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The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Six - Part 7


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The Devereaux Legacy: Chapter Six - Part 7

  1. 1. I really need to stop saving this slide for last. I get all excited thinking my chapter is done and then its like, "Nope! Forgot about the recap slide! Haha!"Anyway, welcome back to the Devereaux Legacy! In the last chapter...well we all know the very sad thing that happened in the last chapter. But lets recap allthe other important things that happened as well.It was revealed that Bella had been using magic on Quinn forcing him to constantly be angry with Rhys. She also decided to get moving on her plan to causemisery within the family, so she drugged Rhys coffee. Fortunately, Rhys looked at Eden instead of Bella. Rhyden had some fun times while Bella was pissed thather potion went to waste.Puck also proposed to Erin. It was cute. Theres really nothing more to say there.After a huge argument between Rhys and Quinn, Quinn left the house in a huff. To make a long story short, Bella accidentally killed both herself and Quinnwhen she tried to cast another spell on Quinn to make him obey her. Before Quinn died, he accidentally revealed to Zane that he was the one who killed Tina.Though Zane very much wanted to see Quinn suffer, in the end Zane did the right thing. Thats pretty much it. I hope you like the chapter! ~*~*~
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  23. 23. The flashing red and blue lights caused Erin to wake up from her drowsy, post-coital slumber. She hated any sort of light while shewas sleeping. As she processed what the lights represented, police lights, she sat up and looked over at Puck.
  24. 24. "Uh, oh," she said with a small giggle, "it looks like my dad found out what we were doing and called the police."Pucks eyes snapped open and he sat up with a worried look. "Oh, no! Do you really think he did?""Oh, totally," she teased.
  25. 25. She peered though her window and her brow creased at what she saw. The police were not at someone elses house. They were at herhouse, and they were walking up to her door.
  26. 26. She slid off the bed and pulled on her bathrobe. "Somethings wrong," she said. Puck jumped up and pulled on his pants.The front doorbell rang.
  27. 27. She opened her bedroom door and looked down the stairs. Her parents were already at the door. She stood and listened as Anna andZachary, the two officers who were apparently on duty that night, said the words, "Were so sorry..."
  28. 28. Thats when she noticed what Zachary was holding.
  29. 29. "Why the hell are you handing me an urn?" her father asked, confusion evident in his sleepy voice. For a dumb moment, Erin wonderedthe same thing."We..uh, we were wondering if you wanted Bellas as well," Anna said in a choked voice.
  30. 30. Erin gripped the railing as her legs threatened to give way and she felt Pucks hand grip her arm. "Oh, Ere...oh no," he whispered as herubbed her back. Her mind was still too dumb to fully process what was being said at the bottom of the stairs.
  31. 31. Her father shook his head and waved his arms as if to shoo them away. "No," he said vehemently. As Zachary tried to hand him the urnagain, Rhys shook his head even harder. "No! Thats not ours. Thats not..." his voice trailed off but he continued to shake his head. Heuttered one last, feeble, "No," before turning his back on them."Rhys..." her mother said softly as she sank down to the floor.
  32. 32. Erin felt herself doing the same thing, despite the fact that Puck was holding her. Puck knelt down and kept his arm around her.
  33. 33. She noticed a look of determination spread across her fathers face. He turned around and gently made Eden stand. "Ede, where is theBone Phone?" he asked.Her mother shook her head. "We dont have one," she said tearfully.His jaw clenched, but his voice remained calm. "Of course we have one. All legacy families have a Bone Phone! Its probably in thestorage room in the basement, right?""Rhys, no one in the family has ever been in the Paranormal track, at least not since our family moved to Pleasantview."
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  35. 35. "Rhys? Eden? Whats going on?" De said as she stepped past Anna."We saw the police lights. Is everything okay?" Spencers voice came from the darkness outside.
  36. 36. Rhys turned towards De. "I know you have a Bone Phone," he said frantically, "Its how youve kept in contact with Zane. I have to useit!"She fidgeted uncomfortably and didnt answer him."De...please!"She shook her head. "No, Rhys, I..I havent had a Bone Phone in ages. It disappeared a couple years ago and I havent heard from Zanesince. Im so, so sorry, but--"
  37. 37. "No! What youre actually saying is that you wont let me use it!""No, Rhys, not at all! I--"
  38. 38. "Who is the SimSelf in charge around here? He..she..they..GAH! WHAT-FUCKING-EVER! They let my son die and I will make themreverse it. I know you know! Tell me who they are!" When nobody answered, he tore at his hair. "Youre all against me! You all wantto see me suffer. I knew it!"
  39. 39. Eden reached out for him. "Rhys," she cried, but he pushed her hands away."No! Dont look at me! Dont touch me!" he cried and he stumbled into the living room.
  40. 40. Erin could hear the sounds of glass breaking as her father threw things against the wall. She buried her head into Pucks shoulder andwept. ~*~*~
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  52. 52. The funeral had been horrible, as funerals tended to be of course. But Cassandra couldnt put her finger onto exactly how this particularfuneral had been worse than her mothers. Bellas funeral, which Alexander had insisted on having separate from Quinns, had been alavish affair. Nearly everyone in town had attended, except for the Devereaux family and their close relatives.They hadnt even been invited. Not that they seemed to care. That in itself was rather telling.Quinns funeral had been a lot more moving. Even though fewer people had been invited, the pain and sorrow had been much morepalpable. Even Cassandra cried a little bit, which was odd seeing as she didnt really cry all that much at her own mother’s funeral. Thenit occurred to her why she was much more sad: she actually liked Eden and her family and she felt horrible for her friend, whereas Bellahad been absent from Cassandras life for a very long time, and when Bella did return, Cassandra found her mother to be, well, kind of abitch.She sighed and continued to walk down the church steps. If she never had to deal with death again, it would be too soon.
  53. 53. Though most of the snow from the snowstorm had melted, it was still cold outside and the ground was a bit slippery. Because of this,Cassandra kept her eyes on the ground to watch her footing and it wasnt until she practically bumped into Alexander and Lucy that sheeven noticed that they were there."Oh!" she said lamely and then she looked down. Alexander didnt look happy."What on earth are you doing here, Cassandra?" he asked in a low, angry voice. She looked away and noticed that Zachary and Cereswere also standing next to her.
  54. 54. "Were here because Quinn was our friend," Zachary said. Cassandra looked up to see her brothers reaction. He didnt look pleased,but she also noticed Lucys lips twitch slightly."Yes, well, your mother and I both know how you feel. Youre a traitor to your family."
  55. 55. "My family? Huh. Seeing as you disowned me, I thought you weren’t my family anymore. Whatever," Zachary said. Cassandra stillkept her eye on Lucy. Yes. Lucys lips were twitching in amusement.Alexander waved his hand in disgust and turned his attention back to her. "That still doesnt explain what youre doing here. Why didyou feel the need to attend the funeral of the man who murdered your mother?"
  56. 56. Cassandra raised her eyebrows in surprise. "It was a car accident, Alex. I hardly think that could be considered murder. Besides...Edenis my friend," she added softly."So youre going to turn traitor too? I am very disappointed in you." She was accustomed to her brothers disappointment, so thestatement didnt bother her much. Well, not too much anyway.
  57. 57. Then she noticed him looking at something to her left. She saw Rhys walking by and she silently prayed that Alexander wouldnt sayanything more about Quinn being a murderer but, unfortunately, her prayers went unanswered.
  58. 58. "Because you know what I think?" Alexander began loudly, as if to make sure that everyone present heard him, not just Quinns father, "Ithink the bastard did it on purpose. I think he did it because his life was so miserable he just couldnt take it anymore."Cassandra winced when she saw Rhys pale at her brothers words.
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  62. 62. The first punch had knocked off Alexanders glasses. Before anyone could react, Rhys was on top of Alexander and his fist punchedinto her brothers face again. As he was about to land a third hit, Spencer and Vaughn managed to stop him and they pulled Rhys off ofAlexander.
  63. 63. Rhys wordlessly shrugged off Spencer and Vaughn and he shook his left hand in pain. He opened his mouth, but no words came out.His hand dashed across his eyes and his shoulders were slumped as he walked away.
  64. 64. Alexander touched the blood that was seeping from his nose. "Youll pay for that!" he screamed at the man. "You will pay!" He lookedover at Zachary and said, "Youre an officer of the law, do something!"
  65. 65. Zachary shook his head. "You deserved it," he said simply before he and Ceres walked away.
  66. 66. Suddenly, the sound of Lucy laughing cut through the air. Alexander stood up and gave her an incredulous look. "Are you laughing atme?""Did it hurt?" she asked between her giggles. "I really hope it did. It sucks when someone punches you, doesnt it?"
  67. 67. Cassandra couldnt help herself and she began to giggle, too. She knew all about how her brother slapped around his wife and it wasnice to see Lucy stand up to him. A sudden thought occurred to her and before she could think about it, she blurted out the words,"Lucy, do you want to come home with me?"The brown haired woman took off her sunglasses nodded. "Yes. I really do." She stepped around her husband without a secondglance.
  68. 68. "You bitch!" he shouted. "You cant leave me. I wont allow it. You--"
  69. 69. Cassandra cut him off. "Alex? Shut up. Were tired of you." She threaded her arm through her sister-in-laws and the two of themgiggled again. She knew it was wrong to laugh at a funeral, and it was wrong to laugh at Alexanders threats because she knew thosewould be very real. But, for the moment, she felt good. She couldnt do anything to change the horrible events that took place, but shecould, at the very least, help Lucy out.When the thought of, this is something Eden would do, went through her mind, she knew she was doing the right thing. ~*~*~
  70. 70. Erin had more or less moved into Pucks apartment. It was understandable even if it was only temporary. But from how things soundedat home, Puck could understand why Erin chose to be with him.He did everything within his power to comfort and just be there for her. He held her and stroked her hair as she talked about herbrother late into the night. She also expressed her sadness over the fact that her parents were not dealing with Quinns death well. Notat all. Apparently Rhys had taken to sleeping in the living room, when he wasnt breaking things. Eden stayed in her bedroom and wasfairly unresponsive to the rest of the world, including her own daughter. Neither Rhys nor Eden spoke to each other. They really hadntsince the night Quinn had died. According to Erin, it seemed that Rhys blamed himself for Quinns death and he also assumed thateveryone else blamed him, too, no matter how much Erin had tried to convince him otherwise. It was a horrible situation in what wasalready a tragic event.Naturally there were no talks about Puck and Erins engagement or upcoming wedding and that, too, was completely understandable.
  71. 71. The thing that worried Puck the most, however, was the fact that for the last day or so, Erin had fallen completely silent. She didnt talkabout Quinn. She didnt talk about her parents. She didnt cry. Instead, she began to frantically clean his apartment. He didnt mind allthat much, but his apartment was small to begin with, and when it was topped with the fact that he was a fairly neat person himself itwas rather unnecessary.But it was her silence that mostly put him on edge, especially when he would catch her giving him speculating looks. When he wouldattempt to smile at her, or maybe reach out and comfort her, she would look away from him.
  72. 72. On this day, her silence was even more deafening and speculative looks were directed at him more and more often. He gave her aworried look, twisted his fingers, and said, "Ere--"
  73. 73. "I wish I would have known about this," she interrupted. She didnt look at him and she continued to scrub the counter.He bit his lip as he tried to figure out how to respond to that. "I know," he said lamely. "Things like this...theres just no way of knowing.Im so sorry, Erin. I--""Because maybe if I would have known about this, I could have prevented it.""I dont think it works that way. I--""But it can work that way. And you did know about it."His mouth dropped open. "N..No I didnt. Erin--"
  74. 74. She whirled around with an angry look on her face, which made him take a step back. "Yes you did! You did know. All this time youknew that Quinn was going to die and you didnt bother to tell me! Why? Why didnt you tell me? Why didnt you prevent his death?""Erin, I swear to you, I didnt know!"
  75. 75. "You did!" she insisted. "You did! You told me so yourself that you could see things over our heads! That youre the son of a GrimReaper and Fate! That was part of your special powers and all that shit! And instead of doing the decent and right thing, you just letQuinn die!""Erin!" He said as sternly as he could. "I swear to every single plumbbob in the sky: I. Didn’t. Know! I had myself made into a mortalbefore I ever met your brother! I knew you before attending Pleasantview Tech because you used to come to Veronaville to gohorseback riding. Quinn never did!""But what about over my mother’s head?"
  76. 76. He closed his eyes tightly and tried to remember the vague images that appeared over Edens head the few times he saw her. "Erin,things were always vague. I saw tombstones. I never saw faces or anything next to them. I assumed it was grandparents or something.I never could completely predict the future or anything like that. I was ten years old!"
  77. 77. He reached for her but she flung his hand away away. "But youre still on speaking terms with Fate, right?" she asked wildly. "You cancontact her and ask to reverse it. You can bring Quinn back and then everything would be fine again! My parents will be happy andtheyll hug and kiss each other again. Quinn would be happy because you can ask not to bring back that bitch of a wife he had.Everything would be just like it was before. And then you and I can get married and we could live happily ever after and--"
  78. 78. "Erin," he cut her off with a pained voice. "It doesnt work like that!""Why not?"He blinked and tried to figure out what to say to her. "It just doesnt," he finally said.
  79. 79. "Well then fuck you, Puck," she said in a quiet voice and his heart dropped into his stomach when she brushed past him, picked up herkeys, and walked out the door.
  80. 80. After he watched her drive away, he sunk to the floor with a huge, sad sigh. The only thing that kept him from becoming truly upsetover Erins words, and the way they sounded so final, was the fact that he knew he was supposed to get married to her.But then again, the future is sometimes nebulous and fate can change. That thought didnt sit well with him.
  81. 81. He stood up and paced around his apartment for a bit before looking up and saying softly, "I want to talk to you."
  82. 82. Almost instantaneously, Hermia appeared with a sad smile on her face. "Hi, Puck, Im sorry about--""Not you," he said. "I want to talk to my mother.""Whats the difference?" she asked. "Is it because you and I dated briefly when I was still mortal and we were in school together? So youthink its weird to talk to me about stuff like this?"
  83. 83. Puck gave her a look. "No. That has nothing to do with it. Is it too much to ask to actually speak to my own mother? Ever since Ibecame mortal, the Ive only seen Atropos and now you. I want to talk to my mother!"Hermia sighed. "You realize that most mortals arent even this lucky," she said quietly. "And--"
  84. 84. "I DONT CARE!" he shouted at her. "Shes my mom. Im her son. I want to talk to her!"
  85. 85. She gave him a reproachful look before she shrugged her shoulders and disappeared. Puck crossed his arms and waited.
  86. 86. After a few moments, Titania appeared.She didnt say anything for a moment as she looked around his apartment. She had a small smile on her face as she touched a few ofhis belongings. Puck waited silently until she was done.
  87. 87. Finally she turned to him. "We arent at your beck and call, Puck," she said softly."Youre my mother" he replied.She nodded and then sighed. "I know I am, but you know that we are not able to have a normal relationship like most mothers can withtheir children. In fact, Im not supposed to talk to you at all. You know this.""Do I?""Yes, you do. Puck, child, you knew that as soon as you became mortal that all ties to me and your father had to be severed.""So then why did you come?"
  88. 88. She closed her eyes and sighed again. "How about you first ask me your question. Make your pleas."He squared his shoulders. "I want to know why Erins brother, of all people, had to die. I want to know if there is a possibility to bringhim back.""No," she said simply. She didnt say anything more."Thats it? No. Thats all youre going to say?"
  89. 89. She gave him a cool look in return. "Do you really want to know the true reason?""Yes. Yes I do. I really would like to know so then I can tell Erin and maybe help her feel better.""Would it?""Would what?""Would it really make her feel better? Puck, this sort of knowledge is not something that any mortal should know. I think you knowingthe reasons behind Quinn Devereauxs death would be more of a burden than anything else.""I would like to be the judge of that. Mama, I..shes upset. I want to help. I want to make her feel better. If his death can be reversed, Iwould like to see that happen. Its not a request for me, but for someone else. That should count, right?"
  90. 90. "It is for selfish reasons, Puck. If his death can be reversed, Erin would be happy with you. Correct?"He dragged his foot on the ground. "Yeah," he mumbled. "But I still want to know. Please tell me."
  91. 91. She closed her eyes for a moment. "His death cannot be reversed. It will not be reversed unless the Grim Reaper for this realm allows itto be so. Unfortunately, he has made it impossible for anyone to be resurrected for the next generation and a day. That is hisprerogative and immortals cannot interfere with the affairs of other immortals. However, there is more to it than that." She fell silent."What? What more is there? Tell me, please.""My dear child, you will be burdened with this information. You think you want to know it, but you will not want to tell anyone. I amgiving you one last chance to--"
  92. 92. "I. Want To. Know."
  93. 93. She shook her head. "So be it." She shrugged. "He died because he was superfluous. His usefulness was at an end. He wasntsupposed to exist, originally. Erins mother was pregnant with only her. However, we, Atropos, Clotho, and I, we are aware of aprophecy. Something that could happen, something that would be very beneficial to happen for the world as a whole. We knew thatthere was a slim chance for this prophecy to come true and so we encouraged, or rather, we appealed to the stubbornness Erins fatherpossesses. We practically goaded him into making sure that Quinn did exist. He made cheesecake, thus enabling a new thread to bewoven into the tapestry of life. However, that thread had to be short, otherwise the tapestry would have become unstable. Quinn didwhat he was born to do. Quinn, in the grand scheme of things, died a hero. Not that anyone will ever know this until the end. Its ashame, really. He seemed like he was a nice sort of person."
  94. 94. His mouth dropped open in disbelief. "So thats it? His usefulness was at an end? Thats what youre really saying.""I also said that he was a hero--""Except that nobody will ever know. Why? WHY? Why couldnt his thread be longer? Why couldnt you have, I dont know, whycouldnt you have made room or something?"
  95. 95. "We had to make room for your thread. That is why."
  96. 96. Her words hit him hard and he slumped down onto his couch. "So because of me, Quinns thread had to be cut short?""Thats too simplistic, Puck. We knew that you were destined for Erin Devereaux. However, we werent sure if you were going to be onthe top tapestry in the main thread, or underneath. We had to make sure there was room."" if I wouldnt have chosen to be mortal, then Quinn wouldn’t have died?"
  97. 97. "If you didnt exist, then there would have been room for Quinn, yes. But then that would have meant that your father would have notparticipated the the True Reaper Child Experiment. If your father wouldnt have been recruited for that experiment, then he probablywould have been punished before his time, which would also mean that your sister would not have existed. Hermia would not be thecurrent Clotho. There are too many variables to consider, none of which are even necessary to think about anymore. You do exist, sothus Quinn does not. But its not your existence that caused Quinns death.""I..I dont see the difference."
  98. 98. She sat down beside him. "But it makes sense to me, Atropos, and Clotho, and thats what matters.""Its my fault.""No!" she said sharply. "No it is not. This is but a very small portion of the weave. Granted it is the most important weave in thetapestry, for this dimension at least, but its still very small. You cannot blame yourself, Puck.""But Im going to."Titania sighed and ran her hand over his hair. "Knowledge can be a burden.""I can never, ever tell Erin. Never. I dont like the thought of keeping secrets, especially not from her. And her family is going to be myfamily."
  99. 99. "Tell me, were you planning on telling the rest of her family about your unique heritage?"
  100. 100. A look of horror crossed over his face. "Oh my God, no. I really cant can I? Her dad..all of them, theyd all insist that I could dosomething even when I cant. He..they’d hate me!"
  101. 101. She shrugged. "This is no different. Its just one more secret.""It..its not just one more secret. You just dont get it."
  102. 102. "I do get it. More than you realize. You can tell them about everything, but then youd have to deal with however they react to it.These are decisions that Mortals have to make everyday and this is what you signed up for when you chose to become one. Noteverything is easy. It’s not meant to be."
  103. 103. "What if she tells her family about it? About me?"She shrugged. "Then she does. She probably wont, but she might. You dont know, and thats the entire point. Nobody is supposed toknow everything that happens in advance. On that note, and I am very sad to say this, but I can no longer come to you when you ask.None of us can. Its against the rules."
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  105. 105. "But youre my mother!"
  106. 106. "I know, and I love you very much, but this is part of the choice you made. We will still watch out for you--"
  107. 107. "So I just fucked everything up when I decided to become Mortal, didnt I?"
  108. 108. She raised an eyebrow at his language but didnt reprimand him. "It was your choice, a choice you freely made. Im sorry, but thats justthe way it is." She gave him a small smile. "Before I go, I will say this: not everything is as bad is it may seem. It rarely is. I should know.""That doesnt help.""Its because youre Mortal. Mortals rarely see the big picture, but thats okay. Things have a way of working out in the end. Trust me,youll see. Now, I should go."
  109. 109. He stood up with a sigh and hugged her tightly. "I wish--""I know and I will miss you dearly, my sweet boy. I will tell you one more thing: everything will be okay in the end. I promise."
  110. 110. He gave her a sad smile as she disappeared and then dropped back down onto the couch. ~*~*~
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  117. 117. The worst part about her brother being gone was that Erin didnt have anyone to complain to about how her parents were acting. Theirony was not lost on her; she knew that her parents acting the way they were had everything to do with Quinn being dead.That wasnt the worst thing about her brothers death. Of course not. But that was the only way should could even begin to put hergrief into a coherent thought.Everything felt out of sorts for her. There were a million times in the day where she wanted to knock on her brothers bedroom door totell him something, only to remember that her brother wasnt in that bedroom and said bedroom door was locked.There was nobody to talk to. Nobody to lean on. Nobody to tell how she was really, truly feeling.
  118. 118. Well, thats not completely true, she thought as she eyed her cell phone. Theres Puck. Hes there and has been so incrediblysupportive.She pushed that thought to the side. How could she call Puck after she essentially told him to fuck off? The awful, guilty feeling shehad about her actions were completely different than the horrible sadness she felt over her twins death and she really didnt want todeal with both at the moment. Not to mention the extreme guilt she felt over the fact that she was screwing her boyfriend the nightQuinn had died. Hell, for all she knew, she had been having sex at the exact same moment when her twin died. And she never evenrealized it. Not until Zachary and Anna had showed up at her house with Quinns urn. He was her twin! Werent twins supposed toknow when something horrible happens to the other one? If so, what kind of twin was she? No, she couldnt call Puck. He wouldntunderstand.Not to mention that you pretty much fucked things up there, she reminded herself. Making impossible demands and then getting angrywith him when you knew he wouldnt be able to do what you asked. What kind of fiancée are you? Ugh.
  119. 119. And then there was the way her parents were acting. Never in a million years did she ever think that she would be taking care of them.That was its own awful situation. Never in her entire life had she ever seen her mother and father fall apart the way they had.
  120. 120. With that thought in mind, she went downstairs to check on her father. She stood in the doorway and watched him as he sat on thefloor with his head on his knees. At least he wasnt throwing things against the wall like he had for the first couple of days. But, forsome reason, his immobile silence was even more dreadful that his destructiveness."Dad? you need anything?""No. Just..just go away, Erin. Leave me alone."She bit her lip. "Okay," she whispered and did as she was told.
  121. 121. She was about to go to where her mother was, but then rejected the idea. Her mother would be just like her father. There was nopoint. So she went back into her bedroom and slumped against the door.
  122. 122. She needed to get out of the house. The silence and sadness was oppressive. She knew that she could go over to her grandfathershouse, or even her half-brother Vaughns house, but that wouldn’t help matters. Not really. She wanted to be with Puck.She sighed and thought about what she needed to do. She should apologize. But apologizing to him wouldnt help her situation athome; it would just solve a different problem.She made up her mind. She couldn’t even begin to think clearly in the house. She needed to get out and she wanted to be with herfiancée. Maybe they could think of something together.
  123. 123. She pulled out her phone and her brow furrowed as it rang."Hey," he said when he answered. That was it. Nothing more.
  124. 124. "Hey," she replied. They were silent for a moment. Finally she blurted out, "Im sorry. I shouldn’t have been like that with you. Im anasshole.""Yeah, sometimes you are."
  125. 125. She pursed her lips and said in a miffed tone, "Youre not supposed to agree with me.""Im not? Oops. Im sorry. I totally meant to say that youre not an asshole. You are a perfectly reasonable person at all times. It was anhonest slip of the tongue. My apologies."
  126. 126. His deadpan voice made her laugh and it was the first time that she had done so since her brothers death. She covered her mouth asshe tried to stifle it, but the more she tried not to laugh, the harder it became. When she finally got control of herself she said, "Thankyou. I really needed that. But I mean it, Puck. Im really sorry."She heard him sigh. "Erin, theres no need to apologize. I know where youre coming from and I apologize for not being able to help.I..I tried."
  127. 127. "You did?""Yeah," he whispered. "I was told, no."She tried not to cry. She was thankful that he tried and devastated that he didnt succeed. "Thank you," she said softly."Ere, I would do everything in my power to make you happy. I want you to know that. Im sorry that..that.."
  128. 128. "No, I know. Thank you for trying. It means a lot to me, it really does." She heaved a heavy sigh and swallowed. "Puck, can I pleasecome over? I really need you right now.""Why are you even asking? Of course you can!""Thank you," she said gratefully. A sudden thought popped into her mind. "Ill be over as soon as I can. I need to talk to my grandfather. Maybe he can help.""Do what you need to do. Ill be waiting right here for you."She smiled sadly. "kay. Ill see you in a bit."
  129. 129. After she hung up the phone, she packed a small overnight bag. When she was finished, she walked into Edens bedroom. She felt theneed to let someone know where she was, just in case someone in the house became concerned about her whereabouts.
  130. 130. "Mom?" she asked. Eden didnt respond. She didnt even turn over to face her. Erin clenched her jaw and squared her shoulders."Mom, Im going back to Pucks and Im going to stay there for a while."
  131. 131. When there still was no response, her face fell and she knelt by the bed. "Mommy please dont hate me. Im sorry I cant stay hereanymore. I just dont know what to do! I dont know how to help you and Daddy. I wish I could do something, anything, but I can’tbecause nobodys talking to anyone here. I cant deal with this alone. I want us to be like a family again and Im so sorry that we cantbe a full one anymore. And it hurts! It hurts so much! It feels like theres a hole in my chest and I dont know what to do!"She bit her lip and continued. "So Im leaving, only for right now because I want to be able to cry and have someone hold me and loveme. I wish I could so that for you, and you for me, but neither one of you will let me. I love you, and Dad, and Quinn, and I miss Quinnso much and I know you guys do, too. Im so sorry that Im bailing and its only for right now. I just wish...I just wish that we can all betogether again. But we cant. Because you guys wont let me be with you. You wont even be with each other. I just wish I knew whatto do. So maybe..maybe I can figure something out when I get to Pucks. Im so sorry. I love you, Mom. Tell Dad I love him, too.Please call me when..when...I dont know. Just call me when things get a little bit better, okay? I promise Ill come back."
  132. 132. She waited a moment to see if Eden would say or do anything. When there was no response, Erin sighed heavily and walked out thedoor.
  133. 133. ...
  134. 134. ...
  135. 135. ~*~*~
  136. 136. ...
  137. 137. ...
  138. 138. ...
  139. 139. ...
  140. 140. ...
  141. 141. As Spencer cut across the lawn to the house next door, he thought about everything that Erin had told him.
  142. 142. "Its oppressive, Grandpa. I thought the sound of things breaking as Dad threw them against the wall was bad. I thought the sounds ofMom crying was worse. But I was wrong about both. Its the silence. Its the nothingness thats the most terrifying of all. Dad just sitsthere in the living room drinking. He still occasionally throws his glass, but not as much. Mom spends her time in the bedroom. Andthey dont talk. They havent spoken to each other since the night Quinn died. And you know how they used to be! Dad was alwaystalking. They both were always hugging and kissing each other. And now they dont. Now its just this thick, palpable, oppressivesadness. And I cant breathe! I cant be there anymore! Please dont hate me for going to Pucks. But I want to be able to cry. I want tobe able to say my brothers name and I cant at home because it feels forbidden. Please dont hate me!"Of course he had understood and he assured her that nobody would hate her. He had desperately wanted to intervene ever since thefuneral where Rhys had punched Alexander Goth, but at the same time he really couldnt. The unofficial rule from the primary Simself ofthis verse was to remain as hands off as possible in regards to Rhys and his marriage to Eden. But surely that didnt apply in the wake oftragedy, did it?
  143. 143. He cast a quick glance at the house as he approached the front door. All the windows were dark except for an upstairs bedroom light:Rhys and Edens bedroom. He sighed as he rung the doorbell. When there was no movement in the house he rang it again. Heresisted ringing it a third time and decided to just try the door handle. He wasnt terribly surprised to find it unlocked. He quietlypushed open the door, and stepped into the foyer.
  144. 144. He let his eyes adjust to the darkness before looking into the living room. "Rhys?" he said softly. He thought he heard some slightmovement and he waited a moment before saying again, "Rhys? Are you in there?" There was neither a response nor a sound. Spencerwaited another moment before turning to head up the stairs.
  145. 145. His footsteps sounded loud as they echoed through the silence. If he wouldnt have been present to witness it on numerous occasionsthroughout the years, he wouldnt have believed that the house had ever held the sounds of laughter. He suddenly understood exactlywhat Erin had meant about the oppressive pall and he found himself walking almost on his tiptoes as he walked towards the bedroomhis son and wife shared and he quietly opened the door.
  146. 146. There were suitcases, half packed, laying on the floor and bed. Clothes and toiletries were strewn about the room. As for Eden herself,she was only half dressed. Rather, she was wearing what appeared to be Rhys pajama top. However, instead of laying in her bed likeErin had said, she was going through the closet, pulling more clothes out. She stopped when she saw him and her shoulders slumped."Spencer," she said before she started to cry.
  147. 147. In two steps he was at her side and he wrapped his arms around her in a hug. Eden clutched at the front of his shirt and sobbed into hischest. He swallowed the lump in is throat as he rocked her gently. "I know, honey, I know." And for the next fifteen minutes he rockedher and smoothed her tangled hair as if she were a child herself.
  148. 148. Eventually her tears stopped and she took a deep breath before moving out of Spencers fatherly embrace. She wiped her eyes andnose on the sleeve of her nightshirt. "Thank you," she said after she took another steady breath. "I..I really needed that. Rhys--" she cutoff as fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. "Rhys is Rhys," she choked out.He only nodded in response. There was no need for him to ask what she meant.
  149. 149. "And for over twenty years, Ive been okay with that. Thats just him. Of course he loves you, Id tell myself. He doesnt need to say itbecause he shows it all the time, is another. And then theres, Hes been through so much with you and hes been a steady, constantcompanion. Not to mention your biggest and most supportive fan! For years Ive told myself this. Ive understood. I never pushed.Heck, I only whisper it to him when hes sleeping so hes not put on the spot. But now..." she turned up her hands and let them falllistlessly to her side. "But now Im not so sure.""Eden--"
  150. 150. "Leave me alone! Dont touch me! I cant look at you! Thats what he said to me. Spencer, I can barely keep it together as it is. Ourson is dead and we cant bring him back! But with Rhys pushing me away, its like Ive lost two people that I love and I dont think I canhandle it, Spencer! I just cant. And the worst part is that I know hes hurting as well, but I cant even go by him without him yelling atme or throwing something. I just cant do it.""And so thus the packing.""Im a horrible person! But he wants to be left alone, so I will do what he wants.""This is your house, Eden."
  151. 151. "No! Its our house. Its our home. Or it was. But its just, well, whatever this horribleness is!"
  152. 152. He scrubbed his face with his hands and asked, "Are you planning on leaving tonight? Where are you going to go?""I dont know," she replied miserably. "Probably a hotel. I..I really havent thought that far ahead. I dont want to leave but I cant stay. IfI do, Im afraid hell say something truly terrible and thatll be it. Ill find out that I was just deluding myself all these years; that he doesntlove me at all. And then Ill have truly lost him along with Quinn. And--"
  153. 153. "Eden," he interrupted kindly, "dont think like that because its not true. Hes difficult, I know. God, how I know. But, and this is going tosound really bad, but hes not thinking about you right now. Hes thinking about himself. Hes thinking about Quinn. And I know himwell enough to know that hes probably blaming himself over every single real, or imagined, misstep hes made over the years in thisverse. And probably other verses, too, to be honest. It has nothing to do with you other than the fact that Quinn looked a lot like youand thats why he cant look at you. Its too painful. Im not excusing him, not by any means, but..." he shrugged.
  154. 154. "Its like he checked out," she said."Yeah. Exactly. Hes mentally and emotionally checked out.""That doesnt make me feel better.""I know, sweetheart. The only thing that might help both of you feel better is time. It might. I dont know because thats up to you, Erin,and Rhys. But you leaving will not bring Quinn back and, in fact, it might exacerbate the situation.""His throwing our crystal against the wall doesn’t being Quinn back either. Neither does his yelling, or screaming, or punchingAlexander--"
  155. 155. He held up his hand. "I know and I plan to tell him as much." He sighed. "Eden, look, youre going to do what you want and Im notgoing to tell you otherwise or even tell you that youre wrong. Youre an adult. You both are. All I can ask is for a favor: let me talk tohim and then give it a day. Its been a week since the funeral and enough time might have passed for him to listen to reason."
  156. 156. He took her hands in his. "You are one of the few people who has had faith in him. You accepted him for who he was despiteeverything hes done in his past. And Im not the only one who appreciates that: he does, too. So Im asking for you to have faith for justa little bit longer; to not give up on him quite yet. I promise both of you will get through this and youll get through this together. Okay?Please?"She was silent for a moment before she nodded. "Okay," she whispered.
  157. 157. "Youre not alone, okay? Me, Nina, Vaughn, Laurana, De, Cassius, Marina, especially Marina, everyone is with you guys right now. Idont want you, Rhys, and Erin to think otherwise, alright?""Thank you," she said. He wanted to say more to her; he wanted to take the pain they were all feeling away, but he couldnt. So hestood there helplessly for a second before giving her hand a final squeeze.
  158. 158. He walked out of the bedroom and the click of the door shutting behind him echoed in the hall. He squeezed the bridge of his nose fora moment as he tried to gather his thoughts.He knew beforehand that it was bad. Witnessing it was even worse. He sighed for the umpteenth time and felt that there just werentenough sighs in the world.
  159. 159. He slowly made his way back downstairs and stood in the doorway to the living room again. He tried to figure out how to approach hisson who he knew was an incredibly volatile state of mind. He reached his hand to the light switch to turn on the lights.The room remained dark.He stepped in and let his eyes adjust to the darkness. In the dim moonlight he was able to see the overturned end tables and one of thelamps laying on the floor. He walked over, righted up one of the tables and found the outlet to plug in the lamp.
  160. 160. "Go away, Dad," a hoarse voice said. He looked over and saw Rhys sitting on the floor in front of the couch, his arms wrapped aroundhis knees. Spencer said nothing as he turned back to the outlet."I said go away. I dont want you here," Rhys insisted."Im sorry you feel that way," replied Spencer as he turned on the light. He surveyed the damage that had been done to the room.
  161. 161. Both of the shelves were toppled over, the items scattered on the floor. There was broken bits of glass everywhere. He tried not towince at the portrait that had been knocked from the wall, though thankfully it was undamaged. And then he looked at Rhys, and whathe saw startled him more than the remnants of his sons violent and grief stricken outburst.
  162. 162. He was a complete wreck.
  163. 163. "Oh, Rhys," Spencer said past the lump in his throat."Why are you here, Dad? I dont want you here. Why are you always here?""I am exactly where I need to be," he replied simply. Rhys glared at him for another second before dropping his head back into his arms.
  164. 164. He decided to ignore his angry son and started picking up the mess. He moved the shelves back into position and quietly placed theitems back on them. He moved a loveseat back into the divots it had made in the carpet.
  165. 165. When reached over by Rhys to pick up the Journalism quill, Rhys snapped, "Leave it there!""Why?""Because I might want to throw it again."
  166. 166. Spencer reached his hand out to touch Rhys shoulder, but the other man knocked it away. "Dont touch me!" He stood up andgrabbed the bottle of scotch that was sitting next to him and he took a swig from it."From the bottle, Rhys?" Spencer asked as his eyebrow arched up unbidden.His sons eyes narrowed momentarily before they strayed to the scattered broken glass in front of him. "No more glasses," he mumbled."Doesnt matter. Its not like the booze is working anyway." He flopped down onto the couch and was about to drop the bottle to thefloor, but Spencer managed to catch it in time. He located the cap and screwed it back on before moving it out of Rhys reach.
  167. 167. "And exactly what did you want it to do?" he asked."Make me sleep. I cant sleep. My mind keeps going round and round and round. Things I could have said. Things I could have doneto prevent this. It doesnt stop. It. Never. Stops." He sighed and dropped his head into his hands.Spencer nodded silently and sat down on the other couch. He decided to wait for Rhys to talk and after about five minutes his patiencewas rewarded.
  168. 168. "Everything I touch turns to shit.""Thats not true. Not in the slightest. There are places where you succeeded beyond all expectations. Look at what you did in SierraPlains alone.""I had to do that, otherwise I would have died.""The reason why you did it doesnt matter. You still succeeded. And then theres here--""Yeah. Here. Where I have a son who died by my hand. I killed him."Spencer raised his eyebrows. "You most certainly did not kill--"
  169. 169. "Dont say his name!"
  170. 170. Spencer paused for a moment, then continued. "You did not kill Quinn," he said softly."YES I DID! I DID!""No. You were not the tree. You werent the ice on the road. You didnt cause the snowstorm. You were nowhere near the place. Itwas an accident and its not your fault."
  171. 171. "Yes it is. I should have said something. I should have explained everything to him; all the stuff he found out about my past. I shouldhave said something, anything, to keep him in the house longer. But I let him go. He thought I was a bad person. His last words to mewere, I cant believe I wanted to be like you and now I wish I didnt even know you, and I didnt say anything. I just let him go becausehe was right: I am awful."
  172. 172. "You let him go because he was angry and you wanted him to cool down. You had no way of knowing this was going to happen.Nobody ever expects this sort of thing. If you were able to predict the future then, yeah, it would have been your fault. But you cantpredict the future, so its not. But I will tell you something that is your fault.""What?"
  173. 173. Spencer gestured toward the broken glass and then vaguely towards the upstairs. "This. All of this. But, unlike the past, this can befixed. Glass can be vacuumed. Vases can be replaced. More importantly, your devastated daughter can be called home and consoledover the death of her twin. And your wife, whom I happen to like very much, not only needs reassurance that her husband has notemotionally abandoned her, but she can also give you the comfort you need."
  174. 174. "I dont need her. I dont need you. I dont need anybody or anything."He shrugged. "You and I both know thats not true. Things like this can either break up a family or it can bring them closer together.Rhys, your family needs you. And whether you want to believe it or not, you need your family. Because this," he gestured again towardsthe broken items, "this solves nothing. This doesnt bring Quinn back. If it did, we all would have broken all of our dishes.""If someone had a Bone Phone, it wouldnt be an issue.""But there are none, and thats something youre going to have to take up with Zane. Well, when and if he stops being incommunicadowith us Mortals, that is. But until then..."
  175. 175. He sighed. "Until then, you need to pull yourself together. Thats your portrait on the wall next to Edens. And shes said on numerousoccasions that you arent just her spouse, but her partner. All of your descendants will look back on this time and they are either goingto see a family that fell apart, or a family that banded together and pulled through this tragedy. Because its not the events that define afamily, but how they react to them that makes them special.""Whatever, Dad. Go away and leave me alone. Give your inspirational speeches to someone who will believe in your bullshit."However, his voice lacked venom.Spencer sighed. "Alright. Youre going to do what youre going to do. You always have and nothing anyone can say will stop you fromdoing that. But..were here for you when and if you ever need us."
  176. 176. He stood up, gently ran his hand over his sons disheveled red hair and Rhys made no protest. Then he began to walk out of the room.
  177. 177. "You dont know how it feels," Rhys called after him."Thats not true. Remember, I was there the day you died in Sierra Plains.""Its not the same. I died of old age there."
  178. 178. "Youre right. But that didnt make it suck any less."
  179. 179. When Rhys didnt respond, Spencer walked out the front door. When he was outside, he scrubbed his face with his hands beforerunning them through his hair. He took a deep breath and wiped away the tears that had formed in his eyes before heading back to hishouse. ~*~*~
  180. 180. The worst part about his father coming over and butting his nose in where it wasnt wanted was that he didnt even bother to turn off thelight when he left. Rhys focused part of his misery and anger on that in an effort to push away the small, nagging feeling that maybe,just maybe, what Spencer said was right."No. Its just a bunch of bullshit. He doesnt know what the fuck hes talking about," he muttered to himself. Of course he didnt.Nobody knew what any of this felt like.He went to reach for the bottle of scotch but then remembered that Spencer had moved it and it was now out of reach. He stood upand walked over to it. It was a lot of effort to do so.
  181. 181. He was so tired.
  182. 182. He knocked the bottle over with his foot was was vaguely disappointed that the cap had been screwed on tightly. He sort of wanted tosee the liquid spill out. What was one more mess that needed to be cleaned up? Hed do it. Eventually.
  183. 183. He ran his hands over the stubble on his face and through his destroyed fauxhawk before turning off the light and curling up on thecouch. Sleep. He needed sleep. He needed to escape the same thoughts that circled around in his mind. Thoughts about what hecould have said or done to save Quinn. Not that his dreams were any better. They were quite horrific, really. It was driving him insane.
  184. 184. He sat up. It was the couch. It had to be the couch. It was fucking uncomfortable and he had been camped out in the living roomsince...his brow creased. Since he found out that his son had died which was...He vaguely tried to calculate exactly how long it had been. He remembered that night. He remembered the funeral and punchingAlexander Goth. His calculations told him that it had to have been about two weeks since he slept in his own goddamn bed."No, fuck this," he muttered to himself. He had every right to sleep in his bedroom. Why on earth was he sleeping on the couch whenthere was a far more comfortable bed upstairs? He thought that maybe it was because of Eden...
  185. 185. Shit. Eden. He really hadnt given her much thought since that night. He sort of remembered that she occasionally tried to come byhim and he had essentially told her to leave him alone. He couldn’t deal with whatever she was going through.Fuck it. He was going upstairs anyway. If she was in the bedroom, hell, if she was still even home...she was still at home, right? Hewasnt quite sure.
  186. 186. His tread was heavy as he slowly walked up the stairs. Maybe hed shower before going to bed. He felt very worn and kind of gross.He ran his hand over his stubble again, actually taking note that there was stubble on his face. That was kind of weird.
  187. 187. He paused outside the bedroom and he was about to knock on the door before he realized the absolute absurdity of needing to dosuch a thing. It was his bedroom, too! He squared his shoulders and threw open the door, bracing himself for whatever barrage ofemotions Eden was going to bombard him with.Instead, she said nothing. She didnt even look up from what she was doing. It took him a moment to realize exactly what it was thatshe was doing. She was..she was..
  188. 188. "Youre packing?" She still didnt look up from the suitcase she was cramming her items into. When she didnt say anything, hecontinued with, "I know you can hear me, Eden. Quit trying to pretend that you cant. Stop ignoring me."
  189. 189. "Im not ignoring you, Rhys," she said calmly. "I’m very well aware of you." She didnt look at him as she went to her dressing table topick up some of the toiletries that were on it.
  190. 190. "Youre packing!" He was aware of his voice rising. "Youre packing! Youre planning on leaving me! Youre going to leave me at a timelike this? After everything Ive been through?"That got her attention and she whirled around to face him. "After everything youve been through? YOU?"
  191. 191. She stomped over to him and her voice also began to rise as she continued. "You arent the only one who lives in this house, Rhys! Youarent the only one--""My son is dead! MY SON! And you just dont understand!""I dont understand? I DONT UNDERSTAND?!""He was my son! I dont have that many sons!"
  193. 193. She began to frantically throw more items from around the room into one of the suitcases. In mid-step she suddenly stopped as thebrief moment of fire inside of her died. Her shoulders slumped and she began to cry.
  194. 194. "I dont want to," she said between her sobs. "But you want to be left alone, so Im going to do that. There is no room for anyones griefother than your own. Im tired of walking on eggshells, Rhys. For twenty years Ive been fine with it, but I just cant anymore. I love you,Rhys, and I need you. Erin needs you. But youre pushing us away and its breaking my heart! I cant stand to lose you, too. I refuse tostay here and watch you self-destruct. I just cant do it anymore."
  195. 195. He clenched and unclenched his fists as he watched her cry. The words I only had one echoed in his mind as a realization struggledforward. He pushed it down and focused on the fact that she was leaving. She was leaving him. Everything he touched turned to shit,just like he told his father.Fuck her, I dont need her, was the first thought that popped into his mind.
  196. 196. Yes you do, and you know it, a small voice contradicted . It sounded irritatingly like his fathers and he was tempted to ignore it. But,much like his father, it refused to be ignored. Shes one of the best things thats ever happened to you. She makes you happy. Anddidnt you promise yourself that you would try to actually be a good husband and father here? Didnt you want to see if you could havea normal life and healthy marriage without being forced to live in an apocalyptic environment? What happened to that promise? Doyou think youre being a good husband and father right now?Oh, shut up, he told the Spencer Voice. Quinns dead.But Erin, Eden, and everyone else: they arent.
  197. 197. Just shut up! He mentally shoved the voice down as he tried to deny that it was right. Ever since the accident he kept seeing Quinnsface in Edens. But as he stood there, he only saw Eden. The realization that had tried to struggle forward forcefully pushed itself to thefront. She had lost Quinn, too. As did Erin. As did the entire family. And now the family was falling apart. And it was his fault.
  198. 198. You can fix this, the Spencer Voice whispered.I told you to shut up! And, blissfully, it did.
  199. 199. He took a small step forward as he gathered his scattered control together. Another step. And then another.
  200. 200. He reached out his hand and gently touched her shoulder before pulling it back.She didnt turn around and he could see her shoulders still shaking from her sobs.He took one more step and gently wrapped his arms around her, afraid that she would pull away from him. When she didnt, his armstightened. "Ede--" his voice cracked and his tenuous control wavered. "Ede, I--" his control slipped and shattered.
  201. 201. "Oh, God, Eden, please dont leave me. Im so sorry. Im an asshole. Im a big fucking asshole and Im so sorry. Please dont leave. Idont think I can take it. I dont want to lose you, too. You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me and Ive been solucky and I love you so very much and you are one of the last people in the entire Multi-Verse that I would ever want to hurt. Im sosorry. I love you. Please dont leave. I cant lose both Quinn and you. Please--"
  202. 202. Eden wordlessly turned around in his arms and wrapped her own around him as she buried her head into his chest. The only thing theydid for a long time was hold each other and cry.It was the first time he had cried since the night they found out Quinn had died.
  203. 203. ...
  204. 204. At some point during that night they had fallen asleep while clinging to each other. He woke up to the sound of Eden crying and hestroked her face, kissed her eyes, her nose, and then her mouth. She reached up and wiped the tears that were on his face. Andwithout costumes, handcuffs, games, or any words at all, they comforted each other in the best way they knew how. When they weredone, they went back to sleep.
  205. 205. Later that morning, as the sun shone brightly through the window, he woke up to the feel of Eden lightly stroking the side of his face,over his hair, and over his nose. It was something that she did quite often throughout their marriage and he knew what was comingnext."I love you, Rhys," she whispered.
  206. 206. He always loved to hear it. Except this time, instead of pretending to be asleep like he normally did, he wrapped his arms around her,kissed her forehead and said, "I love you, too." ~*~*~(And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of Chapter Six.)
  207. 207. Oh man. I know I always give Marina first line on my credits page, but after this chapter she totally deserves her OWN page. Because, you know, Marina isawesome.I want to give her a big, big, HUGE thanks for not only allowing me to marry in Rhys, but for also allowing me to do everything that I was allowed to do with himfor this story arc. She gave me so much help, leeway, and suggestions to help me with her character. Best of all, she was the one who suggested that Rhyswould not only be the one who said he was sorry but that he would also say the dreaded "L" word to Eden. Thats just not something that he would ever do andI was so happy that, in this instance, it was allowed. Seriously, I did a weird, flail-y, happy dance in my chair...and then dragged my feet for two years with thisplot line. The reason being?I had to kill Quinn for any of it to happen. Granted, I was going to kill Quinn all along, but the bittersweet ending for this chapter almost makes it worth it.Almost.Anyway, huge props to Marina and a gigantic thank you for not only giving me all the help you did, but for helping me through all my doubts, nail biting, andwhining. It was a very fun journey and we BOTH learned things about Rhys that we didnt know before. Oh yeah, thank you for not cringing too much whenthese "revelations" came about. Im sorry about that. We all know whose fault that is...
  208. 208. (Shoulder Devil Rhys still makes me laugh. As a side note: I STILL havent fixed SimAngs makeup since I changed my skin defaults almost two years ago. Herblush is ridiculous >.<)Credits and Thanks:Marina/Smoothiequeen: For Rhys and Spencer Fitzhugh (The Fitzhugh Legacy/Villainous Apocalypse)De/Fireflower: For Vaughn Fitzhugh and her Simself (The Morgan Legacy)Ben/Blight27: For Cassius Marius (10 Caesars Legacy)Lark/Lady Larkrune: Lark (the author of so many things it would take a whole slide to list them) also gets a big, huge thanks for listening to my whining, talkingme down from ledges, and just generally being my sounding board. Thank you for also being one of those people who giggled with me about some of therevelations that have come about with Rhys. Sorry about that, Marina Its Shoulder Devil Rhys fault, I swear!To all my readers: Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Ive been really, really lazy about returning the favor and I promise that I will get back ontrack with both replying to my own comments as well as leaving comments on your chapters. Now that this story arc is done, a huge weight has been liftedfrom my shoulders and I should be able to get back into the swing of things.Thank you all for reading and until next time Happy Simming!