The Vetinari Dualegacy: Epilogue


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In which things are brought to a close.

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The Vetinari Dualegacy: Epilogue

  1. 1. What the hell?How am I even still alive?
  2. 2. Well, too late for that.But I shouldnt even be here.And why is there a cat?
  3. 3. This would be so much easier if I were just all-the-way Dead like I wanted to be.
  4. 4. “Oh, its you. I should have guessed, I suppose. Whats with the cat?”“I LIKE CATS.”“Rescue a lot of strays, do you?”“THEY SEEM TO FIND THEIR WAY TO ME.”
  5. 5. “So what the hell am I doing here? Price to be paid, yadda yadda. We both know I shouldnt have survived that. You justdecided to pull my ass out of the fire?”“IF YOU HAD ASKED, I WOULD HAVE TRIED TO TURN YOU FROM YOUR PATH. YOUR DECISION WAS MADE, AND ITWAS NOT MY POWER THAT SAVED YOU.”“Who else is there? Youre the fucking Reaper; whos got the trump card?”
  7. 7. “Dammit, Cass. Why cant you just let me go?”“WHY ARE YOU SO DETERMINED TO DIE THE FINAL DEATH? TO BECOME A NAMELESS?”“Is that what theyre called? I called them wraiths. And if Im one of them, I dont have to go back.”“YOU ARE HUMAN. YOU BELONG ON THE HUMAN WORLD.”“I have fucking wings. Im not human. The things I can do, the things Ive done. No. Im not human.”“YOU ARE HUMAN ENOUGH.”
  8. 8. “Human enough to what? To be tired, to hurt, to hurt other people?”“TO HEAL.”“And what if I dont want to? What if I cant? What do you think the kamikaze mission was all about? Making it so I could finallybe done.”“I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.”
  9. 9. “I cant pretend like Im not damaged goods. I cant fool myself into thinking that Ill ever be okay. And thats what Cassidywants. He wants—he needs—me to be okay. But I cant. Im too far gone for that. But I cant lie to him, either. If you all wouldhave just let me go, none of that would matter. I wouldnt have to hurt anymore. I wouldnt have to fight anymore. Now I have togo back, and I dont know what Im gonna do. All I wanted was for it to be over.”“AS I TOLD YOU ONCE BEFORE, YOUR FIGHT IS OVER.”“And its no more true now than it was back then. Its not—”“NOT WHAT?”“Oh no...”
  10. 10. “Why does it always have to...”
  11. 11. “Spider!”“Dont fucking touch me!”
  12. 12. “Come on now, you could at least say thanks for the resurrection before you stomp off in a huff.”“Do you really expect me to be grateful to you? For anything? Ive had nothing but time to think, since I was fucking Dead, and Icame to the conclusion that I dont owe the two of you shit.”“That seems a bit harsh.”
  13. 13. “Harsh? Yeah, I guess you could use that word. Id say its just as harsh as the way you manipulated a scared, lonely, abusedchild and then conned an equally fucked-up and confused young man who wanted to take you at your word because thatmeant that there was one fucking person looking out for him.”“It wasnt like that, Spider. For the Boss or for me.”“No? Then why didnt you ask for my help? Why didnt you give me a choice? Why the subterfuge and the manipulativebullshit? You could have fucking asked.”“We never told you what to do. And Sycamore told you more than once to walk away if you couldnt take it.”“Sure. Make me believe like I had a choice in the matter. But I didnt. You made sure of that.”“Of course you had a choice.”
  14. 14. “All I want from the two of you is the truth. One question. And you give me the truth.”“This is ridiculous.”“Oh, I think we passed ridiculous a long fucking time ago. So, one question: Did you—did either of you—ever tell me anythingthat wasnt designed to get me to do what you wanted me to do, or was it all just an endless stream of bullshit?”“Spider, come on, be reasonable...”
  15. 15. “Yeah. Thats what I thought. Im done with you—with both of you. Leave me the fuck alone. Dont touch me, dont talk to me,dont fucking look at me. Im leaving now. Stay the fuck away from me.”
  16. 16. “Spider, come on, we did what we had to do!”
  17. 17. “Im pretty sure I just said dont fucking touch me!”
  18. 18. “Hold music, how can there be hold music when Im calling the Grim Reaper?”“...Phee-Phee, can I have my hand back now?”“Wait, it clicked! Hi, I want to resurrect... Oh crap, its one of those automated things. Resurrection. Reeesssurrreccctiiooonnn.RESURRECTION. Crap, you guys can understand me, right? REPRESENTATIVE. REEEPREEEEESEEEENTATIIIVE. Hi, Idlike to resurrect my son, Ben Ali Vetinari. No, BEN Ali. Vetinari. No, Vetinari with a V. No, not Lee, Ali. A as in apple, L as in Lisa,I as in India. No, I dont want to resurrect India. Is Indy even dead? Oh, for crying out loud... BRAVO ECHO NOVEMBER.ALPHA LIMA INDIA. VICTOR ECHO TANGO INDIA NOVEMBER ALPHA ROMEO INDIA. NO, I do NOT want to resurrect Indiaor Victor. They arent dead! BEN. ALI. VETINARI. No, I would NOT like to purchase additional deathproofing for a low low priceof nineteen ninety-five a month. Yes, I understand that it is important insurance, but Im not interested. No, I am NOT payingwith a ReaperCo charge card. No, I am NOT interested in a ReaperCo charge card. ...Listen, if you dont give my son back tome right this very minute I swear I will reach through this phone and slap you silly. No, I am NOT interested in taking a surveyabout my experience today.”
  19. 19. “Yes! Im opaque!”
  20. 20. “All right! Benjys back!”“Im really sorry, Mom.”
  21. 21. “Jojo, Im so sorry for what I did.”“Its okay. I kind of think youve been through enough.”“I like your hair. Its really... pink.”“Pink is the best.”
  22. 22. “Can I hold the baby?”“Youre not going to do anything to him, are you?”“No, I just... never had a nephew before.”
  23. 23. “So I guess this means were all good now? Everythings cool. Right?”
  24. 24. “Cass! Hey! Come let me in!”
  25. 25. “Spider?”“Yeah, its really me. Accept no substitutes.”
  26. 26. “I was just asking around to see who had a Bone Phone so I could borrow it and bring you back! Dads dead and... Im reallyglad youre here. Who resurrected you?”
  27. 27. “Larch and Sycamore. I dont want to talk about it. I, uh... I dont have anywhere else to go. Can I, you know... Stay here?”“Of course you can! You know you dont even have to ask. Come on in, sit down, relax!”
  28. 28. “So what do you want to catch up on first? Dels twin, we found her at the wedding,she was an old friend of Gils, her name isDidi, youll like her. Shes got two kids, both boys. And Dels sort of mellowing out! Shes changed a lot, really. Well all have toget together some time. Not, like, tomorrow, or anything. But Im sure everyone will be happy to see you. Who else can I tellyou about? You were friends with Indy and Chad and those guys, right?”“Cass, uh... I just got back and Im kinda tired. Can I maybe just take a nap or something?”“Oh, duh, of course youre tired! Yeah, you can take Gils moms room.”“Thanks.”
  29. 29. “Spider? Can I ask you something?”“Yeah, anything. You know that.”
  30. 30. “Did it... I mean... You know... Hurt?”
  31. 31. “Im sorry, Spider. Im so sorry.”
  32. 32. “Hey, hey, itll be okay, I promise. Im sorry any of this happened to you. Well figure out how to make this all right.”
  33. 33. “Oh! Okay. Hes dead, Spider. Hes dead and he cant hurt you anymore. He is dead and hes not coming back. Its over.”
  34. 34. “Cass... I cant... Cant...”
  35. 35. “I know. Its okay, Spider. Just go ahead and cry. Its okay.”
  36. 36. “...Spider? Im starting to lose feeling in my feet.”“Sorry.”
  37. 37. “Can I go to bed now?”“Yeah, its just right over there.”“Kay.”
  38. 38. “This is it! We, uh, sort of havent got around to redecorating this room yet, we had to replace one of the fridges at the bakeryand we were sort of strapped for cash.”“Its fine.”“I know its not your thing.”
  39. 39. “I said its fine.”“Wrights sake! Spider, are you all right?”
  40. 40. “Fine. Kill the light when you leave?”
  41. 41. “You dont have to say it, I know, okay? I know. My brothers so messed up he makes me look like the poster boy for mentalhealth. Hes a million different kinds of screwed up and I dont know if he can pull himself together. I mean, he—I knew it wasbad, I did, but I didnt think it was this bad. And I dont... I dont think he wanted to come back. I think he knew hed never beokay, and he didnt want to have to deal with any of this. Now hes here, and I dont know how to help him. I dont know what todo.”
  42. 42. “You were pretty bad too, Cass. He needs time, and patience, and support, and eventually hell figure out what he needs, andthen hell be able to tell you how to help him.”“But he wont. Thats not how Spider works.”“So youll figure out what does work.”“I knew it wouldnt be easy, but I didnt think hed be this bad. Every time I think Ive reached my limit on how much I can hatemy father...”
  43. 43. “This wasnt all your father, Cass. Spider did some of this to himself.”“I know, and I know why.”“You cant hold yourself responsible for his decisions. You can help him. I know you can. Just promise me one thing.”“What?”“Dont hurt yourself to help your brother. Youve come too far to go sliding back down that hill.”“Ill try.”
  44. 44. “You really dont have to be here for this, Jack.”“Eh. Ive come this far, havent I? May as well see the happy ending.”
  45. 45. “Hi, Grandma. You realize, of course, that this means you can no longer make me pee my pants in the middle of the night.”
  46. 46. “Wooo! Moms alive! No more late-night hauntings! We can all sleep in peace!”“Thats great, Stevie. Now let me at that Bone Phone!”
  47. 47. “Thats certainly a new smell.”“Hush up, Jack, thats my daddy.”
  48. 48. “Tess! You got so old!”“Daddy, dont you know not to say that sort of thing to a woman?”“You were just a little girl the last time I saw you.”
  49. 49. “Well, now Im not. ...And Jack was right, you are a bit ripe. Which I suppose is normal, considering.”
  50. 50. “All Im saying is, its been a really long time and Im worried. Is this normal? Should we call someone and ask?”“Cass, whats normal for other people whove been resurrected isnt necessarily going to be normal for your brother. I dontknow what we should do. I dont even know who to ask.”“Do you think I should go wake him up?”“If he needs to sleep, I think we ought to let him sleep.”
  51. 51. “Hey. So, is there, like, breakfast, or something?”“Spider! Um, its kind of... nighttime. You sort of slept, like, 24 hours straight.”“Ah. So, is there, like, dinner, or something?”“Leftovers in the fridge. Help yourself.”
  52. 52. “So are you feeling any better?”“I sort of feel like I just got yanked out of this little patch of the afterlife thats the closest thing I ever had to a home, and tossedback into a world thats never brought me anything but pain, and physically I feel like someones hit me with a bus and thenshat in my skull, but no ones pissed me off in twenty-four hours so I guess thats something.”“Youve been asleep for twenty-four hours.”
  53. 53. “Look, I dont know how I feel, okay? I cant deal with everything all at once. Right now, I just wanna focus on the things I canfix. And Im hungry. So Im gonna eat. And then Im gonna go take the worlds longest piss, and maybe grab a shower. And verymuch not think about the things I cant handle, which is damn near everything else. I dont know if I ever really felt like Ibelonged in this world, and that hasnt changed, only now everythings different because Im different, and I just dont fuckingknow.”
  54. 54. “Come on, Spider, have another burger. Stay here and talk for a while.”“Piss. Shower. Sleep. Thats what I can cope with.”“You cant still be tired! Youve slept an entire day!”“Im tired. I didnt get a nice relaxing death like everyone else. It took a lot out of me.”
  55. 55. “Im worried about you. Youve been through a lot, and if anyone knows what going through hell does to you, its me.”
  56. 56. “Okay, then I promise I wont try to kill myself again. I mean, that didnt work the first two times, definition of insanity, et cetera.Anyway. Piss. Shower. Sleep. See you guys tomorrow.”
  57. 57. “That didnt make me less worried.”“Cass, hes tired. People say things they dont mean when theyre tired. You said it yourself: hes been through a lot. Maybe wejust have to give him some time.”“Times only good if youre doing the right thing with it.”“You cant force him to do anything he doesnt want to do.”“I know, but that doesnt mean I have to sit back and watch him self-destruct.”
  58. 58. “Okay, well, its Archie, so trying to make him stop isnt an option, but did you try asking nicely? Ah, who am I kidding, that neverworks either. But if youre that eager to get rid of him, maybe I could get a discount? No, I understand I can reverse-rez him if Iwant, but that just doesnt seem fair. I mean, hes Archie.”
  59. 59. “Yes! Idiot Xander finally did one thing right!”
  60. 60. “Enjoy it, dork. You only ever get one.”“Thats okay.”“You smell like bacon.”“Itll be dark in a few minutes. Im going to bring back Mom.”
  61. 61. “Good for you, bro, but I gotta go see my bitch!”
  62. 62. “Archie! Damn, man, I was wondering if youd be at the top of the list!”
  63. 63. “Fuck out the way, Tolly.”“Charming as ever, I see!”“Theres my girl!”
  64. 64. “Maggie! Whos my good girl? Whos my pretty girl? Who missed me so much? Maggie-Mags, best bitch ever, yes you are!”“And here I figured youd get laid first.”“I had something more important to do. Like rub the tummy of the prettiest doggie ever, Maggie-Mags!”
  65. 65. “Where are we going, Cass?”“Just trust me, okay? I think this is important.”“But why are we heading back into town? I figured you were just taking me to the bakery or something.”“Gil can hold down the fort for a while.”
  66. 66. “Wait, I was here, this... This is Larchs house. Cass, take me home!”
  67. 67. “Spider, just trust me. You know I wouldnt hurt you.”“No, I dont want to be here, I dont want to deal with him again, take me home.”“You dont have to see him if you dont want to. Were not here for him. This isnt about him, or whatever issues the two of youhave.”“I want to go home.”“Trust me. I just want to show you something in the yard.”“Cass, I cant!”“Trust me. Come on, and trust me.”
  68. 68. “Thats... Dad? How did Larch get it?”“I didnt ask. I thought you might want to... I dont even know what I thought. But its him, so go ahead and do whatever youwant to do.”
  69. 69. “Well, okay. So, Ill just be over by the car, then. When youre finished.”
  70. 70. “Huh. Thats certainly the portrait of mental health.”“Shouldnt you be older?”“Sycamore said some pirate vampire dropped off a potion, told her to give it to me. Turns out it was a cure for the crusties.”“Too bad it wasnt a cure for the rest of the crap thats broken with your brain.”“Et tu, Cassidy? Im not the only one here with a broken brain, clearly. Whats it like living with a ticking time bomb?”
  71. 71. “My brother isnt dangerous.”“No? You havent had a moment of black-eyed surprise, then? Or are you just pretending that if he loses it, hell magically knowwho not to hurt?”“I trust Spider not to hurt me. Hed never.”“So youre willing to gamble with your husband? Or do you think Spider will know hes off-limits too, if he blows his stack?”“If hes unstable, its only because of what you did to him. You and your brother.”“You admit that hes not okay, then.”“Im not blind or stupid, whatever anyone else thinks.”
  72. 72. “I dont think youre blind or stupid, just looking for a convenient spot to place the blame.”“Why shouldnt I put the blame where it belongs? You like to talk a good game about your family, and how you had to keepthem safe, but you know what? Spider and I are your family too. And yet you manipulated Spider and let me suffer.”“You were a grown man, making your own choices. It wasnt my business to stop you from doing anything.”“You could have been honest with us. You could have tried to help me. If youd told me that you were looking out for Spider, andtold me that I didnt have to feel guilty, I might have done things differently.”“Spider was too good a weapon to leave up to chance.”“Dont you get it? If Spiders nothing more than a weapon, then none of whats happened has been his fault, because you dontblame the thing for the actions of the person behind it, and everything hes going through should be on you instead. If hes notjust a thing, if you want to place the blame and the guilt and all of it onto him, then hes a person, and he deserved better thanwhat you did to him, and youre the asshole. You dont get to have it both ways.”
  73. 73. “Fine. So my hats not shiny and white. I still won, didnt I?”“Yeah. And just because you won doesnt make you the hero.”“Of course not. My underpants are on the inside.”“Sure. Thats the reason. And not the traumatized kid you left in your wake.”“Hey, no pinning that solely on me and mine. You could have left your jerk of a boyfriend any time.”“I know my role in this. Even if he doesnt admit it, its something I have to live with every single day. My hat isnt all that pristineeither, but at least I dont expect people to treat me like it is.”
  74. 74. “Everyone involved in this got their hands dirty. No ones innocent here.”“But it didnt need to go down like it did. ...Hes getting up. You should make yourself scarce. Youre definitely not on his Do NotHurt list.”
  75. 75. “Are you done?”“Yeah, I think so.”“Are you okay?”“Im good.”
  76. 76. “Spider, I mean, its okay not to be good, you get that, right? Youre allowed to not be good. Nobodys going to judge you for it.”
  77. 77. “Im good.”
  78. 78. “Good, it worked, and no one is on fire!”
  79. 79. “Thank you for waiting until after dark, Xander.”“Tess told me you were a vampire. I didnt want to do this during the day.”“Is Archie here?”“He wanted to go see his dog. Or possibly some of the SimSelves. Its hard to tell.”“Probably the dog. You know he loves his dog.”“Its a good thing we didnt raise cats, isnt it?”“Im sure he would have had a fantastic time with that.”
  80. 80. “Really? Thats fantastic! When? Yeah, of course well be there—Gil and I will bring dessert! Sure, yeah, see you in a bit!”
  81. 81. “Cass, what—?”“My mom, Gil, someone brought back my mom. Theyre having everyone over to Didis in a couple of hours so everyone canmeet her. Can you imagine?”“Thats really great, honey.”
  82. 82. “But...”“But what?”“What if she doesnt like you? What if she doesnt like... you know. Me.”“You know how much she loved you. That wont have changed.”“But... She didnt know.”“Cass, if she really is the woman you described to me, then shell love you as much now as she did back then. No question.”“I guess youre right.”
  83. 83. “Spider? Do you want to come?”“No. I dont think I should.”“It wont be like that.”“I cant handle it if it is. Im not sure I can handle it if it isnt. I cant go.”“Its family.”
  84. 84. “Its too much for me, Cass. Even on my best day, I couldnt have gone somewhere with so many strangers.”“We can tell them to leave you alone, if you want.”“Its not just them, its her. And what she means. I cant. But go, have fun. Enjoy yourselves. Im going to go take a nap. Ill behere when you get back, and you can tell me how it was.”“I dont want to leave you by yourself.”“Ill be fine. This is your mom. I know how much youve wanted this. Go to the party. Ill be fine, I promise.”“If you change your mind, well be at Didis. You cant miss the house, its like a big pink princess castle.”“Pink princess castle, got it.”
  85. 85. “Cass, door! ...Right, youre not here.”
  86. 86. “Jane!”“Hello, Spider. I hope you dont mind if I come in.”
  87. 87. “No, you cant... You cant be here.”“Why not? It seems like a perfectly lovely place to be.”“But... you cant... You cant be...”“I cant be what?”
  88. 88. “You cant be nice to me.”“I think I can be nice to whomever I choose.”“Please just go.”“Spider, do you really think I blame you?”“How can you not?”“Thats not who I am. I know you blame yourself. I know youve taken on more burden than you deserve. I know you better thananyone.”“How?”
  89. 89. “Because you left my urn where it was, Spider. Every night, I watched you toss and turn, until you stopped sleeping. I saw yourheartbreak and your hurt. I know that what your father did to you was nothing compared to what you did to yourself. When youlost hope, there was nothing I could do, even if I knew how it was going to end. I watched your father destroy the things youdleft behind, and I knew you werent coming back.”
  90. 90. “Please dont.”“If you really need my forgiveness, you have it, but the truth is youve nothing to apologize for. Of course I dont blame you forwhat happened to me. I know who was responsible. It was never you.”“The only reason Im here is because you died.”“And if it hadnt been me, it would have been Cassidy. You protect the ones you love.”
  91. 91. “You know Im sorry, right?”“Yes, but you arent responsible for making amends for your fathers misdeeds.”“I cant help but feel like Im just like him if I let myself off the hook.”“Youre not. Hed never even think that he should feel bad about the things hes done.”“...So why are you here?”
  92. 92. “Theres a party. And I want all of my children to be there.”“But Im not...”“Spider, you wouldnt be here if it werent for me, and that makes you my child just as much as the rest of them.”“Delirium will be there, and I dont want to make trouble.”“No excuses. Come to the party, and meet your family.”“...Okay.”
  93. 93. “Spider?”“This was a mistake. I think Im gonna puke.”“Youll be fine.”“I dont know how to deal with... people.”
  94. 94. “Spider? What are you doing here?”
  95. 95. “Aaaand Im just gonna go now.”
  96. 96. “I didnt mean it like that! Wait, will you?”
  97. 97. “Can you just... not yell at me? I sort of cant handle... anything... right now.”“I dont want to yell at you. I want to apologize to you.”“...I dont know if I can handle that either.”
  98. 98. “Spider, Im sorry. I was never really mad at you. I knew who was responsible for all the massive amount of shit that gotdumped on me, but it wasnt safe to be angry at Dad, and you were just... convenient.”“Um? Okay. I mean, I got that, even back then. I forgive you, if it matters.”“It does, thanks. Didis inside, getting the plates. Everybody else is in the back. You should grab a hamburger with us.”“Sure.”
  99. 99. “You must be Spider. Im Delight, but I guess you knew that already.”“Sort of, yeah. It was kind of a weird moment.”“When you died?”“That too.”“Id hug you, but Cass says youre not a hugger!”“Yeah, please dont.”
  100. 100. “Were all having lunch out back. I asked everybody to leave you a seat by Cass and Gil, since you know them already.”“Thanks.”“Im so excited! I get to meet my mom for the first time! Isnt it great?”“Thats... certainly a word for it.”“Come on and join us—I had Nolan save you a burger.”“Sure. I can eat a hamburger. Cant I?”“Of course you can, silly!”
  101. 101. “I gotta go.”
  102. 102. “Sorry about that, everybody. He gets a little... overstimulated... sometimes. Were working on it. Its a process.”
  103. 103. “Ill go make sure hes okay.”“Are you sure? I could go if you want to finish your lunch.”“Thanks, Didi, but its better if I go. Hold the cake until we get back?”
  104. 104. “Spider? Whats up? You didnt even touch your burger.”“Ill throw up if I eat.”“Okay.”“And its too noisy. Theres too many people. I cant.”“Im pretty sure this is just a panic attack.”“Its not just anything.”“No, youre right.”
  105. 105. “You gotta give me something to work with, Spider. Im trying to help you, but I dont know what you need.”“I dont know either, but I cant do this. Its too much.”“Okay. So why dont you hang out in here for a while, and the rest of us can finish lunch, and after cake the kids can go off anddo whatever it is that teenagers do, and then itll just be the adults, and you can come out and join us then? Fewer people. Lessnoise. Ill even save you a slice of cake.”“I cant do this. I need to go home.”“I know you can do this.”“I cant.”“Then just try.”
  106. 106. “I need to go home!”“Spider?!”
  107. 107. “Well... shit.”
  108. 108. “Isnt Spider with you?”“No, hed... had enough, so he decided to go home.”“Was it something we said? Or something we did?”“No. Its just... Spider. Hes kind of messed up.”“Are you leaving too? Doesnt he need a ride back to Bluewater Village? Its a long walk.”“He sort of... teleported. I guess he can do that now? We should leave after cake, though, make sure hes okay.”
  109. 109. “I can go without you, Cass. I know you wanted to stay longer and catch up with everyone.”“Thanks, but its better if Im there.”“I can poke my head into his bedroom as easily as you can.”“I know, but Im worried about him. I think maybe being here doesnt help. It might be time to take him to Twikkii Island and seeif a change of scenery is what he needs.”“No arguments from me! An island vacation is the best news Ive heard all week.”
  110. 110. “Eddie, great news! I just heard from Archie and Xander! Theyre bringing people back! Youll get to see your mother again.”
  111. 111. “Yeah, thats super, really.”
  112. 112. “Whats the matter? I thought youd be happier about this! Isnt this what youve wanted for years? Why the total lack ofexcitement?”“Dad, I think its maybe time we had a talk...”
  113. 113. “Geez, still? Spider, can we talk about this?”“Whats there to talk about?”“This. Like, the this this.”“What do you want me to say?”
  114. 114. “I dont know, and thats kind of the problem. I wanna help you, you know that, but I dont know what the problem is.”“Everything.”“No, its not. Thats just the way it feels. Believe me, Ive been there. Damn, Spider, Im sorry this happened to you, the wholething, and I wish I could go back and make it so you never had to go through any of this, but I cant. You—we—need to moveforward, but thats hard to do when youre sitting here curled up in a ball instead of trying to live your life.”
  115. 115. “I never had a life to live. I never expected to have one. How do I even start? You make it sound like its easy, like I should justknow how to do it, but I dont. And this place, this world, doesnt feel like someplace I belong. Everythings too loud, too bright,too harsh, too busy, and I dont have control. Everybody wants me to be okay, and Im not, and I dont know if I ever will be, andIm tired of pretending. Im just... tired.”
  116. 116. “Well, its time to stop being tired, because I know where that road leads, and so do you. So were going to take a baby stepnow. Youre going to get into a vertical position and come out onto the back balcony with me. And this is non-negotiable, in caseyou were wondering.”
  117. 117. “Happy now? This is me, upright under the burning light of the daystar, as you requested.”
  118. 118. “Still havent managed to get tired of the sarcasm, I see.”“What am I doing out here?”“Not being in the fetal position in bed, mostly.”“Do you get some sort of weird sense of amusement from this?”“No, not really. But were someplace youve never been, someplace without any associations for you, someplace new toexplore, which means the only thing dragging you down is you, and thats gotta change.”
  119. 119. “Come on, Cass. When havent I been my own worst enemy?”“Thats just it—you decided to do this to yourself, and you can decide to stop. Im not saying itll be easy, but youre stoppingyourself from being happy, and thats not fair.”
  120. 120. “I spent most of my life telling myself that Id never be happy. I knew—I always knew—that a fairy tale Happily Ever After wasnever in the cards for me. Its not a switch, Cass, I cant just flip it and change my mind. And you want to know the worst part?The thing that I really cant fucking wrap my head around? Now that I can do anything I want, I dont know what I want to do.Ive never been myself, Ive always been whoever other people wanted me to be, so I dont even know who the fuck I really am.Im just the guy with crazy powers whos so fucked up he cant ever see his way clear to a happy fucking ending.”
  121. 121. “Thats what this is about? Happily Ever After? Come on, Spider, youre smarter than that. The only reason fairy tales end withHappily Ever After is because they end when its convenient. The thing is, the story keeps going. Eventually, Prince Charminghas to deal with the fact that he picked his wife based on shoe size rather than personality, and at some point, its going tobecome apparent that you shouldnt choose the leader of your country based on who can yank a piece of pointy metal out of aboulder. There is no single Happily Ever After. The weird part about happy endings is that you get to decide what Happily EverAfter is for you. And if you dont know who you are, maybe thats where you start. Maybe youll never get to your happy ending,but that doesnt mean you shouldnt try. So think about what you want. Thats who you are, and I know who you are even if youdont, and I believe that you can get there.”“Cass? Im really sorry Im so fucked up.”“Its okay. Tell you what, Im gonna go get Gilbert, and then the three of us are going to go to the shipwreck, and if its too bright,well buy you a pair of sunglasses, all right? So hang out here for a few minutes, maybe think about what it is thatll make youhappy.”