The Vetinari Dualegacy: Interlude 1


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"Count no man happy until he is dead."~~Solon

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The Vetinari Dualegacy: Interlude 1

  1. 1. Oh, where do we go Where do we go from here Where to go
  2. 2. To the side of a hill, blood was spilled We were still looking at each other But we're going back there Jerusalem Jerusalem
  3. 3. Shout, shout With a shout Shout it out Shout Shout it out
  4. 4. I want to go to the foot of Mount Zion To the foot of He who made me see To the side of a hill, where we were still We were filled with a love And we're going to be there again Jerusalem Jerusalem
  5. 5. Jerusalem Jerusalem Jerusalem Jerusalem Jerusalem Shout, shout With a shout Shout With a shout ~~U2, “With a Shout (Jerusalem)”
  6. 6. Well, that was... ...unpleasant. So. This is it.
  7. 7. How did I not understand, Raven? It was so obvious, really. But you were right. I didn't want to see. I just wish it had been less painful to open my eyes.
  8. 8. Ooooh. Flappy.
  9. 9. So this place can be whatever I want it to be...
  10. 10. No. If it can be anything I want...
  11. 11. doesn't have to be this.
  12. 12. Better. Fabulous garden by the amazing Dicreasy
  13. 13. Now to see what else I can do...
  14. 14. “Hey, Cassidy.” “Spider? Man, this is a really, really weird dream. You have wings! I’m totally gonna have to call you tomorrow and tell you about this. You’ll get such a kick out of it.” “You can’t call me tomorrow.” “Why not? You have a cell phone; I know the number. You’re on speed-dial and everything.”
  15. 15. “You can’t call me because I’m dead.” “How can you be dead?” “Dad killed me. He was trying to take down the Prettacy and I tried to stop him, so he electrocuted me.”
  16. 16. “I hate him! I’m gonna... I’m gonna... do something…” “There’s nothing you can do. Even if you were sober. The only one who can stop Dad already knows what needs to be done.” “I’m so sorry! I’m your big brother; I should have kept you safe! I should have been able to protect you.”
  17. 17. “This isn’t your fault. The only one to blame is Dad. You did everything you could for me. You gave up your life so that I could have something like a normal childhood.”
  18. 18. “But it didn’t do any good, did it?”
  19. 19. “It meant something to me, knowing that someone cared.” “If I’d cared more, maybe I could have stopped Dad. Gotten you away or something. I knew what he’d do to you, but I didn’t know what to do about it.” “You were a kid, Cass. There was nothing more you could have done.”
  20. 20. “How can you be so calm? Dad killed you! Aren’t you mad?”
  21. 21. “Anger won’t solve anything. It’s not the worst thing that could have happened to me, really. Dad was right; Reaper Children do have power. We just can’t use it until after we’ve died. Raven tried to tell me that, but I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to understand, I guess. This power isn’t meant for humans. As long as I was alive, I was just a normal guy. But now I’m dead, and the old rules don’t apply anymore. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’m sort of okay with this.”
  22. 22. “I’m not. If you’re dead, I may as well just kill myself and get it over with.” “Cassidy…”
  23. 23. “Spider, you’re the only person since Jane who’s never shouted at me or hurt me or used me. She’s been dead since before you were born. If you’re dead, who’ve I got left to turn to? I don’t have anyone! I just have myself, and I don’t even like me!”
  24. 24. “My life’s a mess. You were right about Jake, right about who he is, what he is. He doesn’t care about me, he treats me like a THING, and I hate myself for what I let him do to me. I spend the day at the bar to numb myself enough so that I can stand to go home. I’ve tried to walk away a million times, I have, but I can’t open that door and walk through it on my own.”
  25. 25. “I can’t remember what it feels like to be happy, and now the only person who believed I was more than some useless screwup is dead, and I might as well be dead too, because I don’t wanna live like this anymore and I can’t get out.” “No, Cass, don’t say that. I can help you. I have the power to try and set things right. If you want to leave Jerky Jake, I can open that door. You’ll still have to walk through it, but I can make it easier. You just have to ask, and promise me that you won’t do anything stupid like suicide.”
  26. 26. “Why?” “You’re my brother and I love you and your life is not completely your fault. I can give you a second chance to live the life you deserve. All you need to do is say the word.” “Do it, Spider Jerusalem. Help me. Please, help me.”
  27. 27. “Okay. Wake up, then. All you have to do is wake up, Cassidy.”
  28. 28. “Wake up, Cassidy. It's time to go home.”
  29. 29. “Malcolm?” “You were expecting someone else? I called you a cab.”
  30. 30. “Calling...” “Cass? Are you all right?” “I don't know.”
  31. 31. “I already called the taxi company. You don't have to.” “Not calling a taxi.”
  32. 32. *doot doot doot* “The Simular Wireless customer you are trying to reach is outside of our service area. To leave a voice message, press one. To leave a--” *click*
  33. 33. “Cass, you're acting stranger than normal.” “No no no, this isn't happening, this is not happening.”
  34. 34. *doot doot doot* “The Simular Wireless customer you are trying to reach is outs--” *click*
  35. 35. “Cassidy, what's going on?” “Please. Please pick up. Please.”
  36. 36. “What? I am not having a good day!”
  37. 37. “Sorrywrongnumber!” “Cassidy! What in the hell is going on?”
  38. 38. “I don't... I think my brother's dead. And I think he did something to me.” “That's craziness. I didn't think I'd given you that much to drink.”
  39. 39. “I'm not drunk, Malcolm. I can't remember the last time I was this sober.” “So you passed out, fell off your barstool, and magically sobered up?” “It wasn't magic. It was Spider Jerusalem.” “Who is dead.” “I don't understand it either. Thanks for calling me a cab, though. I need to get home.”
  40. 40. “I have to leave my boyfriend now.”
  41. 41. Okay. He's not here. You left the note on the pillow. He'll find it. Or whoever he's brought home will. All you have to do is walk out the door. And figure out where you're going. And figure out what you're doing next. No. No. Stop it. The important thing is to leave. Just down the stairs and a few more steps to the door. And then you'll be gone.
  42. 42. Just reach out your hand and... “Cassidy? Where are you going?” “I'm leaving.” “Mmmm, I can see that. It's late; where are you going?”
  43. 43. “I'm not just leaving, Jake. I'm leaving you.” “Cassidy...” “No. I can't do this anymore. I'm done with you.”
  44. 44. “Don't be silly. You can't leave me. What are you going to do? You don't have a job, or a place to live, or money in the bank—I took you in when you had nothing. I give you everything. You'll never find anyone else who treats you the way I do.” “You know what? I'm sort of hoping that's true.”
  45. 45. “You think you can find someone else who will let you do whatever you want, no questions asked, like I do?” “I don't care anymore. I think my little brother's dead, and I woke up in Club Dante feeling strange, and even though he's dead, he seemed OK with it, and I want to be OK too.”
  46. 46. “So that's what this is about? Some silly little booze-dream? Look, come to bed and I'll make you forget all about it.”
  47. 47. “No, Jake! Spider did something to me, and right now I'm more sober than you've ever seen me! I am done letting you touch me, and letting you manipulate me, and letting you hurt me, and since that's all you are, I'm done with you! I deserve to be happy, and all you ever make me is miserable! I am walking out that door, and there is nothing you can say to change my mind.” “Cass...” “No. We're through.”
  48. 48. “Cassidy! You can't leave! You need me!”
  49. 49. “No, Jake. I don't. And maybe I never did.”
  50. 50. “Hello, Delirium.” “Spider? Oh, this is a dream. Has to be, right?” “For sake of argument, let's say yes. But it's the sort of dream where I'm offering to help you.” “Help me?”
  51. 51. “I have the ability to give you the chance to make a choice that will make your life better. You can take it, or you can walk away.” “Why should I believe you?”
  52. 52. “I know we haven’t been close. I know it’s because Dad sacrificed your mother to bring me into the world, and I know it was hard on you. You deserved more. You deserved a better family, one with a mother and a father who cared about you, and led you down a path towards a good, happy life. You didn’t get any of that, and it wasn’t your fault, but it wasn’t mine, either. Dad threw a lot of badness out into the world, and I can change that now. You didn’t get a fair deal, and I want to make it better. I can help you find the way.”
  53. 53. “You’d do that for me, dream-brother?” “Of course I would. No matter what happened between us, you’re still my sister, and I love you and I want you to be happy. Just say the word and I’ll help you.” “Then do it. Even if it will make me feel totally silly when I wake up and realize I've asked my dreams to make me happy.”
  54. 54. “A word of advice—don’t turn down people asking you for favors.” “I don’t understand, little winged dream-Spider. Can't you tell me the location of a buried treasure chest containing a million dollars instead?” “You'll understand soon.” “No buried treasure?” “Just the kind that's out in the open.”
  55. 55. “Unburied treasure is less fun.” “Maybe not. You have a sister out there somewhere. I can’t say what will happen if you find her, whether it will be good or bad, but you have the right to know.” “What are you talking about? I don’t have a sister.” “Knock knock, Delirium.” “What?”
  56. 56. “Delirium! Open up! Please!”
  57. 57. That was weird. I must have heard the knocking in my sleep.
  58. 58. It's the middle of the night. This had better be important.
  59. 59. “Cass? What are you doing here? Did Jake kick you out or something?”
  60. 60. “No. He didn't kick me out. I left. But I’m broke and I have nowhere to stay. I was hoping I could crash on your couch for a few days. I’ll get a job tomorrow, should be able to move out soon. I know we’re not the closest of siblings, but I really need this, Del. Please? I don’t know what I’ll do if you say no.” “Yeah, of course you can stay here. Come on in.”
  61. 61. “That’s so weird. I had a dream where Spider told me to do a favor for someone, and then you showed up at my door.” “I had a dream about him too. He gave me what I needed to leave Jake.” “That’s so weird that we should both dream about him like that. Do you think we should call and tell him?”
  62. 62. “He didn’t tell you?” “Tell me what? It was just a dream, Cass.”
  63. 63. “I don’t know if that’s true. He told me he was dead. I was waiting for a cab back home from Club Dante, and I tried to call him, but I couldn’t get an answer. I even called the house. Dad answered, and you know Dad never answers the phone.” “But how could he die? He’s not enough of an idiot to eat cowcake or jump in puddles in the rain.”
  64. 64. “Dad. He said Dad killed him.” “Do you... do you think he was telling the truth? I mean, Dad wouldn’t… would he? Not Spider, right?” “You know what Dad’s like, Del. Maybe you better than anyone. If Spider was standing in his way… Yeah. I think Dad did it.” “But why would we both dream about him like that?”
  65. 65. “Maybe it wasn’t a dream. Spider’s a Reaper child. Dad always said that made him special; what if that was part of it, being able to communicate after death? I mean, I asked him for help and he said he would. I woke up on the floor of Club Dante, but I didn’t want a drink. I haven’t wanted a drink since I saw him. Even if I finally got up the courage to leave Jake, I shouldn't have just sobered up like that. Spider did something to me. Something real.”
  66. 66. “What are we going to do?” “About Spider and Dad? I don’t know. What can we do? Spider was the one who was supposed to have all those powers. If he couldn’t stop Dad, what chance do we have? We’d just end up dead too.”
  67. 67. “Cass? If Spider's really dead, and we really didn't have just plain old dreams... Do you think he was telling the truth about everything?” “Well, he was certainly telling me the truth, whether I wanted to hear it or not. Why?”
  68. 68. “He said I had a sister. I don’t have a sister, do I? Just you and Spider.” “Yeah, as far as I know.” “Why would he have said that, then?” “I don’t know. Unless…” “Unless what?”
  69. 69. “Never mind. It's probably nothing. Just ignore the drunk.” “No, you had a thought. What was it? You're sober now, right?”
  70. 70. “Well, when Mom—Jane—gave birth, she was home alone. You were already there when I got home from school, and Dad didn’t get home from work for another couple of hours.” “Yeah, and?” “What if she had twins?”
  71. 71. “That’s dumb, Cassidy! If she had twins, why don’t either of us remember another sibling in the house?” “Because Mom knew what Dad was like, and she knew she had a narrow window of opportunity. He didn’t know she’d had twins. She had the chance to save one of her daughters. She must have given your twin sister up to save her from Dad.” “Still dumb. Why not just take both of us and leave?”
  72. 72. “You haven’t figured it out? Not even after all these years?” “Figured what out?” “Why Jane didn’t leave. Why she stayed, knowing what Dad was.” “What’s to figure out? She was too scared or too stupid to run.” “It was me, Del. She stayed because of me.” “Don’t be stupid.”
  73. 73. “I’m not being stupid. I never told you this, but… Before you were born, I heard them talking. I’d been playing up in the yellow room—you know, the one on the second floor? I decided to take a nap in the recliner, and I woke up when I heard Dad and Mom arguing from the next room. They didn’t know I was there. Dad wouldn’t have cared, but Mom wouldn’t have kept up if she’d known I was listening. She told him she was pregnant. I remember being happy about the prospect of having a kid brother or sister. And then Dad… acted like Dad. He told Jane what he planned to do if she had a mean child, and when she threatened to take the baby and leave, he threatened to hurt me if she did.” “Cass, that’s awful! I mean, even Dad couldn’t be that horrible!”
  74. 74. “You don’t think so? He needed a sacrifice to get Reaper pregnant. By the time he was ready for that, I was a teenager. He didn’t need to kill Jane—he could just as easily have killed me instead. And he would have, if she hadn’t been there.” “So why did she stay?” “She was Family. I wasn’t really her son, but I was a kid, and she was hardwired to want to protect me. She stayed so that Dad would kill her instead of me. All this time, you’ve been blaming Spider Jerusalem for what happened to her, but it was really my fault, not his.” “It wasn’t your fault or his, Cassidy. It was Dad’s. I know that. I’ve always known that. But I couldn’t exactly take it out on him, now, could I? You and Spider were safe targets, even if you didn’t deserve it. I guess I can’t apologize to him anymore. But I am sorry I made things more miserable for you.”
  75. 75. “It’s okay, Del. I know you didn’t mean it.” “So do you really think Mom Eeny Meeny Miney Mo’d her own daughters?” “It makes sense. Give one of your children the chance at a happy, normal life—better than both of them being messed up and miserable.” “It must have been horrible to have to make a choice like that. How could she have come to that conclusion so quickly?” “Maternal instinct, maybe? I don’t envy the choice, though.”
  76. 76. “You really think she's out there?” “If Spider said so? Yeah.” “What do we do?” “I dunno. My vote right now is to sleep on it.” “Sounds good to me.”
  77. 77. “Oi, you. Get up and get out before my little brother wakes up.”
  78. 78. “Huh?” “You’ve had your fun, now shove off.”
  79. 79. “What? No, I’m staying here for a while. You’re Del’s daughter, right? I’m your Uncle Cassidy.” “Yeah, like I haven’t heard that before. Well, 'Uncle' Cassidy, I’d rather not have to explain you to anyone, so I’m sure you can find the door.”
  80. 80. “Look, I’m your uncle, all right? Your mom’s half-alien big brother? That’s me.” “Whatever. Mum’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, isn’t she?” “I’m not sleeping with your mother! Aside from the fact that she’s my sister, I’m gay! I just left my boyfriend and I needed a place to stay and Del said I could crash on the couch here until I get back on my feet. I’m your uncle, kid.”
  81. 81. “Nuala? Who are you talking to?” “He says he's our uncle.” “Oh.” “I am your uncle! Look, where's your mother?”
  82. 82. “Morning, Cass. Hope the couch wasn't too uncomfortable.” “Mum, this guy says he's our uncle. Would you tell him to knock it off?” “Mom? Is he our uncle?”
  83. 83. “Please, Chantal. This is not our uncle.” “But it would be sort of cool to have one, right?” “Delirium, what in the hell have you been doing to these kids?”
  84. 84. “Seriously, what have you been telling them? Do they even know about Spider Jerusalem?” “They know they’ve got family they haven’t met. It’s not like you were beating down my door until last night.”
  85. 85. “Even if I hadn’t been with Jake, why would I have thought you’d even open the door if I’d come calling? Once Spider was born, practically all we did was argue! If I’d had anywhere else to go yesterday, I would have, but I was hanging onto the hope that you’d calmed down enough to let me in!” “I told you, Cass, I wasn’t really mad at you!”
  86. 86. “Yeah, great, but maybe that information would have been useful prior to last night! Sure, I had every reason to stay away from you, but what’s your excuse for not reaching out to me when you realized you weren’t mad at me? Even Spider, who knew what I was in the middle of, tried to talk to me!” “What was I supposed to say, huh? Answer me that!”
  87. 87. “I don’t know, but ‘I’m sorry I made things even harder for you than they already were’ would have been a good start! And maybe telling your kids more than two words about me and Spider. I mean, they didn’t even know he was alive and now he’s dead! Not to mention the fact that they think an 'uncle' is just some random guy they find wandering the house first thing in the morning! I thought I raised you better than this, dammit!”
  88. 88. “You weren't my mother, Cassidy, or my father!” “But I had to be one, and I did the best I could! Maybe I made mistakes, but you didn't help me any.”
  89. 89. “Is that what you want me to say, Cassidy? You want me to say I’m sorry for being a selfish brat? You want me to apologize for being angry that Dad killed Mom so that he could get Spider? Because I’m still mad that that happened, and I won’t act like I’m not! I am sorry that you left like you did and I am sorry that I contributed to that and I am sorry that Spider’s dead, but what do you really want me to tell my kids? That I was a bad person and I hurt the person who cared about me and took my anger out on people who didn’t deserve it and the reason they haven’t met their grandfather is because he’s a murdering sociopath and I’m not a good person?”
  90. 90. “Would that make you happy? Huh? Would it? Because it's true.”
  91. 91. “Del, no...” “Don't you make my Mum cry!” “I'm sorry, Del.”
  92. 92. Way to go, Cass. Way to screw up like always. This was the one bridge left you hadn’t burned, and now you’re watching it go up in flames. You couldn’t have kept your mouth shut, could you? Why is it that every time we get together we fight? You needed this, you idiot. You needed the help. She’s gonna kick you out of here and then where are you gonna go? Back to Jake? Back to Dad? Back to Club Dante? You’ve got nowhere left to go that’s good for you.
  93. 93. I’m sorry, Spider. You tried to help me. You did. You gave me the ability to walk away from Jake and I did it, and I thought I was done with him, but when Delirium gives me the boot I’ve got nowhere else to go and I’m gonna end up crawling back to him, begging him to take me back and he will because he likes having control over me and I’ll be back in the bars by the end of the week and I’ll probably be dead by spring and there’s no one left who’ll even care. I let you down, Spider, just like I always do.
  94. 94. “Cass.” “I’ll go. It’s not like I have anything to pack. I’ll just leave.” “Don’t. Please?” “What?”
  95. 95. “You don’t have to go. I really am sorry for everything that happened. You said some stuff I maybe needed to hear. I’m not mad at you. I’m really not. Spider… He told me to do someone a favor. I think he meant it as much for me as for you. We’re both not in a great place. But maybe the point is that we help each other out. Isn’t that what siblings are supposed to do?” “You’re really not kicking me out?” “Stay as long as you need to. If you can stand putting up with me.”
  96. 96. “Hello, Sycamore.” “Spider! I’m so sorry you died! I never thought your father would kill you!” “It’s okay, really.” “It’s not! After everything you’ve gone through, you shouldn’t have had to give your life for the Legacy.” “It’s not so bad, being dead.”
  97. 97. “Is this a dream?” “Not really. It’s a dream for you, but it’s real for me. That makes it a little more than a dream for you, but nowhere near reality.” “I don’t understand.” “I got my mojo working.”
  98. 98. “My father was right. Reaper children have power. The catch is, you can’t use it when you’re alive. But now I’m dead, and I can do all the things he wished I could do before he killed me. I can’t exist in the real world like this, but I can exist here, and I can affect things on the other side. I can feel the power in me. I can choose what to do with it. I can help people. I can make things right.”
  99. 99. “You can change the world?” “No. But I can change people, and maybe that’s enough.” “Are you going to change your father?” “He’s made his choices, and he’ll have to deal with what comes out of them. I'll help the people I can. Maybe their choices will be good ones, maybe not, but I can at least offer them the opportunity to choose.”
  100. 100. “Why bring me here?” “I died to save the Prettacy, and if I had to, I’d do it again. Dad lost, and he won’t be happy about it. He also lost his sidekick, and while he might not care that I’m dead, he’ll very much care that he’s on his own now. It might be enough to make him make a mistake. I just wanted you to know that I’m all right. I may not be resting in peace, but I am at peace for the first time in my life—and believe me, the irony’s not lost on me—and I needed you to see it.” “Banyan still has the Bone Phone she used to bring me back. I'll resurrect you as soon as I can.”
  101. 101. “No! Sycamore, there are things I have to do. I don't know what'll happen if you bring me back to life. I might lose all of the power I have now, and I can't risk it. I'm right where I need to be.”
  102. 102. “Well, maybe when it's all over, then. You can start a new life for real.” “Sure. Maybe.”
  103. 103. “Mommy?” “What's up, Loosh?” “Uncle Cass is in the bathroom and I have to pee.” “There are two other bathrooms.” “Chan and Nu are in them.”
  104. 104. “Nuala's probably not even using the bathroom. Tell her to stop checking herself out and let you in.” “But she'll yell at me! And Uncle Cass has been in there forever!” “Go tell Nuala I said to let you use the bathroom.” “Okay.”
  105. 105. “Cass? Are you all right in there?” “Fine.” “Only you've been in there for, like, an hour, and that's a bit extreme, even if you're washing behind your ears and cleaning the lint out of your bellybutton.” “I'm fine.” “I'm coming in, Cass.”
  106. 106. “I can't get clean. Why can't I get clean, Del? I can still feel him on me, and I can't get it off.” “The water's getting cold.” “But I can't get him off me.”
  107. 107. “Come on. Let's get you out of there.” “But I'm not clean.” “I made pancakes. You like pancakes, Cass. Come out of the tub and have some.” “I can't.” “You need to come eat something. This is non-negotiable.” “Okay.”
  108. 108. “Why do I still want him?” “You were with him for a long time.” “But he was horrible to me. He cheated on me, he lied to me, he manipulated me, he threatened me, he hurt me and told me it was okay…” “Cass…”
  109. 109. “I know you can’t see the bruises. But they’re there. He did bad things to me, Del. And if he were here right now, I’d let him do them to me again. I want him to. It’s so hard not to go back to him. What’s wrong with me? Why do I still want him like this?”
  110. 110. “You walked out. That was the hardest part.”
  111. 111. “No! It’s not! That was just walking away! But now I’ve got to stay away and I don’t know if I can do it! I mean, sometimes it was good. Sometimes he was nice. Sometimes he told me he loved me and I almost believed it. What if he promised to do that all the time? What if he promised to stop hurting me?”
  112. 112. “Why do you think he was nice to you?” “…Because it meant I’d do what he wanted me to do.” “So it wasn’t really nice, was it?” “…No. But it felt like it. When he’d touch me without hurting me I could pretend like he loved me. I could pretend like it wasn’t bad.” “Do you want to keep pretending? Or do you want to be with someone who doesn't make you pretend?” “It’s so hard. It was easy to pretend. I feel like I can’t do this.”
  113. 113. “You can do this, Cass. I know you can. Don’t tell yourself that the relationship was good because sometimes he was nice to you. Tell yourself that the relationship was bad because sometimes he hurt you.”
  114. 114. “It doesn’t help. I’m so used to how he treated me. That’s what feels normal. I want him to hurt me because I need something familiar right now. That’s messed up, right? I want him to make me feel bad so that I can feel good. What does that say about me?”
  115. 115. “It says you spent a long time in a relationship with someone who was emotionally abusive.” “ …I wish Spider was here. He’d make it better.” “He's dead, Cass.” “I know. But he talked to us in our sleep before, right? So maybe that's how it works.” “What if it doesn't?”
  116. 116. “He fixed me, Del. He did it once, so he can do it again. He said he would help me if I asked, so all I have to do is ask, and he'll make it better.” “I'm pretty sure the only one who can make it better is you.” “He has to help me. I'm going to take a nap. Thanks for the pancakes.”
  117. 117. “Hi, Cass.” “Spider! I need you to do that thing again.” “What thing?” “That thing you did the other day. That thing you did to me to make me leave Jake.” “I think we should sit down and talk about this.”
  118. 118. “Do it again. Make it not hurt anymore.” “Cass… I didn’t do that.” “No, you did! I walked out on him because of what you did to me! You fixed it, and whatever you did wore off, and you have to do it again. You said you’d help me if I asked, and I’m asking.”
  119. 119. “The only thing I did to you was to sober you up. I stripped away the booze haze and the coat of lies you’d wrapped around yourself. All I did was make it harder for you to tell yourself that things were all right. I opened your eyes and made it more difficult for you to stay. You left Jake on your own. I didn’t magic your problems away.”
  120. 120. “You did! You had to! I couldn’t leave Jake before. I tried to and I couldn’t do it. You made it so I could! Just do it again, Spider, please!”
  121. 121. “I didn’t. What you did, you did yourself. I just took away the stuff that made it easy to stay.”
  122. 122. “Well, now it’s hard and I want to go back to him. It’s hard. I’m not good with hard.” “But easy doesn’t make you happy.” “So far I’m not really loving hard either. You can do it. You can make it better.”
  123. 123. “I'm sorry, Cass. I won't do that.”
  124. 124. “But you could.” “It’s not that simple.” “You could make it that simple.” “Maybe simple for you, but not for me. I’m still trying to figure all this out. The one thing I’m sure of is that I’m not human anymore.” “What? You’re still human, Spider.”
  125. 125. “No, Cassidy. I’m not. Humans don't get an afterlife like this. Everything about me that was human got burned away when Dad killed me. This is what’s left. This is the part of me that’s the Reaper. The only reason I even look like myself is because this is what I think I ought to look like.”
  126. 126. “So why not look like George Clooney?”
  127. 127. “Because I’m afraid if I did that, I’d forget myself. I know I’m not human anymore. But that doesn’t mean I can’t act like it. I could go into your head and flip a bunch of switches and make it all the way I want it to be. That’d mean taking away your free will, and that’s not a human thing to do. If I took away what makes you you, I’d lose a part of myself. I have the power to make it better, and I want to, Cass, I do. But the cost to both of us would be enormous. I fought my whole life to avoid becoming a monster, and I won’t start now.”
  128. 128. “But it’s hard! I want him, Spider. I crave him.”
  129. 129. “I know. But you have people who care about you now. You don’t have to do this alone. Delirium doesn’t want to see you with Jake any more than I do. She can help you. Lean on her. She’s strong enough to hold you up if you start to fall. And I’ll be here any time you need to talk.”
  130. 130. “I miss you. Maybe I shouldn’t because of how I let Jake keep me from talking to you, but I do. At least I knew you were only a phone call away.” “Well, now I’m only a nap away.” “When does it get easier?”
  131. 131. “I don’t know. Maybe not for a while. But I know you can do this. You were strong enough to walk away on your own, and you’re strong enough to stay away on your own. And I know you’ll meet someone great, someone who won’t hurt you or make you feel bad. Someone who deserves you.”
  132. 132. “You think so?” “Yeah. Now wake up, willya? It’s the middle of the day. Go play computer games or eat chili or something.” “Thanks.” “ Any time.”
  133. 133. “How was your nap?” “Spider didn't fix me. He said it was up to me to move forward.” “I thought he might say that.” “I know you don't believe it was really him. I know you think it was all some weird coincidental dream. It wasn't, though. He said I could lean on you if I need to.” “Of course you can. You took care of me; now I'm returning the favor.”
  134. 134. “So what do I do next? Going back to Jake is a bad idea, I get that, but I don't know what I should do now.” “Why not do something with that face full of stubble, grab a change of clothes, and head downtown for lunch?”
  135. 135. “But there are bars downtown!” “Plenty of regular restaurants, too.” “What if Jake's there? I don't know what I'll do if I see him again right now. I can't deal with seeing him.”
  136. 136. “Why not go to Red's? They just serve food, no drinks, plus Mister Snootypants wouldn't be caught dead in a greasy spoon like that. Go sit at the counter, have some lunch, maybe shoot a game of pool. No Jake, no booze, no pressure.” “Yeah. Red's. I think I can do Red's. Thanks, Del.” “That's what I'm here for.”
  137. 137. Okay. I'm here. This is good, right? I am out where there are people and no Jake. And I'm only slightly panicky.
  138. 138. “Excuse me. Mind if I sit here?” “Free country.”
  139. 139. “I love the food here. They make a great fried chicken. Have you tried it?” “Look, I’m kinda not in the mood to talk right now. I’m going through some stuff, and I could really use some alone time.” “Oh. I get it. I’ll go away, then.”
  140. 140. “You don’t have to. I didn’t mean to chase you off or anything. If you want to sit here, sit here.” “I don’t want to bother you.”
  141. 141. “Honestly, maybe it’ll be good for me. I just got out of a monumentally bad relationship, it might be a welcome change of pace to have a conversation with someone new. I guess maybe I sort of got off on the wrong foot, but I’m Cassidy.” “Cassidy…” “Just Cassidy.”
  142. 142. “Well, Just Cassidy, I’m Gilbert Jacquet.” “The bakery guy?” “The one and only. I suppose you’ve heard some stories about me.” “A few, yeah.” “I swear, if gossip were currency, the people of this town would all be millionaires.” “Heh. Ain’t that the truth?”
  143. 143. “What would the grapevine say about you, I wonder?” “It’d probably start with ‘his dad’s a diabolical murderous Legacy villain,’ for one.” “That sounds more interesting than ‘He’s that guy who lives with his mom and makes great wedding cakes’.” “Sounds interesting in theory, but not so good in practice.” “No, I suppose not. I bet you’ve got a lot of stories, though.”
  144. 144. “They tend to be a little too ‘And this is why we wear safety glasses when working with power tools, kids!’ for most people.” “That sounds really rough.”
  145. 145. “Yeah. I’m still kind of getting over it. It’s hard.” “I believe you.” “My dad killed my younger brother recently, which I am sure you totally don’t need to know and now you think I’m a one hundred percent pure-D freak beyond the whole half-alien thing, and my brother meant a lot to me, and he was always trying to help me, and now he’s dead and he’s still helping me, and I feel bad about it, and I really want a drink, but…”
  146. 146. “One’s too many, and two’s not enough?” “Something like that.” “I’m sorry about your brother.” “Thanks. I practically raised him myself. It got to the point where it was all too much for me, and I walked out and began a rather amusing downward spiral that I’ve only recently pulled myself out of, including walking out on my ex without a dime to my name.”
  147. 147. “At least you left.” “I stayed way, way longer than I should have. I was so used to feeling bad that it felt right to be that way, and I couldn’t see my ex for what he really was. I don’t guess you know what that’s like.”
  148. 148. “Please—I’m ‘that guy who lives with his mom and makes good wedding cakes.’ I know a little something about strange, bad relationships you can’t get out of. Clearly you haven’t met my mother—she may look like a sweet old baker of pies, but she definitely has 'No wire hangers!' moments. I never should have let her move in with me after Dad died. I had no idea she was never going to leave. Now it's a constant stream of haranguing me about not being married and giving her grandchildren, and being grouchy to all of my employees. It's almost like when Dad was alive, she was Dr. Jekyll, and now she's Mrs. Hyde.”
  149. 149. “I had a mom for a while, before Dad killed her. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body. That was a shame, really, since it meant she had no idea what was going to happen to her. My life’s kind of a trainwreck, if you couldn’t tell from all the overshare.” “Maybe so, but you’re a survivor of it.” “The walking wounded, I guess.”
  150. 150. “You seem like someone who could use a friend. The chef at Londoste is an old buddy of mine, and he always pulls out all the stops for the Thursday night specials. Would you join me for dinner tomorrow night?”
  151. 151. “Whoa, hey, so not ready for another relationship right now. Or, you know, ever.” “I'm not asking you to marry me. You have to eat, right? I'm just asking you to consider doing it with me. Just dinner. Nothing else, I promise. No ulterior motives, no shenanigans. Food and conversation, that's all.” “Um... I guess I could.”
  152. 152. “I'll tell you what—if you change your mind before then, you can call and cancel. No hard feelings. No pressure.” “Oh. Um, okay.” “If it helps, think of it as celebrating the start of a new phase of your life. A better phase.” “I really hope it is.”
  153. 153. “I see you’re finally here. You’re very hard to track down, you know. It’s easier to pull people out of dreams, but that’s not really an option for you, is it?” “I suppose not.”
  154. 154. “I know what your purpose is. I can help you.” “How?”
  155. 155. “When the time comes, I can change you. I can make you something you’re not, at least temporarily. You’ll still be able to do your duty, of course, but it’ll give my father an extra kick in the teeth. I still have enough memory of being human to get some enjoyment out of that. He killed me; it’s only fitting that I contribute to taking him down. All you have to do is agree, and I’ll make it happen.” “It won’t interfere with my task?”
  156. 156. “I'm no fool; I wouldn’t offer if it did. I gave my life for the Legacy as much as any of the heirs; I don’t want to see it fail now. My uncle pinned his hopes on you. I can do no less.” “Then work your magic, Spider Jerusalem. Make me what you will. And together, we will see that Cypress never hurts anyone again.”
  157. 157. “Oh, it’s hardly magic. Magic is smoke and mirrors and a dove tucked up your sleeve. This isn’t magic. It’s so much more. Either way, I look forward to working with you…”
  158. 158. “...LarchBot.”
  159. 159. I've known I was doing this for about 2 years. I knew I needed someplace great for Spider to spend his afterlife, and hit on the idea of a garden. I knew I couldn't build him the place he deserved on my own, so I asked Dicreasy to build this garden for me ages and ages ago, because of her beautiful landscaping at her Victorian houses. She had no idea what I was going to use it for, and for all I know, she completely forgot that she made this absolutely gorgeous garden for me. But I didn't! She did an amazing job. I know I thanked you at the time, Di, but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! It is great and I love it!
  160. 160. Spider Jerusalem loves it too, in his own special way. Credits for the garden go to, and I have to give a shoutout to for the white backdrop I used when Spider was waking up. And inspiration for the bathtub scene goes to as well.