curtkenobi: (dean)
[personal profile] curtkenobi
Title: They Say Cats Are Portals
Author: Curt Kenobi
Fandom: SPN
Summary: (The prompt from [livejournal.com profile] gabby_silang was) Lisa and Ben adopt a cat. "That is not a cat," Dean tells them, but they don't listen.
Rating: PG-13 (light R?)
Warnings: Character death, blood, installation of mistrust in household pet ;)
Word Count: 2747

A/N: Also inspired by a prompt at the [livejournal.com profile] sharp_teeth meme, rightchere: clickity ...A little better go on the horror with this one, but I mighta fallen apart near the end.

I also think it might paint me a little twisted -- not like that's not true or anything -- but I find the story a bit funny >.>

Oh, and my cat, Obi-Wan was the model for Shadow. He's just like Shadow in the asshole department, even though I have another full-on black cat named Azazel that's closer in looks.




-----------

It’s fucking creepy, is what it is.

Sure, it looks all cute and innocent and doesn’t set his skin to crawling and ice shooting through his veins like a dog can, but cats… Cats are like witches. They’re unassuming. ...And then you find a crunchy hex bag and end up a sacrificial offering.

And that’s just normal cats.

This thing Lisa and Ben have brought home is not a normal cat.

“We found him outside the house – who knows how long he’s wandered around out there,” Lisa gushes, all taken with the ball of black fur. “Doesn’t have a collar or anything, but definitely could benefit from a nice home and some lovin’, don’t you think?” She touches noses with the cat before depositing it on the sofa.

“That is so not a cat,” Dean mutters as the cat, whom Ben proudly announces has been dubbed Shadow, looks balefully at him – into him – with those unblinking yellow eyes. It shouldn’t get under his skin like this – it’s supposed to be a freaking kitten, and its eyes are like every other cat’s out there.

Except…it’s not.

“Dean, you’re so paranoid. Really, it’s just a kitten. How many supernatural cat-things have you dealt with, huh?”

None, really. But cats are inherently supernatural. He’s read enough and seen enough to know that. They say cats are portals.

But Lisa laughs it off – she’s laughing it off, and the little beast goes twining through her legs and then trots over to let Ben pay it due attention. It looks over to Dean and he shivers at the gleam across its (way too) yellow eyes. The prominence of its teeth as it yawns, almost like a vampire’s smile, flexing its back and kneading the carpet with its sharp little talons. Dean rubs his arm, pricked with goosebumps.

“That’s gotta be something other than a cat.”

----------

Shadow stares at him. A lot. Evidently, he needs to accept it as something cats just do. But he swears the damned thing doesn’t laser Ben or Lisa that way. Like it knows him. Like it’s fucking up to something and it’s daring him to call it out on it.

“Did you ever have a cat, Dean?” Ben asks, Shadow in his lap, rubbing its little black head against his jaw. Its eyes are on Dean again.

“Nope,” shrugs Dean, looking over the instructions for the Pinewood Derby car. “Never had a pet.” Sammy tried to bring home pets, but it was a quickly nixed wish. He begged forever for a dog, though. He had also tried to be in Boy Scouts. Another smoke dream.

“So, you’re not used to cats – not used to house pets,” Ben reasons. Dean shrugs again. Maybe he wasn’t.

There’s a snort, like a sniffed-off laugh.

Dean looks up sharply, but Ben’s got his head buried in the paint set and Shadow’s nowhere to be seen.

Yellow eyes meet him head on as he looks back to the wooden car. He startles, jerking back, and Shadow just meows and scurries off.

“It’s just a cat, Dean,” offers Ben, still focused on his colour scheme.

Sure, okay.

--------------

He’s going to accept that the whole “let me rip into your arm with every claw I possess” thing is just ‘cause the fucker’s temperamental (freaking mental) and disliked Dean trying to pick it up. Alrighty then, cat. No bonding for you.

He wraps his arm in gauze after wiping down the long scratches that make him look like a cliché emo-goth kid and goes about his day. He passes Shadow sitting in the windowsill on his way out the door.

The cat is licking its paws. It pauses, gleaming eyes watching him, the sunlight reducing its pupils to near-nonexistent slits, so they look almost full-on yellow.

There’s something so wrong about all that.

But it’s just a cat.

...Creepy fuckers.

---------------

“Uh! Shadow!” Lisa’s exclaiming as Dean comes in from work one day. A photo of the three of them all together is shattered across the living room floor, glass frame splintered. The broken glass has cut the picture – but as Dean picks up the mess, he sees what he’s pretty damned sure are claw marks across the scene as well, marring the smiling faces.

“Shadow was up on the mantle and knocked it right over,” explains Lisa as she sweeps up the shards.

“I’ll bet,” Dean murmurs under his breath.

“We should try to train him out of that.”

What, knocking shit over or defacing it?

“We should train it outta staring at me like that,” Dean says, pointing with the ruined photo at the stoic figure in the doorway. It hisses – no shit, hisses – and darts off.

“Dean!” Lisa admonishes. ‘Cause it’s totally his fault.

------------------

He’s seeing things. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, but he was usually under the effects of something mind-altering and he’s been keeping himself rigidly strait-laced of late, not to mention that he doesn’t really have a job that has that as a potential hazard anymore.

But he’s seeing things, so there’s gotta be something up with him.

He swears he saw a shadow of a person going down the upstairs hall and down the stairs. But when he followed it, there was just Shadow, sitting statue-like at the bottom of the stairs, staring with those eyes.

But he saw a person’s shadow. Definitely male, and way too tall to be Ben’s. Dean thoroughly checks throughout the house and has his hand on the carton of Morton’s when he realises he’s gone into full-on hunter defence mode.

He shakes his head, removes his hand and shuts the cabinet. There’s no need to do all that. Besides, fucking cat will just break the salt lines anyways, wouldn’t it?

He still goes over the wards he put up.

---------------

“Dean…” Ben’s voice is tentative, hesitant. Dean quirks an eyebrow.

“What is it, kiddo?” He motions for the boy to come over to the couch to talk. Ben takes a seat, but doesn’t continue. Dean prompts him again.

“What – whateverhappenedtoyourbrother?”

“Huh?” Dean asks as Shadow plops up on the back of the couch. “Gonna have to rewind that and play it back at half-speed for me, kid.”

“What happened…” Ben’s voice drops to a whisper, “toyourbrother?” He looks up, eyes big. “I don’t mean to upset you or anything – Mom just said he was gone and I was wondering and—”

His gut clenches tight, and he has to swallow down the knot in his throat. “Nah” —he clears his throat— “No, Ben. It’s – that’s alright. Sam… It’s like your mom said, kid. Sam’s – gone.”

Shadow yowls suddenly and spinetinglingly out of nowhere, long and drawn-out. Dean and Ben look around, uncertain of the cat’s sudden distress.

“What the hell, cat?” Dean gives it back one of its trademark glares, and, apparently disliking a taste of its own medicine, Shadow hisses and leaps away.

“They say animals act strange before bad weather,” supplies Ben, shrugging. “And they can sense things that we can’t.”

Small wonder, huh?

----------------

Maybe it’s him. The cat’s been about for a month and a half and it’s just a cat.

It’s a cat that doesn’t like him.

That acts weird around him.

Maybe it’s him. Maybe he’s just dragging about residual supernatural energies and it puts the cat’s Spidey-senses on alert. It would make sense.

...But that doesn’t explain the shadows of a man Dean knows he’s seen.

It doesn’t explain the snatches of a voice he knows he should be hearing.

He hears it when he lays in bed at night beside Lisa, still awake while she slumbers obliviously. He hears a voice, but can’t decipher it for the vibration running through it.

Shadow curls up between them.

------------------

“It’s not a damned cat!” Dean shouts. Lisa’s bleeding from a scratch across her face that quite narrowly missed potentially blinding her.

She gives him a long-suffering look. “Dean, he just got scared. It’s a bad storm out tonight.”

Uh-huh. Totally justifies near blinding. Dean rolls his eyes, near-scoffing. He changes tack: “Where’s Ben?”

An enormously loud boom that shakes not only the very air but the entire house sounds, and a large crack and flash of light – and the power’s out.

“Transformer’s been blown,” mutters Dean idly. Lisa’s already at a drawer, pulling out flashlights.

“I think he was headed down to the basement to get his clothes out of the wash. He’s as bad as you about them. You check down there; I’ll check upstairs.”

Dean takes the flashlight with a nod and heads to the basement door.

---------------

“Ben? Hey, Ben – you down here?”

The rain’s battering against the egress windows like fists pleading entrance.

Deeeeannnn.

That wasn’t Ben. That sounded almost like a—

The twin shine across the room clues him into Shadow’s presence. The cat meows. Dean’s brow furrows (That’s kind of weird…) before he calls out, “Hey, cat. You seen Ben down here, huh?”

Just an unblinking stare.

“Shouldn’t’ve expected any help outta you…creepy shit.”

Shadow charges up the stairs – damn, the little furball can startle him like no other! – and back into the main floor of the house. Whatever. “Ben? D’ya fall asleep down here, kid?” The sweep of the flashlight reveals empty beanbag chairs in front of the TV with the Xbox 360 hooked up to it, and the futon against the back wall is also devoid of a Ben-sized shape.

Why wasn’t he answering?

Dean nudges open the utility room door.

…He knows that smell.

“Ben?!!!”

----------------

It’s not a cat. It’s not a fucking cat. It’s certainly not a normal fucking cat. It’s not a fucking cat. It’s fucking evil. It’s not a fucking cat.

----------------

Ben’s blood is slick and viscous under his fingers as he desperately clamps them over the kid’s clawed open neck. Oh, God. Oh, God. What the fuck had he let them bring into their house?

“Ben!”

The flashlight cuts across the gloom from where he dropped it in the floor inside the door, throwing their forms into huge, foreboding shadows, looking like Nosferatu skulking down the stairs. The floor gleams shiny reddish-black in it’s beam, and highlights Ben’s transfixed, slack face. His eyes are open. He’s not moving.

Shitshitshitshitshit—

“Ben! BEN!”

Don't! Nonononono...

Shadow’s meow echoes down through the cracked basement door.

Lisa.

----------------

He thumps up the stairs to the second floor, following a scream from Lisa that sends his blood running cold but fast, the way it travels telling him she’s in their room now. He left his flashlight in the floor next to Ben’s body in his slip-sliding haste to get to her, but he doesn’t need it, though: lightning strikes and illuminates Lisa, pinned to the wall beyond their bed, her hands thrown over her eyes, blood streaming from beneath them.

“Lisa!”

As he starts to rush toward her, Shadow blocks his path and he comes up short, knowing for sure now that this is not a cat, even if he doesn’t know what it is other than one fucking evil sonuvabitch.

Lightning flashes again, and throws shadows across the room. Lisa’s pinned form and his own at the ready form against the wall and—

A man’s shadow, not a cat’s. Tall and broad with longish hair, standing as casually still between them as the cat is sitting.

Shadow yowls, and for the first time Dean catches the human voice beyond the cat’s vocals. Hears the words.

“Yooooouuuuuu…doooooooon’t…liisssteeeenn.”

He doesn’t know what the fuck he’s thinking – he doesn’t have any weapons on him -- no holy water, no salt, no gun -- but he really doesn’t fucking care. If he’s fast enough, he can get to the knife he keeps under his pillow. Lisa had hated that he slept with it, but conceded to let him. Old habits died hard, she'd figured and he had grudgingly started to share the sentiment, but deep down, sour in his stomach, he knows. It was being prepared.

Shit, he knew. All this time in the back of his fucking head, he knew it would come -- something, anything. And he's let up his guard too much and now this is where their at. Shit!

Shadow yawns, and Dean recognises it for the grin it is.

“What’s so funny? You’re a fuckin’ pussy – how bad can you be?”

Lightning highlights the cat’s bright yellow eyes. A shock runs through Dean.

“Yellow-Eyes.”

The cat hisses and spits – geez, it’s irate. It yowls again, human voice breaking through ever so much more.

“Noooooooo! No—no—no! I'm — not — himmmm!”

“Then who the fuck are you?”

"I'm...better."

"Cut the fucking crap!" Dean surges forward—

—and finds himself held still. His chest clenches and his anger kicks fully in. "What the fuck are you, freak?!" He's cycling through everything it could possibly be, and coming up fairly solidly with "demon." But they don't possess animals. What the fuck? He starts an exorcism from memory, but even as he finishes the last words on a shout, the cat hasn't moved, is completely unfazed. It yawned in the middle of the rite.

Ah, shit.

Finding Dean quiet, the cat — or whatever's riding (not riding, 'cause the exorcism didn't work, what the fuck—) — takes the floor, eyes narrowing.

“I’m NOT a freak, Dean!” The cat is squalling, sounding like the effort of playing host to some angry specimen is ripping at its throat as the entity makes itself heard over its suit’s limited vocal abilities.

And the voice is like a deluge of cold water over top Dean’s head.

“Sam?”

----------------

“You just fucking forgot about me, Dean.” Sam’s voice is coming through Shadow’s vocal cords, a rumbling purr now that he’s no longer screaming.

“Sammy…”

“Sam!”

The yowl shuts him up and he concedes: “Sam.” This is not his Sam, though. This is something dark, something from the other side.

It’s a glimpse at what Sam’s become down in the hole, and Dean shivers, insides twisting viciously.

“Now you remember me. I come through this portal a month ago and now you remember me.”

Portal, fucking hell superstitions, the back of Dean's mind registers, but he's more focused on his lost brother's words. “I never forgot you, Samm – Sam.” His throat tightens and his eyes burn. “How could I ever forget you, Sam?”

“I’m GONE.” Dean flinches with the vehemence that the words are thrown back at him with, the yowl they’re carried on making his hair stand on end. “And you’re here, with them.” The cat’s natural hiss does nothing but underscore Sam’s (not-Sam’s -- this is not the Sam he lost...if only he could get his mind to believe it) disgust.

“I did what you told me, Sam!” Dean’s eyes flicker to Lisa, stilling against the wall, hands falling and face painted in red, and it hits him like a gut punch, makes bile rise.

“They can’t have you! I didn't tell you to take them and forget -- me!”

“Sam!”

“You’re MY brother! You care about ME.” The golden eyes are narrowed, drilling into Dean. …He wonders if they’re a reflection of what Sammy is now. “You know where I am! You should have my side!”

“Okay…. Okay, Sam.” Lisa’s body hits the floor with a thud of finality and Dean closes his eyes, knowing why she's been released from invisible bonds.. “I got the mes—” He gags, seeing Ben’s lifeless bloody body on the utility room floor in his mind, Lisa’s beyond the bed, the blood split from both. He chokes it down, just barely, eyes streaming and throat burning. “I got...the message.”

“See?” The purr is infinitely more unnerving, and Shadow comes and twines between his legs. He's still held in place. “I miss you, bro. ...I’m getting stronger, Dean. And I’ll take you home soon. For now, I’ll just stay with you through Shadow here. Together like always, huh?” The cat goes and hops up onto his bed, looking at him with those big yellow eyes like a high-level demon's as intently as it had the first day after Lisa and Ben brought it home, fur as inky black as the shadows and what's become of the person talking through it. "You seemed like a cat person," it purrs, the sharp little teeth glinting, bared in its wicked parody of a smile.

----------------

Dean doesn’t know how to accept that it’s really just a fucking cat.

It’s what’s coming through it that’s not.


----------------

(The lyric in the cut is from "Voices" by Disturbed.)

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