Author Topic: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty ("Complete")  (Read 204511 times)

Offline Rowan

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #450 on: November 15, 2014, 05:32:33 PM »
Well, I know she's not Rick Riordan because I know his style quite well, and while both brilliant, they're very different.
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Offline Trident

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #452 on: November 15, 2014, 07:06:08 PM »
Hmm. I retain my Tamora Pierce theory, then.

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 94, 11/12)
« Reply #453 on: November 15, 2014, 07:25:06 PM »
I'll reply to the rest of the comments when I actually have Chapter 95 ready, but:

- I'm not a famous writer...yet. ;)

- "Yet" is even too generous because writing is just a hobby. I've mentioned this in other places, but I'm in a much more technical field.

- I liken myself more to third-rate Margaret Atwood, but with a sense of humor.
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 95, 11/17)
« Reply #454 on: November 17, 2014, 10:22:25 PM »
Yes, he's finally gone! Perfect. It wasn't as mean as anyone else should be, but it was good for Tegan. I hate that "nice guy" routine. If you're really nice, then you won't feel entitled to women's attention for it. He is so that stereotype and I hate it! Glad he's gone.

Yeah, I hate it too.

It is a little presumptuous to think that Bryant's gone for good, though. They guy's still young.

Tegan's adorable when she's angry. I'm not sure she could be threatening if she tried.

She's just a cute green teddy bear! Definitely not threatening. I think the elders did a better job of chasing Bryant away.

I love Lily in those shots, I can see just how scared stupid Bryant was of her  ;D

It was actually just the pose he was making after Franco accused him of impropriety. Worked in my favor!

Trip, I just spent the last two days catching up on about thirty chapters of this dynasty, and I have to ask-are you sure you arn't secretly Rick Riordan? Tamora Pierce? Some other famous author?

Pretty sure. Or else I would have accomplished a lot in my so-far short life.

Well, I know she's not Rick Riordan because I know his style quite well, and while both brilliant, they're very different.

I'll take your word for it. :)

Agreed!

Hmm. I retain my Tamora Pierce theory, then.

Well I don't agree!

In all honesty, I'd tell you guys if I got something published. :P



Chapter 95: Loose Like Juice





Tegan came back to a colder university; what counted as spring break for her in Twinbrook was another season entirely for that northern town. First, she dealt with an ornery and overworked registrar to schedule a redo of Chemistry II. She bit her lip and signed the card that allowed her to get into that course late, but she still made sure to issue a “thank you” to everyone involved. The rental house awaited. Hephaestus did too, and he greeted her at the front steps with a hug.

“Oh, dang, I missed you,” she said in his ear. “Did you live without me?”

“I mean, I’m here right now, aren’t I?” he said.



They both smiled, until Tegan felt the faint crinkle of paper against her. It came from Hephaestus’ wrist, if she was feeling it correctly. She took a look when he let go, to a paper wristband that told its own gruesome spring break story.

“Well, come on! I have to make up for a week of lost time with you,” he said, trying to lead Tegan indoors. She wasn’t budging, with her eyes locked on the wristband.



“What happened to you?” she asked him. “The wristband?”

“Tegan, university is a very wild place. It was minor, I came out with my life, and that’s all that matters. Now can we please go upstairs? I haven’t seen you in a week!”

“Only….only after you tell me what happened. I can’t hurt you for it.”

“Well, for your sweet face, I will. Just, we have to step inside to do it. Something’s lurking in the bushes.” At that last sentence, Tegan had an idea of what his hospital visit might have entailed. What a shame, he and his off-kilter mind were doing so well before.

They both found a chair in the living room. “It was just last night,” Hephaestus started. “I’m gonna be too old for a fraternity party in no time, so I decided, hell, better do it now just to say I did! I probably should have turned back on the rave-theme.”



“Most of it, I didn’t really like. The whole place was filled with loud music that made my head spin and all of the demons fall out of the woodwork. But, it subsided if I stepped out. I decided to try one more thing.”



“I poured myself a full cup of whatever they were keeping in there.”

“Against your own morals?” Tegan asked.

“Yeah, against them. College is a strange place,” Hephaestus said. “At least I kept with abstinence for a long time before this.”



“Then, I couldn’t stand what the music was doing to my head and drank outside. I never thought that I’d hate those demons so much, but they just laughed in my face with each beat. And I don’t even remember that happening at the club. I mean, what the hell is up with this place? But drinking, that felt pretty nice, despite everything else I believed about it. I almost understood Annette right there, even if I wanted this to be the very last time.”



“I forget the next hour, but I found my way to campus and into the campus center. It was mostly empty, but unlocked because Jack needed some place to have a school pride meeting. If nothing else, I remember his glare. Boy did he want to keep that meeting a secret.”



“I disregarded him. I remembered where the lecture hall was, because, duh, I took Art History in there twice a week for the term. And there was the whiteboard, looking like itself, and the math tutor forgot to erase it. So I did that for him just to draw my own stuff. Come to think of it, forgot exactly what I did or how I did it, but it looked so fine. But suddenly, I felt like everything was there again, even just for a brief moment. Everything I forgot was missing.”

“You mean, all of those spirits?” asked Tegan.



“At least a majority. So…so I had to speak to them. I’d like to say that I remember it all, but all I can recall is asking them to leave my mind. I didn’t miss them at all, come to think of it. I was leading a pretty nice life without them. Because of that, I spent a good minute yelling ‘begone!’ until I got a human audience. And no, that didn’t stop me either.”



“There were two of them, but some older blonde woman told the other one ‘you just have to watch me with this one.’ She then called Campus Emergency Services and walked out. I didn’t want that! I decided to follow her.”



“I spent a long time holding on to her arm and begging her to not sic the police on me, but she wouldn’t budge. I was checked in to the hospital—by force, by the way—which is a busy place when it’s a break and everyone’s partying and poisoning themselves with juice. Granted, I was among them, wasn’t I? But the place, yes, it was really busy that night. The nurse did the four-point restraints all wrong, and I’m a small guy, so I slipped right out of them and waltzed right out of the building.”

“Dang it, you didn’t even check out? No wonder you wanted to get back inside,” Tegan said.

“I mean, the episode is over, so I think I can negotiate something if they ask. Just a temporary thing, but I do wonder why it happened now. You guys can guzzle juice like it’s water, but one glass and I’m so out of it like that?” Hephaestus held his head. “And Franco’s gonna kill someone if he finds out.”

“I guess I never understood that,” Tegan said. “I mean, I don’t want you to hurt, but why does he just want you to be you? There has to be some treatment out there that doesn’t make you a zombie.”

“Something between him and mum. I mean, you didn’t know Hannah, but she loved me so much. I still sometimes miss her. Look, honey, I’m feeling great today, and I won’t sweat it. If I was smart enough to take my bracelet off, you wouldn’t even know that I learned how restraints felt last night.”

“And they feel like?”

“Pretty bad, I’ll admit.” He put his hand on her thigh. “I know what will feel better.”

“Oh, you,” Tegan said, in a teasing tone. “I missed that back in Twinbrook. I missed a lot of things, except for Professor Sharma’s exams. Boy do I hate Chemistry.”

“I’ll keep you in my thoughts during your classes, but can we please prepare for it? The right way?” He winked close to her. “I can be more direct about this if you need it.”

“I don’t think so. Not for you.”

The rest of the afternoon went well for the two of them, if not well for their rented bedsprings. They’d bring that up with the landlord if they needed to. Not even the upcoming ordeal of two chemistry classes could bring Tegan’s mood down, considering that they were necessary for the otherwise (literally) primrose path to a Bachelors’ of Science in Botany.

At least not in comparison to what lay ahead in Twinbrook, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Of course, university threw its own hurdles on to the track. Hephaestus was able to negotiate with the hospital and prove his stability after the episode. That wasn’t bad. Food was a worse issue. Two generations beforehand, Annette was part of the student crew and cooked in order to spare the family from the dining halls. They heard stories about how the food was usually a day or five old, and Lily and Bronson learned the hard way about it from a night cooped up in the bathroom and embracing the toilet (or the shower; grey water and sewage shared lines, after all). Being smart students with an interest in surviving university, they skipped the meal plan, even after learning that they couldn’t cook.



This left the two of them hungry and picky after a lifetime of living off Annette’s cooking, but soon after, pizzas and takeout and vegetables from the store sated the two hungry students. While neither could operate a stove and solid cold pizza became a normal breakfast, it filled bellies for a day of devoted studies. The problem, perhaps, was that they did a lot of that. Tegan and her Botany textbooks separated only when she had to shower or take a de-stressing bath, because wet paper and runny ink would be a bad thing.

Aside from re-taking that chemistry class (blame the professor for that one), she excelled in her classes and brought home graded exams with a number between 90 and 100 on the top, and nice comments in a few places. She checked and was on track to graduate on time. And it was all done at the cost of knowing no one on a friendly level at college.

That was rough. Tegan, good as she was, had a few bad thoughts in her long life, with one of them being the twinge of jealousy towards the classmates who cruised by with marginally passing grades while talking to each other in class. She was going to live for a long time, and what was eternity without friends? All of the elders had friends. They reached out and came out with a catch of new, young friends to enjoy until they passed away.

Now, there were those in Twinbrook, but Tegan was stuck studying in a land of Yanks and their funny accents. Who knew what they could offer?



When it came time to talk, she froze up a bit. She tried everything to warm up to friends from the day she arrived at uni, but to no avail! Until one paper landed on the desk she shared with Mr. Cole Cary.

Sigma Sigma Sigma invites you to our autumn bash!
October 4th
Food will be provided, and prepare your livers.


Standing tall above the seated Tegan was Jerri Arkers, her cousin through Franco’s “side project” with Shannon a long time before. Instead of inheriting her grandpa’s excess pounds, she had the muscle-bound frame of her grandma Shannon and her ginger hair too. They might have been told about each other.

“Cousin Jerri,” she said. “My dad and your uncle Nik is the landlord of the house and he would have a fit if I didn’t invite you and your guy.”

“I’ll see,” Tegan said. “I’m not a party gal.”

“You don’t need to be. Just don’t embarrass me.”

“Duly noted.” She wasn’t making any promises that she couldn’t keep, as much as she would hate to disappoint her cousin. The promise of food tempted her into considering it. Tegan considered it so much that she brought up the topic with Hephaestus, over a serving of cold lo mein.

“I do want some chili, like we have back in Twinbrook,” Hephaestus said. “Sophie from Tri Sigma makes a good pot of it. And since it’s her party too, looks like we better go.”

“You’re not drinking,” Tegan said.

“I wasn’t planning on it. We’ll just get some soda from the cooler or play that weird pong game of theirs with water. I’ll be honest, I’m done with delusions. I’m going to play it safe with triggers and hope to live the sanest life I can.”

Tegan gave him a kiss on the tip of the nose. “Crazy or not, I still love you.”

“Gotta love all of it,” he said. “From your fat to your weak spine.”

Tegan still giggled girlishly at that.

The night came, and it was a crisp evening that wouldn’t be out of place with a backdrop of autumn leaves and pumpkin spice lattes. In spite of that, Hephaestus left his long sleeves at home and even Tegan got on a more summery outfit. The scent of a burnt-out bonfire lingered in the backyard of the sorority house.



They remedied their bad wardrobe decisions by lighting a fire. After all, summer and autumn existed for them. Even Sophie, a thick-built young vampire with an adorable face and a dress that smelled faintly of powdered cumin, joined them. She kept her distance from the flame, but still basked in its heat thanks to having the circulation of the undead. Even a few other party guests joined, until Sophie bolted inside. She may have gotten burnt after all, but it turned out to be something far worse.

“Bring it in guys. Apparently the pong table won’t fit through the door.”

Tegan put out the fire and was the last one inside. The sorority house had central heating, and hotter chili that even grandma Annette would have some nice words for. She ended up having a nice conversation with Sunni who also was retaking Chemistry with her, and Rhiannon who was kicked out of the Campus Newpaper’s team for uncovering the corruption behind the high pay of some administrators. She even felt like she got some friends out of that deal until she listened to the background noise.

“No, we’re not playing it with water just for some lightweight.” It sounded like a young student. He was engaged with Hephaestus over a simple party game.

“Look, juice does some crazy stuff to me, and I’m too old for the real deal anyways! You won’t even do this for some frail old man?” Definitely Hephaestus.

“You’re in your 60’s. Bet you can’t even retire.”

“Looks like I have something to do,” Tegan said to the girls. “Nice meeting you two!”

“Hope I see in Chem on Friday, friend!” Sunni said. Tegan blushed underneath her green skin.

The juice pong table was set up on the second floor, and Tegan came across both Hephaestus and a strapping young man with olive skin and dingy-colored, long hair.



“Hi, what’s your name?” she asked him. Tegan stood stern with a hand on her hip.

“Landry. Um, do I know you? I think you might be in Chem with me?”

“Retaking it?” she asked him. He nodded.

“Sharma’s a rough one,” Landry said. “But why so angry? You look like a sweetheart.”

“Don’t make him drink.”

“Lilac boy is yours?”

“He is. You know what…I’ll take this game, and if you need to challenge me to the real deal, I’ll take the hit. I’m young enough to recover, and all it does is make me dizzy anyways.”



“Alright, I can’t resist a nice lady like that,” he said. “But we’re pretty low on opponents. Girls like these Tri-Sigs never seem to like juice pong, you know?” She didn’t, but maybe he was speaking from truth and not just stereotypes.

“It’s a deal,” she said. She went into the bathroom to fill the cups with a safe liquid; as safe as the tap water could be, anyways.



Neither of them had played the game before, though the objective was simple, as explained by Landry: try to get the ball into one of the cups. Miss, and you drink one. With juice, it became a wild but risky game. With water, it was a fun but roundabout way for two sims to stay hydrated.

Tegan took her aim, hoping to do better than she did at bowling. At least the balls for water pong were lighter. She spent a minute eying the path.

“Don’t sweat it, it’s just water,” Hephaestus said.

“I’m not letting you win,” she said. “At least not tonight.” She finally launched her ball.



It landed on the table, and Tegan drank one cup in a single gulp. “I mean, it’s good!” she said. “Putting hot sauce on that chili was a bad idea anyways.”

She missed a lot of shots, proving why she wasn’t going on a physics track through university. Empty red cups littered the floor. Hephaestus had little more success. The two of them were stuffed with water and the town’s chemicals.

“Safer than playing with juice,” Hephaestus said. “Water never harmed anyone.”



“Oh please, did you forget everything you learned about osmosis from high school?” Tegan said, annoyed at her loss. “I'm sorry, I’ve been lost in cell biology lately.”

“Well, if we die, we’re dying together here,” Hephaestus said. “And I have the most lovely woman to be buried next to.”

“That’s a morbid flirt,” Tegan said, approaching him. “But I think it’s working.”

“That’s sweet. How about you let your sexy lilac prince give you a kiss?”



That was always going to be a given.

“Get a room or start refilling my cups, juice wench,” Landry said to her.

“I thought we were a little more progressive over here,” she said. “I’m your formidable opponent!”

“I kid. My aim’s gone down the drain too.”

Whether he was telling the truth or going easy on her, Landry beat Tegan only by a few cups. Any sort of mythical, cast-iron Waverly liver helped her that night, because she tripped over her heels but otherwise remained lucid and passed as sober in case the police showed up.

“Good game, juice fiend,” he said. It was better than being a wench, anyways. She tried to find Hephaestus after that, so she could have some buzzed cuddling with her sexy lilac prince.

That was, until an agitated Sophie yelled “Get out of my face, you loony!” As it turned out, not even a life of continued sobriety was going to save Hephaestus.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,920
Word Count so far: 188,407

I just wanted to get a chapter out, so I think this one could be better, but no more two week waits if I can help it. Anyways, school breaks are coming up soon, so provided that my life isn't eaten up by my big project (yay databases) or Skype dates (<3), maybe updates will pick up. :)
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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 96, 11/18)
« Reply #455 on: November 18, 2014, 06:31:19 PM »
Chapter 96: Jock with a GPA



“No…dang it, he was doing so well,” Tegan muttered.

“No round two?” Landry asked.

“Not tonight, but it was good. Yes.”

“I think so. See you in class, friend!”

Friends, Tegan could get used to those over here, as long as they didn’t get between her and assignments. However, what could get between those a lot easier was a Hephaestus in relapse, so she bolted back downstairs to retrieve him and see if she knew anything about dealing with the mentally ill (sigh, should have gone with the psychology major).

After bolting, she crept into the living room and peeked her head in, in order to gauge the situation. “Heph, dear, are you okay?” She didn’t get a response from him.



Sophie was disturbed by the man in front of her. He seemed to be speaking backwards, which even for Tegan’s work in the spiritual realm, wasn’t a tongue she was too familiar with. She still picked out the parts about the ghost of Shannon, though, who appeared as an auburn-colored weasel-snake hybrid to him and glowed as bright orange as the stubble from her buzzcut was. Sophie, however, understood none of it. He was a maniac! And even Tegan needed to admit that this was not right.



He went on and on while Tegan tried to find a nice place to swoop in, restrain him, and carry him somewhere safe. A fairy named Patty stood in back of him, eying his legs and with a dart in between her fingers. She muttered “I think we’ve had enough of this,” and jabbed the dart into Hephaestus’ leg.

“Pat, what the hell is that?” Sophie asked

“It’s a sedative. Nursing major, remember? He’ll be fine by tomorrow.” Hephaestus fell to the ground quickly. It didn’t take much to make a wiry thing like him lose his balance.

“He’s mine,” Tegan told the girls. “And I’m sorry about his behavior. He can’t help it.”

In the wake of the chaos, landlord and Tegan’s uncle Niklaus appeared, looking far older and with less hair than Tegan expected. Instead of breaking up the party like a normal landlord, he surveyed the house and found that everyone was recovering well. Then he came across Hephaestus, who Tegan lugged upstairs to one of the bedrooms. He was limp and dazed while draped over his princess’ shoulder. She slipped a longer shirt over him, and he napped on the bed, recovering and looking adorable. Nik found him during the survey.



“You know, son, back in my day, we just went to the loony house for mental illness!” Nik said, with a judging point in Heph’s direction.

“Uncle Nik?” Tegan asked. She was standing in the corner, watching her sweet prince get some medically-induced beauty sleep.

“Oh Tegan, I heard so much about you,” Nik said, reach out to hug his niece. “Why, you’re even more beautiful than your mum.”

“Aren’t you younger than Heph?” she asked him.

“Wrangling these students has done a number on me. I think I’ve heard of him too. Heph, like Hephaestus? Dad’s stepson?” Tegan nodded as an answer.

“Poor guy. Was he drinking tonight?” Nope. “Does he have any meds at home?” He was healing without them back in Twinbrook, so another nope.

“I don’t know what’s happening, and I’m really scared, Nik,” Tegan said. “I know that I love him through all his moments, but I want a healthy Heph for however longer I have him for. He was really doing so well and I wish I knew what was up with this place.”

“He can always go to campus counselling, can’t he?”

“Not a big fan of therapists. He isn’t anyways. I just want what’s best for him. I think he’ll be lucid once he wakes up. Do you mind keeping him until then?”

“Anything for the family.”

“Thanks uncle Nik.”

“Now, sweetie,” Nik said. “I have a feeling that you’ll find some partiers later in your life, if immortality is your thing. Heck, your second husband might love to drink hard and party harder, for all you know.” Second husband. Those words made the chili rumble in her stomach and her eyes water. Heph wasn’t even that old. “Or your kids might. But, you don’t know much about them, do you?”

“No, nothing but what some elders taught me.” They taught her a lot about juice, which is what uncle Nik had in store too.

“We’ll leave the cocktails and public urination for grandma Annette, but Tegan, honey, have you ever done a keg stand? You can’t graduate without doing one.”

“You know, sounds cool.”



Nik heaved her up there, bemoaning how his rapid aging did away with all of the muscle that Shannon gave him for his youth. She got maybe two sips down before he dropped her on the ground. They both brushed it off.

“Getting old sucks, Tegan,” he said. “I feel sorry for your family.”

“I’ll enjoy what I have right now,” she said. “I should probably be on the lifting end next time, though. Can I stay over, just to get Heph home when he wakes up?”

“There are always places to sleep here.”

She checked on Hephaestus again and gave him a peck on the cheek. It did nothing to wake him up. However, he wasn’t missing out. A lot of the party had died down by then, with a couple of people juiced and passed out until the morning.

Tegan thought it went by too fast. She also missed her bonfire. She built it and had to put it out just for the sake of some party games! Landry certainly liked them and played a few rounds of juice pong with the real stuff, and was slumped over a dining chair and sleeping like a nooboo.



To make up for her bonfire, she lit something in the fireplace and warmed up on that cold near-autumn night. The orange glow played well with her blue clothes.



“Oh, Tegan, what about your second husband?” She started playing with her hands, one of them representing and mocking uncle Nik. “Oh you big meanie. He’s the only one for me!” The other hand attacked.

But no, she still liked Nik. It was a shame that he never visited Twinbrook.

It got late enough for Tegan to think about falling asleep herself. Because she placed Hephaestus on a double-bed, Tegan had a whole half of it for the night. Heph didn’t wake up and was knocked out into a peaceful, night-long slumber. She draped an arm over him and fell into sleep as well, as if knocked out with ether. Not even the poor support and weird lumps of the cheap mattress could rouse either of them. Jerri’s 5AM alarm did, though. It rang throughout the house. One of the sorority girls yelled at her to find a different solution.

“Can’t help that they need me to restock early,” they heard from a few rooms beyond. A groggy Hephaestus rubbed his eyes and still lay loose and woozy in bed. He couldn’t even remember playing water pong until Tegan prodded him about it for a few minutes.

“Well, god, why am I waking up here?” he asked. “Can’t be the drinking, because I didn’t do that.”

“You…you just snapped. You were babbling something to Sophie and Patty from the Nursing major jabbed a sedative in you and then you were out cold. I just made sure that you were out cold and in a warm bed.”

“That is very nice of you. Thanks, babe.” His voice was weak. “Still would like to know why. If I wasn’t knocked out, maybe I could try to tell you what I saw. Maybe even a therapist if I’m lucky.”

“Therapy?” asked Tegan. “Weird words coming from you.”

“You know…maybe they have a point…help is good.” He started fading back into sleep or unconsciousness. “I want to be your normal husband…a normal dad…normal…”

Tegan had no hope of falling asleep again, but she rested next to Hephaestus for the morning, keeping an eye on the digital clock at the other side of the room. She also had a 9:30 lab to make, and a sedated lover to keep an eye on. The sorority girls would keep an eye on him, but he was too cute when sleeping to leave as well. So she waited, napping a bit as the hours passed by. Tegan slept through 8AM and 8:30, 9 and well past 9:30. Turns out that parties were more tiring than she thought.

After opening her eyes again, the clock read 6:00, as in 6 o’clock at night.

“Crap, I missed two classes. Why did I?” The mattress caught up with her, leaving Tegan with a sore back and midsection. Making it to class after that was iffy as-is. Hephaestus likely felt the same way as well, with him still laying down but awake.

“Good…wake up time,” Tegan said.

“Same to you. I think the house is empty, so you know what this means,” he said, still managing to wink in spite of being partially asleep.

“Oh, you dirty old man,” she said to him. “Only if you’re awake, though.” He turned on his back and folded his hands on his chest.



“Awake enough for you?”

“Okay, fine, you cutie-pie.”

He grinned. “What uncle Nik doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”



The old, malfunctioning bedsprings squeaked with rust and more age than Nik’s joints. That wasn’t a concern in an empty sorority house, though, unless Jerri or another one of the girls walked in before they finished.



“Screw you guys, I just washed those sheets!” It was Jerri, who expected some peace, quiet, and no laundry after a packed day of grocery restocking, research, and working on her thesis. She caught the two lovebirds in their underwear, a sight she didn’t want to see from a relative and a relative in everything but blood.

“Get out of my house,” she said, fuming. “Don’t come to my parties again, just…stop being so gross and uncool.” That last word stung the worst.

“I’m sorry, Jerri,” Tegan said, meekly making her way downstairs in her underwear and garters. “It won’t happen again.”

“If you’re banned, there’s no way you can. That’s how a ban works.”

“Okay,” Tegan whispered. Jerri threw a coat in their direction.

“Dad would have a fit if I let you freeze, though,” Jerri said. Tegan considered covering herself up, because even the pile of her regular clothes was hardly enough for the New Simland autumn’s cold, but she handed the coat to Hephaestus.

“You’ve been through enough,” she said. “Stay warm.” He put it on, but not before yelling at the house first.



“Not your fault that all the ghosts are here!” Tegan pretended to ignore it and ordered a fresh pizza for the two of them at home. Beyond that one sentence, Hephaestus seemed to be in a good place, and enjoyed a meal of junk and melted cheese in his belly.

“Sure I was sober last night?” he asked.

“Definitely,” said Tegan. “Beyond that, I don’t know what your triggers are. And I wish I did. I mean, you said something about therapy this morning, and whoever you see would like to know that.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t in a great spot. Don’t act on that.”

“I still want some help for you, though.”

“Don’t sweat it. You’ll have a long, long time to fret about worse. I’m in the final third, and I’m not wasting it on a shrink’s couch.”

“Okay,” she whispered to him too.

“I’m considering this a lost day,” he said. “Just gonna sleep like it’s been any other day. Though I better thank you for the woohoo.”

“Oh, I live to please.”

“Hopefully I do too.” Tegan gave him a quick kiss to say yes to that, and washed the dishes that night. It was the least she could do for her confused old partner. The most she could do was actually help, but there were exams to take and friends to make if she was lucky and ambitious.



The exams to take came first, though Hephaestus was slacking by reading a book instead of putting the finishing touches on a sculpture to be critiqued. He headed to the studio later, but Tegan was engrossed in plant anatomy. Their pollen was in her blood, and a career as a botanist became attractive as she read on, even if wrangling ghosts kept her on her toes. Plus, she could research crops to prevent malnutrition! Feed the starving kids in Strangetown! Provide an orchid for every lonely hospital patient in Simnation so they could feel loved.

There was still time to change. She kept the thought, even if she was studying Botany “just because of grandpa Lincoln” because hunting for ghosts required no education and kept her options wide and open.

It was after Hephaestus had left that Tegan found a note in her lap and Sunni the redhead walking away. Considering how they were friends or close enough after the party, it had to be good news.

Sorry to hear about the ban.

But you guys live in the Dedham Domicile! It’s only the fifth-coolest party house in town. Why don’t you use it?

I want more parties with you. =)

Sunni Dean and the rest of my gal-pals


“Huh,” Tegan said. The idea made sense, and if Franco and company rented out that house some decades prior, then it had to be nice for parties, or at least for Annette’s drinking habit. It was a big house, with a hot tub in the backyard, a keg on the deck, and room to expand with juice pong and other fun things.

“Whatever it takes for more friends,” she sighed.



She called up a few people from the last party that she remembered the names of. Landry stood out, and he got the first keg stand of a new generation. And Tegan vowed to never drop anyone during a keg stand. If they were too heavy, she would seek out someone else to give them a lift.

The parties at the Dedham Domicile got as interesting as those at Tri Sigma or anywhere else. The juice flowed as if the keg was broken open, and a whole new world was opened up for two once-awkward students.





Games were played.



And Marco Swenson, among others, broke the dress code on a whim.



Naked bodies and hangovers made even the good Tegan smile. No one was ever harmed, and her reputation shot up from doormat-esque Botany student, to the rare collegian with the habits of a jock and the 3.75 GPA of a nerd all because of what she could host. It made late-night games of hopscotch even worthier of her smile.

Jerri also stopped calling her uncool.

But, as usual, Annette liked to drop a bomb on Tegan. Bryant hadn’t shown his face at the mansion, with good reason, but Annette was always knee-deep in family issues anyways. With eight grandchildren in Twinbrook (Niklaus opted to never meet her) and a few great-grandkids too, she had plenty of family to be knee-deep in. She missed meddling in Tegan’s life, though, and the worst thought was the possibility of her being an independent immortal for a few semesters! Her grown-up, independent, college-attending peapod needed a project to help the family with.



It started one night, when she and Hephaestus went out for a night with themselves and a pool table. Tegan was ready to break the triangle of balls until Hephaestus pointed out something she always ignored.

“Your phone is ringing. I think it’s someone back home,” he said.

“Probably right.” She shuddered at the thought of answering through that touchscreen garbage again. “Break the triangle, I’ll be right back.”

She answered. “Hey, peapod! It’s your favorite drunkard.”

“I’ve met a lot of drunkards here, Annette,” she said, with a chuckle. “And you’re still my favorite one.”

“That’s the Tegan I know. Anyways, can you build a time machine for me?”



Word Count for this chapter: 2,672
Word Count so far: 191,079
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 96, 11/18)
« Reply #456 on: November 19, 2014, 03:18:43 PM »
*jaw drop of realization*

Wonderful update, and great ending. Can't wait to see what's been setting Heph off!



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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 97, 11/19)
« Reply #457 on: November 19, 2014, 10:44:31 PM »
*jaw drop of realization*

Wonderful update, and great ending. Can't wait to see what's been setting Heph off!

The time machine's workings will be revealed more and more as time goes on. It takes a strong sim to wrangle time, and let's face it, spineless Tegan won't be getting access to all of it. :P

Yes. I have Heph's reveal scheduled for Chapter 99. Just finished shooting the extra scenes to it tonight!



Chapter 97: Tegan's Relapse



“That’s odd,” Tegan said.

“Since your harvester breaks a lot of laws of space for compressing things, I was thinking that time travel was the next step,” Annette said. “Could you at least try?”

“I mean, I can, but I have a lot of classwork to do.”

“Just bribe ‘em!”

“No!”

“What do you mean? You are a Waverly, after all,” said Annette.

“I’m still a Curious.”

“You have more of a claim than Hephaestus has to the name, and he’s just fine being a legal Waverly. Anyways, it isn’t the Waverly on paper that counts, it’s the Waverly in your heart. And the Waverly in your heart is bound to say ‘I can make this easier because life’s already hard enough.’”

“Well I won’t. You can’t make me,” Tegan said in a childish tone.

“I can keep encouraging the time machine, though.”

“I’ll see what I can do about it. Why a time machine, gram?”

“Well, we all have our regrets, now don’t we? I had an old friend years ago. I never said good-bye, and if I could…”

“I’ll do it for you,” said Tegan. “How are things going over there?”

“A little lonely, but you’ll be back one day. We can get to wedding planning then.”



Tegan looked back over at the pool table. Hephaestus was having a good streak hitting solids into the pockets. She would never win at this rate. Annette’s last sentence struck her upon seeing him again though; picking out a lilac suit jacket that would go with his kilt, and a wedding dress for her. Sorting through food and drink options, sending out the invitations, it all felt so close and all Tegan needed to do was wait for Hephaestus to propose. She was a traditional person that way.

“What do you know about time machines?” she asked him.

“Not a thing,” said Hephaestus. “Is this something from Annette?” Tegan nodded.

“And she calls me a nut.” He chuckled a bit as Tegan got her first striped ball into a pocket. She had a chance after all. The game was down to nothing but the 8-ball, and Tegan won. Things would go fine, even with the world’s weirdest project sitting on her workbench.

We all wondered a lot about Annette, because the details of her past that she was willing to throw into the open were scattered, bizarre, and specific. Tegan was no exception, and while the question of “well, where was she from anyways?” lingered ever since she was able to rationalize the idea of having a background, she had no specific questions until Annette mentioned an old friend. Surely, she had the time to say good-bye to all of them in Twinbrook.

I can’t say that any of us were persistent about finding the answers. Not me, and not my grandmother who had enough on her plate with university alone.

“Botany is a difficult major,” her academic advisor said. “You’re luckily on track, but there’s not much leeway, and the powers that be are wicked stern about requirements.”

“It’s nothing I can’t do,” Tegan said.

“We’ll write you in for Human Anatomy, then. As I said, wicked stern and wicked weird.”

“I’ll do it for my degree.”

“That’s the spirit. Enjoy the skeletons.”



Anatomy wasn’t the drag that Organic Chemistry was, even if it was far more pointless to the study of plant life. Professor Cronk graded tests fairly and made only one student cry thanks to a graphic description of the horrific injuries that skeletons could recover from. Tegan, not usually one for bile fascination, found it interesting even in the sense of learning about the evils of the world. She also paid little attention to the shimmering, undead skin of her professor. Surely, Annette knew Mrs. Cronk from back in the day; she was born and raised as a New Simland gal and called the university town her home.

“Professor?” Tegan asked during a lull in their outdoors anatomy lab.

“Yes, Tegan?”

“You’ve been around for a while, right?”

“I won’t tell you how long, but yeah, I’m an old vamp.”

“Okay. Did you know Annette Waverly?”

“Oh dear. Everyone knew her with those antics. I mean, some of us are still around, and someone had to have known her better than I did. I just found her passed out on my lawn one night. It’s good that she’s a fun drunk and not a violent one.”



Tegan eyed her skeleton and the intricacies of the joints at lab sessions, and got another idea. She got another, very bad idea that got her in trouble before.

Cole Cary, from some of her classes, was a ginger-haired frat boy who had no idea if hipster or rockabilly was his preferred style. In spite of that, he seemed like a decent fellow, and found himself sitting next to Tegan in a class again. He passed her a note while the professor went on one of his regular tangential stories.

Join Sigma Pi for a night of fun!
September 26th


“You mean it?” she whispered to Cole.

“I dunno. I see you everywhere. What could hurt about it?”

“Nothing. But…do you have something I can do? Like, you have some old furniture at the frat house?”

“An old dining set we can’t even use now,” Cole said. “What’s the need?”

“Building materials.”

He thought for a moment. “Oh, oh I see. I guess it will be interesting when we’re buzzed.”



As if she wasn’t going to produce more heat and damage, Tegan lit another bonfire at the party. Hephaestus bathed in its heat too, though he was a little confused at Tegan’s other plans. “Can nepotism get you out of this one?”

“I checked the laws. As long as no one presses charges, I’m good. And they don’t even want this set now. I’ll check with Cole to see when I can do this.”



That wasn’t going to happen with juice in the equation. Oh well, she could find the right set by herself.

She headed inside, and in a room near the front door, they indeed had a dining room/ The only problem was the multiple tables and chairs that all looked close to identical. Each one was inspected for scratches and damage, and they all had that too. Tegan crossed her fingers and strapped the explosives to the best match.



“Tegan?” Cole asked. “Why are you looking away from it?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Stand back, all of you!” A few other brothers stood close to the site, confused.

“No, wait!” Cole was too late from his streak, too, and one of Sigma Pi’s dining tables blew up in an orange blast.



“Dang it, Tegan, it was other one! Now we have to use the couches.” She was caught up in the euphoria of the blast instead, and listened to Cole only when she noticed a singed fraternity brother standing near the arch.

“I’m so sorry,” she said to him. “I…I can buy you guys a new one.”

“I have my eye on a few. We’ll talk later.”



She still felt even sorrier for the singed one. Annette sent Tegan off to university with a Moodlet Manager, which she kept on her person at all times. It could help the singed. Without introducing herself, she approached him and gave him a refreshing blast.

“Are you a Waverly?” he asked. “That skin’s a dead giveaway.”

“Close enough,” she said.

“You know, I remember catching up with the first three of you guys,” he said, as the ash and charred bits fell off like an insect’s molting exoskeleton. “Are you drinking too?”

“Only a bit.”

“Better than that Annette, for sure. She was so used to being drunk that she faked it once just to stay sane.”

An interesting development, perhaps. Perhaps the old guy could listen. Cole said that his name was Kaz Nasri, and he had to have been telling the truth or a modicum of it because he really was an old, old vampire. He had a bit of a hipster streak and loved only the best coffeehouse brews and locally-sourced plasma. “He won’t hurt a fly, really,” Cole said. “He’s always at the coffee place across from the quad.”



Sure enough, he was, leaning on the counter while waiting for a delicious French press coffee to steep.

“What does this Waverly want?” he asked Tegan.

“A bit about Annette. She’s still around, and she said something to me that got me thinking,” Tegan said.

“I can’t say that I knew her too well.”

“Well, she doesn’t tell us any secrets, so maybe she’s weird and tells them to strangers.”

“Yeah, there was that night that she pretended to be drunk and fishing for guys. Let me come to the front. I’ll tell you this.”



“So, it was a night quite like this one…”

Kaz, as Cole said, bought himself a cup of pressed coffee, made from beans as dark as his hair or even darker. He often did that at night, thanks to vampirism taking its toll, his study sessions lasting long, and the coffee shop having generous hours.

He ordered his cup and waited by the counter, unable to start studying until the surge of caffeine did its best on a being without a heartbeat.

Flirting and love weren’t his game, but that didn’t stop one equally-immortal student from trolling the vampire and trying her best.



Leaned over the counter was Annette, who acted as drunk as ever. “You…and me, look man, we gotta hook up tonight.”

“Your breath smells too nice for that,” Kaz told her. He wasn’t buying that she was intoxicated when the only scent on her breath was the slight odor of onions, thanks to a culinary buddy surprising her with French onion soup for lunch. Annette continued with the façade, though.

“There’s just something I can’t tell my family, bud,” she said to him, hiccupping at the end for dramatic effect. “There was this girl, and her name was Ciara, and I was just so mean to her, man. She slept with every guy in Moonlight Falls, but, I hated her for it. And I feel really bad.”

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, kid, I’m just trolling you,” she said, not slurring. “Though that story was real. I just needed to practice my fake drunk, for when I need to get sent home from class.”

“That’s…nice. Remember to drink something so you smell like it.”

“Duly noted.”

“Can I get a different sort of drink, though?” Kaz asked, gesturing towards her arm.

“Not a chance.”

Returning to the present day, Kaz ended his story. “Odd thing to remember that old hag for,” he said.

“It works. I wonder if that is the friend she’s looking for.”

Granted, she did tell the story to us immortals, though it was about her friend named Helena who slept with every guy in Moonlight Falls. I think Tegan got the story from Annette later on about Julie who did the same. It was perhaps one of the best tidbits we got about her past, and I still wonder if the fabled Eileen to not be is really an Eileen.

Instead of questioning Annette’s story, Tegan took Kaz’s account as motivation to get her nose out of her books and to fill her pockets with scrap. If there was a chance for her dear granny to do some good for the people once in her life, Tegan would enable it. Failed classes and coming short on credits be darned; Ms. Curious had a charity case!

The surrounding towns had an appliance recycling initiative, and due to storage concerns, the request for an eccentric college to take them instead was welcomed. However, they likely expected an installed art piece from her, or even a refurbishing product. No one but Tegan got eye of her orders of plastic explosives.



It all went well in the backyard, with shrapnel snowing over the Dedham Domicile. Pieces fell on the grass, in the hot tub, and in the trash. But the time machine required power and parts beyond what one stick of explosives could give Tegan, and she wasn’t willing to move her newly-acquired broken washing machines. The movers lined them up in rows in the garage. Worse yet, she was all ready to detonate them until Kaz stopped by for a visit. He was impressed by Tegan, or maybe he was lonely among people technically outside of his generation.



“Keep clear, Kaz,” Tegan said. “I’m not burning you again.” He made sure to stay out of the garage. All of them expected a loud but easy to manage event, as long as they kept clear. Tegan hit the button to set off the reaction, ran outside, and a chain of booms and bangs resonated throughout the street. All was good until a few seconds later, when the unmistakable smell of burning wood and paint wafted out the windows.



“Crap, crap, crap” Tegan muttered, as she grabbed an extinguisher. Kaz was in panic, and Heph tried to call the authorities after panicking. She spent ages battling the blazes, and only the fire department was able to help for the rest, which included a burnt Kaz. But even with smears of burnt carbon on her scrap, Tegan had her scrap, and perhaps, enough scrap for a time machine.



It called for celebration. Tegan and Hephaestus turned on the jets to the hot tub and relaxed into a brew of bubbles and chlorine. She stopped questioning his insistence on a jacket a long time ago. The water was hot, but the air was cold, after all.

“So, ever try doing something a little more fun than pruning in one of these?” Hephaestus asked. “Neither have I.”

“I’ll be willing to go first with you too,” Tegan said, smiling a sly smile.



“Oh, keep me out of this one,” Kaz sighed. He tried to see if the hot tub would wash off the singed marks, but no luck. It wasn’t worth sitting through hot tub woohoo for it.

“You can use our shower,” Tegan said. Kaz took up that offer, leaving them to love each other in privacy.



It was the encouragement that Tegan needed, as she slaved away for days and nights perfecting the shell of the machine, down to the decorative gears. She skipped Genetics of Plants III for it, set on having something to deliver to Annette upon her return home.



The aesthetics were the easy part. The real ordeal came when she had to make it bend time itself.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,433
Word Count so far: 193,840
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Offline sone

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 97, 11/19)
« Reply #458 on: November 20, 2014, 02:58:13 PM »
So many updates!  Yay!  Can't wait to see how time travel mucks things up.

Offline Rowan

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 97, 11/19)
« Reply #459 on: November 20, 2014, 08:05:02 PM »
Oh I can only imagine what is going on here, but I'm willing to bet Moonlight Falls doesn't factor into it.
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Offline Trip

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 97, 11/19)
« Reply #460 on: November 22, 2014, 09:54:29 AM »
So many updates!  Yay!  Can't wait to see how time travel mucks things up.

That's what happens when I have the screenshots for things already. ;) Half of the dynasty is extra-shooting and half is what I have. It's easy to work with what I've had for nearly a year.

Yes, you'll see a bit of it as Tegan's adulthood goes on.

Oh I can only imagine what is going on here, but I'm willing to bet Moonlight Falls doesn't factor into it.

It could. I've certainly mentioned a few times that Arthur is a Moonlight Falls native, right?

Anyways, the true reveal to that is scheduled for Chapter 124 or thereabouts. :)



Chapter 98: Hello Armageddon



Tegan regretted not reading H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine sooner than she did. One little mention of trying to decode time travel resulted in five gently-used copies of the book being delivered to her mailbox. The book was a slim volume, and an old piece of work from far before Annette’s time or even the time of her great-grandparents.
 
Now, technology and Tegan always had a difficult relationship, but in a broad sense, even she would admit that a hatred of all technology was naïve at best. She enjoyed physics, and entertained the vague idea presented by Wells in his book. Time was just another dimension. If modern physics disagreed, then she could pursue that instead. But physics was one thing, removed from touchscreens and computer code no matter how much “it’s just physics!” arguments could be thrown at that.
 
So she threw herself into research, and missed some lectures and homework assignments in the process. It didn’t faze her.
 
Meanwhile, Hephaestus took drastic measures just short of visiting a psychiatrist again. The Neuroscience Club was an odd, experimental bunch who made subjects out of comic book fans who were at Keith’s Komics at the right time. Hephaestus didn’t quite know how he got there; he didn’t even read comic books.


 
However, fate worked its magic, and Hephaestus found himself getting a brain scan to test out a cheaper way of doing them. Marco the fairy said it was painless, but Hephaestus tensed up in his seat during the scan. His brain felt overloaded even just sitting in a lounge chair and watching stimuli. He knew he was insane, everyone knew that he was insane. The student in charge of his scan stood there puzzled the entire time.
 
“No grey matter deficiencies,” they said, muttering. “There has to be something in there!”
 
They went through a list. Decreased activity in the temporal lobe, but no severe differences in function across the board. No tumors showed up in the scan either. They let Hephaestus go and shrugged. “Say no to herbs?” was the only, flimsy conclusion they could come up with. Aside from trying them once in high school (peer pressure), he couldn’t even take that.
 
He wasn’t furious about it. It just meant that he had no excuse to slack in his schoolwork, and Hephaestus, distracted by untraceable insanity or not, chugged through extended studio time and getting his fingers dirty with wet slip. Of course, he couldn’t help but notice his Tegan not doing that. She fell asleep, face-down in books on experimental physics, instead of in her coursework for Ethics in Genetic Modification. This happened for a lot of nights. Tegan wished it didn’t too, but she was too deep in a morass of time to care.
 
“It’s tough,” she told Hephaestus. “Got any ideas?”
 
“You have to disregard its constraints,” he said, with ambiguous seriousness. It wasn’t his field of research.
 
Later that day, he said the actual truth. “You know what, I’ll sit in on a physics class and see what they say. There’s even one on the quantum level. I think that will solve it, yes.”



He tried his best, but ended up falling asleep five minutes in, to the chagrin of the students who piled on the espressos and bills to the coffee shop in order to stay alert during the class.
 
“Jerk, wake up!” the guy in back of him said.
 
“Sorry, he’s rambling on about gods and I just want him to get to the physics,” said Hephaestus.
 
“This is Studies of Old World Religions.”



He was about to get up from his seat and walk out wondering why science-minded Corey was delivering a guest lecture on Old World religions, but people could be well-rounded. However, it turned out that Hephaestus walked in on the right class.



“Deities of Time are ubiquitous,” Corey said. “Even in Old World religions. Most of them have roots in the belief of the earliest polytheistic religion of the Old World, as you can recall. Does anyone need a review on Albine?”
 
Hephaestus raised his hand.
 
“You’re not registered in this course,” Corey said. “Or your attendance has been awful lately.”
 
“Email me a link of your best sources. I know someone who’s interested.”
 
Tegan did not take it well at first. “I don’t think this is the place for such things.”
 
“Has work in physics helped you yet?” Tegan then snatched the books he bought out of his hands.
 
“Looks like exams can wait. For gram’s sake.”
 
“You can always pay with the bribe money. It’s not wrong if everyone else here has done it.”
 
“Never. Never ever, not as long as there is even a spark of good in my heart!”
 
He nodded with a sad look in his eyes. “I’m not here to corrupt you.”
 
“Never thought you were. Where would you get such a thought anyways?”
 
They both ended up researching the fabled god of Time and Space. The myth had it that Albine had dominion over the equivalents of both Heaven and Hell, and rituals to summon his powers called upon extreme heat or cold to rouse him from his place in the metaphysical world. Because fire was easier to make than liquid nitrogen, it was usually heat.
 
The worship of Albine and any local translation of him still persisted in the Old World. Dragon Valley, in all of its backwards medieval ways, worshipped Ailbhe in an image they were familiar with. Shrines to him became historical curiosities and still attracted visitors.
 
The town had fire pits everywhere. It was worth a shot to see if they could break time that way and then harness it in a strange machine.



Of course, it was not to stay warm while drinking in an open park. Tegan resolved to quit it as a regular habit by the time she left university, but dang, was Annette right about its temporary work. She felt like a new woman. She felt like a new woman who walked in a crooked path while under the influence. Wearing heels did not help.

She learned one of the chants to invoke the power of Albine, because fire itself wouldn’t cut it. Obviously, she wouldn’t jump through a wormhole in time, but Tegan grabbed a sample from the botany lab. The vial it was contained it wouldn’t melt in the fire, and if it disappeared, then she created either a rift in time or a similarly physics-breaking phenomenon.

Through the fires of Hell
Break what we stand in


Or so the translation loosely went.



When Tegan threw it into the flame, colors fire not unlike that produced from copper salts rose up for a split second. The logs inside the fire were visible, but not her vial. She extinguished and dismantled the pile, with no evidence of the vial there. It disappeared, and hopefully into a void of time itself.



Whatever. Something weird happened, and Tegan celebrated with a keg stand assisted by Holly the fairy. Heck, she barely knew her!



Tegan shared the news with uncle Niklaus soon after, when they both had the spare time for a game of pool.

“Shouldn’t you be studying, though?” Nik asked.

“I know I should be.”

“The discovery sounds great, if a little esoteric for my tastes.”

“I wish it was pure science too, but it’s not like gram specified that for me. She just wants to make amends with the past no matter how she can. And Albine is said to have been a loving god, so he’ll let her in the past. I know it!”

Nik sighed. “Whatever works, peapod.”

He also won the game of pool, probably due to the sheer amount of practice. Hephaestus, who tagged along, wanted to practice a pool trick to say he accomplished that, and a cheery pop tune played over the intercom system.

“Oh golly, I always liked this song,” Tegan said.

“I know the kids do too. Are you asking your old uncle for a dance?”

“Sure!”

“Oh, alright.”



And with a steady beat, Tegan didn’t hear any more complaints from her uncle about her grades. Plus, she had finals week to bring them up to a passing level, as long as installing a superheater in the time machine didn’t take up too much of her study time.

She kept her books open in her line of vision as she tinkered with the machine, glancing over at dry diagrams of the fine mechanics of plant cells while lining up the wires to the heater. Adapted from an old radiator and modified beyond recognition, it would make Albine blush if he was a physical being.

She got it done in time for her last final. She attended all of them, and crossed her fingers that she did well enough to inch her way into a solid D.


 
The moment of truth came when their report cards came in.
 
“I slipped up with one of the independent study portions. At least a C passes,” Hephaestus said. “And you?”
 
“Failed, failed, another fail. Christ.”
 
“Come, sit on the bench with me,” said Hephaestus. Tegan listened and found one of the world’s two best arms around her.



“You did the right thing,” he continued.
 
“Are you just here to cuddle and give me pep talks?” Tegan asked.
 
“I like to think that it gets me what I want.”
 
“You cheeky man! I’ll do those things anyways.”
 
“And you know? They might take pity on you for it.”
 
Rejected. She wasn’t surprised when that was stamped in red ink on top of her Intent to Graduate form when it was returned back to her. In fact, the warnings piled up in her inbox. The one to her student email that she never checked, mind you.
 
Tegan took a deep breath and told the registrar that she was holding off re-enrolling until she got the rest of her life sorted out.
 
“That’s more important,” said the registrar, leaning forward a bit to give Tegan a better look at her skin and all of the wrinkles. This registrar did her job at a desk, and therefore didn’t have the body of a professional athlete. None of it reflected on her character; she seemed nice enough. “I love being here, but I love my husband back home more. We’ve gained some pounds between us and the kids are all on their own. I hope you have that too.”
 
“I really hope to…soon!” said Tegan. School could wait when Tegan had eternity to complete it, no matter how much she itched to switch to a job in botany. The burning itch akin to a poison ivy rash was for a ring from Hephaestus, and whatever the future held.
 
Perhaps she could know that last one.
 
Hephaestus was packing their bags while she approached the machine. He told her to try it; packing bags was of no concern to him. He’d make for a good husband, definitely.
 
She powered it on and waited until it hummed and vibrated with the power needed to break time. That filled the room. Opening the doors unleashed a purple glow, which told Tegan that something was working with her machine, and that maybe she had something nice to bring home after all.


 
“Here goes nothing,” she said to herself.


 
As it turned out, Tegan had some success at university after all.
 
For a moment, her world blacked out, and the only thing that Tegan could hear was herself internally praying that she wasn’t dead by this bend in time. She fell limp into a mostly black world next, albeit one bathed in ultraviolet light that turned her spring-green skin a shade of ashy brown (probably what it would have been if Bronson’s genes had more of their way). And when she fell, she hit a flimsy pair of arms and brushed up against a silk tunic.


 
“My own brood…not knowing to stay out of my realm?” the carrier snarled. His skin was the same ashen tone of Tegan’s but it was just the UV. His eyes glowed white like the climax of a detonation.
 
“Yours, who are you?” she asked.


 
“It’s a shame. You’re not even a defected follower, you don’t even know my face? My role?” His voice echoed and bounced off the stone walls as he sighed with a dramatic flair. “I am Albine, the father of time and space.”
 
“I’m sorry, lord,” Tegan said. “I barely even wanted to be here.”
 
“Then why did you summon me? And why did you throw down that glass vial of bamboo tissue beforehand?”
 
“That wasn’t the intended effect-“
 
“There is only one reason people try to summon me, and it is so they can harness my power of time to fix their mistakes. What mistakes have you made, my child?”
 
“Plenty, but this is for someone else. I’m just testing something.”
 
“What does someone else need?” Albine asked.
 


“Listen, lord, someone dear to me needs to get back into the past-“


 
“Enough, you petulant child!” He snapped right at her. “I cannot let anyone tamper with the past. Only I can know how to change it without damaging your present, and if the worship of me has gone out of style, is there anyone in your life worthy enough to use my power?”
 


“I’m sorry, lord,” Tegan repeated, slapping her face out of embarrassment for disrespecting the god she summoned. “I’ll have to break the news to her. But is it possible to travel at all?”
 
“I can give you a preview of the future, but not everything is set in stone. The vision that is true today will be flipped tomorrow, guaranteed.”
 
“I want to say that it’s possible, and that there’s a god out there for it. Show me the future.”
 
“Get into the gondola,” Albine said, pointing towards the glowing white boat in the canal. “The door to the future is on the other side.”
 


He taunted her as they got ready to head down the canal and into a changing unknown. “You’ll cry and run away from what you see.”


 
“I just want to see it.” She slouched over in her seat.
 
“We’ll see about that.”
 
Tegan acted like a mere spectator of the future, not guaranteed physical access to anything put in front of her. That being said, she had the breakthrough she wanted, as long Annette could break through Albine’s rules.
 
“You get one moment,” Albine said, motioning as if to play a tape. “In the interests of interest, I will keep the rest a mystery.”
 


The only scene that played was cut out of a birthday party, perhaps. Tegan picked herself out first, still dressed in cobalt blue floral prints. Her face copied itself a few times.
 
“Is…is that my daughter?” she asked Albine, pointing to the old woman in a red dress and with her blonde hair in a curled bob.
 
“Perhaps, perhaps,” he said. “The order does not matter, but she comes after you.”
 
“I mean, she’s built like me. And I certainly wouldn’t have raised someone so evil-looking,” she said, referring to the old man followed by a red aura.
 
“No, how could you do such a thing?”
 
“And she’s blonde! Just like her daddy. I mean, Albine, you probably know this already, but a lot of the guys in town have dark hair. That means it’s meant to be after all.”
 
“Can you give me anything else about this, Albine?” she asked. “When is this?”
 
“My child, no matter what happens, you are watching the beginning of Armageddon.”
 
“Looks like a nice Armageddon.”
 
“I think you have had enough. You will be sent back to the present, the time that you left. This will not hurt.”



Tegan was throttled back into the real world. She whispered “well, hello Armageddon” as she exited the time machine, still at a loss for what to tell Annette, other than that she saw Armageddon out of context.
 


She still had more context than she had for the cybersuit, though. How bizarre.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,680
Word Count so far: 196,520

I don't think Tegan is being dense for thinking that Josephine is her daughter instead. It would make more sense, actually, because she's blond, and was on the heavy side as an elder and therefore built more like Tegan than skinny little Phil was (yeah I know that Hephaestus is slim too). And Jo hides her bad parts and shames better than her dear old dad. :P

But not raising an evil child. If only she knew.

As for how the immortals were clearly able to go back to the past, let me try not to spoil things. Albine is a tough customer, and the only person who can convince him comes into a world a lot later...
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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 98, 11/22)
« Reply #461 on: November 23, 2014, 07:29:38 PM »
This answers like one question and creates close to fifteen. You really like keeping people on their toes, don't' ha?  ;)

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 99, 11/23)
« Reply #462 on: November 23, 2014, 10:55:05 PM »
This answers like one question and creates close to fifteen. You really like keeping people on their toes, don't' ha?  ;)

Yes. ;D

I drop a lot of details generations in advance of answering them. Some later ones will drop a massive bomb on you readers. Wouldn't have it any other way!



Chapter 99: The Magic Winter



“They’re gonna be mad at me, aren’t they?” Tegan said, as she got her coat on. “None of them failed, daddy didn’t fail, did your mum fail?” Hephaestus shook his head no.

“What a reputation for me to have,” she continued.

“You have time to make up for it. The classes you failed would consist of, what, a semester?”

“Probably.”

“And you didn’t compromise yourself once by using bribe money,” said Hephaestus. “You can put it towards charity now.”

“There’s that.”

Winter started to fall on the university town again, and Tegan bundled up in her outerwear and had her luggage ready for the trip home, but Hephaestus had a stop to make. “I didn’t want to go to the ceremony because I knew you wouldn’t be there,” he said. “Let me just go to the Annex and get my diploma quietly.”

“You didn’t need to do that for me.”

“But I did, babe.”

“Let’s get your diploma, then.”



Hephaestus graduated in plain clothes and with a smile on his usually sad mouth. He had to have been up to something, and as it turned out, he was. He and Tegan exchanged some silent winks and eyebrow waggling on the flight back, but he still didn’t break his silence. As much as he knew that she knew, Hephaestus wanted to make their engagement special. He mulled over ways to pounce and surprise her with it, and go immediately to planning a wedding before his old joints gave out.

He also had to think of a cake for his birthday, but that roused different feelings in him. He could take after his dad and not age well, for all he knew. And in that case, he could only hope that Tegan would still love him.

They arrived home and set their bags down after the long flight and ride back from the airport. They were caught in yet another snowstorm. The seasons lined up for Twinbrook and New Simland, and considering that they departed in the winter and how Hephaestus never came home for breaks, it was as if he left Twinbrook in stasis. The roads had yet to be plowed.

Lily gave each of them a hug, and a judging side-eye at Hephaestus.

“So, we got a call from the Registrar’s office too,” said Lily. “It was your choice, really.”

“I know, mum. I’m glad I made it.”

“It’s odd. I can’t imagine what it’s like being your age and not knowing how to continue. Certainly can’t imagine being…older.” Lily gave a fierce look at Hephaestus again.

“No, I think I know now. And you’ll like it, I know it.”

“Peapod, why don’t you show gram what you built? I need to ask Heph how it went too.” Tegan skipped off to find Annette and lead her to the moving van. She needed a few opinions on where to place such a big machine, and especially the opinions of the head of the household. That left Lily and Hephaestus alone. Franco was out doing old man things.

“Didn’t get a call about you. So I assume that you spent your whole time studying,” Lily said. “No parties, no women, nothing.”

“You were in the same major. Heck, you did the same concentration. There’s time for side-projects, right? I did well, aside from one C.”

“That’s good to hear. It’s not like you have any plans for getting hitched? I mean, too late now for you, right?”

“Never too late. I have something planned right now!”

“Oh, who’s the lucky lady?”

“Oh, Lily, you know!” Hephaestus believed she did. He also believed that she wasn’t that opposed to it until she decked him in the nose a second later.

“Christ! What was that for?” he asked her, holding his bleeding nose.

“You’re my stepbrother, and this is how you prefer to act? I thought you were a little more dignified, I really did.”

Hephaestus didn’t respond. He cried though, considering how hard of a punch Lily had cultivated, and ran off to the bathroom to clean up and not scare the family with a bloody face.



He exited after stemming the bleed and taking a long shower, to find that Franco settled to be more of a domestic and caring man. Also, he found that he missed his own creation’s birthday. What a surrogate parent he was, forgetting something like that!

“Franco, when did this happen?” Hephaestus asked.

“I’m not against helping children,” said Franco.

“No. I mean, Piper’s in school already?”

“Ask Annette for the recap. She was there. I’m just tutoring her while I wait for my next shipment of paints. I don’t know how I ran out so quickly!”

Annette first asked Hephaestus why he still looked like hell. He didn’t skirt around what Lily did, and expressed his confusion too. “I thought that she’d like me thinking about popping the question. And, I guess I know now why she doesn’t.”

“She’s just one of many of us. It is a little sad, because you have only one person to fight, and boy, can she fight.” Hephaestus hung his head in slight defeat.

“Don’t look so sad!” Annette said. “At least Bryant’s out of the picture? Doesn’t that make you happy?”

He smiled with that sad, Bayless mouth, which took enough effort to make happen. “I won’t let it get me down. I just need a good idea.”
“I’ll leave that one up to you.”

“So, anyways Annette,” he said. “Piper’s growing up already?”

“I know! It seems like it’s been so short. But I’ll give the proud father the details, and the pictures! I had a friend take them.”

Before getting carried to one of Annette’s birthday cakes, Piper cried and fussed for a ride on the spring rider. For a split-second, Annette wanted to refuse so that she wasn’t enabling a spoiled brat, but then Piper looked her in the eyes with those beautiful black eyes and no longer could the old woman refuse her demands.



Annette cooed over the tot while she had her last assisted ride on the spring rider. It was rated for 60 pounds, so Piper had a little more use of it ahead of her, but without the help from an elder enthralled by her adorable adorableness.

“Okay nooboo, time to get off,” Annette said.



“No!” Piper crossed her arms in defiance.

“Yes, don’t you want to grow up.”

“Nuh-uh, Nettie.”

She grabbed her up by force. “There’s cake at the end of this.” That calmed Piper down enough, especially when she saw the actual cake on the table.



One of Annette’s cake sweetened the deal a lot for little Piper.



Because Franco was out at the time, Annette had to do her best with dressing a little girl. The only child she ever had to dress was her son, and Piper balked at all of the grey clothes presented to her. There went Annette’s best plan! She gave up and let Piper pick out what she wanted, which ended up being a matching outfit in retina-damaging hot pink. Big, pink-framed glasses completed the look and the prescription was as close as they were going to get until they got to the doctor’s.



Best of all, Piper didn’t need to nag anyone for a ride on the spring rider.

“Aww, my little cloneboo is growing up into a beautiful, artificial young lady,” said Hephaestus.

“I’ll say. I hope you and Tegan have a little boy soon. Piper might be older, but she’ll make for a hot cougar.” Hephaestus shrugged. He’d be fine with a lesbian daughter getting paired with Piper too, Annette’s hopes be darned.

She was young. It wasn’t worth much thought.

And in the world of romance, she could always turn to grandpa Franco for advice.

Snowflake Day was approaching, set for a week after they arrived back from university. In that week, Tegan settled back into the nightly grind of flushing out ghosts, and Hephaestus got a warm welcome back to the theatre. What didn’t happen was a proposal. Hephaestus kept saying that he just needed time to perfect it, when in reality, he was stuck on a good ring to give Tegan. Did she want a sapphire as blue as the bow on her head in the center, or a traditional diamond? Silver or gold? Platinum? Heck, what was even her ring size?

But even as he grew older, he had to stop fretting over it. A little bit of time lost in marriage was worth making it right and absolutely right.

So instead of getting a ring, Hephaestus bought gifts, as did everyone else. The list was long, including family and friends and long-time family friends. It was the first party in a long time without Bryant on the list, something that made the collective six members of the household breathe a sigh of relief and pure bliss.

Guess were greeted, inoffensive pop music played, and the scent of rosemary, sage, and Annette’s stuffed turkey filled the house. Everyone giggled and speculated what waited for them underneath the wrapping paper and packaging.

Hephaestus enjoyed himself too, in spite of not being much of a partier and feeling particularly old that day. He noticed a late guest walk in through the front doors too, right before gifts were about to be opened. Black hair, tan skin…lots of the town had that. His blue, denim jacket told everyone to watch out, though.



“Oh Bunny, I bet your gift is just terrible,” he said, yawning while Bunny picked up her gift (grandmother’s privilege; Tegan bought her a new necklace).

“Don’t even tempt it,” Bunny muttered to him. Everyone in the household wanted to punch that crasher, and while Tegan might have felt a twinge of it, she told everyone to calm down and enjoy the gifts. There was no use turning the family’s party into an outright riot.



His presense still scared her, and the guests didn’t all pay attention to her requests. Mickey Whelohff booed him and threatened to leave. Tegan handed him her gift to him (The Anarchist’s Cookbook, in mint condition) before he left.



Bryant couldn’t bring her down. A dozen other great guests and a pile of gifts outdid any of Bryant’s unpleasantness.



He picked up a box, in spite of no one being uninformed enough to buy him something. Franco recognized the wrapping job. “Bryant, that was meant for Piper.”



“Ooh, I always wanted a little sweater like that!” Bryant cheered. One of the elders rushed upstairs to pack something for Piper, just to give her a nice Snowflake Day.



A rainbow lava lamp worked well enough, yes.

Hephaestus tried to get up to splash his face with cold water in the bathroom, but his knees started to lock up. Goodness, that hurt. He was feeling old. If he determined it right, he was getting old too.

“Tegan!” he whispered to her. “We gotta leave. Now.”

“Okay, honey, okay,” she replied. She waved good-bye to all of the guests and gave Bunny a hug before Hephaestus dragged her out the door, running in a limping, worrying run.

“Golly, Heph? Why the rush?”

“I have something to do, and I can’t do it in front of them.”

They arrived at the pool, where it was too snowy to swim or do anything but use the hot tub. It beat celebrating the end of Snowflake Day at the hospital or on the bridge.

“Heph, really, what is this? We’re missing the turkey!” Tegan said.

“Something that might disappoint you,” he said. “And me too, for sure.” As the snow fell, so did a few sparkles. Tegan went into cheering mode as soon as she noticed them.



Alas, Hephaestus got the third-worst Snowflake Day gift. The worst was reserved for someone else, and no, the bag of burnt turkey giblets that Annette procured from the roast just for Bryant was still a little better.



The second-worst  was Buck Green receiving thirst and death for his last Snowflake Day of many.



And what the worst could have been was overshadowed in Hephaestus’ mind by him trying to find something dignified to cover his old bones that was still in lilac plaid. For the end of winter, a sweater worked well. He did age better than his father did, which was an upside to things. The real test was if Tegan still liked her old lover being a lot older.

She took to warming herself up in the hot tub, sans clothes because her dress was dry clean only.

“Happy birthday, dear,” she said to him. “You’ve never looked better in a kilt.”

“Aww, really?” he asked.

“Can’t lie about that. It’s cold out, why don’t you join? And you don’t need to wear your clothes like you normally do.”



Tegan’s phone rang while they kissed, but she let it ring. And then it did again, and for a third round.

“Maybe someone really needs me,” she said. “Sorry, I have to take this.” She got herself dressed and called back the number that called her three times in a row. The color left her skin as she ran from the pool and down the street. Hephaestus trusted that she would tell him if something went horribly wrong, and relaxed until a lonely soak felt too rough on him.

Perhaps he could get his joints moving again and take a walk.



His walk took him far, so far so that he was on the other side of town and up a hill in the cemetery. On a cold, haunting night, the graveyard was anything but haunted. Only the wind stirred the bushes, and the silence was in stark contrast to university. Voices and demons and ghosts and ghouls filled the cracks and still autumn air over there, but Twinbrook fell silent, leaving Hephaestus in a confused peace.

It wasn’t worth fretting about; he started to walk away until a spectral noise caught his attention.



One lone, grey spirit approached him, looking unlike any other ghost Hephaestus had seen. Hellish forms removed from normal human forms usually haunted Hephaestus, but the spectre that night looked all too human. He noticed its big ears first, coming into vision before any other details did. No matter; they weren’t that uncommon. The details painted the picture better: a long, slightly-downturned nose, a resting face that frowned, and small eyes that glowed white with spectral energy.

He remembered those pictures that Hannah showed him, even if they were so far in the past. It wasn’t any big-eared swamp elder. Just the right big-eared swamp elder.

“Dad!” Heph cheered, running towards him with arms outstretched.



“Son!” Tay embraced Hephaestus on impact. His spiritual form felt like the enveloping steam in a hot shower; light and warm.



“Oh, dad, I thought I’d never see you,” he said. “You look better than how mum described you.”

“Yeah, my last days were rough,” said Tay. “I can see again now, I can stand upright, it’s not that bad of a tradeoff, but I really wish I was there for you. Even for a day.”

“Can we take a seat somewhere? I just walked a mile, and at my age…”

“Sounds fine. I’d love to talk with you until the afterlife calls me back.”



They took a seat at one corner of the cemetery. “So,” Tay said. “Is life treating you well?”

“Pretty well. I have a beautiful woman, and a good job, and a degree like mum had. Though I went with art.”

“Bah, I never got that artsy-fartsy stuff. But, a beautiful woman, huh? I haven’t checked up on this world in so long. Tell me who it is.”



“Well, you remember Franco. I bet you do,” Hephaestus said.

“How could I not? What a sweet guy, and he made your mum so happy when I was gone.”

“It’s his granddaughter. Well, the older one. She’s green and really pretty, and didn’t you go to school with Bunny Curious?” Tay nodded, and mentioned having a crush on her and her pretty little pout back in the day. “She’s her granddaughter too.”

“Aww, she sounds like such a sweetpea.”

“I’ll say. I’m just stuck on something. I’m old now, and it’s now or never when it comes to marrying her. Any tips for me, dad?”

“No tips. We never got married, and I hope Hannah mentioned that to you or else she’s just a bad storyteller. But…I think I might have one thing, if it’s still in this world. I had to have left it in the drawer back home.”

He got up from his seat and focused his energy, until a white box appeared out of thin air. Tay gave it a shake.



“Here it is! I was meaning to give this to your mum until the crap hit the fan for my health,” Tay said, presenting the box to Hephaestus. “It’s nothing fancy, but it should have gone to the finest lady in Twinbrook back then, and now it’s going to the finest one living here now.”

“Oh my god, thank you,” Hephaestus said. “She’s gonna love it.”

“I hope she does. Have a little more success than I did, okay?”

“Alright, I promise. Is mum doing alright?”

Tay started to fade a little. “She’s doing as well as a ghost can. Tell Franco I said hello and thanks for making her happy.”



He disappeared into the aether, but Hephaestus still whispered a “thanks, dad” as the yellow smoke settled. His old bones, rattled by the snow and cold, needed a nap, and Hephaestus was ready to settle into a slumber on a hard bench until his phone rang. Tegan’s number was on the screen.

“I hope it’s all okay,” he muttered, sliding across the screen to accept the call. “Hey babe,” he said to her.

“Hi. Just wanted to tell you that I’m at the hospital right now. It’s…it’s Franco.”

Now, those words. Those were the worst Snowflake Day gift.



Word Count for this chapter: 2,995
Word Count so far: 199,515

We're almost at Chapter 100! Ignoring, well, the ending of this one, it's awesome because just as we're getting to chapter 100, we have:

- Almost 30,000 views
- Nearly 200,000 words

Both of which may be exceeded by the time the next chapter is posted. Thanks to everyone for the views! The fact that I can keep racking them up in spite of how dead the TS3 boards are is a miracle. :D
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Offline Rikki8528

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 99, 11/23)
« Reply #463 on: November 24, 2014, 03:11:20 AM »
W...w...what? Another Franco-spawn! Watcher save us! Unless he's dying. Ooh, I hope so. I don't know why but I love watching him suffer.

Offline Rowan

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Re: Eight Ways to Live Forever: The Waverly Immortal Dynasty (Ch. 99, 11/23)
« Reply #464 on: November 24, 2014, 06:34:27 AM »
He can't be dying! He's an immortal! What have you got up your sleeve, Trip?

That was beautiful with Tay giving his son the perfect engagement ring. Nothing else would do. I love it.

Who let Bryant in? That's what I want to know! Coming in, stealing a little girl's present!
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