Welcome to Chapter Four, Part Twelve of the Pseudo Legacy!
In our last visit, the members of generation five were continuing to grow in both age and number. Oz
became a shy little boy, while his baby sister Josephine grew into a very non-shy toddler. Louise’s friendship
with Star blossomed into something strong, while Star’s little sister Moon remained strangely mute.
Miranda and Dean welcomed their children in to the world with Dean’s unwitting choice to force twins foiling
Starla’s plans for their firstborn. In her peevish anger, she cursed the twins, but her “good” counterpart
counteracted the curse with a blessing.
Finally, Ian went against his guardian’s wishes and visited Hugh, his young son. As he left the umbrella of
protection from the vampires, his mother sensed his presence in the world of the living.
“Matthew, wake up.”
Persephone came back into the house, followed by cool night air smelling of autumn. Determined, she
moved over towards the bed and said again, “Matthew, wake up. We need to talk.”
It took a moment, but Matthew finally registered her voice. Muzzy with sleep, he threw off the covers and
scrambled out of bed as fast as his old bones would allow, “Wha? Whasswrong?”
“Ian is out there somewhere.” Persephone said as she went to his side.
Still sleepy and confused, he reached out and took her hands in his, “You’re freezing. How long were you
outside?” Slowly, what she was actually saying began to sink in. Blinking sleep out of his eyes, he said
confusedly, “Persy, Ian’s dead.”
Shaking her head vehemently, she said, “No, Matthew. I FELT him. For the first time since he died, I felt him
out there somewhere.”
Matthew had never been a good morning person. He needed a cup of black coffee and at least a half an
hour before he was ready to deal with anyone in a civilized manner. Due to lack of coffee and sleep, he
responded more harshly than he otherwise might have, “Enough. Ian is dead and no matter how hard we
wish otherwise, nothing is going to change that fact.”
“No, Persy, I thought you were past this, but this has got to stop!”
Going off on a tear, he continued in a loud, gruff voice, “We can’t spend the rest of our days worrying about
the son we lost, not when the rest of our children and grandchildren are right here, living and breathing.
They need us more than he does right now. You have to let him go, Persy!”
Sighing, she looked down at her fingernails and patiently listened to him rant for a little while longer. When
he paused to take a breath, she looked up at him with an arched eyebrow, “Are you about finished? I
imagine there are a couple of people in the neighborhood you haven’t woken up yet if you’d like to continue
Matthew blinked and stared at her.
Moving to him and putting her arms around him, she said calmly, “Matthew, you have always told me to
trust in my visions and what my heart tells me. When I was ready to ignore them and do the opposite of
what I felt them guiding me to do, you were the one that told me to trust myself and listen. You said my
heart would know the truth.”
Concern etched his tired features as he searched her face, “But love, Ian is dead.”
“Was. He was dead.” Persephone said softly, “I felt him, Matthew. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, and
I don’t even know where, but believe me, I know he’s out there somewhere. When he died, it ripped a piece
of me away. Every moment, I could feel the ache of that hole, but now,” She took a deep breath, “The hole
isn’t empty any longer. He’s out there somewhere.”
Matthew was not completely convinced, but he quieted his argument and pulled her into a tender hug,
“Okay. So if you’re right, what do you want to do about it?”
“I .. I don’t know.” Letting his strong embrace shelter her, she leaned her head on his shoulder, “For now,
let’s keep this between us until we know something more. I know he’s out there, but I’m not sure exactly
what my senses are trying to tell me. I think we have to take this one step at a time.”
Arms wrapped around her, Matthew’s concern did not ease, but she was the love of his life and he knew he
would support her through this, even if he didn’t fully believe it himself, “Alright. Let’s go get some coffee
started. The kids will be up soon.”
“Stop! Just stop!” The person on the other end of the line was being absolutely infuriating and I was losing
my temper. Patience wasn’t one of my stronger virtues. I listened for a moment longer as they continued
babbling away before I interrupted again, “No wedding!”
Trying not to snarl with frustration, I explained again with as much patience as I could muster, “Even if there
wasn’t an immortality issue to deal with, there wouldn’t be a wedding, so just drop it. You guys can cancel
the caterer and stop picking out dresses. And that’s final.”
They just weren’t letting up. “Yeah, yeah. So what if the babies have different last names? I once worked
with a family where the kids had the same mother and father and still had different last names. It’s not the
worst thing that could happen.”
I listened for another moment and then sighed, “Look, Nate has always said he didn’t want to get married
and I’m not going to force him into something he doesn’t want.” Of course, I couldn’t go without adding a
hint of snark, “So stop trying to plan my life. None of you lot are my mother.”
Unnoticed, Nate stood in the entrance to the living room and listened to the one sided conversation. He
might not have heard the whole thing, but he heard enough. Expression thoughtful, he rubbed a hand
against his pregnant belly where the baby inside gave a little kick.
Looking back up in my direction, he got a little lopsided smile on his face as came to a decision.
“Take the wedding gifts back? Well, what did you get me?” Turning around, I said, “Oh, that sounds nice,
maybe..” I stopped in mid sentence and stared open mouthed. After a couple of heartbeats, I found my
voice again, “I.. I think I’m going to have to call you back.”
Still staring in uncomprehending shock, I lowered my hand and the phone slipped unnoticed to thud softly
on the carpet.
From the phone, an excitable voice called, “Ori? Ori, are you there? What’s wrong? Ori? Shut up guys! I
can’t hear what’s going on!”
Hesitantly I asked, “Nate, what are you doing?”
Nathaniel just kneeled before me, looking up with a little smile on his face, “Ori, I always said I didn’t want
to get married, and I think I meant it. At least I did when I said it. My mom always told me someone would
change my mind someday, but I figured that’s just ‘cause she wanted some more grandkids. I had Kirby and
my nephews and Jeremiah and I was happy.”
“At least, I was up until we started hanging out.” Nate smiled that endearing, goofy grin of his. “I guess us
knocking each other up kinda brought it home to me.”
“Let me finish. You’re not like the other girls I’ve dated, but I have a lot of fun with you and we’re going to
be parents which is a really big job and it’s one I don’t want to screw up. It’s kind of made me think about
where I’m going and what I want out of my life.” Taking a deep breath, he reached into his pocket and
pulled out a little black box.
“Grow old along with me, Ori.” Nate opened the box and the ring caught the light just right to glitter, “Let’s
spend the rest of our lives together. Right now, I can’t think of anyone else I want to grow fat, old and gray
“Oh Nate..” My voice had a hitch in it as he caught me completely off guard. I was supposed to be in charge
here, wasn’t I?
“Ori, I’m asking you to marry me. Say yes, please?”
“What’s happening? Come on Jamie! Spill it!” Stacie demanded back at the SSC headquarters.
Jamie let out a squeal of delight and then started dancing around insanely, “HE’S PROPOSING!”
The other simselves started cheering before Jamie waved them to be quiet. She listened for half a second in
the momentary quiet and then squealed again, “SHE SAID YES!”
Doc smirked and hid a chuckle, “Sucker.”
A voice called loudly from the phone, “So about the caterer! Hey, we also have some ideas for the flowers!
Ori, Are you there? Hey Ori? Hellooo?”
Miranda and Dean each held one of their twins, facing a raucous crowd of family and friends and a pair of
matching birthday cakes. Tilting his head, Dean looked over at his wife, “Ready ‘Randa?”
With an almost wistful sigh, she said, “I can’t believe we’re losing the babification stage. They’re growing
He grinned impishly, “Yep. No more diapers and we can start introducing them to real food. Like pizza and
Miranda gave him a pointed look before she laughed, “You’re horribilacious, Jelly-Dean. For that you get the
first round of potty training.”
Very shortly, the birthday candles had been blown out and two very thrilled grandparents were holding their
youngest grandchildren. Anyone else who had wanted to hold the twins after they grew up was quickly
made aware that they’d have to wait. Persephone and Matthew got first dibs.
“They’re beautiful.” Persephone beamed a radiant and proud smile as she held Ava, “And they look just like
“Heaven help them.” Matthew smirked as he lightly bounced Ash on his hip.
An eyebrow shot up, “Matthew! Be nice. Especially considering you are not going to be able to disown your
grandson. Ash looks just like you.”
Matthew chuckled and raised a hand to tickle the little boy, “Well, in that case, he’s a handsome devil, aren’t
you Ash?” The response he got was a delighted giggle.
Chuckling, Persephone shook her head and resumed playing with Ava. It was almost as if it were a
competition to see which grandparent could illicit the biggest and most delighted giggle.
Dwight walked by and hid an amused grin. He knew enough to never get in the way when an elder’s
grandparent senses were engaged.
Having cleaned up the cake and made sure there was other snacks for hungry guests, Dean left the kitchen
only to come face to face with his niece.
Louise’s face lit up when she saw him, “Uncle Dean! I was looking for you.”
“Whatever it was, I didn’t do it and it’s not my fault.” Dean looked over both shoulder suspiciously as he hid
a grin. He’d always enjoyed being the ‘fun’ uncle with his sister’s twins, so it wasn’t hard to settle into that
same roll for the nieces and nephews he’d gained by marrying Miranda.
“Uncle Dean! Stop being silly. This is serious!” Even as she stomped her foot, Louise couldn’t help but smile.
“Alright squirt, what is it?” He looked down at her to give his full attention.
Louise’s face lit up, “Well, I’ve been thinking lots about this, but I heard mom and dad talking ‘bout it and I
wanted to check with you to get the whole story, but are you from another dimension, Uncle Dean?”
Tilting his head, Dean regarded her inquisitive and determined expression, “Well..”
“I know you’re not from around here and you don’t have any family near here even though I know you’ve
got brothers and sisters and other nieces and nephews. Dad said you can’t really see them anymore. I know
you’re not from another planet like Star’s other granpa or anything like that, so I was thinking it must mean
you’re from another dimension, right? I found a book that talked about multi..” She paused for a moment as
her face screwed up and she tried to pronounce everything correctly, “Multi-Dimensional Universe Theory.”
Dean raised an eyebrow, “That’s a pretty heavy book, kiddo. I don’t even think I’d understand half of what
it was saying.”
Louise lifted her chin defiantly, “I have to look up some words, but it made sense to me. So, are you? From
He hesitated for a moment before giving a helpless shrug. Louise was a smart kid and if she’d figured out
this much on her own, it really wasn’t worth it trying to keep it from her, “Its complicated kiddo.”
She gave him an expectant look.
“You’re right. I am from what’s basically a different dimension. They called it a different ‘verse.” He looked
up and pointed towards the living room and the party, “Dwight, Lance, Farnsworth and Scott are also from
different places too.”
Louise nodded as he confirmed her suspicions. Thinking about it for a moment, she rubbed the back of her
neck before she asked, “And you can never go see your family again?”
Dean’s expression softened, “It’s complicated, Lou. I don’t even understand it all myself, but no, that’s right.
I probably won’t get to see my family again.”
Her expression fell, “But.. that’s not fair, Uncle Dean.”
“Oh Lou.” Dean’s smile was gentle as he looked down at her, “I guess it isn’t very fair, but as much as I’d
love to see them again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” Looking up towards the living room, he caught a familiar
laugh attached to a flash of fiery red hair. From there, his eyes were drawn to the two small children with his
blond thair that were the center of attention, “Not a single thing.”
Louise considered this for a moment before she said determinedly, “I don’t want you to go away, but you
should get to see your Mom and Dad and brother and sisters and other nieces and nephews again.
Someday, I’m going to find a way for you to see them again, Uncle Dean. I promise.”
Blinking, Dean stared down at his niece. The look on her face wasn’t one you could argue with, “Y’know
Lou, I honestly think you might just pull that off someday. If anyone can, I bet it’s you.” Leaning down, he
pulled her into a hug, “Thank you, squirt.”
“I promise, Uncle Dean! I’ll make it happen.”
At that moment, Elijah and Shelby came in from the other room. The couple paused at the scene before
them before Elijah raised an eyebrow, “Why do I have the feeling we just missed the beginning of trouble?”
“Look at you, Momasan.” Miranda grinned and pointed at her smiling mother.
Arching an eyebrow, Persephone asked with a light laugh, “What about me?”
“You’re radiating happified glowification. Being a grandmomasan is good for you.”
Persephone laughed, “Of course it’s good for me. My babies keep giving me wonderfully beautiful and
healthy grandbabies. I have six beautiful grandchildren, what else could I ask for?”
Miranda laughed, “You’re such a familialaddict, Momasan.”
Laughing, Persephone said, “Did you expect anything different from your mother?”
“‘Course not, Momasan.” Miranda smiled, “I knew the moment the Shelbinator got pregnant that you’d be
bouncing off the walls for more and more grandbabies.”
“Well, I couldn’t be prouder of the grandchildren that I’ve been given, love. Every single one is brilliant and
Tilting her head, Miranda regarded her mother for a moment before she said quietly, “But you’d love it if you
had more too, right Momasan?”
Persephone regarded her youngest child for a moment before a quiet smile formed. Gently taking her
daughter’s shoulder, she turned her to face toward the two toddlers playing together, “Miranda my love,
you and Dean have a precious gift in those two babies. Focus on them and don’t tear yourself up trying to
have more. As much as I would love and welcome more grandchildren, I AM happy with the ones I have.”
Miranda’s expression softened as she watched the two toweheaded children interacting, “They are
something, aren’t they?”
Putting an arm around her daughter’s shoulders, Persephone smiled and watched as the two toddlers
clumsily stumbled into an enthusiastic hug, “They are. They’re about as close as I’ve ever seen two children
It was a beautiful fall day. The bright array of fall foliage was at is peak, providing the color theme carried
into the decorations adorning the backyard. Meanwhile, the sun cast a bright warmth, making it seem more
like the tail end of summer rather the herald of winter. It was a perfect day for a wedding.
As if it would have been anything else. I could at least see to that much.
As everyone waited expectantly for the bride and groom, Jeremiah looked back at Kiley and said quietly, “I
can’t believe he’s really doing it after all this time.”
She gave a soft snort and smiled back at her brother, “I’m sure the fact that there are babies, plurarl, on the
way isn’t a factor at all.”
Giving her a stern look, Jeremiah said, “Be nice. He loves this one.” Looking out over the crowd, his gaze
drifted towards the friends of the bride, mostly people he didn’t know, “I do have to wonder what’s up with
all the kids here. Maybe she’s works at a day care or something.”
Kiley smirked, “Would explain why she likes Nate enough to marry him.”
Off to the side, all the ‘kids’ stood waiting impatiently. In the back, Toast reached up a hand and ran an
irritated hand through her hair, messing up the neatly combed locks that had lasted for all of two minutes.
For about the tenth time that day, she muttered, “I can’t believe they made us all dress alike. We look like
freakin’ kewpie dolls.”
Towards the front, Denise put her hands on her hips and frowned at the wedding arch, “Where are they?
Leave it to Ori to be late to her own wedding.”
Behind her, Candi sighed, “Yeah. They’re holding up the cake.”
Nearby, Ben sighed and put his hands on his hips, echoing Denise’s posture.
Glancing back at his friend, B.W. imitated the gesture and sighed as well. After a moment he asked, “Why
are we sighing?”
“Because we’re kids. Weddings are much more fun when you’re older and single and can scope out the
opportunities the bridesmaids present. Mmmhmm.”
“Oh.” He thought about that for a moment and said cheerfully, “Y’know, that’s kinda creepy coming from
you right now. I bet you could totally freak out some of the adult simselves with that.”
Ben’s face lit up and the wheels started turning. Luckily for everyone involved, the bride and groom soon
arrived to cause a distraction.
Nathaniel and I stood beneath the arch. Looking out over the crowd of expectant, nervous, and amused
faces, everything suddenly felt very surreal. This was something I’d never intended to have happen, but as
I’d learned a while back, I wasn’t really in control anymore.
Sure, I had a degree of awareness that no one else had, but it wasn’t omnipotence. Not by a long shot.
Everything that had happened over the past generation had proved that without a doubt things were going
to happen whether I wanted them to or not.
“Come on back to reality, Ori,” Nathaniel whispered with a smile, “It’s time.”
Pulling my thoughts back, I gave him a fond smile and nodded. For him, I would do this.
The vows were simple and honest, much like Nathaniel himself. He spoke of surprises and choices, of
choosing to grow old with someone that made him happy, of being surprised to know what contentment felt
My vows echoed his. I promised to cherish his love and friendship while we grew old together. This earned a
few surprised looks from the others there that knew who and what I was, but I didn’t care. This was the
only choice to make. What surprised me was how easy it was once I’d made up my mind.
We leaned in to kiss only to be stopped by an awkward bump between pregnant bellies. The two respective
babies decided to kick right then, probably getting each other good in the shin. We both had to laugh
before we finally grinned and sealed the deal with a kiss.
Genesis couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. While she never would have wanted to force Nathaniel into a
situation where he would be unhappy, she had wholeheartedly believed that he would be happier with
someone by his side. Well, someones in addition to his dog Kirby. On top of that, she knew he would make a
good father. He was too much like Micah not to be wonderful with children. So what if her new daughter-in-
law was a little odd and had even odder friends. Anyone could see that Nathaniel was happy and she knew
she’d been right.
The fact that the grandchildren on the way were the accidental result of her own scientific intervention was
just an added bonus.
“Okay everyone, listen up!” Marina cleared her throat as all the guests turned to look her way. Giving a
trained singer a microphone is bound to get people to pay attention. “Now that the boring mushy part is
over, let’s get to the stuff that everyone came here for! Dancing and cake! This is a little something we
“kids” put together for Ori and Nate.”
She looked to the rest of the kids, lined up and waiting impatiently, “Everyone ready?”
“Just get on with it already, M’ina!” That came from little Professor Butters.
“Okay, hit it!”
“There’s a place where the crazy moon
Makes the monkeys sing and the baboons swoon
And the sultry scent of the lotus bloom
Will carry you away
Where the hippos swing from the jungle vines
And the rhino rhumba in a conga line
And the pink flamingoes are intertwined
As the stars come out to play
Where the passion fruit grows sweet
And it’s so divine
That you lose your mind
As it sweeps you off your feet”
Without a worry or a care
It just takes two
To make it true
Your heart will lead you there”
Marina sang bright and clear as the rest of the miniaturized simselves danced enthusiastically. It was
obvious they’d been planning this for a while but had somehow kept it secret from their keepers.
If it weren’t so cute, it would have been embarrassing.
“You should probably cut the cake before there’s a riot among the munchkins, Ori.” Jamie suggested with an
innocent smile as she wandered past a little later during the reception.
I gave her my best mock glare, “Don’t underestimate me, Jamie. I will get you guys back for this. I can see
Doc over there snickering at me still.”
She just replied with a huge smile and a pat on my shoulder, “Congratulations again, Ori!”
I was still grumbling when Nathaniel came over to me, “Is everything okay, Ori?”
Quirking a grin, “Everything’s just fine, Nate. Come on, let’s see how much of this cake I can actually fit in
your cake hole. The natives are getting restless and need their sugar rush soon.”
Maybe it wasn’t what I had expected or exactly wanted, but when it came down to it, I had no cause for
“No, I think I have everything we need, I just,” Lisa stopped as she was interrupted. Stifling a sigh, she bit
her lower lip and finally spoke up, “Mrs. Legacina... yes, I’m sorry, Persephone. Honestly, I’ve got everything
taken care of. Honest. All I need is for you and everyone to come and help celebrate Hugh’s birthday.”
She listened for another moment, then smiled and shook her head, “No, you weren’t being domineering.
You were just being a mom and a grandmother. I’ll see you at six? Thank you Mrs... Persephone.”
Hanging up the phone, she took a deep, calming breath. While she was happy Ian’s family had accepted
Hugh with open arms, it was sometimes a little overwhelming for her to deal with.
By the time the guests arrived, Lisa had the cake and Hugh ready to go. She’d had to keep him from
grabbing a fistful of cake at least twice and he kept asking when the ‘big kids’ would get there so he could
play with them. Even if she was reluctant to see him grow up, she knew he was ready to leave his toddler
days behind him.
As Hugh stood as the center of attention and prepared to grow up, the little boy looked happily over the
crowd cheering him on. He knew his grandparents and his mommy and some of his cousins, but there were
also some new people and family there he was excited to get to know. There was one particular person he
had hoped to see but knew wouldn’t be there.
For now, everyone that was there was excited to see him grow up.
Well, almost everyone.
When all the guests had arrived, Oz had slipped unnoticed into Hugh’s bedroom. Try as he might, even
when he knew everyone, crowds were just a bit too overwhelming.
Sitting on the floor and holding one of Hugh’s stuffed animals, he sighed, “Mommy would start worrying
about me if she knew I was in here and Lou would tell me to come out and have fun. But I kind of like it in
here with you Mr. Monkey.”
“I think you should go play with your cousin Hugh instead!” Mr. Monkey responded in a high pitched voice
that sounded very much like a little boy.
Oz blinked and tossed the stuffed animal to the corner with a shriek, “EEEK!! You talk!?!”
Hugh laughed, “That was just me!”
Cheeks coloring with embarrassment, Oz mumbled looked at his cousin, “Oh.” Biting his lip, he scuffed his
feet as he looked to the floor, sure that the other boy was now going to tease him for being a sissy. In a
small voice he said, “Sorry I was playing with your toys.”
“That’s okay, Mr. Monkey is really soft and friendly and he likes getting to hang out with anybody.” Hugh had
a grin on his face, “I’m Hugh. You’re my cousin Oswald, right? I just got big, so now I’m the same size as
“Uhm, actually everyone just calls me Oz.” He looked up with a tentative look. Hugh wasn’t teasing him yet
like the kids in school would have, “I like that better.”
“Okay. Oz is easier to say than Oswald and it sounds more fun. My name’s just simple. Hugh. Hugh. Hugh.
That’s it.” He grinned, “Hey Oz, since we’re the same size now, do you think you’d want to play with me?
I’ve got playground stuff outside, but I want to play cops and robbers and tag and lots of things you can
only do with other kids. Do you think you might?”
Oz blinked once and a hesitant smile started to form, “You want to play with me? O-okay.” He hesitated and
then asked timidly, “Can I be the cop?”
As the two boys raced out through the party to head outside and play, Louise plopped down on the couch,
Parker Parker paused scratching his shoulder to look over at her and smile, “Hi.”
“You’re Parker Parker, right?”
“That’s me.” He smiled, “You’re Louise. I was at your first birthday, though you probably don’t remember
that. I was also at your brother and sister’s birthday, but you were busy with the other kids.”
Her brow furrowed as she thought back to last birthday party, “I remember you being there, but I forgot to
say hi. I’m sorry.”
Parker regarded her for a moment as he absently raised a foot to scratch at his jeans covered leg. Finally he
smiled, “That’s okay. There were lots of people there. It would have been nice to talk to you, Louise, but I
understand you were busy with your friends and cousins.”
“I still should have said hi.” She was taking this quite seriously, “I’m supposed to be a good hostess for our
parties and it’s not right to miss some people.” Louise paused and tilted her head as he continued to scratch
his leg, “Do you have a bug bite?”
Abruptly stopping, Parker looked sheepish, “No. It’s just that these clothes itch.”
“Oh.” Louise nodded, “Daddy said you don’t like clothes, but Mommy said that if you didn’t wear clothes
she’d castrate you. I looked up that word and it didn’t sound very nice.”
Parker Parker suddenly coughed and sputtered, “Uhm. Yes. That would not be very nice at all.”
Louise grinned, “I don’t like getting dressed up ‘cause it itches. I do like my pajamas, though. They’re
Unable to help himself, Parker laughed, “My pajamas are quite comfy too.” He simply avoided explaining that
his pajamas usually consisted of his birthday suit.
Louise hopped up and smiled, “It was nice talking to you Mr. Parker Parker.”
“You can call me Parker, Louise.” He quirked a grin, “Calling me Mr. makes me feel older than I want to be.”
She flashed a brilliant grin at him, “Okay. My birthday is coming up. Will you come to the party? Grandma
said she’d handle inviting everyone, but I want to make sure to invite all the people I want to be there.”
He grinned back, “I’d be delighted.”
Outside the two boys were still playing as the party was winding down inside. Forgetting his shyness for the
moment, Oz laughed, “I got you! Now you gotta go to jail.”
Hugh gave a bubbly laugh, “You did, but I’m gonna escape! Then you’ll have to catch me again.”
From the door, Shelby called out, “Oz honey, it’s time to go. It’s a school night so we can’t stay too late.”
The cousins turned in unison, “Aw..”
Turning to face Hugh, Oz suddenly regained his shyness, “I.. I.. I had fun tonight, Hugh.”
Hugh gave a crooked grin, “I had fun too.” He hesitated, then said, “I don’t have any brothers or sisters, so
my cousins are kinda really important. My da.. someone said so. So I’m glad you were willing to hang out
with me. You’re fun.”
Oz’s dark blue eyes widened, “You thought I was fun?”
Hugh responded without hesitation, “Oh yeah.”
“Come on Oz, time to go. We need to get home before Jo kills the babysitter.” This time Elijah was trying to
get the crew moving.
“Coming Dad!” Oz turned and grinned at Hugh a second before reaching out and hugging his cousin, “Can
you come over my house tomorrow after school?”
“I’ll see if my mom will let me. Maybe you can come over here too.” Hugh hugged him back, “Maybe we’ll
ride the same bus!”
When the parents of the two boys finally got them pried apart, they’d made plans to visit each other’s
houses at least a dozen times before the week was over.
“Did you have a good birthday, sweetie?” Lisa had cleaned up the worst of the mess from the party, then
helped the birthday boy and herself ready for bed.
“It was awesome, mom.” Hugh beamed up at her as he held her hands and he danced on her feet, “I loved
getting to see Grandma and Granpa and Uncle Lijah and Aunt Shelby and Aunt Miranda and Uncle Dean and
Fuzzy Uncle Steve and Louise and Oz. Oz was lots of fun. Would it be okay if I went over to his house after
Laughing, she leaned down and kissed his forehead, “Why don’t we see how your first day of school goes
first, sweetie. I’m sure you and Oz can get together again soon. Now it’s time for you to go to bed. It’s way
past your bedtime.”
If Lisa hadn’t been so tired herself, she might have realized it was odd that he gave no argument about it
being bedtime. Instead, he happily hopped into bed and let her tuck him in and turn out the light.
He waited until he heard her go into her own room and turn out the light before he got up, made his bed
and hopped up on it to sit patiently.
There was one more birthday guest he was expecting.
The window didn’t make a sound as it slid open to let in the chill of the autumn night. The last guest of the
party slipped in and raised an eyebrow with a quiet smile, “Shouldn’t you be asleep?”
Hugh had almost been falling asleep, but his eyes flew open at the question, “Daddy!”
Instantly, he was off the bed rushing over to his father, “I had the best party, I got cake and lots of presents
and I got to play with Oz who is really awesome and Mommy said I can go over to his house this week.”
Ian couldn’t help but laugh at the stream of consciousness recitation of Hugh’s birthday party, “Slow down,
Hugh. Don’t forget to breathe.”
Without another word, Hugh reached up for a hug, “I wish you could have come to my party, Daddy.”
Ian hugged him tightly. Whenever he got to spend time with Hugh, Ian felt an overwhelming sense of fierce
pride and love. With a wistful sigh, he said, “I wish I could have come too, but not just yet. You kept our
“Yes, Daddy. No one knows you come to visit. Grandma was asking me questions about you and showed me
some pictures of you when you were little like me, but I didn’t tell her that you come to see.”
Ian winced ever so slightly, “Maybe we’ll be able to tell Grandma someday. For now, let’s keep it our secret.”
Changing subjects, he asked teasingly, “Do you know of a little boy that might want the birthday present I
brought with me?”
“Oh! Me! Me Daddy! Please!?” Hugh jumped up and down excitedly.
“Shhhh.” Ian laughed at his little boy’s exuberance, “Your mother needs her sleep. Remember, we don’t
want to wake her.”
In moments the paper and ribbon were gone and the box was flung open to reveal the remote control car
within. It was a custom model painted by hand and it was just what Hugh wanted even if he hadn’t ever
thought of wanting one before.
“Oh, it’s awesome, Daddy! Can I play with it now?” He asked just as a yawn escaped past his determination
to stay awake.
Ian smiled, “You can play with it in the morning. I think you need to get to bed. The school bus will come
too early in the morning.”
“Aw.” Hugh protested, but knew it was a losing battle, “Will you read me a bedtime story?”
Ian smiled and reached out to tickle his son, “Of course I will. Pick out a book and I’ll read it.”
Hugh chose ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and together they curled up on the bed. Ian read in a soft voice
until Hugh’s eyes drifted closed and his breathing settled into the regular rhythm of sleep. For a long time
after that, Ian simply held his son.
“Where’s the gosling?” Melissa Lillard asked with a deceptively light tone, “Please tell me that we’re not
waiting for him.”
Mary frowned, but quickly smoothed her expression, “Ian had something he was attending to this evening.
He had hoped to be back by now, but there was always the possibility he would be late.”
“Oooh, you’re letting him off the leash early, aren’t you?” Melissa smirked, “I seem to it recall taking at least
a decade before you’d let me off on his own.”
Mary opened her mouth with a retort, but Robi spoke up first, “Ladies, please play nicely. If Mary believes
that Ian is capable of going out unsupervised, I trust her opinion on the matter.”
“What did you wish to speak to us about, Robi?” Mary asked politely as the Master vampire looked over at
“I have received word that another supernatural faction has moved into the area. While they do not appear
to be hostile, they may prove to change the balance of power in the region.” Robi explained.
Melissa perked up, “Oh, you mean the witches, right?”
“Yes.” He responded with a nod, “They seem absorbed in their own machinations at the current time, but
they still bear watching. I wanted to ensure that each of us was aware of the situation. For now, we will not
antagonize them unless they do so to us first. Things are too precarious for us to create enemies when we
may need to seek allies.” He leveled a gaze at each of them, “Am I understood?”
They each nodded, but Mellisa felt the need to pipe up with a vocal response, “Right then. We know how to
be good, well behaved vampires, don’t we, Mary?”
Mary raised an eyebrow at the teasing tone, “Of course, Melissa.” Regarding the other woman, she asked,
“What on earth did you do to your hair, Melissa? It makes you look as if you were a child.”
Melissa smirked, “Do you like it? I decided I wanted a change and I might as well go for the delicious
innocent look.” Eyeing Mary’s elegant gown, she added, “Some of us at least like to live in the current
century. Though, I’m thinking it might be fun to mix up the modern ‘cute’ with an old fashioned cockney
As Mary was rolling her eyes the front door opened and admitted Ian. Even though he was obviously late,
he strolled in whistling a happy tune.
Melissa’s eyes widened and she laughed, “Well then, if it ain’ the prodigal son hi’self, retoined to our side.
Les’ be rejoicin’ wiv ‘im then.” Turning to regard him, she considered him a moment before adding with a
knowing smirk, “An’ wiv the way he’s carryin’ on, me finks he might have gotten hi’self a lil’lovin’ t’night,
Mary’s eyes smouldered angrily and she hissed under her breath, “Oh for the love of... Melissa, you were
from Talahassee, not London.”
“Hello Melissa.” Ian had always been amused at the way Melissa could so effortlessly irritate Mary, but he
knew she was an instigator who would go after anyone for the amusement of it all. It was best to ignore her
when she was trying to get someone riled up, “Sorry I’m late. Things took a little longer than I had
expected.” While he was polite with his apology, it was obvious that he was not actually sorry for being late.
Robi stood up from the couch in a graceful movement, “This was not intended to be an official occasion, but
there was information I felt we all needed. Mary can fill you in, Ian.” He turned and looked at Melissa and
Stephen, “We are done here. You may leave.”
Melissa smirked one last time in Ian and Mary’s direction before she and Stephen left, leaving Robi with the
remaining two vampires.
Robi regarded Ian for a weighted moment before he said, “I am given to understand that Mary has granted
you permission to visit your son. Have you told others of your family that you have returned from the
Mary spoke, “Robi, I..” He held up a finger to forestall her as he kept his gaze steadily on Ian.
Ian felt the desire to take a deep breath even if it was physically unecessary, “She has and I have not. I
would like to, but she feels I am not ready. I think she’s wrong.”
Mary made an inarticulate sound of frustration.
Ignoring her, Robi smiled at Ian and nodded, “It is your right to believe she is incorrect. I do expect you to
abide by her judgment in these things.” He spared a glance between the two before he added, “Even if the
relationship between you chafes.”
Ian tried not to grind his teeth in frustration, but he nodded, “Understood.” Though he was a reluctant
member of the vampire clan, he had come to a degree of acceptance to their ways. “I’ll try not to break any
Robi chuckled softly, “Good. I would hate to have you killed for a second time.”
Clearing his throat at that, Ian asked, “How are Ophelia and your daughter?”
Robi’s eyes lit up, making his previous expression seem weary and worn, “They are absolutely delightful.
Rachel astounds me every night with how quickly she is growing and learning. She is a precious joy for me.
Ophelia continues to be surprised at how much she enjoys being a mother.” He gave a rueful chuckle, “I
dare say I shall not convince her to have another child, but she does not regret bringing Rachel into our
Ian quirked a quiet grin, “I had a feeling she’d be better at it than she expected.”
Robi gave an honest smile and nodded, “I felt the same. There are times I wish..” He trailed off and gave a
wistful shake of his head, dismissing what he was about to say, “I shall leave you now. While I understand
your reasons for missing our brief meeting this evening, I do expect that you shall endeavor to attend our
“Good enough.” Robi extended his hand to Ian, surprising the young vampire, “I shall bid you a good
As Mary continued to glower, Ian hesitantly took Robi’s hand and shook it. It was the first time that Robi
had treated him as something other than a child.
After Robi’s car was heard pulling away, Ian walked away from Mary and moved over to the fireplace to
stoke the logs already burning there. Though he did not feel cold or hot as he once did, there was a comfort
to a warm, crackling fireplace.
Though Mary said nothing, her angry presence could be felt over his shoulder.
Taking his time, he made sure the fire was going nicely before he acknowledged her presence. Standing, he
turned and faced her, “Okay, out with it. You’ve been pissed at me since I got back here. What’s your
“You were granted permission to see your son, not anyone else. How am I to trust you if you abuse me so?”
Mary seethed with anger and frustration as she spoke.
Ian’s eyes widened, “What are you talking about!?”
“I heard what Melissa said as well as you did. Who was she, Ian? Did you dally with the mother of your child
again? Was having her tear your heart to shreds once not enough for you?” The cold calm that Mary usually
wore like armor had fractured, revealing something far more passionate and heated hidden beneath.
“You think I slept with Lisa?” Ian’s voice was incredulous as he stared at her in shock.
“What else am I to think with the way you sauntered in here so satisfied and pleased with yourself?!?”
Without even realizing he was doing it, Ian reached out and grabbed Mary’s shoulders, gripping them
tightly, “What do you care if I slept with anyone else? Why should it bother you?”
Mary stared into his face with surprise as electricity seemed to flow between them as he touched her.
Inhaling sharply, she attempetd responded in her old, chilled demeanor, but her words were breathless,
“Because.. because you are my charge and I would not wish to pick up the pieces when she breaks you
Ian growled low in his throat, “You. Are. Impossible.” Hands shaking as he held onto her, he hissed, “Lisa
isn’t the one making me stupid anymore, Mary.”
A lifetime later, clothes lay strewn around the room as they lay entwined together on a soft carpet, basking
in the glow from the fireplace.
For the longest time after the initial hurried violence of their passion, they said nothing, simply laying skin
against skin, gently caressing one another. Finally, as they both felt the approach of dawn, Ian said with a
soft laugh, “I guess this changes things a little, doesn’t it?”
Mary responded with a smile and a light nuzzle against his shoulder and a very modern sentiment,
Life continued moving forward throughout Terra Lostundo, inching towards the first winter since Elijah and
Shelby had broken the inadvertent curse that had been placed over the region. The Legacinas had grown
comfortable in their new home. If memories of the home they lost lingered, no one that remembered denied
that the new house had grown on them.
One sign that the new house had become accepted was the placement of the official portraits of the current
generation’s heir and spouse. It had taken longer than in pervious generations, but finally Elijah and Shelby
adorned the wall of the main room.
In most respects, life had settled into a peaceful routine.
In other respects, not so much.
“Oh Jo, come on, you can do it for Grandmama, can’t you?” Persephone entreated her recalcitrant
granddaughter, “Say ‘Buttercup’.”
Persephone arched an eyebrow, “Is that all you can say, little one?”
Giving up, Persephone shook her head with a rueful smile, “I hate to say this, Miss Josephine Legacina, but
I’m glad you were last. If you’d been their first, I think Elijah and Shelby would have called it quits then and
“Uppies, Granmama!” With a mercurial mood, Josephine lifted her arms up and made the imperious demand
of her grandmother.
Giving a soft snort and a shake of her head, Persephone obliged the little girl, “Oh fine.” Lifting up the
toddler, she chuckled, “Ah little love, what am I going to do with you. At least you were eager to learn how
“I like walk.” Josephine nodded sagely as she looked up into Persephone’s face. With a bright, charming
smile so different from the frown she had just been wearing, the little girl added, “I loves grandmama and
grandpapa and mama and dadda and Eees and Oz and Steve.” After a moment of thought, she added, “And
Persephone found herself smiling fondly at the difficult little girl, “I love you too.” Sparing a moment for a
snuggle with her granddaughter, she smiled, “Okay Trouble. Let’s see what we can do to help get ready for
Louise’s birthday party tonight.”
“Party! Yay! Wanna party!”
Josephine wasn’t the only one excited about the party that evening. Before sunset, the house was full with
dozens of family and friends all there to see the eldest Legacina child turn into a teenager. Though some of
the second cousins were older and already enjoying their time as teenagers, Louise growing up was a sign
of the eventual shift from one generation to another.
One guest in particular was especially excited about Louise’s impending teening.
Star watched her best friend thoughtfully while the rest of the family gathered around. It hadn’t been that
long since she’d turned into a teen herself, but after the initial thrill of being older, it had started to wear on
her that the person she most wanted to hang out with was still a little kid. It was an impatient time for a girl
with very little patience to begin with. Finally, her waiting was over.
Giving a little shrug to shake off the brief moment of introspection, she grinned and shouted, “Come on Lou,
Louise grinned as she leaned over the cake, “Don’t rush me! I’m making a wish, Star.” Tapping her chin, she
considered the flickering candles thoughtfully as she debated the merits of various wishes.
Everyone started shouting out different ideas for what she could wish for, ranging from a pony, a new car, a
new baby sibling, to a full scholarship to Sim State. It became a game to see who could suggest the more
Finally Louise laughed, “Okay fine! I know what I want.” Leaning forward, she blew out the candles.
A shower of sparkles and a spin later and she stood there as a teenager, “This is amazing. I remember it
tingling the last time, but this felt even stranger. I wonder what kind of energy output it takes to have all
your bones and skin stretch so quickly. I bet it’s very similar to the change Uncle Brody goes through every
night when the moon rises. Oh and wow, I feel kind of lopsided now with these and these.” She gestured at
her chest and her hips.
Matthew gave an embarrassed cough, “Louise, we don’t need a detailed list of changes, sweetie. Why don’t
you take your slice of cake so everyone can get some. We can talk about your ... ah.. changes.. later.” He
thought about it for a moment, “You and your mother can talk about your changes. Later. Much later.”
After cake had been served, Louise rushed off to get changed. While the outfit she’d transitioned into wasn’t
bad, she insisted there was no way she was going to stay in a dress all the time. The rest of the guests
settled into the swing of the party.
“May I have this dance?” Elijah swept Shelby into his arms.
Laughing, she said, “Of course, you rogue.” Together they swayed for a moment before her eyes twinkled
and she said softly just for him, “Do you believe our baby is a teenager already? When did we get so old?”
“I’m trying hard not to think about it too much.” Turning her in an elegant spin, he added, “And we are not
old. I’ll have you know I lucky enough to be married to a woman who is as beautiful today as she was the
day I met her.”
Shelby’s expression grew adoring as she looked into his eyes. Teasingly, she replied, “Oh, you’re just saying
Elijah quickly dipped her into a kiss that quite effectively informed her that he was not ‘just saying that’.
The fact that their children were growing up had done nothing to lessen the passion between them and he
was determined to remind her of that fact. If they disappeared from the crowd a little while after that, no
one mentioned it.
“So? What do you think?” Louise had finished picking out a new outfit and putting on a little bit of makeup.
She’d struggled with that, trying to decide just the right amount of eye shadow or eye liner to put on to
look more mature without looking like a slut. When she was finally satisfied, she rushed downstairs to find
She finally found her in the kitchen.
Star just stood there and stared. There was an odd sense of surprise in her expression as she blinked once
at Louise. Opening her mouth slightly, Star started to say something but abruptly stopped.
Louise tilted her head and regarded the other girl, “Star? Is anybody home in there?” Waving her hands in
her friend’s face, she giggled, “Earth to Star! Man that sounds strange saying that.”
The wiggling fingers finally snapped Star out of it, causing her to laugh, “What do I think about what?”
“You are like, totally weird, Star.” Louise grinned, “How do I look? Do I look okay to hang out with you at
school tomorrow? Will I fit in okay? I’m really excited about getting access to the high school science lab
and one of my teachers told me that the library has some really good books, but I don’t want to come off as
a total dork. Do you think I can pull off being a nerd and being cool all at the same time? What are the kids
like in high school?”
Star blinked and laughed, “You can always pull off being a total nerd, Lou. You’re about the geekiest geek
that ever geeked.” Tilting her head, she regarded the other girl, “But I think we can work with the look. It’s
not too bad.” Star thought for a moment then exclaimed, “Oh! You have so got to help me with this idea I
“Yeah! See, there’s this storeroom in the basement at school that they keep locked up, but it supposedly has
all the props from the last gazillion school plays they’ve done. I was thinking if we could get in there we
“Star.” The name was a warning as Venus happened to walk into the kitchen at just that moment, “Are you
being a bad influence on your cousin? Try not to get her detention before she even starts school.” The fact
that Venus was regretting she’d never thought of that idea was something the pregnant half-alien was
keeping to herself.
“Oh no, Mom. I would NEVER do anything like that. I’m hurt that you could ever think such things about
me.” Star gave her mother the best innocent look she could manage. “Bye Mom. It was nice seeing you.
Have a nice trip! Write when you get a chance.”
Louise watched Venus smirk back at the pair of them before leaving the room. Looking back to Star, she
laughed, “You are so bad! How can you be so obnoxious to your Mom?”
Star grinned impishly, “Practice. Grandpa tells me I’m just like Mom which is why she’ll always knows what
I’m up to. I think she’s just psychic. Maybe psychotic too.”
Leaning forward and lowering her voice to conspiratorial tones, Star asked, “So, back to the important stuff.
Are you in?”
Eager, Louise leaned forward as well and grinned, “Oh heck yeah!”
Unbeknownst to most of the parents that would protest, the girls began the intricate plans of their first high
school adventure. It certainly wasn’t going to be the last.
While Louise and Star schemed and planned, the rest of the party carried for most everyone else. Oz slipped
outside by himself, fleeing the noise and chaos of everyone enjoying the party. Quietly, he climbed up into
the solitude of his empty play fort. It was a little chilly, but everything inside had started to feel stuffy and
claustrophobic, no matter how big the house was.
Settling his hands in his lap, Oz sighed. He wished he could be more like Louise or Jo. Neither of them
panicked when they were the center of attention. They never got overwhelmed by a room full of people.
Looking up at the stars, he asked in a soft voice, “What’s wrong with me?”
Oz jumped as he heard the voice below him. Turning and looking down, he saw Chastity Thompson looking
up at him with a grin. She was a third cousin or something like that. Cheeks coloring, he stammered,
“Wh.wh.what are y.y.you doing out here?”
Not waiting for an invitation, Chastity began climbing the ladder to join him, “I saw you come outside and
figured I’d come with you.”
He blinked a couple of times then asked uncertainly, “I thought you were p.playing with Hugh.”
“I was, but I also wanted to pay with you but you left before I could ask you.” Chastity clambered up to sit
on the edge of the fort with Oz. She looked at him with an expectant smile.
“Oh.” He bit his lip and looked down at his hands, uncertain. When he peeked back up through his hair, she
was still patiently sitting there. Coming to a decision, Oz said, “Do.. do you want to play on the merry-go-
round? It.. it’s my favorite thing out here.”
Chastity’s face instantly lit up, “Sure! Come on, Oz! I’ll race you.”
Maybe he wasn’t as outgoing as his sisters, but Oz was still destined to find friendship.
Over in the hot tub, Miranda and Dean stole a few moments alone. They’d been making very good use of
the time alone, especially since there was a babysitter back at their house taking care of their twins. Miranda
suddenly pulled back and looked into Dean’s eyes, “Jelly-Dean?”
“Mmm?” Dean replied distractedly. “Less of the talking and more of the kissing, ‘Randa.”
A mysteriously little smile spread over Miranda’s lips as she leaned forward and whispered, “I’m pregerified
Dean blinked once, then twice. His face lit up in a huge grin, “Really?”
Miranda answered with a kiss that could be considered an unequivocal yes.
After they were through enthusiastically congratulating one another, they went back inside and shared the
good news with everyone else. Persephone, as could be expected, was thrilled.
A few days later, it was time for one pregnancy to end. While Miranda was just beginning her latest, Venus
and Aeric’s latest child had decided it was time to be born.
Venus was not exactly happy about it.
“ARGH! Aeric Walton, I swear to all that’s evil and unholy that I will end you if you ever get me pregnant
again. YOU CAN REENACT THE STOMACH BURSTING SCENE FROM ALIEN YOURSELF THE NEXT TIME YOU
WANT TO SPAWN!”
For his part, Aeric was apparently oblivious in the next room taking a shower and singing his lungs out. He
wasn’t exactly good, but he was at least enthusiastic.
“Well my baby, she’s alright,
Well my baby, she’s clean out-of-sight.
Don’t you know that she’s ... she’s some kind of wonderful.
She’s some kind of wonderful ... yes she is, she’s,
She’s some kind of wonderful, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhh ...”
Other members of the household were not quite so unaware of the situation.
Moon arrived moments after Venus started bellowing. Large purple eyes got big as saucers as the silent little
girl helplessly watched her mother struggle with labor. As much as she wanted to help and make it all better,
there was nothing she could do.
Not making a sound, she gritted her teeth and willed it all to be over.
Whether it was Moon’s wish or the natural course of things, Venus soon breathlessly held the latest addition
to the family. While she wouldn’t forget her promise of what she’d do to Aeric if she got pregnant again,
somehow it all didn’t seem so bad now as she looked into obsidian eyes that mirrored her own, “Well, hello
Realizing Moon was standing nearby Venus smiled and held out the little boy, “This is your brother, Moon.
What do you think about the name Zephyr?”
The little girl leaned in close to the baby as he gave a happy gurgle and reached out to grab her hair. She
danced backwards, but gave the baby a smile and a nod. She liked that name.
That was about the time that Aeric came out to cheer the arrival of their latest child, “A boy? We had a
boy?” Enthusiastic and excited, he grinned from ear to ear, “Look at him! He’s got my coloring, but he’s
going to look so much like you, Vee.”
She gave him an arch look. Moments before she was furious with him for not being there with her during
labor, but he was so happy she couldn’t help but smile.
If Aeric had purposefully stayed oblivious to labor due to her violent tendencies, he wasn’t going to tell
“Oh Venus, he’s beautiful.” Heather had finally made her way up the stairs in time to have her grandson
handed over to her. He may not have been hers biologically, but that didn’t matter. Venus and Aeric were
her children, and so too were their children her grandchildren.
“I can’t believe how different all three of them are, Mom. Don’t tell Aeric this, but I was hoping this one
would have his coloring.” Zephyr happily cooed and gurgled up at Heather. More quietly Venus added, “And
at least we know right away that he’s not going to be mute like Moon.”
Heather gave a half smile and nodded, “I still wish we knew why..”
Venus frowned and looked towards her bedroom, “About that. I think it’s time I had a conversation with
Leaving Zephyr with his more than capable grandmother, Venus went back into the bedroom where Aeric
was making the bed. Just standing there, she watched him with an eyebrow raised expectantly.
Glancing up over his shoulder, he met her raised eyebrow with one of his own, “What?”
“You are going to call Harry Ross and make arrangements to go see him. Today.” For once, she didn’t raise
her voice, but her tone was laced with steel. She wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
“What!?” Aeric abandoned the bed to turn and face her, “I’m not going to do it just because you order me
to. I told Mom I’d take care of it on my own and I’ll do it when I’m good and ready.” Huffing angrily, he put
his hands on his hips and added, “Besides, you just had a baby, I’m not leaving you alone.”
“Alone? Aeric, it’s a Saturday. Mom is home. Star and Moon are both home and between the two of them
they might be semi-useful. Dad will be home after five. Aunt Persephone has already said she’s on her way
to see the baby. I am most certainly and unequivocally NOT alone.” Venus regarded him and then snorted,
“Stop making excuses.”
“I am not making excuses.”
“Aeric, look,” Venus wasn’t going to let him out of this one, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t willing to try
different tactics, “I know you’re still angry at them for way they first approached you. I honestly don’t blame
you. If I ever get my hands on that witch that threatened Star, I’ll turn her skull into a bowling ball. That
doesn’t change the fact that you need to figure out what’s going on with you.” Seeing he was at least
listening to her, she added in a gentle tone that she only used with him in private, “And possibly see if it all
has anything to do with what’s wrong with Moon.”
At the mention of his middle daughter, Aeric closed his eyes and sighed. Guilt tugged at his features as he
finally nodded, “You’re right. I’ll do it today.”
“Good.” Venus smiled and reached out to pull him close, “I’d hate to have to kill you for not listening to me.”
“Heh.” Star played with her baby brother after having eavesdropped on her parents, “Our mom rocks.”
An hour or so later, Aeric had arrived at the home of Harry Ross, official neutral representative of the Arcane
Order. It was a small, unassuming home on the outskirts of Terra Lostundo. Somehow, it surprised Aeric that
the man lived so close. It was also a bit unexpected that the house and its occupant seemed so... ordinary.
“Aeric! Thank you so much for coming over. I’d been hoping you would contact me.”
As polite as Harry was, Aeric wasn’t in the mood for it, “I’m still pissed at you. No one threatens my family.
I’m only here because you weren’t the one making the threats. That and everyone else convinced me it’s
the right thing to do.” He paused and added in a grumble under his breath, “Not to mention, my wife is very
convincing when she’s pissed.”
Nonplussed, Harry smiled, “Whatever got you here, I don’t care. I’m just glad you’re finally here. I’ve been
hoping you would take me up on the offer of training. I’m looking forward to helping you gain control of
Aeric made a grumpy sound.
“Come on in and I’ll put some coffee on.”
“I’m not really in the mood to socialize, Ross.” Aeric sat down at the little table set up near the kitchen. He
raised an eyebrow as he watched Harry fill the coffee pot.
“We can’t exactly jump right into training, Aeric. We’ve only talked once before and it was less than an ideal
situation. There needs to be a bit of a rapport between us before you can get the most out of any lessons.”
Not convinced, Aeric grunted, “If you say so.”
Harry quirked an amused grin, “Besides, my coffee is fantastic.”
“This is good. Really good.” Aeric was again surprised as he took another sip of the coffee.
“No one ever believes me until they try it.” Harry settled into the chair next to Aeric with his own mug in
hand, “So, let’s talk about what it is you’re hoping to achieve with your training.”
Aeric sighed and reluctantly lowered the mug. The coffee really was fantastic and it irked him. He didn’t
want to like Harry for any reason. It was hard to hate someone who made coffee this good, “Well, first, I
want to get you people off my back. No more wards blocking me from my power. Second, I want to find out
what happened to my daughter and why she’s mute.”
Harry frowned, “I’m not sure I’ll be able to help you with the second.”
“Why the hell not?”
Sighing, Harry set aside his mug, “Your daughter’s voiceless state may not be the result of anything you or
anyone else has done. It may just be the way she was born.”
“She was born the day you people showed up on my doorstep and she’s been different ever since. I still
think it has something to do with your arrival.” Aeric wasn’t going to mention that Moon was also conceived
the night that his power first manifested. He already felt guilty enough.
Harry nodded solemnly, “Fair enough. I can’t make any promises, but we’ll see. Why don’t we head
downstairs and we can begin.”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
Harry frowned, “What’s wrong with it?”
“You’ve got a bubbling cauldron in the corner and you’re asking me what’s wrong with it?” Aeric turned to
face Harry after surveying the arcane workshop.
“I’m full blooded human, Aeric. We need certain trappings to access the same power you can gain by
thought alone because of your Elven heritage.” Harry explained defensively. With a faintly frustrated gesture,
he said, “Let’s begin.”
Aeric crossed his arms, “Alright. What do we do first? Summon newts and toads? Chant ‘bippity boppity
Taking a deep breath to get a handle on his patience, Harry took on a professorial tone as he explained,
“First we’re going to work on some meditation techniques.”
Aeric gave him a skeptical look, “Meditation? You are joking, right?”
“Not in the slightest. The first step in controlling your powers rather than them controlling you is to find your
center.” Harry held up a finger, “There are a great many things you can access and sense if you find a sense
of inner peace.”
Rolling his eyes, Aeric gestured, “Okay fine. Let’s get started.”
Harry nodded, “Mirror my gestures.” Without waiting for Aeric’s confirmation that he understood, he began.
It was obvious that Harry was practiced at this. His movements were fluid and graceful. In what was almost
a whisper, he added, “Remember to keep your breathing steady.”
Not quite taking this seriously, Aeric imitated Harry’s movements but gave them an exaggerated flourish,
Harry tried to ignore Aeric’s obnoxiousness as they settled into a lotus position.
“Ooooohhmmmmm.” Each time Aeric said it, it was louder and more animated.
With a groan, Harry’s shoulders finally slumped, “Aeric, can you please take this a little more seriously? This
does require concentration if you hope to achieve anything significant today.”
With a smirk, Aeric relented, “Fine. I’ll be good.”
Once Aeric agreed to behave, things went smoother. Harry would occasionally give softly voiced instructions,
but for the most part, the two sat in silence.
Though Aeric had been skeptical, the steady rhythm of Harry’s breathing and the calm presence in the quiet
basement workshop eventually succeeded in helping him find some semblance of his center.
It was almost as if a light switch had been flipped on. Suddenly things seemed to fall into place.
“Well. This is interesting.” Aeric stood there looking down at his body and Harry’s meditating.
Without opening his eyes, Harry responded, “Shhh. It is best if you do not talk, Aeric. It disturbs your
Aeric’s astral form raised an eyebrow at his mentor’s form, “Mmhmm. Sure.” Lowering his gaze to regard his
own body, he reached out to touch it. The hand passed right through his head earning a smirk, “That
“Aeric, please. Concentrate.”
Thoughtfully, Aeric regarded the room. It suddenly felt too small. The whole world was at his fingertips and
there was no reason to stay here, was there? There was a freedom to being without his body that was like
nothing he’d ever felt before. “I feel like I could fly if I just thought about it hard enough.”
Harry murmured softly, his eyes still closed, “Eventually you may experience an out of body experience if
you achieve a complete inner peace. That will likely take some time, though.”
“Uh huh. Sure.” Aeric smirked, “I think I’m going to go check on my kids. I’ll be back in a bit, Harry.”
Suddenly realizing the voice he was hearing was a little off, Harry’s eyes flew open, “AERIC!”
Laughing, Aeric simply jumped and flew up towards the ceiling “This is awesome!”
Left with Aeric’s body, Harry could only watch helplessly as the man’s nearly invisible form disappeared up
through the ceiling, “Aeric, wait!”
Lowering his head into his hands, Harry groaned, “I hope for your sake you can find your way back to your
body, Aeric. I think training a dozen eight-year-olds was easier than this.”
Back at the Walton’s house, Heather was happily tending to the pride and joy that was her garden, “Careful
not to over water them, Star.”
“I know, Gram.” Star was a reluctant gardener, but there was a certain joy in helping her grandmother out,
“These plants are so much healthier than the ones in the garden at school. How come, Gram?”
“I guess I have a green thumb.” Heather smiled quietly. Looking up, she looked out towards the front yard.
It was probably one of the last nice fall days they would have, “Where is your sister?”
“Squeakless? She was out by the pond playing last I saw.”
Heather snorted but smiled, “I wish you wouldn’t call her that, Star.”
Moon was over by the pond, happily enjoying the late fall sunshine. She had found a bottle of bubbles
leftover from the summer and was eager to see if they were still good.
Dipping the wand into the jar, she held it up and gently blew, creating a symphony of dancing bubbles.
Delighted, she opened her mouth in a silent laugh. Quickly, she dipped the wand again to blow again and
create even more bubbles.
Aeric stood there, watching with a soft sigh. He’d quickly learned that he was effectively invisible to
everyone. Harry had been able to hear him, but no one else seemed to realize he was there.
“Oh Moon. I wish I knew what’s wrong with you. Why don’t you speak, sweetie? Is it my fault? Is it
something the witches did?” He gave a rueful snort, “Of course, even if you could talk to me, you probably
wouldn’t know why this happened. It’s just the way you’ve always been. I just.. I worry about you.”
Spinning with the bubble wand in her hand, Moon stopped facing Aeric, her eyes meeting his.
Aeric blinked down at his daughter as she looked straight up at him. For a long moment, she just stared at
him, but then a smile formed. Though her lips did not move, he heard a musical little voice very clearly say,
Taking a step back, he blinked. Back in Harry’s basement, his breath caught in his chest. Simultaneously, his
body and his spirit both whispered incredulously, “Moon?”
The words echoed inside his head as she stood there, lips unmoving except to form a sweet little smile, “You
can hear me now! I’ve been waiting for you to start listening, Daddy. There’s so much I want to talk about.”
And this, dear readers, is where I will leave you.
What does it mean that Aeric can hear Moon while he’s in an astral form? Will Harry be able to get Aeric to
concentrate long enough to learn some control of his powers? Will Star end up getting Louise into detention
on her first day of high school? Will Oz ever be comfortable with his family’s outgoing ways? How will Ian
and Mary’s changing relationship affect their place with the vampires? Will I ever stop asking inane
“I shouldn’t have to go through labor! This sucks!”
“You’re not helping, Nate! You’re not helping at all!”
So maybe there was a little room to squeeze in one more birth in the update. I never planned for my simself
and Nate to get involved, but when the rebuild happened, Nate made my decision for me. He didn’t want
anyone else, so I decided to roll with it. Initially this plot was going to happen with another sim, but this
ended up being a little more amusing.
Nate is holding Henrietta while my simself is holding Irondequoit. The two girls won’t feature too
prominently in future updates, but there’s still a bit more going on with the simself plot, so I’m sure they’ll
In the mean time, let me apologize for how long it took to get this update out. It seems like it has become
habit for me to say that. Unfortunately life gets a little busy and writing always takes me the longest time.
Hopefully the next update will be out a little quicker.
Parents of the Year. Having two pleasure sims in charge of infants is not the smartest move I’ve ever made.
Until next time, thank you for reading and thanks for your patience!