Epsilon: "Mmm, I know it's cold outside, but you can take yourself to the litter box. You don't need me. Go 'way."
Her sleepy protest had no effect on the dark feline, who simply stared at her closed eyes until the girl finally blinked again.
Epsilon: "God! Alright, fine, get off so I can find my slippers."
After locating footwear and her glasses, she picked up the cat and strode through the house, raising both eyebrows as she spotted her brother already watching television.
Epsilon: "Well, you're up early."
Omicron: "Yeah, your cat woke me up, not sure what that was all about. I was too excited to go back to sleep."
Omicron: "Don't we have a cat door for that?"
Epsilon: "In theory, yes."
Omicron: "You're going outside wearing that? You know it's still winter, right?"
Epsilon: "Almost spring! And I'm wearing slippers, you know."
Omicron: "You're weird, Epsi. When you're done, I want to talk to you. About last night."
Epsilon nodded and went outside to handle her cat. Omicron had been right, it was cold out! Determined not to let him see her shiver, she snuck back in through the back door, and got dressed before coming back out to meet him in the kitchen.
Omicron: "You were right, Epsi. Last night was amazing. Who would have thought anyone would ever vote for me for Prom King?"
Outside she was all smiles, but inside she was furtively hoping that he wouldn't ask too many questions about that incident. Because it didn't make sense at all, seeing as it was entirely fabricated. It had been pretty easy to do, and of course nobody would suspect her - she'd never had so much as an hour's detention, even in elementary school. She just hoped that it would have the intended effect, bringing out Omicron's confidence even as the rest of the student body was convinced that everybody else actually liked the boy. The pressures of conformity could have their uses, it seemed.
Omicron: "I couldn't believe it when they named you as the Prom Queen, either."
Ah. Now that hadn't been part of the plan at all.
Epsilon: "Yeah, I couldn't really believe it. I still don't, to be honest."
Omicron: "Why? You're the only decent girl in that entire school. All the others are so...so..."
He stumbled, and Epsilon stepped in to supply the word he was searching for.
Omicron giggled a bit at the swear word, then nodded.
Omicron: "Yeah. You're not really social, but you don't hurt anybody either. You're just generally a good person, you know?"
Epsilon was saved from having to figure out how to take that compliment by the sound of the bus honking outside. Omicron clearly wasn't ready, so as he ran off to locate his bag she just give him a quick, heartfelt smile. Much easier than finding the words.
That night, she got ready for bed, still shaking her head in disbelief about her new job title. Whoever had decided that "Overseer of the Dead" was a good job title for a glorified door guard clearly had a flair for the over-dramatic. Still, it came with a 160% pay increase, so she could put up with the internal eye-roll every time her job title was mentioned. Almost as soon as her head touched the pillow, she felt herself falling into a familiar dream. (The usual dream soundtrack is here for the lazy who want music without digging through archives.)
Old Man: "Oh, good! So you do recognize that this is your library."
Epsilon: "Well, in the sense that this is my dream, at least. You didn't answer my questions."
Old Man: "My name is Gregory Eberhart, though you don't know me as such, exactly..."
Epsilon: "I don't know you at all. You seem interesting enough, I suppose, but be warned. I dream lucidly, so if I don't like what you're doing in my library, I'll just dream you away."
He stepped forward, chuckling, then his expression slowly grew serious.
Epsilon raised an eyebrow.
Epsilon: "Not known about what?"
Gregory: "Who you are. What you are."
Epsilon: "Last I checked, I was Epsilon Woods, the bastard daughter of the town Casanova and some woman who ran off before I was a day old."
Gregory: "No, no, that's all wrong. Well, actually, it's all correct, strictly speaking. But it's so incomplete that it should hardly count!"
Epsilon rubbed her brow. This guy was giving her a headache, why did her library dream have to be ruined by some madman in a bathrobe?
Epsilon: "Hey, what do you mean, "we" and "sent?" And for your information, I'm entering my Senior year of high school, so I don't know what you're talking about."
Gregory: "No, no, not that sort of education. Magical education. I was sent to you to help you learn, though in the waking world I take a much different form-"
Epsilon: "My CAT?"
Gregory: "Yes, exactly, I do believe you call me Shadow. An adorable name, if I might say so-"
Epsilon: "You're my cat. The one who won't go outside to pee in the mornings if it's too cold."
Gregor laughed heartily as Epsilon looked on in disbelief.
Epsilon: "This is absolutely insane. I don't usually dream things that make no sense. I must be going crazy."
Gregoyr: "No, you're not, I assure you. You and I are speaking, as witch and familiar, in your dream realm. For you, it's taken the form of a library. For myself, in my previous life as a man, it was similar, but with the addition of a balcony from which I could watch the stars. Each realm is unique to the wizard or witch who dreams it."
Epsilon: "No, no, I am going crazy. I've been trying to dream you away ever since you said you were my cat, and it's not working. That always works, I've never had a dream that I haven't been able to change. The only conclusion is that I've gone off the deep end."
He turned away, stroking his beard as he thought.
Epsilon: "I won't believe it until I can touch it with my hands. In reality."
Gregory: "That's exactly what you have to do, then. Go find yourself a wand."
Epsilon: "Excuse me? A magic wand?"
She fixed him with a blank stare. Magic wands were straight out of fairy tales, further proof that this was all a hallucination in her own mind.
He clapped a hand on her shoulder and then she was back in her bed, staring at the dark bedroom. She glanced over to her right, to the bedside table where Shadow slept.
He was just a cat. He had to just be a cat. Right?
Against all rational judgement, she still left the house after breakfast - in the middle of a downpour, no less - to search for a tree. And she found it. When she approached, and touched a branch, the wood came away in her hand with no effort at all, as if it was a gift from the tree. She clutched it to herself and backed away nervously, telling herself that she was being stupid even as she jogged towards home.
~ * ~
Again, sorry. As you can see, I decided to ditch the idea of the prom chapter. There was just too much to stage, and the longer I waited the more daunting the task became. The good news is, I'm writing again. Next chapter is going to be entirely staged, but each picture is of something different, so it's not as scary as making the perfect prom night. After that, it's just pushing through to the end of this generation. I predict the generation hand-over to happen somewhere in the Chapter 52-55 range, depending on when exactly you define it. There's going to be a very clear point where generation 3 is now in charge, but it won't correspond exactly to where the rules would put it, so...you'll see. I'll try my best not to run off in a state of being busy and scared of an overly-ambitious scene again!
On a story-related note, yes, Epsilon is a witch. Very exciting. I've met my quota for children becoming supernatural this generation, with one to spare! As far as the prom thing goes, well, she IS James's daughter. She might condemn his overtly evil schemes, but she's not above a teeny little bit of manipulation for the greater good, or at least for the good of her younger brother. Just don't lay it out like that to her, she'd get offended at the notion.