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Spirit Cat

Sir Copernicus found himself to be quite extraordinary, but he was just a cat, so what did he know. What he was completely and thoroughly sure of, however, was that during the months when the air formed around his breath and the grass were laced with frost, his human returned. It wasn’t a long reunion, no, but it was certainly remarkable. He didn’t often enjoy the companionship of others, especially humans; and other cats were tolerable, depending on the day. But this human was his favorite.

When Sir Copernicus trotted through the forest, his little white paws leaving a whisper of a trail in the thin layer of snow, he saw his human standing at the treeline, just where the forest thinned and gave way to the grasslands.

“Hello there,” his human said, their cap pulled down to their brows, a scarf dangling down to their waist. Sir Copernicus eyed it suspiciously.

Hello, he would have said. I’ve missed you. His human patted him on the head, offering delectable scratches right behind the ear.

“I hope you’ve been well, my little friend,” his human said.

Of course. Everything is exactly as you left it, Sir Copernicus would have said. But how are you?

“Another year, another winter,” his human said, “Four years now and the pain’s still haunting.”

Don’t be sad, he would have said. I’m glad you’re back.

“I keep thinking about how he would have loved you, ya know,” His human sighed, offering more scratches, which Sir Copernicus happily accepted.

I’ve never doubted that, he would have said. I’m very likable.

“Let’s go, Sir Copernicus. It’s too cold out here for me. There’s already a fire roaring in the cabin,” his human said.

Excellent, he would have said. I can hardly feel my paws. This was entirely a lie, Sir Copernicus could never feel the cold.

While it saddened Sir Copernicus that winter was the only season they could be together, he never argued with the magic in the trees. Whatever magic let him stay in this forest. When the first buds of spring began to grow, Sir Copernicus fell into the deepest, most delightful sleep. And when he awoke, winter had returned. It helped that he often dreamt of his human. Of the times they would visit, of the memories that weren’t quite his. Sir Copernicus had been sharing these winters with his human for four years, though he couldn’t remember a time before that.

His human made himself comfortable on the plush recliner in front of the fire, and Sir Copernicus curled into their lap.

“God, I hate winters,” his human said.

Don’t say that, he would have said. Winters are when we get to be together again.

“I like to still think he watches over me from time to time.”

Your son has never left you, Sir Copernicus would have said.

“I’m glad I can spend my winters here, in his favorite place. It makes me feel a little closer to him,” his human said. “And I couldn’t ask for better company.”

Naturally, he would have said, but instead, he purred.

Sir Copernicus felt his human’s grief as if it were his own, as with all their emotions. So he simply sat there, between the vale of sleep and consciousness, absorbing all his human’s feelings until a comfortable sort of contentment settled over them both.

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