Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Character/Pairing: Salem, Sabrina
Challenge/Prompt: tv_universe: A Storm Is Coming (If you join, be sure to tell them Kat Lee of Team Bunny Ears sent YOU!)
Warning(s): [Spoiler (click to open)]This fic kind of makes light of a very serious topic, especially in light of recent events. Please know that I mean no harm or belittling of those, including myself, who have had to endure these horrible situations. But I learned a long time ago to write what my Muses give me and almost got writer's block when I didn't want to write this one. Actually did have a dose of it for a couple of days and am only just now realizing part of the reason why.)
Word Count: 1,425
Date Written: 12 September 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
Green eyes peer intently at a computer screen. The player leans forward as a new message appears on his screen: 45N, 25W.
His long, black tail swishes in the dark room. Carefully, he taps his claws across the keyboard in response: Ha! You still haven’t got any of my ships! Then, in a new message, he sends: 21N, 77W.
Argh! How do you always know?!
Salem’s tail swishes again as he smiles. I am what I am, he responds, and I’m not one of the world’s best Battleship players for no reason! If he still possessed the vocal chords of his former body, his laughter would be deep, dark, and resonating throughout the house now.
That same laughter would have frozen in his throat, however, just as he freezes as the door to his room suddenly opens. Quickly, he changes applications on Sabrina’s laptop. “Salem!” the girl exclaims. “What are you doing on my computer?!”
He shrugs his furry, ebony shoulders. “Just chatting.”
A new message pings; suddenly, the house shakes. Sabrina grabs the door to keep from falling. “Salem!” she hisses in warning.
“What?!” he answers, his green eyes wide, round, and innocent. “I told you I’m just chatting!”
“No, you’re not! You’re playing that damn game again!”
With the girl distracted by keeping her own balance, Salem quickly shifts programs again. His eyes dart across the screen. 42N, 70W. He hisses before he can stop himself.
Damn! he types. You got me!
Wind begins to rise and whip around the house. Quickly, he sends his next message: 21N, 78W. “It’s on,” he growls, his tail tapping the bed.
“No, it’s not!” Sabrina commands, crossing the room, grabbing her computer, and shutting the notebook.
Thunder suddenly roars from a blackened sky outside. The wind is howling now. Rain pelts the windows. A new message pings. The house shakes again. “Sabrina, you’ve got to let me finish this!”
“I’ve got to do no such thing! You’re the reason there are so many storms right now in the Atlantic, aren’t you?!”
“Of course not! I’m just . . . “ Salem’s tail whips. “I’m just talking to an Elf in the North Pole! I guess I can finish it later, but I was talking to him about making your Christmas present!”
“Yeah, right! You’re not getting back on this computer, Salem!”
“You’ve done enough damage!”
“But you don’t understand!”
“I don’t understand what?!” he snaps.
He sighs and hangs his furry head a little. Lightning strikes somewhere on the roof. “All right, fine!” he hisses. “I’ll tell you!” The rain pattering their windows now sounds like hail. “You caught me, okay?!”
“I know I caught you!” Sabrina returns, her eyes narrowed.
“But you don’t understand what you caught me at!”
“It wasn’t talking to Santa! You’re such a naughty cat; he wouldn’t talk to you, even if he existed!”
“He does exist,” Salem counters, “but that’s a story for another time! You’ve got to let me finish this game!”
“No, I don’t!” She starts to turn away from him, still holding the laptop. Salem’s ears lay flat against his black head as another new message pings.
“Yes, you do!” he snaps. “You don’t understand what’s at stake!”
“I understand plenty about what’s at stake! You’re playing Witches’ Battleship, and you’re using human lives for pawns!”
“No,” Salem says softly, and then he admits, his head hanging, as another new message pings, “it’s worse than that.”
“Worse?” She turns back swiftly. “How?” She peers down at him.
His head stays lowered; his tail curls around his furry buttocks. “This is the Grand Tournament. There’s more at stake here.”
“I’m listening.” The house shakes again. Sabrina falls, but she throws herself, still holding her computer, onto her bed. Her eyes narrow into even tighter slits as she glowers at Salem. “Do I want to know?”
“Not really,” he answers, “but every turn I miss, he gets to play again. There’s a time out function.”
“Uh uh -- “
“And if you don’t let me beat him,” Salem’s tail strikes the hot air, “we’ll be the ones blasted off the map!”
A sudden chill runs through Sabrina. “Why am I thinking you’re not speaking metaphorically?”
“Because I’m not,” he snaps. “If you don’t believe me, just give me the computer, open it back up -- you know it takes me forever with my paws --, and I’ll shoot down another of his ships. And while I’m doing that, you can look outside and see the -- “ Another message pings. An enormous sound that isn’t quite thunder but also isn’t quite a locomotive train roars from outside. Salem yells his last words to be heard, “TORNADO OUTSIDE!”
“No way!” Sabrina’s eyes are as wide as saucers as she looks at Salem and then, beyond him, to the wall of her room that’s shaking so badly that all her pictures are coming off. “No way,” she whispers again.
“You’re a Spellman, Sabrina! What do you think?!”
“I think you’re crazy!” she snaps, but she does open up the computer before leaving the bed. Every step is an effort as the entire room is shaking.
As swiftly as he can, Salem types out, 21N, 79W. Then he bluffs, And you’re totally missing by the way. His tail swishes again, and he sets into bathing one, black paw to calm his nerves while he waits on his opponent’s response.
42N, 69W, comes the response Salem’s expecting as the other player shifts his direction.
Salem grins; his eyes seem almost to glow in the room whose only light comes from the already glowing, computer screen.
Behind him, Sabrina screams. “OH MY GOD! THE TORNADO -- IT’S LIFTING UP!”
“Don’t worry,” Salem calls back to her over a rippling shoulder, “it’s going to go away!”
“But wherever it goes, it’ll destroy lives!” She tries to use her finger to hex the tornado.
“You can’t change its direction,” Salem tells her, “or its size. It’s charmed to where only the players can affect it.”
“WELL, GET RID OF IT!”
His tail lashes. “I’m working on it!”
Now that he’s got his opponent going backwards with the one bluff each player is allowed throughout the course of the game, Salem is able to type in his next two hits with ease. 21N,81W.
No! =) 41N,70W. Am I hitting you again yet?
Salem grins and ignores the question. He takes a moment to run a paw through his whiskers.
“SALEM!” Sabrina bellows behind him.
Salem crooks his tail through the air. “Finish him, don’t you mean? I love this game!” And then he types his final hit: 20N,80W.
The house shakes again. Sabrina holds on to the wall. A scream from a voice neither recognizes whips through the room. Salem grins like the cat that’s finally caught the bird whose songs have been interrupting his peaceful catnaps.
“WHAT’S HAPPENING?!” Sabrina screams.
“I’ve won!” Salem boasts, his tail whisking.
After the scream fades, the room finally stills. Sabrina looks back outside again. The rain and hail have stopped. The tornado is gone. The sun is even coming back out into a sky that’s turning blue once more as the clouds lift.
She turns a furious glare onto Salem, who’s basking pridefully in his win on her bed. “You’re a damn crazy cat!” She stalks over to the bed, grabs her laptop, snaps it shut, and storms out of her own room.
“Maybe,” Salem retorts, beginning to purr as he preens his whiskers, “but I’m still the winner! A cat’s gotta have some fun! Get the Council to give me back my powers, and I won’t have time for this kind of game any more!” he calls after her.
“You won’t get another chance!” Sabrina responds. “I’m getting rid of this thing now!”
“Really? You need it for your homework, don’t you?”
“ARGH!” Salem’s grin fills his furry face for he knows he’s won not just once but twice already this day, and with the tournament just beginning, there will be many more victories to come. He closes his eyes, ready for his own catnap, and purrs himself to sleep, still smiling.