Warning: This chapter contains mild adult themes and some violence.
Previously in The Absolutely Crazy Matriarchy... ...Faith pouted a little. "I think it looks nice." She continued to regard the house, oblivious to the rain that was soaking her new dress. James kissed her on the cheek. "Strange colour choice aside, it's perfect, Fae. Now can we get inside? Forecast said this was going to turn into a thunderstorm."...
...Rin silenced her daughter's sarcasm with a fierce hug. "I missed you three while you were away, Suze. I really did." "And you never pegged yourself as the maternal type." Rin smiled wryly. "I never did. Guess I was wrong."...
...Bella smiled. "It does brighten up the doom and gloom a bit. I've heard the tiki drinks are quite nice, too." Death looked puzzled. HOW ON EARTH COULD YOU HAVE HEARD THAT? ALL THOSE WHO HAVE TRIED THEM ARE DEAD, ARE THEY NOT? ...
...The bullet slammed into Justin's chest. Instinctively, he clapped a hand to where the bullet had struck, gasping with lungs that could no longer hold air. Strange electricity crackled over his body, seeking the spot the bullet had pierced. It darted in and around the wound...
...She nudged Justin's body with the toe of her pink stiletto. "Well, that was a tad unexpected. Scorched the lino, too. Probably something to do with his being a so-called immortal. Pah." She spat on his lifeless form, then walked away, humming to herself... *** And now we return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.
It was three o'clock in the morning, or thereabouts. Suze was woken by the sound of a loud knocking on the glass of the front door. Grumbling a little, Suze hauled herself out of bed and downstairs, not bothering to get dressed. Whoever was rude enough to rouse her and her mother at this hour could face her in her pyjamas.
Fire rubbed tiredness out of her eyes and rapped on the door again. This kind of news couldn't wait for the morning, as much as she wished it could. She didn't want to have to say it. Saying it would make it real.
Suze opened the door in surprise. "Fire? Is there something wrong?" I have news, Suze. It's bad. It's really bad. You should wake Rin. You both need to hear this. Looking slightly worried, Suze nodded and turned to go wake up her mother.
Once Rin and Suze were seated in the lounge, Fire took a deep breath and spoke. Rin, Suze, Justin was killed a few hours ago. Single gunshot wound to the heart. It looks like Fury's work, but we can't be sure. Fire paused. Gaara and the others are investigating.
"No!" cried Suze. She started crying. Rin did not cry. She glared furiously at Fire. "You said she was gone." I thought she was. Rin clenched her fists so tight the knuckles whitened, then slowly stood up to face the Simself.
"Aren't you supposed to keep us safe? That woman nearly killed me, Suze and James, and now she's succeeded in killing Justin. Shouldn't you be out there, finding her and dealing with her?" It's not that simple. Fury has some limited supernatural gifts which enable her to... "I don't want to hear your excuses, Fire!" Suze continued crying in earnest.
"You should have killed her. You had the chance." D'you think I don't know that, Rin? I made a mistake. I may be the closest thing to a goddess this 'verse has, but I'm still human. "Too much for your conscience?" Stop blaming me, Rin.
"I will not. I'd rather that you had Fury's blood on your hands than Fury having my son's blood on hers." Enough, Rin! thundered Fire. I know you're in pain, but you have to stop hitting at me. This is not my fault. The only person you can blame here is Fury. "What do you know about pain?" asked Rin quietly. She turned her back on Fire and walked out of the room.
Slamming the door of her room, Rin sat down heavily on her bed and put her head in her hands. "My Justin... my little boy." Only then did she let the tears come.
Wiping her eyes, Suze looked up at Fire, her bottom lip quivering. "Why, Fire? Why Justin and not me?" I'm not sure. There's a couple of possibilities. "Such as?"
Well, Justin's been one of ou... one of my favourites for a while. Fury probably picked up on that, and used it to hurt us. "'Us'?" That would be RealFire and me. We're separated, but connected. It's hard to explain. "She still could have targeted any of us." I know.
Fire pulled Suze into a hug. I'm sorry, Suze. So sorry. If I'd... Suze squeezed Fire gently. "Stop blaming yourself. It's bad enough that my mother does. It's like you said - it's Fury's fault, and her fault alone." Yeah. "Where's Renee? How's she coping?" She's safe, for now. As for coping... She's a big emotional mess at the moment. Understandably. I'd better go, Suze. "Okay." Suze sniffed. "I'll talk Mum around. She'll see reason eventually."
Fire walked forlornly away from 50 Pearl Road. Well, how well did you expect it to go? Did you expect to be a hero for bringing Rin news of her son's death? sighed a voice that could have been Fire's own. No, but I didn't expect the... hostility, Fire said without thinking. Then she froze, and looked around. There was nobody there.
Shrugging, Fire walked down the pavement back towards Simself HQ. As she walked, it began to rain. ***
When you try your best but you don't succeed When you get what you want but not what you need When you feel so tired but you can't sleep Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face When you lose something you can't replace When you love someone but it goes to waste Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones And I will try to fix you
And high up above or down below When you're too in love to let it go But if you never try you'll never know Just what you're worth
Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones And I will try to fix you
Tears stream down your face When you lose something you cannot replace Tears stream down your face and I...
Tears stream down your face I promise you I will learn from my mistakes Tears stream down your face and I...
Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones And I will try to fix you Lyrics: Fix You - Coldplay
Justin Calvin Chandler Age: Too young Children: None LTW: Become Space Pirate (not achieved) I'm sorry, Justin. ***
After the funeral, Fire called a meeting of the Simselves. So, what have you guys got to tell me?
Gaara began. "Justin was killed by a single gunshot to the heart. He died almost instantly, which is something of a blessing, I guess. Not a lot of blood, since it was a heart shot. The killer was almost certainly an expert marksman."
Jeremy butted in. "But here's the kicker - the lino around him had all these little scorch marks on it." Scorch marks? "Yeah. His clothes were a little scorched too, but the weird thing is, his body wasn't."
Lark continued. "Because there aren't an exorbitant amount of immortal deaths we can compare Justin's to, we're using a lot of guesswork. For the time being we're assuming the scorching had something to do with Justin being immortal, and hoping it has nothing to do with that... woman's choice of weapon." Lark had been as fond of Justin as Fire had been and was anxious to exact revenge on his murderer.
"Hang on," said Cee. "If he's 'immortal', that implies he can't be killed." "Not that simple," interjected Spike. "Immortality implies old age and illness can't kill 'im. But a gunshot can, no problem. Immortals can die by mortal means." "Immortals like us?" asked Cee. Nobody answered. A chill settled around the room.
Lucy broke the silence. "Anyway, there's no trace evidence of the killer whatsoever. No prints, no hairs, not even a framming skin cell. It's like there WAS no killer." "But that ties in with what we suspect to be Fury's limited supernatural abilities - her ability to simply disappear at will," Remus pointed out. Fire sighed. Well, that pretty much just confirms what we suspected. We'll keep searching then. I'm going to go and talk to my consultant. Maybe she'll have some ideas. "Consultant?" You'll see. ***
For the second time that week, Fire found herself knocking on somebody's glass door. However, this time it was daytime and the occupant was expecting her.
Tempe opened the door. "Ah, Fire. Right on time." She made no further attempt to welcome the Simself. Fire hadn't expected her to - Tempe rarely allowed herself to express emotion of any kind. "Right this way."
Tempe led Fire up the stairs. "Your problem is a tricky one. Well, both of them are, but the crime scene photos you sent were... unusual. I've been running comparisons for the past twenty-four hours." Fire nodded. Anything pop for you?
Tempe walked over to her desk and booted up her computer. "Not yet, but take a look at - " Fire interrupted. Tempe, is that a new Servo? Tempe's cheeks coloured. "Yes." What's his name? The colour deepened. "Er... Fr4nk."
Fire rolled her eyes and examined the robot. I see. And the fact that his personality and aspiration are identical to that of France Warner is a complete coincidence? "The personality assignment is random, as you very well know." 3/8/9/7/1 and Fortune/Cheese? asked Fire skeptically. I'm sure someone with a good knowledge of mechanics could override the random generation and create a custom personality.
Tempe grinned, still blushing. "Probably." France 'Frank' Warner is the Surprise!Baby from ladylarkrune's OWBC Yakko's World. Tempe participated in his bachelor challenge and washed out. Surprise surprise.
Fire sighed. You really got attached to Frank, didn't you? "I... um... Okay. Maybe I did." Well, you shouldn't have let your fear of his creator stand in your way. RealFire sent you to that BC for a reason, Tempe. Tempe yelped. "Promise you won't tell Lark about this?"
Promise, said Fire, crossing her fingers behind her back. Now, about these scorch marks... ***
Three days later, Alejandro came to visit Suze. "Alejandro! You have no idea how much I've missed you." "Missed you too, Susannah." Alejandro paused. "Are you sure you're oka-"
"I'm FINE, Alejandro," snapped Suze. "I don't need you questioning my ability to function. My mother's doing fine on her own." Frustration flashed across Alejandro's face. "Susannah, you've barely eaten or slept since Justin... died." "And how would you know?"
"If you must know, Corinna called. She's worried about you, Susannah. As am I." Suze scowled. "You're not my keeper." "You certainly need one."
Suze exploded. "He was my BROTHER! He was my best friend! Excuse me for having a little trouble dealing with it!"
"Susannah, you need to talk to someone, not just bottle it all up! You're hurting, and it's hurting me, and I can't stop it if you won't LET me!" "Don't make it all sound so easy, Alejandro. Have you ever lost a brother? Have you ever had to deal with someone you love dying? Have you - "
Suze pulled herself out from under the covers. Nothing was fixed between them - she was still simmering with irritation. She was a grown woman, for crying out loud. She hadn't been coping. Mostly because she felt so guilty all the time.
The shrinks called it survivor's guilt. Suze knew it, but couldn't help but feel it. If there was no legacy, no heirship, Justin would be happy and safe and married to Renee. Most of all, he wouldn't be dead. He wouldn't be alive, either. Suze jumped when she heard the faint voice, and looked around frantically. Nobody was around, except for the still-sleeping Alejandro. Suze put it down to lack of sleep. ***
The ghosts were unusually active that night. They gathered in front of the house, speaking in eerie, echoing whispers that were mere shadows of the voices they'd had in life. The conversation was oddly disjointed, as though there was an unseen, unheard fourth participant. "Tonight?" "The walls are thinnest now." "We will be watching for you." Then dawn came and they faded away. ***
That morning, Suze paused in the middle of making a ceramic pot. The pot sagged on the wheel. Suze paid it no mind. Something was very wrong.
Suze raced to the bathroom and immediately began throwing up her breakfast. Must be food poisoning, she thought dully between retches. She felt awful.
That night, Suze received a promotion. She now had her own cooking show and was a minor celebrity. She didn't get to enjoy it for long, though.
She was pregnant. Stupid pants with no pregnancy mesh.
After changing into something more comfortable, Suze rang up Alejandro. "Alejandro, I'm pregnant." "Congratulations. Is it mine?" "What is it with you men and your insecurity? Who else's baby could it be?" "I have no idea, since you no longer live with me and could be involved with any number of other-" Suze hung up and glared at the phone. Since when had Alejandro been so abrasive?
Rin was delighted. "A grandchild! Do you think it'll be a boy or a girl?" "I don't care, as long as it's happy and healthy and absolutely nothing like its father." Rin looked at her daughter. "Are you two still fighting?" Suze sighed. "Lately, it's all we've been doing. I don't know what's gotten into him." She didn't mention her own role in their little spats.
Though she hadn't intended to start her family so early, Suze began to find herself enjoying being pregnant. She was a little disconcerted by the fact she had another human being growing inside her.
Suze, however, was not the most patient of people and became quite irritable as the pregnancy wore on. She was almost a week overdue and getting crankier by the minute.
She did spend some of her time making magical reagents, but she felt too irritable to spend too much time doing anything. She had the attention span of a goldfish and the cheer of a mongoose in a burlap sack.
One night, though, that all changed. "Uh, Mum? Could you come over here for a second?" "Sure thing, honey. What's wrong?"
"Baby's coming!" Rin jolted out of her chair. "Baby's coming?" "Ouch, yes! You never told me how much this hurt!" "If I had, you would never have had kids!"
After much yelling and cursing of Alejandro, Suze delivered a healthy baby girl with her own deep blue eyes. Suze stared in amazement at her daughter. The baby stared right back. "Hello, Lindsay," said Suze. Lindsay is named after Lindsay Boxer from James Patterson's series The Women's Murder Club.
Rin waved a hand at her granddaughter. "Hello, little Lindsay." She peered at the baby, then did a small double-take. "Suze, she has red hair." "So she does." "She must have got it from my grandfather Damion." "Unless Alejandro's been dying his hair," Suze quipped.
Suze tucked her baby girl into her cot. "Good night, Lindsay." She stroked Lindsay's downy head before locking the crib bars. She was a mother. Didn't that just beat all? ***
Time passed, as it has a tendency to. Rin befriended and ended up adopting a large stray dog. Suze was sure the goofy canine was at least part wolf, but Rin didn't care.
Maia managed to firmly cement herself in the household and became the Chandlers' guard dog and much-loved pet. Maia is named after a werewolf girl in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. The name seemed appropriate.
Suze grew bored with her career in television and began to pursue another career, this time in music. Yep, that's the next LTW she rolled.
She quickly shot to fame in this field, becoming an international success almost overnight.
Lindsay's first bithday soon came. Suze decided to keep it low-key, seeing as she was still on frosty terms with Alejandro. If she held a large party and neglected to invite him, their relationship would further suffer.
Suze leaned over and blew out the candles for her daughter, who burbled happily. When the candles were out, Suze gently tossed Lindsay into the air, watching the sparkles envelope her.
...and then there was cuteness. Lindsay's personality is 10/9/2/10/1. Joy.
Lindsay was a bright and energetic ray of sunshine. She hadn't inherited much from her father, save his nose. Aside from her caramel complexion and red hair, she was pretty much the spitting image of her mother.
One night, Lindsay was drawing enthusiastically on the little table her mother had bought for her. Lindsay adores drawing and painting, and Suze decided she'd rather clean up scraps of paper than have to continue to repaint the walls. "Time for bed now, pumpkin." "Nuh-uh, Mummy. I gotta finish your dawing!"
Suze crouched down to see her daughter's fanciful scribbles. "Who's in the drawing, sweetie?" "Dere's you, and Gamma Win, and me, and my bruvver and sister!" Suze laughed. "You don't have a brother or sister yet, Lindsay." "I will, Mummy." "How do you know that, pumpkin?" Lindsay sat down, and looked squarely at her mother.
"Because I saw them." *** That's the end of the chapter. Thanks for reading!