Welcome back to the Vetinari Dualegacy! This is Chapter 25.5: Wayward Son!Last time, some kids grew up, Cass and Gil pwned Jake, the Uglacy ghosts went on a rampage, and also BenAli decided to ask Cypress for help with his heirship problem, which ended with Cypress and a butcher knife.You know, the usual.
“Ow.”“Have a seat.”“What? Where am I?”“Sit down, kid.”
“Yeah, okay Chris Matthews, Ill just go do that. Now where the hell am I, and who the hell are you?”
“So... I guess this means Im dead, huh?”“Im sorry.”“Are... Are you, you know, the dead guy in the yard? Because you sort of look like him.”“Yeah, that was me.”“Uncle Sawchuk said youre Cypresss son. Spider something.”“Also yeah. One-half death-obsessed nutjob, one-half Grim Reaper.”
“OhGodImdead. Im just a kid, and Im dead, and my parents are going to be so pissed at me. What am Isupposed to do? I didnt think Id die. I messed up real bad, didnt I?”“Understatement.”“Arent angels supposed to be comforting?”
“Lets get one thing straight: Im no fucking angel.”“Then what—?”“Im not here to hold your damn hand and tell you itll all be okay, because guess what?You fucked up big timeand you paid for it with your life. You were warned against doing the very thing you did, and hey! They wereright. So Im sorry if Im not all full of kittens and sunshine over here.”“I just wanted—““You just wanted to be given something you had no damn right to.”“I thought I would be better at being the heir.”
“Because clearly self-entitled little shits make the very best heirs. Especially ones who are dumb enough to gowalking into a den of hungry lions wearing a suit made of porkchops. There is a reason the last selfish assholeis currently petting his white cat in his volcano lair instead of dead like he would be if hed been the heir, andthats because selfish assholes are in it for themselves, and not for the future. You know, the future thats thepoint of this whole damn thing?”
“I get it, okay? I messed up. I was stupid. And now Im, Im dead and Im kind of freaking out, and youre yellingat me, which I probably deserve, but its not helping, and I dont even know what Im supposed to do next. Do Ijust stay here forever?”
“God forbid. I aint lookin for a roommate, kid.”“So, what? I just... go away, wherever the rest of my family is?”“I might could do that. Or theres Option B, where I give you one last chance to see your family and tell emyoure sorry.”“But youre pissed off at me. And I dont wanna go home and scare everyone.”“One-time shot. Death Spicoli didnt come for you and take you all the way to the other side. There was awindow of opportunity. I took it and dragged you here instead. Youre not quite all-the-way dead yet. I can sendyour spirit back—not like a ghost, but like you—but it wont be for long, just long enough to apologize. Oncetimes up, youll go to the other side, and even I cant stop that.”
“Why?”“Cause getting murdered fucking sucks, and given the circumstances, I think you realize how badly you fuckedup, and your family deserves to know that youre sorry.”“You cant make me be alive again?”“I dont have that kind of power. So whatll it be? Go on, or go back?”“Back. I wanna say goodbye.”“Okay. Then I need you to do something for me. Tell them that the Uglacy has to know that my father is comingfor them. It started at the Uglacy, and thats where hell try to finish it. They have to know.”“Ill tell them.”
“Thanks for coming, you two!”“Well, we know how much you like your parties.”“I cant believe Im getting old!”“Looks like the whole familys here, though. Im guessing Bens sulking somewhere?”“Probably. Hell show up for the confetti, Im sure.”
“Oh, Nikolai, this was on the porch. It must be for you guys.”“Who would be giving us a present and just leaving it on the porch? Thats weird.”“Its gotta be yours though, right? Maybe Bell or Carver dropped it off.”“Yeah, maybe.”
“Hey, its getting close to six oclock. Have either of you seen your brother?”“Nooo!”“Nope!”
“Nikolai? Whos the box from?”“No idea. Howie said he found it on the porch.”“Whats in it?”
“Linds? Thats a weird present.”“Oh my God, its my son!”
“Sawchuk, you dont think... I mean, we talked him out of it, didnt we?”“We made ourselves clear, but beyond that...”
“Sawchuk! You knew? You knew something like this was going to happen and you didnt tell me?”“No! He came around asking questions about Cypress and we told him in no uncertain terms to stay away! Wehad no idea what he was planning.”“He was asking questions about Cypress and you didnt see fit to tell me? What is wrong with you? My son isdead because of that!”
“Lindsay, if hes dead, its not because of anything Howie and I did.”“If hes dead? Theres an urn on my kitchen table and I have a missing son whos apparently been asking aboutthe biggest murderer in the neighborhood! Who else would it be?”“I dont know! It could be almost anyone!”“Its not! And you should have told me about Ben!”“Would it have made a difference? How could you have stopped him?”
“I would have found a way! I could have changed his mind!”“We tried! Obviously he wasnt in a place of listening to logic and good advice!”“And what right did you have to make that determination for me?”“If youre such a great parent, how could you be living with him and not know what was on his mind?”“This is not my fault!”“Well, its not mine either!”
“This is my fault, okay? Mine, and no one elses. Uncle Sawchuk and Uncle Howie warned me, but I didnt listen.I thought I knew better. I was wrong. What I did was really, really stupid and I wish I hadnt done it, but no onewas going to change my mind. Stop blaming each other for what I did.”
“I dont... I dont know how much time I have, other than not a lot. I promised that Id pass along a message. Hesaid—the dead guy in the yard, Spider, Cypresss son—he said that you have to warn the Uglacy that Cypress iscoming for them. He said thats where the whole thing started, and thats where Cypress will want to finish it. Youhave to tell them, because I cant. He made it sound important that they know, so you have to do this for me.”
“Benjy? Are you really dead?”“Yeah. Look, Im sorry for all the horrible things I did and said to you. I was selfish and stupid and you didnt doanything to deserve me being an ass to you. Im really, really sorry.”“Its okay. Im sorry I called you Benjy all those times. And also just now.”“...You can call me Benjy if you want. But you dont have anything you need to apologize for. Not like me.”
“Ben! Well bring you back!”“We all know you cant. Im so sorry for everything. Im sorry I put everyone through this. I was so stupid! And Idont have enough time to say all the things I want to say.”“You can stay as long as you want.”“Its not up to me.”
“Im sorry, okay? Im sorry to everybody, for everything, but I didnt deserve this, I know I was stupid and selfishand mean, but Im just a kid and Im dead and I didnt deserve this, I just made a mistake and I shouldnt havedied because of it, and Im sorry, Im so, so sorry, and Im scared and Im sorry and—”
“Do we really have to grow up now?”“I think we do.”
“Nikolai, do you want to make the call, or should I?”“They know you better, but Ill do it if you want.”“No, youre right.”
“Wait, what? Bens dead? Lindsay, Im so sorry. I cant imagine what thats like. ...He came back to say that?Yeah, Ill pass it along. Thanks, Linds. And Im sorry.”
“Bad news, guys. Ben Ali is dead. Cypress killed him.”“What?”“Lindsay called and told me. She said he was able to come back for a few minutes, and he had a message forus. Specifically, us. Cypress is going to try to end this where it began: here.”
“Jack, I wish that were better news.”“Yeah, me too. So one of my friends is dead and Im walking around with a target on my chest. Awesome.”“Your mom and I will be here until Gen 10. Once you have a kid, its over and well all be safe.”“Fine, so Ill skip college and grow up and have a kid and thatll be it.”“I dont want you to do that. I want you to go to college, and have fun, but be careful about it. Skipping collegewont change anything except for Cypresss timeline.”“Thats not really comforting.”“Right now, I dont think anything is.”
In the downstairs bathroom, Ghost!Tess acts all innocent, like shes only going to come into your house andclean up after all the slobs that live there.Ghost!Tess is not innocent. She just wants to lull you in to a false sense of security. Then comes the nightlyreign of terror.
In less awful news, the dogs got their groove on in the doghouse, without a gardener around to cheer them on.Puppies on the way!
Oh, good.Archie apparently comes in the house now.I can see absolutely no way in which this will go horribly wrong.</sarcasm>
Jack, meanwhile, has decided to take his daily dose of frightening out of the ghosts spectral hands, andchooses to play with the Evil Jack-in-the-Box instead.Those were for Bucky, Marco, and Faraday, you dink.
“Cough, cough, oh, dont mind me, Im not over here in the corner DYING OR ANYTHING.”“Lalalalalala, if I ignore it, its not really happening, lalalalalala...”
“TRY TO IGNORE THIS!”“Hiiiii, Uncle Archie! Can it be my turn next?”Quick, Paulie! Go outside, where its safe!
Francesca and Stevie grow up.Stevies hair does not seem to have an Elder gray.Francies adult outfit did not seem to have a working fat morph.All my ladies seem to be required to grow up into island-themed clothing.Paulie seems underwhelmed.
It was About That Time for Jack, so I sent him on a date with Tahiti to get his Aspiration up.Their date was pretty typical for Teen dates at the roller rink.
“Hi, sweetie! Have a nice date! Dont do anything I wouldnt do!”“Aunt Channon, youre an Outgoing Pleasure Sim. There is literally NOTHING you wouldnt do!”“I know! Carry on!”Fortunately, Jack ignored Tahitis impromptu chaperone and kicked himself into Platinum so he could leave forcollege.
“Have a good time at college, Jack. But be careful. I mean it.”“Promise, Dad.”
Vex earned a Wishing Well, so Gretzky and Kati got to have things like dates and First Kisses and all that goodstuff.
You have already seen these Teens recently, or you will shortly. This is a Pleasure- and Romance-heavygeneration, so the Teen Townies are sort of making the rounds.For instance, Katis boyfriend was formerly seen passed out on the Uglacys back porch.
And, thanks to one thing or another, George is perfectly happy playing poker with two more targets while Katimakes a move on one of his boyfriends in the next room.You will also see THESE Teen Townies later.
Duncan and Tyler Landgraab are sort of relaxing. I dont have to worry about fights, and because of the girl/boyratio right now, I dont have to worry about Inappropriate Date Drops from the gypsy.
Duncan earns bonus points for being good at taking care of himself. He served up grilled cheese sandwicheswithout any prompting from me! And quick dates with Lawrin keep his Aspiration up.
Tyler doesnt have a girlfriend yet, but the gypsy fixes that.That particular Townie is the sort of goth-y Downtownie Teen girl, who got a head-to-toe makeover at SteviesPants. Her name is Ashlee, which I only remember because it cracked me up that the badass goth chick isnamed Ashlee.Anyway, I told you youd be seeing her again!
“PLEASE TELL ME THIS DATE IS NOT ICKY.”It took Kinsey a few times to get a date drop that wasnt uncomfortably related or otherwise off-limits. And,because shes Kinsey, it was like pulling teeth to get a reasonably good date out of Daniel Tuberculosisov.
Maui and Tahiti, on the other hand, passed Paulie around like he was a plate of deviled eggs at my familysChristmas parties.Paulie did not care one bit.Side trip time!
“Gil! Long time no see! I thought maybe youd forgotten how to get here.”“Hardly! Ive been busy. You know how it goes.”“Sure. So whats new?”“Ive been seeing someone. Cassidy.”“Let me guess: sorority girl who looks good in a miniskirt?”“Not exactly.”
“Wait, you dont... You dont mean Cassidy Vetinari. Gil. Youre not.”“Hes a nice guy, Malcolm.”“Hes a self-abusive drunk.”“Hes sober now, and obviously hes not with Jake any longer.”“So, what, youre just making excuses for him?”“Do I need to?”
“Gilbert, have you forgotten who he is? Who his father is? Who his father is to me? Your precious Cassidysfather killed two of my children, and he probably had a hand in my wifes death too! Did you really want me togive your relationship with Cassidy my seal of approval? And have you even thought about what youre puttingyourself in the middle of?I could claim ignorance when I married Sycamore, but youre well aware of the risksinvolved in getting close and personal with someone related to Cypress. What if he decides hes not donemessing with Cassidy? Youre putting yourself in the damn crosshairs!”“Im not with Cassidy to spite you, and Im not afraid of Cypress Vetinari.”
“You damn well should be! Youre smarter than this! Think with your upstairs brain and stop dating the murderingpsychopaths mentally unstable offspring!”“Cassidy is a victim too! Do you really think he doesnt feel awful about the things his fathers done? Hes tookind a person not to! Hes lived through things no one should have to, and yes, hes not the poster child formental health, but hes getting better!”“He will never be whole and you know it! Even I know it and Im not even dating him! Youre risking your life tohelp someone whos permanently broken, and youre telling yourself its worth it!”
“He is worth it, Malcolm. And by the by, when we had this conversation with the roles reversed, was I asinsufferable as you are right now?”“Very much so.”“Then I offer a belated apology. Was your insistence on pursuing your relationship with Coco worth it?”“...I dont know. I love Archie and Xander, but losing them was the worst thing thats ever happened to me.”
“You thought it was worth the risk at the time, though. And so do I.”“No chance of me talking you out of it?”“I love him, Malcolm. I told him Id marry him.”“I dont see a ring, though.”“It was sort of spontaneous.”“Spontaneous? Or a sliver of doubt? I know you, Gilbert. Youve never been one for settling down. Just considerthe idea that an unofficial engagement is a way to leave yourself an out. Think about it. Is Cassidy really theone youre going to leave your comfortable bachelor ways for? This isnt a decision to make lightly, and youknow it. Dont do something you might not live long enough to regret.”
At the Prettacy, Lilah has her kittens. The orange one is Spike and the brown one is Angel.Angel is a girl.Im partial to Spike, mainly because I havent had an orange kitten yet.
In preparation for college, Jojo and Lawrin get a few more dates in.
“Are you sure you have to go?”“Itll be fine, Mom!”“Call me every day! Ill worry if you dont.”“Okeydoke!”
“And you too! I dont know what Ill do if anything happens to you.”“Well be fine, Mom. Honest.”And with that, the Prettacy kids have left the nest.
Yeah, these two like to pillow fight in the middle of the night after the ghosts have scared them awake.Im not even kidding about how bad it is.
Even guests arent immune, and unlike Joyce, Bretts a Fortune Sim, so he was in no way looking forward tomeeting Tess.
These days, its almost always Tess. She haunts damn near every night, and scares at least two people everytime.Its bad. I have no idea how Paulie hasnt lost his marbles yet.
Somehow, Archie managed to finally scare Francie. Shes had that Want locked for WEEKS, and shes the onlyone in the house who hasnt gotten scared multiple times in that same timespan.
And puppies! The black one is Buffy, and the other two are Xander and Willow. Im pretty sure Nina is nuzzlingXander here.
Because five dogs is a lot of dogs, Stevie sold Groo and Nina to Ellie.Three dogs is still a lot of dogs, but its not as many as five.
Safety in numbers, perhaps? I dont blame George for not wanting to sleep in bed. Its pretty ghost-y up there.
George is still churning out the Loves for his LTW. Hes halfway there, whoa-oooh, livin on a prayer, take myhand and well make it I swear...That song has been stuck in my head all day.Yesterday it was Psycho Killer.Quest-ce que cest?In other news, I got a smartphone and Pandora is AWESOME and I want to make sweet sweet love to it downby the fire.
Right now, the Wishing Well resets at night, which isOK since its better outside at night than inside. In thepast, nighttime outdoor dating was fraught with peril(PERIL), but now its sweet relief.And George picks up another couple of Loves beforecurfew.
The next day, with a few judicious dates, he managesto snag Puffy Vest Tricou, Blonde Girl, and Pink ShirtGirl.And then keeps on keepin on with a bunch of others.
You may have recognized the redhead (aka Not Rose Goss) and Daniel Tuberculosisov in there.But its our little friend Goth Ashlee who becomes Georges 20th Simultaneous Lover, kicking him into PermaPlatand making it so he never has to worry about being haunted into Aspiration Failure ever again.Thank you, Goth Ashlee! Your contribution has been duly noted.
Paulie and George head to college, comforted by the knowledge that there are no ghosts at Havelock House,and, unlike Jack, they wont be moving back to the Uglacy, and can therefore live out the rest of their liveswithout ever pissing themselves in fear again.
Maui and Tahiti left as well.And I totally missed a shot of Maui leaving, but I got one of Tahiti waving to her, which counts, right?
Gretzky and Kati snuck out in the dead of night.Kaylee ran out to wave to Kati, and then resumed her rigorous schedule of stalking Abel, even though he wassound asleep at the time.
Duncan, Tyler, and Kinsey were the last to go.At least Duncan and Tylers parents were in the sameroom to wave at them as they left.Six and Inara sort of dropped the ball on that one whenKinsey headed for the taxi.One last bit of business before we go!
“Im surprised you got dessert, since you dont like sweets.”“Well, it came with dinner. I guess Ill just box it up and you can have it later.”“Heh. Im not one to turn down free snacks! So whatd you bring me here for anyway? Not that Im complainingabout getting to go on a date with you.”
“I wanted to make tonight special.”“Why? Whats tonight? Is it like an anniversary or something and I just forgot? Oh crap, I forgot somethingimportant, didnt I?”“No, Cass, nothing like that.”“Then what?”
“I know you think its a difficult decision for me to settle down with you because Im a Romance Sim. But its nota difficult decision at all. Its maybe the easiest decision Ive ever made, because I love you, and I want to proveit.”“Gil, is that—?”“I said Id marry you, but I want to make it official.”“But—I mean—”
“Cassidy, will you marry me?”“Of course I will, Gil, you know that. I didnt need a ring to make it real for me.”
“Maybe you didnt need one, but you deserve one. And now you know, without question, that I want to spend therest of my life with you.”“Even knowing what Im like?”“Im in love with who you are. End of story.”
“Gilbert, I love you so much. I wish Id met you before all the bad stuff, so maybe I wouldnt be so messed up.”“I wish I could change the past for you, Cass, but I cant. All I can do is promise to make the future be asamazing as I can.”“Thats already more than I ever hoped for.”“Its the least I can do for the man I love.”Next time: college!