Hi and welcome back to the Marmite Alphabetacy. This chapter has taken quite a while largely due to my upcoming EXAMS!!! Anyhoo, it’s also much longer than I anticipated and the formatting is all over the place because I’ve been in a hurry, so sorry about that but I really hope you enjoy it. Oh, and my sister made me keep the line about the fish in...
Hamlet, Hermione and Horatio have left home to study at Shiz University. Hermione and Hamlet are both literature students and Horatio... He’s undecided. And besides, there are more important things than majors to think about. Such as the legendary Freshers Week house party that a particular Greek House threw each year and the immensely distressing issue of finding a date. “I don’t see what your problem is” Horatio sighed. “Girls love that whole troubled poet thing you’ve got going on Hamlet.” Hamlet laughed in what he hoped was a nonchalant way and wished that it was that simple, but Horatio pressed on. “And Gail is blatantly interested.” “Who’s Gail!” Hermione cried excitedly as Hamlet collapsed backwards onto the grass, mumbling something indistinguishable. That is not a good first picture of Hermione. Sorry.
“Gail,” explained Horatio, grinning widely, “Is a girl. A girl who likes him.” “She does not!” Hamlet moaned. “She does! Even I think it’s obvious and I’m-” “Completely oblivious to romantic signals.” Hermione sighed. “And what are you basing that on?” Horatio asked indignantly. “Nothing.” She sighed again and continued. “But you really should get a move on Hamlet. It can be really upsetting to have someone leaving you unsure about how they feel about you.” There was silence for a moment. Sighing yet again, Hermione stood up, muttered a casual goodbye and walked away.
“What’s up with her?” Horatio asked, bewildered. “I have no idea.” lied Hamlet. “See? This is the problem! Girls... Just don’t make any sense!” Hamlet gave a “mmm” of agreement. “Well you’re sorted. I still need a date.” “I am not sorted.” Hamlet said dejectedly. “Well,” Horatio grinned. “If it doesn’t work out, you could always ask the Cow-Mascot.”
Shortly after arriving at their dorm (the Greek house lifestyle was not for them) they were set upon by other students wishing to welcome them. In particular, a cow mascot has taken a shine to Hamlet. Some say he lives solely on twiglets and redbull... Some say his sweat can be used to clean precious metals... Some say he sucks the moisture out of ducks ... All Hamlet knew was that his name was Craig. THE STIG!
...and he really seems to like him. Also, Craig has never been known to speak. Majorly Creepy. “Err, well it was nice meeting you all but I really have to-” “Don’t leave.” said the dormie in the blue tracksuit. “We’re only just getting to know each other.” “Stay with us Hamlet!” cried the dormie behind him. “Yes Hamlet,” said the first, moving closer and dropping his voice to a whisper. “Stay with us. We’re so looking forward to getting closer to you- especially Craig.”
Naturally he fled and headed to Rodney’s Hideout to-well, hide out. But he didn’t have much better luck there as he was ‘invited’ to play Snooker against the Joker who had brought his own very special ticking snooker balls. Horatio and Hermione were oblivious to Hamlet’s delicate situation and were so absorbed in each other’s conversation outside that it was several hours before they wondered where he was.
This is Timothy ‘Some call me Tim’ Jung. He wandered into the dorm in a toga, streaked and then set off the sprinkler. He then did so again the next day. And the next. He is of no real significance. However, he has the same last name as The Dark Diffuser and looks ever so slightly kind of vaguely like him. I shall keep an eye on him. O.o
Farnsworth had taken to locking herself away in her lab to work on her latest invention and would reveal no more to her family than “robot...they’ll see...be sorry”. Used to such behaviour, most of the family continued as usual but sci-fi mad Hiro was very excited. He had become so captivated by robots in fact, that he now pretended to be one. Today he was a calcu-bot and hell bent on helping Helena with her maths homework. “Fear not humanoid, I shall assist ye.” “Robots don’t say ye Hiro,” his sister’s voice was flat and expressionless. She had been conspicuously down for a while now and this just spurred Hiro on. “Relax, mammal. My robotic software shall meet your calculatory needs.” “Oh just leave me alone Hiro. And stop acting like that, you’re not a robot!”
Hiro watched his sister walk away and muttered darkly to himself. “I’ll show ye...”
Back at Shiz University, an incredible new piece of gossip was making its way around campus. “...he’s here?!” “YES!” “really?! But he’s so...famous... it’s just...” “I KNOW!” “How long is he here for?” “Not long. So we don’t have much time to casually introduce ourselves to him. Stacey Hirt has already managed to make eye contact with him.” “Urgh! Tramp.” “Totally. So shall we see if he’s training at the athletics hall?” “Definitely. Just give me a moment to change into a more low-cut top.”
“...and he’s been here four weeks! Four weeks and I didn’t know!” Horatio cried. “I didn’t realise you were so interested in the exchange student program” said Hermione without looking up from her book. “Viktor Krum is no ordinary exchange student Hermione! Tell her Hamlet!” “He’s probably the best seeker-” “IN THE WORLD.” Horatio finished. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to be treated any differently to everyone else.” She was smiling slightly. “You don’t understand these things Hermione.” He insisted. “International Quidditch players are... A different breed.” Hermione simply continued to read her book whilst Horatio told Hamlet of his plans to casually introduce himself to his hero.
Hermione eventually persuaded Hamlet to talk to Gail and they soon became a couple. What’s more, they became one of those fantastically sweet constantly autonomously interacting couples and Hermione was overjoyed; Hamlet’s happiness had become a personal project over the years. “’scuse me,” the cafeteria worker grunted “I need to get that bowl.” “She’s ruining their moment! Do something!” Hey, I don’t mess with cafeteria staff. Not anymore. Not after last time...
Others were less than pleased by their budding romance. And by others I mean Craig. THE FOLLOWING EVENTS, LIKE EVERYTHING TO DO WITH CRAIG, WERE WHOLLY AUTONOMOUS. I LOVE IT WHEN SIMS DO THE WORK FOR YOU.
Without saying a word (obviously) he managed to trick kind heated and trusting Gail into turning her back.... And then pelted her with a water balloon. “What the hell Craig?!” Craig ignored her completely and walked towards Hamlet, arms outstretched.
“What the- No Craig!” cried Hamlet, utterly baffled. The Cow cocked his head to one side and stared hopefully back, raising his arms again. “No!” he shouted in a kind of confused and fearful repulsion. “That was very bad Craig! Very naughty!” “Go on! Shoo!”
For a moment it didn’t seem like he was going to move, but eventually he walked away. Hamlet moved closer to Gail who was bewildered and soggy. He put his arms around her and asked her if she was ok but, as she murmured a reply, he noticed Craig edging closer once more, hiding behind bushes as he moved. “CRAIG!” Craig scuttled away and Hamlet nervously turned back to Gail, sure that she would be weirded out by the surreal experience and would dump him immediately. But Gail simply laughed in an ‘I won’t ask’ sort of way and said casually, “Well are you going to ask me in and offer me a towel or what?”
“This is getting serious now. I still don’t have anyone to go with.” Horatio’s party-orientated frustration had grown in strength and the night was fast approaching. “I don’t see why you have to go with someone.” “That’s easy for you to say! You’re going with Gail. I’m going to look like such an idiot when I turn up on my own. I bet I’ll be the only guy alone. Well, apart from Tim.”
“It might interest you to know that Timhas got someone to go with.” Hermione called, looking up from her term paper. “You’re kidding! Now I’m really depressed.” Horatio stared sulkily at the floor for a moment but then jerked his head up suddenly. “Oi, Hermione... You’re a girl.” “Well spotted.” she replied exasperatedly. “Well I can go with you then! I mean, it’s one thing for a bloke to show up alone, but for a girl it’s just sad.” Hermione stood up suddenly and turned to face them. “I won't be going alone, because believe it or not, someone's asked me!” she cried angrily. “And I said yes!” With that, she span around and stalked furiously out of the room. “Bloody hell” breathed Horatio. “She’s lying right?” “If you say so.”
Just a little more... Hiro felt his nails digging further and further into the wood of his chair, oblivious to the noisy chatter of the room. Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead, their paths meandering as his head shook with the sheer effort of such frenzied concentration. His eyes, determinedly forced open, stung as the salty droplets dripped into them. But he could not waver now.
Keep going... Everything else had disappeared. This was all that mattered. Hiro’s head swam as the ticking of the mechanism poured inside, building behind his eyes- consuming him. Nearly there... He felt his body judder with every beat of his heart as its rhythm fell into step with that of the clock. Hiro gripped the chair even tighter, struggling to stop his exhausted body from surrendering conciseness. Not now... His oxygen-starved brain screamed in desperate protest as his heartbeat slowed, still synchronised with the movement of the decelerating second hand- but Hiro barely registered it. He swayed in his seat, but never lost his focus. He was so close now... And if he could last just a little longer... The dwindling thud of Hiro’s heart slowed even further, perfectly in time with the timepiece’s waning ticking. It grew slower and slower... And then stopped entirely.
Hiro lay in a motionless crumpled heap on the floor. And his heart was beating. He sprang to his feet as if it were Hogswatch morning, listening to his pulse pounding noisily against the walls of his skull- returned to normal. Hiro seized the clock, hands trembling as electricity crackled deliciously through his body, and gave out a laugh of undiluted delight as he looked at it. He felt incredible. A tingling wave of... Of something... A sort of... strength pumped through him by his rejuvenated heart that had returned so valiantly to its rhythm. Unlike its partner. Hiro grasped the clock tightly in his ink-stained hands, staring at its mournful face. It’s features were frozen, hands perfectly still, inert at their positions. It was 19:53:42. Hiro screwed his eyes shut and counted carefully. One hippopotamus, two hippopotami, three hippopotami He opened his eyes. It was still 19:53:42. A thought occurred to him. A brilliant, impossible thought. He turned around slowly.
“YATTA!” His family were static, as if petrified. Trapped in a frame of their movement like characters on a TV show being watched by a someone who really needs the toilet and has a sky plus box.
“Grandma?” he asked his immobile relative who was frozen mid-stride and, naturally, gave no response. “I’ve actually done it...” he whispered. He walked around the surreal scene, drinking it in. Glancing out the window, he saw Hepzibah suspended in mid air as she tackled a dog who had decided to violate the base of their post box. He turned to Helena, waving a hand in front of her face and tugging lightly on her skirt.
“I’VE ACTUALLY DONE IT!” This time he screamed the words and every syllable rang clear and melodic. “YATTA!” He couldn’t wait to show his family his gift. But, but of course, in order to do that, he’d have to start time again. Screwing his eyes tightly shut, he let the rhythm of time flow through him once again. With his new found confidence in his ability, it was almost easy. When he jerked open his eyes, the world had resumed its motion, as if nothing had happened- and only Hiro knew differently.
“Mum! You’ll never guess what I-” Iris turned to her son, wondering why he had stopped midsentence and alarmed by the way his voice had shaken. “Hiro? What’s up?” “I...” Hiro tried to answer his mother, but it was difficult when the world went all blurry like that. “Hiro?” The panic in her voice was now so pronounced that the rest of the family stopped their activity to see what was happening. Heffalump’s playing cut off just in time for the thud of Hiro hitting the floor to be clearly audible. “HIRO!”
Hiro’s small body was convulsing violently* and, in an instant, Iris was on the floor beside him, watching his eyelids flicker, desperate to hold her son but terrified that she might make things worse. “Godric! Godric call an ambulance!” * In a suspiciously model-like pose *shifty eyes*
In a quiet part of Gotham Hospital’s children’s ward, Hiro slept peacefully, as he had done for the past 3 days. A few hours after he had arrived in the ambulance, he had recovered enough to explain to his family and the medical staff what had happened and then sunk into a deep and exhausted slumber. His siblings had returned to school and college respectively, but his parents and grandmother had not left his bedside. Naturally, they were bewildered by what Hiro’s explanation of what had happened.
“Well,” said Farnsworth “The boy’s cracked.” “Mum!” cried Godric. “Hiro’s not crazy!” “I’m not saying that he is. Although I certainly am thinking it loudly. In any case, it’s no surprise really; madness runs in the family. It’s one of the many things that are passed down to each of us. Incidently Godric, you might want to look up a condition called ‘wandering bladder’.” “Why?” Godric asked cautiously. “No reason. No reason at all.” “I’m sure this specialist will be able to give us some answers.” said Iris, trying to keep calm. “You see?” Farnsworth said. “ A specialist. Do you know how many specialists my doctor has referred me to? He’s bonkers.” “Hiro isn’t mad.” The new voice took them by surprise and they stared as its owner walked towards them.
The stranger had a purposeful but friendly stride and, as he walked towards them and, although they had never met him before, he created at once an impression of trust and familiarity. His dark skin was made brighter by the glare of the hospital lights and, in his gentle face, his thoughtful eyes glinting with calm understanding. “My name is Dr Mohinder Suresh, I’m a genetics professor at the University of Madras.” he said, holding out his hand. “I believe I can give you some answers about your son’s ability.” “Woah, hang on a second.” said Godric. “You mean he can actually-” “Yes. Your son has the power to control time.” He paused and watched their jaws plummet in the direction of the floor with patience and understanding that implied that he was used to such reactions.
“I understand that this is hard to take in.” his tone was so soothing and reasonable that, the family found it impossible to disbelieve him. “Some individuals, it is true, are more special than others. This is natural selection- we are not the pinnacle of human evolution, it’s a process that continues. It begins as a single individual born or hatched like every other member of their species. Anonymous. Seemingly ordinary. Except they're not. They carry inside them the genetic code that will take their species to the next evolutionary rung. It's destiny.”
“So...” Iris seemed to be trying to shake off her incredulity by pacing the room. “You’re saying that Hiro has... Superpowers?” Suresh hesitated. “In effect, yes.” “But- How?” cried Godric “I mean, it’s not like he’s been playing with radioactive spiders or...or..” “I realise it sounds like science fiction.” he admitted. “But it is in fact, just science.” “But why him? This is a genetic thing right?” asked Godric. Suresh nodded. “Well it’s not like anyone else in the family is walking through walls. Well, no one human anyway.” “Yes, that’s the problem.” Suresh sighed. “At present, very little is known about the abilities possessed by individuals like Hiro. It certainly is a trait that can be passed down through families, but first it has to...develop. If you will forgive the phrase, the DNA must mutate.” “Surely, you can get some kind of funding in order to research this further.”
“Ah...” said Mohinder. “Drawing that kind of attention to specials is a risky course of action. The discrimination and prejudice they could face... A couple of months ago, a young girl in Botswana who had powers of telekinesis was turned on by the rest of her village and-” he stopped. “Well, let’s just say it’s perhaps a good thing that it’s difficult to get people to take this seriously. Despite the obvious benefits, these individuals are made immensely vulnerable by their abilities.” “But Hiro’s going to be ok isn’t he?” Godric’s voice shook slightly.
“He’ll be fine this time.” Suresh smiled. “But, given this reaction, I can’t stress how important it is that he doesn’t try to use his power again. These incidents are to be expected when a power manifests, but, in this case, it seems more severe which is only to be expected; he stopped time- and that’s a lot for his body to handle. When he’s older there’s a chance that he may be able to use his ability more safely and I’d like to check on him regularly if that’s ok.” Godric and Iris nodded. “But at the moment further use of his power could be incredibly dangerous. And, naturally, it’s best that this remains somewhat of a secret.”“Thank you Dr Suresh.” said Iris with an earnest smile. “You’re very welcome.” he replied. “But there’s no need to thank me. My father spent his life chasing after this... insanity.” he gave a tired smile. “And it often feels like I’m wasting mine trying to prove he was sane. But every so often I get to feel like I’ve genuinely helped someone- and that makes it worthwhile."
After Dr Suresh had left, Iris and Godric said very little and simply sat thoughtfully watching their son sleep. Farnsworth’s constant stream of inane senile babble had been rather distracting- and they had a lot to think about- so they had sent her out to buy grapes (because that’s what you do when someone’s in hospital although they would blatantly prefer a large box of maltesers*). Suddenly, Godric stood up and yanked Iris close to him. “This. Is. Insane.” he whispered. Iris grinned back at her husband. “I know.” * When my sister pointed out that it was spelt like this rather than ‘malteasers’ my world came crashing down. O.O
“Ok, I’m sorry! Will that do? Now come with me so that I don’t look like an idiot.” “I’ve already told you,” Hermione said, very angrily “I’m going with somebody else!”
On the long expected party, Hamlet and Gail hurried inside (dragging an angsty Horatio behind them) and- not being the dancing sort- quickly found themselves a sofa in a quieter corner. “Where’s Hermione?” asked Gail, having to shout in order to be heard over the deafening BOOM-BA-BOOM of the base line. “Isn’t she coming?” “No, she should be here.” Hamlet shouted back. “It’s obvious isn’t it.” shouted Horatio, utilising his full lung capacity to communicate with them from across the room. “She didn’t really have anyone to come with and she’s embarrassed. I would have taken her myself if she weren’t so bloody proud. But I-”
But Horatio’s words died mid-shout as the door opened and a new figure entered the room. “Is that...?” said Gail and, though Hamlet could not hear her, a similar thought was running through his own mind. “It’s Viktor Krum!” he cried, turning to Gail excitedly. “It’s actually Viktor Krum.” he stared around for Horatio, expecting to see a startled but thrilled expression similar to his own. Instead, Horatio seemed to be caught between utter disbelief and disgust. Struggling to understand his best friend’s behaviour, Hamlet turned back to Gail who was tugging on his sleeve. Mercifully, the music blasting from the myriad of speakers surrounding them entered into a temporary lull quiet enough for Gail to whisper: “Look who he’s with.”
It was Hermione. “So that’s who she’s come with!” Gail sounded very impressed. “That must have been why she wouldn’t tell anyone; imagine the hassle. Although if Viktor Krum had asked me to a party I probably would have wanted to rub it in the faces of as many of that troop of sycophantic Barbie dolls that follow him around as possible. I mean he’s-” Hamlet raised an eyebrow. “I am right here Gail.” She laughed. “I know, and there’s no one I’d rather be here with.” she said, squeezing his hand affectionately. “All I’m saying is that-” But Hamlet was no longer listening. He was watching Horatio force his way through a small herd of Krum’s unofficial fan club who seemed to be holding an emergency meeting on the dance floor and were frenziedly discussing recent events whilst gawping unashamedly at Hermione and Krum. Refusing to slow his momentum, Horatio scattered them briefly as he strode purposefully across the room but they soon regrouped and were not even distracted when the force of him slamming the door as he left shook the building and caused the stereo to jump forward a beat or two.
With a sensation of deep unease, Hamlet turned his attention to Hermione who was talking quietly to Viktor in a corner. After a moment or two, Krum left to fetch drinks from the beverage horde that was chilling in the bath and Hermione walked over to Gail and Hamlet. “It’s hot in here isn’t it?” she said, fanning herself with her hand as she sat down beside them. “Oh, no.” smiled Gail. “You’re not getting out of it that easily. Spill the beans.”
“Oh, there’s not that much to tell.” Hermione’s cheeks were flushed a brilliant pink. He took a deep breath before allowing her words to tumble out hurriedly “I’d seen him in the library a lot- he’s studying history alongside all his training you know- and eventually he came over and talked to me- which he said he was really nervous about but of course that’s rubbish- and, well he doesn’t really know anyone here and people follow him around constantly and his English isn’t that good- although it’s gotten loads better- and, well...” She smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
Just as Gail was about to launch into further questioning, Krum appeared carrying drinks for himself and Hermione. “Viktor,” said Hermione “This is Hamlet my brother and his girlfriend Gail.” “Ah,” Krum smiled and shook hands with them both. “Hermy-own is telling me much about you.” “Nice to meet you,” said Hamlet, trying very hard to act like he shook hands with international athletes every day.
“So are you getting on well with Hermione?” said Gail, grinning at Hermione. “Oh yes!” Viktor replied “She is being very kind to me in showing me around. Ve have a much smaller campus in Bulgaria... To me this is, how you say...confusing. But I am thinking I like it very much.” He paused, looking quizzically at Gail. “Is your last name being Pember?” “Er, yes” said Gail, surprised. “I am thinking I have seen a...a wonderful painting by you in the art centre? Of the forest, with the moon?” “Yes! That’s mine.” “I am liking it lots. It reminds me of my home in winter” “So what’s Bulgaria like?” The rest of the evening passed pleasantly. Krum was a nice guy despite his surly image and was full of interesting Quidditch tales and stories about his home.
Hamlet returned to the dorm that night and found Hermione and Horatio in the midst of a blazing row. Waving their arms around, they were bellowing at each other, scarlet in the face. “Well if you don’t like it, you know what the solution is, don’t you?” yelled Hermione, her face was screwed up in anger. “Oh yeah?” Horatio yelled back. “What’s that?” “Next time, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!” Horatio mouthed soundlessly like a goldfish out of water as Hermione turned on her heel and stormed away.
“Well,” he spluttered, looking thunderstruck but trying to pull his face into a nonchalant smirk. “Well- that just proves- Completely missed the point-” Hamlet didn’t say anything. He’d never say so to Horatio, but sometimes he thought that Hermione had got the point much better than he had. “Don’t mind her Horatio,” said a dormie Hamlet knew vaguely as Rebecca. “I don’t know what her problem is.” she smiled at Horatio and sauntered slowly away. Horatio watched her leave with a kind of confused satisfaction.
The twins made their explosive entrance to Shiz University- well, Heffalump did anyway. Helena’s entrance was considerably more understated.
That’s not to say that she doesn’t enjoy a good smustle every now and then. Helena is studying Literature (like they all seem to be this generation) and Heffalump is unsurprisingly undecided. And of course, if Heffalump has come to Uni, she must have brought...
Demetri. Who has grown up to be.... Well... I mean.... *SWOON* He has officially been inducted into my Hall of Swoonies(to be published shortly)
“Hey Helena, congrats on that paper.” Helena’s heart skipped a beat as he patted her arm and she felt herself blushing furiously. “I’ve never seen Professor Yarnspinner so impressed!” “Oh...” she tried her best to smile but all she could manage was a kind of grimace. Trying to hide her flushed face and awkward smile, she looked down and fiddled with her dress. “Thanks Demetri. It really wasn’t anything-” But she was interrupted. “Demetri!” Heffalump’s melodic voice rang out across the room, as clear and tuneful as a bell, as she bounded towards them. She grabbed hold of Demetri’s other arm and pulled him playfully onto the sofa beside her.
“Hey you,” Demetri laughed. “How was class?” “Meh, just another boring lecture.” she said. “Buuuut, I drew this cool doodle of myself riding a giraffe in the back of my notebook!” She produced a crumpled piece of paper from her bag and showed it to Demetri and her sister. “What does ZF stand for?” asked Demetri. “Zermelo–Fraenkel, as in maths. Y’know... The set theory with the axiom of choice. Well I had to do something; those complicated lectures are more boring than Selena Gomez.” She paused. “TICKLE DAEMON!”
“AAAH!” Demetri shrieked and squealed as Heffalump launched into a fully fledged tickle assault. “Lumpy!” he gasped. “No! Please- no!” Helena smiled in a sad sort of way and tried to leave as quietly as possible, allowing her dark hair to fall in front of her face.
Hiro grew up into a family sim (I’ve reached the point in a generation where the prospect of a birthday party makes me groan) and his LTW is to become captain hero which is ASTONISHINGLY character convenient. Therefore, I love him even more. He spends most of his time being nerdy with his best friend Ando. “Hiro, this is ridiculous,” Ando whined. “You play this game for like six hours every day! It’s hardly a fair-” “Oooh, okay Ando.” he smiled. “We can play something easier if ‘karate pirates 4: revenge of the mutant swordfish’ is too difficult...” Ando narrowed his eyes. “You’re on.”
“HA! Captain Ando wins!” “How the hell did you do that thing where you summoned the dolphin hordes?” “You have to have 14 cursed doubloons and put them in your crow’s nest for the option to show up- oh, and it has to be a gibbous moon.” “Ohhh...” “Well,” grinned Ando “ It appears that there’s a new karate pirates 4 champion.” He began to perform a kind of seated victory smustle. “Well if you hadn’t used that cheat code to start a mutiny whilst I was plundering that ship-” he stopped and sighed. “Well played Ando.” “Thanks. Oh! Hiro, Star Trek’s on in a minute!”
Once chilly morning, (which is apparently Godric’s favourite kind of morning to go swimming) Farnsworth announced that the invention she had been slaving over was finished. The family- and Bethan who had come over to adopt Matsuda two days before and just hadn’t left yet- assembled in the lounge for the grand unveiling. “Hey Bethan!” smiled Iris. “I thought you left last night. You’re not still trying to persuade Gee to run away with you are you?” she laughed. “Hehe,” said Bethan. “No, as if I’m still bitter about that bachelor challenge!” “I shall make him mine and he shall be my squishy.” she whispered. “Sorry Beth, I missed that.” said Godric. “Nothing! Look, Farnsie’s ready to start.”
At the push of a satisfyingly big and red button, the crouching mechanical figure juddered to life. The sparks that flew from the robot gave that extra hint of madness to Farnsworth’s Dr Frankenstein-esque grin. Showing most uncharacteristic levels of self control, she resisted the urge to cry “IT’S ALIVE!” (because, of course, this wasn’t strictly true) and settled for a cackle of pleasure. “Everyone, meet Liu, a masterpiece of robotics engineering.” The family let out a suitably impressed gasp but Farnsworth’s smile had faded. “I wish Archie were alive to see this.”
“Grandma...” “Yeeeeeessss?” “Well, is... You know how Grandad Archie is dead?” “I’m pretty aware of that yes.” “Well,- he still...” he stuggled“existsdoesn’t he?” “Oh Hiro,” Farnsworth replied. “Of course he still exists.” “As a rotting piece of worm chow!” she guffawed. Hiro waited patiently while she rode the laughing fit. “Worm chow!” she breathed, wiping away a tear. “That’s a good one Farnsie!”
Her maniacal laughter subsided and suddenly her face fell. “Aww, I made myself sad.” Hiro pressed onwards. “But what I mean is... Well, just because he’s not here now doesn’t mean that anywhereanytime does it?” “Hmmm,” pondered Farnsworth.
“Well... I suppose that since is not a strict linear progression of cause to effect, as many people assume, but is in fact- as a dear friend of mine once explained to me- more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff...”
“Wait a second...” she frowned. “What are you- Sweet zombie Jesus Hiro! Are you thinking about trying to actually go back in time?!” Hiro said nothing. “Do you have ANY idea how dangerous that would be?!” she cried, waving a reprimanding finger around as though she were a dancing character in an ancient cartoon. “I was just wondering I swear!” he said earnestly. “I wasn’t actually going to try anything until-” “Until Dr Suresh says that it’s safe.” his grandmother said firmly. “Of course! It’d just be stupid to try anything before then.” Farnsworth looked and silently and then sighed.
“I loved your Grandfather... so much Hiro. And one of my largest regrets is not realising how I felt about him sooner.” She seemed lost in her memories for a moment or two, but soon came round. “But he’s dead Hiro, and I’ve accepted that.” “I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I didn’t mean to upset you Grandma.” “Don’t be silly.” she grinned. “I’ve always been in favour of curiosity haven’t I?” Hiro smiled back at her and after a while they both laughed. “But you have to promise me that you won’t try to use your power unless Dr Suresh thinks that it’s safe.” “I promise.” Hiro said as he hugged his grandmother and, unlike most teenage promises, it was sincere.
Two painful weeks of stubborn embitterment passed between Hermione and Horatio. Eventually, Hamlet sensed the weakening of their resolves and coerced them into having breakfast together. He was certain that neither of them wanted to continue to fight but neither one would give in. “So,” Hermione began bravely. “Professor Broadbent is having a party next month.” Hamlet winced. Did she really think that mentioning a party that Horatio, unlike them, wasn’t invited to was a good idea? “I wouldn’t know,” Horatio said scornfully. “I didn’t make it into your little club did I?”
Hermione continued as he had responded with polite interest. “We’re allowed to bring guests.” she said, watching him from the corner of her eye. “Oh,” he sneered. “Another little outing with Viktor then!” “Viktor’s gone back to Bulgaria.” she said calmly. Horatio made a sort of “harghah!” noise and muttered something unintelligible. “And actually,” she said quietly. “I was going to ask you.”
“What?!” He had abandoned his gruff tone now. Hermione had been determinedly not looking at him since speaking, but she seemed to feel the weight of Horatio’s astonished stare and turned slowly to face him. They said nothing. Hamlet wondered desperately if they would notice, or care, if he snuck away. At last, Horatio spoke. “You-” But he didn’t get very far.
“Horatio!” Rebecca cried, skipping girlishly across the cafeteria. “Guess what Ray-Ray, my lecture was cancelled so we can spend ALL day together!” Horatio watched as Rebecca came closer and then turned sharply to face Hermione again as if to say something. But he simply stared and, before he knew what was happening, Rebecca had pulled him from his seat and into her arms.
Hamlet stared across the table at Hermione, utterly lost for words. She had gone very pale and was staring at Hamlet as if to ask if he had known. He tried desperately to communicate that he hadn’t but couldn’t find the words to say so. Hermione gave a small, sad and entirely unconvincing smile before standing up slowly and with dignity and hurrying out of the room. There were two weeks until Professor Broadbent’s get together, and in that two weeks...
Other shizzle happened
The night of the party... Hamlet and Gail continued to float through their adorable, ‘squee’-worthy romance which was good because the atmosphere in the dorm had been pretty tense recently. Hamlet was happier than he’s ever been but he was achingly aware that Hermione- the person who had worked for years to make him so- was having a truly rough time. As she often did, Gail seemed to read his mind. “ How’s Hermione doing?” “Not well.” he sighed. “I don’t even think she’s coming tonight.” “Aww, really? That really-” she stopped and pointed across the room. “There she is! Why’s she hiding behind that screen? Hey! Hermione!” Hermione began frantically making ‘sshh’-ing motions across the room as they hurried over to her.
“Why are you hiding over here?” asked Hamlet. “SSSH!” “Why are you hiding over here?” he repeated. “I’m trying to avoid my date.” she whispered miserably. “Why?” said Gail looking puzzled. “Who did you come with?” “Cormac McLaggen” she muttered reluctantly.
“CORMAC-” “SSSSHHHH!” “Cormac McLaggen?!” Gail and Hamlet poked their heads out from the screen to watch Cormac- the official campus tosser- juggle glasses in front of a group of girls, smirking as they giggled and applauded. “He’s such a sleazeball.” shuddered Hermione. “He’s a freakin’ TOOL.” yelled Gail, as quietly as her hatred would allow. “MORE than a tool.” agreed Hamlet. “ I know,” Hermione moaned. “But Horatio absolutely loathes him so I thought going with Cormac would annoy him the most. Oh Gods, here he comes!” Gail grabbed Hermione’s hand. “I’m getting you out of here. Hamlet, distract him.” “What?” But they had already vanished.
“Seen Hermione?” Cormac was clearly rather annoyed but kept his cool composure. “I think she er- Went to powder her nose...” (Glitchy face reminds we so much of the newest Dalek related Dr Who episode! “WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA?” Best moment of the new series by far. )
“Slippery little minx your sister.” he smirked. “Likes to work her mouth too doesn’t she?” “She’s got a mind of her own if that’s what you mean.” Cormac smirked. “Well I’m sure it won’t take much to get us better... acquainted.” Hamlet had never wanted to wallop someone quite as much as this self-satisfied, conceited git, but was very aware that starting a punch-up with Cormac (who, as the youth of today say, was hench) would not end well for him. SMUGNESS “I suppose I’ll be seeing you then Hamlet,” he said cooly. “Maybe even at breakfast.” And with a final , blood-boilingly smug smirk, he strolled back towards the group of girls he had performed for earlier.
Liu had astonished the scientific community with her artificial intelligence and the Marmite family with her scrum-diddly-umptiousbelgian waffles and impeccable housework, but, to her, her life felt hollow- like a chocolate that you expect to be solid when you bite into but that’s actually full of a disgustingly sickly filling. Except that the chocolate of Liu’s life didn’t even have the manky filling. ... Dodgy and difficult to control metaphors aside, Liu was lonely. When her work, was done, she immersed herself in extravagant tales of star-crossed lovers whose passion overcame all odds. And when she reached the end of the novel, she’d find herself back in her solitary world and weep tears (of whatever it is that robots cry) about the love she’d never have.
And although she was usually very good at hiding her sorrow, Iris’ freaky simself hearing eventually caught her out. “Liu? Oh Liu what’s wrong?” Liu’s simulated voice was authentically high and squeaky as she explained to Iris through her sobs. “Ssshhh, I know...” said Iris soothingly as she tried her best to comfort Liu. “Why didn’t you say something? I’m sure we can sort this out.”
The new robot was finished in around a month and when questioned about why this robot had taken such a shorter time to construct Farnsworth had merely yelled “Because!”. Wringing her hands nervously, Liu waited for what felt like an age, staring at the robot on the floor. Liu held her ‘breath’ as Farnsworth activated the robot. It pulled itself up from its crouch, the sparks subsided and a pulse of light brought its eye to life.
The robot jerked as its simulated consciousness was activated and its posture relaxed into a slouch. “Who are you people and why should I care?” He said casually, staring around the room. “Boom, I’m your creator Farnsworth and this is Liu.” “Woah,” there was a spark of interest in his voice now. “So this is like... My creation party?” “Err, in a way...” “Well what kind of a party is this?” He demanded. “There’s no booze and only one hooker!” “I’m not a hooker!” yelled Liu, horrified. “Oh...” He smiled as smoothly as a robot can. “Well then maybe we should get to know each other baby, I’m sure we have a lot in common.” “Well we are made of virtually identical components.” Liu replied flatly. “Are you sure?” If Boom had had an eyebrow to raise, he would have done so then. “Maybe I should sneak a look at your access panel.” Liu said nothing, then ran sobbing from the room. “Oh my...” said Farnsworth quietly. “Screw this,” said Boom, walking towards the door. “I’m gonna go and host my own party, with black jack...and hookers! In fact, forget the party!” “Er...” Farnsworth followed him nervously out of the room. “Nah, screw the whole thing.” And with that he flung himself down in front of the TV.
“I can’t believe you’re all grown up already!” Iris said sadly, giving her son a tight squeeze. “It feels like you’ve only just become a teenager and you’re going away to Uni soon.” “I know Mum, but I’m ready.” he stepped back from her and smiled. “And it’s not like you won’t see me.” “I know,” she said as she smiled back. “Oh, your Dad and I have been thinking. We should all go on holiday soon... Somewhere in the far east maybe?” “Yeah! That sounds great Mum!” “Right then, I’ll start looking into it.” She tilted her head to one side and looked proudly at him for a moment or two. “You take care of yourself at Uni Hiro.”
“I can’t believe you’ve read it too.” Demetri smiled. “You’re only the third person I know who has.” “You’re my second.” she laughed. When they talked like this, when they were alone, she found it so much easier to be herself. “I’ve been trying to get Heffalump to read it,” said Demetri, “But she says it’s too bleak.” “Oh,” Helena’s smile faltered, but, with an effort, she propped it up again. “Well, Lumpy’s always been firmly on the brighter side of life.” she said, trying to sound amused. “You can say that again.” he said. “I don’t know how she does it really. Being that happy all the time must be exhausting.” “Heffalump doesn’t seem to have to abide by the same rules as everyone else.” she said in a quiet voice very different to the casual one she had intended to use. Demetri was watching her and seemed to be about to say something, but just as he opened his mouth to speak- “Well, I’m off out then.”
“Errr...” Demetri regarded Heffalump’s outfit with a deeply nervous expression. “Are you sure you’re dressed for it?” “Why don’t you like it?” her frown was reminiscent of a disappointed puppy. “No, you look great!” Demetri said hastily. “But won’t you be er... Cold?” he asked hopefully. “Nah,” she replied, blowing a dismissive raspberry. “It’s a rave! There’ll be so many sticky sweaty bodies crammed up against each other in that club, it’ll be boiling.”
This didn’t exactly neutralise Demetri’s concerns, but he just said “Oh, ok then. Have a good time babe.” “Will do!” Heffalump answered brightly. “I hope they use the foam gun! See ya Helena, later Dee” Demetri watched his girlfriend leave, frowning slightly. “Heffalump’s lucky to have someone as caring as you worrying about her.” Helena gushed before she could stop herself. Reprimanding herself furiously, she searched for something else to say, but fortunately, and as usual, Demetri hadn’t noticed anything beyond the surface value of her words.
“I know I’m being stupid.” he sighed “But I just- I mean, she’s out every night and I don’t know...” “Well why don’t you go with her?” she suggested. “You don’t have to sit here and talk to me every night.” she managed to summon up a laugh. “I promise I won’t be offended.” Maybe I then I could get this out of my system. She knew these long, nightly discussions were only making things worse- and yet she couldn’t stop herself. She didn’t stand a chance. “Gods no!” he shuddered. “I’ve hated every rave she’s ever dragged me to. That awful music and all those people... It’s not really for me. I can’t see how she enjoys it. And besides,” he added. “I like talking to you. I love Lumpy, but we’ve got very different tastes. I can’t have these discussions with her.” He smiled at her and Helena suddenly realised how loudly her heart was beating. Surely he could hear it bouncing against her ribcage? Stop it. You’re only making it worse for yourself. He was only saying this because he felt sorry for her. Poor miserable, lonely Helena. Abruptly, she stood up from the table. “I’m sorry.” she said. “I’m not feeling that well. I’m gonna head to bed.” “Oh, ok.” he said and Helena winced as she detected brotherly concern in his voice. “I hope you feel better in the morning.”
“Thanks,” she said quietly, quickly turning so that he couldn’t see her face. “I’ll tell Heffalump when she gets back so she can check on you in the morning.” “Oh don’t stay up that late just to tell her that.” she insisted, still not looking at him. “Oh I always wait for her.” He stifled a yawn and then continued. “It’s pretty late sometimes but that’s Lumpy isn’t it?” he said affectionately. “Yeah...” she said, folding her arms across her chest as if to hold herself together as she began to hurry towards the stairs. “Good night Demetri.” “Night Helena.” As she walked back to her room, Helena thought of Heffalump, her twin, her best friend, dancing the night away in a sea of neon, as carefree as always, whilst Demetri waited dutifully for her return as he had done without a single complaint ever since they had begun dating as teens. She thought of her own twisted feelings and wondered what Heffalump would say if she revealed them to her, what Demetri would say. But most of all, she wondered what kind of a sister they made her.
The robotic romance was not going at all as planned. Boom and Liu were totally incompatible. She was sweet and sensitive. He was a foulmouthed,indolent, whore-mongering, chain-smoking drunkard with a gambling problem, no sense of the law and swarthy latin charm. He wasn’t much use around the house either. “Hey Boom,” said Godric, “Would you mind taking out the rubbish and cleaning the-” “Bite my shiny metal ass meatbag.” “Okeydokey.”
“Welcome to Uni Hiro! I can’t believe you’re here already!” “Yeah, the curse of the youngest child I guess. You get shipped off pretty quickly.” Hey! “Relax mysterious voice from nowhere, I wanted to move on, I’m ready” *mumblemumble* “Are you okay Helena? You seem a bit down.” “Hmm?” she replied distractedly. “Oh, I’m fine Hiro, just tired.” “So what are you going to study?” asked Hermione. “I’m not sure yet. I haven’t had it picked out since I was 13 like you.” he laughed.
“You’re not going to believe this. Oh! Hey Hiro! I didn’t realise you’d arrived.” said Hamlet who had just entered the room. “What is it?” asked Hiro excitedly. “Come on, tell us!” Hamlet considered making them drag it out of him, but he was too eager to tell them. “Demetri and Heffalump are getting married!”
“Really!?” cried Hermione whose jaw had plummeted towards the ground. “That’s fantastic!” “I can’t believe it!” beamed Hiro, shaking his head whilst he grinned broadly. “Oh and they’re just so perfect together!” Hermione squealed, “I can’t believe we’re going to have a wedding already!” “When did they-” Helena stopped and tried to steady her voice. “When did they get engaged?” “Only last night,” replied Hamlet. “Do you think Heffalump would have been able to keep something like this a secret? Apparently there’s going to be a little engagement party tomorrow night at the lakeside club.” Helena nodded and waited for her siblings to descend into excited chatter before sliding quietly out of the room.
The Lakeside Club was a small bar and restaurant, unsurprisingly situated at the side of a lake, that could be hired out for private functions such as birthdays, anniversaries and, in this case, engagement parties. The small number of guests were gathered outside, near the lake, talking happily. Heffalump was more subdued than normal; “The Blushing Bride” the guests remarked. Demetri on the other hand, was positively glowing and much more talkative than his usual reserved self. Hamlet had hoped that Hermione would undergo a similar change in attitude and would finally patch things up with Horatio. He had been misguidedly optimistic. “What’s he doing here?” Hermione hissed. “I thought this was family only.” “Well he would have been the only non-townie in our dorm not to come.*” Hermione made a ‘hmph’-ing noise and folded her arms. “Look, can’t you just-” “You know very well that I can’t!” *NOT THAT I REGARD TOWNIES AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS... MUCH
“You didn’t tell me that she was going to be here.” Horatio said narrowly. “Of course she’s here. She’s the bride’s sister you pillock.” “Hey you’re supposed to be on my side!” “I’m not on anyone’s side!” Hamlet’s cry created a momentary lull in the murmur of amiable chatter. He continued in a lower voice. “You two have to sort this out. It’s only pride that’s stopping-” “If she could just-” “You’re both being as bad as each other! I’m serious. You have to-” The talk was fading away now and heads were beginning to swivel towards Godric who seemed to be about to say something. “I mean it.” he whispered. Horatio glared at him.
“Yeah, so hi everyone.” said Godric awkwardly, launching into the traditional cheesy father of the bride speech as the last of the chatter died away. “I just want to take a moment to say how happy I am for Heffalump and Demetri. I can’t quite believe that it’s really happening but I suppose that’s because I still see her as my little girl- which of course she is.” He turned to Demetri and smiled “So you better take good care of her.” Demetri beamed at him and looked lovingly at his fiancé whom Godric was now facing. “I’m so incredibly proud of you Lumpy, for all that you are and for having found such a nice guy to spend the rest of your life with without having to resort to some crazy dating challenge.” There was a loud cough from the assembled crowd. “Although,” Godric continued hastily. “Those challenges can be a truly wonderful way to find your soul mate.” He grinned at Iris who adopted a playful frown and winked back at him. “And now my soon to be son in law would like to say a few words. Demetri?” “Thanks,” he smiled at the guests and then turned to face Heffalump as he spoke. “Heffalump, since I met you my life has been...”
It was not so much ‘a few words’ as it was a lengthy declaration of undying love. A deeply sentimental list of the many, many ways that he adored her. Heffalump felt queasy. She was aware that this was really not the way one was supposed to feel when listening to a heartfelt confession of devotion from one’s fiancé. But that was still how she felt. Why does he have to make such a big deal of this? Nothing was ever simple with Demetri. Everything had to be so deep, so profound and she just couldn’t understand it. Why couldn’t he just... Just live for the moment. Why wouldn’t he stop looking for hidden messages, stop worrying and just enjoy himself. Having fun was becoming increasingly difficult because he kept getting them bogged down in meanings and emotions- and weddings. What am I doing? Heffalump didn’t want to get married. She’d never wanted to. Why they have to prove the way they felt to the world? Why wasn’t the fact that she loved him enough? But I don’t do I? I’m just trying to forget about- “Heffalump?” asked Godric, concerned. “Are you okay? You look a bit ill.” She looked from her father to her guests to her fiancé and felt her heart pounding like the baseline at Glastonbury. “I... I think-” “Heffalump!”
A young man had burst through the French doors and into the midst of their celebration. He wore tight, green leather-effect trousers that disappeared into heavy studded boots with platform soles. His vivid hair was as vibrant as Heffalump’s own and behind him a bored looking waitress regarded the stunned guests with a ‘What? I thought he was with you’ kind of expression. “You’re getting married?!” “Xander?” Heffalump hurried around a stack of engagement presents. “What are you doing here?” “Because I heard you were getting married-” “What’s going on Heffalump?” Asked Demetri nervously. “-and you don’t love him Lumpy.”
“Who are you?!” Demetri shouted, staring around wildly, hoping that someone would be able to explain what was happening. Xander ignored him totally and moved closer to Heffalump, taking her hands in his. “Xander...” Heffalump was crying now. Xander moved as if to stroke her cheek. “Hey!” yelled Demetri. “That’s enough!” “Look Demetri,” said Xander flatly. “I’m that this had to happen this way but-” “I still don’t know who the fuck you are!” “Oh I’m sorry.” he was shouting now. “I’m Xander and I’m trying to stop Heffalump from making the biggest mistake of her life.” “Well what would know about-” “Demetri.” Demetri fell silent as Heffalump, her face glistening with tears, turned to him. One of her hands was still grasping Xander’s tightly.
“Heffalump,” his voice was very quiet now and shook slightly. “Heffalump what’s going on?” “I-I’m so sorry Dee,” Like her voice, her entire body was quivering and she clung to Xander’s hand for support. “I- I- I can’t do this. I Don’t- I didn’t want to... But.... I love him and-” “No!” but the shout was more despairing than angry. “No,” Demetri held his hands to his head, twisting and knotting his hair. “You love me...” He was in danger of smudging his eye makeup.
“I thought I did” she sobbed. “Gods, I really did. But we’ve never really- And then when you proposed...” Xander stepped closer and stood behind her, a supportive hand on her arm as her voice began to undulate wildly. “I’m so sorry.... I didn’t want to do-.... I can’t do this Dee.” Demetri just stood there- staring at her with glittering, devastated eyes. Xander murmured something to Heffalump who nodded in reply. She allowed Xander to lead her by the hand through the astonished crowd of guests but not before she had whispered “I’m sorry” one last time. There was a stunned silence in the wake of their departure. All eyes were on Demetri who was staring numbly at the lake. A fish rose mysteriously to the surface, then vanished as quickly as it had appeared leaving widening ripples on the water. Demetri let out a moan of anguish, then seemed to suddenly remember that the others were there. His pale face sparkled with tears in the lantern light as he walked swiftly towards a gate in the fence that surrounded the patio. The guests parted before him, their faces shocked and pitying. “Demetri!” Helena cried suddenly as he disappeared into the trees. “Come back!” She pushed her way through the guests in pursuit leaving them silent and dumfounded.
I thought I would end with a collection of amusing faces pulled spontaneously by sims. And yes Iris, that is you pulling one of my speciality zombie faces. Mwahahahaha. Thanks for reading. As usual this chapter is far longer than I intended it to be. I wonder if you can guess where the plot is going next time? ;D I’d also like to mention my exciting new aspiration choosing gadget: The Trebuchet of FATE. Essentially, it’s a mini trebuchet that I will use from now on to fire a die across the room when choosing aspirations. What larks! Thanks again. What a lengthy generation this is. ANGRY DUCK