Sunday, January 6, 2013
Overlord Legacy - Chapter Fifty - But Snow Can Be Fun, Dad
The winter is still bitterly cold. Severin can't stand this season. Everything about it just reminds him of death. Were homeless citizens allowed in Moonlight Falls, they would certainly die in this cold. The wind blows hard, making the chill even more stinging. The snow won't go away.
Gator has been overcoming his own grief in his own way. In a way, he wishes he hadn't quit work. He knows he'll be an old wolf soon and he knows he's desperately needed at the castle to take care of Katt (and Darth Furball as well), but he admits to himself that he's a little envious of Severin being able to go to work and get his mind off of Amaranth. Sometimes when Gator gets up to take care of Katt, he listens for Amaranth to tiptoe into the room and wrap her arms around him from behind. But if anything does stir behind him, it's almost always Darth Furball.
Gator's even been trying to warm up to Darth Furball. Only a little.
Gator: "You know, when you're not attempting to swat my balls, you're not so bad. You're good for Severin, anyway. I'm just glad your litter box is in his bedroom and not mine."
Gator: "And I'm glad you cough up hairballs in his room and not mine."
Glancing at the calender, Gator realizes it's time to pay the bills. The bills typically aren't too large - only around five hundred Simoleons. As lavish as the castle looks from the outside, it's actually rather small. It was full with Gator, Amaranth, and Severin, almost too full when Tobie lived in the house. Gator can't imagine what it was like for Amaranth growing up, when she shared the castle with her father, mother, and two "uncles."
Of course, back then they had a dungeon for the men to sleep, which Amaranth removed and replaced with parking spaces and a new car. Gator wonders if future generations will decide on building a cellar or basement in the future to store more things.
Reaching the mailbox, Gator pays the bills and sifts through the mail. Junk, junk, a letter in the pink envelope addressed to...him? Typically Severin gets several love letters, not him. Gator opens it and peeks at the scented letter, written in flowery letters and containing a steamy message from an old co-worker of his. It appears she's had a liking for him for a long time and she'd been waiting for the right time to tell him how much she wants him.
Gator would disagree that this is the right time. Not long ago, Gator still had his wife next to him. There will never be another woman in his life. Never. Gator makes the short trek to the trash can and flings the letter inside.
Then he notices one more. This one has a return address from Oliver Portland.
I hope that, as you're reading this, you're feeling much better than you were the last time we met. Her memory will never fully leave you, as well it shouldn't. There will always be a place in your heart that only she can fill. But I hope you're allowing yourself to grieve and to move on. I know it isn't easy, but I'm glad you recognize it's what you need to do, for you, for your son, and for your granddaughter.
Now for the real purpose of this letter. Your son Severin sent me a long note some time ago. He asked me many questions, though I believe he was mostly writing to me to talk through his feelings and be able to make sense of it in order to start the grieving process. He needed to be heard, and I have heard him. I have also written back to him. However, I ask that you save it and do not give it to him until after you have been reunited with Amaranth. He has much to learn and much strength to draw from you yet. You are his father and he can still lean and rely on you, which I believe he should do rather than depending fully on me at this moment. You are still a strong tower for him. When it is your time to shake hands with the Reaper and meet with your wife, Severin will no longer have that authority to lean on. He will feel quite alone and overwhelmed. The letter I have written to him will serve a much greater purpose then.
Don't doubt yourself now, Gator. Werewolves are remarkably strong creatures. I've lived with one long enough to know.
-An afterthought- About the question you asked me at the funeral. No, Serena was not my first wife. No, she was not the one I grieved the deepest. No, she was not the one I spoke with you about. More than this I cannot say."
Gator swallows, rereading the letter again. Gator had asked Oliver for any consolation, any advice, any strength to draw from after the death of Amaranth. He'd known Oliver had lost his wife, Serena Durwood, quite some time ago and had gone through what Gator had been going through then. Oliver had spoken with him about the grieving process, the pain, the memories. But the wife he spoke about hadn't seemed to be the same as Serena. Gator had asked if Oliver was speaking of Serena or if he'd been married previously. Oliver had simply replied, "I will answer that question at another time," and had walked away.
While Gator puts away Severin's letter in a place where he won't find it, Darth Furball gets a curious feeling in the bedroom.
The birthday sparkles aren't only for Darth Furball. It's someone else's turn to get bigger.
Gator: "My word, I thought your birthday was tomorrow. Had I known it was today, I would've--"
Katt: "It's okay, grandpa. I don't need anything special! What's for dinner?"
Gator: "Stu surprise."
Katt: "...You just threw a bunch of leftovers into a pot, didn't you?"
Gator: "It's a surprise."
True enough, Gator has thrown a bunch of leftovers into a pot, but it actually turns out quite well. Katt helps her grandfather with the dishes afterwards, then sits down at the table.
Katt: "No, I want to ask him tonight."
Gator: "He's working until ten o'clock. That's your bedtime."
Katt: "Since when did I get a bedtime?"
Gator: "Since now. Your bedtime is ten o'clock. Most other kids have to go to bed by nine, so be thankful."
Katt: "Please can I stay up and see dad tonight, grandpa? I promise I'll go to bed by ten every single night after tonight. Dad hasn't seen me all grown up yet."
Gator: "Haha! All grown up? Well..."
Katt: "Please, grandpa?"
Gator: "...Alright. You can stay up tonight. But I expect you to be in bed by ten after tonight."
Katt: "Thank you, grandpa! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Katt quietly plays with toys until ten o'clock approaches. Gator tries to stay up to help enforce bedtime after Severin arrives, but finds he's so exhausted that he can barely keep his eyes open. He'll have to trust that Katt will follow his instructions (and that Severin won't botch everything by having her do something with him once he gets home). Expectantly Katt watches out the front window, smiling at the cars that go by and the people walking through the snowy sidewalk. She wonders what they think when they look in the direction of the Overlord Castle. She can't wait to go to school in a couple of days - she'll be known as the girl who lives in a castle. Even the richest kids in town don't live in castles!
Finally - finally! - Severin's BathroomMobile rolls across the bridge and into the parking space. With a beaming smile on her face, Katt bounces off the couch and waits by the table. She can't wait to see dad's reaction to how big she's grown!
Katt: "Hee hee!"
Severin strips off his snow clothes, then starts to walk towards Katt to observe her. Gator had circled Katt's birthday on the calender as tomorrow, not today. Severin's a bit surprised to see her in a child state rather than a toddler state.
But before he can even take two steps, Katt charges for him and slams into his body, wrapping her arms around him tightly.
Katt: "I had my birthday while you were at work, dad! Are you surprised to see me? I'm all grown up!"
Severin: "All grown up?"
Katt: "What did you do at work today, dad?"
Severin: "I had to set the stage for an opera that's being performed tomorrow. What have you done all day?"
Katt: "I grew up, silly!"
Severin can't help but grin at his bubbly daughter. She seems so excited just to see him. Of course, other people around town get excited to see him because of his celebrity status, but...it's just different when it's his daughter.
Katt: "Hey, dad, can we go to the winter festival tomorrow for Snowflake Day? Can we play in the snow?"
Katt: "Come on, dad, please?"
Severin: "I hate snow, Katt."
Katt: "But snow can be fun, dad! Think of all the stuff you can do with it!"
Severin: "Tell you what. I'll think about it and give you an answer in the morning."
Severin: "I'll see how I feel in the morning. I can't give you an answer now. Has grandpa given you a bedtime yet?"
Katt: "Yeah. I have to be in bed by ten o'clock."
Severin: "Well, that's certainly generous. I had to be in bed by nine when I was your age."
Katt: "Grandpa told me you never obeyed your bedtime though."
Katt: "Hey dad...will you read me a bedtime story?"
Severin: "...Yeah, I can do that. Let me go find something."
In truth, Severin's very tired himself and had planned on just falling right into bed. But he knows his daughter wants to spend a little bit of extra time with him before they have to go to bed tonight. Besides, he knows he has to take whatever moments he can get. She's already school-age. It won't be too long before she's a teenager. He has limited time to be the best dad he can be - and to influence her in the ways of the Overlord.
Grabbing the book on logic, Severin walks into Katt's bedroom...but finds she isn't there. Wondering if perhaps she's still downstairs getting a drink of water or something, Severin heads downstairs. She's not there. Then he walks into his bedroom.
Katt: "I know, but...I don't want to go to sleep in my bed yet."
Severin: "What's wrong with your bed?"
Katt: "I saw monsters under it."
Katt: "No! They're scary monsters! I don't want to go up there. Can I...can I sleep in your bed tonight?"
Severin: "I fart in my sleep, Katt."
Katt: "That's less scary than monsters under the bed."
Severin: "Not really."
Katt: "...I don't..."
Severin: "Okay, okay, fine. You can sleep in my bed tonight. I've been told I growl in my sleep sometimes, so be aware of that and don't get alarmed if it happens tonight. Tomorrow night I expect you to start sleeping in your own bed though."
Katt: "I know. Thanks, dad."
Not enthusiastic about sharing his bed with his daughter but not wanting to force her out either, Severin just sits down beside her and opens up the book he brought down, reading until her eyes get heavy.
Severin's a little bummed that she's asleep already, since he'd been getting into the book, but at least he can get some sleep himself. Gently, he leans down and plants a kiss on Katt's temple. He's been trying to make it more natural to kiss his daughter.
With swift motions and a lot of bravery, Severin grabs under the bed to see if he can feel a human. Instead he grabs something furry and yanks it back out. Darth Furball hisses at him as soon as he emerges from beneath the bed.
Darth Furball: "Mrow."
Severin: "Well...it did keep me alert, so if there were a hero down there, I was prepared for him. So I suppose I can thank you for that. And, uh...I just noticed you're not a kitten anymore."
Darth Furball: "Mew."
Severin: "Alright. You're forgiven. Now why don't you go to bed like the rest of us. And no more hiding under my bed."
Double-checking under the bed to make sure there isn't anything else under there, Severin finally crawls into bed beside Katt and tries to position himself closer to the edge to give her plenty of room. Within minutes he's asleep.
The next morning Gator gets up bright and early. He prepares to make a breakfast of pancakes...then he notices a subtle but strange scent over by the stove. He remembers smelling something weird last night, but he'd figured it was the trash, since it hadn't been taken out in several days. But he'd taken the trash out last night and the smell is still there. He knows he hasn't used the actual oven part of the stove since Amaranth passed away. Curiously he checks inside.
Trying not to gag, Gator reaches inside and pulls out the moldy, smelly, charred remains of what look like waffles. How in the world...? How did they get there? He hasn't used the oven, and he knows Severin doesn't cook. Did Amaranth use it before...? No, he knows she wasn't cooking.
Then he remembers. It was at the funeral. Phantom had attempted to make waffles in order to lighten the mood a little bit, since he could hardly handle the way the thick emotions in the air were affecting him. He must've turned the oven off, but gotten sidetracked before he could reach inside to take out the waffles. Gator had seen him making the waffles, but hadn't noticed Phantom walk away from them, and his mind was so many places that day that he'd forgotten all about them.
These waffles are close to a week old. Yuck.
Quickly Gator gets rid of the waffles and cleans the inside of the oven to help get rid of the smell. Then he gets to work cooking his pancakes. He finds it's a bit more complicated than he first thought. He's almost afraid he'll burn them. One area where he really misses Amaranth is in the area of cooking. She made such good food. Gator's a complete failure in comparison.
After managing to not totally destroy the pancakes, Gator eats his a little early. He doesn't know how long it will be before Severin and Katt get up.
Fortunately they're up fairly soon. They eagerly grab the pancakes and settle at the table to dig in.
Severin: "I know. After we finish our pancakes, you and grandpa are going to the winter festival."
Katt: "But what about you?"
Severin: "I have to practice my songs with my guitar. I have a gig coming up that I need to be prepared for. I also have...other business I need to attend to."
Katt: "Do you have to?"
Severin: "It's part of my job, Katt. I have to improve if I want to be promoted. And you know I have to get promoted in order to get closer to fulfilling my part of our family legacy."
Katt: "Sigh. Okay..."
Severin: "Don't worry. We'll get to hang out soon."
After the pancakes are finished, Gator and Katt dress warmly and head for the winter festival. Katt's excited to spend the day there, and even more excited to spend it with her grandfather...but she's disappointed that her dad can't come too. She'd wanted to spend the day with her grandpa and her dad at the festival.
Her disappointment doesn't last for too long once she gets to the festival. It only seems vaguely familiar. There's so much cool stuff! She asks grandpa what they're going to do first. His reply? "You know, if we form bricks with the snow and then get them solid and frozen...I bet we can make a couple of little houses."
The idea of building houses with snow is absolutely magical to Katt. Eagerly she gets to work, racing and trying to build her ice house faster than her grandpa.
Darth Furball: "Mew!"
Severin: "Then some peasant who tried to revolt against us would be brought before us, begging for mercy after being such a horrible annoyance. And what will our response be?"
Darth Furball: "Hiss!"
Severin: "Oh yes. And then we'll--....hmm. Pardon me, Darth Furball. I have some business to attend to outside."
His "business" had texted him earlier that morning. This entire week he'd been shooting back flirty texts with her, but hadn't been able to actually meet up with her. He and his other romantic interest had gotten together a couple of times for wine and WooHoo, but not this one.
Severin: "Yes, it has. Much too long."
Candy: "...I've been thinking about you a lot."
Severin: "Well, good. I've been thinking about you a lot too."
Candy: "Severin...you know all those times back in high school, when we'd, you know...get frisky in the hallways?"
Severin: "Yep. Then the hallway guard would yell at us. I'm pretty sure that man still hates me even to this day."
Candy: "Ha! Well...I miss those days. I...I really, um...I like you a lot, Severin. I know I haven't really admitted anything, but...I really do. I don't mean to gush or anything, I just--"
Severin: "Hey, it's alright. I miss those days too. You're a beautiful girl, you know."
Candy: "...You really mean it, don't you, Sev?"
Severin: "Of course I do. Meanwhile...aren't your legs cold? It's freezing out here."
Candy: "Well, I...yeah, I didn't realize how cold it would be. I just wanted to look pretty, that's all."
Severin: "Your tush will get cold pretty soon. I can think of one way to warm it."
Slipping his gloved hands up Candy's skirt, Severin squeezes her butt gently. Candy lets out a squeak and a laugh, swatting his arms.
Candy: "Severin! There are neighbors, you know!"
Severin: "Hey, I was only trying to be considerate to you."
Candy: "Oh, I'm sure."
Working together, Katt and Gator finish one ice house, giving it a cool round structure and an arched entrance.
Gator: "I'm pretty impressed, actually. I think I know a good career for you when you get older."
Katt: "You really think I could be an architect?"
Gator: "Honey, if you can build that, you can build anything."
Katt: "Oh come on, grandpa, you did most of the work."
Gator: "I did the lifting, but you suggested the design."
Katt: "Still, you get equal credit."
Gator: "You know what? If you're going to fight and argue with me, let's do it properly. To the barricades!"
Katt glances at her grandfather and grins. She knows what this means.
Severin: "Mm. Well, we have plenty of time today to make up for what we didn't do in the past. Sound good to you?"
Candy: "Sounds really good to me."
As they embrace, Severin swears he can feel Candy pressing against his manly bits and slowly grind her hips against him. He lets his hands rest on her butt again, gently squeezing. He feels his blood pulse through his veins. He's ready to take her. He's always been ready to take her.
Candy: "I'm pretty lucky. The sexiest man in town wants to be with me."
Severin: "Oh, does he? I'll have to meet him someday."
Candy: "Ha! You goof."
Darth Furball: "Hiss!"
Severin: "Darth F--...go away!"
Candy: "Wait, what?"
Severin: "I wasn't talking to you. Just..." He lowers his voice to a whisper and glares at his equally-glaring cat. "Shoo!"
Darth Furball: "Hiss!"
Severin: "This is none of your business! Leave me alone!"
Candy: "Who are you talking to?"
Severin: "My future fluffy throw rug."
Darth Furball: "Mrrrrr..."
Candy: "Oh, is that your cat back there? It looks like he doesn't like me."
Severin: "I'll have a talk with him later."
Candy: "You talk to your cat?"
Severin: "I've done stranger things before."
Gator smiles, but underestimates Katt's wicked throwing arm. The snowball soars through the air at an alarming rate of speed and smacks right into Gator's chest, knocking him backward.
Gator: "If you don't want to be an architect, you certainly have a future in sports. Some of my former teammates would kill to be able to throw like that."
Katt: "Can you throw like that?"
Katt: "Urgh...yes, you can."
Gator: "I held back just for you."
Katt: "Nuh uh!"
And it certainly does this time. Candy retreats with him into the house. It's quite cold outside, so they decide to immerse themselves in a nice hot shower. Together.
Severin warms up in more ways than one.
Gator: "Hmm. It appears you are. Don't let your guard down. I can make a great comeback."
Katt: "Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah! You can't--...dad!!"
Katt: "Come on, dad! Join my team!"
Severin: "Your team? I believe I overheard that you were winning. Sounds like grandpa needs back-up. What happened to you, Mr. Former Athlete?"
Gator: "Have you seen the arm of your daughter?"
Gator: "...Well, you've felt it now."
Severin: "We could very well end up with concussions after this snowball fight."
For many more fun-filled minutes, the Overlords continue their snowball fight. Severin almost can't help but laugh to see the joy in his daughter's face - and in his father's, for that matter. Severin knows Gator's probably trying to be as active as he can before he turns old. His birthday's coming up quickly.
After the snowball fight, Katt remembers the snowmen in front of their house and asks her grandpa to help her make one here. Gator gets to work teaching her how to roll and pack big balls of snow.
Katt: "Whoa. What was that?"
Gator: "I think your father just exploded."
Katt: "Dad, what are you doing?"
Severin: "Making a fallen angel in the snow."
Katt: "A fallen angel? So like a snow demon? What's wrong with a regular snow angel?"
Severin: "What's wrong with a regular snow demon?"
Sighing, Gator kicks some snow in Severin's direction, sending it flying all over his face. Katt bursts into laughter. Severin lobs a snowball back and conks Gator over the head with it. Gator smirks at him, but continues to work on the snowman, with Katt working with him.
Gator: "Yeah, it--...Katt, where are your gloves?"
Katt: "I didn't bring them."
Gator: "Honey, your hands are going to get numb."
Katt: "They're fine right now."
Gator: "Here, borrow mine."
Katt: "Are you sure?"
Gator insists on Katt taking his gloves while he scoops up the snow barehanded. Katt feels a little embarrassed at forgetting her gloves, but grandpa doesn't seem to be disappointed in her (and dad is blissfully lost in his own little world), so she helps out with the snowman as best she can.
Next stop is the ice rink. While Gator and Katt grab some skates and head over, Severin looks at the snowman and decides it needs to be unique, something that will obviously mark it as an Overlord snowman. Finding a nearby shed, Severin finds his way in and notices some of the haunted house props for the autumn festival. He uses them for the snowman.
Severin decides to briefly join his dad and daughter on the ice rink.
Severin: "I see you. Don't get too excited, I don't want you to fall down."
Severin keeps an eye on Katt, but realizes (uncomfortably) that there's really nothing he can do in case she falls down. He's not that good at skating either. Fortunately he can rely on his dad. Gator's been skating several times before. He could probably zoom over to her and catch her right before she hit the ground.
Gator: "Takes a lot of practice. Don't try it until you're really sure on your skates."
Slowing down, Gator waits for Katt to catch up with him, as she seems to be struggling a bit on the ice. Slowly Gator skates beside her, ready to grasp her hand if she begins to lose her balance.
Gator: "...Yes, she was. She was even better than me. She knew how to spin on the rink."
Katt: "She could spin without falling over?"
Gator: "And look graceful doing it."
Katt: "I only remember little memories of grandma...but I remember she was really kind and sweet and nice. I remember she told me she loved me."
Gator: "She did love you, Katt. She loved you with all her heart."
Katt: "...Do you miss her, grandpa?"
Gator chooses not to answer. If he attempts to speak past the lump in his throat, he'll start crying. He knows he will.
After a few more minutes, Katt starts feeling very cold. Severin trots over to the fire pit and lights it, and Gator and Katt quickly join him.
Gator: "I like them lightly golden-brown on all sides, just enough to give it a flavor boost."
Severin: "Bah. I catch mine on fire and only blow it out when my marshmallows are black. That's the only way to eat them."
Katt: "Black marshmallows?"
Severin: "They taste best that way. I promise."
Gator: "No, they don't."
Paparazzi: "Ooh! Juicy! Severin Overlord likes his marshmallows burned completely black!"
The Overlords all turn their heads to see the paparazzi nearby, scribbling on his notepad.
Severin: "Sigh. People follow me around and write things about me and take pictures of me because I'm considered a celebrity, Katt. Apparently toasting marshmallows is a 'juicy' fact that they can include in the next magazine issue. I have no idea why he's wearing a hospital gown. He could be a patient who escaped from the insane asylum. I don't know."
Katt: "Oh...do you think he's dangerous?"
Gator: "Your father and grandfather are both werewolves, Katt. Trust me, you don't have anything to worry about."
After finishing their marshmallows and warming up, Gator asks if there's anything else Katt wants to do. Katt smiles, looking at the enormous structure behind Gator - the snowboard rink.
Gator: "...You want to go snowboarding?"
Katt: "No. I think I'd get hurt. I want to see you go snowboarding!"
Gator: "So you can watch me get hurt?"
Katt: "You're good at skating, grandpa. You're probably good at snowboarding too!"
Gator: "I don't know about that..."
Katt: "Please, grandpa? I just want to see you try."
Gator: "...Alright. I'll give it a try."
Wondering what on earth he's just agreed to, Gator trudges through the snow to the snowboard rink. Katt hurriedly tries to finish her marshmallows so she can go watch her grandpa snowboard. Severin glances over, then feels his face flush. It seems like she always shows up whenever he spends a considerable amount of time somewhere.
"Mind if I sit here?"
"Not at all."
Severin: "This is my daughter, Katt. You've met her before."
Jackie: "Katt?? My goodness, the last time I saw you, you were a toddler!"
Severin: "Well, she was yesterday."
Katt: "I...I don't...remember you."
Jackie: "That's okay. I'm Jackie. I'm your dad's...friend."
Katt: "Oh! Nice to meet you, Miss Jackie!"
Jackie: "Aw, you're a sweetheart. Must've picked that up from your grandparents, because you certainly didn't get it from your dad."
Katt: "...Oh! Grandpa's about to snowboard!"
Katt hurriedly finishes her marshmallows, then dashes up from her seat and charges to the snowboard rink, waiting for her grandfather to start. Severin and Jackie sit quickly by the fire for a moment or two.
Jackie: "You will be silent and submissive when I want you to be."
Severin glances up at Jackie. She gives an innocent, playful smile in return...but her eyes are the same eyes that she makes every time she wants him. She nearly always wants him silent and submissive. He doesn't mind too much.
He looks around the festival. His dad and daughter are here. He's being hounded by the weird paparazzi. And he thought he saw Candy enter the festival at some point. There's a lot of people here. It will be an enormous challenge to find some place private for him and Jackie, some place they can get intimate together, some place he can lay back and let her abuse him for pleasure.
But he's up for it.
Author's notes: I love giving little tidbits of Oliver's story. There's still a lot of mystery surrounding him. Fortunately he'll be around. He can't die, you know.
Gator's discovery in the stove was a surprise for me too. And it was Phantom. He'd started to cook something in the oven and then left it. I'd noticed it, but for whatever reason it didn't start a fire or anything. It just didn't cook all the way. I forgot all about it until I instructed Gator to use the stove, and he kept refusing. Then I noticed something was still in it. Eww.
Severin's a much better dad now, I think. But, of course, he's still Severin. He's got to keep some of his old ways. Candy was a planned move on my part. Jackie at the festival was a spontaneous, unplanned event, but quite fortunate nonetheless. Next chapter will be a long one, but a fun one to write. :D
Also of note: coming up in the near future, there will be another reader's poll, where you get to determine a decision in the story. I won't reveal anything of what it's about until we get there, but just know it's coming up!
Leave the comments below! I love hearing from you!