Before Young Watson’s fingers could even brush the doorknob, Malix threw open the front door and drenched his son with enough rain and darkness to turn the Mojave Desert into a rainforest. “Christ, Dad,” said Young Watson, words still slurred. His genetics were set firmly against sobriety.
“Sorry,” said Malix. He wiggled about for a moment, as if attempting to squirm the rain out of his clothes. “It’s just a bit, er, wet outside.”
“Did you have to bring it inside?” groaned Young Watson.
“Did you have to boot your sister into it?” hissed Pandora. She stepped through the front door and past Young Watson, throwing her head back and accusing eyes forward. “If Vodka was here”-her voice cracked-“she’d have your thinker on a silver spike.”
“Panda,” said Malix gently, “can I talk to him first?”
“I don’t know, can you?” She threw her hands in the air. “Rose was the only thing Vodka left and he-!”
“Mom,” said Young Watson. In whispers of the night’s woes, the world crumbled, particle by painful particle, around him. It is often difficult to remain powerful when in sober company-the first of the night’s lessons came, as lessons rarely do, subtly, with nary a backward glance.
“You’ve got heaps to yak yourself out of,” sighed Pandora. “I suppose I’ll leave you two duo, then. Young Watson, we’ll talk later.”
Pandora exited into the dining room, and was greeted by a chorus of cheers. Even the most morally ambiguous girls loved their mothers, thought Young Watson, when they’d been deprived of them for long enough. Malix cleared his throat. “I don’t really like lecturing,” he said with a sigh, “but Daisy called in advance to fill us in on your latest adventures, and I thought Panda and I would be able to offer you a bit of wisdom. And you’d, er, let us live here, because we’re your parents and all, and we had to sell the house to buy toilet paper and are subsequently homeless. Fair deal, right?”
A gust of wind burst from beneath the front door, and suddenly Young Watson was hit by the lonely force of his disastrous evening. “I wanted everything,” he whispered to himself. His heart sank faster than the Titanic. “I lost it in a bet with a fairy.”
“Young Watson? You listening?” Malix waved his hand in front of Young Watson’s face. “I suppose you’re not that young anymore… Do you still answer to that?”
“I think,” said Young Watson slowly, “I think I’m trying to grow up, but it’s even harder when the name doesn’t fit. I’m too old to be Young Watson, and too young to be Old Watson. I lack definition”
Malix thought for a moment before answering. “How about just Watson?”
“It’s very plain,” said Young Watson tentatively.
“Aren’t most names? It’s for the best, really. Nobody wants to read ‘Ebony Darkness Raven Dementia Way’ off the roll call.”
“Watson,” said Watson. “Watson. Watson. Watson. I suppose it rolls off the tongue all right.”
“Now, Watson,”-Watson couldn’t help but smile a little-“about our deal?”
“Let me evaluate the profits. You added money to our wallet, I added another floor to the house. You give me advice, I give you a home. It’s a fair deal.”
“I thought you’d like it,” said Malix. “Everything always evens out in the end.”
“Not always,” sighed Watson. He glanced into the kitchen doorway and peered into Julia’s domain. “Sometimes things are a bit…lopsided.”
“Ah,” said Malix. “The fairy.”
“Yes,” said Watson. “The fairy.”
“How have you been managing? Daisy said you weren’t handling it well.”
“I had to cope somehow.” Watson’s cheeks burned. Rose and Daisy surely hated him now if they hadn’t already.
“I suppose you did better than I did,” chuckled Malix darkly. “At least you only knocked up one girl.”
“What?” Watson nearly choked.
Malix coughed. “It’s irrelevant. Really. Don’t worry about it. We’re here to talk about your mistakes, not mine. Okay, well, yours in relation to mine-minus the gritty details and things you really don’t need to know about. Listen, Watson, I know I haven’t been here for you. Not while you were a baby, not while you were a child, nor as you ran from high school blindly into adulthood. I was in your house, but never in your life.
I know you’ve never seen me as a role model, but genetics breed familiarity. I want you to distance yourself from that. Forget about your family history. When she has your baby, I want you to remember that that baby is a part of you. It is to be loved, adored-that child is the most important thing in your life.
Don’t be like me. I put myself before my children, before Panda, before…” Malix trailed off, staring, unblinking, into the thunderstorm past. He shook his head slightly and continued. “You have to take responsibility for your actions. Do whatever it takes to give that child the best life you can, because when you’re old and jaded and your child is nothing more than a stranger to you, your heart will break a thousand times to Tuesday, and you’ll cry your heart out, because you know that their childhood has passed you by, and there is nothing you can do to regain that. Watson, you’re better than your family’s legacy. You’re better than I am. You can give this child more than just a large house and warm meals-you can give them a dad.”
“Dad…” began Watson. He blinked away tears, and chastised himself for it. Dads don’t cry! he thought furiously, and neither do crime novelists. “I’m going to-”
Julia stormed through the doorway, eyes wide and furious. “Young Watson!”
“Watson,” said Malix pleasantly. “His name is Watson. And you must be Julia?”
Julia ignored him. “Who is this vampire?” she hissed.
“This is my Dad,” said Watson. Her swollen belly gave him a headache. His ache was not due to her stomach’s contents, but rather the hideous shade of purple stretching over it. She dragged him to the other side of the room, grip fierce and frightened, and his headache only intensified.
Julia’s stomach plummeted through the floorboards, the Earth’s crust, and deep into the boiling mantle. “How many of my people has he killed?” she hissed. “Is he one of the Schlicks? The Slayers? The Merricks?”
“Dad doesn’t kill people,” stated Young Watson. “He mostly just offers witty commentary at inappropriate times and paints masterpieces on the weekends.”
“Wrong!” she snarled. “Vampires slaughter. Vampires drain blood to extend their already immortal lives. They’re disgusting, filthy creatures with no regard for the fae, and lack the integrity for fair deals. Besides, they hate garlic, and you can’t trust a creature who despises a vegetable.”
“All vampires are bastards!” said Malix, voice high and mocking. “They’re all members of the same bastard family! That’s obviously why we all have different last names!”
“Why didn’t you tell me you have his blood inside you?” cried Julia. “A quarter vampire, a quarter human, half fae-this child will be an abomination! The blood of two warring species…oh god, oh god.”
“Because all half breed children are nasty little buggers,” said Malix, rolling his eyes. “Gotta love fantastic racism.”
“Dad’s a rogue vampire,” snapped Watson. “He doesn’t participate in any of that organized coven stuff. His blood won’t destroy the child-it’ll benefit it. This is a child, not the product of war.”
“Aha!” said Malix, who was fully aware that he was being ignored, but chose to add his opinion anyway. “Logic!”
“This child,” she spat, “is part vampire.”
“This child is a part of me,” said Watson coldly, “and it’s a part of you, too.”
“You infected me!” Her voice rose, piercing the night air like a bullet through a sheet of glass. “I was pure, and now I’m soaked with the blood of a vampire! You’ve ruined me, Watson! I can never return home now…” She began to sob softly. “I’m lost.”
“You pressured me,” said Watson. “I never asked you for anything. You climbed in my bed, and didn’t bother to listen when I told you no. Now we’re having a baby, and while you don’t love it, I’m going to make up for all that you lack. Damn it, Julia, I’m going to take care of this child, and if you’re not going to join me, then I don’t want to see your face again. If you abandon this baby…” He trailed off, trying to think of a threat potent enough to strike fear into the furious fairy’s heart.
“I thought that you cared about our deals. I thought that you cared about me” she whimpered. She raised her hand as if to stroke his cheek, but then sighed, lowering it back to her side. “I’m going to bed.”
Watson nodded curtly. He watched her back as she ascended the staircase, eyeing her shifting shoulder blades, her drooping wings, the clacking of her boots. Had he cared for her, he realized, he’d have grabbed her arm, gently hoisted her from stair to stair, and pulled the blankets over her swollen breasts as she drifted to troubled sleep.
She was nothing but a spot of misplaced tenderness. If she left, he’d sleep with ease. If she left, he’d be able to speak with his father freely.
If she left, she’d miss her child’s first step, its first word, its first kiss. If she left, she’d lose a chance at a family.
Thoughts swirling, he ascended the staircase, crossed the pitch black hallway, and slipped hesitantly into bed beside her. We really need to buy a couch, he thought as sleep overcame him.
Watson awoke to a rustling of the bedsheets and a sharp grunt. It was approximately three in the morning. Blinking drowsily, he sat up. Julia was already awake. She sat on the bed’s edge, breathing heavily. She refused to meet his scarlet eyes. “Why are you up?” yawned Watson.
“I think,” she breathed in sharply, “I think it’s coming.”
“What’s coming? The daily mail?”
She stood up shakily. “The baby.”
“DON’T QUESTION MY UTERUS!” screamed Julia. “IT DOES WHAT IT WANTS, WHEN IT WANTS!”
“WELL WHAT DO WE DO WITH IT?”
“THE HOSPITAL!” she cried. “NOW!”
Forgetting his inhibitions, Watson shrugged on his jacket and pulled up his jeans. Julia simply swirled into the hideous purple dress; Watson couldn’t help but cringe. If he never saw that garment again, he would die happy.
Julia gasped. “Young Watson-!”
“Watson,” he corrected.
She rolled her eyes. “It hurts so badly!”
Out of necessity he eased her way down the stairs, and carefully followed her as she crossed the foyer. Watson smiled to himself. His baby. He accepted Malix’s challenge. He would love this child with all of his heart-preferably without Julia at his side. The stakes had risen. Fairy games, while never wise, were particularly deadly to him now.
“I don’t want this,” whimpered Julia.
“It’ll be over soon,” said Watson unhelpfully.
She shot him a glare. He tapped her shoulder and pointed towards the door. “The taxi’s that way.”
Julia stumbled into the front seat. Her chest heaved, and sweat dribbled down her forehead. Watson slipped into the backseat. She stared at him through the rearview mirror as if examining an insect under a microscope. Had she known of his heritage…she shook her head. She wasn’t quite sure that she wanted to know what she would’ve done. A reaction is only twice as violent when thought of afterwards.
Watson stared out the window. He’d have to formally quit the con. He wasn’t going to be his father-he wanted to be the sort of man he had wanted to grow up to be. The type his child would admire. The type that would admire his child.
The taxi screeched to a halt outside the hospital. Watson threw a crumpled twenty to the driver and leapt from the cab. Julia struggled to remove her seatbelt, but after a ridiculous amount of grunts and grumbles, cast it off spectacularly.
Head held high, she stepped from the cab, ignoring Watson’s helpful hand, and walked directly through the hospital doors, eyes staring blankly ahead, as if surrounded by blinders.
Watson wondered briefly if he should follow her, but stopped three paces from the door. He’d only make the delivery, already messy and awkward, even more painful for everyone involved. He wanted to meet his child in a pleasant situation fraught with good connotations-a lively, warm bakery would be ideal.
He wasn’t quite sure if a thunderstorm was the most comfortable place or safest situation, but was sure it was much better than the hospital room. It would have to suffice.
As the evening gave way to starry eyed dawn, footsteps clattered down the hospital stairs. The doors creaked open. Watson, who had been sitting on the steps, thinking about the pointlessness of incessant rain, leapt from his seat. “She’s beautiful!” he cried breathlessly.
“I can’t look at her,” said Julia softly. She began to cry again-wordless, harsh, blubbering. The sobs of a woman lost, betrayed by her heart and her species. She thrust the baby into Watson’s arms. “The nurse called her Elizabeth. I thought you’d like it, so I didn’t say anything.”
She lowered her head into her hands, exhaustion overcoming her weary neck. Her whole body quivered-whether from the rain or the tears, Watson would never know. She began to walk away, each step brisk and aimless. Her arms wrapped around her thin body as if to keep her cries sealed between her ribs. “Julia!” Watson called after her. “This is your daughter!”
Her pace quickened. Her form blurred as the rain poured, like a heart into a diary, from the inkblot sky. “Julia!”
And she was gone, severed from her family in thirty paces. Relief, strange and breathless, flooded Watson’s bones. He looked at his silent daughter and smiled softly. She hadn’t uttered a cry the entire night. Something had to be going right. He held her close to his chest, and raised his hand. A taxi would surely stop for them.
“Well, Lizzie,” sighed Watson. “I think it’s time to go home.”
Aging! Romance! Family! Parenthood! Angus!
LCD Soundsystem – “All I Want”
A/N: Sorry this update took a while to finish… BUT FINALS ARE DONE!!! But anyway, I’m so happy to have Panda and Malix back. I really missed those guys. Also, happy MLK Day!
Another beeteedubs, this song of the update is one of my favorite songs ever. I’m so bummered out that LCD Soundsystem broke up. 😦
I love this picture of Panda and Malix. I think that Pandora is just the cutest Sim ever. Gah, I am so happy to have her back in my game!