2.19. Inverse Probability Flux
Lark recoils, her eyes widening with fright.
“Will it hurt?” she whimpers.
“It doesn’t hurt, Lark. You ask that every time and it never hurts, does it?”
“I’m just nervous, okay?”
“You’ll be fine,” Dominic frowns, his brow furrowed in concentration, “you’ve been absolutely unscathed every time I’ve done this.”
“You don’t have to be mean about it,” she whines, “what if you mess up or something? It could hurt!”
Dominic ignores her and chants something under his breath, pointing his wand at her. The first time he did this, she was surprised by the resulting explosion of brightness. But now it’s just routine: a rainbow of colors shoots from his gnarled wand, and the charm envelops her. It doesn’t hurt at all, of course, but the warm tingling sensation that accompanies it is as off putting as ever.
“Eugh, I hate how warm it is,” she mumbles, “and right on my chest…”
“How do you feel?”
“Better,” she grins, “so much better! And it didn’t hurt--you’re right, it never hurts. That’s right, I said you’re right! Remember this day. I’ll never say it again. Oh maker, I feel so much better. I’m so glad you can do this! Wow, dating a mage is the best thing I’ve ever done because I just feel like I can do anything right now!” Her voice gets shriller as she chatters. This happens every time: first she’s afraid, then she accepts the charm, and then her excitement bubbles over, resulting in her prattling on about anything and everything.
“I’m glad, Lark. It’s no big deal, really. Most people have some days when they experience inverse probability flux. It just tends to happen to you with alarming frequency...”
Lark pretends to understand what he’s saying, but his words run together. She had explained her bad luck to him shortly after they moved in together. He was skeptical at first, reticent to believe that she had “off days,” during which every object she used broke and every table in the house jutted out in front of her, causing her to bump her knees or stub her toes. But soon enough he witnessed these strange, off days himself. He hypothesized that something about her or her circumstances--whether it be something as mundane as bad genes, or as fantastical as a curse--causes her streaks of misfortune. He backs up this hypothesis with crumbling, arcane treatises that he shows to her, texts that document hundreds of cases of reality deviance and probability curses. But she still doesn’t get it. All she knows is that she doesn’t break everything with a mere touch on the days he casts the good luck charm on her.
“Mo-ooooooooooooom!” A shriek from upstairs interrupts Dominic’s droning explanation of chaos infections.
For the most part, Bjorn and Raven get along. Although they’re unsure of Raven’s actual age, she seems to be growing at the same rate as Bjorn, which makes the two children perfect playmates.
But sometimes things get a little out of hand.
Which has especially been the case ever since Raven has discovered how to cast a few simple spells.
It’s putting some strain on the household, to say the least.
“What’s going on here?” Lark folds her arms over her chest, her face fixed into her best mom scowl.
“She cast an ice spell on me,” Bjorn pouts, “and it was really cold! And unfair, ‘cause I can’t just zap her back.”
“It was funny,” Raven insists, “C’mon, I told you to chill out and then I cast Chattering Teeth. It’s funny, right? You just don’t get it, Bjorn. You don’t get comedy.”
“Raven,” Dominic says softly, “we’ve talked about this. You’re not allowed to use magic.”
“You get to use magic!”
“I’ve had training.”
“So when do I get training?”
“When you show you’re responsible enough. And right now you aren’t being responsible, are you?”
“No,” Raven hangs her head, “but I was being funny.”
“I’m sorry,” she says, “I shouldn’t have done it.”
“Good,” Dominic holds up his wand, “now stand still. I don’t want to have to cast this twice.”
This is the last part of the early morning ritual for the Bee-Trémaux family: Raven’s illusion spell. Dominic has to cast it every morning, as it seems to wear off within twenty-four hours. Unlike the glamor spell he cast on himself in Roaring Heights, this one doesn’t make her look like any person in particular. Instead, she looks more or less like herself, minus the wings and purple hair. More importantly, he explains to Lark, it requires belief. Anyone who interacts with Raven has to believe she is nothing more than a normal little girl. But if there’s ever any doubt, the illusion could break. Thus, subterfuge is paramount. They’ve coached both Bjorn and Raven on how to act as human as possible, but the training is meant for Raven more than anyone else.
When the brief ritual is done, the children bound down the stairs and out the door, to the waiting school bus. They’re running a little late, as always.
When the older children are gone, Lark turns her attention to Fenrir. She has been working with him on his motor skills and language, both of which he is excelling at. He’s already speaking in near complete sentences, and his memory is surprisingly sharp. Like his father, though, he is a lone wolf. Often he prefers to spend time by himself, chewing on the heads of Raven’s dolls or scratching random pieces of furniture.
Dominic, meanwhile, takes advantage of the cool mornings to work in the garden. He helped transplant most of the plants from Lark’s old house, and now that the ground has thawed he is planting more. Under his watch, the family’s garden has grown from a few staple plants--tomatoes, lettuce, apples, and the like--to a sprawling collection of strange flora. He now believes he can earn an income from what was once an idle hobby. As he explained to Lark one day, “if I can grow some of the rarer plants--life fruit and plasma fruit and the like--I can sell directly to the supernatural community. And we can use the regular plants for cooking. This way I can spend more time with you and the kids.”
And so Dominic toils away in the garden while Lark entertains Fenrir.
Dominic makes time during Fenrir’s nap, however, to make good on his promise to spend more time with Lark.
Most days progress in this order, beginning with sleepy, hurried mornings to laborious chores to a sweet reprieve from the grind of the mundane.
Afterwards, the pair curls up together, joined together by content exhaustion.
“I love you,” Dominic whispers.
“I love you, too,” she replies reflexively. She’s unsure when this happened, the mutual declarations of love. She means it, of course, but there was no slow development, no tip-toeing around a carefully planned but earnest confession. Like anything else in their relationship, it was sudden.
He kisses her shoulder. His beard stubble grazes her skin and elicits a shiver.
“Dominic,” she rolls over slightly to catch his eyes, “do you really love me?”
“Of course,” his brows furrow.
“Why? Like, what is it that you find attractive about me?”
“That’s not an answer,” she pouts.
“Is something bothering you?”
She takes in a deep breath, “you’re smarter than me. You’re more important than me, and stronger than me. It’s just--like, are you slumming it? Did this just start because you needed help with Raven, and now I’m just like a nanny with benefits? Because you don’t have to live with me anymore, you know. You can go out and shack up with some witch lady or something instead.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but it almost seems like you’re trying to start an argument here.”
“Asking a question is starting an argument?”
“No, but framing the question with self-deprecation and accusations is fairly suspect.”
“Is that why you haven’t you answered my question? Because I’m onto something?”
“Fine. I’ll bite,” Dominic laughs--not dismissively or mockingly. Just genuinely, a back of the throat laugh that’s both unpracticed and infectious. “I love your willpower--”
“I never went to college and I don’t have a steady job,” she retorts.
“Yes, like that. And your devotion to your children--”
“I’m pretty sure Fenrir is awake but I’m not letting him out of the crib until he starts crying.”
“He’ll be fine. And I love how clever you are--”
“That’s a damnable lie.”
“You’re smarter than people get you credit for.”
“But anything times zero is still zero.”
“See, that was pretty clever. And I love how beautiful you are--”
“So I’m just a pretty face,” she huffs.
“Not at all. You’re so much more than that. It’s just a pleasant bonus.”
“I’ll get old and ugly someday.”
“I’ll still love you. And you’ll always be beautiful to me.”
“Eugh, I hate that you said that. So cheesy. So cliche.”
“You asked me a question! I’m just answering.”
“Make your answers a little less corny, please.”
“Can I give one last reason?”
Lark lets out an over exaggerated sigh. “Fine, I guess.”
“I love that you’re so different from me.”
“That’s a….thing, I guess.”
“I mean it as a compliment! You’re normal, and you don’t overthink things, and you’re not a mopey mess.”
“When you put it that way it sounds a little nicer.”
“I love you, Lark.”
“You said that already.” She leans forward and kisses him softly, more innocently than the kisses that led to all of this. He responds in turn, sleepily, gently running his hand down her back. It’s hard to miss the bags under his eyes, or the heaviness of his limbs.
“Do you wanna take a nap or something? I can take care of the kids tonight.”
“No,” he shakes his head, “it’s fine. It’s just all the casting--an illusion spell every morning, plus a luck charm every other day, and there’s the ward I have to refresh every few days. It’s exhausting.”
“We probably don’t need the ward, Dom. We’ll be fine. We haven’t heard anything from Gaius in forever.”
“Vampires aren’t exactly known for letting go of grudges, and he has eternity to plot revenge. Besides, better safe than sorry.”
“I don’t need the luck charms, then.”
“Lark, it’s bizarre that inverse probability fluxes happens to you so often. I don’t think we can leave that alone.”
“And you can’t not cast an illusion on Raven,” Lark bites her lower lip. She keeps telling herself that Aurora Skies is tolerant, and that they’ll accept Fenrir with his strange glowing eyes and Bjorn with his pointed ears, just like they accepted her and her pointy eared, blue-hued family members. But it’s harder to explain away multicolored eyes and luminescent wings. Besides, her mother told her horrifying stories about fairies, werewolves, vampires, and aliens being captured and held by part some secretive organization in Sunset Valley. It doesn’t seem wise to rely on the benevolence of her fellow sims, lest the same happen to her patchwork family. “It’s too bad she just couldn’t, like, wear the illusion. Like a costume or something she could put on every day.”
“Wait,” Dominic furrows his brow, “what did you say?”
“Um...it’s too bad she couldn’t have a human costume or something.”
“Lark,” he inhales deeply, “that’s it. I’m so stupid--I’m so freaking stupid.”
“An artifact--I just need to get someone to create an artifact for her. Something she could wear that would cast the illusion for her,” he says as he slides off the bed.
“That’s a thing?”
“Yes,” he mutters as he pulls on his pants, “and I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it before.”
“Where are you going?”
“To call my dad. It might take some convincing, but I think he can make an artifact for Raven.”
“Oh. Get Fenrir out of the crib for me and give him a snack before you call your dad, please? I wanna take a cat nap.” She flutters her eyelashes at him.
“Of course,” Dominic smiles over his shoulder at her.
A small package arrives a few days later. Inside is a pair of cheap looking earrings. A handwritten note accompanies it, half the words redacted with scribbles in the same color ink as the rest of the letter.
Enclosed is the artifact for that [redacted] girl. It should work as long as she doesn’t fuck up. Tell her not to do anything stupid like [redacted] cast in public.
I asked my cousins again about taking [redacted] her in, but they’re still not interested. I guess you’re stuck with her for now. [redacted]
Give my love to Lark.
Dominic frowns when he reads the letter, then tears it up and throws it in the trash. Raven, however, is ecstatic about her new earrings.
***Author’s note: There are so many things I wanna say!
First, I’m not going to play coy anymore. Lark’s roll is second chance, and her partner’s income is gardener. It was super obvious from the beginning, I think, but oh well. I’m still happy I got a roll I would NEVER play otherwise. It reminds me of why I play a random legacy--given the choice, my sims will always have standard careers and be in monogamous relationships with the person they started dating as a teen.
Second, I’m counting Raven towards the number of children in my roll. I know it’s kinda cheaty because I specifically made a fairy for Dom to adopt. But it’s for *~story~* reasons. That said, she will not be in the running to be heir, and she’s banned from ever using bloom since it gives Dom an unfair advantage with his gardening.
Third, Dom’s tattoos disappeared in the last chapter and reappeared in this one. Some of you may have noticed. That’s why you should always be careful when reorganizing CC!
Finally, having a witch in the house is SO NICE. He has magically upgraded most of the appliances, and any time Lark wakes up with a bad luck moodlet (due to her unlucky trait) he just zaps it away. :D