So, I've decided to do it...or rather...we've decided to do
it...or maybe it was me.  I don't think that Tamaryn had a decision to
make - she's wanted this for a very long time.  I couldn't stand the
thought of loosing her - not again...not when the choice was actually
given to me this time.  I thought it strange enough that Vetch would want
to see me for anything, but more so when he told me that someone had
approached him asking for Tamaryn's hand.  I remember thinking, "Why would
anyone ask you for her hand?  You've no authority over her now.  She
doesn't belong to you."  Apparently, Faerie wasn't keeping track of such
details.  "Tamaryn loves you very much, you fool..." says he.  "...but if
he offers her children, I wouldn't be surprised if she left you for this
other man."  Not exactly the information I wanted to hear, but at least he
told me.  I'm surprised by that.  I've always been under the impression
that Vetch didn't like me (I've never liked him).  As soon as Vetch left
my quarters, I made my way to Tamaryn's door.

	I'd never given it much thought, but she's always smiling when I
see her.

	She was shocked to hear of the marriage.  Can't say I blame her. 
Had to sit down, she did.  We talked about it for a long time, reaching
the same conclusion - we're not ready to call it quits.  They say that you
don't know what you've lost until it's gone.  I've lost it...her...once
before.  It's not something I planned on doing again.  I am grateful that
she doesn't need promises of marriage to keep her.  I can't explain it. 
Commitment is scary.  We are both going to live a very long time - I can't
imagine promising to be with one person forever, especially when forever
actually means *forever*.  I'm young, still extremely prone to mistakes. 
I don't want to make a promise that I'm not sure if I can keep.  I want to
leave us both an out should things not work out.  I really admire Foster
an' Laughter, and Mum and Da...and all of my cousins that have the guts to
take that step.  At least I'm being honest...not that they aren't...that's
not what I meant at all.  Jeez...I don't have to justify me to myself. 
Anyway, we talked it over, and we've decided to have another kid (which we
had decided a while back...but we start trying again, now).  Hmmm...fear
of commitment...I can only imagine what kind of havoc the reflections of
this is causing.

	Went to see Mum and Da after our little talk.  I probably should
have gone over this part with Tamaryn before I asked my parents, but
Laughter said that Tamaryn had agreed to go to Bedlam with them anyway, so
it didn't seem like there was anything to discuss.  Laughter had
approached me a day ago saying that she, Foster, and Driscoll were going
to go to one of Driscoll's Shadows in order to raise their children before
she had to head to Faerie.  She'd asked if I wanted to go along, for the
twelve year vacation.  I wasn't sure - I couldn't be away from my parents
and sister for that long.  We went to talk to Mum about this - telling her
that we were going to try and have another child.  I was concerned that
with Laughter taking the kids off into Shadow, that Vivienne wouldn't have
any playmates.  Ahab and Kimdyl already did that, once before.  I offered
to take Tamaryn and my child into Shadow and bring it back before he was
as old as Viv, so she would still have someone to play with.  Mum was
overcome by the news, and thankful for the offer.  She Trumped Da to talk
about it, and he decided that maybe they would be willing to go out into
Shadow, as well.  Looks like we are all going on an extended vacation.

	Very strange day, today.  Laughter and Foster "married" Driscoll,
if you can call it that.  I can't say that I understand, and I'm not sure
if I approve.  Nonetheless, for all intents and purposes, I have a
son-in-law.  Foster and Laughter must love each other very much if they
are willing to do this; more so, the trust between them must be immense -
to accept a third party into their relationship as an equal.  Again, it
makes me think of me an' Tamaryn.  It's not so much that I don't trust part, I have problems trusting myself.

	This wedding was much smaller than their last one, and thankfully,
Foster didn't have the problems getting dressed.  (Note to myself - if and
when I do get married, elope.  Amber bachelor parties are a lot of fun to
go to, but I don't know if I could handle being the subject of one).  Bart
officiated - Bart as a priest takes almost as much getting used to as
Driscoll as my son.

	At the end of the ceremony, I welcomed Driscoll into the family. 
Didn't know what else to do.  I trust their decision, and even if I
didn't, it's not my place to say.

	Driscoll set us up with a townhouse - it's a brownstone in an
older portion of town - one that's recently gone through a
re-gentrification.  It's in the city, but it's much less "high-tech"
feeling than the rest of this city.  The technology is there, but not as
intrusive - which is saying a lot, here.  Seems like everyone here has
wires sticking out of them, or glowing eyes, or metallic limbs (lucky for
Foster).  It's a cozy place, but with some room to grow.  Mum an Da are
staying out in the country - the technology scares Mum a bit, and I don't
think that Da is overly comfortable with it.  Everyone else is staying at
Driscoll's skyscraper (seems like Driscoll owns everything here).  Can't
say I'm overly pleased to see Vetch here, but Ariana came along, and with
Ariana comes Vetch.  I have to get accredited to work as a doctor here. 
I've already looked into the courses I'm going to need to take to bring
myself up to speed.  I can see having a nice, small family practice...or
maybe doing sports medicine.  I don't need the money, just something to

	I hope I don't have to go through residency again.

	Tamaryn's pregnant.  We're going to have a boy.  I can't wait to
tell my parents.

	Ariana came over today - she's worried about my mother.  She says
to me, "Your Mum is as large as a woman at full term."  I hadn't noticed. 
She's worried that natural labor will kill Mum, and do nothing good for
the baby.  I have to admit, it's a definite possibility.  It's been such a
horrible year...what with all that's happened to me and Da...I cannot let
this happen.  Ariana's already spoken with my father, and Mum won't listen
to either of them.

	She doesn't like it, but she's agreed to a C-section, thank God. 
Mum didn't seem overly thrilled at being able to pick the baby's birthday. 
Oh well, should be the most of our worries there.

	On the upside, I've found a rugby team, sponsored by a local pub. 
A lot of the businesses in the city sponsor them.  Then, at the end of the
season, there's a big playoff between each of the city's champions.  The
new season starts soon.  Foster's made noises like he wants to play too. 
Foolish lad.  Shoulda chosen another sport, boyo.

	Da paged me at work.  There's been an accident.  Mum's started

	She's never going to listen to me again.  "It'll be fine, Mum," I
sez.  "What good is technology if doesn't help people?" I sez.  "The
doctor's here are great.  You're going to be fine."  Lies, all of 'em.

	Mum...please be okay.

	I've a brother.  He's fine.  Da's been in with Mum since she came
out of surgery.  She's not supposed to have visitors, but I pulled some
strings, and honestly, who's gonna kick me da out?  Loathe as I am to say
this, I wish that Vetch was on staff.  They gave her a hysterectomy, for
god's sake!  She'll never have a child again.  She was right...butchers. 
I'm glad I'm not a surgeon.  I am grateful that she's alive, but I don't
think I could look the surgeons in the eye.

	Random and Vialle have also had a son - Vaughn.  I guess now that
he's not king, the pressure to reproduce is off.

	Mum's recovering slowly, but she's going to be all right.  We
weren't sure there, for a while.  Gideon's going to be a big boy...or
rather, he is a big boy.  He's going to be a huge man.  I'll always be his
big brother, if in name only.  Damn it, between Haris and Gideon...and
Gerard, I'm going to be the runt of the litter.  I don't like that.  What
can you do?

	Foster.  Foster will always be smaller than me.  I don't feel so
bad, now.

	10-8.  We beat Foster's team!  Oh, the look on his face...I wish I
had a photo.  But wait, I do!  Who says hi-tech is worthless?  Take that,

	I've another grandson!  Or rather...Random does.  Short labor
compared to Haris and Iseult.  I'm glad that the birth was so smooth.  The
legacy of Gerard, and all that.  I hope Tamaryn's goes as well.

	Ariana's had another.  You know...I think she's been pregnant
almost as long as I've known her.'d think Vetch was trying to
repopulate the world.

	I've already requested time off - Tamaryn should be delivering
soon.  As soon as the baby is born, I'm off.

	I'd hoped to start this entry with something poetic.  Alas, I am
not a poet, and if I wish to wax poetic, I need to borrow from other
sources.  I think Laughter would be proud if she knew.  I hadn't read this
play since school, and it's much bloodier than I remembered.  I got the
name from a passage in Henry V.  The speech is wonderful, rousing...but
not appropriate...not for today.  A single line from Much Ado seems much
more fitting:

	" mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under
that was I born..."

	Welcome, Crispin.  Welcome, son.

	I guess all babies drool that much.

	Remind me to apologize to Foster...and Laughter...and Driscoll.

	I've decided to cut back my hours at work, slightly.  The leave
was nice, and I'd like to help Tamaryn with Crispin.  I missed out on so
much with Foster, I'm not going to let that happen again.  I still want to
work, though.  I'd rather not live completely off of Driscoll's
hospitality.  That's fine for a vacation, but twelve years is hardly a
vacation.  Also, wouldn't want the press to get the wrong idea - they came
around again the other day.  Seems like any time we go and visit the kids
at the skyscraper, we get reporters around for the next couple days. 
"Lets go bother the O'Brian's poor, easy to track-down cousins."  Oh well. 
What can you do?

	Crispin seems kinda small, compared to some of the other
kids...well, compared to the other kids when they were his age.  The
legacy of Gerard, huh?

	The kids were all born so close together, it seems to make sense
to have one large party for Isaac, Briana and Crispin.  I can't believe
that I'm going to propose a party that features five screaming toddlers,
and a master assassin.  I knew I was dumb, but it appears that I'm also

	Maybe we'll have a smaller, private erase the scars.

	Crispin seems to get along well enough with his uncle and nephew -
they're all so close in age.  I don't think that any of them appreciates
the fact that they represent three different generations.  Viv, does I
think.  She does the funniest things - when she's with Gideon, she's your
typical seven-year-old, but she tries to act so grown up around Crispin. 
It's kinda interesting to see what a seven-year-old thinks about adults -
it shows up when she tries to imitate them.

	God, I hope that's not how she sees me.

	Tamaryn and I went out last night.  First evening alone in a very
long time.  What's more, we finally got to cash in on some of the
baby-sitting credits that we've been accumulating at the national bank of
Foster (although I'm sure that's not how Tamaryn feels about it).  Caught
a nice show in town, late dinner, dancing.  She beautiful.  I'm a
lucky man.

	We're going to have another kid.  Did I say how lucky I am?

	I've begun to notice that Crispin seems to worry an awful
lot...and not over things that make sense.  I guess there's some standard
little kid questions like, "Why is it raining?  Is the sky sad?" but
there's also stuff like, "What if Haris and Iseult play cards, and no one
wins, and that makes Isaac sad?" or "What if my little brother only speaks
French and I can't tell him stories?" or "What if the fire alarm at the
grocer's goes off, and he can't sell his broccoli because everyone thinks
that the store is on fire, and it's not on fire, and the alarm only went
off because it was playing a trick?"  I swear, he's sad for the trees when
they loose their leaves.  I've talked to Tamaryn about it.  She says he
gets that from me.  I don't see it.  "What if..."  I wish I could allay
his fears.  He gets so upset about things, sometimes.  I know he means
well, but the carpet isn't going to get upset if we turn the light off
without warning it.  Phases...I've been told all kids go through
phases...look at Foster and Iseult.

	Look at me.

	Ariana's got one of those data-jack things, her kids got them too. 
I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  She did enjoy the one that she got in
that damned Shadow...the one where Ahab lost his body.  She was able to do
a lot with it - without her, we wouldn't have gotten out of there.  I
couldn't get that plug out of me fast enough, it felt so damned
unnatural...  It's her body.  Just hope it doesn't react weird once she
returns to Amber.

	Crispin has more questions about his brother every day.  I'm kinda
feeling it was a mistake to tell him when the baby would be born - I swear
he's counting down.  "Will he like cheese?"  "Will he like to run?" 
Thankfully, Tamaryn is fielding most of the questions.  I can't come up
with answers quick enough, but she is able to answer him before he moves
on to the next seems to hold his attention more.  He's a sweet
kid.  He and Gideon remind me of each other.  Seems some traits do run in
the family.  Reminder - keep the both of them away from the
Vetchlings...they seem to enjoy "playing" with them a little too much.  It
took me a week to convince them that we didn't send away for Crispin's
brother with four box-tops from Chocolate Coated Sugar Bombs.  I don't
know how Mum and Da fared with Gideon.

	Donal's an early riser.  Tamaryn went into labor around 3:00 a.m.

	I did have to explain to Crispin that Donal didn't answer him
because he doesn't know how to talk yet...he revisited that whole French
thing.  Cris does seem relieved that he has baby brother and not an iguana
(talk to the Vetches about that one...)  What's worse - they didn't even
explain to him what an iguana is.  I'm surprised.  He was horrified to
find out.  I wouldn't think that they would have wanted to miss that.

	Meanwhile, when Crispin isn't being terrified by the Vetch
children, he's terrifying Donal.  His shapeshifting is starting to
manifest.  Scared the hell out me Tuesday last...  Why can't they turn
into anything cute?  Apparently fuzzy isn't hard...I'd much prefer cute. 
Tamaryn said she'd work with him.

	It's just a phase.

	Donal's got red hair.  Like me.  No one had better tell him that
his father is Brand.

	The kids are busy with their latest, Elspeth - who *is* my
biological grandchild.  She's a sweet one, though aren't they all at her
age?  The other grandkids are doing fine.  They've become fast friends
with the Vetchlings - no surprise, I guess...they all live in that
skyscraper of Driscoll's.  Haris is a strapping lad.  Iseult and Eris are
spending a lot of time together - they have since we came.  I'm glad.

	I just realized something horrible...  Technically the Vetchlings
are my siblings-in-law.  Oh, my.  They've calmed down a lot, I'll grant
them that, but they still make me nervous.  Rather, their father makes me
nervous...  I asked Haris to look out for Crispin and Gideon, and since
then, I haven't had to calm Cris down nearly as frequently...which is
good.  Lately, when he gets upset, he tends to change.  Sometime it takes
Tamaryn upwards of half an hour to talk him down.  Poor kid.  I wish I
could help him more.  I talk to him, hold him close.  It's taken some
getting used to, but I've come to accept whatever form he wears, he is my
son.  It should make things that much easier when Donal's shapeshifting
starts to manifest.  At least we've a few years before that happens.

	Laughter and Ariana have been taking their kids on wilderness
retreats, of sorts.  It kinda makes me wish that our kids were older.  I
talked to Tamaryn about it, and while she agrees that Crispin and Donal
are much too young, she did have a couple of suggestions.  We might move
out to Driscoll's country house, though that would put us in the public
eye, and I'd rather not have that.  She also suggested that I might take
up sailing again.  I've not been since we arrived here.  It's amazing how
persistent the call of the sea is.  I'd tuned it out, but ever since
Tamaryn brought it up, I can't seem to get my mind off of it.  I'd like to
buy a boat.  I hope Tamaryn doesn't mind, I can't think of why she would. 
Anyway, soon as I get the go-ahead, I'm going to start shopping.  I bet I
could get Da to go in on this.  Maybe there's a league, or a club...I
can't wait.

	I saw the light in Da's eye when I mentioned the boat.

	Donal's been crawling for a while now, but now he's figured out
how to get out of the crib.  I think Crispin showed him how.  Cris gets
into everything, and Donal follows right along - they make quite a pair. 
We've had to pack up a lot of the breakables.

	Donal said his first word this week:  "Kisp'n."  It was quickly
followed by "up," "dow," "op'n," "mor," "eat," "mommy" and "daddy." 
Crispin was relieved to find that his brother didn't speak French.

	They like to play tag... dawn.

	Tamaryn's made noises about going to school.  I think it's a
wonderful idea, she's been stuck in the house since we arrived.  She's
planning on night classes.  I don't know if I like that; it's going to cut
down on our time together, but she is loathe to give up any time with the
kids.  I'm going to cut back on my hours again, so I can spend the waking
hours with her AND the children (what a concept).  The other doctors at
work grumbled a lot, but they're going to let me do it.  It's going to
mean that I get to be the doctor on call, and will have extended weekend
hours...yay.  But, it's time with Tamaryn and the boys.  She's indulged me
in my hobbies, at the very least, I can return the favor.  The boys are
four and two.  I can handle them.

	Donal's started changing.  I couldn't find him for hours.  Crispin
finally did.  Tamaryn had class tonight, and I didn't want to bother her
with I bothered Foster, instead.  It's kind of annoying that all
I can do is pet him and speak warmly - Foster and Tamaryn have both told
me that that helps a lot.  I just wish I could do more.  Cris has gotten
to the point where he can either change or not change.  The only thing he
knows how to turn into is himself, and trust me, I'm thankful for that
much.  The rest of the time it's pretty random - we've got pictures of
some of the more interesting forms.  I'm sure his first girlfriend will
love to see those...

	I told Tamaryn about what happened tonight.  Foster had coaxed
Donal back to normal by the time she came home.  She was kind of upset
that I didn't call her.  I just wanted to show that could handle the kids
myself...which of course, I couldn't.

	Tamaryn said she wasn't angry.  I still felt stupid.

	I've asked Cris not to change around Gideon.  I don't think he'd
understand.  I had to explain that Gideon and Viv can't change like he
can, and that I couldn't either.  He was surprised.  We're thinking maybe
that Crispin and Donal would benefit from some shapeshifting/playtime with
their nephews and nieces.  Laughter, Foster and Driscoll have to be going
through similar things with Isaac and Elspeth, and at least those two have
the older kids to help them through this.  Maybe some sort of weekly
shapeshifting play- group?  It's just a thought.

	Foster called me, extremely disturbed.  He demanded that we come
over, and wouldn't explain over Trump.  We came through to find him,
Laughter and Driscoll, and a room full of children - the grandkids.  "No
big deal," I think to myself.  I take a closer look, and Pax looks upset,
and Haris' brow is furled.  He's talking to Iseult, whose back is to us. 
Her hair's much shorter, and she's put on some weight.  "Foster, what's
wrong?"  He motions to Iseult.  I walk over, expecting to see my
granddaughter...she's not there.  What I do see is (at first glance,
appeared to be) a slightly smaller, younger version of Haris, with
Iseult's coloring.  "Hi, Grandpa," he says with Iseult's voice.  Looking
at his face, you couldn't tell a thing was wrong.  My lord.  None of them
know why she did this, and she didn't offer up any explanation.  I have to
wonder if this is a side effect of having a mom with two dads all in the
same the same family.  I hope for their sake, that this is just
a phase.

	We beat Foster's team again this afternoon - first time since we
started playing.  What's more, I think that we might have a chance at the
national championship this year.  We came damn close that first time. 
Foster's did win last year.  That was fun.  It was a good game and all,
but we had to Trump in and out of there for most of a week.  The press
wouldn't let us get close to building.  Have to admit, the tabloid
headlines were more fun than those of the real papers.  Anyway, I think
that we've a chance this year.  It'd be a nice way to end the stay.  We're
cutting the trip short - it sounds like the rest of them had this planned
for a while.  Seems Ariana is worried about her kids becoming too used to
technology (which they have), and she's warned Laughter about it, as well. 
Laughter's more worried about Iseult than she is about the kids becoming
technologically dependent.  Thankfully, our boys are as interested in
teddy bears and rocking horses as they are in television and
computer...more so if their ol' da's made them.

	It's something that's always worried me.  I'm heartened to say
that all of the children appreciate my gifts, if not the work I've put
into them.

	We leave at the end of the year.

	I'll give the Vetchlings one thing...they certainly have the best
Halloween costumes I've ever seen.

	I won't be able to sleep for weeks.

	Iseult has decided to resume being a girl.  I am *so* glad that I
didn't have to deal with that myself.  What do you tell the school?  I
hope that my boys don't do anything that strange.

	Tamaryn's students were sad to hear that she's leaving at the end
of the semester.  She started taking classes, now she went
pretty quick.  It's all gone pretty quick. The boys are so big now...and
Vivienne?  Mum's not overly pleased with her now, seems she's acting a
little too much like Iseult for her tastes.  Gideon's gotten huge.  He's
much larger than Crispin.

	I'd like to think that Gideon and Viv see me as their brother. 
I've tried very hard to make sure that they don't see me as just another
adult.  It was a little harder with Gideon than it was with Viv...I didn't
have kids then.  So, it's taken some doing...much to Mum's distress. 
She's reminded me several times that I'm not too old to spank...and then
Da cleared his throat, and moved closer too me, and I shut right up.  I'd
also like to think that that's how the boys see Foster (as a brother, that
is...), but I can't say for certain.  Foster has so many more children to
look after.  At least the boys get along with his kids.

	We won!  My own little bit of non-Driscoll induced glory!

	We've settled the accounts.  The people from my office and
Tamaryn's school got together and gave us a nice going away party.  We
told them we were going abroad for a while.  It's true...kind of.  Anyway. 
I'll miss this place.  We've sold the brownstone to a nice, young couple. 
They're expecting their first in March.  Mum and Da have already gone back
to Amber.  They've been gone a couple of weeks.  Not that they will have
been there long with the speed that this Shadow is running at - they'll
have been there a few minutes, at most.  The skyscraper-contingent is
leaving last.  We didn't want all three groups leaving at once.  What
would the tabloids think then?

	Six years in Driscoll's Shadow wasn't bad...with a name like
Bedlam, I'd expected much worse.

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