[This is part of the #wheresfree collab – more info here.]
Ace Sloan stayed the night at the apocalypse bunker with his strange guest. He decided to let Free-Jon sleep in the next morning while he tidied up a bit.
Since Ace’s parents Stuart and Reagan split up, his pop had been spending most nights there. Not because he didn’t get along with Reagan any more; their relationship remained amicable. Stuart just felt safer there. Ace had been checking in on him a few times a week.
Stuart had initially built the bunker to specs for an Apocalypse Challenge, convinced that the Get to Work game pack would bring about the End Times. It hadn’t, but Stuart had been living as though it had.
To everyone else, the bunker mostly functioned as a retail space, selling collectibles and seeds and whatever odds and ends the family had been hoarding over the years. Ace remembered helping his pop set up the business.
“That’s the cage that people fight in, dad,” Ace had corrected. “The market was called –”
“Naw, it’s from Mad Max, y’know?” Stuart had interrupted. “Thunderdome!”
“How about Bartertown?” Ace had suggested gently. “That’s also from Mad Max, and might be a bit more inviting to customers.”
“Ooh, I like how you think, boy. Bartertown!” Stuart had decided, and Ace considered it a victory even though Stuart still had his Mel Gibsons mixed up.
Ace owed his abysmal high school grades in part to having to look after his pop. But it wouldn’t be entirely accurate to blame Stuart — it was also true that Ace often just had better things to do with his time than attend class.
For a legacy brat, Ace’s best friend Freesia Wolff was pretty cool. She had this theory that coffee shops were the perfect place to try on new identities: the staff pretty much had to engage you in conversation about your day and stuff, and they couldn’t really challenge what you answered so you could talk a lot and refine your story. So the two of them would ditch school and pretend to be newlyweds, travelling dignitaries, out-of-town college students, or whatever else came out of her mouth at the moment.
Of course by now they were pretty much regulars at the Belltower Bakery, so it was a bit more difficult to pass themselves off as other sims. But they found other ways to entertain themselves.
Ace wouldn’t see Freesia today, though; he had another Free to help, and that one was proving to be a different kind of handful.
It was, he imagined, a bit like babysitting a puppy.
Free-Jon panted. “I’m Dangerously Tired but I feel like running!”
“You shouldn’t do that,” said Ace over the sizzle of the frying pan. “Elderly overexertion is on the list of death types for Legacy points.”
“But I’m still Energized!” whined Free-Jon.
“That’s just your hat,” Ace explained. “It’s feeding you a steady stream of artificial mood boosters.”
“Nuh-uh!” Free-Jon gasped.
“Take it off and see.”
“Because you believe me,” Ace posited.
“No I don’t!” Free-Jon denied. “I just like it, okay??”
Ace shrugged. “Okay.”
“Fine,” Ace conceded. “Keep the hat.”
“You stink,” grumbled Free-Jon after a silent huff.
Ace ignored him and continued cooking.
“You stink like Limburger,” Free-Jon pouted.
“Good thing you like cheese,” Ace said, finally presenting him with lunch.
Free-Jon snort-laughed. For all his complaining, he was starting to like his host. And he especially liked the grilled cheese sandwiches.
“I wish you were my cousin,” said Free between mouthfuls.
Ace smiled. Though he had the body of an old man, Free-Jon was really still just a kid. And he wasn’t all that bad once you understood that.
“Eat up,” Ace winked. “There’s a park near here we can go check out afterward.”
. . . .