Chapter 34, Part 1: Pie-Related Schemes

notes

This week has been hell on wheels.

Like…RBG…I just…I don’t even have the words.

I desperately need fluff. Maybe you do too. It might mean tacking on extra chapter or two down the road, but I decided that both parts of Chapter 34 are going to be Grade A, BBD Universe Fluff.

I’m not kidding. There’s like 5% angst that’s immediately resolved and followed by fluffffffffff. The characters might have sad thoughts but then FLUFFFFFFFFFF. There are gonna be fight scenes in part two but they are FLUFFFFFFFFFFFF.

You’ve been warned, but also, I just hope you enjoy it.

Sunset Bistro, Windenburg

Last Night…

MISS HELL

“No, Sullivan, I just want you to observe them for now. And if getting iced coffee for Alice’s mother is the worst of things you have to suffer, consider yourself lucky. I’ll call when we’re ready.” Miss Hell hung up the phone before the vampire had a chance to answer and turned her attention back to Jimena, “I’m sorry, you were saying?”

Jimena’s smile was too broad, eyes too bright, “Like I said, I just happened to be in the neighborhood for dinner and thought I’d come by to help improve your plan.” 

“Please,” Miss Hell took a sip of her nectar. “I find myself anxious to hear how you think you can help me.”

She nodded as Jimena began to talk, though her mind drifted to Sullivan. Miss Hell started making her secret cache of vampires years ago, knowing that once she betrayed Vladislaus, she’d need lackeys that were loyal to her. A loyalty that only went one way, of course. She wasn’t a fool; she knew she there was an excellent chance those lackeys would have to become cannon fodder. 

“Rabbits are very fast, did you know that?” Jimena said, pushing back a lock of hair, “They can outrun predators, slip into small hidden places. They’re skittish, which seems like a weakness but really is a protective instinct. A skill.” 

Miss Hell gave her an exasperated look, “There are many ways to skin a rabbit, Jimena. What is the point of this digression?”

“You want to corner the rabbit by fear, trigger its skittish instincts before we’ve had a chance to close it in,” Jimena continued in a conspiratorial whisper. 

As if the Goddess Elmyra was the only creature who hunted. 

As if Alice Martin was a rabbit. 

It struck her then, just how far she had fallen since she made her deal with Somnus. When The Owl first appeared, she thought it would be the culmination of centuries worth of planning. Now she was sitting in some half-rate restaurant with some god’s delusional servant. If that’s what Jimena even was, Miss Hell had her suspicions. 

“It’s easy. You will strike and the rabbit will run,” Jimena leaned in again, eyes working overtime to pull Miss Hell into the drama of the moment, “And then you’ll be stuck chasing it.”

Von Haunt Estate, Windenburg

Present…

ALICE

Gwendolyn stood next to Vlad, hands clasped behind her back. She gave Alice an innocent smile that did nothing to prove her trustworthiness. Alice had seen the kid put a sword through Vlad’s heart without hesitation. 

Still, there was no one better to act as Vlad’s taste-tester. No one would care about a little kid wandering around, and Gwendolyn had zero qualms about lying to adults. More importantly, she was not intimidated by Vlad in the least, so she’d tell him the truth if something sucked. 

Alice folded her arms and gave them both a stern look. “Listen, everything today needs to be normal—no setting appliances on fire, no pie-related schemes of any kind. Just bake and make sure the thing you bake doesn’t suck. Neither one of us can afford to get kicked off this week.”

They both nodded quickly. Almost too quickly.

“Come on,” she sighed. “Let’s go.”

Granite Falls

AKIRA

Akira had been furious with his sister many times, but this one was a contender for the top spot.

“Titania, are you fucking kidding me?”

“No,” she said as she pushed past him. “Miko! It’s been centuries. My brother is selfish and sought to keep you to himself, but I would never let something like that happen.”

He could see the emotions flashing across Miko’s face. However skilled she was at manipulating them, she wasn’t adept at hiding them in herself. She settled on a polite smile. “Titania, Oberon, it’s nice to see you too. I didn’t know you were coming, or we would have gotten a place with more room.” 

“Nonsense,” Titania scoffed. “There are two rooms and two beds. More than enough. Oberon and I have decided not to kill each other this week, so we can sleep in the same bed.”

Miko’s eyes widened in panic. Akira stepped in. “I’ll take the couch.” If he was going to be in Miko’s bed, he was going to be invited. He looked at the rickety piece of furniture with its patches and peeling varnish. “I’ve slept on worse.”

“Fuck it if that ain’t the truth! Remember the siege against the dragons? You slept in a muddy ditch for a week, son! Didn’t complain once, I might add,” Oberon announced with a wink.

Akira wondered again what the hell his family was doing here. 

“So, you’re going to negotiate with the gnomes?” Titania asked as she searched the kitchen for a clean glass. “Any plans for what boon you’re going to give them? You know if you pick the wrong thing, you’ll piss them off.”

Akira ground his teeth together. Titania was a know-it-all. Always had been and probably would be for the rest of their immortal lives. She baited Akira purposely just to see him lose his shit. “I’m not a fuckin’ idiot, Titania. We just got here an hour ago. Why don’t you just save us all the headache and tell us whatever bullshit you have planned?”

“Oh, well, I’m glad you asked. The answer is pie.”

    10 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    September 20, 2020

    “Rabbits are very fast, did you know that?” Jimena said, pushing back a lock of hair, “They can outrun predators, slip into small hidden places. They’re skittish, which seems like a weakness but really is a protective instinct. A skill.”

    RABBIT FACTS! They’re fastest when they’re doing something they’re not supposed to and you’re trying to catch them before you miss the bus. Sneaky bastards, too: you find a chewed-through plastic bag of cashews in the kitchen, yards away from any surface their furry little paws can get traction on, and weeks later you find a half-eaten cashew in a totally different room and you’re like what the fuck. Their diet consists of hay, treats, yoga mats, my couch, and half a cashew. They will play with the $80 toy you got them but not immediately. They’re gonna build up to it. Rabbits don’t have much body language, being burrowing animals and all, but the body language they do have is eight increasing levels of throwing shade. As a rabbit owner, you are expected to both never pick them up for any reason ever and to brush them at least once a week. Rabbits can learn to recognize their names. For example, Grace Hopper is a good name for a rabbit, but it is difficult to get a rabbit to respond to that name if they hate everyone and everything.

    Shoved his pie off of the table: I LOVE IT. Is she a cat? (Another rabbit fact: while cats shove things off the table, rabbits pull things off the table with their lil’ teeth.) Major TAKE IT OFF MY FORK vibes.

    Dylan getting all telekinetic at the ingredients and … is Vlad wearing Docs

    is Vlad wearing fucking Docs

    ok I know Alice is causing the apocalypse or w/e but Vlad’s shoes omg

    Ok, I’m the last person to prevent Vlad from stealing this kid, I’m noticing a ‘we’ in ‘we collect Gwendolyn.’ Dang. The mortal vessel of fear moves fast.

    About the owl thing: I had to go back and and check because I remember Ben and Vlad both referencing a sculpture. Red herring? Who could’ve planted that? Guess I’ll think about it once I calm the eff down about being in the Von Haunt Estate again. And while trying to draw fluff because fluff keeps us all going. Kind of.

    • feroshgirl
      September 20, 2020

      Okay I know I said the Moschino jacket was the last Vlad clothing thing but like, I can’t stop. He lost all his clothes in a fire! Some Britechester student is missing a pair of Docs and Vlad is not going to return them.

      Hahahahaha fucking rabbits. A friend of mine has them and this is 100% inspired by her rants. Like cats, Rabbits are straight up rude. (Ugh Grace Hopper is such a good name, how could they not appreciate it?)

      Vlad is on the “we” train. The amount of chill he has is zero. He knows it. Alice knows it. Everyone knows it. There was a version of this scene where they really get into that conflict but I jettisoned it because fluff and the heart wants what it wants right now.

      It’s not just Alice, tho, as far as Vlad is concerned, Caleb and Deacon and William are on this train too. Which should interesting given Caleb’s plans to move out…

      Honestly, I’m just having fun writing him as a literal ball of fluff who will also eat a man’s heart.

      Speaking of fluff, yes, yes, the drawinnnngggggg I wants it!!! Really though, the world is very hard right now and we should all just make and do the thing that keeps us going.

      Hehe. The Owl. I mean…Alice says it’s a statue and Ben is like: “uh…yeah…a powerful object that you really need. Also, don’t worry about all the things I’m not telling you.”

      These characters are all doing a lot of assuming. They’ve all got like, 1/8th of the picture. Soon, they are going to have to put all those pieces together so they can know what the fuck is going on.

      If only they would just stop getting distracted! ::shrug:: long lived supernaturals, they’re just like us.

      I guess I’ll have to give them something to really focus their attention. 😌🧐😉

      • Dolly Llama
        September 21, 2020

        Ohhh the bunbuns. I hope your friend’s bunnies will at least sniff and nudge you. In our pandemic bubble, we’ve got one stormcloud who would eat dark matter out of Jeffrey Dahmer’s hand and one misanthrophic princess who only eats 3%-moisture-content food that a choir of angels sang to under a full moon. But that’s what she gets because she’s SOOOO FLUFFY-WUFFY ADORABLE.

        I got over Vlad’s Docs long enough to realize that Gwendolyn got that ultra-sparkly super special awesome pie before Akira and Miko got to make their ultra-sparkly super special awesome pie, and now I’m wondering whether there are two ultra-sparkly super special awesome pies in play here or if Gwendolyn’s doing weird time shit. And I’m leaning toward the latter. Or maybe I missed some timestamps. Or the story itself is nonlinear. Nice that Vlad’s including Deacon in the gang, too, as he should.

        We should all just make and do the thing that keeps us going—true. Realizing that my OTP and my college bestie’s OTP symbolize the four classical elements completely on accident gave me enough energy to contact my senators twice, so, yeah. But I’ve also gotten it into my head that a young woman having a Sims blog would be more damaging to her credibility than a man owning 12 pedophile islands, and have to get over that shame.

      • feroshgirl
        September 21, 2020

        At first, I was aghast but I’m starting to come around to the rabbit’s point of view. I mean…is that 2% moisture content you’re trying to feed me? TWO? And where the fuck is the heavenly choir?

        Hehe. Nonlinear. I mean, someone is doing some weird time shit. That’s for sure.

        I have not been able to muster up the wherewithal, but I will. Fucking kudos!

        You could have just said, “being a young woman is damaging to her credibility,” and it still would have been true. Ugh, some days I’m not sure what fucking planet I’m on.

  • theplumbob
    September 23, 2020

    I almost forgot about Jimena, and the baking contest, with everything going on, wow. Testament to how packed Baking by Death is, that I forgot about… baking 😀

    Jimena likes to play all plotty, but what’s her end game here? She must realise that Miss Hell will just dispose of her once she’s served her purpose. Hopefully she has some kind of backup up her sleeve. Not that I’m rooting for Jimena, hah. Also, I suppose it’s those we underestimate that we need to watch out for the most, so who knows, for all I know Jimena may be the last one standing when Alice gets near the owl…

    “A small, cookie-wielding tyrant.” Love it 😀 And aww, Alice and Vlad talking future. They would make a lovely murder monster family with Gwen, yes. And William and Caleb can be the deranged god parents haha.

    Not sure if I agree with Titania here – even if her and Oberon do really “make Akira look good,” without alone time for Akira and Miko to actually address their past, all this may do is stick a temporary bandaid on and ignore the issue, not really mending anything at all. But perhaps that’s what Titania wants. I can’t say I’m mas that she’s there, she is fabulous. I’m just hoping Akira and Miko do wind up getting that crucial time to air out things in private a bit, otherwise there will be no Akira and Miko beyond the here and now. And that’s just too upsetting! (I mean, I’d deal. But I’d rather see them try and fail than not even properly have a go.)

    • feroshgirl
      September 23, 2020

      Hahaha I know! I wrote a baking scene and I was like: oh damn, there is a baking contest, remember?

      It is packed! I’m trying to learn my lesson and pare down Underworld Summer Vacation. I love complex, meaty stories, but my lore has even gotten a bit much for me to handle lol.

      Miss Hell does not play around! Jimena’s end game will be revealed very soon. But as with most things in BBD, it’s not what she wants, it is how she goes about doing it.

      Hehe. Last one standing. Hehe.

      I am forever referring to Vlad/Alice/Gwendolyn as murder monster family omg perfect. Deranged god parents! I love it!

      Characters are sometimes adamant about things, but that doesn’t mean they are right! I can say, you and Akira want the same thing. He’s…er…working on it.

      But you know, addressing issues means telling the truth…about everything…so Miko is going to have to meet him half way.

      Can she?

      Will she?

      ::maniacal author laughter::

  • lonecat82
    October 16, 2020

    Oh wait, the owl is a person? I completely forgot that was mentioned in a previous chapter. And Jimena seemed to refer to the owl as a her, unless I was misreading that. And how would that work when someone wins the owl? Now I’m super confused, and have lots of questions. I suppose Jimena could by lying and manipulating Miss Hell. And the fates are running the contest. But then, that would mean that Miko would have a hand in the contest, yet, I don’t think she’s really said much about it, but I could be forgetting a part of the puzzle.

    Vlad and Alice should totally steal Gwendolyn. She’d have a way better life than with her current set of adopted parents.

    • feroshgirl
      October 16, 2020

      Hehe, oh you caught that, huh? The Owl is a magical creature of some kind. Morgyn can be magic in a human form, why not The Owl (which, coincidentally, is made from untamed magic)? Caleb and Deacon confirm this when they go to visit the professor way back in like Chapter 10. He tells them The Owl is not an object, it may manifest that way but it is a creature of some sort. It’s not 100% clear how it would work to win The Owl…but all will be revealed, I promise.

      Um, GOOD EYE! THE FATES ARE RUNNING THE CONTEST. Miko knows, they are her family after all. Though to be clear, Miko is junior to the Fates so it’s not like she can stop them from doing…well…whatever they want.

      Thank you for joining the club Dolly and I started called STEAL THE KID!!!!!!!!!!

  • Yimiki
    March 9, 2021

    I could have sworn I commented on this chapter yesterday night. Did WP eat my comment? Dangit, it was a long one, too.

    Anyway. I loved the fluff. Gimme all the fluff. It’s been a rough time here too and the fluff this chapter (especially the banter between Vlad and Gwen, man I love those two together) was a great distraction. I am officially getting on the “STEAL THE KID” bandwagon, haha 😁

    • feroshgirl
      March 9, 2021

      YES!!! ANOTHER STEAL THE KID CONVERT!!!!!!! I really love writing Vlad and Gwen, they just bring me joy. Whenever I’m having a rough time, I write one of their scenes.

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