Answered Prayers: "The Princess"
Unending BE - episode 498833
“A PRINCESS?” DUNCAN said.
“Ka ka ka?” Tasha said.
“Yes, dear.” The Doctor said. “I know.”
The woman Duncan knew as Doctor Ailura Bassett smiled fondly at Tasha for several seconds before returning her gaze to Duncan’s face.
“Duncan, the first thing I need you to do is stop thinking of me as Tasha’s veterinarian. My name is Bast.” The Doctor said.
“Second dynasty.” Duncan said. “The Egyptian patron goddess of cats.”
“That’s me.” Bast said. She smiled at him. “What do you know? All that reading you do is worth something after all.”
“But…” Duncan squinted absently. “Cats aren’t really what you’re all about. You’re more of a mother figure and a protector in the oldest stories.”
“Yes.” Bast said. “But cats have mothers too. And protectors. And destinies.”
Bast stood up. She walked around the bed until she could sit down on the edge closest to Duncan and Tasha. He marveled at his calm.
“Duncan Paul Matthews, this is Princess Natasha Alexandra Caterina Anastasia Romanov of the Court of Cats.”
Duncan felt Tasha turn her head. He looked down and met her greeny-gold eyes.
She was looking at him with the total trust of a complete innocent. His heart did a double back flip.
“Tasha, you know Duncan already.” Bast said.
“Ruhh.” Tasha said. She looked down at her hand and squeezed his wrist.
“She loves you very much.” Bast says. “As much as a cat understands love, that is.”
The goddess smiled winningly.
“I’m very pleased with you right now Duncan. You haven’t wasted one moment of my time with denial or the usual stupid questions.”
“Am I allowed to ask questions?” Duncan said. “Questions of the non-stupid, extremely unusual and important kind?”
Bast smiled indulgently.
“Of course dear. What would you like to know?” She said.
“How much does she understand?” He said.
Bast nodded approvingly.
“That is a good question.” Bast said. “The answer is complicated. Right now Tasha has the life experience and level of understanding of the person she was until the sun rose this morning. Mentally, she is a sweet-natured seven-year-old housecat. Her memories are vague and spotty. She knows absolutely nothing about being a human. She doesn’t know the difference between “human” and “cat”. She has no language. She doesn’t even have the concept of language as you would understand it. She does understand a few words of English.”
Bast grinned at him.
“She knows that sunbeams are warm, and food tastes good. She knows her name, and she knows that “silly cat” means her too, and she understands “No.”
“She does?” Duncan blinked. “I wondered about that.”
He looked at Tasha and raised an eyebrow. She returned his gaze innocently.
“You’re rotten, you know that? Absolutely rotten.” He said. She blinked.
He couldn’t stop himself. He kissed her nose. She wrinkled it at him, but a tiny little happy smile reached her lips. Duncan blushed, remembering. He looked at Bast. The goddess was looking at the ceiling with her lips pressed together in a smirk.
“Why?” He said.
“Why what?” Bast asked. “I know lots of whys.”
“Why is Tasha human now?” Duncan said. “Why is she a beautiful girl with the mind of a cat?”
“She doesn’t have the mind of a cat.” Bast said. “Let me get this straight for you. She has the understanding and experiences of a cat. She has the mind of a human. She’s got a really good brain inside her pretty little head. Right now – just sitting there in your arms - she’s growing and changing, expanding her experiences and knowledge and understanding. It was a major shock for her when she woke up seeing all the colors for the first time ever. Add to that waking up in a new body that doesn’t work right, doesn’t feel right, doesn’t smell right – one that can’t smell or hear nearly as well as she used to - I mean, she’s doing amazingly well so far.”
Bast smiled warmly at the raven-haired girl. She reached out and laid a hand on Tasha’s arm.
“I’m very proud of you, little one.” She said.
“Muhh muh?” Tasha said.
Duncan blinked again. His gaze flickered rapidly between the two female faces.
“Did she just say –?”
“Yes.” Bast said. “Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not her real mother. I don’t go around bearing litters of kittens, no matter what the stories may say. But she is my adopted and very dear daughter. Patron of cats, remember?”
“So she really is my cat…” Duncan said. “You called her ‘Princess’…?”
He stared at Bast.
“Anastasia Romanov?” He said.
“No, Duncan.” Bast said. “Not that Anastasia. Tasha’s name is just one of those tricks of Fate. She thinks she’s a comedienne sometimes. Thanks for not pointing out the joke in “Caterina”, by the way.”
Bast’s dark eyes sparkled merrily.
“She is an enchanted princess – thanks to moi – but Tasha is and has always been a cat until just a few hours ago. She was born in a rotting cardboard box in the median of that highway, a litter of one. Her mother is dead, killed just as her daughter would have died if not for your fateful decision to save one special kitten – all unknowing – from the fate of so many other little ones.”
Duncan lowered his gaze. The goddess’s eyes looked suspiciously wet. Was she actually tearing up?
“Natasha Alexandra Caterina Anastasia is of the Blood Royal. She has the potential to be the Queen of Cats one day – if you don’t fail her.”
If you don’t fail her. If you don’t fail her. If you don’t fail her.
Tasha wiggled a little in his arms. She leaned her head back and rested it in the hollow of his throat. Her soft curls tickled.
“What do I have to do?” He said.
Bast nodded. Her expression was serious and thrilling all at the same time.
“Excellently done, Duncan Paul Matthews.” She said. The goddess’s voice was soft. “You thought it, but you did not say it. You may indeed be the man Tasha needs you to be.”
Duncan couldn’t say anything to that. He was having a little trouble concentrating. Tasha had started gently kneading his thigh with one small hand. It was an old habit of hers. When she’d been a cat, it was a little painful. She used her claws. Now that she was – to all appearance –a beautiful human woman in her mid twenties, it was the definition of “distracting”.
“Your mission – should you choose to accept it –” Bast said.
She grinned again.
Fate isn’t the only one who thinks she’s funny.
Bast laughed and nodded at him.
“Point.” She said. “Okay, here’s what I want you to do. Love Tasha. Protect her. And teach her how to be.”
Go back - Go to the parent episode.
- *"Teach her what?" Duncan said.
- Midnight. Not a sound from the pavement. Has the moon lost her memory...
- An interruption!
- Something else
Tue May 02 13:11:14 2006