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PostPosted: August 30th, 2020, 11:53 am 
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Once again, we end with a cliffhanger on the way to a hospital – perhaps Jake and I didn't have fantastically different ideas when we started to plan this story. Will it end in tragedy this time? Could we be so cruel? (It'd certainly surprise the audience if we were! ;))

Thank goodness – and thank that ghost (whoever he may be!) – that Carl is now doing as well as can be expected. As has been noted many times before, he's had quite a journey from 'Rage' and through our fanfiction up to this point, and I think that his attitude to what's happened reflects the stronger, braver and more sensitive person he has become over the years. The conversations he has with his sons are particularly revealing; he and Kevin talk a lot about the recent and distant past because they still have some stuff to work through, while the conversation Carl has with James quickly moves on into the more comfortable, easy-going dynamic they've always had, for they can say more without words than Carl and Kevin ever could. (Okay, we know that Carl and James have been through at least one rocky patch, as we are reminded in the story, but it's clear that their relationship is and always has been close in spite of that.)

Jake wrote most of the Manhattan stuff, but I was very glad to contribute the scene up in the apartment, introducing another plot strand and having some fun writing about the animals. I wish more people (particularly YouTubers! :x) would introduce cats and dogs properly i.e. make sure the dog knows that the cat must have everything its own way! In Part 3, we shall see (among other things) how Zak and Penny's relationship has progressed between their first meeting and the point the story has now reached...

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2020, 3:28 pm 
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I do want to apologize for taking so long to comment on your latest story--it's been a weird week for me, and it seemed like every time I tried to sit down and catch up something else came up.

Even worse, I can't think of much specific to say about the latest chapter, other than the usual "Good job as always, looking forward to seeing how it continues".

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I wish more people (particularly YouTubers! :x) would introduce cats and dogs properly i.e. make sure the dog knows that the cat must have everything its own way!


:lol: That's how it works in our house.

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PostPosted: September 1st, 2020, 8:30 am 
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The current situation in the apartment really is the icing on the cake of this wonderful domestic setup for me. Not for the first time, Eduardo's one-time bachelor pad has become both a paradise of homosexual love and a bastion of fun and/or support for a young relative from the main house, which is a lovely tradition to continue. (Although the homosexual love aspect was absent when Eduardo himself was living there, the bastion for the young relative aspect was certainly not absent.) The huge importance of the relationship between Rose and Michaela has been made clear in this and other stories and it's going to become even more vital in the next few years as Michaela really starts "growing up" (if you know what I mean!) so it was certainly a must to get a glimpse of that here.

In the comparatively brief sequence of Zak playing with the kids in the garden, I've attempted to give an insight into yet another generation of Riveras and Rivera associates forging lifelong links of love and friendship. As should be obvious from the story, Tom and Robbie are Hayden and Jessica's two boys (exactly as in GBOT) and Daniel is Michael and Ella's son, whose existence was announced at the start of the final Insert. I've also tried to show (in this part and the first part) that Michaela and Daniel have a very special friendship that Carl believes is going to become romantic in the foreseeable future. Could it be that Carl still has somewhat heteronormative tendencies and assumes that a close boy/girl friendship must be destined to turn that way, or has he spotted the same spark that he detected so accurately between Kevin and Oscar when they were only a little older than Daniel and Michaela are now? I certainly know what I think, but I guess you can decide for yourself.

There are times in this story where the word "dad" is used very deliberately to make the following point: it's incredibly easy (too easy!) to be a father, but being a dad is something you have to earn. Carl has earned this, as his homecoming scene attempts to illustrate in no uncertain terms. As Rosey points out, his interactions with Kevin and James are markedly different thanks to the journey they've all been on, yet one important fact holds true in both cases: Carl has earned the respect of his sons, and thus they are there for him when he really needs them. This shows how love is a truly reciprocal process, mutually beneficial to those who earn it from each other. I'm sure Carl's positive mental attitude towards his recovery is driven by his desire to restore the status quo of the fulfilling life he's justly earned, involving not only his sons but also his wife, granddaughters, brother and nieces.

Much as I love the domestic setup at the Rivera house, the Long Beach branch of the family (Conchita, Josh, Daisy and the distressed foetus) are also a source of delight to me as I interact with the Collinsverse, and I think Daisy and Libby's status as special (second) cousins is particularly pleasing. Also, I hope any confused readers were left in no doubt after reading this portion of the story that Libby is the co-parented younger child of Kevin/Oscar and Catherine/Stephanie, and her big brother Dom is the baby that was inside Catherine in Insert 13. I do think this is a rather wonderful arrangement and represents another life brought into the world by heartwarming love and friendship, and I think it works out very neatly that both same-sex couples have an older child of their own and a younger one to share. And if you're still not sure who Libby's biological parents are (not that it matters at all, but it's interesting to know these things!) then you'd better pay close attention to the dialogue of that elusive mystery ghost (although we'll know who he is by then!) in the final part.

I don't habitually post links to the illustrations anymore, but here (because I like it so much!) is my South Park-style picture of Tom, Daniel, Michaela, Libby, Robbie and Zak enjoying a wonderful, carefree, water-splashed summer afternoon together, the lucky things! https://www.deviantart.com/theeyeshield ... -852994102

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PostPosted: September 6th, 2020, 7:35 am 
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Back to School Special: The Circle of Life, Part 3, by me, with additional material by Jake.

​Daisy helps Conchita find the help she needs at last, Libby gets some answers from the family's ghostly visitor, Kevin and James look to the future, and Eduardo and Kylie come home to some changes.

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PostPosted: September 6th, 2020, 10:07 pm 
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Very nice story! I enjoyed reading it and keep up the excellent work. :D

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PostPosted: September 8th, 2020, 4:30 pm 
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EGBFan wrote:
Back to School Special: The Circle of Life, Part 3, by me, with additional material by Jake.

​Daisy helps Conchita find the help she needs at last, Libby gets some answers from the family's ghostly visitor, Kevin and James look to the future, and Eduardo and Kylie come home to some changes.


Very satisfying conclusion.

Captain Gaspar was my second guess as to the ghost's identity, and it does--as previous posts hinted--tie into the larger family story you guys have built up. Having Grandma Rose help him make his final resolution was a very appropriate touch.

:D

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PostPosted: September 9th, 2020, 11:27 am 
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As well as the overall domestic setup, one of the first things that I really loved about this story is how everyone gets left with a very positive outlook for the future, and as Grandma Rose implies, they are right to do so. Even Carl has a real goal and feels genuinely optimistic about the rest of his life, perhaps more so than ever before in some ways. James is looking forward to starting a family with whoever you want him to be starting a family with, Conchita and Josh have earned themselves what's probably the ideal nuclear family (an older sister with a brother about 3-5 years younger) and everyone else is looking very nicely set up at whatever stage they've reached in their lives. I feel the love and happiness of the extended Rivera family even more acutely than most of the feelings I have about anything in our own universe, so this definitely makes the perfect happy ending for me!

Conchita's experiences here ring all too true, as many people seem to find it incredibly difficult to get a decent diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment from medical professionals, which I think is very scary! (And Rosey knows it is because she's experienced that phenomenon herself!) Jay's birth is a great way to finish off, linking back to Captain Gaspar, Judy and (of course) Eduardo and Kylie, and don't forget to check out Jay's mugshot in our Character Index, along with everyone else from Adam Jackson to Zak via (among others) Dominic Bartholomew-Sloane, Jack Cavallini, Ray Stantz and Will DuWitt Junior.

Confirmation of Libby's biological parents: Oscar Venkman and Stephanie Sloane. I suspect this was the first and only combination attempted, as Kevin and Catherine were already biological parents to Michaela and Dominic respectively.

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PostPosted: September 11th, 2020, 11:02 am 
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I think this is a very satisfying conclusion to the series - about five and a half years in the making, with the first episode of the Virtual Season being released on 22nd March 2015. It's always a good idea to round something off by looking to the past, the present and the future; as Our Timeline (now decorated with the complete collection of couple and sibling portraits) will attest, the (sea) ship carrying Captain Gaspar got him there precisely five hundred years before the birth of Jay.

Well, okay, The Esperanza only got Gaspar most of the way to South America; it actually sank, as mentioned by Eduardo long, long ago in Virtual Season episode A Clash of Symbols. When I wrote this reference to an 'ancestor', I thought he probably wouldn't be mentioned again, and it was only for Jake and me to know who he really was. Guess I was wrong! The spin-off episode Barcelona provided me with an unmissable opportunity to include the character as a ghost (and I had already given the name before that). Dramatically, there have been thirty-two years between that story and the latest - plenty of time for Gaspar's English to improve as it has!

Jake's spark of inspiration in getting Kevin and Oscar together (romantically, that is - I had more than a little involvement in how they met) has led to the Rivera family growing into that huge house they have and filling it with love; it's come a long way since 'Rage', when it had far fewer occupants than the space asked for, and they didn't all love each other that much! Josh and Conchita also have just the right number of people and animals to fill their home (actually, I think they probably extended onto the balcony when Jay was expected), and I very much enjoyed envisioning this set-up. Now where will Rose go, and what sort of further family will she have in the future...? Well, that really is going to be left up to the imagination!

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'Rosey Collins an XGB fan from the UK.'
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