"Eps! You're awake, I'm so glad. You were out for almost a week."
She concentrated hard on forming words, her lips out of practice but quickly waking back up. "Why?" There, that was better.
"You fell and hit your head. You had a concussion."
"Oh." That explained a lot, and she did remember falling. "Everything's blurry."
"Oh, right! Sorry." He picked something up off the table, then carefully placed her glasses on her face. "Better?"
"Much. Thanks." She pulled herself into a semi-sitting position, leaning back against her pillows. "Are we in a stairwell?"
"Yeah," he said, frowning. "All of the rooms were full. We were turned away from two hospitals because they didn't have any space for us, but Riverview's close-knit. When you were childhood best friends with the hospital administrator's daughter, you can pull a few strings. I couldn't get you a room, but I got you the stairwell."
Well, that answered one of her questions. She was in Riverview, the small town where Brendan had grown up. A long way from the University, and even further from Sunset Valley.
"What happened? I remember..." her voice trailed off as she remembered a flash, some sort of ghostly creature coming at her. "...a ghost? But that can't be right."
He reached out and took her hand in his, holding it tightly. "It's right. As strange as it sounds, it's right. There's something I have to tell you."
"You weren't the only person attacked that night. It happened around the world, and it's still going on. Not as bad as the first night, but there's still been sightings and attacks every night since. Mostly supernaturals, like the werewolf girl who was in our dorm the first year, but there were a few humans attacked, like you. They don't know why yet, but they suspect it might have to do with associating with supernaturals."
She felt a pang of guilt at that. She still hadn't told him that she was a witch, and if he was right, then he could be in danger. "Bren, I-"
He interrupted her, squeezing her hand gently. "There's something else. I took the call for you, since you were unconscious. The ghosts attacked at your house."
Her eyes widened at that, panic knotting in her stomach. Omicron!
"Your brother's safe," he continued, her fear easing at his words. "But your father was killed. I'm sorry."
She closed her eyes as she pulled her hand away from his and drew her knees to her chest, huddling against them. Had he been killed because of her? Because she was a witch? "No great loss," she managed to mumble.
"I know," she replied. "It's my fault."
Brendan was silent for a few moments, and when he responded his gentle tone had changed to incredulity. "How is it your fault?"
"I should have told you ages ago, I know, and now you're in danger all because of me." Hot tears threatened to spill onto her cheeks, but she kept them contained in her eyes. "I'm a witch. It must have come from my mother, because my father is as human as they come, but I can cast spells. Not very well, but I was working on that. They came after me because of that, and then they went after him, and it's all my fault."
"No, it's not," he said, taking her hand again. "I don't know why you thought that you couldn't tell me this, but I'm not angry, and it wasn't your fault. If it came from your mother, than his being with her could have been why he was killed. You can't blame yourself for this."
His words made sense. She squeezed his hand tightly, feeling his strength flowing into her. They stayed like that for a few minutes, until Brendan spoke again.
"Speaking of not being killed, they've been asking about that. How you did it. I have to admit, I'm not sure myself. I found you in the lobby of the Student Union, and you weren't making any sense."
"I hit my head. In the lab." Everything was fuzzy, but she was certain that the last place she'd been before she saw the ghost was in the lab.
"Right. The ghost that went after you was trapped, in the lab. They want to know how."
She turned his head to look at him, still holding tightly to his hand as she replied. "Who's they?"
"Scientists, I think. They were grilling me, but stopped when they realized that I don't understand the first thing about what you guys study in that lab. Can you remember anything?
She closed her eyes, thinking.
"Then what happened?"
"I don't know. Everything's fuzzy."
"Try to remember." His voice was soothing, and his firm grip on her hand was reassuring.
"I got out of the way somehow. I don't know. I was standing up, and then he...came at me again, I think. I dodged out of the way, then...ohhh." She remembered now.
"I knocked the experiment chamber open. It wasn't mine, I don't know whose it was. But it sucked him in, like a vacuum."
"I don't, it wasn't my project. I don't even know the girl who worked on it. She sat in the back of the class, wore her hair in pigtails. She was smart, but I don't even know her name."
"Sierra Carlton. She died that night. A flaming trailer crashed into the diner she was eating at, nobody's sure if ghosts were responsible or if it was just a freak accident. What happened next?"
"Do they really care? They've got their answer." Her tone was bitter. They wouldn't care about Sierra, they'd just be disappointed that Epsilon didn't know the answers they wanted.
"No. But I care. What happened?" He tightened his grip on her hand for a moment, giving her the strength to continue speaking.
"So I started moving," she continued. "I couldn't stand, I was too dizzy, but I think I crawled out of the lab, into the lobby. I remember the carpet was rough and hurt my hands, and the stone soothed them but was so hard. I couldn't decide which was better."
"I remember." She did. She didn't remember what he said, but she remembered his arms lifting her, cradling her as he carried her out of the building. "Why?"
"Because I love you." His tone was confused.
"No," she said quickly. "Not that. Why were you there to even find me?"
She opened her eyes and smiled weakly to him. "Thanks. I don't know what would have happened to me if you weren't there."
Brendan opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by the stairwell doors banging open and a nurse entering. "Oh, you're awake, dear! You were supposed to come find me as soon as she woke up. You know Mister Olivers is waiting to speak to her. " Her expression was disapproving as she addressed Brendan.
"She only woke up just now," he said defensively. "And I don't think that she's up for it yet."
"No," Epsilon said, scooting over to the other side of the bed and easing her feet onto the concrete floor. "I have to get it over with some time, right?"
Brendan gave Epsilon a weak smile as he was herded out of the stairwell by the feisty woman. Epsilon took a few steps but then sat back down on the bed again - she was still a little dizzy, and sitting down was probably best for now.
The doors banged again, and a quick peek through her hair showed that a man in a suit had entered. He crossed the room quickly and held his hand out for her to shake. "Shawn Olivers. I'm glad you're feeling better, Miss Woods."
"Why are you here?" She didn't shake his hand, and after a few moments of awkward silence he withdrew the limb.
"I don't know about the experiment," she replied bitterly. "I didn't even know the girl who was doing it, we weren't friends or anything. I'm a medical student, I don't study anything even close to whatever she was working on."
"Would you like to study it? I've heard from your professors that you have a brilliant mind. I could secure financial backing if you would be willing to switch degree courses. You would be an asset to the team, I'm sure."
It seemed for a moment as if the man would argue, but then he just nodded. "As you wish. If you change your mind, the offer still stands." He dropped a business card onto the bedside table, then turned and exited the way he'd come. Brendan must have been waiting around the corner, because he was back in the room less than a minute after Shawn had left.
"Are you okay?" Epsilon stood to meet him as he entered, feeling somewhat steadier on her feet.
"Not really, but I'm getting there. I really need to get back to Sunset Valley, see how Omi is holding up. Will they discharge me, do you think?"
"Of course they'll discharge you, they need the bed and equipment. But should you be discharged?" Brendan raised an eyebrow as he asked the question they both knew the answer to.
"I'll come with you." He frowned as she shook her head. "Why not?"
"You have your own family to worry about. Your mother, right? Is she okay?"
"She's fine, I've been more worried about you-"
Epsilon interrupted. "I know. Thank you. You should go to her though, I know she'll be worried."
"I will. Thank you for everything, Bren."
Epsilon used the long bus ride home to check her e-mail and news blogs online. Omicron had sent her the entire story of what happened the night of the first attacks, and she felt grateful to the spirits of her ancestors for protecting him. As strange as that crypt felt for her to be in, maybe she should visit some night and thank them. After all, she was officially the only one of the three half-siblings that hadn't met their grandmother. As she entered the house she'd grown up in, she was struck by how quiet it was without James banging around the place.
"Hello?" she called out. "Omi? Are you home?"
"Yeah, just a moment!" The answer came from the back hallway, and soon her younger brother approached through the kitchen.
"No. Are you?"
"Not really. But I'll make it."
They let go and faced each other. Epsilon was struck by how much older Omicron seemed; the young man standing before her wasn't the high school boy she'd left behind two years ago. This time, it was Omicron's turn to break the silence.
"Your boyfriend told you what happened to Dad?"
"Yeah. I'm sorry you had to go through that alone."
"I wasn't alone, at least not in the crypt. He seemed nice though, concerned about you. You could have done worse."
A brief smile crossed his face at his sister's teasing tone, then he sighed.
"What's wrong?" Epsilon hadn't seen him this messed up in a long time, not since before the prom. He was clearly taking this situation harder than he let on.
"It's just this house, you know? Every time I'm standing here, I see it happening all over again.
"Oh, Omi..." He didn't need to say what 'it' was, the context was obvious.
"You know what the last thing I said to him was? I told him to quit throwing books around. It wasn't even him doing it, he was just trying to stay alive, and I yelled at him. I know he wasn't a good man, but I don't think that anybody deserves to die like that, knowing the last thing said to them was hateful."
"I know. I don't. I know he didn't like me, but I know that for a long time he wanted me to carry on the family name, and I can't help but think that the last thing he heard from me was so not who I am. I'm not like him, Epsi!" Omicron seemed close to tears now, and Epsilon quickly comforted him.
"No, you're not. The fact that you feel guilty about what happened just confirms it. Ghosts have been crossing over every night now, maybe you'll have your chance to apologize."
"I can't stay here, though. Like I said, I can't get it out of my mind."
Epsilon frowned. "Where will you go?"
"I'm not sure," Omicron said. "I don't think university is right, not yet at least. I'm not any good in a crisis, so I can't be of any use in the military, or as a medic. Have you read the news lately, Epsi?"
She nodded. None of it was good, especially the opinion columns. A lot of people were thinking that the world would be better off if no supernaturals existed, as it was only causing collateral damage for the human population. Such rash thinking was very comforting to some people in a crisis, but she was afraid that it would take hold in the mainstream in a very bad way.
"Please tell me you won't sleep in the park, Omi."
"I have a place to stay, for now at least. And I've got a connection in city hall, he says he can get me a job there. It's not much, but I might be able to change things from the inside, if I can get someone's ear."
Epsilon nodded. "Dad intended you to have the house, though. As much as he hated you, he never considered the possibility of me carrying on the family."
Omicron looked at her. "Who cares what he wanted? He's dead now. As far as I care, the house is yours. I wrote down everything he ever told me, about the family and the catacombs. I left it on your nightstand. I've been ready to leave for days, I was just waiting to hear that you'd been discharged."
She nodded again. "I'll miss you. Keep in touch, okay?"
"Will do. See you, Epsi."
~ * ~
Omicron is much more attractive than he looked like when I aged him up in CAS. I swear the game makes genetic mutations as you play. He's also a lot skinnier than CAS predicted, not sure what that was about, unless all the swimming he did over the summer knocked the baby fat right off of him(I use Awesomemod with mass conservation enabled, so he won't get fatter again unless he overeats). Upon seeing how he looked as a YA, I was actually a little bit sad that he wasn't going to be the heir.
Yes, this means that Epsilon is the generation 3 heir, as randomly determined. Gemly can stop freaking out now. It's such a big, empty house, and it's all hers and Shadow's now. I hardly know what to do with my empty sim panel.
I have a confession to make. I fudged the weekly responsibilities for week 17. I neither had a party(for generation 2's fun) nor had the heir celebrate leisure day(for generation 3's fun). Please forgive me, it just didn't work for the story. She did technically attend a party on Leisure Day, but I'm not sure that counts, especially since it was only a party for story purposes. ;)
Sims for Omicron and Epsilon are uploaded on the download page. Go forth and have them, because they're much more attractive than sims born in my game usually are. Especially the blonde one. I'll update the family tree, generations page, and sidebar at some point before I post the next chapter.