This was a hell of a week, y’all. Writing this is what kept me sane.
I cannot adequately express what it means to have a Biden/Harris win. I cannot describe how it feels to look at the White House and see that there is a woman who looks like me as VP. My father grew up in a world of segregated schools and separate drinking fountains. When I took him to vote for Obama in 2008, it was the first time he had ever done so in his life. I remember him remarking that the ballot did not have “colored” on it and that we needed to be quick before they took it back.
This victory is for me, but it’s also for him. He died before ever seeing this day, and I imagine if he were alive and I called to tell him, he wouldn’t believe me. But we have done it, daddy. We are here. And if you think we didn’t come to roll up our sleeves and clean up this mess, fuck around and find out. Gritty for Secretary! Wawa forever! Please rise for the new national anthem.
Now, onto the story. CW for some child abuse stuff in Vlad’s past. Fluff warning for your heart.
Von Haunt Estate
A towering cascade of cupcake mania—that was how Rory described this week’s bake. Vlad pictured, very vividly, wrapping his hands around the sim’s neck. He was retired, of course, but that was from large scale bloodshed.
A sim here or there was perfectly acceptable.
Like Caleb’s book of affirmations said—all things in moderation.
The book was one of the many things Caleb left behind. Neither he nor Deacon had packed, which gave Alice hope. She mentioned it repeatedly, hoping to draw Vlad into a conversation. She wanted to talk about what went down last night and Vlad, categorically, did not.
“Hey! Don’t you see that I’m standing here?”
Gwendolyn’s voice distracted him. She was humming some inane song from a TV show that he just knew would haunt him until the end of days. Staring down at her, he reminded himself of William’s words. She was no replacement. He cared for her on his own merits because now he was capable of such a thing.
“And what is the plan this week, hellion? Another batch of stolen pastries?”
She jutted out her chin. “Stealing is very risky.”
“With great risk comes great reward, but no matter, we have money. You can simply buy the required desserts.”
Presumably, they had money. Caleb had always handled details like converting Vlad’s vast wealth into a form of payment sims in this era would accept. But Vlad could learn, and in the meantime, there were credit cards. Why no one told him companies would give him access to thousands of simoleons and not demand a single payment was beyond his understanding.
“Your boss called you out for cheating,” Gwendolyn countered loudly, again drawing his attention.
“Lies,” Vlad huffed, “What makes you think she’s my boss and not the other way around?”
The look on her face was loud and clear: do not insult my intelligence.
He pressed his fangs into his lip to keep from laughing. He intended for Gwendolyn to be someone’s boss and for the world to quake in fear when she walked.
“Touche,” he replied.
Gwendolyn soldiered on, clasping her hands behind her back and tilting her eyebrows as if in innocent contemplation. “Wouldn’t it be awesome if she couldn’t prove you were cheating?”
Her emphasis on the word “prove” caused Vlad to pause. He’d taught her to ignore whatever her adversaries offered and zero in on what they truly desired. She proved again that she was a fast learner.
Deliberately, Vlad raised an eyebrow. “Go on.”
When Oberon and Titania stepped out of their room, Akira was already dressed and stowing his weapons.
“What are you doing?” It was a question, but Titania didn’t sound surprised, just tired.
It was as he expected, then. Flexing his hands, he tried to get control of himself. “She’s gone, but you probably fuckin’ knew that thanks to your oracle. She tell you the exact date? The time?”
“You’re being ridiculous,” Titania scoffed, “You think I would—”
“Yes!” Akira growled. “I think you fuckin’ would. Queen of the Fae, She Who Is Most Wily. Ain’t that what they call you? Yeah, I think you knew, and you couldn’t wait to see the look on my face.”
“Don’t be stupid!” she shouted, balling her hands into fists.
She couldn’t slap him; she’d already played that card. Akira crossed his arms and smirked.
“I told you what the Oracle told me!” she insisted, “I’m your sister, I’m—”
“A liar!” he bellowed.
Oberon looked up, eyes as bright as Akira had ever seen them, “Watch yourself, Rushlight.” He jerked his head in Titania’s direction, “Tell him.”
“You don’t own me, Oberon!” The look on Titania face was mutinous. “King of the Fae? That’s nothing. I’m Queen around here, Akira is my brother. I’ll tell you when—”
Akira cut her off with a sharp laugh. “You don’t gotta worry about me, sis. I don’t hold it against you. It’s ya nature to lie to me.” His voice was cold, even to his own ears, “Keep ya fuckin’ secrets.”
“Where are you…” Titania started as he pushed past her, “You can’t know where she went; she could be anywhen!”
“Then, it’s a good thing I’m bound to her.”
Titania lunged forward and grabbed his arm, forcing him to turn towards her. “You won’t find her! You never do! You want to know what the Oracle told me? Fine. Miko has been breaking the laws of Fate and the Universe to loop all of time over and over again. Once, you cheated on her. ONCE! In one time-loop out of a thousand. And she’s been punishing you for it ever since.”
“She broke your heart a thousand times. None of us remember, but she does. And I…”—Titania’s voice broke—”I hate her for it. I hate her and I can’t forgive her. You are my brother, and you deserve better.”
He stumbled over to the couch, clutching at the sides of his face.
But it couldn’t be…
Akira scrambled to catch the thing that broke loose inside him before he completely fell apart.
He was not fast enough.