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Partners in Crime
This post is part of a special joint blog with Sunshineandravioli, commemorating the anniversary of my breakout story, Legacy. Her post centers on a long-awaited fanart for Legacy. Check it out, and see if you don’t agree that it was worth the 10-month wait.
One year ago today, a brand new and totally unknown wikian began posting a short story he called, “Legacy”. The wiki would never be the same.
Legacy, which is what put me on the map around here, consists of five chapters plus a brief Introduction. When I was writing the story, however, I had begun to sketch out a sixth chapter, but I abandoned it for a couple of reasons. First, and most importantly, I thought it would tend to overshadow Heather’s revelation at the end of Chapter 4, which was meant to be the story’s dramatic climax. (Chapter 5 is mostly denouement.) A secondary reason is that Chapter 6 would have required substantial research for me to write credibly, because Legacy’s mood is such that I thought it important for everything to be as realistic as I could make it.
I toyed with the idea of someday posting this “lost” chapter as a separate coda (aka postscript) story if I decided that I could do the scene justice, but I currently have no plans to do so (hence this post). I did some research on it, but much research would still remain. Besides, my TDI reimagining doesn’t leave me writing time for much else if I want to launch it this year, so I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for this proto-chapter.
Those of you who have read (or reread) Legacy recently may notice something that may seem odd to you: Legacy was written in past tense, but the “lost” chapter is in present tense. That’s just a quirk of my writing technique; I typically write notes in present tense and finished scenes in past tense. The Chapter 6 plot sketch is about 1-1/2 pages long; in finished form, it would probably be 4 or 5 pages.
A Word to the Wise
For any of you who haven’t read Legacy, the following proto-chapter will have industrial-strength spoilers. For such people, if such are present, reading Legacy first is strongly recommended.
Chapter 6: A Born Celebrity
Hatchet arrives with his entourage in mid-afternoon, intending to perform the ceremony at sundown. He has brought Sadie with him, whilst Katie remains at the current season’s competition venue to hold down the fort. Sadie now sports big hair to match her big body.
Heather recognizes Hatchet’s aide as either Katie or Sadie, but isn’t sure which; so until she gets a name, Heather mentally identifies Sadie as merely, “the fat one”. (Whereas Katie, if present, would obviously have been “the skinny one”.)
As Duncan had guessed, Hatchet doesn’t run him or Heather off. Indeed, he finds a way to work them in, as Duncan had also guessed he might. Since Hatchet’s party made good time in their transit, he now has some time on his hands. Leaving Sadie to set up for the ceremony, Hatchet conducts interviews with Duncan and Heather—the former Gwen’s friend, and the latter a onetime enemy who is now willing to let bygones go—on the subject of the late Goth. During Heather’s interview, she reveals that she is going to name her baby after Gwen, and repeats the story of how she came to that decision.
Over the course of the afternoon, Heather has increasingly had the feeling that something is wrong. During the ceremony, she realizes that she has gone into labor. She starts to freak out, because she fears for her baby.
At first, Hatchet is annoyed because he suspects that Heather hasn’t really changed as much as all that and, being Heather, is trying to grab the spotlight for herself.
“You don’t understand,” Heather cries desperately, trying to fight down a rising panic. “It’s not my time! I’m not due for five weeks!”
That gets Hatchet’s attention. He orders the cameras to keep rolling, and calls for an ambulance. It soon becomes apparent that the baby is an “impatient” one and isn’t going to wait for the ambulance, so Hatchet must handle the delivery. Hatchet asks Heather’s permission to film the delivery, with the understanding that she can always refuse to sign the release if she changes her mind later. Heather agrees.
Because Hatchet found Heather and Duncan together at the camp, he assumes that the old campmates are closer than they really are, so he drafts Duncan to serve as Heather’s support (holding her hand, talking to her reassuringly, and so on) during her labor. Heather doesn’t mind, but Duncan looks intensely uncomfortable. Sadie notices and, because the situation has brought her own maternal instincts to the fore, offers to take Duncan’s place. Heather accepts Sadie’s offer, and Duncan gratefully steps aside. As Heather’s labor progresses, Sadie assures her that “lots of eight-month babies turn out fine.”
As Hatchet prepares for the delivery, he reflects on that other medical emergency, ten years before. Then, he was trying to stop a soul’s premature exit from the Vale of Tears. Now, he is trying to safeguard a premature entrance. He reflects that there is another difference, as well—a big one. This time, the odds are in his patient’s favor.
The delivery has some complications (not least of which is the prematurity itself) but the really serious potential complications—those that could leave the baby crippled or even stillborn—don’t come to pass. Of course, that doesn’t stop everyone worrying about them. The delivery is a breech birth, so the first part of the baby to emerge from the birth canal is her butt, not her head. Hatchet, who knows that the baby is to be named after Gwen and remembers the late Goth’s attitude, reflects that this is entirely appropriate.
The ambulance crew takes just long enough arriving to miss the birth. Although the baby appears to be none the worse, the ambulance crew takes Heather and baby Gwen to the hospital for observation. Sadie goes with Heather to provide moral support.
One of the complications in the delivery is that Gwen II was “born in the caul”, meaning that the baby was not fully clear of the amniotic sac. (In extreme cases, the mother’s water doesn’t even break before delivery occurs. This poses no danger to the baby, who is still getting oxygen through the umbilical cord.) In the ambulance, one of the paramedics tells of various folkloric beliefs associated with caul births. Most of these beliefs are highly favorable, suggesting that the baby is destined for prosperity or even greatness. One legend, however, holds that babies born in the caul are likely to become vampires.
Heather laughs aloud when she hears this last. When the paramedic asks to be let in on the joke, Heather explains that she is naming her daughter after a Goth she used to know, so the vampire legend fits. Noticing Sadie’s reaction, Heather anticipates her unspoken question and adds, “Yes, Sadie, it’s what you think. And yes, I appreciate the irony.”
The TDI 10th Anniversary Special airs several weeks later, immediately before the Season 11 finale. The special has an extended time slot to accommodate the unlooked-for television debut of Gwendolyn Tania McPherson. (Trivia tidbit: “Tania” is Lindsay’s name in the French dub made for the Quebec market. Use of the name here is a subtle reference to Heather’s unsuccessful attempt, described in chapter 4, to patch things up with Lindsay after Lindsay lost her own baby a few years before.) Hatchet, narrating the special live, is pleased to report that mother and daughter are doing well.
A couple of weeks later, Heather receives a letter from the company that produces TDI. It is a well-wisher’s note from Sadie, who reveals that little Gwen’s arrival helped make the anniversary special TDI’s highest-rated episode in four years. “You still know how to pull in ratings,” Sadie writes, “and little Gwen is a born celebrity.”