Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Character/Pairing: Salem, Harvey/Sabrina, OFC
Challenge/Prompt: faerie_wish13: Astronomy
Warning(s): Future Fic
Word Count: 1,650
Date Written: 24 April 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Archie Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
He stares out into the dark night, his long, black tail slowly swishing from side to side. He hears her enter the room behind him but makes no reaction. He listens, not even his ears twitching, as she pauses by the crib before coming to stand behind him. She reaches out and strokes his soft fur, and at last, a bit of the tenseness goes out of his body.
“You know I still love you, right?” she whispers.
He purrs. “Of course, Sabrina. I love you too.” It’s the truth, and after all these years, it no longer embarrasses him to say it. He wishes it hadn’t embarrassed him before.
“Then why are you so glum?” she asks, sinking down onto the window seat beside him and continuing to stroke him.
He shrugs and resists the urge to turn around to face her or let himself bump her stroking hand. How can he explain to her that after everything they’ve been through over the years, after everything he himself has done and failed, he doesn’t want to risk messing this up? There has been one more life brought into the Spellman family, and he wants to make sure this young Witchling gets the life she deserves. Even if she is only a quarter Witch, she’s still a full blooded Spellman; she’s still one of them, one of his.
They sit together for a while longer in silence penetrated only by his deep purr and the baby’s soft breathing behind them. At last accepting that he isn’t going to open up tonight, Sabrina stands and kisses the top of his black head. “It’s going to be fine,” she says again, though he can clearly see the questions in her eyes. He bumps his head against her cheek, then lets her leave still without any answers. She needs her rest; neither of them are getting enough these days.
Movement outside his window catches his eyes, and Salem moves back just in time to see a bright light streak across the night sky. He wonders if it was a comet, a falling star, or just another Witch somewhere. It’s funny. Only a few years ago, he would have taken advantage of a comet or a falling star and made a completely selfish wish. He would have wished for his human body back and another chance to take over the world. He would have wished for his powers and his old life back, but he no longer wants his old life.
His powers no longer matter. Even his plans for world domination to reshape the world into a place where all creatures could live peacefully together in one dimension no longer hold sway over him. There’s only one thing Salem wants these nights, and he doesn’t know how to procure it. He wants the child behind him to be able to stay safe and happy and to grow up living in a world as good and peaceful as she now thinks it is while she snoozes, blissfully unaware of all the horrible things in the world, all the thoughts he once fought, and ultimately failed, to change.
There are still people who would burn her mother at the stake if they knew she’s a Witch. They wouldn’t care if her husband, her pet, or her baby perished in the same fire as she as long as they snuffed out that which they were too foolish to understand. Humans feared what they didn’t understand, and they did everything in their power to destroy that which made them feel truly afraid.
And yet Witches were bad enough to do each other in. He thinks again of Hilda and the love and support she offered him for years. Yes, she had eventually deceived him and handed him to the authorities, but if he had ever once loved her like she had claimed to love him, maybe things could have been different between them. Maybe she wouldn’t have betrayed him. Maybe he could have even won.
Maybe the world could have been a better, more loving place had he been in charge, but somewhere along the way, he’d lost track of his true goals. It’s true, he thinks, his tail swishing again: He had become power hungry. He’d almost not cared at all who got hurt in the process of conquering the world and making it into the world he wanted it to be, but in the trial of doing so, he’d come close to letting some of the very traits he despised about humankind rule him.
He’d lost the big picture, and so very many of his people, but having a baby changes people. It changes cats, too, though some in greater ways than others. He is a cat now, Salem thinks, meowing softly. He has been for a long time, for over a hundred years, and he will be for at least another hundred years. With so much mortality coursing through her veins, this child over whom he now worries so greatly will probably never live to see him become anything but the cat he is.
Sabrina and Harvey are both determined that she will know the truth about whence she comes. At least that’s one fight he doesn’t have on his black paws. But how is he going to explain to her that a child just a few years older than herself is her aunt and being raised by another aunt who left them and ran off with a hot dog vendor, of all people? Salem begins to knead the seat beneath him, his tail swishing faster and harder. A hot dog vendor can not possibly take proper care of a woman who was once going to be Queen of the world!
He stops as that thought sinks in and chuckles. He doesn’t love Hilda Spellman! He never loved her in that way! But he would have liked to have seen her be given a great deal more in this world and not simply settle for some blasted hotdog salesman! How the mighty have fallen, he thinks, shaking his head sadly.
He doesn’t even know where most of his people are these days! Most of them are still trapped in their various curses, one ruling over a land beneath the ground, another trapped as a dog, another as unlikely to earn love as he himself is, and of course, then there’s him, trapped as a cat! There are worse curses, he thinks, sighing again. He could be a rug, including the latest thing Drell’s wearing as a hairpiece. He could be without Sabrina, without his family.
He sighs again and looks up as another bright light streaks across the sky. He moves back from the window and lets the curtain that belonged to Zelda and Hilda’s mother before it was inherited by Sabrina fall back into place. He’s seen enough tonight. He’s seen too much over the many lifetimes he’s survived, both as a Wizard and as a meager housecat.
He leaps to the floor, pads across, and leaps back up into the cradle. He licks the baby’s face, then settles in around her, purring deeply. He’s purred a lullaby many nights, but tonight, she doesn’t even seem to know he’s here. Again, he thinks of the great, big world outside, the world into which she will grow, and feels remorse. At one time, he wanted to rule it all. The sun, the moon, the stars, everything in the solar system and beyond -- he wanted it all! Now, however, he would gladly give it all to her if he could just guarantee that she will grow up into a better life than what any of them ever had.
“Kitty,” the baby coos in her sleep. Salem jolts upright with surprise. “Kitty,” she says again, then smiles. Her tiny, chubby hands reach out, grasp his fur, and pull him closer. Salem lets himself be pulled into the embrace.
“Yeah, kid,” he purrs, his tail gently striking the crib beneath them, “I’d give it all to you if I could.”
He falls asleep with her little, pudgy arms wrapped around him. Scant minutes later, the door opens, and Sabrina peers in. She feels Harvey’s hand on her shoulder but watches until her eyes adjust to the dim light and she’s able to make out both the forms of her firstborn child and her uncle asleep in the crib. Only then does she shut the door.
“Is he asleep?”
“Yeah,” she says, smiling, “with her.” She lets Harvey take her hand and lead her away, but as she goes, she can’t help thinking that maybe her baby can reach Salem where she can not. This world isn’t such a bad place, and although it’s not what he would have made it if he had ever been given that power, it’s a lot better than it could be and a lot better than it has been. Most people don’t even believe in the Supernatural any more, and yet they manage to live right underneath their very noses.
“I was just thinking,” Harvey remarks as he pulls her into their bedroom and closer into his arms, “I’m a very lucky man that magic exists.”
“We’re all very lucky,” Sabrina says, smiling up at him, and as she kisses him, she hopes that, with time, Salem will come to see what she already knows. They are blessed to live in this world. It isn’t a curse. Being a cat means he gets to be with her in ways no uncle ever could have been, and he’ll get to be with her children too. She misses Zelda and Hilda, but they’ve made a life of their own here, a happy one with a happy, loving family. She wouldn’t give up what they have here for anything in the world, not even all the stars, the sun, and the moon in the galaxy.