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Warnings: language, sexual situations, partial nudity, reference to violence, miscarriage

Chapter Thirty-Six

Part One

"I'm worried about him."

"I know."


"Stella and Jayne and all that. He's wavering, I know it."

"Johnny will be fine, Ripp. He'll be okay."

"But everything was so... I mean, we were there. He was... being Johnny, but he said he wanted this. He wanted to be with us."

"I'm sure he still does. You know how he is."

"He can't go. He just... can't."

"He needs to work this out for himself."

Ripp was silent, obviously considering something before he continued. "I tried to fuck a robot. Tank's... Servo. I started it up and then I tried to have my way with it."

"Okay..." She couldn't help but laugh a little at this. She had thought that nothing about Ripp could possibly surprise her at this point, but she certainly hadn't seen that one coming.

"I didn't mean to. That sounds stupid, but something came over me, and it's like I couldn't stop myself. Like it wasn't really under my control. But still... a robot. That's pretty fucking weird, right?"

"Oh I don't know. I'm sure there are sims out there that prefer robots."

"Do you think there's something wrong with me?"

"Well now that's a matter of opinion," she smirked.

"I'm serious! Tank thinks I'm fucked in the head."

"Ripp, there's nothing wrong with you. Tank thinks a lot of things, and I'm sure you must have noticed by now that he's not exactly the most open-minded of sims."

"I made out with Frances Worthington, too," he went on, without missing a beat. "It was a while back now, but still. I don't think I ever told you that."

It was Ophelia's turn to pause. She considered this, and what he might be trying to say with it. What he might be trying to ask. "How do you feel about that?"

"Feel about it? Shit, I don't know. It wasn't something I planned to do either, but then he was there and he was just really... sad."

"So you made out with him because he was sad?"

"No, but I think I maybe kissed him because he was sad, I guess. Then he sort of really wanted me, and so one thing lead to another. Fuck, I don't know. I have no idea why I did it, but I don't know... It wasn't so bad."

"Not bad...," she echoed back to him.

"Good, even. I guess I'd have to say I was kind of into it, if I'm being totally honest."


"You don't seem very surprised by this."


"Why not?"

"Because I know you." She smiled. "I know you'd try most anything once, or even twice. Not just sex, but all sorts of things. Even when it gets you into trouble. Maybe even especially when it does."

She leaned forward to kiss him before continuing, punctuated her sentences with kisses as she went. "And I know you have a good heart. And you're usually pretty quick to open it up and put it out there. And your body's not often that far behind, at least in my experience. And so maybe it's all just a little more open than you thought it was." She pulled back to meet his gaze. "There's nothing wrong with that. And really, there's nothing wrong with you. Please don't think that."

Finally, she saw the traces of a smile. "That's like the nicest thing anyone's ever fucking said about me."

"That and you're just really, really horny."

"Okay, that's more like it." They both laughed.

With that success, she felt bold enough to ask, "So what exactly did you do with the robot?"

"Well, Tank said I was lucky I didn't electrocute my dick off."

She grinned. "Lucky for me."

"I guess it's actually pretty funny when you think about it."

"It is." She watched as his face held the smile for a moment, then slowly melted back into the lost, lonely expression he'd been wearing since Johnny had left. "Don't worry," she said.

Ophelia lowered herself down onto him until her lips met his, and picked things up where she'd left off. She felt his uncharacteristic reluctance and deepened her kiss to try to reach in, to pull him back out from where he'd receded into his own thoughts. He warmed to her, just as he always did, but she knew his heart wasn't completely in it.

"Everything will be okay," she promised him.

Johnny stood in his old bedroom, thinking back to simpler times.

"The sheets are changed," Jenny said as she came in from the hall. "I just washed them. There should be lots of towels in the linen closet. If you need anything else--"


"Chloe said she'd cook dinner, but it might not be until a little later, so help yourself to whatever you--"


"Where's your suitcase? Do you need me to wash anything for you? I have some whites I'm about to--"

"Mom!" He wrapped his arms around her. "I'm fine. Stop fussing over me. What about you? Are you okay?"

"Uncle Vidcund should be here soon," she said. "He'll be the last to arrive."

"Please just relax, Mom. You're going to wear yourself out. We'll all be fine. Let us worry about you, for once."

"It's so good to have you home."

He kissed her on the cheek and then wiped away some of her tears. She ran her fingers through his hair, and he didn't resist. It was something he hadn't willingly tolerated since he was a little boy.

Then once again he stood in an empty room.

"Oh, you're finally here." Jill popped in the room almost seamlessly, making very little noise as was always her way.


For a while they just look at each other without comment, contemplating the unusual expressions on each other's faces. What do you say or feel at a time like that?

Johnny finally offered something. "Good to see you... with all your clothes on."

"Oh shut up, Johnny, you moron! I saw your pinup or whatever calendar and everything but your stupid green junk!"

"That was for charity!"

"You're such a hypocrite!"

"And you're a brat, so what's your point?"

They regarded each other in cold silence for a few moments before Johnny offered, "Buck's a much better choice for you, by the way."

"Oh good! I'd hate to think I didn't have your approval."

"Oh my god, Jill! I'm just trying to be nice to you."

"That was supposed to be nice?!" Again, she thought about calling him a hypocrite, but then resisted. A better choice for her. Fuck you, Johnny. But she said nothing.

"I just... worry about you," he said.

"I'm so glad you're here," she said.

"Yeah... me too."

Just as Jenny had hoped, it wasn't too long before Vidcund arrived.

As he approached the house, he noticed Johnny sitting on the front porch.

It was a moment before Johnny looked up, though Vidcund could tell he'd been aware of his presence.

"Hey Uncle Vid," he finally said, not quite meeting his gaze.

Vidcund was once again struck by how much the boy resembled him, aside from the obvious differences in their skintones. He couldn't help but be reminded of himself as a sullen young adult. "Hey," he said, taking Johnny's cue, but found he had nothing to follow it up with. What did one say at a moment like that? All the usual small talk was useless. Any comfort seemed weak, all acknowledgements too small.

He placed his hand on the boy's shoulder, holding it for a moment. No, not boy anymore, he mentally corrected himself.

Johnny reached up and placed his hand over Vidcund's, nodding. He understood. There was no reason to speak, even if they had the right words.

Vidcund opened the front door and was quickly met by Jenny, who had been watching for his arrival through the window.

"Oh, thank god you're here!" she exclaimed.

Vidcund opened his arms to receive his sister, as she dissolved into tears. "I left as soon as I got the call," he said.

"We're all here now," said Jenny. "That makes this almost bearable."

Pascal appeared around the corner. "Oh good, you're finally here."

"Chloe's making dinner," Jenny said. "You must be starved by now."

"Famished," Vidcund agreed.

After more hugs and welcomes were exchanged, the family soon found themselves sitting around the dinner table in the Smith home as they had often done before in happier circumstances. The mood this evening was anything but, and not just for the approaching death in the family. There was also the danger they were currently facing to consider. The situation was becoming increasingly bleak.

"Things are going to get ugly," Lola declared, looking up from her plate. "They've already started. There's been more reports of violence against hybrids on the news than there ever has been before, and the P.T.s are already stepping up their game with the abductions. If the virus is really becoming this widespread, then things are only going to get worse."

"What can we do?" Pascal asked.

"Well, we should still be fairly safe in Strangetown, right?" Lazlo asked. "We're pretty isolated. That offers us some measure of protection. Isn't that why we're here in the first place?"

"Yes," Pascal said, "it's true that not many have reason to come here, but even Strangetown isn't completely safe. If things were to get bad enough..."

"They're not going to get that bad," Vidcund said. "This will blow over."

"I hope for everyone's sake that you're right about that," Jenny said. "We have the children to think about." She glanced over at them, all green aside from Jill.

Johnny and Jill were both listening intently to the conversation, but remained silent. They no longer sat with the children, but were both keenly aware that they fell very much into this threatened category. Their aunts Lola and Chloe did, too. The entire Curious family was very much at risk for their involvement as a whole, but those with alien blood coursing through their veins had potentially much more to lose.

"I've decided to go," Lola announced, suddenly. "With the aliens."

"What?!" Chloe obviously didn't like the idea. She'd been aware that her sister was thinking about it, but hadn't realized that she'd made the decision.

"Are you really?" Lazlo asked.

"Yeah, I've been thinking about it a lot," Lola said. "I think I could do a lot of good there, to help out with the new colony. I can help them in this hybrid project, but also see to it that they keep thinking about the sim side of things, too. There has to be a careful balance in how they're approaching this, especially now. As a hybrid who's lived here for so long, but also knows so much about the alien side of things, I think I can bring the right perspective."

"That's great, Lola," said Pascal. "I'd hate to see you go, but I can't think of a more worthy cause, or a better person for the task."

Other comments and sounds of approval rang out around the table, as the siblings reacted.

Chloe slammed down her utensils and got to her feet.

"I can't believe this family! After everything, after all this shit that's happening, and you're still more concerned about some alien agenda than your own species! I'm half alien and even I know better than that!"

"Chloe--" Lola attempted to calm her.

"You all realize that Glarn was a total crank, right?! He was insane! He talked about the end of the world and multiple realities and all kinds of crazy fucking shit! And yet, everyone in this family gets right on board with this idea that breeding with aliens is a good idea!"

Vidcund jumped to his feet. "Have some fucking respect! You can't just come in here with poor Jenny watching her husband die, and talk about him like he's--"

"He's an ALIEN! He's a fucking alien, Vidcund, and none of you are! None of US are! Not even Lola and me, or Johnny and Jill, or the children. We're not fully alien. Why is that we think we even have any idea what all this is really about?"

"Chloe, please...," Lola pleaded.

"I'm sorry if this is hard for you all to hear, but he's my father too. PT may seem like a sim to you all, but he isn't. He just isn't. And it wasn't all so rosy with Lola and me. We weren't born into this big fucking alien Brady Bunch family. We were planted here like seeds in this crazy gamble to save their species, and somehow thinking that the sims wouldn't ever have the balls to fight back!"

"Chloe!" Lola sprang to her feet.

"Well fuck this! Fuck this plan. I'm not going anywhere. And if anyone wants to knock down my front door and come in with pitchforks, I will just open the door and let them in. I will say, 'Fuck you! What took you so long?!'"

"That's enough!" Vidcund was already storming in Chloe's direction.

Lola signaled for him to stay where he was. She was grateful that there was a table between them or else Chloe might end up knocking his teeth out, or worse.

"No," Chloe said. "It's okay. I was just on my way out."

She did just that, as the rest of the family watched in stunned silence.

The days moved on, as the family waited.

"Can't we watch something else?" grumbled Vidcund. "We've seen this dozens of times already and you know as well as I do that their facts are all skewed. The media certainly isn't doing us any favours in all of this."

"Do they ever?" asked Lazlo.

"Sometimes they do," said Pascal. "But you're right, not very often." Lazlo waited for his brother to quote the exact statistics, but he surprisingly did not.

Vidcund flicked through the channels before pausing on another news story, this time about the death of Mortimer Goth.

"Bella?" asked Lazlo, "Isn't that--"

"Yes, it's our Bella," Pascal said. "I didn't put it together until I read about it in yesterday's newspaper."

"Mortimer Goth? Didn't we meet him once?" Vidcund asked.

"Yes we did," confirmed Pascal.

"Seems a little stupid that we didn't put that together, doesn't it?" Vidcund remarked.

"Well, we didn't meet his wife," said Pascal, "and she didn't remember her last name." In the back of his mind, he'd been thinking the same as Vidcund, but he wasn't about to admit to his possibly obvious failings of logic.

"So does Bella know about this?" asked Lazlo.

"I went to see her as soon as I heard," said Pascal, "but she wasn't home." He thought back to the conversation he'd had with his boss about missing work and his subsequent loss of his job, but he wasn't ready to discuss that yet and especially not with Vidcund. "I also tried calling her today, but there was no answer."

"That's a little odd," said Vidcund.

"I know," he agreed, "it's not really like her to be away for long periods of time, but I'm sure there's a logical explanation for it." He attempted to change the subject. "You said Crystal was also away, Lazlo?"

"Yes, she's out of town on business."

"Well, it's not like she'd be rushing over here to see PT anyway, is it?" Vidcund muttered.

"Not everyone is comfortable with aliens the way we are," Lazlo said.

"Just ignore him," said Pascal. "He seems to have left what little he had for manners back in Veronaville."

"Oh come on! I'm not the only one thinking it. I honestly don't know what Lazlo sees in her."

"Well we can't all have your impeccable taste in women, can we?" Pascal threw back at him.

"Better than yours!" Vidcund roared. "Which is to say none at all!"

"Yes, I understood your meaning." Pascal said. "Childish, I might add. Not that I'm surprised by this."

"Vidcund's right," Lazlo said, stopping Pascal in his tracks.

"Well, sort of," he continued. "She's different from us, with different values and priorities, but that doesn't make her a bad person."

He didn't mention his recent situation with Crystal's pregnancy, but he didn't need to. They were all aware of it, as gossip traveled faster than the speed of light in the Curious family. Crystal had chosen not to keep the baby. Lazlo had been devastated, but had of course also accepted that it was her decision to make. Like the rest of his family, this scenario did not sit entirely well with him. Members of the Curious family saw babies as a blessing to be celebrated, and would never dream of choosing otherwise, with perhaps the exception of Chloe. But he had also understood Crystal's side of things with her career ambitions.

"Anyway, she did say she'd try to drop by when she got back in town." Lazlo got up and walked across the room and began to examine some of the family photos on the way, ending the conversation.

Pascal shot Vidcund a dirty look, which he returned eagerly.

There was a knock on the door.

"I'll get it," Lazlo called.

He opened the door to find Erin Beaker looking back at him. "Hi," she said.

"Umm, hi. Erin... You okay?"

She glanced inside. "Oh, I'm sorry. I tried your house, but nobody was home. Is this a family gathering? A special occasion?"

Lazlo grasped her forearm and stepped outside with her. "Our brother in law is dying."

"Brother in law? You mean, PT?"

Lazlo nodded.

"Oh my god I'm so sorry." She reached over and hugged him, taking him a little by surprise. "That's terrible."

"Yeah," he said. "It's... terrible, yeah." They stood there, entwined, for a couple of moments before Erin finally released him.

"So what's up with you?" Lazlo asked. "You seem upset. Even before I told you, I mean."

"Oh, that... yeah, I have a bit of a situation on my hands, and I was hoping you might be able to help me."

Buck woke early to an ache in his lower back. He glanced over to the empty space where Jill usually slept, and he was suddenly overcome with sorrow and started to cry uncontrollably.

Whether for PT or for Jill or for his own pain and loneliness, he wasn't sure, but it was a deep sadness. He felt like he couldn't cry enough to take it away. It was as if he'd never be happy again.

The pain only seemed to be getting worse, and he decided that a hot shower might ease the cramping sensation.

It did. He turned the temperature up so high it nearly burned his skin. He stood there, staring at the floor of the shower, watching the water stream down the drain.

The water, mixed with blood.

He was bleeding. It was running down his leg.

He frantically searched for a cut, but found none. Horrified, he realized that the blood was coming out of him, from inside his body. But from where?

It dawned on him, and he panicked. How was this happening? Was he dying? Why was he bleeding like this?

He rushed to the phone to make a call. He needed to get to a hospital.

"Fucking god damn Loki Beaker," Vidcund exclaimed.

"There are children here," Pascal reminded him.

"Uncle Vidcund said a bad word, Daddy," Mint noted. "He said more than one."

"Yes, I know, Mint. He knows he's not supposed to."

"But I'm right," Vidcund said.

"Oh, I know you're right," Pascal confirmed. "But watch the language, okay?"

"So these clones," Vidcund said, "What are they clones of?"

"They're clones of that boy they used to keep," Erin said. "I forget what they called him..."

"Nervous Subject," Pascal said.

"Yes, that's right."

"Wow," said Vidcund, "So you have copies of that poor guy..."

"He... died in the fire, right?" Erin asked.

Lazlo reached for her shoulder and nodded.


They all turned towards Pascal.

"He isn't dead."

Pascal shared with them all that he could reasonably reveal about Nervous without breaking his trust, and then Erin filled them in on the current situation with the clones being left in her care. By the time she had gotten to telling them that one of the clones had been mysteriously taken, Chloe was calling them for lunch.

"Please stay for lunch," Jenny said to Erin, as she headed towards the kitchen. As they all settled in around the table, Jenny approached her older sister who seemed to have no intention of stopping long enough to join them.

"Chloe, dear, you should sit down and eat something too," Jenny reached out to touch her sister's arm. Chloe batted it away as if it were a red hot poker.

"I'm fine! I'm not hungry. I have these pies in the oven..."

Jenny backed off and glanced over at Lola, who offered an understanding look. As she walked past her to sit at the table, she quietly said, "She's going to kill herself over a couple of stupid pies."

"It's just her way of dealing with this," Lola explained. "Let it run its course."

Around the table, the conversation soon returned to Erin's situation with the clones of Nervous Subject.

"So what exactly should we do about those clones?" Lola asked.

"Hiding them with us won't be much of a solution," said Pascal.

"No, Circe would most likely suspect that," Lazlo agreed.

Vidcund said nothing, which caused Pascal to turn towards him and give him the once over. He hoped he was wrong about his brother. Surely, he had enough sense to stay away from Circe Beaker, but Pascal also realized how much Vidcund still longed for her. He made a note to corner him later to get some answers.

Jill spoke up from the other side of the room. "Why don't you send them away, to somewhere way out in the sticks, like way up North in Riverblossom Hills?"

"That would work," Erin said, "though it's pretty out of the way, and it would be quite a trip to get there."

"I could go with you," Lazlo said. "And out of the way is just what we need."

"But where would we take them?"

Jill held up the weekend newspaper. "There's an ad for a farmer who's looking for some extra farm hands. It's all organic produce, and he even has some llamas!"

"Sounds charming," Vidcund said, deadpan.

"Oh, that sounds lovely!" Erin squealed. Vidcund and Pascal exchanged annoyed glances, but Lazlo just chuckled.

"I'm sure the clones will have a great time there," he said.

"Well, that's something," said Pascal. "Better than what we had before."

"It's not a bad idea," added Lola. "I'm having a hard time imagining Circe visiting some random organic farm in Riverblossom Hills."

"Or anyone ever going to Riverblossom Hills for any reason," Vidcund snorted.

"But what if she does try to track us down?" Lazlo asked.

"I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it," said Erin. "I can deal with her. I'm not afraid of Circe..."

Nobody responded to that, and most of them felt that Erin was very unique in that regard if indeed it were even true. She was obviously afraid enough to want to flee her home for a while to avoid a confrontation with her.

"Well, not that afraid."

"Have you been abducted?"

Buck sat on the examination table and listened to the doctor. He considered his question. "No," he said finally, "I haven't."

"Well, that's very peculiar. If I didn't know better, I would have sworn this was your body rejecting an alien pollination."

Buck didn't react, though inside he felt a knot of sorrow, pulling tightly, drawing out all of his breath. He felt like crying, screaming, or breaking everything in the room.

"What's most odd about this is the fact that with most pollinations... well, it doesn't seem like they ever fail. Those green bastards are nothing if not accurate."

"When can I leave?" Buck asked, through his teeth, his voice barely audible. He didn't know how much longer he could hold himself together, and the doctor's anti-alien sentiments were hardly helping matters.

"I guess I can release you now, since you seem well enough now you've taken something for the pain." He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "Look, are you sure you weren't abducted? There aren't any holes in your memory where it might have happened? I can't think of any way to explain this if you weren't in contact with some sort of alien..."

"Maybe you're right," Buck said, trying to get through the conversation as quickly as possible, "but I have no idea."

"Well, everything seems fine here," said the doctor. "You won't need further intervention. It should clear up on its own." Buck made an affirmative gesture, and they concluded the examination in silence. Once released, Buck headed out to the waiting room.

"Is everything okay?"

Before the words had even left his mouth, Ripp knew the answer.

"Jill... sis, you have to do me this one favour."

"I-I..." She couldn't speak between the sobs.

"Do it for J-J. Remember how you used to call me that? And Jahh? You called me Jahh for ages. It was like you were saying Jaws."

She laughed. "Yeah... I remember J-J."

"You were too young to remember Jahh, but I remember." He smiled, thinking of his baby sister, who he'd been so jealous of at first but had loved her anyway. "Listen, I want you to bleach your hair back to its natural colour. Forget you're an alien."

"But," she sobbed, "I am."

"I know you are. But, please... I know you can be safe. You can hide it. You could move away, change your name, and nobody would know. You could live a normal life... with Buck, or whoever you want, and you won't be risking your own life..."

"... or theirs."

Jill was silent, and he put his hand on her head, and ran it over her hair.

"Do it for me, Jill?"

She nodded. "Okay."

He hugged her close and she cried into his shoulder. His little sister. He needed to know that she'd be safe.

He'd kill anyone that tried to harm her. Of this, Johnny Smith was certain.

"You've been given an amazing gift, Jill. You can blend in. I'd hate to see you waste that opportunity. I've wished all my life... well, it doesn't matter. Just don't throw it away is all I'm saying. Make the most of it. I would, if I were you."

"What are you going to do? About Stella and all that..."

"I'm not sure yet."

"I guess this changes things, doesn't it?"

"Yes. Unfortunately, it does." He turned to go. "But never mind that. I'll be fine. Please don't add that to your worries right now."

Before he left the room, she risked the question that she'd been thinking about since that day at the LFT art gallery but hadn't had the nerve to ask him until that moment. "Johnny, what exactly is going on between you and Ripp and Ophelia?"

Johnny stopped in his tracks and turned his head slightly back towards her, just enough for her to see his faint, mysterious smile.

"That's none of your business."

Johnny stood on the balcony, thinking back to the time they'd spent in the cabin.

Lying there, in the dark bedroom, like a comforting womb. They'd been protected from the world. He remembered lying there, sensing the other two, feeling the heat of their bodies, smelling their smells, hearing their breathing. Their heartbeats.

It had been like a dream, outside of the real world. The real world wasn't like that, as much as they might want it to be. And now...

Now the reality had come back to strike him in the face.

His father would soon be dead. And not just him, but maybe all like him. There were people out there that wanted them removed from the planet in any way necessary. Why would they stop? Today it was the aliens, but tomorrow it might be the hybrids, too. It might be him.

Then what?

He couldn't let that happen. He had to go. He had to do something. None of them would be safe if he stayed.

Or maybe he was just running away. This was just another reason to run. Maybe he just couldn't deal with it.

He was scared.

He closed his eyes again, and let his thoughts take him back to their time in the cabin. Ophelia had just gotten up and gone to the kitchen. Ripp's face had looked the way he felt, a mixture of fear and excitement and unspoken longing.

"What are we doing?" Johnny had asked.

"I don't know."

A pause. "I mean, we're doing something, aren't we?"

"We could be." Ripp's words had been an invitation, a challenge, a promise.

"Yeah. I know."

And then silence. What could they say? They simply looked at each other. For a long time, neither spoke.

"Johnny, I'm just going to lay this out there, okay?"

He nodded.

"I think you know what it is you want. I absolutely know what I want. I think it might even be the same thing."

"Yeah... maybe it is."

"You don't need to be afraid of this. There's nothing to fear here. I've said this before, but I want to make sure I'm being clear. I don't want to take Ophelia from you."

Johnny closed his eyes, and slowly nodded his head again. He got that. Both of them. And him too. It had taken some time, but he got that. He felt Ripp's hand cover his own.

"I want to take her with you."

He opened his eyes and he was on the balcony again.

That's how it had been, and how it still was. He only had to say the word. He hadn't. Not that way, at least. He'd met him halfway. Together, all three in a bed, but still fairly innocent. He could have said the word. He could still say the word at any time. But then what?

Where could they go from there? What would they do when he was the one fearing for his life? Would the world tear them apart or would they do it themselves? Was it just a matter of time?

Ripp didn't understand. It wasn't that simple.

Nothing was ever that simple.

(Continue reading Chapter Thirty-Six...)


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 30th, 2013 04:29 am (UTC)
"Oh I don't know. I'm sure there are sims out there that prefer robots."

Damn straight. :) The scene with Ripp and Ophelia was sweet.

"Better than yours!" Vidcund roared. "Which is to say none at all!"

Interesting...I think this has been implied before. I like seeing the Curious/Smiths together, even if it's for a terrible occasion.

Geez, Chloe just works well for that type of bitter character doesn't she? I guess she was channeling her rage into piebaking rather than poking and shoving Erin nonstop as usual. I really liked seeing Erin again; there's something about her and Lazlo that I like. And her outfit is wonderfully Barbie-ish. :D

Whoa whoa whoa. Jill pollinated Buck? Of course she's the last one you'd expect to do that.

Looks like we're getting into the belly of the whale. Can't wait for the next part!
Jun. 30th, 2013 04:44 am (UTC)
Oh, wow.

Where to start?

The visuals, as always, are beautiful. I've commented before on your decorating skill -- I love the way you've made over the Smith household, and the family photos look great. As always, your capping skills are wonderful -- your artistic ability and know-how are well showcased.

The makeovers you've given (almost) everyone look wonderful -- I particularly like that Jenny's hair is still yellow. As for Jill and Lazlo -- Jill in particular -- there's something different about them. Have you changed skins, or is it a graphics upgrade?

Now, to the writing. Brilliant. Wonderful as it was before, there's an extra seriousness and maturity to it. Not just in the plot -- events can be aptly described as 'shit just got real' -- but the tone of it, if that makes sense.

Thank you for a most satisfying read and I look forward eagerly to the next instalment.

*applauds until hands sting*



Also, I think I commented on the still when you posted it up before, but Johnny looks fiiiiine in the shot where he says '"That's none of your business."' And despite what he's thinking at the end of this instalment, I'm holding out some hope that he's still committed to the relationship with the pride that seems inherent in the 'faint mysterious smile'. *crosses fingers*

Edited at 2013-06-30 05:37 am (UTC)
Jun. 30th, 2013 04:52 am (UTC)
Wow, this chapter is full of fantastic writing, and such heated emotion. Love the beginning with Ripp and Ophelia, then the Curious/Smiths, and them trying to sort out what to do with the clones. Johnny has some real deep thoughts, doesn't he? And none of it is nonsense, Johnny boy.

Can't wait for the next installment ;)
Jun. 30th, 2013 06:50 am (UTC)
This was a nice treat on a Sunday morning. :) Such a sad chapter, though. And so many things going on at the same time. I totally thought Johnny's response to Jill was going to be "It's complicated." Because it really is, all of it.

And wow, when you mentioned there was going to be a miscarriage, I wasn't expecting this. Ooh... Wonder how Jill is going to take it. Poor Buck. :(

Also, Erin. <3 She's a much better match for Lazlo than Crystal... just saying. ;)

I liked Chloe's reaction to it all, she really seems like she'd just like to live her life wild and free and not have to worry about all this alien stuff and family obligations.

Beautifully written, looking forward to part 2. :)
Jun. 30th, 2013 11:42 am (UTC)
The rest of the images look great! The facial expressions and body positioning are all spot on, you could almost tell the story with just pictures in some parts especially the argument scenes. Jill looks so like Vidcund when she's angry, I think it's the brow.
Jun. 30th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
This is very strong. Some heavy stuff but you handled it so well. I'm very much looking forward to the next chapter.

A tiny silver lining in the sadness of Buck's miscarriage - it may help Jill a bit with her identity issues - she may not have green skin but obviously she has inherited other characteristics. On the other hand, they'll need to be careful about that in the future.

I'd forgotten about the clones! I really need to go back and re-read the whole thing. :)

A couple pics aren't showing up for me, I've refreshed a few times and they're still little boxes - one is where Pascal says Nervous isn't dead, and the other is at the start of Johnny's flashback to talking with Ripp at the cabin. Is anyone else seeing those, is it just me?
Jun. 30th, 2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, those two are not showing up for me either.
Jun. 30th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
I think I skipped a step when I uploaded those, and they were set to private. I think I've fixed it. Can you see them now?
Jun. 30th, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
Jun. 30th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know. :)

I'm pretty sure I did the same silly thing the last time I posted an update. Haha! Never learns...
Jun. 30th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
With so many pics, it's easy to skip a step on one or two!
Jun. 30th, 2013 06:17 pm (UTC)
I loved the begining scene with Ripp and Ophelia. There was a lot of interesting things there. My favorite was when Ripp was talking about making out with Francis, the way it was writen was just beautiful, like Ripp's finally accepting something about himself, but doesn't quite know what it is. It also broke my heart a little bit to see... "He warmed to her, just as he always did, but she knew his heart wasn't completely in it." ...that broke my heart just a little.

Seeing all the Curious family together, despite the sad situation, was great. It seems the family looks to Vidcund quite a bit, which is interesting to me because I tend to see Pascal and Lazlo get the spotlight usually. I sense some sibling rivalry between Vidcund and Pascal as well, as poor Chloe, she's having a hard time with all of this.

I <3 Lazlo and Erin :D

Scenes between Johnny and Jill are always a bit akward to me, but it is clear they do love each other. I think I see a bit of foreshadowing when Johnny says "He'd kill anyone that tried to harm her."
Great update, as usual, I love foreward to the next part.
Jun. 30th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
good GOD you're back and you're good at this.
Jul. 1st, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
So amazing! I wish I could better express how wonderful it is to read this story and feel for these characters and be so wonderfully entertained. Thank you!
Jul. 1st, 2013 04:21 pm (UTC)
JILL POLLINATED BUCK OH MAN I really hope that he's not going to die or something from this, I love him so much.

also the make-up in this part looks especially divine?! Especially Lola's, woah.

I kind of cheered when Chloe started ranting. The aliens aren't exactly all roses and cream and she raises a lot of good points.

I'm glad that Lazlo and the family acted mature about the whole Crystal thing. I have a friend who has no interest in babies who married into a VERY big 'yay babies!' family and they give her nothing but hell for it, so I feel for Crystal a lot here.

"Better than yours!" Vidcund roared. "Which is to say none at all!"


Jul. 2nd, 2013 04:29 am (UTC)
The way you are portraying the unfolding circumstances and each character's reaction, not only to the circumstances, but to each other, is so lifelike. I loved Chloe's blow-up, she gave voice to the issue of identity, and indeed choosing a side, no one else in the family seemed to consider as an actual choice.

I want to give them all a hug, especially Buck. And Jill! After her promise to Johnny, I can't imagine it's going to be easy for her to discover she is as alien as she had always wished for.

Also, I love all the family portraits in the Smith house, it characterises them beautifully.
Sep. 20th, 2015 12:23 pm (UTC)
I just loved this chapter! You're an amazing writer!!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


Hi there! Most of my activity is now on my Tumblr, so please head over there if you'd like to see what I'm up to. Story updates will still be posted here.


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