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An Apocalypse of Ice; chapter 7

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Chapter 7 of An Apocalypse of Ice, written by cobaltazure at Boolprop FightTheAddiction False. Enjoy!

Chapter 7 of An Apocalypse of Ice, written by cobaltazure at Boolprop FightTheAddiction False. Enjoy!

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An Apocalypse of Ice; chapter 7 An Apocalypse of Ice; chapter 7 Presentation Transcript

  • Previously on An Apocalypse of Ice: Mal had to come to terms with being the heir. It didn’t seem real at first, but it started sinking in when Brandon began introducing women to him and his father died. He didn’t believe that he could do it. He felt like he was too weak and too nice, especially when he had to face the shame of growing up without an education. How could he be strong for everyone? How could he have a family when he hardly knew what a family was like? But he resolved to try as hard as he could and love his whole family as much as he could without going into his own world and ignoring them.Things wound up working out just fine. Mal got to know his intended wife, Chris Fancey, and quickly married her. Brandon, Mal, and Chris found jobs in the Law, Medical, and Culinary fields respectively. And Eowyn passed away knowing that an heir was on the way, where she would hopefully rest in peace.
  • Mal successfully completed his residency that night, earning a promotion to General Practitioner. He wished his mother had been there to see him, but he had seen a fourth grave in the snow as he got out of the sedan that brought him home. She might have been happier that way, but it didn’t stop Mal from missing her, or rather the mother he could have had.
  • Chris had returned to meditation to help her get through the rest of her pregnancy, but everyone else was struggling to get by. Julian tried to let go of his grief doing everyday tasks around the house, but he couldn’t take the trash out without looking over at the new grave and the melting evil snowman Eowyn had built.
  • Brandon gathered the trash and threw it out, waiting until Julian had gone inside before letting himself cry. They may have been on their own for years, but now they were truly on their own.
  • But the baby didn’t give them time to cry for much longer.“Julian!” Chris shouted. “Get Mal! The baby’s coming!”
  • “Mal’s still at work!” Julian shouted. “What am I supposed to do?”
  • “Watch me deliver the baby, of course,” Chris muttered, staring into her son’s gray eyes.
  • “I can’t believe it!” Julian cheered. “My brother’s a father! I’m an uncle! You’re a mother!”“Yes, I am.”“What are you going to name—”
  • “Him,” Chris said. “His name is Will.”“An heir!” Brandon cheered. “Congratulations!”“For what?” Chris asked. “It’s not like I did anything special to wind up with a boy.”
  • “Anyway, we’ve got another birthday today, right?”Because Brandon had not completed his takeover of Winterfell’s legal system yet, Julian had agreed to stay at home with the baby so that Brandon, Mal, and Chris wouldn’t face the danger of having to quit their jobs. He would wait to get out of the house and get a job until Brandon had established a decent legal system.
  • Unlike his brothers, Julian felt ready to take on the world as he transitioned into an adult. Being uneducated hadn’t made it significantly harder for anyone else to get a job or succeed in one. He would be able to succeed, too.
  • When Mal got home from work that morning, he picked up Will. He still wasn’t sure exactly what to do with the baby, but he thought he saw Will smiling at him as he waved his arms around, and that made him worry a little less. This one was going to be as playful as him.
  • He probably wouldn’t be comforted by the fact that Julian had even less of an idea what to do with a baby. As the youngest, Julian had never seen anyone taking care of a kid, so he had absolutely no idea how to change Will’s dirty diaper. After some going back and forth while hoping that Will wouldn’t cry anymore, he finally managed to put a new diaper on his nephew and put him back in the crib.Diaper mishaps aside, though, Julian was always there when Will needed him with bottles and tickles. He generally left the cuddles to Mal and Chris, though.
  • Despite everyone’s lack of confidence about what to do with a baby, they all took care of Will as well as they could.
  • Even the neighbors liked him.
  • After one too many insults from Walder Frey and much pacing around the house while raging incoherently about injustice and not being valued enough, Brandon made the decision to open up his own law firm. He had accumulated a good book of business from his time at the firm. It turned out that most of the clients he had worked with hated Frey as much as he did and only stuck with him because he was the only lawyer in town. Now that Brandon’s star was rising, he managed to get a lot of those clients to flock to him.
  • He did well on his first day at his own firm, settling a personal injury case for his client and realizing that charisma wasn’t always about bludgeoning the other side into submission.
  • But wasn’t bludgeoning the other side into submission fun?
  • Before long, it was time for Will to become a toddler.“Let’s see how much of a cutie you’re going to be!” Chris exclaimed, tossing him in the air.
  • As expected, he turned out to be quite a cutie, mostly resembling Chris. Will’s personality is 9/9/2/7/7 (Capricorn).
  • He had an abundance of family members willing to pick him up and give him attention. Life wasn’t perfect in this house, but one thing Will would never want for was love.“How many fingers am I holding up, Will?” Julian asked, holding his left hand in front of his nephew’s face. “That’s right—one, two, three, four, five! And now I’m going to tickle you!”
  • Chris spent the most time teaching Will his toddler skills. Even though Mal joked that he hadn’t learned all his skills and he had turned out fine, there was no way any child of theirs would ever grow up not knowing how to walk, talk, or use a toilet.
  • Will turned out to be a quick talker.
  • Walking took more encouragement, but he eventually figured that one out, too.
  • Mal was spending long hours at the hospital now that he was a surgeon, but he always took the time to give Will a tickle or a snuggle when his son wanted one.
  • “WHOA!”Mal looked up from his cleaning book. “Is—is that Mom?”“Yeah! And she’s doing her best to try to make me pee on my hostess uniform!”
  • “It’s good to see you again,” Chris said. By then, though, Eowyn had left, and the bookcase was back to normal. She looked back at Mal. “I wonder what it’s like for her over there?”
  • In fact, Eowyn had kept an eye on Mal’s studies for a while now. He just hadn’t noticed.
  • As Brandon kept advancing in his career, he obtained a podium and stuck it in the corner where the dollhouse he had smashed used to be so that he could practice his speeches.“Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court. My name is Brandon Stark. I represent petitioner JeyneWesterling.”
  • “Your Honor, with all due respect…”I’d stop there, Brandon. Nothing respectful ever comes after “with all due respect.”
  • “THE LANNISTERS ARE MONEY-GRUBBING BACKSTABBERS WHO DESERVE TO BE STRIPPED OF EVERY GOLDEN DRAGON IN CASTERLY ROCK!”
  • “Er, I did not mean any offense, Justice Lannister.”
  • Upstairs, Mal wasn’t doing much better. He had received permission to take a surgical dummy home from the hospital. Surprisingly, he used it to commit medical malpractice.“WHOA!” he proclaimed. “How could this person have swallowed a PHONE?”
  • “And a can of…whatever this is…”
  • “I’ll just sew the patient up again.”How exactly does Brandon avoid slapping his little brother with a lawsuit after seeing him in action?
  • Answer: They have lots of pillow fights to dispute the matter.“Official Lawyer-Doctor Pillow Fight! Go!”“You do know that when you go down, I’ll run away and won’t treat you, right?”
  • “Come on, Mal. You’re too nice to do that to your brother.”
  • “You’re mean enough that you’d sue me if I made a mistake.”“You’re high enough in your career now that you shouldn’t be making mistakes, then. Hold on. You’re hitting me too much.”Mal stood back and waited, pillow in hand, for Brandon to show signs of resuming an attack. He knew how this went.
  • They took it to the other side of the street once Chris’s driver parked outside the house and started honking the horn.
  • But eventually, they had to end the pillow fight and head back inside to work on their skills and help take care of the toddler.“Wasn’t that fun?” Mal asked.“Oh, you bet. I think we need to have a second round sometime soon.”
  • Malpractice aside, Mal knew that he was getting close to the top of his career.
  • And pillow fighting aside, Brandon knew that he only needed a few more skill points before he could complete his takeover of the legal system.“I promise not to cheat.”
  • “I don’t believe you.”“But—”“Let me put it in legalese. Given your past record of cheating, it would not be logical to believe you. I am watching you like a hawk.”
  • Brandon also had a code of laws to work on.“Murder is the killing of a human being…should I say the unlawful killing of a human being? But how can the killing of a human being be lawful? And are unborn babies human beings? Maybe I should ask Mal about that. He’d probably say yes; he’s a softie. Anyway, murder is the killing of a human being…with malice aforethought. That sounds good. Now I’ve got to figure out what ‘malice aforethought’ means.”
  • His efforts paid off. Brandon completed his code and argued for it a few days later before the authorities. He gave Walder Frey a choice: Run the legal system, or run the mob.Predictably, Walder Frey chose the mob, making Brandon the sole legal authority in Winterfell. The Code included basic things (murder is wrong), but its centerpiece was the labor laws that required employers to offer vacation time and prohibited termination of employees without cause.
  • Now that he wasn’t needed for childcare anymore, Julian looked in the paper for a job. He was in luck: Will’s elementary school was looking for a playground monitor.Taking the job and committing to a career would mean that Julian would put aside any hope of getting out of the house.He didn’t care. The house was all he had ever known.
  • “Hey, kiddo,” Mal said, taking Will out of his crib. “You know it’s your birthday today, right?”“I’m gonna be five!” Will said.“Yes, you’ll be a big boy. One last snuggle before you get big and tall, okay?” Mal held Will closely and smiled as Will put his arms around him.
  • Then, he put Will down on the ground and watched him grow up with Brandon and Marisa Bendett.
  • “I am a big boy now!” Will exclaimed once he landed. “With long fingers and everything!”“You sure are!” Mal said, jumping up and down. “Happy birthday!”
  • “Hey, Joule, congratulations on getting a job in a school despite the fact that you have no education,” Brandon said as night fell and his youngest brother came around the corner.Julian wasn’t in the mood for this today. “What’s your problem?” he asked Brandon.“What do you mean?”“I never ‘congratulated’ you for getting a job in a law firm with no formal education. I can be just as good at reforming the schools as you were with reforming the law, college or no.”
  • Brandon had just been teasing his brother, but he wasn’t interested in dealing with Julian’s defensiveness over his aspiration now that he had realized just how good-looking Marisa was. Usually he went for black-haired women, but Marisa shared his aspiration and was a hard worker. He probably wouldn’t be able to pursue much of a relationship with her, but there wasn’t anything wrong with a little flirting…
  • They continued to bond over the next few days. Marisa found Brandon’s compliment on her pink dress especially charming.
  • Julian went to his first day of work the next day, still upset from Brandon’s comment about his lack of an education. He definitelydidn’t feel confident around kids. On the other hand, he liked Will a lot, and he wanted to make sure his nephew could go to college in case he wound up being as broken up over it as Brandon and Mal. Besides, Julian reasoned, he was finishing the work that his mother had started.
  • This wasn’t to say that Julian had noextracurricular pursuits.“Brittany, I just wanted to say that you are extraordinarily pretty.”
  • “Do you have a map? I keep getting lost in your pretty custom eyes.”Brittany laughed. “Come on, Julian. You’re better than pickup lines like that.”“Well, you do have pretty custom eyes.”“Thank you.”
  • Will had found a new toy to play with after school: his Uncle Brandon’s podium. Wouldn’t it be fun to give a speech at a podium like this when he was all grown up?
  • “This is so cool!”
  • Mal taught Will how to study later that day. He hoped that his son would be able to go to college, and there was no time to learn good study habits like the present.
  • “It looks like things are taking a turn for the better around here,” Chris said to Brandon after preparing the daily cereal. “They’ve been getting better all along, but having a code of laws around here can only be good.”“In a way, I liked my work as an advocate better,” Brandon told her. “At least then, I knew how the old system worked, and I could get justice for my clients. Here, at least I’m applying the rules fairly, but a lot of other people aren’t, and there isn’t much that I can do while judging disputes to make things better. How are you doing with your work?”
  • “Well, I got promoted, and I’m finally in a position when I get to start cooking food.”
  • “But now that maternity leave is available, I’m going to take advantage of it.”
  • With everyone else in the family still working to reach the top of their careers, Brandon started spending a lot of time with Will.“Can I have a car?” Will asked when Brandon was reading to him.Not you too, Brandon thought. “I wish you could,” he answered. “I wish we could. But the building regulations mean that there’s no space for one.”“But the prince in this story doesn’t have to deal with no building regulations.”“Any building regulations,” Brandon corrected.
  • “But why are there building regulations?”Brandon decided that it wasn’t too early to tell Will what was going on. “Your great-grandmother was the one who built this house, Will,” he explained. “When she came here, everything was in ruins. Her family was all dead. Armies roamed all around the countryside, taking everything they could. No one saw anything to hope for until the day that she brought plants back. Since then, each of us born in this house has done something to make things better. The building regulations have been bothering us, but there are other things bothering us more.” He continued to say what each of them had done.Will squirmed. Brandon’s speech had reminded him just how dirty he was, and he scratched at his pajamas. “When will everything be better again?”
  • “It might take a long time,” Brandon answered. “We’ve been working hard, but there’s still so much work to do. It might not be until your children or your grandchildren are grown up, if you’re the one who inherits the house.”“Oh.” Will frowned.“But things are going to get a lot better before you know it,” Brandon added quickly. “Your dad’s going to make sure that we can be clean. Your mom’s going to make sure that we have enough to eat every day. And Uncle Joule is going to work on setting up schools for when you’re a teenager and a young adult. Besides, we love you.”“I love you, too,” Will said. After a moment’s thought, he continued, “And I guess it’s not so bad. Who knows what ‘normal’ is, anyway?”
  • Other lessons from both Brandon and Chris included activity.“Slouches don’t look good on young boys,” Chris would say. “If you stand around slumped over with a blank look on your face, no one will want to listen to you.”“And body points are important,” Brandon told him. “That way, you can leave the house and go to college.”
  • Brandon also let Will know that he could be a little bit mean if he wanted to, though he didn’t push those lessons too much. Otherwise, Mal and Chris might start asking him questions.
  • But Brandon wasn’t a complete meanie, as much as he pretended otherwise.“Joule, I’m sorry I said what I did about you being uneducated,” he said as he came into the bathroom and found his brother practicing romance. “I was just teasing. I didn’t mean it.”“Dude, I’m over it,” Julian said.“Well, I still appreciate that you’re part of this family,” Brandon said, giving him a hug.
  • Of course, it helped that Julian had met someone who understood him. Jan Tellerman was also a Romance Sim, and Julian couldn’t help imagining what she might look like without that heavy green coat on.
  • “Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself, Jan?” he asked.“Like what?”“Well…what do you do?”“Um…it’s a secret,” she said.“A secret?” What in the world could she be doing for a living?
  • “Since you asked, why don’t you tell me about yourself?” Jan asked.Now Julian was on firmer ground. “Well, I’m a Romancer—like you, I believe—and I’m an elementary school teacher. My mom was supposed to be fixing the school system, but, er, that didn’t go so well. They’re all Fortune,” he said, waving to the house. “They don’t get me at all. Except maybe my sister-in-law, who’s Knowledge and is apparently working on something with a spatula.”“Oh, really?”Julian laughed. “You betcha.”
  • “Uncle Joule, when everyone was talking about me getting a new brother or sister, you mentioned woohoo,” Will said one morning after breakfast while Mal cleaned up. “What’s woohoo?”Maybe he shouldn’t have done that. Julian had been around kids long enough now to know that they always asked questions, even the ones who weren’t going to be Knowledge. “That’s, um, what your mom and dad did to get you your brother or sister,” Julian said after a while, figuring that was safe.“What did they do?”“Um…I don’t know, exactly, but it’s supposed to be pretty fun.”
  • “Have you ever done that?” Will asked, smiling.“No,” Julian said. He wanted to, of course, but he hadn’t found the right person yet, and there was still too much of a risk of getting someone pregnant. But this was not a good time to say anything else.
  • “What are you talking about?”“Math,” Julian said quickly. “The new math lesson that I’m teaching at the elementary school today.”“Yeah,” Will continued. “We’re starting on fractions. I thought I understood them, but my teacher said that I’d gotten three of them wrong, and I don’t know why.”“Mmhmm,” Mal said. He supposed it wasn’t so bad for Will to know a little about the facts of life, but he wanted to stop Julian before his brother got carried away.
  • Upstairs, Mal and Julian went on to work on their logic.“Don’t try to distract me with chit-chat about spatulas,” Mal said as he surveyed the board. “I’m more logical than you.”
  • And Chris gave birth to her second child.
  • It was another boy with red hair and gray eyes. Chris named him Arthur and took him downstairs for his first bottle.
  • After feeding him a bottle, she cuddled Arthur. What is it about Stark men? Chris thought. There are just so…many of them. She still hoped for a girl; it would be nice not to be the only woman in the house. But she wanted to make sure that she never let that thought get through to Arthur.
  • As she thought this, her first son burst through the door with a piece of paper held high.“Mama, look! Look!” Will shouted, jumping up and down. “I got an A+! I did well at fractions, and history, and all my other subjects!”
  • “Congratulations!” Chris said, cradling Arthur in her arms so she could turn to Will. “I’m so proud of you!”“Is that my new brother or sister?” Will asked. “Can I see him or her?”“You can,” Chris said. “His name is Arthur. Come say hi to him.”
  • Mal also brought home good news that day. He had become Chief of Staff at the hospital. That meant that the family had access to medicine and contraception again. Most importantly, everyone could be well and truly clean instead of having to wash their hands dozens of times to achieve a semblance of cleanliness.
  • As usual, Will ran out to give his dad a hug and tell him about getting an A+, and Mal told him about his promotion. “Great job, Daddy!” Will said.“Thank you.” Mal smiled. “What have you been doing on this fine snowy afternoon?”“I’ve got a brother,” Will informed him. “Mom named him Arthur. He looks a lot like me, but he’s so little.”“That’s great!”“And I’ve been thinking,” Will said. “What’s going to happen when I get older? I know I won’t be able to go to school anymore.”
  • “That’s right,” Mal said. “Uncle Joule is trying to fix things, but it’s harder than he thought it was going to be. I just hope that he’ll fix things quickly enough that you can go to college.”“And I have to choose something to as—aspire to, right?” When Mal nodded, Will pressed on: “How do I know what to pick?”“Well…” Mal trailed off. He had hardly given the question much thought as a kid. He had mainly chosen Fortune because everyone else had done it, and everyone else seemed to work so hard all the time that they had no time for him. “It’s hard for me to say, but I think that deep down, you’ll know what you want out of life.”“Do I have to choose Fortune?”“Not if you don’t want to.”
  • “Let me ask you this, Will: Do you want to be clean?” Mal asked, knowing that he would be happy. Mal remembered how frustrating hand washing had been when he was Will’s age.“Of course I do!”“Great.” Mal smiled at the happy expression on his son’s face. “I’ve brought home a shower for the second floor bathroom and a shower and bathtub combination for the one on the third floor. I would have put one in the first floor, too, but there’s not enough room.”“What’s a shower?” Will asked.“It’s like washing your hands, but you can wash your whole body,” Mal told him. “Go on. Go try it out.”
  • After Will took his shower, they played a few games of red hands in front of Arthur’s crib to get one another’s fun levels up.
  • “Can I play with Arthur?” Will asked after the third game.“Of course! Let me change out of this coat, and I’ll be right back and get him out of his crib.”
  • “Hi! I’m Will!” he told Arthur. The baby made cooing noises and waved his arms around. “I’m your older brother. I’m in fourth grade, and I just got an A+ today, and I really like playing red hands with Daddy. And everyone else, but Daddy likes red hands the most. Remember that. I hope we can be great friends!”
  • Will covered his face with his hands, then pulled his hands away. “Peek-a-boo!” he exclaimed.
  • Before anyone knew it, it was time for Arthur’s birthday. Chris took him out of his crib and held him in the crook of her left arm, looking down for a moment and thinking.It would be nice if she was moving up in her career a little more quickly. If it took too much longer, she might never have a chance to be a Mad Scientist. Sure, singlehandedly inventing new types of food wasn’t easy, and she knew she was lucky to have the chances she had been given to help her community and be part of the Stark family. But Chris wanted more.
  • That aside, it was time for a tossing. She gave Arthur a quick toss in the air and watched the sparkles dance around him.
  • Arthur is a clone of Will: 9/9/2/7/7 (Capricorn). To help tell her sons apart, Chris let Arthur’s hair grow out longer.
  • She got him started with potty training right away, then turned to teaching Arthur to walk. He stood up on his own two feet for a moment, then promptly sat down and began crawling toward Chris.She laughed. Time to lead him through some more steps. As exhausting as it could be, Chris had loved teaching Will to walk, and she knew she would enjoy teaching Arthur the skills that he needed to get by in the world.
  • But Will did not share in the general contentment for long. “Attention, citizens! My birthday is coming up! Yay! This means I have to choose my aspiration. My daddy thinks I should be Fortune, because he’s Fortune, and my Uncle Brandon, my grandma and grandpa, and my great-grandpa are all Fortune too. But I don’t understand what’s so important about money.”
  • “See how little I care about money? This much. I don’t know how many dollar bills I can fit between my fingers here, and guess what? I don’t care!”
  • So Will decided to approach his uncle for advice on the matter.“You wanted to talk to me?” Julian asked.“Yeah.” Will leaned over his chessboard. “I’ve been thinking about my aspiration.”
  • Next time on An Apocalypse of Ice:+ Arthur continues to be a cute toddler. Meanwhile, Chris wants another baby, butMal worries about having seven mouths to feed and six servings of food. Will she get the girl she wants?+ Will chooses his aspiration.+ The current Education Minister apparently holds a grudge against Julian.+ Add lots of friendly hugs and family kisses into the bunch, and you’ve got this Apocalypse in a nutshell.
  • Credits: + “Nothing respectful ever comes after ‘with all due respect’”: David Mills at Courtoons. + The notion that lawyers have made doctors better at their profession: Jonathan Turley. Apparently, he gave this speech before the AMA, and they were all ready to throw tomatoes at him. + Brandon’s murder statute: Based on Cal. Penal Code § 187. + All lawyer jokes and doctor jokes: Drawn either from Google or conventional wisdom.Namesakes: + Will: Will Stanton, The Dark Is Rising (also Will Parry, His Dark Materials) + Arthur: Arthur Penhaligon, The Keys to the Kingdom (which means he’s also named after King Arthur himself)
  • Restrictions lifted so far:0. Hopelessness (Sansa)1. Natural Science (Sansa)2. Adventure (Addison)3. Military (Kennedy)4. Slacker (Eowyn)5. Law (Brandon)6. Medical (Mal) (no more children screaming because they’re dirty! Hip hip hooray!)Well, I had to show a picture of somebody in the shower to celebrate lifting Medical. I think we can all agree that Will is easy on the eyes, continuity issues aside…
  • “There’s not enough room in here to have a decent pillow fight and definitively determine whether lawyers or doctors are better!”“I think we should have another pillow fight later.”“I second the motion. We’ll adjourn to a later date.”Happy Simming! 