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The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Three - Part 4

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  • 1. Welcome back to The Devereaux Legacy. In a brief recap of last chapter, Sebastian Devereaux, the third generation’s heir, and his wife, Tristen, were having problems conceiving to continue the family line. After a multitude of silly mistakes, Tristen inadvertently took a dose of poison thinking it was a fertility tonic, and was thus killed in the process. This leaves Sebastian as a widower. Lillian Devereaux, Sebastian’s sister, is also up to no good. She has a son, Zane, whom she is grooming to take over the Legacy after her plans to re-inherit the throne takes place. To make matters worse, London Bridge became a BFBVFS, and much undocumented chaos ensued as people were frantically abandoning ship in an attempt to save their own lives. And the dust is only just starting to settle…
  • 2. Prologue The Stargate to this world had been inactive for months. It had sat quietly, minding its own business, ever since those disgruntled looking Sims were practically tossed through it last October. Did those Sims thank the Stargate for gating them safely? No, they did not. Instead, they glared at it and walked down the road to the town below, muttering to themselves. One in particular was very fussy, brushing at his clothing. But that was neither here nor there. Ever since then, the Stargate was left alone. It preferred its solitude. Needless to say, the Stargate would have groaned (if it had the capabilities to do so) when it felt a very familiar feeling of a worm hole trying to contact it. Wanting to get back to it’s solitude, it reluctantly opened up the event horizon to admit the travelers.
  • 3. Four figures emerged from the gate. They looked like they were old pros at inter-world travel, though their hands looked strangely empty, lacking the guns that they would normally carry. The blonde woman looked over at the stoic bald man. “Are we sure this is the Alpha site? The worm hole had problems connecting, though I suppose that might have something to do with London Bridge’s gate being destroyed.” Major Samantha Carter’s voice sounded concerned. Teal’c raised an eyebrow at her. “Is this not P3X007, the proper location that the coordinates implied?” he asked as he scanned their surroundings. “Carter, I’m sure that this is the right place,” Col. Jack O’Neill interrupted before Carter could respond, “Why don’t you make sure that the DHD is working so we can contact Thor, so the Asgaard can bring over the people who are being held in stasis. Daniel, why don’t you check the immediate area out, make sure that this is the right place.”
  • 4. Carter walked over to the Dial Home Device and inspected it. “Sir, it appears that everything is functioning as it should. But the symbols aren’t in the order that they should be,” as she examined the symbols closer, her eyes widened. “It appears that this gate’s home symbol is… Oh my God. Sir, we need to leave now! We are NOT at the Alpha site!”
  • 5. Daniel Jackson’s curiosity overtook him as he walked the perimeter. “Whoa,” he called out, “there’s a cliff right here, watch your step.” He tried to look around through the trees at the town below. He could see a huge sign, but he couldn’t make out the letters.
  • 6. Vexed, Daniel pulled out his binoculars to make out the sign, tuning out Carter’s panicked voice. What he saw made the blood drain from his face.
  • 7. “Oh my God, Jack. We’re not at the Alpha site. We're in Pleasantview!”
  • 8. Jack sighed and sat on the stone steps with Teal’c standing over him, still scanning their surroundings. “Pleasantview? Why does that name sound familiar?” He pondered for a moment before it came to him. With a snap of his fingers he said, “Oh, that’s right . Pleasantview. Hey Teal’c, isn’t this where we sent that one guy. You know the one, with the huge attitude problem in desperate need of a smack? What was his name? Something like…Cedric, right?” Teal’c ground his teeth in remembrance. “His name was Cecil, O’Neill.” “Cecil! That’s right. I’m REALLY bad at remembering names. And me without a gun. What a shame,” Jack responded, rolling his eyes. It was clear that he DID remember the names, but he just chose to “forget” them to piss the people he didn’t like off. He grinned inwardly. That was what made his job fun. Diplomacy was not his strong point, that’s why he kept Daniel around; no matter how much Daniel was also in dire need of a good shot in the face with a Zat gun most of the time. “Well, seeing as we’re here, we might as well see what all the hubbub is about,” and he got up from the stairs and took out his own binoculars to scan the horizon.
  • 9. “Aw, this isn’t so bad,” Jack said in an almost disappointed tone. “Look, there’s a bunch of nice, big houses surrounded by lots and lots of trees. And there’s a rather nice looking park,” Jack inhaled a deep breath, appreciating the smell of fresh air. “I think Pleasantview’s horribleness has been just a tad bit exaggerated.” Daniel sighed and turned Jack’s body to the right, directing him to look in another area.
  • 10. “Ah, see? Now THAT’S more like it,” Jack said as he looked at the smoggy, run down, industrial like area of Pleasantview, “I guess I can understand why people wouldn’t want to live here. Carter, we’re going to have to contact the Asgaard and tell them that for some reason, we weren’t able to reach the Alpha site, what with the worm hole thingie doing that weird…stuff and…stuff. Yeah. ANYWAY…” “Sir, we just got a message from Thor,” Carter replied. “He said that the stasis devices that are holding the people from London Bridge are going to fail soon, and we’re going to have to implant everyone here; otherwise they are going to be lost.” Jack sighed and shrugged. “Well, then they come here. Let the Asgaard know that we are ready for them.”
  • 11. Daniel started to protest. “Jack, we can’t let them live here! It’s inhumane, and they certainly will not achieve a happy state of mind, something that the Sim race refers to as Perma-Plat. From an ethical standpoint , it should not be allowed. Do you want something like that on your conscience? How will you be able to sleep at night?” Jack sighed again and rubbed his forehead. “Daniel, if we don’t let the Asgaard transplant those Sims here right now, they are all going to die anyway, Perma-Plat or not. At least here they might have a fighting chance. And hey, for all you know, these transplants might be treated better than the other inhabitants of this world. I’ve seen weirder things happen, and so have you. Oh, and Daniel? I sleep like a baby. Every night.” Teal’c looked over at Carter and said in a contemplative tone, “I wonder how the other denizens will feel knowing that they might be treated as a second orange to these transplants.” Carter looked over at Teal’c and smiled. “I think you mean second banana , Teal’c. And maybe, they might not even notice…”
  • 12. Chapter One “Bringing you hard hitting news, with your news team: Matt and Jess Picaso!”
  • 13. “….And then I said, ‘WRECKED ‘em? I darn near KILLED ‘em!’ Ahahahaha! Anyway, that’s the story about how I became a news anchor.” “Hahahaha. Oh Matt, that was a very clever story. What? Oh, we’re on air!”
  • 14. “Good evening, I’m Matt Picaso.” “And I’m Jess Picaso. Thank you for tuning in to Pleasantview Action News.”
  • 15. “Well Matt, it looks like things are no longer pleasant in Pleasantview.” “Jess, things have always been rather unpleasant, but now the citizens are beginning to stand up and take notice.”
  • 16. “Which brings us to our top story. A near riot broke out today when many of the established citizens of Pleasantview were uprooted from their homes to make way for the new Legacy family that has been placed here.”
  • 17. “Mortimer Goth led the high profile citizens in a wild protest, stating that they have had enough.” “What do we want?!” “EQUAL RIGHTS FOR MAXIS PRE-MADES!” “When do we want it?” “NOW!” “No longer will we idly stand by as Legacy Family after Legacy Family is favored over us. No longer will archaic Legacy rules make us ineligible for on screen time by barring us from marriage into those families. No longer will we be kept in hovels as Legacy brats practice their sales pitches and makeovers on us, only to have them laugh at us later. FREEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOM!” “HUZZAH!!!” “The Pleasantview Conditioning Brute Squad broke up the unauthorized assembly shortly afterward. Mortimer Goth has since been stripped of his lavish estates and has been seen rifling through garbage cans near the Budget Slum Unit he was assigned to. Rumors of a lobotomy have yet to be confirmed.”
  • 18. “Of course it is not only the established residents of Pleasantview who are unhappy with the new Legacy Family transplant. Savannah Lewis, second generation spare to the Devereaux Family Legacy, is also quite displeased with the new living arrangements.” “She PROMISED! I was told that I would only have to live here if I Public WooHooed more than that one time! I refrained from doing it anymore! And now, I STILL have to live here. IT’S NOT FAIR! I WANT MORE PUBLIC WOOHOO!” “Of course, we can only assume that the ‘she’ that Ms. Lewis is referring to would be peasant007, the so-called creator of this mini- verse. Peasant007, known otherwise as Ang, has been keeping a low profile from both the Devereaux family, as well as the rest of the citizens of Pleasantview.”
  • 19. “Well Matt, I can’t say that I blame her for laying low. She apparently has a lot to answer for if anyone gets their hands on her.” “Very well put Jess. I know I have my torch and pitchfork ready, how about you?” “Oh indeed I do, Matt. Indeed I do.” “On to more happy news though, how are things on the Celebrity Gossip front?”
  • 20. “Oh, things couldn’t be more exciting there, Matt! Oops, I gestured to high, now I suppose my hand will be cut off by the pop up screen…”
  • 21. “Anyway, a Royal wedding of sorts took place at the Lewis household when Xander Lewis became officially married to a former Drama Professor from Sim State University, Marsha Sell. It was a very small ceremony, limited to only the Devereaux family.”
  • 22. “Our reporters managed to get a few pictures of the wedding before Mr. Xander Lewis rather forcefully informed them that they were not on the guest list.”
  • 23. “However, our intrepid reporters still managed to get a few pictures, though.” “That cake looks delicious, Jess. Who was the baker?” “Ah, the baker for the cake was none other than the famous Maxis designers, from their Celebration Line. It does look rather delectable.” “Mmmmm, I could go for some cake now, couldn’t you?” “Ahahaha, oh yes Matt, I certainly could!”
  • 24. “And then, of course, the elusive Sebastian Devereaux was also seen at the Lewis wedding. Sebastian is the current heir to the Devereaux Family line, and he is currently single.”
  • 25. “Wow Jess, an heir of this mini-verse’s Legacy family is single? That is most bizarre. Don’t they usually have the heirs lined up with a spouse when they are born?” “It seems, Matt, the circumstances surrounding Sebastian’s marital status is rather muddled. All we are aware of is that he is a widower.” “Oh, ho, I bet there will be plenty of girls lining up around the block to get married into the Devereaux family. He’s rich, good looking, and he needs to produce an heir for the family line to--”
  • 26. Ansley shut off the television and looked down at Sebastian to gauge his reaction. There was none. It seemed that Sebastian was just staring off into space.
  • 27. Ansley sighed, and placed the remote down next to him. “Sebastian,” she began in a halting manner, trying to find the right words, “ignore them. The media, well, they are a bunch of vultures.” Sebastian just blinked, still staring ahead. Ansley reached out to touch his hair, then pulled her hand back before she made contact. For one of the first times in her life, she didn’t know what to say or do. She knew her son was mourning, and the entire process of moving to a new area wasn’t helping much. Everything was unfamiliar. The house, the outside sounds, even the smells were foreign. Then there was the media constantly haranguing them in their attempts to interview the family. No, none of it was helping, and Sebastian just seemed to be withdrawing more and more. Ansley sighed again. “Sweetie, take all the time you need. Everything will be…”she stopped herself. She couldn’t lie. Things might NOT be okay. She reached out again and this time made contact. She stroked his hair, kissed the top of his head and then left him alone.
  • 28. As his mother left the room, Sebastian picked up the remote and turned the television back on. He went back to staring at it, not seeing or hearing what it was displaying.
  • 29. “Tris,” Sebastian began with a smile, reaching out to caress her shoulder, “I love you. You know that, right?” Tristen gazed at him with her beautiful smile. “Yeah, I know ‘bastian. Oh guess what! There’s someone who wants to meet you!”
  • 30. Sebastian looked down at the small boy Tristen was holding. “He’s beautiful, Tris.” His heart choked in his throat as he tried to hold back the happy tears. He gathered his son into his arms and held him.
  • 31. Chapter Two “Frazzlegrumblegrbit. I’m a Council Member of SimCity, and I’m still TOTALLY having to repair things around the house,” Xander muttered loudly to himself as he tightened what he hoped was the screw that was making the trash compactor malfunction.
  • 32. Marsha sighed in a tired manner. The baby kicking had kept her up for most of the night and she was exhausted. “Xander,” she called out, “if the leader of the free world has to smoke in a tiny bathroom off the Oval Office with the fan running and the window opened a crack, of which you know he does, than I’m sure you can take the time out of your busy day to fix the stuff that breaks around the house. Yes you can!”
  • 33. Xander walked into the living room and grinned at his wife, giving her a finger gun. “You’re TOTALLY right, babe.” “I know I am. You just know that Michelle is also pounding on the bathroom door screaming, ‘Barack? BARACK? Are you smoking in there?’ and he’d be waving the smoke out the window replying back, ‘No dear, you know I’m not.’” The two of them laughed at the image. Xander walked over to Marsha and rubbed her protruding belly. “So, you think today’s the day the baby will come? Maybe I should stay home...” Marsha shook her head. “No, you should go in and try to keep the ruckus down about our being moved here. Be a positive front for the family while your cousin adjusts to everything.” Xander’s grin faltered for a moment before he responded, “Yeah. Well, I’m still gonna TOTALLY tell my ‘rents to keep an eye on you and have them call me at the office if the baby is born,” he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before he went outside.
  • 34. “Dad?” Xander called out as he watched Merlin strut towards the gardening shed where Savannah undoubtedly was. “Dad. Really. Dad? I need to ask you a favor.”
  • 35. Merlin sighed longingly at the missed chance of garden shed WooHoo as he turned towards his son. “Uh, your mother, er, she’s a dem fine woman, uh Xander. A dem fine woman.” Merlin grinned enthusiastically as he began walking towards the shed again. Xander rolled his eyes. “Gross Dad. That’s TOTALLY my mother you’re talking about. Anyway. Dad. DAD. For the love of… DAD!” Merlin stopped again as Xander demanded his attention . “Dad. Marsha’s probably going to have the baby today. Could either you or Mom give me a call when that happens, so I can TOTALLY come home?” Merlin nodded his head. “Uh, er, I’ll let your mother know. I have to, uh, go to work today, but, er, she’ll be here.” And he walked away again, determined to get his WooHoo before going to work. Xander sighed for the umpteenth time that day and left for his own job. That was probably the best answer he was going to get.
  • 36. And indeed, Marsha did go into labor that very afternoon. Watching Marsha with one eye, Savannah made the quick phone call to Xander, and then rushed into the living room to cheer Marsha on. After much screaming, Marsha gave birth to a baby girl, Aviendha.
  • 37. Savannah took the little girl into her arms while Marsha went upstairs to sleep off her exhaustion. Making sure that nobody was around to watch, Savannah smiled down at her granddaughter and cooed soothingly into her ear.
  • 38. Driving from SimCity faster than he should have, Xander burst into the house in record time to get his first look at his daughter. He smiled, speechless, as Savannah handed Aviendha to him. Cradling the baby in his arms, Xander felt that he could float away with pride. “This is my daughter…” he said, trailing off, speechless once again in his overly articulated life. Savannah just smiled at him. She knew the exact feeling he was having; she had felt the same sense of awe and wonder when she held Xander in her arms the first time.
  • 39. Xander got over his speechlessness eventually, as he held Aviendha up in the air, playing with her. The baby laughed and grabbed two fistfuls of Xander’s hair. Wincing in pain, Xander laughed himself and tried to untangle Aviendha’s tiny fingers that seemed to be determined to stay latched on his head. Rocking the baby in his arms once again, Xander turned to his mother and asked, “Marsha upstairs sleeping?” Savannah nodded in response. “It was a rather hard pregnancy for her, kiddo. She needs her rest. Speaking of which, the baby should probably go down for a nap as well.” Xander knew his mother was right, so he went upstairs and placed Aviendha into the crib that has been waiting for her for the last two months of Marsha’s pregnancy.
  • 40. As Xander placed the baby in her crib, he noticed his father’s car pool pulling up to the front of the house. Bounding down stairs and out the door, he breathlessly gave Merlin a thumbs up. “You’re TOTALLY a grandfather, Pops.” Merlin, for his part, tried to appear nonchalant as he shrugged. “Uh, son, er, remember what I said, er, about keeping, uh, up the, er, appearances in the name of Romance Sims Er, you shouldn’t act so, er, happy about it…” Xander interrupted him. “For the love of Bob, Dad. Just go upstairs and behold the beauty of your granddaughter and TOTALLY shut up about how Romance Sims are ‘supposed’ to act.”
  • 41. Merlin didn’t want to seem too eager, so he waited until Xander went to use the bathroom before he tiptoed upstairs. He walked into Aviendha’s room and gazed down at her. Smiling softly, he reached out and stroked her sleeping head.
  • 42. Later that night, Xander crawled into bed next to the semi-awake Marsha. She snuggled against him as he gathered her into his arms and stroked her hair. “She looks like you,” Marsha murmured. Xander grinned wholeheartedly. “Well, then she’s going to be a total heart breaker when she grows up. I’ll TOTALLY have to beat the boys off with a stick,” he replied with a chuckle. “Is it too late to name her Mini-Me?” Marsha playfully slapped his chest before drifting back off to sleep. Xander kissed her forehead and listened to his wife’s even breathing. Despite all the political trouble that kept coming up as a backlash to his family line being moved here, Xander couldn’t help but feel that all was still right with the world.
  • 43. Downstairs in the living room, the two new grandparents sat cuddling on the couch. “So, ‘Grandpa’ you still feel spry enough for a little bit of WooHoo?” Savannah asked Merlin in a teasing manner. Merlin waggled his eyebrows at Savannah and led her to their upstairs bedroom, both of them giggling quietly, so as not to wake the new baby in the house.
  • 44. Chapter Three Sebastian grinned at Tristen’s reflection as she fussily fixed Rick’s hair. “Come on Ricky, stay still while Mommy fixes your hair,” Tristen said to the child while he squirmed in her arms. “No Mommy. Down!” the toddler demanded. Tristen caught Sebastian’s grin at her and she threw him a mock glare. Sebastian tried to, unsuccessfully, cover his grin with his hand. “Do you want me to take him, hon? I can teach him how to walk.” “Oh yeah, so he can get into everything above floor level, that would be nice,” Tristen replied, handing Rick over to Sebastian. Sebastian threw his head back and laughed, and then gave her a kiss.
  • 45. “Come on Ricky. Come to Daddy. Just a few more steps, and then you’ve got it.” The small boy rubbed his eyes and then smiled at Sebastian. He then toddled the last few steps into Sebastian’s arms and---
  • 46. Sebastian blinked and looked around. Biting his lip in frustration he glowered at his surroundings and got up from the chair he was apparently sitting in. He winced inwardly as he realized that his leg had fallen asleep. Flexing his leg muscle idly while it regained feeling, Sebastian began walking through the house, trailing his hand along the wall. If I don’t accept this as real, then it isn’t, he thought to himself as he felt himself drawn towards the living room. He stopped in front of the shelf that was in the corner.
  • 47. There it was. Tristen’s urn. Sebastian sunk his head into his hands and sighed. This isn’t really happening to me. This is happening to someone else. Not me. Someone else. Not me. He continued his inward mantra, desperately attempting to block out his reality in favor of his fantasies. He was unsuccessful. He didn’t worry overmuch about it though. He knew that he would be able to conjure them up again, eventually. He continued his walk through the unfamiliar house in a dazed manner.
  • 48. He stopped in the front room when he saw his parents sharing a private moment. He looked wistfully at them, knowing that it should be HIM that was holding Tristen, like his father was holding his mother. Inside, he grew angry. Why hasn’t your world ended like mine did?! He silently screamed at his parents, Why aren’t you miserable like I am?! He knew he was being unfair, but he didn’t care. Part of me has DIED! Why are you so HAPPY?! HOW DARE YOU! His face remained expressionless, however. None of his thoughts were betrayed as he walked past his parents, continuing his unseeing stroll through the overly large rooms.
  • 49. Ansley found her mind wandering as she prepared dinner that night. Her thoughts kept landing on Sebastian’s downward spiral. She knew that it was probably wrong to think the way she was; but she really hoped that he would snap out of the funk he was in, and soon. It sounded almost selfish in her mind, but she wanted to be assured that the family would continue on after she passed. She angrily stuffed the turkey. She didn’t like thinking about her own mortality, no matter how much her body reminded her that she was no longer a spry young woman. Then her thoughts landed on Lillian. She paused for a moment and shook her head. She knew for a fact that Lillian had something to do with Tristen’s death. She saw the newspaper ad with the very recognizable picture of Josh in it. She just didn’t think Tristen was stupid enough to fall for it. I should have done something when I first saw it, though. This is my fault. She slammed the turkey into the oven, trying to squelch those thoughts.
  • 50. “I take it Sebastian isn’t joining us for dinner tonight?” Hunter asked, picking at his food. “Does the boy even eat anymore?” Ansley sighed in a patient manner before responding.
  • 51. “He does. I know because I see leftovers missing from the fridge. I hear him walking around at night, microwaving the meals. I just think…well…I think he’s in his own little reality right now, and it doesn’t involve talking to us.” “Ansley, how long? How long is he going to be like this? A part of me wants to hug him like a little kid, and the other part of me wants to shake him and tell him to snap out of it and that life goes on.” Hunter stabbed at a piece of turkey in frustration. Ansley smiled in understanding. “I know, I want to do the same thing. Let’s say we give him a few more days and then we’ll try to talk to him.”
  • 52. No matter how much he tried, Sebastian couldn’t tune out the conversation that his parents were having about him the next room over. Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! he mentally shouted as he tried to conjure up his happy life world.
  • 53. Having Tristen’s ghost reenact her death was also not helping. I’m sorry Tris, I should have moved faster, he mentally projected to her. Tristen not only haunted his dreams and thoughts, but her ghost had taken to following him around the house either crying or dying. Over and over again. She didn’t interact with him directly, but he still felt her presence and would grimly torture himself as he watched her. She died again. And again. And again. Finally, her ghost went outside. He was tempted to follow her, but a weary exhaustion took over.
  • 54. As he took one last gaze at her crying in the flower bed outside, he turned and walked up the stairs to his very empty bedroom.
  • 55. He sighed as he pulled the covers back. This reality is too morbid, and they wonder why I prefer my thoughts. As he settled down and closed his eyes, he smiled. Finally, he was able to see his happy world again…
  • 56. The green pajamas really brought out her eyes. Sebastian felt himself smile adoringly at her. “You’re beautiful, babe,” he said to her. Tristen giggled and did a model pose, blowing him a kiss. Rick sighed in disgust. “Yuck, you guys. Can we open the presents now? I’ll be Santa!” He scooted over to the presents under the tree and started looking at the name tags as he tried to ignore his mushy parents.
  • 57. Chapter Four “Frazzlegribbitsflutish…I’m TOTALLY a Congressman and I’m still having to plunge the stupid toilet,” Xander muttered loudly as he worked the plunger.
  • 58. “FRAZZLEGRIBBITSFLUTISH! FRAZZLEGRIBBITSFLUTISH!” Aviendha chanted loudly as she pounded away at her toy xylophone.
  • 59. Savannah quickly went into Aviendha’s bedroom and picked the cursing toddler up. Looking the child directly in the eye, Savannah said sternly, “Avi, you shouldn’t use naughty words like that.” The toddler wrinkled her nose. “Daddy does,” she replied in a patient tone, clearly thinking that her grandmother was being unreasonable. Savannah raised her eyebrows back. “Yes, and your daddy shouldn’t be using those words either. BUT,” she added to stress her point, “your daddy is an adult. Grownups may use that language sometimes. But little girls shouldn’t. Okay?”
  • 60. Aviendha huggled her grandmother, holding her tightly around the neck. “K’kay Gra’ma,” she mumbled into Savannah’s neck. Savannah stifled back a sigh. This wasn’t the first time she had to scold Aviendha about naughty language. She had numerous talks with Xander about watching his mouth around impressionable young children; but though he generally kept it to the bare minimum, Aviendha still managed to parrot him. Savannah kissed the child on her forehead and set her down to play.
  • 61. Savannah managed to catch Xander on his way out the door. She gathered him into a hug and whispered in his ear, “Mouth Xander. Avi is imitating you again.” Xander tried not to laugh. “Mini-Me strikes again! Sorry, sorry. I know, I’m trying. I don’t even say the real words, you know,” Savannah tried to interrupt him but he continued, “I know, the intent is still there and it’s just as bad. Maybe it’s just a phase that she’ll grow out of?” He sounded hopeful at the last part. Savannah hugged him tighter. “I’m not going to be around forever you know, kiddo. But, I know you are trying your best. You’re a good kid, and a good parent…despite your intent to use bad language. I just…want you to know that.”
  • 62. Xander’s brow wrinkled at the tone in Savannah’s voice, but he said nothing and just hugged her back.
  • 63. “Uh, whose birthday, er, is it today?” Merlin asked his granddaughter, playing peek-a-boo. “Mine Gra’pa!” Aviendha giggled back. “Er, how big are you, uh, going to be?” “SO BIG!” she replied throwing her hands in the air, loving the game.
  • 64. Merlin laughed and swung the girl up in his arms. “Er, that’s right! Give your old, er, grandpa some sugar.” Aviendha laughed again and gave Merlin a sticky toddler kiss. “Hey Family Sim,” Savannah shouted up the stairs in a teasing manner, “the guests are all waiting for the birthday girl. Maybe you should bring her down before you get moved to tears about how fast they grow and other mushy stuff.” Merlin resisted the immature urge to stick his tongue out at his wife; but he did cuddle Aviendha one more time before carrying her downstairs.
  • 65. Of course all of the Devereaux family was present to watch the birthday girl grow up. Xander beamed at his relatives as he held Aviendha in his arms.
  • 66. Transition done, birthday cake eaten, the family merrily socialized with one another.
  • 67. All of them except for one, that is. Hunter looked at Sebastian, who had detached himself from the rest of the party almost as soon as they walked in the door. At least he’s dressed, Hunter thought to himself, even if he’s still not talking. Hunter called Aviendha over to him. “Hey Aviendha, see that guy over there? That’s your second cousin, Sebastian. Why don’t you go over there and talk to him.” Aviendha grinned up at Hunter, always willing to talk to family members, distantly related or not.
  • 68. Sebastian saw the girl coming for him, so he got up to try to avoid her. Aviendha blocked his escape. “Hiya Sebastian. I’m supposed to talk to you, but I don’t know about what. Do you have any kids for me to play with? Why are you so sad looking? Ma and Daddy say that all you do is sit at home in you pajamas. Are those your pajamas? They don’t look very comfortable…Hey, where are you going?” Sebastian had managed to walk around the coffee table and out the door, blocking out the barrage of questions Aviendha was throwing at him. Aviendha watched him leave with a shrug, and she picked up an abandoned bag of potato chips and began eating them. “Gramfrazleoobits,” she muttered cheerfully to herself. She looked guiltily over her shoulder, then grinned happily when she saw that nobody had heard her.
  • 69. After everyone had left, Aviendha pulled Savannah into an impromptu dance. “That was a frelling AWESOME birthday party Gra’ma,” she said with a smile. “AVIENDHA! What have I told you about the language?” “But you said that little girls can’t use it. I’m not a little girl anymore,” she stated in a logical tone. “No, I told you that only may adults use it. Sometimes.” Aviendha sighed and threw her arms around Savannah’s neck.
  • 70. “K’kay Gra’ma,” she mumbled. She knew that Savannah couldn’t resist her sweetness and charm. She grinned impishly as she could feel Savannah relax. “You’re the BESTEST Gra’ma in the WHOLE world,” she added for good measure.
  • 71. Savannah smiled. She knew exactly what Aviendha was doing. “Oh Avi, what are we going to do with you?” “Make me eat pie and send me to bed with kisses?” Aviendha asked in a mock sorrowful tone. “No pie, but it is time for you to go to bed. You’ve got school tomorrow.” “Oookaaay,” Aviendha received her kiss and went off to bed.
  • 72. The next day was one of Savannah’s days off. She made breakfast for the family and waved to Aviendha as the child got on the bus to school. Then she was alone. She rubbed her neck in a distracted manner as she contemplated how she was going to go about what she needed to do. She sighed and made a few phone calls.
  • 73. Ansley was the first person to show up. Giving her sister a hug, Savannah smiled. “How are things at home?” she asked. “The same. He’s still withdrawn. Hunter and I are going to have to intervene soon,” Ansley replied with a sigh. “I wish there was something I could do to help…” Ansley pulled out of Savannah’s hug and looked at her. “Is that why you invited me over? You could have just called on the phone to talk…oh…”
  • 74. Ansley placed her hands to her chest and closed her eyes sadly. “That’s not why, is it?” Savannah shrugged and shook her head. “Not really, no.” “…When?” “Sometime before Spring. I wanted to get all of this out of the way, on my own terms, so there would be no regrets.” Ansley took a deep breath. “I can’t. I don’t want to.”
  • 75. “Oh lighten up!” Savannah reached over and began tickling Ansley. “Oh, and by the way, boys are still so much better than toys!” Giggling at the old childhood argument, Ansley responded, “Nuh uh! Toys before Boys!” The two sisters continued tickling each other until their bladders couldn’t take any more. Both of their sides ached with laughter when they wordlessly hugged each other.
  • 76. The other phone call Savannah placed was to her alien sister, Aylee. Aylee showed up with a smile on her face and a strange costume. Savannah took in the ballerina outfit, cape, and blast goggles. She blinked, not knowing what to say. Clearly, Aylee was pleased with her outfit.
  • 77. Savannah just threw her arms around Aylee. “Oh Aylee, don’t ever change,” she said with a laugh. Aylee was surprised at the hug, but she returned it gladly. It wouldn’t hurt her outfit too much if it got a little wrinkled.
  • 78. After her sisters left Savannah spent some time laying on the grass with Merlin, looking at the stars. ‘Er, this is a nice, uh, night for this,” Merlin said to his contemplative wife. Savannah just nodded and they lay silent for a while before Savannah spoke. “You know, I never really had any regrets about marrying you. You do know that, right?” Merlin looked at her with surprise. “Uh, hey Family Sim, er…” and he trailed off, not knowing what to say. “Do you know what I hope dying is like? I kind of see it like the end of the ‘My Philosophy’ episode of Scrubs. I would like to go out like that. Everyone happy and singing…”
  • 79. Merlin interrupted her by giving her a fierce hug, then he got up and walked into the house. Savannah sighed and followed him in.
  • 80. “Hey Family Sim, what’s wrong?” she asked as she rubbed Merlin’s back. Merlin closed his eyes and wouldn’t look at her when he responded with, “You’re, uh, being morbid.” Savannah sighed and continued to rub his back. “I’m not dead yet. I feel happy. I think I’ll go for a walk,” she joked back, quoting Monty Python.
  • 81. Merlin turned around and caressed her face. “Er, it’s not funny.” Savannah smiled and leaned into his hand. “I know, it’s not. But, really, I’m not dead yet. I’ve still got life in these old bones of mine.” She grinned in a knowing manner. “You catch my drift?” Merlin grabbed her for a kiss, which led to another, and another…
  • 82. …until they found themselves on the couch, making out. Xander was not a happy camper. “Gross, guys. TOTALLY gross. You should TOTALLY get a room,” he said as he kept his eyes on the book he was studying from. Merlin and Savannah looked at each other and laughed. “What kind of Romance kid did YOU raise Family Sim?” they asked each other in unison. Xander rolled his eyes; but at least his parents DID go upstairs.
  • 83. When they were done and Savannah was drifting off to sleep, Merlin looked at her in the moonlight. He cuddled up to her and whispered in her ear, “I love you Savannah,” he said, not stammering for once. He kissed her neck tenderly. Savannah smiled softly and murmured something unintelligible into her pillow and they both fell asleep.
  • 84. Chapter Five “Aviendha, come down from there, right now! It’s starting to snow and you might slip and fall. And don’t think I can’t hear the atrocious words you’re singing to yourself up there young lady! Keep it up, and you won’t be able to stay up until midnight tonight!” Marsha sternly looked at her daughter who was, up until that point, cheerfully singing songs about pirates and busty maiden wenches. And scurvy and rickets, because those words sounded fun.
  • 85. Aviendha slid down the pole of her new play set. “K’kay Ma!” she replied to her mother, cheerfully, not making any promises about her language. She would just have to be a bit quieter about it, she supposed. “Daddy’s home anyway,” she continued as she ran past her perturbed mother.
  • 86. “Daddy!” Aviendha sang cheerfully as she threw herself into her father’s arms. “Mini-Me!” he responded back, giving her a hug. “Daddy? Is everyone coming over for the New Years party? Gra’ma is at work, will she home in time? Can I stay up until midnight? Huh Daddy? Can I pleeeeeeaaaaase?” “Yes, yes, and yes to all your questions. Just let me get inside so I can make the phone calls. I’m going to make sure that this party will finally be a Roof Raiser. Mark my words, kiddo. It will be a night to remember.” “Yay!” his daughter cheered. And, everyone who was invited DID show up to the party, as well as two rather unexpected guests…
  • 87. As Savannah’s car pool pulled up to the front of the house, she smiled sadly. She knew this day would come, but she wasn’t expecting it to happen on this very night. She stepped out of the limo and approached Grim. “Father Time hitched a ride with you on your pale horse?” she asked with a smile. Grim nodded. “I figured that seeing as we were coming to the same place, the old man could rest his legs. It appears you are more than ready for this, Savannah Devereaux Lewis. You lived a good life and you already said your goodbyes. You had no regrets, with the one exception of not having enough Public WooHoo. You are entitled to your well earned Platinum Gravestone and this Mai Thai drink. Be assured that though your family will mourn your passing, they will also celebrate your life with song.” Savannah nodded gladly. “Good, I’m glad that I’m going out with style then. Let’s go and let them celebrate the New Year. Oh, and by the way, I know the entire booming voice thing is just for show…”
  • 88. As the family gathered around Savannah’s gravestone, Father Time stepped into the middle of the group and shook his hour glass. “Do not mourn, for she lived a happy life. She wanted to go out with style, and by golly, we will give her the send off she deserves! Everyone! Gather your pots and pans! Bang on them loudly! Cheer! Sing! Let her hear it from beyond the grave!”
  • 89. “That’s right everyone! Bang! Cheer! Yell! Let your song raise to the rafters!”
  • 90. They cheered. They sang. They pounded their pots and pans. Father Time burst into a flash of light, all the while coaching them on.
  • 91. “Don’t stop! You’re almost there. Give her the best send off in ALL the mini-versus combined! Celebrate her life as she goes down in history! Sound your barbaric Yawp over the rooftops of the world!”
  • 92. And finally Father Time/Baby New Year was pleased. With a tip of his top hat, the baby smiled at the family. “Now THAT is going out with style. Congratulations, your party is a Roof Raiser. The London Bridge curse has been officially broken. Look over there. There is someone else who wants to congratulate you.” Everyone turned to look where Baby New Year was pointing.
  • 93. Savannah’s ghost smiled as the last echo of celebration faded into the night. “Thank you everyone. That was exactly what I wanted. I love you all.” Her ghost waved and faded away with the last whispered words of, “God, I’m such a Family Sim…” And she was gone.
  • 94. Aviendha tried not to cry as Xander put his arms around her. “You think she’s happy Daddy?” she asked him tremulously. Xander cleared his throat from the tears that kept threatening to choke him. “Yeah, Mini-Me, I think she’s very happy. In fact, I know she TOTALLY is…”
  • 95. Merlin had gone inside, away from everyone else, to mourn. He knew that Savannah didn’t want him to be this upset, but he couldn’t help it. He cried softly into his hands, unaware of his nephew watching him. It sucks to lose you wife, doesn’t it? At least you lived a full life with her, Sebastian thought to himself, feeling bitter. He checked himself from anymore hateful thoughts as he walked out of the room, leaving Merlin to mourn in private.
  • 96. After everyone left the party, Merlin laid down on the couch. He couldn’t bring himself to sleep in the bed that he so recently shared with his wife. Feeling a distinct sense of loss, he curled up into a ball and let the tears flow freely until he fell into a fitful sleep.
  • 97. The next morning, Aviendha confronted her very sad grandfather. “Gra’pa, would you please read me a story? I have the book picked out. Pleeeeeeaaaaase? It’s a good one! I promise!” Merlin wanted nothing more than to just be left alone, but when Aviendha gave him her biggest, wide eyed, pleading look, he relented. “Uh, er, alright, but only, er, this one.” Aviendha jumped up and down excitedly.
  • 98. Not really paying attention to the book cover, Merlin opened the book to a random page. His eye caught Savannah’s handwriting. He blinked and his mouth dropped open at what was written in there. Gape mouthed, he looked at his grinning granddaughter. “Er, um…have you read this already?” Aviendha grinned even wider as she nodded. She had learned LOTS of new words from Savannah’s diary. “Yep yep Gra’pa. Can you tell me what this words means?” and she reached for the book. Merlin snatched it out of her reach. “Er, no. I, uh, don’t think, er, it’s, uh…” and he sputtered off. Aviendha was disappointed. “Aww. Fine. But you should read the first page. I think you’ll like it.” Merlin turned to the first page of the book. As he read the words, his eyes welled up.
  • 99. He stood up and hugged Aviendha. “Thanks, kiddo…” Aviendha hugged her grandfather tightly. “Gra’ma really loved you, didn’t she?” Merlin squeezed her in response and told her to go play. As Aviendha skipped out of the room, he sat down on the couch and reread the first page of Savannah’s diary. This diary is dedicated to the love of my life, Merlin. The first, last, only and best lover, husband, father, and friend that a fake Romance Sim like me could ever have. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and always. I will love you forever.
  • 100. Chapter Six Sebastian revved the engine of the old beater Rick bought, while his son tightened the bolt that was securing the alternator. “That sounds good. So, you think you’re going to have this old junker fixed before the prom? I’ll bet that Marsha Bruening girl would love to have a stylish ride like this escorting her to the dance,” Sebastian teased his son. Rick glowered at him. “Dad, seriously. This is going to be a sweet ride. Marsha is gonna love it.” Sebastian smiled. “You’re going to marry her someday. I know you are.” Rick rolled his eyes. “Oh my God, Dad. Really. I can’t believe that you…”
  • 101. “…were so absolutely right. Remember that day with the car when you predicted that I would marry Marsha? I remember laughing, thinking that was the most stupid thing I had ever heard.” Rick ran his fingers through his hair with a grin. “Boy, was I wrong. I can’t imagine my life without her now. Did you feel this way when you married Mom?” Sebastian smiled fondly. “Yeah,” he said with a crack in his voice, “yeah I did. I remember thinking that I would die if she died.” His smile faltered, as if trying to remember something, but he disregarded it. “Did I ever tell you that I asked her to marry me before I even knew her name?” Sebastian and his son laughed companionably. Then the wedding music started and Marsha--
  • 102. Hunter slamming around in the kitchen startled Sebastian out of his reverie. Sebastian gritted his teeth in frustration and took another sip of the espresso he had apparently made for himself. Go away Dad, Sebastian thought. Hunter didn’t go away, though. He grabbed his own cup of espresso, sat down next to Sebastian, and began slurping the hot beverage loudly. “Wow, this is some pretty potent stuff, isn’t it?” Hunter asked casually. Sebastian calmly put his cup down on the counter and walked out of the room. Hunter, in turn, slammed down his own cup and followed.
  • 103. He managed to get in front of Sebastian and he began lecturing his son. “Look, I know this is hard for you. God knows what a mess I would be if your mother died. But how long? How long are you going to be like this? Your mother and I are worried, kiddo, and it’s not even about carrying on the family line. We’re worried about YOU. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. We’re not asking you to forget Tris, but I’m sure that even she would want you to--” Sebastian just crossed his arms and tuned out his father’s voice. Leave me alone. Let me die, okay? I don’t want this anymore. Hunter sighed in frustration as he recognized the far away look in Sebastian’s eyes. He stepped to the side and watched his son wander into the living room.
  • 104. Tristen looked as beautiful as the day he met her. Sebastian reached out and touched her face, pulling her in for a tender kiss. Tristen smiled as he stroked her aged face. “I love you ‘bastian. You made me very happy.” “Made?” Sebastian blinked, shook his head, and continued. “Tris, I will keep making you happy. You know that.”
  • 105. Tristen peered at him. “Sebastian. You need to (“Oh my GOD! What are YOU doing here?!”) pay attention. You need to listen to (“Hello Father. Hello Mother.”) what’s going on around you.” Sebastian was confused. “Tristen, what are you talking about? (“I see Sebastian is just as useless as ever.”) Honey, Rick and Marsha are coming over today. They said that they (“No worries though, I have someone that you should meet.”) have some great news for us. I think they (“Of course, I am here to reclaim what is rightfully mine.”) might be (“It doesn’t seem that Sebastian is going to argue about it, now is he?”)…” Tristen interrupted him frantically. “Sebastian. I love you. I always will. You have to say goodbye though.” “Goodbye? What? What on earth…” “SEBASTIAN! PAY ATTENTION! (GRANDMA!! GRANDPA!!)” !!
  • 106. “Grandma? Grandpa? Rick and Marsha don’t have kids yet…” Sebastian said out loud to himself, speaking for the first time since Tristen died. He slowly turned his head and his eyes widened at what he saw.
  • 107. In what almost seemed like a freeze frame picture, he saw Lillian sneering at him with a triumphant look. He saw both his father and mother looking surprised. He saw what appeared to be a small boy child reaching up for a hug from Ansley. Sebastian felt his mouth drop open as he truly became aware of his surroundings. He slowly stood up, and he felt his arms wrap around his body as he approached his sister; someone that the family thought was completely lost when London Bridge was destroyed.
  • 108. Standing before her, Sebastian whispered, “What are you doing here?” Lillian laughed in amusement. “Well little brother, I came here to reclaim my title as heiress. You failed, just like I predicted you would. I, however, managed to produce a child who is being groomed to inherit after me. What have you done? All you have managed to do is wallow in self pity over your stupid wife who drank some poison. Perhaps she did it intentionally? Surely she was aware of what a colossal failure you would turn out to be. Isn’t her death filed under ‘suicide’?” Hurt, but mostly stunned, Sebastian looked at Lillian with a sudden understanding.
  • 109. “Nobody knows that. Mom and Dad made sure that it was kept secret. How could you possibly know that?!” Lillian smiled and shrugged, but said nothing. “Oh my God…” Sebastian felt something rising up inside of him. He had, after Tristen’s death, managed to mostly maintain a numb status; so the feeling was rather surprising and foreign to him. In a split second, his mind recognized what the feeling was and allowed it to continue it’s rise up. Anger, married to Grief, burst forth.
  • 110. “IT WAS YOU! YOU GAVE IT TO HER!” “Sold it to her actually…” Lillian gloated. “You‘re the one who essentially killed her! YOU KNEW SHE WAS DESPERATE TO CONCEIVE! You…killed…my…WIFE!” Lillian yawned in a bored manner. “No, I didn’t. She didn’t have to purchase the ‘Fertility Tonic’, yet she did. She didn’t have to drink it, yet she did. You could have stopped her, but you didn’t move fast enough. Face it brother, you failed. Step aside and I might be merciful when I am the heiress again. And I will make certain that the boy will be, too. Won’t we, my son?” Before she could turn to look for the child, Sebastian grabbed her. “Get out of my house,” he said through clenched teeth, “and take the child of whatever demon chose to mate with you out as well. You…will…NOT…take…ANYTHING else from me. EVER AGAIN!”
  • 111. Zane, for his part, ran out of the room crying when he heard what was supposed to be his uncle refer to him as a demon child. Things were not turning out how he had hoped. His mother told him that everyone would be happy to meet him, and they would all live together as a big happy family. She PROMISED him that. Nobody was happy. Not at all. Zane sat in the corner, knees drawn to his chin, and he sobbed until his mother stalked into the room. “We are leaving now, my boy. Say goodbye to your Grandparents.” Zane stood up and nodded compliantly.
  • 112. He stood before his grandparents, tears in his eyes, not looking at them as he spoke. “I’m sorry you aren’t happy to meet me,” he said sadly. “I really wanted to meet you, and live here with you, and play outside.” He gave a shuddering sigh and a tear rolled down his cheek. “Momma said you wanted to have a grandchild like me. She promised…”
  • 113. Hunter and Ansley looked down at the boy, not knowing what to say. Then they looked at each other, a horrible question rising up between the two of them. Lillian had not referred to the child by anything other than ’Child,’ ’Son,’ or ’Boy’. Finally Hunter spoke, asking his grandchild the most simple question in the world. “What is your name?” “Oh,” Zane replied, surprised, “my name is Zane…”
  • 114. Hunter tentatively gathered Zane into his arms for a hug while Ansley watched with sadness. “It was very nice to meet you Zane.” Zane responded vigorously to his grandfather’s hug, a little bit of hope rising evident on his face. Lillian interrupted the moment when she imperiously commanded, “Let us go. Now, child!”
  • 115. As his mother strode out the door, Zane took one last moment to wave goodbye. “I hope I can come here again real soon. I wish I could swim in your pool. I know that I ought to wait at least an hour before I swim after eating. I can do that, I promise. Can I come again, please? I’ll be real good, and you won’t even know that I’m here. I’ll be quiet. I promise.” Before anyone could make a response though, Lillian grabbed Zane by his arm and dragged him out the door. “When I command you to do something, I expect you to obey immediately.” “Yes Momma. I’m sorry Momma.” And with that, they left.
  • 116. After a few stunned moments of silence, Sebastian sunk his head in his hands. “My God. She’s allowed to have a child and I was not. It is official. There is no justice in this world and the creator hates me.” Ansley put her arms around Sebastian, rubbing his shoulders. Hunter looked on, glad that Sebastian had at least decided to come back to this reality. A few more moments passed while the three of them stood there like that. Finally, Sebastian raised his head with resolve. “I think, the first thing I am going to do is take a bath. Then, we can move on from there.” He nodded his head at his parents and went upstairs.
  • 117. He soaked in the bathtub for a long time, letting the hot water relax his tense muscles. He leaned back and tried to conjure up his fantasy world…then stopped himself. His fantasy world was not going to help his reality world. He knew that now. He remembered Tristen’s face, the way she looked when they got married, and softly said to the image, “Goodbye Tris. I love you. And…thanks.” The last tense muscle, his heart, relaxed with those words.
  • 118. Hunter checked his sigh of relief as he watched his son come down the stairs, fully dressed and shaved. Sebastian still looked tired, but…it was a start. “Well son, the pond has thawed out. Would you like to, maybe, go fishing with me?” Sebastian raised his shoulder in a half shrug. “Sure. Why not?”
  • 119. The two of them stood at the pond, quietly, for a while. Sebastian was the first to break the silence. “This is nice.” Hunter nodded and looked over at him. “So, are you okay now?” he asked. Sebastian moved his hand a little to let the sunlight glint off the wedding ring he was still wearing, and sighed. “No, I’m not,” he looked over at his father, “but…I will be. I know that now.” Hunter just nodded in response.
  • 120. They stood there a few moments longer before Hunter felt a tugging on his fishing pole. With a quick jerk, he pulled out a dirty boot. “Ugh. Pleasantview is such a hole,” he said in a disgusted voice.
  • 121. At that moment, Sebastian pulled out a rather large catfish. Looking over at his father, Sebastian gave him a small smile, the first since before Tristen’s death. “I don’t know, Dad. Maybe it won’t be so bad living here.” Hunter chuckled softly. Things were going to be fine.
  • 122. Epilogue On the outskirts of town, on a cliff overlooking Pleasantview to be exact, three more transplants became situated. The two adults looked at the dilapidated house with only a little bit of interest. The child with them couldn’t have cared less as she snuggled in her mother’s arms.
  • 123. “So, why couldn’t we have a better house than this one? We’re SimSelves, aren’t we supposed to live in the lap of luxury?” Keith asked me in an irritated tone. He kicked the wood of the rotting staircase, and winced as a good chunk of it flew off.
  • 124. “Low profile, hon. I am not a very popular person in Pleasantview. If we lived in the valley with the rest of them, we would have an angry mob on our doorstep before the day is through. As it is, you’re the one who will have to go into town to shop and stuff. My face, well, my face is VERY familiar to the Pleasantview Maxis Pre-Mades. I suppose I shouldn’t have laughed so hard at all the times I deliberately made them miserable, but hindsight is always 20/20. “Besides, this house isn’t so bad. It’s a fixer- upper. I know how much you like to putter around the house…”
  • 125. Keith shrugged and we walked inside. He gritted his teeth when he saw the lack of furniture. He certainly got spoiled in London Bridge, considering how little time he actually lived there as a SimSelf. Of course, I wasn’t going to say that to him. The last person I ever want to argue with is my husband, God bless his soul. He turned and looked at me. “What about the control?” “What about it?” I asked. “So, you’re giving it up completely? You’re just going to ignore everything? What’s the point of us being here then?” “Not completely. I just won’t be directly involved with my Sims down in Pleasantview. But don’t worry, I recruited help, someone that I will be able to talk to directly. And we’ll train little Amelia here how to be an observer as well. Everything will be fine. Now hon, why don’t you just strip down into your underwear, like I know you are dying to do, and let me start looking at some furniture to fix this place up. The person I recruited got my message…”
  • 126. “In fact, she should be showing up here at anytime now.” *** Special thanks goes out to Tribebohemian, author of “The Victorians: A Legacy” for voluntarily being recruited into my story. Thank you for reading, and thank you all for your awesome comments and feedback. I really appreciate it!

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