pick up the crumpled brown body of the mouse at his feet, and padded away into the shadows beneath Charlie’s bed.
Cassie let out a soft sigh of disappointment.
But, it was not the last she would see of the see-through cat…
Even at five, Cassie understood the general concept of a spirit.
Most of them were ghosts, which were the souls of people who had died, but didn’t know whether to go up or down. Some of them were dangerous, and some were simply lost. Her dad and other hunters got rid of the bad ones and, from what she could gather, sometimes helped the lost ones go up (or down…)
In any case, she knew that the little blue cat was dead, but had at some point been alive. So, the next logical step was…
(Let it never be said the O’Neill children couldn’t be polite when they needed to be. Case in point.)
“Yeah, Cassie, sweet pea, what it is?”
“Did you used to have a cat?”
Ellen frowned at her, puzzled. The miniature redhead gazed back.
“No, hon, we’ve never had a cat.”
There was a pause. Cassie thought.
“Did your mom have a cat?”
“Did your grandma?”
“No, I don’t think so. Cassie, why do you ask? What’s with the sudden fascination with my family having cats?”
Cassie shrugged. “It’s nothin’.”
And she wandered off to watch TV with Jo and Charlie. Ellen frowned and continued folding the laundry, thinking. It was odd, but all the talk of cats had stirred up a vague memory about the Roadhouse’s previous owners.
Quietly, Ellen began to investigate.
The fourth night, Cassie stayed up as late as she could, but, as always seems to happen to small children desperately trying to stay awake…she eventually conked.
She slept the whole night through, and dreamed of kittens running across the polished floor of the Roadhouse, which was silly, because the Roadhouse’s floor wasn’t polished…
She woke as the sunlight touched the window. Blinking, she sat up a little. There was a heavy feeling around her feet…and there he was.
The little blue cat. He gazed at her, winking sleepily the way cats do, and she smiled back at him. As the fingers of morning light touched his coat he melted away like so much silver mist, his shining eyes the last to go.
But Cassie knew, this time, that this wasn’t the last she would see of the see-through cat.
After she had given the kids breakfast and gotten Jo safely away on the bus, Ellen began her digging. All the old paraphernalia that had come with the Roadhouse was kept in storage, in one of the smaller back rooms. She settled the O’Neill pair with toys and a pile picture books and began going through the boxes of old photos.
It took her a couple of hours, but there it was. A family portrait of the Torrance family that had originally built the Roadhouse and sitting pretty as you please in the lap of one of the Torrance daughters was a little white-footed cat, a black patch over one of his eyes.
“Well, I’ll be…”
She looked around a big more, and discovered amongst the boxes several caches of tiny, powdery bones. Mouse bones, it looked like.
On the fifth night, Jack came back.
Cassie was the first to hear the trunk pull up in the saloon’s parking lot, and she rushed from the Harvelle’s small living room out to the bar, calling out for her father as she went.
“Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad!”
Jack O’Neill grinned as he entered; shotgun still slung over one shoulder, he scooped her up as she came at him.
“Cass, Cass, Cass, Cass!” he echoed, laughing. “Where’s your brother Cassowary?”
“Watching TV. But Dad, I found something!”
“Really? Whatcha find?”
She put one round arm about his neck and cupped a chubby hand to his ear, whispering, “I found a spirit.”
Jack O’Neill’s eyes widened. He met Ellen’s gaze behind the bar. And yet, all she did was kiss her husband hello and give Jack a laconic smile.
“Don’t worry,” she mouthed.
And so Jack didn’t. He put his kids to bed, washed the blood out from beneath his fingernails, stowed his guns and sat at the bar to have a Guinness with the Harvelles.
“Now what the hell is all this about my daughter finding a spirit?”
Ellen gave both men another lazy smile and pulled something out from beneath the bar, laying it in front of them. It was a black and white photograph, old, a little moth-eaten, but definitely still visible.
“Isn’t that…” Bill murmured.
“The Torrance family. They built the Roadhouse, back in the day, and one of their little girls –” Ellen tapped the photo. “– had a little grey and white kitty-cat. I made a few phone calls, and it turns out the cat’s name was Marcel, rumoured to be one of the best mousers in three states.” She smiled. “Or at least, that’s according to family legend.”
“And what little girl doesn’t believe that of her kitten,” Bill said, smiling back.
Jack was looking thoughtfully at the picture. “I don’t know…but it would explain why only Cassie’s been seeing him. Ellen,” he said, a grin blooming slowly on his face. “Have you ever had mouse trouble, here at the Roadhouse?”
The Harvelle’s exchanged looks.
Then they grinned too.
“Not once,” said Ellen.
Cassie only woke once that night, and only very briefly.
As she peeled open sleep-gritted eyes, she found herself looking into the likewise sleepy gaze of the little blue cat. Oddly, this time she knew his name.
“Hello, Marcel,” she sighed, stroking his silky ears. “Night, Marcel.”
Marcel tucked his tail around his white socked feet and closed his grassy eyes, purring.
Both drifted back to sleep, but in the morning, Jack would find his girl hugging her pillow, thumb plugged firmly in her mouth, and a faithfully placed pile of dead mice at the foot of the bed.
And Jack would say, very quietly, “Thank you, Marcel.”
So, as usual, tell me what you think, and whether you'd like to see more of the wandering O'Neill's. Review?