Test Hello Hello Hello, and welcome back to the Bohemian Legacy chapter 4.12. I know it’s been a while. Sorry about that, I won’t bore you all with the whys. Instead I’ll just remind you all that last chapter children dressed up, Phoenix discovered his immune system was extremely weak, Rhapsody told Requiem about the fact that she was having strange visions, Journey and Cayenne bickered and some other stuff happened. You with me? Awesome. Then click forwards and enjoy my marginally successful attempts at using slideshare!
"Tag! You're it birthday boy!" Rhapsody laughed as she tapped Turner lightly on the shoulder before spinning away to bolt up the steps into his house.
Turning her head for a moment she stuck out her tongue at her cousin who was shouting at her indignantly as she barreled through the doors and straight into a pair of legs and fell backwards with a thump.
"Dee!" Rhapsody blinked as a pair of crimson shoes addressed her in concerned tones "Are you ok?" She felt hands reach down and pull her up just as Turner launched himself through the door behind her.
"Tag you're- Whoa!"
The game was forgotten instantly as Rhapsody and Turner stared in wordless confusion upwards. It was Turner who found his voice first.
"What happened to you kid?"
Requiem's shrug sent dark hair rippling across her shoulders. She really didn't like the way her friends were staring at her. She didn't like being stared at in general, but especially not by them.
"I grew up." She replied simply, hoping that would end the matter.
"When?" Turner wanted to know.
"Yesterday. It's not a big deal, I'm just taller and a knowledge sim now. Can we not make this a big deal?“
"But how come we weren't there to see it? Didn't you want to invite us to your birthday?" Requiem felt a sudden surge or irrational guilt at her friend's words.
"I'm sorry, I should have..." she trailed off as she imagine what her mother would have said if she'd even tried to bring up inviting friends over to the house "I'm sorry." She finished lamely "That's ok." Rhapsody's face split into a broad smile "You look really nice.“
Requiem blushed "Thanks."
Turner and Rhapsody pestered Requiem for a while longer about what it was like to be all grown up. They had just about ascertained that it was pretty much the same as being a child except you could reach things on higher shelves when that time came for Turner to find out first hand what being a teenager meant as he stepped up to his cake and the rest of the children crowded in under adult elbows, ready to make a dive for a slide of cake as soon as he was done with it.
He lingered over his candles for only a moment. There were plenty of things he could have wished for, plenty of things, he wanted. He grinned to himself. He was pretty sure he could manage without needing to wish.
He blew out his candles.
Some confetti, sparklies and terrible clothing later Turner was a teenager and a Popularity sim. Everyone agreed it was a good fit, after all, he liked people, and people liked him.
By the time Rhapsody's birthday rolled around two days later, Turner had polished his social skills very neatly and, with half the population of desert seeming to have sprouted up into teenagers over night, he had many more friends to be sociable with and it seemed like many others were following his lead.
By the time the sun set Rhapsody found herself stepping up to her cake amidst a sea of bare midriffs, hormones and attitudes, the exclusive club of teenagehood that she was about to join.
She made a face as her family circled around. She wasn't entirely decided on how keen she was on this growing up and growing old thing. She caught Turner's eye as he passed. He winked. Rhapsody smiled. She supposed she was about to find out how she felt about it.
She leaned over her cake, brushing the her perpetually rebellious strand of dark hair behind her ear just as it threatened to be set alight by a candle.
Cheers and whoops sounded from all around as she screwed her eyes shut and took a deep breath. A moment later her candles were extinguished and she was stepping back, licking a frosting smudge off her thumb.
She became aware of a very strange feeling tugging at her just behind her belly button, which seemed to spread like crackling energy through her whole body, from her toes to the end of her hair. She shook her shoulders and smiled to herself.
"Cool." She grinned as she felt her whole body yanked upwards and outwards into her teenage form.
And not a bad teenage form at that, not a bad one at all as a few of her teenage guests remarked as Rhapsody re-emerged after a quick change of clothes.
Rhapsody had gone from a sweet but slightly awkward child to a sweet stunning Pleasure sims in a matter of seconds. She smiled to herself as she smoothed her jeans down absently. She was so ready for this.
“ Aren't you supposed to be working kid?“
Rhapsody looked around Montmartre, her family's business and shrugged before returning her attention to the Mahjong pieces on the table. "Pretty quiet. Besides I am working, you two totally qualify as customers.“
"You will be if I clean you out with this game“
He snorted “Yeah That’ll be the day.“
"Considering I'm the only one who knows how to play this I'm guessing you're both in trouble." Requiem spoke quietly as she began to set up her tiles.
"How's your mom by the way Turner?" Rhapsody asked as she tried to remember the instructions Em had been giving her earlier about this game and not get distracted by the pictures.
"Yeah we're not talking about that. It's too weird.“
Requiem looked up in surprise "What's going on what's wrong with her?" She had a tendancy to forget that Dee and Turner were related until they brought something up about one of their parents and she was suddenly very out of the family loop
"Nothing's wrong with her. She's having another baby." He made a face as he put down another tile.
"...And this is bad?“
"It's a little weird...the thought of...it's a little weird.“
"If the biggest thing wrong with your parents is that they love each other, I'm not sure why you're complaining."
" I'm sort of getting the feeling my Dad is way jealous of your Mom ever since she told him. I think he and Mom might now be plotting another baby of their own you know..."
"Saffy that's so great. Why didn't you tell me you were trying to get pregnant again?”
"Well we weren't exactly trying, it sort of just happened. Although...do you ever get that feeling that sometimes your spouse is less surprised by something than you are?"
" Cayenne's taking it in stride though. I think she actually might be making my parents more uncomfortable than she is about the whole thing."
"But I don't understand, how exactly are you having another baby?“
"Well the baby is going to get really big in my tummy and-“
"But how come there's a baby there in the first place?“
” Cayenne, perhaps this interchange would be most advantageously conducted when you are an adolescent."
"I think grandma and grandpa are beginning to drive mom a little nuts though.“
"How's my baby's baby today? Your mommy taking good care of you? Hmmm?“
"Yes Dad, the baby's fine, and I am too, thanks for asking.“
"Do you need something to eat Saffy, I can fix you something if you like. Have you been eating right?“
"No mom, I've been living on a steady diet of rum ever since I found out I was pregnant.“
"All right no need to get sarcastic Saffron. Your father and I just want the best for you, and we're just a little bit worried that we're not going to get to spend as much time as we'd like with this new baby.“
"Mom! Of course you are, you're not that old. And you don't get to do doom and gloom talk around me, I'm pregnant and hormonal and you don't want to make your pregnant daughter cry."
“ I think it's sweet though. I wouldn't mind if there was a baby around our house really. What do you think Em?“
"If your parents had another baby, what would you think?“
"I think my parents having another child is one of the signs of the apocalypse." She remarked off handedly as she spun a tile around her fingers.
Turner laughed and Rhapsody smiled, of course she was joking. But a part of her wondered. She'd known Requiem for a while, she was her friend, her best friend, and she'd never met her parents, and sometimes she made comments like that...
But she knew there wasn't much use pressing, Em always clammed up when it came to her family.
"Read 'em and weep guys." Turner turned over his tiles "I believe that's a win to me.“
"Well, it would be except, that tile you have there, the white lotus, I have it too. And there's only one in a game set.“
Dee gasped in exaggerated indignation "Don't tell me you're cheating at this too now.“
Turner grinned disarmingly at his cousin "Oh come on, like you're surprised.“
"We stopped playing cards because you kept cheating at that and now you're cheating at this. I hope you're suitably ashamed.“
"Hey I'm just winning creatively.“
"Yeah well, I'm winning the old fashioned way." Requiem smiled as she turned over her tiles and the other two sighed as they pushed theirs back into the middle.
"We need to find a game that at least one of us doesn't suck at." Dee remarked.
"Ok I officially fold." Turner grumbled several hours later when it became clear that Requiem was not going to be beat in a game of logic. He cracked a wide yawn "I'm going to head home, before it gets dark. You two are coming to Cayenne's party tomorrow right?“
"Yeah, sure thing.“
"Cool, catch you later.“
"I should go too." Requiem stood her legs unfolding elegantly as she rose "My paren- Dad will probably be wondering where I am.“
"Oh! Wait. Before you go. I have something for you." Requiem watched curiously as Rhapsody dashed into the back room for a moment and emerged a little while later with something in her hands.
"What- What's this." it was an inane question, Requiem could see perfectly well what it was, a present. Perfect crisp white paper wrapped in a scarlet ribbon.
"Happy belated birthday Emmi!" Rhapsody grinned at her friend as she reached out and touched the beautiful wrapping paper. "It's a cell phone." she babbled when Requiem was silent, simply staring at the package with lips slightly parted as if the word she wanted was struggling to emerge. "You know, since you said your mom has that thing about landlines, and this way we don't always have to make plans in advance and stuff, I can call you and you can call me. I already programmed my number in it and everything."
"But I didn't get you anything.“
"That's ok. I really just wanted you to be happy. And since I didn't get to come to your birthday I figured I'd at least get you a gift.“
"Why are you like this?" Requiem realized those words had come out wrong as soon as she said them "nice I mean, and generous. Why? Why would you do this for me?" Why am I even worthwhile for you?
"You're my best friend. Doing stuff is what best friends do you know.“
Rhapsody smiled at Requiem as she tugged on the ribbon. Absentmindedly Em noticed it matched the ribbon in Rhapsody's hair. The whole thing was very...her. She had known Dee long enough that a random act of kindness shouldn't surprise her, but for some reason at moments like these she was still completely baffled by why Rhapsody, who was so surrounded by love and family and people, would want to be best friends with her. All she knew was that she was very very glad she did.
Somehow saying that didn't seem like enough. It would have to do. Requiem didn't know what else to say .
"Sorry, I'm late I know!" Rhapsody flopped into a chair at the dinner table as the rest of her family smiled at her indulgingly.
"What happened, did you fall in something?" Journey wanted to know.
"No, I made it half way across the desert and realized I hadn't locked the shop and had to go back. But it was fine. It was only unlocked and unattended for at most 20 minutes.“
"You're soooo dumb." Journey grinned across the table at his sister who winked playfully at him as the family fell into casual conversation.
"Dee, you haven't touched your chili, is something wrong with it?" Artemis asked as she noticed her grandaughter stirring the soupy concoction around her bowl with a look of intense contemplation etched across her features.
"No - I mean yes. Well, it looks wonderful grandma, but I think...I think I've just decided just now I want to be a vegetarian.“
River and Zoe exchanged a look across the table. They had been together for long enough that they didn't need to speak to have a full blown discussion of this new development in their daughter. Finally River spoke up.
"That's great Dee." He conceded. "Whatever makes you happy.“
"Even if it does cause extra work." Zoe remarked sarcastically but not unkindly "There's salad in the fridge sweetheart."
"Dee!" Rhapsody turned with a plate of salad precariously balanced in her grasp to find her brother hovering behind her with his food in hand. "Dee, I think I should probably be a vegetarian too. Even though this chilli is really really yummy.“
"Oh yeah?" She smiled at him as she riffled his hair "Why's that?“
Journey scowled at his sister as he combed his hair back into neatness "Well, how come you're doing it?“
"Because I don't like the idea of eating meat anymore.“
"Yeah, that's why I'm doing it too!“
"Ok, then, you want some salad.“
"Blech, I hate salad." Journey stabbed his lettuce angrily. Somehow this was all Rhapsody's fault.
"You ready for bed little guy?" Journey looked up from his teddy bear as his father passed a hand lovingly through his dark mop of hair.
"Can I stay up more and play. Five more minutes? Just five more?“
"Sure. But how about you and I have a little bit of a talk in those five minutes?“
"Am I in trouble?“
"No, you're not in trouble, just come sit with me for a minute."
"Journey, you know I know what it's like to have a big sister. When I was your age and your aunt Saffy was a teenager I thought she was the coolest, smartest, bravest person in the whole world.“
"Dee's not cool. She’s stupid. I hate her." Journey kicked his mattress.
"No you don't, you're just cranky because you haven't had any dinner.“
"No...I love Deedee, I just hate salad. How come she wants to eat salad?“
"You know, just because your sister has decided to be a vegetarian doesn't mean you have to too."
"I know..." Journey pouted to "But I wanna do like she does. Then she’ll like me better.“
River smiled lovingly. He could only imagine what logic had led his son to this goal in life, whether it was some need to surpass his elder sister, or impress her by excelling at everything he tried. "You know she loves you no matter what you do Journey, she's your sister, she has to. And we're all so proud of you already, especially your sister, you're already so good at so many things she does, maybe you just let her have this one thing all on her own. You'd be doing her a favour you know.“
Journey brightened at this "I can do her a favour I guess.“
"Now how about we get you something to eat, I don't want you to go to bed hungry." River placed his hand affectionately on his son's back as he led him downstairs.
"Can I have a steak?" Journey inquired hopefully.
River laughed "I was thinking more along the lines of a PB&J sandwich.“
"Oh...but that's vegetarian."
"So are you still dating Abbey?“
"Oh hi Hugo, nice to see you, thanks for coming to my sister's birthday." Turner addressed his friend sarcastically. "How am I? Great. How are you?“
"No seriously man." Hugo indicated the pretty spectacled blonde, Abbey Chen, one of two children adopted by Orpheus and Colby, who was in conversation with her brother a little way off. "Are you two still together?“
"We were never together." Turner told his friend, sparing a glance for Abbey over his shoulder. "We were just hooking up.“
"So you wouldn't mind if someone were to make the moves on her and her sexy little private school uniform, hypothetically.“
Turner rolled his eyes "Yeah sure go for. But you better hurry up, before she starts putting the moves on you first.“
"I take it you and Jane are through then. Because you know that I will kick your ass if you're doubling up on one of my oldest friends.“
"Oh yeah, it was totally awkward too. Her dad walked in on us making out on the couch and flipped out. He's a pretty old fashioned guy apparently. He was ready to make me marry Jane then and there for 'dishonouring' her or something. Her mother was trying to talk him down, and Janey and I agreed we should cool it for a while.“
"That sounds incredibly uncomfrotably for you. I can't wait to get details from Janey.“ Turner grinned.
"Hey!" Cayenne's voice piped up by Turner's elbow "Mom says it's time for me to blow out my candles. Are you going to watch?“
"Wouldn't miss it for the world kiddo." Turner squeezed his sister's shoulder.
Cayenne didn't waste time. She blew out her candles eagerly and stepped back as the guests whooped and hollered and colourful sparkling accompanied her transition into teenagehood.
"Wow. This is pretty cool! Check me out!" Cayenne elected to be a pleasure sim and was already succeeding in finding great pleasure in teenagehood. She ran her hands experimentally over a shape that was now noticeably well filled out. Though it occured to her that a grey dress and stripy leggings did very little in the way of flattering it. "I'm heading up to change." She informed the party at large "Save me some cake!"
"Oh hey! Sorry! I thought this was the bathroom!" Cayenne started as Hugo appeared in the mirror where she was checking her makeup.
"Hey. Well, clearly not, that's down the hall second door on your right.“
"Ah, thanks." She watched his reflection as he stepped further into the room rather than following her instructions.
"Wow." He commented, "Look at you all grown up."
Cayenne turned to face him "Yep, that's what tends to happen on birthdays.“
"You look...wow." Hugo's gaze swept Cayenne, taking in her new form, from the red silk jacket fastened across her collarbone, to the black trousers clinging to her waist below a bare midrift...
"Hugo" Cayenne's amused voice cut across his train of thought "I'm up here.“
"What? Oh, yeah, sorry."
Reaching out one hand he ran his fingers across the gauzy red fabric that was binding Cayenne's hair.
"I like this." He had moved closer to her now.
"Thanks." Cayenne heard her reply come outa little breathlessly, she could feel his fingers trailing along the back of her neck.
"The red suits you.“
The kiss was inevitable.
Cayenne didn't even have time to think about it. Even as he was pulling her towards him she was leaning forwards to meet him. She had been a teenager for all of ten minutes and had definitely never kissed anyone before. It turned out that she was a fast learner.
Hugo's hand found the bare small of her back and pulled her close even as Cayenne's fingers dug into his shoulders as she felt a charge of unaccustomed energy pounding through her whole body.
Hugo pulled away violently "I can't do this." His words came out ragged with quick breathing. He shook his head as if trying to clear it.
"What's wrong?" Cayenne could feel her heart racing a million miles from the kiss.
"Cayenne- you're great. I mean really amazing but- Oh god." He ran his hand through short curly hair "You're my best friend's little sister. Do you have any idea what Turner would do to me if he found out about this?"
'Well not that it's any of his business. But yeah...he'd end you.“
"Which is why this can never happen again! I mean you're awesome, but I mean-“
Cayenne laughed "Hugo, relax. It was only a kiss. Not a big deal. Friends?“
"Yeah great, friend. Wait-"
"What do you mean 'only a kiss', I mean it was but..." Hugo trailed after Cayenne as she headed out into the hallway and down the stairs turning to look at him as he hovered on the threshold of her bedroom.
"Like I said, bathroom is down the hall.“
"Yeah right." Hugo leaned in the doorframe for a moment, reeling a little. "Did I just get dumped?" he asked the empty hallway.
Fortunately Hugo was saved answering that particular question by the arrival of Abbey."Hey guys, what's up?“
"Oh hey Abbey." Turner winked significantly at Hugo "You know my friend Hugo right. I think you two would get along great." He clapped his friend encouragingly on the arm and tactfully made himself scarce, leaving Hugo to face the stunning blonde in the plaid skirt.
"So umm...Abbey, do you want to...dance?“
Abbey raised an eyebrow underneath her purple glasses "Everything ok hot stuff?“
"So you're feeling better now right? Why are you still in your jimjams? Mommy said that if you felt better we could have a party and she said to put on clothes for the party.“
"Lili" Phoenix managed to interject as his overexcited sister took a breath "why are you upside down?“
" 'cause I'm thinking and daddy says not to do this too long or all the blood will go to my head. But I was reading this book and blood makes things work and my head is where my brain lives. So if I do this for a while then my brain will work better. For thinking. Also I'm awesome at handstands.“
"Thinking about what?“
"About making you better. You having to have all those shots and pills all the time is booooring. Do you think growing up will help?“
"Phoenix, Elise! Are you both ready?“ Elise's feet hit the ground with a thump as their mother's voice sounded up the stairs. "Yes Mommy!" She lied. Then turning to Phoenix she whispered "Better hurry up and get dressed. I can't grow up without you and I want cake."
In no time flat the twins had galloped downstairs, to find their cakes surrounded by enthusiastic family members.
After blowing out their candles in perfect unison two new teenagers were standing side by side in the kitchen looking very pleased with themselves.
Elise decided to join Rhapsody and Cayenne in becoming a pleasure sim, while Phoenix rolled popularity.
The pair immediately dashed upstairs for a change of clothes and were intercepted in the front hall by their mother and a camera.
"Moooom." They complained simultaneously as she pointed the thing in their face.
"You both look so grown up. Come on just smile." The pair rolled their eyes but obligingly posed for their mother's camera, and allowed her to blind them with the flash.
As the evening wore on the cake was reduced to crumbs it was Rhapsody who first noticed the absence of her brother.
It didn't take her long to find him. She hovered on the back porch of the house for a moment and watched him on the playground, the site of the large majority of her childhood memories. She wondered absently if her aunt and uncle would be getting rid of the toys now that they weren't kids anymore. Well, most of them.
"Hey Journey," She folded her tall lanky form into the swing beside him. "I've never known you to miss a party. Everything ok?" She didn't receive a reply immediately, he simply pumped his legs harder, moving his swing a little more vigorously.
"I hate being younger than everyone." Journey muttered at last, when it was clear his sister wasn't going to leave.
Dee nodded sympathetically "I know.“
"No you don't.“
"Yeah I do. I'm younger than most of my friends you know.“
"And you're im-im-imbature.“
"Immature." Dee corrected absently and Journey scowled at her "You do know that insulting me isn't going to make you grow up any faster." Journey looked up in surprise. He wasn't sure if he was being scolded or given a slice of his sister's bright side of life philosophy.
"And anyway, you're not going to be youngest much longer. Aunt Saffy is having her baby soon remember.“
"I hate her baby.“
"No you don't.“
"No I don't. But I hate not having anyone to play with anymore!“
"I'll play with you." Dee offered.
“ But you’re my sister…Will you really?“
"Of course I will.“
"Do you want a hug?“
"Do you want to play on the swings together?“
"Dee! Dee! Look at me! I bet I can swing a million times higher than you.“
"I bet you can too Journey.”
True to Rhapsody's prediction Saffron went into labour the day after the twins' party.
"I. am. never. doing. this. again." she informed her husband through gritted teeth as the labour pains gripped her in the middle of the backyard. Of course she had said that after Cayenne as well. Not that she had in any way planned to be doing it again this time. Why did they need another baby! They already had one of each!
In the end Saffron gave birth to a tiny and sweet little baby daughter with her mother's skintone and eyes and her father's hair. She may not have planned on having another baby, but she supposed now that she was here, there was no returning.
"What do you want to name this one?“ She asked, running a finger along one tiny cheek.
"In order to perpetuate thematic continuity it would seem appropriate to bestow her with an appellation such as Coriander.“
"Coriander it is.“
And so Cori Buccaneer joined generation 5.
"I guess she'll have to do. Yes you will, yes you will have to do, won't you Cori.“
"Yeah you know the baby talk sort of undermines your attempt at nonchalance." Turner watched as Cayenne jangled plastic baby toys above their new sister.
"Ignore him." Cayenne told Cori "You'll think he's cool until you're old enough to have boyfriends he threatens.“
Coriander responded by grabbing her sister's finger and sticking it in her mouth then cracking a yawn.
"I think she's tired. What do I do. Do I let her fall asleep? Should I get Mom and Dad?“
Turner rolled his eyes as Cayenne suddenly seemed at a loss "Or we could just put her in her crib that's right over there. You good with that kid?" He distentangled Cori's tiny hand from the plastic spaceship she was gripping as he lifted her up. "I'm going to take your silence as a yes, before you start being able to talk back."
Two days after Cori's was born, or an eternity in children time, it was time for Journey to have his birthday.
"Nice. Cake. Awesome" Journey grinned happily at the pastry his grandmother had baked as everyone cheered him on.
Candles were blown out, guests cheered and sparklies were seen once again, in what was the latest in a long line of birthday in the desert.
It was a good thing that no one ever got sick of cake. And Journey's enthusiasm at growing up was certainly enough to keep everyone else grinning and having a good time.
"Nice! Check me out." Journey flexed experimentally. He was finally a teenager with everyone else and he couldn't have been more excited about it.
Following in his grandmother's footsteps, and joining Turner and Phoenix, Journey became a Popularity Sim.
"Hey Phoenix!" Journey accosted his friend as soon as he had found something that wasn't a sweater to wear in the desert "You want to hang out this weekend. I've got alot of plans now we're teenagers. Are you in?“
"What kind of plans?" Then Phoenix considered that it probably didn't matter, Journey was his friend and he was in no matter what it might be.
"Well I was thinking- Oh man my sister is a dork.“
Phoenix glanced over his shoulder to where Rhapsody was gesturing wildly about something to Turner, who was just grinning at her and Requiem was standing looking typically elegant.
"Your sister is fun Journey." Phoenix grinned at his friend, who was rolling his eyes amiably
"Yeah, I guess she is. But she's a dork. And totally weird."
Rhapsody sat up groggily in her bed and wondered what had woken her. For a moment she was still, listening to the silence. Silence was all there was.
"Oh great." She muttered to herself "First I don't see things that are there and now I'm getting woken up by things that don't go bump in the night.“
She checked her clock. It was 3 a.m. And she was now awake enough that she wouldn't be going back to sleep before she was meant to be up for the school bus. She slipped her feet from under the warmth of her covers, into a pair of purple slippers and tiptoed downstairs.
The cool autumn night breeze stirred Rhapsody's hair as she stepped out onto the back porch, she pushed a strand out of her face
The desert was wonderfully eerie at night. Miles and miles of sand stretching out until it met an indigo sky on the horizon. Perfectly silent. Her home. She smiled. Rhapsody didn't mind the silence. Especially when everything was pretty noisy.
Ignoring the cold that was beginning to affect her in her pajama clad state Rhapsody stepped up to her grandfather's telescope, idling on one corner of the porch.
Her Grandfather had once tried to teach her to find some of the constellations but had given up when she had started making up her own, telling him very seriously it was more fun that way.
Requiem would know what they were. Requiem would probably also be able to tell her what that one star that was so much larger than the others was...or was that just a scratch on the telescope lense...a shiny scratch...which seemed to be getting bigger...
"No way." That was all Rhapsody had time to say.
Her hands clamped down automatically on the telescope's eyepiece as a flash of blue light enveloped her and lifted her off her feet. Instantly she could feel the pull of the tractor beam outmatching the strength of her arms.
Craning her head back she squinted up through the swirling light. All she could see was darkness. She knew that she should probably be terrified. She wasn't.
“ Yeah all right.” Dee grinned in spite of herself and let go.
Several hours later a dazed Rhapsody was rubbing the skinned elbow she had received on being ejected back to earth. Strangely the first thing that passed through her mind was that if any non green boy ever threw her out of his vehicle like that she would have serious words with him. But in this case..."That was so cool."
“ Huh, I wonder if Mum and Dad will freak out about this."
"Well her test results look normal here too.“
"No anomalies at all to speak of on the brain as far as I can see. It's totally clean."
"See, I told you there was nothing wrong with me!" Rhapsody called through the glass to her grandfather and uncle. She was tapping her foot impatiently against the base of the MRI machine as she perched on the edge of the bed, as if ready to spring off it at any second. "The brain scan is normal just like the bloodtests and the ultrasounds were." Dee wouldn't admit that she was secretly thrilled to hear that there was nothing wrong with her brain, though it failed to explain any of the abnormalities in her life lately.
"I keep telling you the aliens didn't hurt me or do anything to me. They sort of just...looked at me, and examined me. Kind of like this actually. Can I go now?"
Before she could make a move anywhere the door to the MRI room flew open and her great Uncle Paul entered, followed by her parents and grandmother who had all been busy looking concerned since she had reported her encounter with aliens.Paul Young however didn't have time for concern, curiosity was largely overwhelming his brain at that moment."Interesting, very interesting. In years of research I've only ever heard of male specimens like myself being abducted. The female uterus isn't usually suitable for hosting an alien embryo since it is meant to host human children. I wonder what makes you so special.“
"I'm not special. I'm just Rhapsody" She was silently grateful her brother was not present to make a joke about 'special needs' "and I'm not pregnant either. Maybe the aliens just wanted to meet me or something.“
"Then you are still unique.“
"My brother likes to use the word 'weird'." She told him as pushed herself off the machine.
"Dad!" She accosted her father as Timothy explained the details of the medical tests they'd been running on her to Zoe "Can I please go? This really isn't as big a deal as you're making it! I'm fine. I'm not pregnant. I just want to go home. Can we please just go?“ She suspected her father was just secretly concerned that he had a pregnant teen daughter on his hands.
River examined his daughter carefully, his first born who was smiling at him as brightly as ever. She reminded him so much of both his sisters in very different ways. The thought of her careening through space with aliens who wanted god knows what, of anything at all happening to his baby girl, terrified him in the way that it could only terrify someone who had already lost someone he loved. He drew her into a hug. "Of course we can sweetie. Come on. Let's get out of here."
Escapng the hospital however wasn't enough to escape the questions.
"Was it scary?“
"What was the inside of the spaceship like?“
"Are you ok Dee?“
"No. I don't remember and Yes." Rhapsody replied as her cousins quizzed her on her experience that afternoon. The seven of them were engaged in what was essentially Turner and Cayenne's interpretation of their mother's instruction to "Watch your sister." They took those words to mean invite over a bunch of people to overwhelm the newly toddlerified Coriander.
Cori Buccaneer was a mean, shy little Virgo at 10/1/9/10/1 and at that moment she was entirely perplexed by the fact that she was surrounded by seven giant people who seemed to be staring at her while making silly cooing noises.
She plotted an escape, propelling herself with tiny chubby legs towards the giant who seemed the least interested in how adorable she was.
"Up! Up! Up!“
Journey blinked down at the small figure sitting demandingly at his feet waving arms at him. He felt himself smile at her in spite of his determination to ignore the new baby.
"Hey there small fry. What's up?“
Turner grinned "I think she likes you kid." Cayenne muttered something under her breath that Journey couldn't make out. He elected to just tickle the small child instead of listening to his cousin.
Cori was disappointed clearly this one didn't understand her plight either. There was only one thing left to do.
After alot of loud screaming from a very little girl her Jack oblingingly rescued Cori from the circle of teens.
"Would you not all be preferably entertained in the pursuit of activities outside this domicile?" Jack asked the group as Cori latched herself onto her father's shirt.
"Are we released from babysitting?" Cayenne looked up tentatively at her father.
"Yes." It was the shortest answer his children had ever hear him give. Though to be fair he was occupied by a toddler who was now attempting to put one of his buttons into her mouth.
"Then yes, we definitely have better things to do elsewhere."
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night
Don't stop believin'
Hold on to that feelin'
"Is that your brother?" The sound of Journey's less than pitch perfect voice rose straight through the floorboards to where Requiem was trying to remember what Rhapsody was telling her about the buttons on the controller.
"Mmm? Oh yeah. He's gotten this idea into his head about playing publicaly, and he should, he's a good musician but..." Rhapsody trailed off, leaving the uncharitable comment about her brother's lack of signing ability hanging "He asked me a little begrudgingly if I would sing for him, and...I love him and I would, but I'm not exactly huge on the idea of getting up in front of people..." She smiled brightly at Requiem "You know?"
Requiem nodded in agreement, as she pushed a button tentatively. For a moment the two were preoccupied with pushing buttons and defeating the swarm of mutants invading the screen.
"They didn't find anything strange with my brain." Rhapsody blurted out suddenly "When they scanned it, at the hospital this morning, after the aliens. They didn't find anything wrong with me. That means whatever is wrong with me...it's in my mind instead of my brain.“
"Well that's..." Requiem trailed off, she wasn't sure how to finish that thought without worrying her best friend.
"Yeah." And with that Rhapsody hit a quick sequence of buttons and melted all the mutants.
"You know for a pacifist hippy vegetarian you're weirdly good at killing things." Requiem remarked as they put down the controllers and got to their feet.
Rhapsody was suddenly smiling again "Oh well. I guess my brain hasn't imploded yet and I can see you all at least like 80% of the time...75% at worst. I'm sure it'll work out.“
"How do you figure?" Requiem asked.
"Because things always work out the way they're supposed to." She smiled optimistically.
"Hi girls, everything ok?" Zoe smiled at the two as the entered the room.
"Hey Mum. Yeah we're great. What's up?“
"Your grandmother was hoping you could help out in the garden in a little bit, I said I'd send you down whenever Em was gone, ok Love?" Requiem found herself watching Zoe's hand as she spoke. It settled itself on Rhapsody's shoulder and gently brushed some stray dark strands from her face. It was almost an absentminded gesture of affection. Requiem wondered if Rhapsody even noticed she was doing it
"That's ok" Requiem piped up "I should be going soon anyway." She was suddenly very anxious to not be in the room.
"Are you sure? You don't have to-“
Requiem cut her friend off even as she grabbed her jacket "It's fine, I'll see you at school tomorrow." And she was out the door as quickly as she could manage.
When Requiem got home after the long dusty walk from Rhapsody's house, it quiet. Very quiet. A sudden wave of loneliness washed over her as she stepped across the threshold.
"Mum? Dad?" She called tentatively.
There was no reply.
"Mum! Dad! Anyone home?" She padded a little resignedly through the dark house. "Anyone care that I'm home?“
No reply meant her father probably was out.
"Mum?" She called a little louder "Mummy?" She became aware of the sound of water running through pipes in the ceiling. The sound of the bath being filled. A sure sign her mother was home. Maybe she just couldn't hear her over the running of water, she thought hopefully.
With a resigned sigh Requiem made her way up to her room and pulled on her nightgown.
Sleep was still too far away. Requiem found herself sitting on the edge of her bed staring at the blank wall.
Rhapasody had pictures on her wall. Lots and lots of pictures. Pictures of Family and friends. Requiem didn't have any.
The feeling surged up within her suddenly and unexpectedly. Jealousy. An ugly, unpleasant feeling that seemed up bubble up out of nowhere in Requiem's chest.
Rhapsody was her best friend. Rhapsody had the world handed to her on a plate. Rhapsody had a mother who kissed her on the head and told her that she loved her. Rhapsody had everything she didn't. And in that moment Requiem hated her. And she hated herself for hating her.
Then her cell phone rang.
"Dee" flashed insistently on the screen as the phone vibrated in Requiem's hand. "Speak of the Angel" She muttered to herself before hitting the green button a little reluctantly. "Hello?“
"Requiem!" Dee's cheerful tones chimed down the line " I'm having a crisis. I need help. Do you know what chapters we're supposed to read for Simlish Lit Tomorrow?“ Requiem felt her quiet resentment grow at her best friend's words. She called this a crisis?
"You wrote the homework down Rhapdsody" She tried not to sound too cold "I saw you. I was sitting next to you.“
"Yeah I know. But I didn't have a piece of paper handy, so I wrote it down on my palm. And then after you left I was gardening with my Grandmother and the sprinklers kind of went off while I was standing on top of them and I got soaked and the ink ran and now it looks like I'm supposed to read pages squiggly line heart to page stain of ink. And looking at it upside down doesn't fix it. Help?“
Requiem sincerely hoped she was imagining having just heard Dee actually turn her head upside down." Why don't you just ask Turner, or someone else in your family?" Em was aware that she was being unreasonable. It wasn't Dee's fault she was having a bad day after all. But for some reason she felt the need to take it out on her friend.
"I'm asking you. You're my friend”
Em sighed "It's pages 14 to 38.“
"Thank you thank you thank you!” She heard Dee scribbling it down as she gushed. " You're absolutely amazing and wonderful and perfect...aaaaand that is my dad calling. But I'll see you tomorrow. And thanks again! I officially love you for this Emmi!“ And she hung up the phone.
Requiem's resentment melted away instantly. For a moment she stood with the phone pressed to her ear, listening to the dial tone, dazzedly.
I officially love you for this Emmi .
Requiem suddenly realized that no one had ever told her that they loved her before. Granted Rhapsody had said it in an off handed way. But somehow she knew she meant it. Rhapsody genuinely did care about her. It was nice to hear it.
" Mom? Are you in there?“
Aria glanced up at the door where her daughter's muffled knocking was coming from. Her luxurious dark hair, damp from the steam of the scalding hot water, clung persistently at her shoulders as she leaned back further and sighed exaggeratedly "Yes Requiem, what do you want that's so important it can't wait until I'm done bathing?“
There was a pause. Then "Do you love me?
Aria felt her shoulders tense. Requiem had told her she loved her many times. She expected nothing less. But she had never asked for reciprocation outright before. She smirked in spite of herself, she would make something of the desperate little think yet.Finally she spoke "Requiem, Requiem, Requiem" she shook her head a little, though her daughter could not see "Why do you insist on asking questions that I don't want to answer and you don't want to known the answer to?"
"And really I should think the answer was very obvious…"
"But if what you want is reassurances that you and every other child in the world is not just the result of selfish procreation, a means to an end, go talk to your father. Perhaps whatever it was that warped him in his childhood will compel him to lie and give you answers you'll be pleased with.”
"So what do you guys think?" Elise twirled experimentally, her pleated blue skirt spinning with her.
"Aren't we a little old for costumes?" Cayenne remarked "Or is this for Halloween.“
"It's a uniform." Elise informed her rolling her eyes. "And your lack of enthusiasm has already been noted. What do the rest of you think?“
"Well I think it's awesome Elise. Congratulations on making the team.“ Phoenix beamed proudly at his sister.
"You would say that, she's cheering for your team."
Journey rolled his eyes inwardly. To be honest he agreed with Cayenne. Elise was too smart tp spend her energy jumping around rhyming "now" with "power", but he would be damned if he was going to agree with her . “Well I think you look awesome." He replied.
Cayenne shot him a dirty look "It's a waste of your talent if you ask me.“
Elise immediately looked more serious. "What talent? Look. You guys are all awesome at the artsy stuff. And that's cool, it's in your blood. But some of us can't...paint a masterpiece in an afternoon or learn to play an instrument just by looking at it. What I can do is a backwards handspring.“
The three were a little taken aback by this, finally Cayenne nodded "Fine.“
Elise's grin was back "And you'll come watch me cheer on Friday.“
"Yes. We'll come watch...and we'll make sure the other three come too. Even if they did manage to weasel out of watching the cheerleader fashion show here.”
"Oh yes! Nothing but net baby, check it out!" High school senior and basketball team captain Aimée Zaidi did a little victory dance on the court.
"Lucky shot." Riley Pitts smirked confidently from behind her older cousin "My dog could do better...and I don't have a dog.“
The blonde girl raised an inquisitive eyebrow "How about you save the smack talk for the other team and warm up like the rest of us." She gestured vaguely at the court where the rest of the team were dutifully stretching under their captain's orders.
"Psssh Organized sports. It's all a big conspiracy. I mean do you think it's coincidence 'uniform' and 'conform' rhyme?" The other four glanced down the bleachers at Cayenne, unsure if she was talking to them or herself.
"I think it might be because they have the same etymological root..." Rhapsody replied carefully. Suddenly everyone was looking at her instead of the brunette. "What? I'm allowed to know stuff sometimes."
She returned her attention to the court where the the team was warming up. On the sidelines Elise was deep in conversation with one of her cheerleading cohorts. Rhapsody was only catching snippets of conversations, most of which seemed to be about routines she and her uncoordination didn't have a chance of ever performing.She thought it was fun that Elise had decided to join the team, if it made her happy, Rhapsody was happy for her. But if truth be told, she did understand why Cayenne was getting upset. Her best friend was having the better part of her free time eaten up by an activity she couldn't be part of. Journey was more or less in the same boat with Phoenix and the sports things he was getting into lately.
Of course it wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that...
"Oh poor little Cayenne," Journey made an exaggerated sadface at his cousin "whining just because you suck at being peppy and pretty.“
...there was very little chance Journey and Cayenne would ever become friends.
"Hey, if I wanted to run around in a stupid little blue skirt I could!" Cayenne retorted.
"Yeah, like you'd need an excuse to wear a short skirt."
Rhapsody closed her eyes in exasperation as the two argued from opposite ends of the bench. This was getting old. Somewhere in the back of her head she was dimly aware of Turner trying to make peace.
And then, suddenly, there was silence. But not just a sullen silence that heralded the end of the argument, a sudden, total silence. No more arguing, no more chatter from the other teenagers on the bleachers, no more sounds of basketballs pouncing against polished wood and rattling the baskets. Total silence.
Dee opened her eyes.
"Journey?" To her right her brother sat, frozen midway through a retort. His hand suspended in midair, his mouth open but silent, in the middle of an argument with Cayenne...
...who was suddenly very conspicuously absent, along with her brother and Requiem.
Dee blinked for a few moments at the empty benches before turning back to her frozen brother. She gesticulated her hand once or twice in front of his face. He didn’t even blink.
"Ok this is really weird." Her voice echoed across silence.
She stood up hesitantly on shaky legs and peered out across the basketball court. She was relieved to find it as full as ever, but frozen just like her brother. Gustav Young was suspended at the moment of releasing the ball which hung in the air above him, Aimée Zaidi standing behind him shouting instructions, her cousin Phoenix trapped in a toe touch. It occured to Rhapsody that staring at your knees was not the best way to be frozen for extended periods of time.
"You all look like freaky wax figures you know." She told them. Her words echoed around the silent room. She grinned in spite of herself "Echo!" She shouted, allowing the word to bounce back at her. Then she shook herself. This was no time to get distracted.
"Strange...very strange little child" Far away a finger traced Rhapsody's profile across a glass surface “Seeing things you have no right to know. It doesn't matter I suppose. No matter what you can see it will still happen. Will you miss them when they are gone I wonder? Will you even remember?"
"If I'm hallucinating, this is officially the most vivid hallucination ever." Rhapsody informed the frozen figures as she walked out among them "Although the brain scan said I wasn't crazy you know" She nodded at Riley as she passed her "Of course if I'm not crazy why am I talking to frozen figures? That's gotta be only slightly less crazy than talking to yourself."
"Is it my imagination or did it suddenly just get cold in here... I mean I know it's winter and I'm in tiny shorts but-"
"...Oh. Right then, I guess that would explain it…Hi I’m Dee.”
The Reaper approached Rhapssody mutely, gliding across the floor with an eerie swish that would have been inaudible if the entire rest of the world hadn't been bathed in silence in that moment.
"Sooooo..." she spoke again after a moment, rocking herslef back on her heels a little anxiously "This is weird right?“ She was met with muteness again. This time however death reached out towards her, a silent gesture as one bony finger indicated her, hovering just inches from her chest. Rhapsody got the distinct impression he was trying to tell her something, and suddenly she realized, he couldn’t speak. She imagined a horrible bony mouth moving wordlessly beneath the dark hood.
Rhapsody shook her head helplessly "I don't understand! Why-" And then a loud voice shattered the silence.
"You! Boho child with the ridiculous miniscule shorts. Get off the court before I am forced to begin stabbing you with sharp rusty objects.“
Journey looked up at the girl in the glittery tie who was abusing his sister "Hey. Leave her alone!“
The girl’s apparent ire was abruptly turned onto him“ Do not tell me what to do! I am Evil Susan and you will bend to my will.“
"What is she doing out there anyway?" Turner was asking Requiem.
She shrugged "How would I know?"
Rhapsody scanned the scene in front of her in bewilderment. Everything was suddenly back to normal, Cayenne, Turner and Em were all back sitting on the bleachers, and some other faces she hadn't noticed were gone scattered around the benches.
"How come she gets to wear jeans to play and I don't!" Riley was demanding.
Behind her Ginger Newson rolled her eyes at Elise "Your cousin is sort of weird.“
Rhapsody chewed her lip uncomfortably. Everyone was staring at her.
Which was why Dee was the first one to notice as Phoenix's knees suddenly buckled.
She barely had time to shout his name before her cousin's head hit the polished wooden floor with a sickening thud.
Elise screamed something that Dee didn't make out as she pushed her way to Phoenix's side with uncaracterisitic swiftness.
"It's ok, he's still breathing." She announced a moment later to Elise who was hovering over her shaking.
She felt the tightness in her chest unclench a little even as the urge to cry suddenly bubbled up inside her. She held it in. Crying wouldn't help anyone.
Glancing up to the bleachers she saw Turner dialing an ambulance on his cell phone, Cayenne and Journey beside him looking confused and frightened.
Dee found herself stealing a glance at the opposite set of benches, where the ominous profile of the Reaper had been hovering moments before. He was gone now. There were only students pressed up against the metal railings peering at Phoenix's collapses form.
People were starting to crowd around now.
"Oh man, is he ok?“
"What's going on?“
"Should I get some water?“
Dee shook her head to each question and shooed them away as nicely as she could.
It was strange, Rhapsody had not been afraid of the aliens, she had not been afraid of a Grim Reaper standing in her school gym. She knew she should have been, and maybe for a few seconds she had, but the fear was always accompanied by the feeling of a giddy excitement. Now, as she looked at Phoenix on the ground, and Elise standing above him crying, she was genuinely very afraid.
That's all for this time!
As usual I hope you've enjoyed this chapter. Hopefully the next one will be out faster than this one was.
Jack Buccaneer - Piractical Legacy by PurpleBunny
Evil Susan - A Science of a Legacy by GintasticNecat
And thanks to Cait/Charris, who writes the Regacy for recolouring Cayenne's headband for me, since I am useless with such things.