Mycroft smiled as he selected the email.
The children, all of them, are thriving.
I thank you again, on behalf of my entire family.
My only regret is that my father didn’t live to see the grandchildren.
Though as you are no doubt aware, he planned ahead.
Dare I say the formula has reached near perfection. Ryker did not detect any of the oft complained about aftertaste and the pregnancy progressed without any complications in the least.
It should combine nicely with your new venture. I look forward to helping with that in any way possible.
I keep my father abreast of the latest happenings while tending his plot. I’m certain the entire community smirks at the lemon tree planted above his final resting place. My father always was a sour sort. The children are eager to establish a lemonade stand and turn a small profit. A suiting endnote to my father’s life, I feel.
In conclusion, I must pass along the very latest in other news. The intrepid adventurer’s son has paid me a visit. It seems Frances J. Worthington the elder has not (as of this writing) returned from his visit. His son is, as you can imagine, concerned. Without disclosing too much, I assured the younger that his father would return (and sent him on his way). Any help you could provide in making sure my words ring true would be greatly appreciated. I don’t have to tell you that bad press is the last thing any of us need at this time.
Mycroft re-read the last paragraph then, with a few quick keystrokes, sent a notice to Basil.
Return the adventurer. Stat.
He pondered the screen, mentally penning his reply to Egon when he was startled from his project.
“Breakfast’s ready. Dad made sandwiches just for me.” Glory stared at the screen as she spoke. “Is that from Basil?”
“No,” Mycroft replied as the screen went dark and he rose from his seat. “It’s far too. . .”
“How long till. . .”
“Be patient,” he laughed. Glory slumped her shoulders and huffed loudly.
“I hate waiting.” She stuck out her tongue and laughed.
“Ohmygawd,” she barked. “I’m so excited. I’m going to school today. FINALLY. Morrow told me about it, you know, more than just what I already kind of knew. I was asking her about what it’s really like here and then she started asking me about what it’s like there.” Glory flailed wildly. “She’s not as bad as I thought. For a second, when she got mean at me when she first showed up, I thought she might not like me. But now I know she does. She said she’d introduce me to Rascal. I just know we’re all going to be BFFs.”
Mycroft smiled at her. As annoying as she could be, there was a charm about her.
“So what are you going to do all day, today? Play with your plants?”
“It’s not playing,” he corrected. “I have some very delicate procedures to work on today. I need to introduce the new agent to the soil before germination begins. There’s a very small window of opportunity in which the mutations can be exploited. . .”
“Mutants,” Glory snorted. “Like plants with super powers. Have you seen this movie, oh, what was it called. . .Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. I watched it last night. It was so great. These tomatoes. . .”
“Hardly,” Mycroft tisked. “And you shouldn’t stay up so late when you have school the next . . .”
“You’re not my MOTHER,” Glory huffed dramatically. Mycroft stared at her, unsure what had brought on such a sudden change in her attitude.
“Pff,” she spat, blubbering laughter. “I so got you. Come on, I’ll race you to the table.”
Glory took off at a run. Mycroft didn’t pursue. He listened as she thundered down first one flight of stairs then the second, mocking his slowness the entire time.
Morrow absentmindedly picked at the crust of her sandwich as she surveyed the table. Mother MNO prattled on about the latest offerings on the home shopping channel while the Aide smiled at her longingly. How could they be so interested in cheap jewelry sold over the television? The Pollinator was focused on something else entirely. Morrow made a note to ask Glory about it. If anyone would blindly share information, it would be her.
“. . .one for you too. Would you like that, Morrow?”
Morrow started at the sound of her name.
“No!,” she barked. She coughed loudly, pretending to choke, hoping to cover for her growling outburst. “No,” she offered again, after what seemed a long enough coughing fit, “thank you,” she added, forcing a smile.
“Hurry up,” Glory chirped, swiping her empty plate from the table. “The bus is going to come real soon.”
After seeing Glory and Morrow off for the day, the remaining members of the Hive set about their new daily routines.
“Did you see her, my Achates? How happy she was?”
Achates smiled in response and took Emmy’s hand in his. He stepped backwards, leading them both to the sofa.
“There he goes,” she nodded toward the greenhouse.
“We won’t have to wait much longer.”
The helicopter’s roar was deafening. And exciting. Circe looked past Julian as she spoke, focusing on the symbol of her rise to the top.
She barely heard Loki call his goodbye.
“So that must be why you moved,” Julian laughed as the noise of the helicopter was replaced by silence.
“I had no clue that’s what we were in for.” Loki shook his head.
“Quite a wake-up call,” Julian added. They both laughed.
“Speaking of, have you eaten? I know I did but I could really use another round of pancakes.”
Julian laughed and followed Loki to the kitchen.
Over his second breakfast for the morning, Loki shared with Julian some basic details about the family. Julian nodded and smiled, offering bits of information about himself where appropriate.
“So,” Loki offered once the breakfast dishes were done. “I guess a tour would be next on the list?”
Julian nodded and followed Loki as they went top to bottom, starting with the nursery and ending in Loki’s new studio.
Julian gravitated to the small collection of paintings clustered in the corner.
“You don’t use simmlish,” he commented.
“No, I prefer the look of foreign characters. And,” Loki laughed, “you get some fun quirks when you translate them.”
Julian scrutinized the one with the most text, then barked laughter.
The morning quickly became afternoon and soon the pair were joined by a third.
“Spencer,” Loki gestured to his son. “Come and meet Julian. He’s going to help out with the baby, once it arrives.”
Spencer smiled but approached slowly, eyes flicking from Julian to Loki then back to Julian.
“Dad, I’ll be transitioning real soon. . .I can help and. . .”
“But what about while you and your father are both at school?,” Julian asked.
“What?” Spencer’s expression went from trepidation to excitement. “Really, dad? You’re going to teach again?”
Loki nodded. Spencer’s smiled widened. He launched into a series of questions, pausing only once as Circe’s helicopter returned, muting them all.
Loki watched from the other side of the window. Circe stepped from the helicopter and without so much as a wave to the underling who had transported her, strode purposefully toward the house. He shivered at the sight of her, clad in her uniform and looking so official, so intimidating.
He heard the door open and close and the click of her shoes as, without a word to any of them, she closed herself in the downstairs bathroom to change.
“Sounds like they’re getting along quite well,” Circe smiled at her husband as, at long last, they greeted one another. Loki nodded. “And what about you?” She ran her hand down his arm and took his hand in hers. “Was I right?”
“Yes,” he smiled.
“How are you feeling?,” she asked, staring at her free hand as she stroked her husband’s stomach.
“. . .never fished. You coming, mom?,” Spencer chirped as he led Julian toward the door.
“I’ll join you in a moment,” Circe offered, never looking up from Loki’s stomach.
“My mom’s home early today,” Spencer offered as the door closed behind them. “You don’t have to worry about that, though. Me and my dad won’t have crazy hours like her, so you won’t have to work real late or anything.”
“Oh, that wouldn’t be a problem,” Julian replied, amused by Spencer’s concern. “I live right across the street, so I can be here whenever you need me, just like THAT.” He snapped his fingers to accentuate the speed.
“Really? I didn’t know anyone lived over there. Your house is big. . .” Spencer prattled on about Julian’s house as they made their way to the fishing pond. True to her word, it was only a few moments before Circe joined.
Loki could just barely make out the sounds of their voices as he set brush to paint. A roll of laughter drifted into the studio and at long last, Loki Sunseri felt comfortable in his new house.
“I’m not entirely comfortable. . .”
“It’s ok,” Zephyr soothed, enjoying the act. “There’s no obligation.” Mycroft scowled. “Why don’t we get to know each other a little better?”
“Nice performance,” Mycroft mocked when they had reached their perch on the second floor.
“That’s what they pay me for,” she quipped.
“I don’t want to hear about it.” He shifted uncomfortably and gave a disgusted sigh. “I can only imagine what’s on this sofa.”
“Really?,” she spat. “This is what I’m going to have to put up with every time we meet?” Mycroft recoiled, eyes wide. “For shit’s sake, Mycroft. You really need to just GET OVER IT.”
His laughter was more irritating than his holier than thou attitude. She lurched from the couch, intent on storming away. Then she remembered Abe, sweet patient Abe. If he could spend his entire life enduring the indignities hoisted upon him, she could endure Mycroft’s mockery. If only to help the one sim she truly loved.
“Ok,” she sighed. She could feel him watching her, enjoying her tantrum. “You had your fun,” she laughed. “Now can you please tell me about Morrow?”
“Uh,” Morrow huffed and rubbed at her ear. “My ear. . .it’s ringing. . .”
“You know what that means, right?” Both girls looked at him. “It means someone is talking about you.”
“It’s true. Just like if you shudder for no reason, someone just walked over the place where your grave will be.”
“Really?” Glory had been easily drawn in. Rascal laughed.
“Eh, I don’t really know,” Rascal admitted. “But it could be. Anything’s possible, right?” Glory nodded in agreement.
“Come on,” Rascal waved for them to follow. “I’ll show you my house.”
“A cat,” Glory practically whispered. “I’ve never seen one. . .you know, this close.”
“Really?” Rascal was intrigued. “That’s Santaberry. She’s probably just hoping you have food to give her. The only thing she really loves is food.”
Santaberry looked at Rascal and slowly blinked her eyes.
“That’s her ‘I hate you’ face,” Rascal offered.
“Can I touch her?” As if to answer, Santaberry turned and, with a switch of her tail, sauntered away from the group. Rascal laughed.
“She’s aloof to the point of snottiness,” he offered. “But if you come around more she might come up to you. Maybe.”
Morrow watched them as they continued to talk about the cat. While the conversation was so boring it was almost painful, she was happy to watch them interacting.
“I really like your house. . .how small it is.” Morrow tried not to cringe at Glory’s foible. To her relief, it seemed Rascal hadn’t noticed or perhaps was just very forgiving of Glory’s being so obviously clueless.
“You have such cool stuff,” Glory continued. “Did Terra make the pots? She said she made pots. She’s so interesting. She came to visit us when we first moved in. We met Chester, too. I wish he’d brought his daughter. Is she cute?”
“Yeah, Fay’s real cute.”
“She just had her transition. Mom was really excited. She said Chester was nervous. He’s always nervous,” Rascal laughed.
“That happens sometimes, you know, when guys get selected. I always worried about that, like what if someone didn’t really WANT it, you know? But you’re not supposed to say anything like that, like question things and worry about stuff. You’re just supposed to do as many as possible and. . .”
Rascal stared at Glory, clearly lost.
“Oh, you’re confused, huh?” For as often as Glory seemed completely oblivious, she could be just as observant. “I’m not from here.”
Morrow listened as Glory explained. She wasn’t the only one. Tempest, who had been safely tucked away behind the computer screen the whole time, felt herself at once drawn to the conversation.
“I bet you’d make a good Pollinator,” Glory giggled. “I don’t know about me, so much. That’s part of why we’re here. My mom wanted to give me a chance to try different stuff. We’re like an experiment inside an experiment.”
“But you were already trained, while you were there.” Morrow was agitated by Glory’s admission. “So you ARE a Pollinator, no matter what.”
“No,” Glory countered. “I never finished my training. Like I’ve never flown the ship or any of that. There’s no way you can really be a Pollinator without that. I was supposed to start going with Basil, just me and him, on the ship so he could teach me how to do it but the vote came through like the day right before me and Basil were going to leave. So we all just left together instead. Now he’s with Jules.”
“Jules is freaky deaky,” she whispered. “I heard Mycroft complaining about it to Basil. Mycroft didn’t want to talk about it around me, he said it wasn’t. . .,” Glory rolled her eyes and snorted, “. . .PROTOCOL and that it was nasty. Mycroft always acts like that but I know he likes that kind of stuff. You know, like mating and stuff.”
“Mating?” Rascal repeated, shocked by the term but also amused.
“Oh, yeah, you don’t say that, right? I don’t really either, only to make like a joke. Mating,” she giggled. Rascal laughed. “Have you ever MATED, Rascal?”
“Nah, not yet,” he replied, nonplused by the question. “You?”
Glory giggled furiously and nodded her head no.
“But I did see Basil naked before,” she added, blushing. She turned her attention to Morrow. “Have you ever seen a naked guy?”
“This conversation is. . .”
“That’s a big no,” Rascal interpreted. Glory snorted laughter.
“I’ll have you know,” Morrow retorted, her tone a mixture of annoyance and humor, “I have seen my share of nudity.”
Rascal and Glory brayed laughter. Morrow gave the slightest of smiles.
“Man, you two crack me UP,” Rascal coughed as he rose from his seat. “I’m starving. You want a sandwich?”
They continued to talk as Rascal prepared the food. Lured away from the computer screen by the promise of a snack, Tempest finally made her presence known.
“I’m Tempest, Rascal’s younger sister.”
“She’s seen a naked guy,” Rascal called from the kitchen. Tempest arched an eyebrow.
“I have,” she confirmed. “More than once. You’re not missing anything.”
Glory giggled as she joined them.
“More than once?”
Tempest nodded as she swallowed.
“Yes. There were quite a few nudists in the Cunabula. My father was one of them.”
“Cuna. . .what?”
Tempest, with the help of Rascal filling in anecdotes Tempest had been too young to remember, regaled their guests with stories from the Cunabula. They were joined by Terra, who shared a tale or two neither of her children had personally witnessed. Morrow and Glory were both intrigued.
“That’s so not like anything in The Community OR here,” Glory giggled. “Your family is SO COOL.”
Tempest watched Glory as she talked. While her own brief life had been interesting, Tempest would have traded it all for Glory’s in a heartbeat. Space travel, foreign planets, aliens, and, by Glory’s own words, ‘experiments inside experiments’? It was everything Tempest was intrigued by and, she was certain, more.
She was pleased her brother had found such interesting friends.
Though at the rate he was going, Tempest feared they might not be Rascal’s friends for long.
“What’s your problem?”
Morrow clearly didn’t enjoy rough housing.
And she really didn’t appreciate Rascal’s laughter and teasing after the fact.
“Did you see her face, Tempest?”
To a casual observer, it was the act of a teen boy with a crush. But Tempest knew better than that. Morrow wasn’t her brother’s type. But Glory?
Tempest joined her at the chess table.
“Your brother’s so goofy,” Glory giggled.
“He’s a pleasure seeker,” Tempest smiled as Morrow reacted negatively to her brother’s bawdy joke. “But when he’s calm he’s not so bad.”
Morrow laughed as Rascal launched into another joke, this one less raunchy.
“He just likes the attention, huh?,” Glory offered, not looking up from the chess board. Her remark, followed by a well-played move, caught Tempest’s attention. While it was obvious Glory was a chess novice, it was clear she was smart.
“Do you play?,” Tempest asked as Morrow’s shadow darkened the board.
“No,” Morrow replied, watching the pair. “But I find it very interesting.”
“If you would like, I would be happy to tutor you.”
“Maybe next time,” Morrow nodded. “We should probably go home now. Glory’s. . .” she paused, “. . .parents probably wonder where we are.”
“Yeah, I can’t wait to tell them about the Cunabula and everything. I had such a good time. Your whole family. . .Chester and Fay, too. . .should come over. My mom and dad would love it. I’ll tell them and they can call you and make plans and all that.”
The girls took their leave of the Moonbeam house and, as the sun began to set behind them, walked the short distance to their own house.
“Hey, Crofty,” Glory squeaked. “Where you been?”
“Out,” he replied.
“Did you have fun? Morrow and I were at Rascal’s house. It was great. . .”
Glory’s chatter escorted the three of them into the house and continued through the family meal. Emmy and Achates were thrilled at the re-telling of her day’s events while Mycroft and Morrow remained quiet, casting the occasional glance at one another.
Mycroft was eager to get away from everyone. After a thorough scrub, his thoughts still lingering on what he may have come into contact with on the sofa at The Club, he leaned back in the tub and, eyes closed, let out a long sigh. It had been a very eventful day. And tomorrow would have him just as busy. He had to find his relaxation where he could.
Above him, Emmy, at the behest of Glory, was checking for messages from Basil and Jules.
“So you’re always in contact with them?”
“Yeah, but it’s so SLOW,” Glory whined.
“I told you it was still too soon,” Emmy soothed, trying to listen to the latest news. Abductions had become, once again, a hot topic of discussion. When the news cycle got slow, abductions were always the go to topic.
“You should both get to bed now,” she continued. “You,” she pointed to Glory and gave her a teasing smile, “have been staying up way to late watching silly old movies.”
“No. . .,” Glory tried to deny it but her laughter betrayed her.
Emmy finally succeeded in shooing Glory and Morrow from the third floor to their shared room on the second. While Glory seemed to operate on an endless cache of energy, Emmy was certain the excitement of the day would soon catch up to her.
She was right.
The pains hit shortly after his wife and son had left for the day. Alone, Loki delivered his daughter in the living room of a house that was still too new to be home.
As the rush of adrenaline faded, fatigue took its place.
Loki would never be able to recall what thoughts, if any, went through his mind as he lay on the polished wood floor.
“We can go to my room but we should be quiet,” Spencer offered. “My dad’s probably having a nap.”
They spoke in whispers as they made their way up the stairs and toward his room.
“Dad,” Spencer gasped. Apollo stared from his friend’s face to where his father lay prone on the floor.
“I’ll get help.”
“Dad. . .,” Spencer fell to his knees and gently touched his father’s leg. “Dad. . .Apollo’s gonna get help. Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave.”
Apollo raced down the stairs and, after a brief moment of searching, found the phone. He dialed carefully and listened as it rang on the other end.
“MOM. . .” He’d never felt such relief at hearing her voice. “Spencer’s dad fell down or something. . .he’s on the floor and. . .”
“. . .it’ll be ok. We’ll be there in a few minutes. Go check on Spencer and Mr. Sunseri then come downstairs and wait by the door. Ok?”
“Dad. . .” Spencer reached to steady his father as he slowly swayed to a seated position.
“I’m ok, Spence. . .,” he muttered, struggling to his feet. Spencer held to his arm and tried not to stare at his father’s now flat stomach. “It’s ok,” Loki repeated, leaning lightly against his son as they shuffled toward the master bedroom.
“Apollo’s getting help,” Spencer offered again as Loki gently lowered himself onto the bed. “He’s downstairs waiting for his mom and dad.”
Loki closed his eyes and sighed. Spencer wasted no time circling the bed and taking his place next to his father on the bed.
“It’s a girl,” Loki chirped. It didn’t sound as forced as it felt. “You have a little sister. . .,” he watched as a smile spread across Spencer’s face, “. . .Molly.”
“Molly,” Spencer repeated. “That’s the one I suggested.” Loki nodded.
“Apollo. . .oh thank the Creatrix. . .are you ok?” Angus shared in his wife’s relief. “Where’s Mr. Sunseri?”
“Upstairs. . .I think he woke up and Spencer helped him go to bed. . .”
“He shouldn’t be moving around. . .,” Vidcund huffed. “Where is his wife. . .who leaves a full term spouse alone. . .” His muttering got lower as he made his way to the second floor. At the top of the stairs he made his way toward the sound of voices.
“Vidcund,” Loki was genuinely shocked as he entered. Vidcund assessed the scene quickly then smiled. Loki opened his mouth to start explaining but stopped as the door opened and Angus entered.
“Spence. . .” He turned his attention to Spencer only to see the boy had already shut the book he’d been reading aloud from and climbed from the bed.
“Can you check on the baby?”
“I’ll show you,” Spencer offered. Vidcund turned from them, his attention once again focused on Loki.
“You ok? Any bleeding?”
“Yes. . .
“He’s bleeding. . .”
“No. . .Spence, I’m ok.” Loki’s features expressed the strain they were all feeling. Angus stroked the boy’s shoulder as his father continued. “I’m fine, I promise.” Spencer visibly relaxed. “Will you help Mr. Khillian check on Molly?”
Angus smiled down at Spencer, who was hesitant to move.
“It’s ok,” he offered. “Don’t you want to meet your sister?”
Slowly Spencer moved from where he was rooted and lead Angus out of the room.
“Can we go too?”
Angus gestured and Rocky nodded to her son.
With Spencer safely out of earshot, Vidcund started his questioning again.
“Molly. . .Molly. . .,” Spencer cooed to his new sister.
“Pretty cute, huh?” Angus grinned at Rocky and she grinned back. It had been a long time since she’d seen her husband beaming with excitement over a new baby.
“Look at her eyes,” Apollo remarked. “They’re BLUE.”
“They. . .,” Molly giggled as Rocky covered her eyes then dramatically revealed them again, “. . .are!.”
“You’re a lucky little girl,” she continued. “You have a very brave big brother.”
“And Apollo,” Spencer added, without hesitation. Rocky smiled at him and nodded.
“Definitely,” she agreed. “You both did a great job. I’m very proud.”
Rocky took both boys downstairs while Angus settled Molly back into her crib.
“You want to come back to my house for dinner? My mom said. . .”
Spencer jumped at the offer then quickly backpedaled.
“No. . .thanks. We have leftovers. . .,” his voice trailed off leaving the two boys to stand in silence.
“Ok, Molly’s all set with a dry diaper and a full belly. You sure you don’t want us to stay?”
“No,” Vidcund embraced his friend. “I’ll stick around until. . .”
“I’m feeling better,” Loki interjected. “I’ll get some dinner going once I grab a shower. . .”
Vidcund waved a hand at him.
“I’ll get the dinner, you get a shower.” He turned back to Angus. “And you and Rocky take Apollo home.” He clapped Angus on the back as they moved toward the door. “You got a good kid there,” he looked back at Loki. “Both of you.”
Vidcund saw the Killians off and set to work on dinner. He heard the door open and, with Spencer busy doting on his father, knew it could only be one sim.
“So nice of you to join us,” he chirped.
She didn’t reply.
“Hard day at work,” he continued in a sing-song voice. “Well, we had a very exciting time here. Shame you had to miss it.”
Circe turned on her heel and, with only a single snort, left the kitchen. She strode up the stairs, careful despite her anger not to make too much noise. She could hear her husband and son in the master bedroom and ducked into the nursery just as they emerged.
Loki and Spencer joined Vidcund at the table. Long moments passed before anyone chose to speak.
“Thank you for staying,” Loki offered. Vidcund smiled at him. “I’m still kind of worn out and it may be a while before Circe gets home.”
“Yeah, thanks,” Spencer chimed in. “This is a lot better than leftovers.”
They didn’t realize she was already home? She hadn’t sought Loki out immediately to check on him? Vidcund frowned around his burger. He could understand her going out of her way to avoid him, but at the expense of her husband and son? Vidcund wondered what she was doing while she waited for him to leave.
“That’s a good girl,” Circe cooed. “You’re an early bird, huh?” She tickled Molly’s stomach. “Don’t worry, mummy was ready for you. A pretty bed in a pretty room,” she was almost singing as she carried the baby to the changing table. “But not as pretty as mummy’s little girl.” She rummaged among the baby care items stored below the table top and produced a lancet. In one smooth motion she pierced the baby’s heel and collected the sample. Molly whimpered but didn’t cry.
“Such a good girl,” Circe praised, slipping the sample into her uniform pocket before setting about changing Molly’s diaper.
“Dad, can I watch t.v.?”
“You want me to wrap up the leftovers?”
“I’ll get it,” Loki replied as the television came to life in the other room.
“Loke,” Vidcund stepped closer, kept his voice low. “Circe’s upstairs.” Loki’s eyes widened. “She came in right before you guys came down. I’m surprised. . .”
“Don’t be,” Loki sighed. It was a sad, resigned sound. “She’s probably with Molly. She seems aloof but really, she’s very devoted to the baby.”
“What about you and Spencer?”
“Vid. . .”
“Listen, Loki, I’m not trying to rub salt into any wounds here or anything. I’m just worried about. . .”
“Worried?,” Loki laughed. It sounded well-rehearsed. “What about? We have a lovely new house, a beautiful. . .and healthy. . .new baby. Spencer’s doing great at school. . . I couldn’t ask for him to have a better friend than Apollo. You even said as much,” Loki arched his eyebrows at Vidcund as he continued. “And we all just met with this wonderful fellow. . .Julian. He’ll be able to care for Molly while I go back to work.”
Vidcund listened as his oldest friend tried desperately to convince him, and himself, that things were really ok. Vidcund smiled. Who was he to question how his friend lived his life? As much as he wanted to confront him, it wasn’t his place
“If you need anything. . .” His tight embrace said what words couldn’t.
“Thank you, Vidcund.”
“You take care of Spencer and that little baby,” Vidcund chided, smiling. Loki smiled back as walked with Vidcund to the door and waited on the porch as the taxi arrived.
Returning inside he noticed the television was off. A glance into the room as he passed confirmed Spencer had been roused from where he had been sleeping sprawled out on the couch.
Despite his fatigue, Loki set to tidying the kitchen. Circe ate in silence and watched.
When she had finished, she slipped her dish into the now empty sink and pulled Loki to her.
“Our daughter is beautiful,” she cooed, caressing his face. “Are you feeling ok?”
“Yes,” Loki sighed and leaned into her hand. “Just a little tired.”
“That’s understandable,” she moved closer, gently pressing the length of her body against his. Loki leaned into the heat and support of it, clearly more tired than he wanted to admit. Circe wrapped her arms around him and gave a quick hug before gently pulling away.
“Let’s go to bed.”
Loki followed her to the master bedroom where, only moments after settling in under the covers, Circe spooned against him, Loki fell into a dreamless sleep.
The rattling door spooked Spencer awake. As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, he chided himself for being so scared. It was just Andre.
“Shh,” Spencer muttered, slipping from between the sheets. It was only once he was crossing the room that he heard the crying and slowly began to understand why Andre was upset. “It’s just Molly,” he offered, opening the door.
Andre raced down the hall, eager to put distance between himself and the crying baby. Spencer blinked in the light of the hall.
Now that he was awake, he had to urinate. But his sister was crying.
With the nursery door open, the sound was much louder. He stood in the doorway, unsure what, if anything, he could do. He wasn’t yet big enough to wrestle the crib latch and scoop her from the bed, let alone hoist her onto the changing table or prepare a bottle.
But he soon would be.
“Spencer,” his mother’s voice whispered in a low hissing sound. Spencer shivered. She nudged past him and into the room.
“I was. . .”
“It’s ok,” she cooed. “Shhh, mummy’s here.”
“. . .just going to go to the bathroom and. . .”
He didn’t know why he was explaining. She clearly wasn’t listening. And his need to pee wasn’t getting any less. He stood in the doorway a moment longer and waited for what, he wasn’t sure, before finally making his way to the bathroom.
With her path finally clear, Circe made her way downstairs, her daughter cradled against her bosom.
Circe was pleased to see how eager her daughter was to eat, taking to the bottle almost greedily. A healthy appetite. Lively. Active. Circe smiled as she watched Molly drink her fill. Propped on her shoulder, Circe gently rubbed the tiny back, massaging the small muscles. Strong. Healthy.
“My beautiful girl,” she cooed as she deliberately held the baby away from herself. Molly squirmed slightly but didn’t cry.
Circe rewarded her with one last cuddle and a kiss on her forehead. Tomorrow. Tomorrow she would know just how attached she could get.
The next day arrived, bringing with it the familiar routine of school and work and daily errands. But for Spencer Sunseri and Apollo Khillian, the day was tedious. Sitting through classes they each watched the clock, eager to be released, eager to be home.
“Check it OUT, mom!” Apollo waved a sheet of paper in the air and danced in place. “How awesome is THIS. I kicked as. . .butt.”
“Was there ever any doubt?,” Rocky smiled around her food. Apollo continued to dance and squirm.
“And the best part is, NO HOMEWORK TONIGHT.” Apollo squealed.
“So that means we can have rematch,” he flapped the paper at his mother. “I’m so going to whoop you.”
“Well, if we can wrestle the t.v. from your dad.”
Apollo made a scoffing sound as he raced to the ringing phone.
“Khillian residence,” Apollo chirped. “SPENCE! What are you going to do? Uh-huh. . .I’m gonna whoop my mom at. . .well, if my dad gives up the t.v.”
“It’s all yours,” Angus laughed. “Hi, Spencer.”
“My dad says hi. Ok, I’ll call you later. . .,” he giggled furiously, adding in a whisper, “. . .after. Yeah, my dad’s making me a cake, too. Cool. Ok, I’ll call you later.”
“You ready to take your beating!”
“Bring it, wee man.”
Mother and son taunted and teased one another while Angus prepared Apollo’s transition cake. Rocky wasted no time in soundly defeating her son, who for his part blamed his poor performance on his excitement.
Apollo laughed as his mother and father produced noise makers and celebrated in raucous style.
“What are you going to wish for?”
“He can’t tell you,” Rocky playfully chided. “Unless he doesn’t want it to come true.”
Apollo looked from his father to his mother then to his cake.
What more could he wish for?
I wish Spencer’s party is as good as mine.
He watched as the flames flickered and died under his breath.
“YES! Got them ALL!”
“Excellent execution,” his mother laughed. “I give it a ten.”
“Definitely a ten,” his father agreed, adding a hearty whoop.
Apollo dismounted his childhood step stool for the last time. As the swirl of light spun him into teendom, his thoughts were with Spencer.
“Not so loud,” Circe stage whispered.
“Make a wish,” Loki encouraged.
Spencer had been anticipating this moment for quite some time and now, faced with the big moment, his mind was blank. He watched the flames dancing on their narrow wax stages. Behind him, his father clapped and laughed, practically dancing himself.
I wish. . .
The candles slowly shrunk before him, dribbles of wax pooling at their bases. His father never stopped cheering.
. . .he’ll stay this happy.
Loki gave a contented sigh as he watched his son flex his arms and examine his new outfit. He couldn’t have wished for a better child.
“All the racket is over now,” Circe cooed.
He wondered if his wife noticed.
Angus and Lunar Rockette Khillian watched their son as he adjusted to his newly enhanced frame.
“You had me going,” Apollo called to his mother. “I thought you were going to get me some kind of goofy thing. . .like what dad had on in that picture from his transition.”
“What? I wasn’t goofy,” Angus scoffed. Rocky snorted. “I was the SHIT. A trend setter.”
“Yeah, sure,” Apollo teased, sinking a knife into the cake. “You looked like a pool toy.”
“You did look like a pool toy,” Rocky smirked. “A CUTE pool toy.”
“You hear that,” Angus called to his son. “Chicks DUG that look.”
Apollo passed plates of cake to his mother and father then joined them at the table. They continued to tease Angus about his youthful fashion transgressions as they ate.
“I gotta call Spencer.” Apollo abandoned his half-eaten cake, eager to hear if his wish had come true.
“I was just getting ready to have cake. . .yeah, it was great.”
Angus watched the emotions play over his son’s face. A brief moment of tension as he waited for Spencer to get on the line gave way to relief in the form of a huge smile and laughter.
“You did good,” Rocky offered. Angus looked from his laughing son to his smiling wife.
“WE did good,” he corrected.
Again, I apologize for this title being FOUR parts. I didn't plan it that way but. . .there you go.
Also, for those of you not familiar with Nocheat (or who may just be confused), Egon Primate did indeed use the cowplant to impregnate his husband, Ryker (he's the one eating the salad). It's a genetic merging process where cowplants are fed meat infused with sim DNA and other concotions and (via the magic of science--natural science that is!) the cowplant's leaves become infused with the donor DNA. When the recipeint sim eats the leaves, the merger happens (basically it's a way for same sex sim couples to have genetic children--and a way for male sims to carry babies without the fuss of alien abduction). The technique was created by Arturo DeTreville (ecological guru) and has been being worked with by other Nocheat sims in both the natural and "regular" science career paths and medical path for some time. Naturally, the aliens of The Community are VERY intrigued by this process (an "experiment within an experiment" if you will). Don't fret, I plan to do a bit of 'splaining within the story at some point (*eyes Vidcund Curious*).
For those of you still clinging to this bit of story driftwood (ie reading this mess), I hope you enjoyed and THANKS.