The Vetinari Dualegacy Chapter 19.5

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In which there are goodbyes said, and apologies made, and conclusions reached.

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The Vetinari Dualegacy Chapter 19.5

  1. 1. Welcome back to the Vetinari Dualegacy! This is Chapter 19.5: Wanted. Last time, Xander’s absence was keenly felt by the Uglacy crowd, as Bucky and Marco tried to make life as normal as possible. This was made easier by Tess’s optimism, but Fair’s bad attitude ruffled more than a few feathers. Rizzo allowed Whitney and Carver to throw a big Teen bash, and the adolescent members of the neighborhood happily invaded the Prettacy—except for Fair, who kept to himself. Gilbert Jacquet confronted Eddie about bringing Archie and Xander back from the dead, but Eddie revealed the destruction of the Bone Phone, and had a light bulb moment about his inability to resurrect his mother. And now, on with the show!
  2. 2. “Where is she, Aunt Banyan? Where’s my mother?”
  3. 3. “She died, Eddie. You know that.” “I note your use of the past tense. ‘She died.’ Not ‘She’s dead.’ I know she died. I was there. But I don’t think she’s dead, and I think you know where she is.”
  4. 4. “Eddie, don’t you think you’re grasping at straws?” “I got my hands on a Bone Phone. I tried to resurrect her and I couldn’t do it. For the longest time, I just thought it was a bureaucratic thing. Then Uncle Gil tried to get me to use it to bring back Archie and Xander, which I couldn’t do because I set the Bone Phone on fire, but he made me think about why I couldn’t resurrect Mom. And the conclusion I arrived at is that you can’t bring someone back from the dead if they’re already alive. I remember Dad saying that there was a Bone Phone in the house at one point, but it disappeared before Mom died. I think you have it. I think you brought her back. I think… I think she died on purpose, and you knew about it, and I think you resurrected her because she asked you to. And I think she’s hiding out somewhere, and I think you know where.”
  5. 5. “Not awesome, Eddie. You’re sounding kind of crazy. Look, maybe Cypress killed Sycamore and did something so that she couldn’t be resurrected. Doesn’t that make more sense?” “No, it doesn’t. I was there. I saw her die. You know who I didn’t see? Cypress. The only people there were Mom, the Reaper, Mal, and me. And isn’t that awfully coincidental? Dad wasn’t home, so if I hadn’t been there, the Social Worker would have come and taken Mal. If Mom wanted to commit suicide—even temporarily—there was no better time to do it.” “Do you really think your mother would have willingly died in front of you?”
  6. 6. “I think Mom would do anything she thought she had to. That’s a trait that seems to run in the family. So stop trying to convince me I’ve gone off the deep end and tell me where she is.” “Did you ever think that maybe the awesome thing to do is to let her be dead?” “I deserve answers. I need to know why. Tell me where she is. Please.” “…The green house at the far end of the street.”
  7. 7. “Thank you, Aunt Banyan. Thank you for telling me.”
  8. 8. “I wish you wouldn’t do this. I don’t know what will happen, but I know this won’t have an awesome happy ending. Think about it, Eddie. Your mother did this for a reason. You should think about letting her go.” “I can’t.” “You really are like your mother. I hope this gives you what you need.” “Thanks.” “Don’t thank me. I didn’t do you a favor.”
  9. 9. Meanwhile, it’s business as usual at the Uglacy. Marco makes use of the Wishing Well to find fodder for his 50 First Dates LTW. The girls I recognize; one of them gave Simon his First Kiss and the other was Aspiration Fodder for Archie. Well, at least they’re used to it.
  10. 10. This poor girl. I vaguely remember Archie doing this to her. She would probably be thrilled to never get dropped for a Vetinari again, ever. I am not overly concerned with all of Marco’s dates being Dream Dates. A few positive interactions to ensure that they don’t leave bags of flaming poo, and then it’s on to the next one.
  11. 11. Of course, nighttime dating is a bit tricky around these here parts. This was Cory, apparently in a bid to make sure that HE’S the only one who’ll be getting 50 First Dates in this house.
  12. 12. While Marco’s busy dating and getting the pants scared off him, metaphorically speaking, Coco takes time out of her busy night of gardening to “BLEH” Larch’s portrait. I don’t know why. She never actually met Larch when he was alive, and was quite happy when he scared her, so it’s not like she’s got a beef with the guy.
  13. 13. “Bucky and Marco said I needed to get better at dancing! I sure hope there’ll be dancing at parties in college, now that I’m getting so good at it!”
  14. 14. “Hey, Gramma! How’s Tara tonight?” “Playful as ever! Getting some grilled cheese?” “Nope!”
  15. 15. Yeah, Little Miss Sunshine here keeps getting Aspiration points all by herself. I don’t have the heart to fulfill any of her Fears, but I’ve tried to Cheese her twice, both when she was in the low green, and the Reprogramming went perfectly both times. Basically, she refuses to be in a bad mood, and without that, I can’t Cheese her, which means she can’t make grilled cheese sandwiches whenever she wants. I wish I could be mad about her cheerful demeanor, but I totally can’t.
  16. 16. Another Teen Townie invasion means more speed-dating for Marco. One of these Townies will be Marco’s 10th First Date, which will result in a huge Aspiration boost for Marco. He hasn’t slept in probably three days because of the dating.
  17. 17. By the end of the night, he’s got a third of the Tricou brats madly in love with him. He’s got about three days to pine for them before he grows up.
  18. 18. See? Here’s the other one. She dated Finn once upon a time, before the rebuild.
  19. 19. “Are you worried about being the Black Sheep, Marco?” “Well, yeah. I’d rather date and jump on couches and date than be a vampire and a werewolf and all that stuff.” “We’ve all had to make sacrifices.” “I know. Did it ever bother you that you couldn’t marry Grampa?” “Of course it did. But we both knew what we were getting into.”
  20. 20. “Hey, stop with the undead tickles!” “It’s not all hardship, though. You’ll be here when your sister moves back and gets married, and you’ll get to help raise what will probably be your nephews. Lots of toddlers and kids to play with!” “Can I teach ‘em how to cheat at chess?” “I suspect they’ll have a real knack for it.”
  21. 21. I suck so bad at managing vampires, no pun intended. I’ve lost track of the number of times Coco’s been nowhere near her coffin at 7am. It’s almost every day.
  22. 22. Things are pretty tame around here between the hours of 8am and 1pm. Kids are all off at school, Coco’s asleep in her coffin, or else wandering around trying to commit suicide… So have a picture of Tara giving herself a bath in the Water Wiggler.
  23. 23. “Bucky! I wanted to tend that plant!” “I got here first!” “Why are you even out here at all?” “Tess asked me.” “Me too.” “You guys are the best brothers ever!”
  24. 24. “Bugs! Why are there bugs? Son of a… MARCONIIIIIIIIIII!”
  25. 25. Bucky might be worried about bugs at the Uglacy, but at the Prettacy, the family ghosts are out for blood. Or pee. Rizzo takes a hit from his own mother, which is pretty cruel, considering the old- man bladder he’s now sporting.
  26. 26. Even the people who aren’t tempting fate with late-night tree-pruning are not immune, as Raven wakes Bell up in the middle of the night for the sole purpose of scaring the pee out of him.
  27. 27. “…Is that pee?” “Um… No. But could you mop it up while I go take a shower, just because sometimes I get these 2am shower-urges, and not because I had an Incident when Great-Gramma Raven scared me.” “You suck at lying. Go take a shower!” “…Yeah…”
  28. 28. “Hey now, take it easy on an old man!” “Gotta get my licks in while I can! Pretty soon I’ll be too old to wield a pillow like this!” “I find that hard to believe.”
  29. 29. Normally, before Elder birthdays, I do some sort of touching scene with kissing and reassurance, but honestly? This pretty much sums up their whole relationship, so I was inclined to just let them have at it.
  30. 30. “Wait! Is it too late to change my mind? I can go back to being a Townie and never have to find out what I look like saggy, right?” “ ‘Fraid so, m’dear. I have a feeling you’ll be as beautiful as ever.” “Flatterer.”
  31. 31. “Don’t tell me! It’s horrible, isn’t it?”
  32. 32. Naaaaaah. Not even a HINT of The Sag.
  33. 33. “Well hello there, foxy lady. Do those legs go all the way up?” “Aren’t we too old for this now?” “If I’m still Romance Boy, I certainly hope not! Let’s find out.”
  34. 34. “I can still do the Strut without dislocating a hip!” “And you still cut a fine figure across the floor while doing it.”
  35. 35. “And you haven’t acquired the old-lady-smell of violets and Aspercreme yet.”
  36. 36. “And you haven’t lost any of that muscle tone.” “Ehehehe…”
  37. 37. There are still teenagers around the house too. Whitney is tasked with fixing the trash masher, and does so quite easily. Also, I find it amusing that the juicer is totally stocked with eggplants, but there are all sorts of apples and lemons and peppers and whatnot in the basket of the juicer. Did you know there’s no English word for zucchini? Depending on where you are, it’s either zucchini or courgette. Eggplant may be aubergine, but it’s also, you know, EGGPLANT. Anyway. Random aside is random.
  38. 38. Whitney did have a bit of incentive to fix the trash masher quickly. She wasn’t quite best friends with River yet, so she had to hurry up and get some schmooze-time in.
  39. 39. Carver, Whitney, and Bell generally get two other playables following them home from school on any given day. In this case, Niobe (Cam’s alien daughter and Rocky’s step-daughter, making her Bucky’s half-sister and also first cousin once removed) and Bucky came home with them and promptly started entertaining each other, which I’m fairly certain is not the point, but Bucky was playing nicely, so I let them be.
  40. 40. Then Tess came home with Bell, and when I saw this, I was really, really hoping that Tess wasn’t still rolling the Want to be Best Friends with Whitney, because I’ve aaaaaaaaalmost got her down into red Aspiration, and she’s not allowed to get any more Wants fulfilled until I’m able to Cheese her. Have I mentioned that Tess is a fake Shy Sim? She comes home from school with absolutely EVERYONE, never turns down the chance to hear a dirty joke, and is a total social butterfly. She very nearly makes Whitney look like a wallflower.
  41. 41. Happily for me, Whitney was rolling Be Best Friends with Tess, and Tess was NOT rolling Be Best Friends with Whitney. Tess got nothing for the big smiley faces, and Whitney is back up into platinum. I can’t remember the last time she actually dropped down into green.
  42. 42. “Gosh, Whitney, we’re going to have so much fun in college, aren’t we?” “Parties every night!” “And a houseful of people every day!” “It’ll be the best time ever!” …Whitney is a Popularity Sim…
  43. 43. “You know, Rizzo, you said you thought things would turn out all right, and it looks like they have.” “My grandmother said we’d be safe. She was right. But I know how things can turn out even better.” “Do tell.”
  44. 44. “Oh, I think you can guess…” *cough* I think we should give them a little privacy, don’t you?
  45. 45. “Hey, Fair. Bucky’s playing chess, and then he’s going to make dinner. I thought maybe you wanted to play chess with him, and you could both cheat each other.” “Not interested.” “Marco and I are going to play pool. Would you like to join us?” “No. Get lost, Tess.” “I’d rather not.” “Tough shit.”
  46. 46. “I’ll just sit out here with you, then.” “Sitting down is not the same thing as going away.” “Oh, I know. But we never spend time together anymore.” “Did you ever stop to think that that’s intentional?” “I’m sure you mean to be a big jerk. I just don’t think it’s what you really need.”
  47. 47. “What I need is for people to stop telling me what they think I need.” “Gosh, I can see why you like it back here. It’s so quiet and peaceful.” “It was until you showed up.”
  48. 48. “Do you think Dad ever came out here to escape from Uncle Archie?” “I don’t care, Tess!” “I thought maybe you did, since you’re sitting next to Uncle Archie’s tombstone.” “It’s just a place to sit. What are you doing out here, anyway?” “My little brother isn’t handling Dad’s death all that well, so I thought I’d try to help him. He’s being sort of stupid right now.” “Whatever. You’re only older by a whole five minutes.”
  49. 49. “Maybe I am only five minutes older. But that means I’m five minutes smarter too, so maybe in five minutes, you’ll understand what I’m saying.” “It doesn’t even work like that. Not even a little bit.” “I guess we’ll know in five minutes.”
  50. 50. “You’re not going anywhere, are you?” “No.”
  51. 51. “Fine, dammit! If you won’t leave, then I will! You can just sit back here by yourself!” “It can’t be that bad, since you’re always doing it.” “I have reasons for it!” “What are they?”
  52. 52. “What difference does it make?” “I’d sort of like to know why you feel the need to be Mister Hostility.” “Fine!”
  53. 53. “Don’t you get it? There’s no point to making friends and dating and falling in love! We’ve got huge fucking targets on our backs, all of us, so what’s the use? All that’s going to happen is Cypress kills someone, and everyone who’s still alive gets to be sad and gets to be afraid and gets to wonder who’s next on the hit list! Why bother getting close to anyone when it’s going to end badly for them or for me? I don’t need people to worry about or people worrying about me! I am fine on my own!”
  54. 54. “No one is fine on their own, Fair.” “Well, I am!” “So if Dad were here, you’d still be sulky?” “Dad is dead!”
  55. 55. “I know Dad is dead. I miss him every single day. It’s hard for all of us. Bucky and Marco had each other to lean on, and I wish my twin brother was there for me. He’s too busy being unpleasant instead, though.”
  56. 56. “That’s what you get for getting attached to people.” “I can’t help it. You’re my twin brother.” “And you’re the heir. Even if Cypress doesn’t kill you, you’re still gonna die.” “That’s not stopping me from making friends. It’s much nicer than not getting close to anyone, ever.”
  57. 57. “Yeah, well, that’s your choice, not mine. You go do whatever you want.” “I want to be friends with my brother!” “The Smile doesn’t work on me.”
  58. 58. “Just because something bad happened to Dad doesn’t mean something awful’s going to happen to the rest of us.” “That’s easy for you to say. You’re Dad’s little girl. He thought you were the best thing ever. And Bucky and Marco got to know him when they were teenagers. I didn’t get any of that. I didn’t know him like the rest of you did, and it still hurt when he got killed. I don’t want to feel any worse than that, ever.” “Oh, Fair…”
  59. 59. “You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to feel sorry for me.” “Dad wouldn’t have wanted this for you.” “How do you know what Dad would have wanted?” “Sometimes I go talk to him. I always feel better after I do.”
  60. 60. “Follow me.” “Where are we going?” “Just come!”
  61. 61. “You wanted to show me Dad’s tombstone?” “Yeah! Dad’s tombstone! This thing isn’t Dad! You can talk to it all you want, but it can’t answer back! It’s just a stupid hunk of rock next to a bunch of other stupid hunks of rock! Dad is dead! No matter how much we wish he was still here, he’s not! This is just a thing! It’s not important. It wouldn’t even matter if… If I…”
  62. 62. “Don’t you dare, Faraday!”
  63. 63. “Tess?” “You are not going to do anything to Dad’s tombstone. It may not be Dad, but it’s what we have left of him, and you’re not going to take that last bit of him away from the rest of us. You need to get over yourself and say goodbye to him. And then you need to get over yourself and stop being an ass.” “It’s a waste of time talking to that stupid rock.” “Do it!” “Fine!”
  64. 64. “Tess is totally making me do this. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to say. I’m pissed that you’re gone, and I’m pissed that Uncle Archie’s gone, and I’m pissed that Gramma refuses to bite me, and I’m pissed that I didn’t have as much time with you as everyone else did, and I’m pissed that everyone else seems to be handling it better than me, and I’m pissed that you’re not around to teach me all the stuff I need to know about how to be a man, and I’m pissed that there’s this guy who wants to hurt my family, and I’m pissed that there’s nothing I can do about it, and I miss you and I wish you were here.”
  65. 65. “There, Tess. Are you happy now?”
  66. 66. “Oh, Fair… I’m sorry.”
  67. 67. “It’s okay. I promise.”
  68. 68. “Bucky, what is your trauma?” “Bugs. There were bugs and it is all your fault.” “I didn’t tell that guy to come back with a telescope.” “All your fault.”
  69. 69. “Hey, guys. I, uh, just, you know, uh, wanted to, you know, like, you know…”
  70. 70. “Fair. We’re guys. You say ‘Sorry I was an asshole,’ we say ‘Yeah, you were,’ you say ‘We cool?’ and we say ‘Yeah.’ That’s as complicated as you need to make it.”
  71. 71. “Okay. Uh, sorry I was an asshole.” “Yeah, you were.” “Um… We cool?” “Yup. Now sit down and eat your half-a-sandwich.”
  72. 72. “One more thing, though…” “We’re guys. Tess isn’t.” “Which means you do need to apologize to her.” “In a seriously hardcore way.” “And if we deem Insufficient Groveling…” “…we will unleash a beatdown the likes of which you cannot even imagine.”
  73. 73. “Tess. Hey.” “Hey! Do you want to play with me?” “I was kinda hoping maybe we could talk for a second.” “Okay!”
  74. 74. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry for being angry. I didn’t realize how much it was hurting everyone else, especially you. I never meant to make things harder on you. I was stupid and selfish and I’m really, really sorry. I promise I won’t do that again.”
  75. 75. “You promise you’ll be friends with me even if I’m gonna die?” “I promise. And I promise that even though I’ll be sad, I won’t take it out on the people around me.”
  76. 76. “Hooray! Will you shoot pool with me now?” “Sure. But do you want to know a secret first?” “Oooh, secret!”
  77. 77. “The Smile totally works on me.” Yay for non-traumatic conclusions to a character arc! Moving on…
  78. 78. I wish I knew how to make things better. I’ve failed all of you. Especially you.
  79. 79. You said you told me what I needed to know, and I’m just too dumb to figure it out. Hmph. Don’t know why I expected anything to be easy.
  80. 80. You said that I can’t become who I’m supposed to be because I’m holding on too tightly to who I already am. But I don’t know how to be anyone else!
  81. 81. You said I have to yield. I don’t know what that means. Whom am I supposed to yield to? What am I supposed to yield to? Dad? I don’t see anything good coming out of that. You? You kissed me. Did it mean something? Was I meant to get power from that? Andorra? I don’t know what else I could have given her that I didn’t already.
  82. 82. I’m sorry. I don’t know what you were trying to tell me. I know it was important. I know it was so important that it’s the last thing you did before you died. But I don’t understand. I want to understand. I wish I could ask for some clarification, but I can’t, can I? Gah, this is stupid!
  83. 83. I’ve wasted all this time trying to figure out if I have any powers. Screw ‘em. Dammit, if they’re meant to help me, they should’ve been easier to discover and use. Don’t focus on the stupid Reaper Child powers. Focus on the facts. That’s where the answer is. The facts, not the fiction. …I need some air.
  84. 84. Fact: Dad’s determined to take down the Legacy by any means necessary. Fact: Dad’s a crazy person, and he has no conscience at all. Fact: Those two families only think they know what he’s capable of. Fact: There are no depths to which he will not sink. Fact: As long as he’s alive, he won’t quit.
  85. 85. Fact: The only way for the Legacy to be safe is for Dad to be dead…
  86. 86. …and I’m the only person who can kill him.
  87. 87. C’mon, Sycamore. Tell me I’m nuts. Tell me I’ve lost my mind. Tell me Uncle Larch thought of something brilliant.
  88. 88. Tell me there’s another solution.
  89. 89. Phone. Must be Banyan or Spider, since they’re the only ones who have the number. Probably Spider. Banyan doesn’t call much, and I can’t say I blame her.
  90. 90. Who even knows I’m here? Door or phone, door or phone, door or phone? Suddenly, I’m the most popular girl in town! Eh, door’s probably a solicitor or a Townie. Answer the door, chase ‘em off, then see what Spider wants.
  91. 91. “Hi, Mom. I’d ask how you’re doing, but since the answer is ‘Not dead,’ I’ll just assume you’re doing just fine.” “Eddie?” “Hey, you remembered! I was worried that you’d forgotten, given that you’re alive and haven’t told me or Dad or Mal. Or anyone else, really.” “Not technically true.”
  92. 92. “Technically, you committed suicide and made me watch, then had your sister bring you back to life and hid yourself away from your family!” “I can see that you’re angry about that.” “Damn right I’m angry! I thought I’d done something wrong! I blamed myself for what happened! I thought there was some way I should have been able to save you! And it turns out that nothing I could have done would have made any difference at all, since the whole thing was on purpose! How could you do that? How could you leave your husband and your children? And why? What was so much more important than your family?”
  93. 93. “You weren’t my only family, Eddie.” “What, Aunt Juniper and Aunt Banyan?” “And Larch. He asked me to protect my father’s line. You know what Cypress does. I’m what’s standing between him and the Prettacy.” “So you needed to die to do that?” “If he thought I was dead, he wouldn’t be looking for me to stop him. It was the logical solution.”
  94. 94. “To protect the Prettacy? People who are currently so distantly related to you that you could now breed with them without having antenna-babies? Those people needed you to die?” “They’re still family. My sister’s family.” “Then why didn’t you tell Dad you were alive? Do you even know what it did to him when you died? Did you even care?” “The more people who know, the more of a chance there is that a word will get back to Cypress. Anyone who knows is a risk of Cypress finding out, and once that happens, there’s a risk to their safety. Whatever you want to think, I wanted you all to be safe.”
  95. 95. “Safe? Yeah, we were safe. Things were great, except for that gaping hole in the middle of our family. Do you know that Mal looks just like you? Do you know that I have—had—two half-brothers in the Uglacy? Do you even really care about any of us?” “Of course I do! I wish I could have been there for you and Mal, I do! But I had to look at the bigger picture! And trust me, I was plenty hurt when your father got together with the Uglacy heir. I know it’s been hard for you, but it hasn’t been a picnic for me, either! When it comes right down to it, this is a Legacy, and we all have to make sacrifices!” “I’m not part of the Legacy. And neither is Mal. We didn’t ask for this.” “Neither did I, but it happened.”
  96. 96. “Maybe you didn’t ask for it, but when the time came, you chose it.” “I did what I thought I had to do.” “You want a fucking medal?” “No. …Eddie, I’d like you not to tell anyone else that I’m alive. Like I said, it’s a risk, and I don’t want to endanger any more people.” “Don’t worry. The only one who’d even care is Dad, and I can’t hurt him by telling him you’re alive.” “Okay.” “I’m going now. And don’t worry; I won’t be back.”
  97. 97. “You should have stayed dead.”
  98. 98. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to have that conversation. Oh well, one crisis over, another on deck. “Spider? What’s up? Are you there?”
  99. 99. “Spider?”
  100. 100. And if we turn our attention back to the center ring… “Guys? I thought we were cool. Why the hovering?”
  101. 101. “There’s one more thing we gotta talk about.” “Yeah. Tess is heir, and she’s got all those nice points.” “Which means we gotta be the ones to look out for her.” “Keep her safe, like.” “And since you’re her twin brother…” “…you’re in on it too.”
  102. 102. “You guys don’t get it. That’s okay. I didn’t get it either. I can tell you, but you won’t believe me until you see it for yourself.”
  103. 103. “Tess is freakishly nice; I’m not going to dispute that. But the niceness doesn’t make her weak, and it doesn’t mean she needs to be protected. The niceness gives her a spine of steel.”
  104. 104. “My twin sister is the strongest person I know. And I couldn’t be prouder of that.”
  105. 105. How do you not love this guy? All on his own, he made Bucky and Tess’s beds. And then went and played pinball. I know I have a ton of “number” LTWs at the moment. I gotta tell ya though, I do not begrudge Marco a single one of those 50 First Dates.
  106. 106. “Hey, at least I’m not setting the kitchen on fire!”
  107. 107. “Man, Tess, that smells deeeee-licious. Did Marco ask you to cook?” “No, but he’s busy shoving chocolate candies into his mouth, and I didn’t want to make him stop.” “He does have a tendency to burn things.” “It’s okay! This salmon is perfectly cooked!”
  108. 108. Marco gets more dates. Also, even dead, Orson is still a Popularity Sim.
  109. 109. This surprised me, because Orson rarely scares anyone. Off the top of my head, I can only remember him scaring Finn, which tells you how long it’s been since he’s spooked anyone. However, it did not ruin Marco’s date with Ben Long Nose Bowl Cut.
  110. 110. Helen, on the other hand, really likes to scare. At this point, poor Marco’s gotten hit by most of the ghosts. However, it did not ruin Marco’s date with Blonde Timothy Lawson Face Girl.
  111. 111. This doesn’t count, because it happened right after the date.
  112. 112. This ghost really surprised me. When I saw the green ghost, I assumed it was Archie, but it’s clearly not. Who is it? It’s Creepy Gardener. You know, the one who crashed the births of Delight and Delirium and Spider Jerusalem, and who crashed Cory’s wedding and Xander’s wedding, and a couple of birthdays, and several pet matings… Now, normally dead Creepy Gardener would be something that I would have planned, like StreakerPerv and Nanny Who Made Cassidy Cry, wherein I get personal enjoyment from the event, but I had no foreknowledge of this whatsoever. So what happened?
  113. 113. Now, the gate to Brunhilde’s enclosure is always locked. The main reason for that is that any visitor will go for the cake, regardless of whether they’re playable or not, and I didn’t want any visiting playables to become fodder for Brunhilde. It was locked. I swear it was locked. Somehow, Creepy Gardener bypassed the lock and took the cake, and Brunhilde took Creepy Gardener. I’m not sure what I’ll do with her tombstone. I don’t want to put it back with the tombstones of the heirs and spouses, but it just looks out-of-place right there. Maybe I’ll put it behind the storage silo. …I really wish I’d known how to build basements when I built these houses. The silos are a bit intrusive.
  114. 114. Marco is not overly troubled, as long as he gets to play with his little toy robot. And then break it.
  115. 115. “Marco broke it. The least he could do is fix it! …Man, this thing looks like a lot of fun to play with.”
  116. 116. “Did Marco cook that for you?” “No, I cooked it myself.” “Oh. I thought only Marco burned things.” “He’s just carrying on a long family tradition of kitchen fires.”
  117. 117. Look! Dead Creepy Gardener has decided to haunt the thing she liked best when she was alive! I didn’t plan it, but I am SO not sad that you are dead.
  118. 118. For Marco, the night’s dating brings a trifecta of Tricous, with Puffy Vest, Turtleneck, and Hat Girl. He started off with a speed date with Puffy Vest.
  119. 119. His second date was interrupted twice. Once by Helen, who just couldn’t let it go without a scare…
  120. 120. …and the second time by Hat Girl, who is apparently annoyed that Marco is cheating on her brother Puffy Vest with her brother Turtleneck, despite neither Marco nor Puffy Vest having a crush on each other. Surprisingly, Marco ignored her and continued his date with Turtleneck. I was okay with that. We have many ways to torture uppity Townies around these here parts.
  121. 121. “BLEH!” “Whimper…” Hey, it was either this or Melody Tinker’s Tombstone Garden, and Coco looked like she wanted to have some fun.
  122. 122. Marco ended the date with Turtleneck before the curfew made Turtleneck leave anyway, and Baxter the Alpha Werewolf just happened to be hanging around, so Marco got to put on the Big Social Glasses and make friends. He is now friends with Baxter, but no bite yet. Next time, Baxter. Next time.
  123. 123. GAH I AM SO BAD AT THIS! I have no idea how all of you who’ve gotten vampire Sims through college managed it. I can’t even get one retired elderly vampire into her coffin while it’s still dark and then keep her there all day!
  124. 124. “C’mon, Tara! Bring it here!” YAY FETCH.
  125. 125. “Uh, Tess? Aren’t you too nice to play tricks on the dog?” “Heeee! I guess not!” WHERE’S THE STICK? WHERE’S THE STICK? WHERE’S THE STIIIIIIIICK?
  126. 126. “Fair? What’s Marco doing?” “Slow dancing with a Tricou kid.” “Why?” “He said he wanted to be extra-platinum when he grows up tonight. Speaking of, why aren’t you gone yet?” “Huh, yeah. I suppose I should go to college before I grow up and freak out.”
  127. 127. “I gotta go, Marco. I’ll be back in a few hours for your birthday.” “Promise?” “Of course I promise! Now go date some more so you’re all happy for your birthday.” “Will do!”
  128. 128. Freakin’ finally! Tess is seven days from her birthday. That means she kept herself in Aspiration points for a solid week. There was literally no help from me to fulfill her Wants. And now… Let there be cheese…
  129. 129. This is Oz, the mate for Tara. I didn’t realize the irony until I went to type up this caption. I have no idea what the puppies will look like, but it’s a pretty good bet they’ll have eyebrows and a mustache.
  130. 130. “Hey! Marco! Get your ass out here and say hello!” “BUCKY! You made it!”
  131. 131. “You’re late, Bucky. I thought you weren’t gonna make it.” “I had to change clothes first. The pants were… asscracky…” “You could have called.” “You should have realized I wouldn’t miss this.”
  132. 132. “You ready?” “No. But I sort of think I don’t really have a choice here.”
  133. 133. “Whoa… asscracky…”
  134. 134. “Well, at least some things never change.”
  135. 135. “Gosh, you’re so grown up! How’s college? Is it the best thing ever? No, don’t tell me, I don’t want to be jealous!” “College has so far been a dorm room and a change of clothes. Nothing to be jealous of. And I might be taller, but I’m still the same me underneath.” “Oh, there’s Marco!”
  136. 136. “I kind of feel like maybe I miss my Teen boyfriends and girlfriends.” Give it a couple of days. It’ll pass. Marconi “Marco” Vetinari is a Taurus 7/7/6/10/2 Pleasure Sim with the LTW of 50 First Dates. He’s also been earmarked as the Uglacy’s Black Sheep. While there’s no question that he’s goofy and a bit scatterbrained, he loves his family and would do anything for them. Even become a vampire, werewolf, PlantSim, and zombie—and he’s not looking forward to it.
  137. 137. “Oooh, you look so handsome!” “If anyone else said that, I’d probably pop ‘em one, but… Thanks, Tess.”
  138. 138. “And I didn’t burn it!” Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) pioneered wireless telegraphy. He also sent the first transatlantic wireless signal. One of the first transatlantic wireless signals was used to catch murderer Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was trying to flee from London to the United States via Canada. Marconi was a genius inventor, filthy rich, and helped catch bad guys. Basically, he was Victorian- era Italian Batman.
  139. 139. Oh, Rosemarie… Never change… Also, I got that hack that enables the “fit” body detail for alien and zombie skintones. Marco’s got a six-pack, Marco’s got a six-pack!
  140. 140. “Hey! Who said you could tickle me?” “Pfft, if you didn’t like it, you wouldn’t be smiling!” “Yeah… I’m glad I’m not a jerk anymore.” “We all are, Fair. We all are.”
  141. 141. Over at the Prettacy, Bell’s drinking his skill points. “Mmm. Yummy eggplant juice.” Kid, it’s either this or skill from a book. “Mmm! Yummy eggplant juice!”
  142. 142. Kittunz! I have no idea which two these are. All three of them are really good-natured and playful, which I think bodes well for getting one to mate with another cat. They’ll be growing up soon, so then I’ll figure out which one’s staying and which two are going! Probably to Prof, since she seems determined to hoard the kitties.
  143. 143. They played, and then they did some tandem howling. It was so cute. Even the howling. Oh, you want to see more about the PEOPLE? Fine then.
  144. 144. It’s Carver’s last day in the house, and I’d like to send him off to college platinum, or at least gold. I call up Not-Rose-Goss and figure a date will do the trick. I wish. There’s no chemistry between them, so using the Ask… Do You Like What You See and Flirt… Check Sim Out interactions wasn’t causing their Wants to re-roll at all, and Carver’s got Pleasure Sim ADD, and Not-Rose-Goss has Knowledge Sim Tunnel Vision, or whatever her Aspiration is, so the date got above flaming-poo-bag stage, but not much higher. Rather than risk Carver’s Aspiration dipping into Grow Up Badly Zone, I ended the date, had him get his scholarships, and called the cab.
  145. 145. Carver: “Byeeeee, everybody! See you at Havelock House! Rizzo: “Grrr, you were over by that wall when I wanted to say goodbye and now I’m going to footstomp!” Whitney: “See ya, Carver! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” Kittun 1: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz Kittun 2: Whitney is a Popularity Sim. Me: One loose end to wrap up now!
  146. 146. “Eddie?” “Hi, Dad.” “Are you all right? What’s going on? Are you in some sort of trouble?”
  147. 147. “I made some mistakes. I hurt some people who were just trying to be nice to me. I got what I wanted and it turns out I didn’t really want it at all. I hurt you and Mal. And now I don’t know what to do.”
  148. 148. “It’s okay, Eddie. Whatever you did, you can make up for it. Or you can at least try to make up for it. You learned a hard lesson about life. Sometimes, the problem with getting what you wanted is that you get what you wanted. I’m just glad that you’re all right. And I’m glad that you came back.” “Uncle Gil talked some sense into me.” “He’s good at that. So, do you want to talk about it?”
  149. 149. “No. I really, really don’t.”
  150. 150. “I’m sorry, Dad. I’m so sorry.” “I forgive you. But someone else might not be so willing.” “Mal.” “She’ll be home from school any minute now.” “I guess it’s time to take my lumps.” “Good guess.”
  151. 151. “Mal, hi. I know you’re probably really pissed, and you have every right to be. I said I wouldn’t abandon you when I got to college, and then I went back on my word and totally blew you off… I came back to Riverblossom Hills, and I didn’t let you know I’d done it, and I didn’t even drop you a line to let you know I was okay. I’m sorry. I let my obsession with resurrecting Mom take over my life, and I didn’t think how it would affect you and Dad… Bringing Mom back didn’t pan out, and I burned a lot of bridges trying. One of those was the bridge between me and you, and I’m sorry. … Uh, Mal? Can you maybe say something here?”
  152. 152. “Jerk!”
  153. 153. “Ow. …I totally deserved that.”
  154. 154. “Damn right you deserved that.” “That’s one hell of a right hook.” “I spent some time with Archie. You remember Archie, right? Half-brother? Grumpy? Murdered by Cypress?” “Mal—” “And then there was Xander! Lumpy, kinda laid-back, liked kids? Also murdered by Cypress? Ringing any bells?” “Look, I’m sorry I wasn’t there when they died.”
  155. 155. “No, you listen! Dad and I lost two members of our family, and we really could have used a little support from you!” “I know. I’d have brought them back if I could.” “We determined that they had to stay gone. There was a meeting. You weren’t there.” “I’m—” “Don’t say you’re sorry. I don’t want to hear it. I trusted you, Eddie. And you let me down.” “Mal…” “Get bent. I’m leaving for college soon. I won’t bother calling you.”
  156. 156. Eddie and Mal’s nephews and niece are still having fun. More dates for Marco, and he’s now halfway to his LTW.
  157. 157. After only a few days, Tara and Oz make with the doghouse-shaking.
  158. 158. And we have more puppies! The one in front of Tara is Mayor Wilkins. The one in the foreground is Aphrodesia. Obscure Buffy references FTW. Before too much longer…
  159. 159. “Bye, Marco! I can’t squeeze in another grilled cheese sandwich before I leave.” “That’s okay. There will still be plenty here when you get back.” “Great!”
  160. 160. “Keep an eye on Tess, willya?” “Sure. And we’ll invite you to all the parties. I’ll even save a Llama Mascot for you to beat up.” “Sweeeeet.”
  161. 161. It’s getting to be that time for these two as well, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy their Teen years for a little longer.
  162. 162. “Hey, are Mom and Dad asleep? I’m Sneaking Out with Connor and I don’t want to get caught!” “I hope they’re asleep, since I’m Sneaking Out with Kate.” “Heh. I didn’t think you had it in you!” “Hey, I’m shy, but I still like to have fun.”
  163. 163. “Whitneyyyy! Running to the limo is not the same as sneaking!” “The sooner I leave, the longer I have to party!”
  164. 164. Despite going out with troublemaker Connor, Whitney makes it home safely. Bell, on the other hand, is not so lucky.
  165. 165. “That’s okay. I didn’t need those Aspiration Points anyway.”
  166. 166. As usual, the kittens are a big draw. Whitney loves playing with the kitties.
  167. 167. I didn’t want Bell to grow up badly because of getting busted by the cops, so I sent him to the Wishing Well to score a date. He seems to have learned a thing or two from his old man.
  168. 168. Sadly, the Prettacy is no better for late-night dating than the Uglacy.
  169. 169. However, you just don’t see moments like this every day. There’s nothing quite like a ghost icon floating amongst the First Kiss Swirly Hearts.
  170. 170. If she’d just done what I told her to do, she wouldn’t be in this position right now. Let that be a lesson to her!
  171. 171. “Later, Dad! Dormies to befriend, Cow Mascots to torture, you know the drill!” “I do. Have fun, and try to find a handsome recessive-gened Fortune Sim to marry.” “Gee, that’s not asking a lot.” “If anyone can do it, you can.”
  172. 172. “Bye, Bell. Try not to get into too much trouble.” “I make no promises. With Carver, Whitney, Bucky, and Fair, trouble will come to us.” “Well, try not to get arrested. Again.” “That is definitely on my ‘Don’t’ list.” Just one more thing to do!
  173. 173. “Hey, Gramma. Tess and Fair said bye. They headed off to the Academie with Bucky. Tess was sorry she couldn’t wait until after dark to say goodbye to you in person.” “No need to wait for me. I knew the risks when I signed on for the pointy teeth.” “I guess.” “Speaking of which, it’s time.” “Time?”
  174. 174. “Woooo… Sparkly…”
  175. 175. “Woooooooozyyyyyyyyyyy…”
  176. 176. “You should probably head out to the garage. It’ll be sunrise soon.” “But… We only have one coffin.”
  177. 177. “I know. I’ve buried my parents, several dear friends, and both of my sons. I don’t think I have it in me to bury anyone else.”
  178. 178. “I… I think I understand.”
  179. 179. “Bye, Gramma. I’ll miss you. And thanks for everything.”
  180. 180. “Goodbye, Marco. Don’t doubt that you can do this. Now you’d better hurry or you’ll get caught in the sun.”
  181. 181. I’m ready.
  182. 182. Monaco Vetinari, Gen 5 Uglacy heir, lived a hell of a long time what with being a vampire and all. She was predeceased by her two sons, Archimedes and Anaximander, and helped raise her four grandchildren, Fuller, Marconi, Tesla, and Faraday. Coco, I pretty much put you through the wringer and you never gave a word of complaint. You were never allowed to marry Malcolm, both of your sons were murdered, and you spent several weeks as a vampire so you didn’t have to leave your teenaged grandchildren on your own. Oh, and then you got the Sunburn of Extreme Ouchies. I know if I say I liked you a hell of a lot, no one will believe me, but it’s the truth.
  183. 183. And here’s the last Gen 5 tombstone. Next time, Gen 7 starts college. At this time, I do not anticipate any loss of life. …That’s probably not quite as reassuring as I meant it to be.

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