Love Languages

By Bluetiger

Rating: G

Genres: general

Keywords:

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Rating: G, for general audiences.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek, I've added the good bits about Trip's grandmother.

Summary: A small slice of life from the Tucker clan. This story gives some insight into Trip's grandmother and her influence on his personality.

Author's Note: This is the first thing I've ever written. Be gentle, but help me grow. I'd like to thank Bluecub for pushing me to do this and being my beta.

jT's note: Be sure to check out the pictures at the end!


 


Charles Tucker the third lifted the large painting over the fireplace and rested it on the mantle. Stepping back to get a good look, he realized that it was perfect for the large wall space. The painting depicted a beautiful beach with palms, dunes with sea grass, and tranquil waves lapping at the shore. It had always been one of Trip's favorite pictures and considering what the artist’s last painting had sold for, was probably worth more than the rest of the contents of the house put together. He stepped forward and lovingly ran his fingers over the signature, T. Tucker. Fortunately for Trip it had been a gift from the artist. Now if he could just locate his tool box with the picture hanging hardware he would be in business.

Trip walked around the large stack of boxes in the new home his family had just moved into. Life had been very hectic in the months since the end of their mission and the decommissioning of Enterprise. He and T’Pol had found a beautiful little house on the outskirts of San Francisco with three bedrooms, an office for each of them, and a big backyard, it was perfect. However, moving in and unpacking everything was proving to be much more work than simply taking care of a warp 5 engine had ever been.

Trip looked up as his wife walked into the room--well, waddled would be more to the point. He smiled to himself at the sight of his beautiful wife. She was wearing a pair of yellow knit shorts, one of his old T-shirts and no shoes. Barefoot and pregnant was such a cliché but her feet were swollen and she was much more comfortable this way. T’Pol eased herself down into an easy chair with a sigh. She had been in their bedroom trying to get everything arranged to her satisfaction, but Trip would not allow her to lift anything heavy since she was only weeks away from delivering their son.

“I need you to remove the empty boxes from our bed and I believe that room can be considered done,” she said with what sounded to Trip like a small amount of pride.

Sitting on the floor he lifted her foot and began to massage it slowly,“Wow, you got all those clothes put up already, I’m impressed, just don’t try to do too much at one time.” T’Pol pulled her foot from his hand and eased the other one up for some similar attention, “I was motivated, for I think after lunch I may need the bed for a nap.”

Her husband thought that was a very good idea because after lunch he planned to begin painting his office.

“Sit still and I’ll grab us some soup and sandwiches, we can picnic in here.”

T’Pol nodded while looking above the fireplace, “Your grandmother’s painting is agreeable there.”

T’Pol was now asleep in their room having her much needed afternoon nap. Soval had been kind enough to take their six-year-old daughter on an excursion to the zoo. He had seemed to go out of his way to be a part of their daughter’s life ever since her birth on Enterprise. It still amazed Trip that Soval had developed such a great fondness for the little girl. He seemed fascinated by the way she had embraced characteristics from both her cultures and meshed them.

Trip’s princess was truly a creature of both worlds and he loved her to death, but today he was free to paint without any unwanted help. However, he had to promise his baby girl that she could choose any color she wanted for her room and help him paint it. T’Pol had raised her eyebrow nearly to the ceiling, so he was unsure how that would turn out but he was hoping for the best. Prying open the can of moss green paint, Trip poured a goodly amount in the pan and dipped his roller. He had decided that this particular color would be very relaxing for the walls of his home office. His wife had requested that he leave her office walls white which Trip insisted made it look like a hospital room. T’Pol however seemed to find it conducive to concentration. As the paint began to coat the wall, Trip’s mind began to slip back to a time when he was nine years old and in a similar situation.

**************

“Why do we have paint the attic purple dad?” Trip whined.

“It’s called Obi Lilac,” Charles Tucker Jr. said looking at the can label, “and it’s the color your grandma chose.”

He knew that Trip considered the attic as his personal sanctuary and was one of the few places that he could slip off to and get away from his siblings. “I’m sorry Trip, but you know this is the only room we have that’s big enough for all Grandma Theresa’s stuff.”

Everyone had been shocked at the sudden death of Grandpa Charlie in a freak accident. After a hurricane had hit the coast of Florida everyone had been clearing debris. Grandpa was helping a neighbor cut limbs from a tree that had fallen on his roof. The neighbor, Mr. Baxter, didn’t realize that the limb he was sawing was placing tension on another and as the cut was completed the second limb swung free brushing Grandpa Charlie from the roof. The impact broke his neck. Theresa was devastated by her beloved husband's death.

While she was reluctant, Charles had insisted that his mother move in with the Tucker clan. Robin Tucker agreed with her husband completely as she had always had a great relationship with her mother-in-law. Theresa was not your average grandmother, at five-foot-four with brown blonde shoulder length hair, she always appeared much younger than she was. In her standard uniform of jeans, sneakers and a gauzy cotton shirt, she was often mistaken for the kids' mother when she took them out for adventures. Even though she was a very young 58 they were worried about Theresa living alone after 37 years of marriage to Charlie. Trip loved his grandma and would be glad to have her there, but this would bring the household to a grand total of three adults, four children, and two dogs, Bedford and Candace. He was definitely going to have to find a new ‘fortress of solitude‘. His older sister Michelle, younger brother Alan, and little sister Lizzie could get on a fella’s nerves some times. Very little had to be done to the attic to make it functional as an apartment. The addition of a bathroom, small kitchen area and drywall, which Trip had helped to paint lilac, much to his dismay, made it move in ready.

Trip was amazed at all the stuff his grandma moved into the large attic space . Dad called her a pack rat, while Theresa preferred to think of herself as a collector of memorabilia. Trip had to admit that the place looked amazing , Grandma had chosen a moss green and light purple print fabric for curtains, pillows and an upholstered chair and she had green plants strategically placed about the room. It was a tremendous space covering the entire third floor so she was able to have her bedroom area, a sitting space with a huge vid screen computer combo and also a studio area under the skylights to practice her art.

Life settled into a pleasant pattern for the next eight months. Theresa Tucker was a modestly well-known artist and worked from home so Robin decided to go back to work full time at her advertising firm since there was someone always at home when the children came in from school. Robin, Charles and Theresa shared the cooking duties and meals were always very good and a very social time for the Tucker children as they were encouraged to help. Trip always remembered these times with much warmth. After dinner traditionally everyone gathered on the screen porch, the kids would play and the adults would swing and talk. Life was good for the Tuckers until the summer Trip turned ten.

Trip’s baseball team had gone to an away game two towns over and on the return trip home the bus had been hit by a drunk driver in a pick-up truck. Thankfully no one was killed, however Trip had been sitting at the point of impact and his hip was shattered. With his hip in a cast for the next eight weeks, Charles Tucker III was a depressed young man.

The family decided to send his brother and sisters to day camp this summer so Theresa could concentrate on looking after Trip.

“Life is so unfair, all my buddies are out playing and I have to stay indoors all summer,” Trip had his arms crossed over his chest as his dad carried him upstairs to Grandma’s room. He was in a foul humor as he was deposited on the bed.

His father looked down at the sad little boy “I’m sorry Trip, I know this isn’t any fun but you just have to tuff it out for a while.”

“This will be the worst summer of my life,” Trip’s lip quivered and nearly broke his father’s heart.

Theresa patted her son’s arm “Go to work, we’ll be fine, trust me.”

She gave her son a smile and gently propelled him from the room. “So Trip, do you know what we’re gonna do for the next two months?”

“No Grandma, what?”

“Have fun,” she told him with confidence, and much to Trip's surprise that’s exactly what they did. Theresa began by handing her grandson a brand new sketch pad. “Every day I want you to draw a picture.”

“I’m not a very good artist and I don’t know what to draw,” complained Trip.

“It doesn’t need to be anything special,” glancing around she grabbed a box of Kleenex and turned it on its side, placed a small piggy bank on top and a candle next to the bank “draw that.” Trip scowled at the odd combination of items. “Trust me darlin’ just draw what you see.” Much to his surprise about an hour and a half later Trip had a drawing he was very proud of. With only a few gently place hints Trip had shown a talent that pleased his Grandmother. “What do I draw now?” he eagerly asked.

Taking the pad from him under protest she replied, “Your training includes more than just art. Now I am going to show you one of the best films ever made and my personal favorite, The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” and thus began several marathons of Theresa’s favorite classic video chips. Trip was enthralled by these old classics and developed a love of old sci-fi, horror movies and TV series that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Frankenstein became a particular favorite of his.

The summer days passed, each much the same, Charles carrying Trip upstairs in the morning, drawing, watching videos, lunch and talking. Grandma talked about all the things she collected, shells, rocks, bottles of sand from beaches all over the world, books, stuffed animals, pictures, and there was an interesting story behind each item.

The thing Trip loved the most was an antique diving helmet. Grandpa Charlie had bought it for Grandma on their honeymoon in the Virgin Islands. He told her to pick out something that would always remind her of that day when she looked at it. “We were in a dive shop getting snorkeling gear when I saw the helmet and I knew it was what I wanted.” Grandma had a wistful look on her face and Trip knew she was remembering times with Grandpa.

One of Trip’s sketches was of this special diving helmet with some shells beside it. He also drew a stuffed monkey that had been a gift to Grandma from his dad when he was a little boy and a pen and ink sketch of Bedford, the Tucker family dog. Trip has two pretty good sketches of Candace, his grandmother's Shetland sheepdog. From the start Candace sensed Trip was hurt and would spend most days curled up at his side on the bed. He spent many hours stroking her soft fur while he and Grandma talked. They found they had much in common including a wicked sense of humor.

One particularly rainy day a favorite fluffy tan blanket was place over Trip’s legs.

“You know I think this is the softest cover I have ever felt,” Trip commented.

“Yes I believe they had to skin at least 3 or 4 large Pooh Bears to make than blanket.”

Trip rolled his eyes at his Grandmother, “Number one, I happen to know that this is faux fur Grandma and number two Pooh Bears are imaginary.”

“Of course they are sweetheart, everybody knows that faux fur comes from imaginary animals, you should feel my unicorn pillow cases,” a straight-faced Grandma declared.

Trip burst into laughter “You are so weird!”

“I go with my strengths dear,” she grinned.

Trip continued to giggle “ Please don’t tell that to Lizzie, she’ll have nightmares.”

“Trust me, I’m always aware of my audience,” Grandma chuckled.

Among the movies they'd been watching, Theresa added several TV series to educate her grandson. Between episodic science fiction series, she included a cross-section of classic cartoon shows. One favorite of Grandma’s was an old cartoon show called Super Chicken, she had the entire series. She and Trip would laugh hysterically at his adventures with his sidekick, a lion named Fred. Inevitably the hapless lion would be blown up or pummeled in some way to which Super Chicken pronounced, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it Fred.” This became Trip and his Grandma’s favorite catchphrase.

Lunchtime discussions were often quite deep and meaningful for Trip. More than once, he'd gotten a pearl of wisdom that would help him as an adult. One day at lunch they decided to have leftover barbeque chicken and while eating the subject of Vulcans being vegetarians came up. Ten year old Trip somehow came to the less than obvious conclusion that Vulcans being scary and not eating meat had to be connected. As Grandma looked down at the little boy with barbeque sauce all over his hands and face she shook her head and gave him these words of wisdom, “Never judge a species by there eating habits.”

**************

Trip used a small brush to draw a fine line of green paint along the baseboard and sat back on his heels to look at the green wall. “Yep, this is a great color! One down and three to go.” Hearing the doorbell he rose to his feet to investigate. T’Pol was just closing the door and there were two new large boxes in the living room. Turning around to tell him of the delivery she stopped short and tilted her head.

“Husband, if you were Vulcan I would fear that you had been attacked by a wild sehlat.”

Mildly confused until he looked down at his formerly white t-shirt and jeans that were now splattered with an embarrassing amount of green, Trip began to laugh “Hey, I don’t have that much paint on me.”

A raised eyebrow was his reply.

“Are these the boxes from North Carolina?” Trip pulled one over and sat on the couch to open it.

T’Pol took a seat beside him to see what he was so excited about. In these boxes were treasures from his youth, Trip began to pull out his old sketch pads, comic books, baseball cards and a very old but well preserved stuffed monkey.

“I am surprised so many of your childhood mementos have survived.” T’Pol picked up the sketch pad and began to flip through it. She was impressed with her husband’s talent at such an early age.

“They wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for my grandmother. Every time my parents started to clean house and get rid of a bunch of our junk, Grandma would get some boxes, label them by child, pack them neatly and ship them to her house in the mountains. When Grandpa Charlie died the one thing she wouldn’t sell was their house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, it was their summer home and she couldn’t bear to part with it. We spent many a summer up there. I always loved that place, but even more so after the Xindi attack.”

T’Pol placed her arm around her husband's shoulder, she knew that his parents and grandmother had been vacationing at the mountain house at the time of the attack. While Michelle lived in Ireland with her family and Alan was a professor at Berkley the rest of his family would have suffered the same fate as Lizzie if not for that fateful vacation.

Trip pulled himself from his morose thoughts, “Thank goodness for my sweet little pack rat Grandma.”

“Why do you think she felt it necessary to keep so many things?”

Trip spoke of his Foremother often and T’Pol had always wondered why she surrounded herself with so many things.

Trip smiled, “Because that's her primary love language.”

**************

Trip was sitting on the bed with Candace by his side as usual and Grandma on the other side with her arm around his shoulder, “What do you mean your love language?”

“The five love languages form a philosophy that I learned a long time ago and it can help you greatly in dealing with people,” Grandma was warming to her topic, “they are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. If you know what someone’s love language is you can give them the correct response to their individual needs.”

Trip had a very puzzled expression, “I’m going to need some examples here.”

“You know how I can tell you where all my bottles of sand, rocks, shells and mementos came from and who gave them to me?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Well receiving gifts is my primary love language, I knew that when your dad brought me that stuffed monkey back from California or when you brought me that rock from the Grand Canyon that you where thinking of me and I was important to you. I keep all my gifts around me and when I look at them I remember the people who care about me, it warms my heart.”

Trip pondered this for a minute, “What’s Dad’s love language?”

Theresa smiled, “Your father has always thrived on words of affirmation, he always needs a word of praise and to be told he is doing a good job. Now your sister Michelle needs quality time, you know how she would rather bake cookies with me or sit and read with your mother than about anything. Think for a moment about Alan and how happy he was when you cleaned his room for him so he could go to the movies.”

“Acts of service,” Trip grinned.

“Exactly! And you can have a secondary love language , I think physical touch is a common one to all the Tuckers 'cause we are a very touchy-feely family.”

“No kidding,” Trip thought as Grandma gave him a squeeze and a kiss on the top of his head.

“It’s not a matter of using people, it’s knowing what they need from you in a given situation, and recognizing the proper response. Trust me if you give roses to a girl and her love language is acts of service you will be wasting good flowers.”

“Yuck, I don’t even like girls.”

“Well maybe you will someday!”

**************

Trip looked at T’Pol with a sly smile and decided maybe girls weren’t so bad.

“You know I’ve often wondered if my ability to read people contributed to my early promotions. Everyone tells me I’m a people person but I just seem to know who needs a pat on the back, a 'Well done', or a cup of coffee instinctually.”

T’Pol thought about this for a moment, “I can see where this philosophy has been an aid to your command abilities, you always have had the loyalty, trust and near worship of those you command.”

This made her husband blush, “I’ve always had good people under me.”

Trip was deep in thought for a few seconds and then the mood passed. “Why don’t I take the drop cloth off the chair in my office and you can talk to me while I finish painting. I got the kind with no fumes so it wouldn’t bother you.”

T’Pol nodded and attempted to rise from the sofa. Trip watched her struggle for a moment then biting his bottom lip to keep from laughing, reached out to help her up. All the while he was thinking to himself, I don’t care who you are, watching a pregnant Vulcan try to get up from an over-stuffed couch is funny as hell!

As Trip rolled paint onto the walls he and his wife discussed how long they would need to finish painting and unpacking. Trip figured about four more days would do it.

“I still have to take Baby Girl to pick out the paint for her room and that will be the last of the painting.”

“You should never have promised her that she could select the color, I fear it will be one of the hideous colors from that Hawaiian shirt you bought her.”

“Hey, she looks darn cute in orange, yellow and green.”

“Perhaps . . . but not simultaneously.”

As Trip was cutting the last of the paint in a fine line around the window sill T’Pol began to rise from the chair, “I believe that I shall go to the kitchen and begin our dinner preparation.”

“OK Sweety, if you need any help give a yell.”

T’Pol rolled her eyes slightly at the endearment but she had long since given up on trying to get her wayward husband to use proper names.

Trip stepped into the hall bathroom to wash the paint from his hands, then returned and sat in the chair his wife had just vacated. He pulled a nearby box over and opened the lid, it contained the items that had decorated his cabin on Enterprise. Leafing through the things he came across a framed get-well card and began to chuckle to himself.

During the construction of the warp 5 engine there had been more than a few mishaps. One time in particular there had been a fairly serious explosion. Several people were injured by flying debris including one Lt. Tucker. When Trip woke up in the hospital he had a huge lump on his forehead plus a fierce headache. His mom and dad called to make sure he was really alright when they found out and he assured them he was fine. Later that day a nurse brought him flowers from Lizzie and an E-card they had printed out at the nurses station. Trip burst into laughter and immediately knew who it was from. The card had a hand drawn cartoon of Trip with a band-aide on his head and it read, “You Knew The Job Was Dangerous When You Took It Fred!”

Smiling, Trip ran a cloth over the frame to remove any dust. Considering that Grandma’s work had become very sought after in the last five years or so, this card was probably pretty valuable. Trip had one whole wall of bookcases in his office and this card would have a place of honor along with his pictures and his prized Frankenstein figure. He set this box aside and pulled the next one over knowing full well what item was inside. As he began to open it he was reminded of the day he first moved into his quarters on Enterprise.

**************

Jonathan Archer stopped Trip in the corridor, “Have you seen your quarters since they finished the plumbing yesterday, Trip?”

“Nope, but I’m sure everything is in order, I’m on my way there now to start unpacking.”

Jon chuckled at his long time friends enthusiasm, “I hope you didn’t bring too much stuff, your room will only hold so much of your junk and leave you room to sleep.”

“Hey, that’s treasures not junk and I was careful to just bring really special stuff,” Trip huffed with an offended air.

“I’m sure you did. Com me when your done and we can shuttle back over to the station to get dinner.”

Trip threw over his shoulder, “Sure thing Cap’n,” as he hurried down the hall, eager to get started. Looking at the boxes Trip silently hoped that Jon wasn’t right about him packing too much stuff. After having put away his clothes and some pictures he came to a large box that he wasn’t sure he even remembered packing. Looking closely he noticed the name Theresa Tucker on the return label, Trip took his cutter and slit the tape holding the lid closed, with a gasp he stepped back. Inside was Grandma’s beloved diving helmet, he reached down almost reverently to touch its gleaming surface.

A note was tucked inside the box and he picked it up, “Trip since you will be taking a part of my heart with you into space, I thought you should take this as well, since we share the love language of gifts it seems appropriate. Love Grandma.”

**************

Trip pulled the diving helmet out of its box and set it on his desk making sure it was nowhere near any wet paint, he and the helmet had been through a lot in his years on Enterprise and he didn’t want anything to happen to it now.

Trip heard a disturbance at the front door, suddenly his daughter’s footsteps could be heard coming up the hall then she came flying into his arms, “Daddy we had a wonderful time at the zoo!”

Trip juggled his beloved little girl trying to get a good grip, “Careful Sweet Pea, I‘m covered in paint. You don‘t want to mess up your new shirt.”

As far as Trip was concerned his little munchkin was a vision with her blonde curls and pointed ears, the orange shirt with yellow and green flowers only made her that much cuter. Although Trip wasn’t quite sure how to take the comment that Soval made when he picked her up for the zoo trip: “At least in that shirt I will not lose her in the crowd at the zoo.”

“Is Soval in the living room with Momma, Honey Bun?”

“I heard Momma ask him to dinner but he said he had a meeting to attend this evening so he left. He said he would see you in the morning at your office. I thought you didn’t have to start work until after my baby brother comes.”

Trip could tell she was working up a good whine so he stepped in to cut it off. “I’ll only be there for a couple of hours, by the time you and Momma complete your lessons and meditate I’ll be back, promise,” he was just going in to finalize his new position as head of the soon-to-be established Warp 7 program.

“Can we go to the paint store and pick out the color for my room now, Daddy?”

Trip figured that he had put off the inevitable as long as possible so he told her, “Go ask Mommy if we have time before dinner while I clean up my roller and brushes.”

“OK Daddy, be right back.”

The light of Trip’s life re-entered the room with a puzzled look on her face, “ She said it will be fine if we don’t take more than an hour, and then she said something about your parenting skills, garish colors, and you sleeping on the couch. Why do you want to sleep on the couch, Daddy?”

Trip sincerely hoped it wouldn’t come to that but a promise was a promise.

“Your momma is just a little tired since your brother will be here in a few days. She was just making a Vulcan joke,” he hoped.

The paint store was not far by ground car and they made it there in only a few minutes. The selection of paint chips was nearly overwhelming, “Do you see anything you like, Sugar?”

“Oh Daddy, they are all beautiful but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Trip gave a silent prayer that whatever it was would be something T’Pol could live with and wouldn’t get him relegated to the couch. Twenty minutes passed and suddenly a paint chip was thrust into Trip’s hand.

“This is it Daddy, this is what I want.”

“Ok Darlin’, lets have a look.” Trip’s throat went dry.

“What’s the name of it? Isn’t it beautiful Daddy?”

With a slow grin Trip said, “Yes, it is beautiful T’Resa and it's called Obi Lilac.”

 

THE END

Here are a few pictures from Trip's sketchbook:

 













Here is the Get Well Card from Theresa:


Comments:

Dinah
I'm undoubtedly dating myself, but I remember "Super Chicken." I can see how it would appeal to Trip. Your story was great! I loved Grandma Theresa. What a wise lady. It was fun to see the origin of the diving helmet, the Frankenstein figure and some of Trip's other treasures. I eagerly await your next story. And the sooner the better. But then you knew posting a story was dangerous, didn't you, Fred? ;)
tennisgirl
This is a truly outstanding story, especially for a first try. You're doing it like a pro! I loved how you explained all these details about Trip, how you developed the characters in his family making them feel so contemporary, and the character of Theresa. Wonderful, really. Please, don't let this be the last of your tales...
Your first story, but hopefully not your last...a truly outstanding first go-around :)
Lady Rainbow
BlueTiger, this is a great story. I love how you portray Trip\'s relationship with his grandmother. You can see how Trip\'s character develops and matures as he grows older and how he relates to others (like T\'Pol and the kids). And I LOVE \"Trip\'s drawings.\" Esp. of Candace and the Get Well Card. \"You knew it was Dangerous when you took it, Fred!\" LOL! (That could probably apply to Malcolm too :) Thanks for writing this. :D
krn
Fabulous story - well written and a great insight into Trip! Plus I'm a sucker for "normal life at home" stories of Trip & T'Pol - especially if there's kids. ;) Thanks for the great story - hopefully there will be more!
Distracted
This was sweet. I enjoyed it very much.
Bluecub (Son of Bluetiger)
For all intents and purposes, Bluetiger is the ever youthful Theresa. I never so clearly understood a person's love language being gifts until I saw her reverence for small (seemingly insignificant) items that show people were thinking about her. Her attention to detail is, in my opinion, reverent as well. I hope one or two of you noticed that the young lieutenant Tucker had only two pips on his uniform as depicted in his get well card. I laughed when I finally saw it. Thank you for encouraging her story. You are a wonderfully supportive group.
Bluetiger
Thank you for your words of affirmation. Your comments mean a great deal to me (although my love language is gifts). I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my story. I hope it gave you a chuckle.
Reanok
Wonderful story BluetigerI really liked this look at Trip's past with his Grandma.
Asso
[i]This is the first thing I've ever written. Be gentle, but help me grow.[/i] [b]No need to HAVE TO BE gentle.[/b] Your story is sweet and new. And very agreeable. [b]No need to help you grow [/b](Well! my peculiar position could make my words sounding a little bit immodest!:p). Certainly you will do it!:D;)
Kathy
Wonderful story!
HappilyEverAfter
Refreshing story! It reminded me of a great children\'s book called The Raft by Jim LaMarche.
Mary
Impressive, especially for a firsttry. It was a beautiful explanation of Trip's uncanny people sense his "trophies" ie the diving helmet, the fankenstein figure and even his propensity for getting injured. I look foreward to future writing endeavours

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