Previously on An Apocalypse of Ice: Basically…there’s trouble in Winterfell. We’ll start with the good stuﬀ: Will came back home and found a job in the Gamer track. Jan liBed Science. The two of them seem to be geEng along surprisingly well, much to Julian’s consternaHon, since he goes around the house worrying. Jan is pregnant with twins. But when Brandon passed away, everything went to pieces when Piper pulled a coup and declared himself the Law. In an unfortunately idealisHc mood, Will agreed to a trial before a judge who did everything she could to hurt the Starks, including holding Sabriel in contempt of court. To make things even worse, Sansa turned up again to support Piper. So it wasn’t any wonder that Lucia eventually backed up Piper aBer a two‐day show trial. Now what?
He never ever saw it coming at all He never ever saw it coming at all It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right... I’m the hero of this story I don’t need to be saved “Hero” – Regina Spektor
As they approached the house, Chris was trying to be opHmisHc. “We have to remember that the law wasn’t always with us,” she said. “SomeHmes there was no law. When the Freys were in power, what was leB of it was working against us. But—“
“Oh, that’s great, Mom. Why don’t we go back to the days before we had showers or food while we’re at it, just because we can survive them?” Sabriel snapped. “I’ve got half a mind to—“
“We need to sHck together,” Arthur said. “This isn’t going to be easy, even if we’re—“ He stopped as they came in view of the doorstep.
“Hello, family.” Sansa stood on the front porch, giving them what she probably thought was a cordial wave. “Get oﬀ our doorstep right now, before I slap you, too,” Sabriel said.
“Oh, Sabriel, why would you do that? I only want to help you.” Sansa walked down the stairs and extended her hands, as if to hug her great‐granddaughter. “You’ve helped us enough.” Sabriel pushed her away before Sansa could touch her. “What the hell do you want?”
“I want to make it be[er. I know how hard this—“ “How hard? You’re the one who did this to us! If it wasn’t for you, we’d be ﬁne!” Will wasn’t so sure of that, but he held his tongue.
“And you will be ﬁne again, if you just do as I say,” Sansa said. “I can make Pius go away. Everything will stop. And you will be allowed to go back to being the Laws. You only have to do one small thing.” “That doesn’t make any sense.” Chris crossed her arms. “You’ve gone out of your way to put Piper into power, and now you want him to go away?”
Sansa laughed. “He thinks he’s so important now, with his fancy Htle and his crisp suits. I could almost believe it myself. But everything he does, I’ve whispered in his ear. He does everything I tell him to do. The only thing I want is the heirship. Turn it back to me, and your children can be whatever Law they want.” She scanned the family, and her eyes landed on Will. “Well? It’s on you. What do you say?”
“This is what I want,” Will said. He stared into space instead of looking at Sansa, though. “Being the heir is what I want.”
“Really? I’m surprised. You’ve done a remarkably bad job at it so far. I see you’re about to bring in the next generaHon, but when that’s your only success next to all the failures you’ve had already…” Sansa shook her head. “Maybe I should be ashamed to be related to you. Anyway, I know you’ll want to think about this. I’ll be back in three days for your answer, and as a showing of good faith, Pius will leave you alone for those three days. If you want your posiHons back…consider my oﬀer.”
“So. What do we do?” Will asked, trying to put on a showing of leadership even though he had no idea what to do. Sansa was right, wasn’t she? Will hadn’t realized just how enormous being the heir was unHl this moment. He had thought he was handling it on that day when he picked Arthur and Sabriel. But he had failed.
“No,” he heard Sabriel saying. “That is not an opHon. I can’t believe you even suggested it.” “We have to consider all possible—“ “That’s not even a possible thing to do. We are not giving up. Are we, Will?”
“No,” he said, as anyone faced with Sabriel at that moment would do. “Well, we can’t. We’ve come this far. We’ve spent all our lives preparing for this. So have you,” Will said, focusing on his mom and uncle. “I don’t know what to do, but we can’t let her win. We need to see this through.”
“We need more informaHon,” Chris said. “We know what she wants us to do. What happens if we don’t do it?” “And what’s—Piper going to do?” Will asked. He hated menGoning his adversary’s name. It felt like doing it would summon him into his home.
“That’s it? We’re just going to wait?” Sabriel asked, standing up. “We’re going to watch and learn,” Chris said. “Rushing into things made things worse. What’s done is done, Will,” she said, turning to her oldest son. “But when it’s Hme to ﬁght again, we have to be ready for it so that we’ll win. And that includes going back to school and working toward your liBs. So please promise me not to do anything stupid, Sabriel.”
“Fine.” “You haven’t promised,” Will pointed out. “Do you have to rub it in? Fine. I promise not to do anything stupid.” Not that they had deﬁned “stupid,” but Sabriel had learned enough from the show trial that she didn’t menHon it.
Before anyone else started talking, Sabriel spoke up again: “As long as you all promise, too.” She looked straight at Jan as she said that.
Starling, now I am shut out and conﬁned Even within my nest What, what does it take to make it through another day? If a feather lined with his words becomes a blade? “Starling” – Tori Amos
“Don’t.” Sabriel could almost see Piper in front of her, his face twisted with agony instead of with glib triumph. “You win. I’ll give you anything that you want…”
“You’re not giving me anything,” Sabriel said out loud as she aimed her dart. “You can’t give me something that was never yours.” Sabriel smiled and let her dart go.
Her aim was a li[le bit oﬀ, but what did it ma[er when her dart sHll sailed through the pupil of his malicious green eye?
But Sabriel’s saHsfacHon faded as she conHnued to look at the dartboard. It wasn’t really Piper’s face. It was nothing more than the same dartboard she had played on for two and a half years. “It’s not enough,” she said, heading forward to pick up her dart and try to hit the bulls‐eye.
“Sabriel?” Arthur asked, having just come up the stairs.
She paused before grabbing her dart. “I was just playing,” Sabriel said, even though Arthur didn’t need that explained to him.
Arthur nodded. Usually, he would have smiled. He had barely cracked a smile since they came back to Winterfell, though, and the light had gone out of his eyes. “I was just heading to bed,” he said.
“All right.” Sabriel smiled back at him, hoping he would return it. “Good night.”
Arthur walked away and climbed into bed, closing his eyes before he pulled the comforter over him.
But Sabriel kept playing, even aBer she had taken her evening shower and should have gone to bed. One more hit would be enough. One more aBer that one would be enough.
Eventually, Sabriel looked at the beaten‐up dartboard and decided she had be[er go to sleep. Deep down, though, she knew it could never be enough unHl she took control again.
Part of the problem was that someone had broken into Arthur and Sabriel’s house while they were gone and stolen both their hot tub and their TV.
“No one’s dared break into our house since my grandmother was a child,” Sabriel had ranted. “And now this? Arthur loves that hot tub, and as much as I complained about how stupid the Pleasant sisters were, I wanted to see the next episode. At least it’d take my mind oﬀ the Law thing. It might even be for the be[er that I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of the laws that Piper’s been passing. That burglar would have taken them, too.”
The hot tub probably would have at least distracted Arthur. Now, there was nowhere to retreat, and it didn’t seem like there was anything he could do to take the Law back.
Chess replaced the hot tub as Arthur’s distracHon. He moved the pieces as mechanically as Sabriel threw her darts.
“Really? You want to be playing this game?” Sabriel asked, siEng down across from him. “You have all the logic points you need. What more do you want from it?”
“I feel like I let you down,” Arthur said to Sabriel.
“You didn’t,” Sabriel said. She looked down at the chessboard. Will– “Nobody let us down,” she corrected herself. “This happened because Piper’s a manipulaHve bastard who needs to die in a ﬁre.”
“There’s a surprisingly pleasant thought,” Arthur mu[ered. “Well, as long as you’re not going to do it.”
“Relax. I promised not to do anything stupid. I don’t think seEng ﬁre to the building with Piper in it is all that stupid, but Mom probably would. I’m more worried about you,” Sabriel said. “I’m ﬁne.” “No. You’re not. You’ve barely cracked a smile since we got back here, and that’s not ﬁne. I’m starHng to wonder if somebody’s replaced your brain in the middle of the night.”
Arthur looked down. “You’re not ﬁne, either. How is either one of us supposed to be okay?” “We’re not. But you’re not supposed to be a robot version of yourself, either. Just—try to be happy, okay? I don’t know how to take care of you.” “I will,” Arthur said. “Thanks, I guess.”
“You’re welcome. Now, go ﬁnd Sullivan or something. The two of you must have a class together this semester. There can’t be that many drama students.” Sabriel gave Arthur a hug. “If you need a pillow ﬁght, let me know.”
Sabriel was probably right. She was right almost all the Hme, though. Arthur considered making that his term paper and se[led for “how being around people who are drasHcally diﬀerent than me helps me be a be[er actor.”
In the meanHme, Sabriel had to fend oﬀ the cow’s advances. “I’m not your baby,” she said, throwing her hands up. “Do you see any kids in this house?”
Sullivan wound up being the one who found Arthur, not the other way around. “Sullivan! I was just about to go looking for you!” “Good thing I came by, then. How are you?”
“Well—” Arthur stopped. “I’ve been trying to get caught up. Professors don’t like it when you miss ﬁnal performances. And Sabriel and I have been kind of lonely around here. We’ve had a few people turn up, but not the kind of study sessions we’re all used to.”
“Arthur, you’re telling me about everything but your emergency trip to Winterfell right before ﬁnal exams,” Sullivan said. “What happened?”
“I…I’m not the Law anymore.” “What?” Arthur explained what had happened during the trial. “I don’t have any idea what we’re going to do,” he said. “I feel like if only I’d argued it be[er, maybe something diﬀerent would have happened. But it never would have gone any diﬀerently.”
“No, it doesn’t sound like it would have. But I’m going to help get this back for you, okay? Tell me what I can do, and I’ll do it,” Sullivan said.
As long as Sabriel was playing matchmaker, she thought it might be a good idea to actually get to know Sullivan a li[le bit. In general, she approved, because he made Arthur happy.
True, Sullivan didn’t clean up his dishes, but that meant Sabriel got to wash them instead. This would be a good point for when they were all going to live together, assuming that was sHll the plan.
“So, when are you going to ask him to marry you?” Sabriel asked Arthur.
“I don’t know if he wants to,” Arthur said. “I haven’t been able to ask Sullivan what his lifeHme want is yet. I really hope it’s not something like 20 Lovers.”
“Of course he wants to. I can tell. He ﬁnally made you happy, and what more could you want? Even if he wants twenty lovers, I can tell that he loves you. Just do it.”
Arthur smiled again and decided not to argue. “So, let me turn the quesHon on you,” he said instead. “When are you going to marry that cow who’s so into you?”
Brandon came out to haunt the night aBer Arthur and Sabriel went back to college. When Chris saw him, she expected him to be angry. Instead, though, Brandon ﬂoated by before vanishing into Mal’s old surgery machine.
“Nice to see you, too,” Chris said. She almost said something to Brandon’s ghost about how Arthur and Sabriel weren’t the Law anymore. Instead, Chris found herself thinking about what it would be like to be a ghost like Brandon: ﬂoaHng up the stairs to the top ﬂoor without any eﬀort at all and looking in on her descendants whenever she felt like taking a trip back from the world of the dead. They would grow up so quickly when she was only with them in spirit, wouldn’t they?
“Not much longer, Mal,” she said to the darkness, imagining that her husband was playing mahjong with her.
Julian spent his Hme working out when he wasn’t serving as EducaHon Minister. Over the last few days, he had realized that he was ridiculously out of shape, so a li[le exercise couldn’t hurt. Julian would never look quite like he did as a young boy, but he wanted to be ﬁt again.
As for Will and Jan, they tried to go on as if they were a normal heir and spouse, preparing for the birth of their children.
“I am so hungry.” Jan bent down so that it wouldn’t take as long between cuEng the omele[e and being able to eat it. “As weird as it’s going to be to raise twins, I can’t wait unHl they’re born.”
“Me neither,” Will said. “They’re going to be great. I know it. I already helped my sister through her toddler years, and it can’t be worse than that, can it?” He laughed.
Jan laughed automaHcally. SomeHmes, being around Will made her feel like a teenager who had just chosen the Romance aspiraHon again. It almost felt like she didn’t have to worry about anything anymore, even though there was so much to worry about. First among those things is that both those babies are going to have brown hair, and you’re a blonde now, Jan’s thoughts told her. He’ll never believe you. People can’t change their hair color anymore.
She changed the subject instead. “How can you keep smiling? Do you have a plan for when Sansa turns up again?” Jan shouldn’t have been scared, either. Will probably thought she was a coward. “No. I don’t.” Will looked at his salad. “I’m going to say no, but I don’t know what else to do.” “Then why are you so happy?”
“Because I worry a lot, but I sHll can’t worry all the Hme,” Will said. “I like being with you, and I’m looking forward to meeHng the twins. There’s a lot that I’m not good at as heir. A lot of it was things I didn’t even know I needed to be good at.” He signed. “I didn’t think it was going to be like this.”
“But you make me happy, Jan,” Will conHnued. “And about the other stuﬀ, I just have to remember that we’ve survived worse.” “Me too.”
Outside, Julian ate his TV dinner by the stove and tried not to look in at his nephew and his new wife.
“I have got to get out of here,” he said to himself, trying not to shiver out in the cold.
I have taken a wrong turn When will I learn? When will I learn? Should I show them all my scars? Cherry red, bleeding burn But if I look to my right Will I see the one I ﬁght for? “Locked Up” – Ingrid Michaelson
To no one’s surprise, Julian told Will the next day that he was going to move out. “I know this isn’t exactly a good Hme,” Julian said. “But it’s probably never going to be a good Hme. If I don’t move out now, I’ll never will. And I need to see my daughter grow up.”
Will nodded. “You don’t have to ask my permission to go.” “I’m not. I was telling you that I’m going.” “Good. That’d be weird if you were. I’ll miss you, but…”
“Oh, you don’t have to say it,” Julian said. “It’s Hme for me to get out and leave you and Jan so you can stop trying to hide in dark corners.” Will changed the subject: “This isn’t the last Hme we’re going to see you, is it?” “Of course not. I’ll come back tomorrow night when my grandmother turns up again. Besides, if you ﬁgure out the thing with the phones any Hme soon, then we can see each other as oBen as we want.”
Meanwhile, Chris turned the page of her book and smiled. She had just earned her last skill point.
So Julian ﬁnished saying goodbye to Will and to Chris. He would have said goodbye to Jan, too, but she was sleeping. Besides, it wouldn’t do any good to say goodbye to Jan. She probably wanted him gone as much as he wanted to leave.
He didn’t have anything worth packing, so Julian just walked over to Bri[any’s house. It would be his house now, too, he told himself.
ABer puEng ValenHne to bed and hoping that she would sleep through the night, Julian and Bri[any got married in a quick ceremony in the nursery.
As happy as she was to ﬁnally marry Julian, Bri[any wished that they could have more Hme together. Unfortunately, the Grim Reaper probably wouldn’t listen when he came to collect Julian, but it would be nice if she could defeat him like characters in the stories did.
“Well, hello. It’s been too long since the last Hme I saw you,” Julian said to ValenHne. “Daddy!”
“And now you’re talking!” Julian gave ValenHne a hug. “Stay.” “I will, sweetheart.”
Bri[any had been teaching ValenHne how to walk. Her daughter did look creepy enough someHmes that she wondered if teaching ValenHne to walk was actually a good idea, but she couldn’t just let ValenHne crawl for all her life, could she?
Besides, ValenHne would start looking cute again within a few minutes, anyway.
She also sHll couldn’t handle stairs, so there was a limit on how much havoc she could wreak.
Julian took care of toilet training. He was deﬁnitely relieved when it was done, since it was highly unlikely that he’d ever po[y train anyone else.
“We could always try for another one,” Bri[any suggested while out the door to her job as a patrol oﬃcer. “As fun as the trying might be, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with another kid.” Julian shook his head.
ABer Julian moved out, Chris approached Will. “I should say goodbye to you,” she said.
Will looked down. “Not you, too,” he said. “I don’t want to lose both you and Dad so quickly. I can’t—”
“No. You can.” Chris kissed Will on the cheek. “I know it’s not going to be easy, but you can do this.”
Will, Jan, and Chris invited Arthur, Sabriel, and their friends over for their usual Tuesday gathering. More people refused their invitaHons than usual, but they sHll managed to get a good crowd.
Sullivan came with them and proceeded to Hckle Chris. “Hey! I’m too old for this!” she protested, but she couldn’t stop laughing. “You really are just like Arthur.”
Will also took a moment to catch up with his former math professor about goings‐on at the college. He also couldn’t quite get his lifeHme want out of his head, despite the fact that Jan was siEng right behind him.
In the middle of their conversaHon, Jan put down her romance novel, waved her arm in the air, and went into labor. “You’re going to be ﬁne. Just spin and twirl,” Arthur counseled Jan. “Will? You might want to start paying a[enHon now.” “OW!” Jan screamed.
“You’re having the babies now?” Will asked. He had thought he was ready for fatherhood, but he wasn’t ready now! “Yes, Will, she is,” Arthur answered before Jan could threaten to defenestrate Will. Even on the ﬁrst story, that would hurt.
Before long, though, Jan had delivered the older twin and handed her to Will. “She’s beauHful,” Arthur said, leaning in to look at the baby. “What are you going to name her?” “Depends on whether she’s about to get a brother or a sister,” Will said. “Gemma if her twin’s a girl, and Hester if her twin’s a boy.”
Jan gave birth to the younger twin a few minutes later, another girl. She named the new baby Meg.
It felt like everyone was looking at Jan and trying to ﬁgure out how she had given birth to a brown‐haired baby. Why was Sabriel giving her that look? She was accusing her, wasn’t she? Couldn’t her sister‐in‐law just open her mouth, like she usually did, instead of looking at Jan like she knew her secret and would announce it at the worst possible Hme?
Will had the same quesHon on his mind as he turned away from the crowd, holding baby Gemma. What li[le hair on her head was unmistakably brown, not red or blonde. How could that be possible? Was Gemma really his daughter?
So Will stood around with a glazed look on his face as he held Gemma, not really hearing anyone who congratulated him on the birth of the girls. Meanwhile, Chris said her goodbyes to both Sabriel and Arthur. “I know I told you not to do anything stupid,” she said to Sabriel, “but I wish I could be there when you ﬁnally drop‐kick Piper and make him sorry for everything he’s done.”
“Same goes for you,” Chris told Arthur. “Take the Law back. Be brave. And make sure Sabriel’s not stuck in that dress for the rest of her life.”
Chris was going to spend some Hme with her granddaughters, but aBer picking up Meg and giving her a cuddle, she felt her Hme running out faster than she could make it to the family plot.
She set Meg down on the doorstep. Death’s scythe hung over Meg’s body, and the otherworldly black cloud that followed him around billowed around her.
“I’m not ready,” Chris said. The Grim Reaper didn’t speak. Chris looked around, but she couldn’t see clearly anymore.
“Well, I ﬁnally get to see Mal again,” Chris said, accepHng her drink and picking up her suitcase.
“There. Let’s get you in out of the cold,” Jan said to Meg, bringing her inside and feeding her a bo[le. “That can’t be good for you.”
Will took Gemma upstairs to her crib and let out a sob. There wasn’t anybody leB who could help him now. How was he supposed to deal with his kids having a diﬀerent father on top of everything else? He had to get away.
Arthur and Sabriel kept things going as well as they could in Will’s absence. Sabriel even had a brief encounter with her dad’s ghost. Mal didn’t say anything, but it sHll felt like he approved of Sabriel.
Meanwhile, aBer Jan put Gemma to bed, she and Arthur played with Meg. Meg seemed parHcularly fascinated by Jan’s robot hand.
But I look at you, warm in your dream While the mobile dances above And I think to myself it’s a beauGful night And I know everything’s going to be all right Yes, now I know it’ll be all right “Everything’ll Be All Right (Will’s Lullaby)” – Joshua Radin
The trip to the spa had not been Sabriel’s idea.
Arthur had suggested it as a way to get oﬀ campus and relax. Even though the spa was closer to their family’s home than it was to Oldtown, he felt like it was ages away from any of their problems.
Sabriel got her kicks by dancing upstairs. She didn’t feel like she was a very good dancer, but nobody was watching, so it didn’t ma[er. Even if they were watching, it wouldn’t have ma[ered.
She also played poker with two townies and a dormie. They seemed happy enough to play against Sabriel at ﬁrst, but at her ﬁrst menHon of Piper, they made themselves scarce.
Spencer Fitzhugh was a lot more sympatheHc. “I heard about the trial,” he said, shuﬄing the cards. “That never should have happened.”
“No kidding.” Arthur looked down at his cards, remembering how he had felt right aBer coming back from the trial. “I haven’t given up. Sabriel and I are going to take the Law back, eventually. We’re just not sure how to do it.”
“Well, let me know if there’s anything I can do. If there’s a revoluHon, though, the best person to help you would probably be my granddaughter, Ursula. I take it you know her?” Spencer added when he saw Arthur smile.
“Yeah. She called me up in a rage right aTer the trial. I was kind of scared about what would happen when she met Sabriel.”
“Sounds like her.” Spencer looked at his cards and smiled. “I’ll also see if I can introduce you to my grandson, Teagan. He’s been saying he’d like to meet you before this whole business started.”
“Really? I have a fan already?” Arthur asked. “You could say that.”
Back at Winterfell, Sabriel’s relaHonship with the cow had progressed from rejecHng ﬂirts to ventrilo‐farHng and poking. It was probably for the be[er that she got to take her anger out on someone.
Arthur and Sabriel had another visitor aBer they came to the spa: a nervous Jocelyn Morgan. “I need your help,” she said. “Is it safe?” “Our help?” Arthur asked. “We’re not the Law anymore. I don’t know how much—” “No! I won’t go to Piper! Not when he’s in league with—” “Who?”
“S‐Sansa.” Jocelyn shuddered. “If she’s watching, she’ll kill me. I know it.” “How?” “She k‐killed my wife.”
“That’s—” Arthur didn’t know what to say. “That’s horrible.” “It is. I wish it had never happened. But you’re sGll going to confront her, aren’t you?” Arthur got the sense that Jocelyn was looking right through him. “We don’t have a choice. She’s turning up in just a day to ask Will to give up the heirship.”
“But you need to know what she’s capable of.” Jocelyn deﬁnitely wasn’t looking at Arthur. “You all need to know. I wish I’d known.”
Jan and Will sHll weren’t talking. They skilled separately. Will wasn’t proud of how he had reacted to his daughters’ births the night before, so he didn’t want to talk. As for Jan, she just wanted to avoid a confrontaHon.
“I just wanted to hide,” Jan said to Gemma. The baby stared up at her, uncomprehending. “But you can’t hide when you’ve married someone in the most prominent family here, can you, Gem?”
“I know I haven’t been the best dad to you, and I’ve barely even started,” Will said to Meg, holding her close. How could she be so Hny? “But I want you to know that I love you.”
Will didn’t speak unHl he waved goodbye to Jan, leEng her know that he was going to work and that he hoped she had a good day. She wished him the same.
Because Will was sHll at work when the twins’ birthdays came around, Jan bought their cakes and took the twins to them in turn.
Gemma grew up ﬁrst, with a personality of 8/8/9/7/1 (Aries).
She proceeded to go oﬀ and get herself into trouble while Jan blew out Meg’s candles for her.
Something about Meg seemed more grown‐up than Gemma, so Jan gave her a more mature hairstyle. Meg’s personality is 7/8/4/7/6 (Taurus).
Meg deﬁnitely did not want Jan to leave, but Jan wasn’t ready to give up her job just yet.
Will came back from work just before Jan had to leave, sHll feeling blue. He should have been promoted. He had all the skills and all the friends that he needed. His boss said that his aEtude was bad, and maybe it was, but Will sHll felt like he was being toyed with.
Gemma was sHll sleeping when Will got to the second ﬂoor nursery. His remaining suspicions dissipated as he watched her sleep. Will could see almost all of his features in her face. The brown hair sHll didn’t make sense, but Gemma was so plainly Will’s daughter that he had to admit he was wrong.
On the other hand, Meg hadn’t gone to bed yet, so Will took her out of her crib to start teaching her skills.
Sadly, though, Meg refused to talk. Whenever it seemed like Will was making progress, Meg turned away and curled up in a ball, shaking her head.
No promoGon, no Law, Jan probably hates me, I have no idea what to do when Sansa shows up again, and Meg won’t talk, Will thought. And it’s not like how Sabriel wouldn’t talk just to be contrary.
Gemma cut oﬀ Will’s thoughts by screaming for a[enHon, not at all happy that her dad was siEng with Meg while she had to be by herself in a crib.
Luckily, though, she seemed to enjoy learning to walk more than Meg had enjoyed learning how to talk. Will was in the process of leading Gemma through a few steps when the doorbell rang.
“Hello,” the newcomer said. “Will Stark?” “Yes,” Will said. “What’s your name?” “India VeHnari.” They shook hands. “I’m an a[orney.”
Will frowned and took a step back, his suspicions raised. “You’re not welcome here.” What did Indy want? He couldn’t think of anything but protecHng the children. “Go.” “No. I’m not one of Piper’s. I’m oﬀering you help.”
“Why?” Will wanted to believe him, but didn’t know if he could. “Because anyone who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.” “I’m not represenHng myself. My brother and sister—“
“Won’t be allowed to represent you anymore.” “What? Why not?” “Piper says he’s regulaHng the pracHce of law,” Indy explained. “Anyone who wants to pracHce has to ﬁll out an applicaHon and be approved. I don’t know if Arthur and Sabriel ﬁled applicaHons, but even if they did, they wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance of being approved.”
“That…” Well, so much for a “showing of good faith,” as Sansa had put it. “What about you?” “I don’t know yet, but word is that they’re rubber‐stamping any applicaHons that don’t have the name ‘Stark’ on them.”
“Then why should I trust you?” Will asked. “I want to trust you, but I have to ask. It’s been going badly when I don’t ask.” “Because I’m not going to give you some pre[y, meaningless answer to that quesHon,” Indy said. “But I’m here oﬀering to represent you, and no one else is.”
When Arthur came back from class, he found Sabriel siEng in the study area and watching TV with a pair of idenHcally dressed students. “Arthur! There you are. I’d like you to meet our new minions.”
“We have minions?” Arthur waved anyway. “Hey, guys.”
“We’re minions?” one of the students asked. “I didn’t know this.” “Neither did I,” the other one responded.
“You’ve agreed to help me and Arthur, so you’re our minions. And Arthur, I think it’s past Hme for you to start geEng some minions of your own.” “I’m really not the minion type. I like collaboraHng with people instead of telling them what to do.” “Admit it, Arthur, you like being told what to do even be[er.”
“Aren’t you going to introduce us?” one of them asked. “I was geSng around to it,” Sabriel said. “This is Ferdinand—“ “I’m Mag.” “And this is Magellan.” “I’m Ferd.”
“No, you’re not.” Sabriel shook her head. “You tried that on me yesterday. I’m not falling for it again.” “No, we’re not,” Ferd conﬁrmed. “It’s worth trying unGl you get it right, though.”
“So, what are we doing?” Mag asked. “General mayhem? Breaking everything in Piper’s oﬃce that can possibly be broken? InterrupHng meeHngs?” “Right now, we’re just trying to pass our classes,” Arthur said.
“And you’re trying to propose to your boyfriend. Right, Arthur?” Sabriel looked at Arthur for a minute before looking back at Ferd and Mag. “Mom told us not to do anything stupid. Breaking everything in Piper’s oﬃce probably qualiﬁes.”
“But your mom’s not going to know.” “And she didn’t make us promise.” “You can’t be held responsible for what we do, right?”
Arthur smiled. “This is an opHon. Mom’s not around to see, as sad as this is, and I think it’d be easy to pretend we didn’t have anything to do with planning this.” “Works for me,” Sabriel said.
Jocelyn was trying to put on a happy face. Failing that, she wanted to put on a face that made her look less suspicious. She hadn’t come anywhere near recovering from Ali’s death, though.
“I’ll never let you go,” she whispered to Kay, cradling his head against her shoulder.
Unfortunately, Kay had his birthday that day, so Jocelyn had to let him grow up. He looked as excited as she wished she felt. If only there could be another child that she could raise with Ali.
If only she could protect him from all the terrors that haunted outside the walls of the house. It was such a cold world. Couldn’t Kay just stay with her?
For now, though, Kay didn’t mind the cold so much. He had a snowball in his hand and an enemy to defeat.
As for Julian, he could only spend so much Hme leEng Kay win before ﬁghHng back in earnest.
“Kay! Dinner!” Jocelyn called when it got dark and her son sHll hadn’t come back inside.
“I was having fun,” Kay said as he came into the kitchen, but he sat and began to eat his sandwich anyway. “There’s a good boy,” Jocelyn said, not seeming to hear him. “I need you to be careful, Kay. Promise me. We have terrible enemies.” Julian would have liked to know what Jocelyn meant by that. When he asked later, though, all she told him was that he needed to talk to his nephew.
On his way back home, Kay came out to say goodbye to Julian. “It was nice meeHng you,” Julian told him. “You can come over to my house to play someHme, if you want. I have a daughter who’s about your age. Maybe you’d get along.”
Kay looked up at Julian, completely serious. “You can’t have a kid. You’re a boy. Only girls can have kids.”
“Yes, we can,” Julian said. “My brother had three kids.” He held his ﬁngers up. “No way!” “It’s true. You have—had two moms,” he corrected himself. “But most people have both a mom and a dad. The dad’s the boy,” Julian added for Kay’s beneﬁt.
“Just my mum now.” Kay shivered. “My mama’s dead. My mum sHll talks to her, but mama’s not really there. It’s just her urn.”
“Right.” Julian thought it would be good for this kid if he could get out of the house and play with ValenHne a li[le bit.
I took a knife and cut out her eye I took it home and watched it wither and die Well, she’s lucky that I didn’t slip her a smile That’s why she sleeps with one eye open That’s the price she paid “Girl With One Eye” – Florence + The Machine
When Julian ﬁnally got through to Will aBer six tries, Will had no idea what Julian was talking about. “Who’s Jocelyn Morgan?” Will asked. “She was at the trial. You know, that blonde who looked like she thought Sansa was going to get up from the witness chair and eat her alive any minute.”
“I wasn’t looking at the people around us. She was supposed to have said something to me?” Will asked. “Yeah—wait. It might have been Arthur. I’m coming over tonight when Sansa’s going to show up. I’m going to be there with you.” “You are? Are you—“
“Yes. Jan’s going to be at work, and you need to have someone with you besides the twins. Plus, I want to meet them.” Julian hung up. Time to try geEng in touch with Arthur. Great. It’d be really helpful if Will was having more luck with the phones, but if they were proving as intractable as the educaHon system, Julian might have to wait a while.
This Hme, it took ten phone calls before somebody picked up. “Hello?” “Arthur! It’s good to hear from you. Listen, did you talk to Jocelyn Morgan?“
“Yeah,” Arthur said. “I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone what happened, but now that you menHon it, I think you need to know—and so does Will. Sansa killed Jocelyn’s wife.” “Then—if she kills people when she doesn’t get what she wants—“ “I didn’t even realize that.” Arthur stared ahead, stunned. “What are we going to do?”
“I’m going to go to the house. I’m going to take care of it. You need to stay in school, ﬁnish your studies, and keep going full speed ahead with your plans to bring back parHes and take over the housing market. You need to survive this.” “Survive this? Uncle Julian—“ “You need to survive this. I don’t,” he repeated. “Because no ma[er what, I won’t be able to survive this much longer.” “What do you mean?” Arthur pressed.
“She has to die,” Julian said. “No!” “It’s the only way. Sansa’s dangerous. If she’s willing to kill for what she wants, then Will’s life is in danger. So is yours. I can’t let that happen.” “But she’s your grandmother—“ “My grandmother’s dead,” Julian said. “I’ll be dead, too. Even if Piper catches up with me before my Hme, it won’t ma[er. But if he catches up with any of you…”
He didn’t need to say it. “I understand,” Arthur said. Julian tried to smile. “Just don’t tell Sabriel. She’ll want to do it herself.”
Ferd and Mag had done one be[er than simple destrucHon: they had brought Sabriel copies of all the new laws passed since Piper seized power. She scratched her head and rolled her eyes, which were glazing over far more quickly than she wanted them to. “There are so many of them,” she told herself. “How are we supposed to keep track of all the changes? When Uncle Brandon published these, he would say what the change was and what it meant.”
Instead, Sabriel turned to her other project. “Pillow ﬁghHng. Great. Aren’t they going to do anything romanHc?” Of course, she had to go to class. Why was nothing going well?
“We’re going to graduate really soon,” Arthur said to Sullivan. “That’s why I’ve been doing all that extra credit work. I had to make up for the classes I missed for the trial.”
Sullivan looked more upset than he usually did when Arthur beat him at rock‐paper‐scissors. “I’ll miss you,” he said.
“I’ll miss you, too. But I sHll want to start making a name for myself in Winterfell. Then, I’ll come back here and give you a new haircut.” “I don’t need a new haircut.” “Yes, you do. You don’t have to have hair like mine, but you don’t have to keep plastering your hair to your head like you do now, either.”
ABer they had gone to the hot tub, Arthur decided that if he was going to do this, he would have to do it now. “I want you to come with me,” he said. “You do?” “Yeah. You should get out of the hot tub. I need to do this right.”
“Sullivan Livingston, will you marry me?” Arthur asked. “I know I won’t be able to do it unHl aBer I become a famous actor, but we will have a big party once that happens. I want you to come back to Winterfell with me instead of being stuck here any longer. I don’t know if I’m the only one you’ll want, but you’re the only one I want.”
“I thought you’d never ask.” Sullivan hugged Arthur. “Of course I will.”
“Of course he will. Good!” Sabriel congratulated Arthur. “I’m happy for the two of you.”
Luckily, Arthur had a chance to say goodbye to Sullivan before the taxi came.
Arthur grew up ﬁrst. He usually found things to wear that didn’t have any sleeves, so he wasn’t sure about wearing a suit, but at least he looked kind of professional.
Sabriel didn’t manage to escape the pink enHrely, but she got to wear pants, which made her new ouuit a vast improvement.
Sansa had just said that she would come over someHme at night, so Julian came back at about nine o’clock, aBer Will got back from his job and Jan leB for hers.
“Jan said she hasn’t come,” Will said when he opened the door. “Thanks for coming. I didn’t know if I’d be able to see you again.”
“You’re welcome. You shouldn’t be alone for this.” “It does help, having you here,” Will said. “I sHll didn’t have a plan.”
“Don’t worry about it. Why don’t you introduce me to the girls?” Julian asked. “How can you be old enough to have your own children? I remember when you were the same size as ValenHne.”
“Trust me, I don’t know how I’m old enough to be a father,” Will said once they got upstairs. He walked over to Meg’s crib and tucked her in. “I don’t want to wake her up. Gemma wakes up if I so much as step on a ﬂoorboard here. Good thing she’s already up.”
“Same with ValenHne,” Julian said, siEng next to Gemma as she played with her bunny head. “I think she wants to know whenever one of us is in the room with her so that she doesn’t miss out on a chance to get a[enHon.”
Will laughed. “I’d never have thought that I’d be talking about my kids and yours like this. Like they’d be the same age. Well, they are‐‐” Downstairs, they heard Sansa pounding on the door.
“She bothered to knock?” Will asked. “I’m surprised.” “I know. I’ll take care of it. Stay here with—“ Julian paused. “No. Stay here with the kids.”
So Will waited. “Get out of my way,” he heard Sansa say. “My business is with—“ A shot rang out.
“Julian!” Will shouted. He ran downstairs, not caring what his uncle had said. If he had just gone with his uncle, then Julian wouldn’t have go[en caught in the dispute, and he would sHll be alive.
But Julian was alive. Sansa was the one curled up in a ball at his feet.
“Why did you do that?” Will asked. Even though he had just spoken and he could hear his daughters crying upstairs, the ﬁrst ﬂoor seemed completely silent.
“To save everyone,” Julian said, watching Sansa’s body fade away. It didn’t leave an urn. “I had to do it.” Will nodded. He didn’t say anything for what felt like ages. “It’s over, then?”
“This part is.” Julian pocketed the gun. He also didn’t speak for a long Hme. When he ﬁnally did, he said, “I should go.” “I…I guess you should.” “I’ll try to come back.” Julian turned away, then looked over his shoulder. “Will—be careful.”
Next Hme on An Apocalypse of Ice: + To state the obvious: Killing Sansa is going to have consequences. I will leave the quesHons of “what consequences” and “consequences for whom” up in the air, though. + Arthur and Sabriel move back home! Who’s going to liB a restricHon ﬁrst? + TODDLERS! :D :D :D
Guest starring: + Ferdinand Penguino (The Penguino Legacy) + Indy VeHnari (The VeGnari Dualegacy) + Magellan Penguino (The Penguino Legacy) + Spencer Fitzhugh (The Fitzhugh Legacy) …Thanks to Pen, Doc, and Marina for use of their sims! Also, thanks to Rose, De, and Pen, each of whom reviewed some part of this chapter while it was in the making.
Yes…the streaker really is dancing for the penguin. Happy Simming!