The Tragic Demise of Bobby
Disclaimer: The Mortal Instruments series belongs to Cassandra Clare and I'm not entirely sure that I want it.
Notes: Dear god. Did anyone miss me? …No? Oh well.
This fic was half-written quite a while ago, then forgotten about, and suddenly this afternoon I had ALL OF THE INSPIRATION and finished it. It really doesn't have much of a plot or purpose, it's just some silly cuteness I wrote in an attempt to get out of the creative slump I'm in. If you're familiar with my tumblr, though, it's possible that you've read a good half of it already.
There's a vague reference to Payment in here, but it's not at all necessary to read that in order to understand this.
Max had made a great discovery.
Like most great discoveries, it was made entirely by accident – he'd been playing in the elevator (which he wasn't supposed to do, but he liked pretending he was working in a fancy hotel, and Hodge turned a blind eye as long as he didn't break anything) when he had seen it lurking beneath one of the pews in the church. One quick lunge and a lot of dust later, Max had not only made a great discovery, he was holding a great discovery in his hands, and obviously the best thing to do now would be to show it off.
The main hallway was empty, so nobody could see him grinning like a maniac as he skipped into his bedroom in search of a container. "You're going to be my new best friend," Max told the little creature, reverently placing it into an old shoebox he'd found in his closet. "Okay?"
His great discovery said nothing.
Undeterred, Max kept talking. "Good! Do you want to meet Jace? I bet Jace will like you. I'll go find him. Be right back!"
Max generally considered Jace to be his favorite person in the world. Jace knew absolutely everything. He'd told Isabelle this once, only for her to snort and say that Jace was usually full of it. When Max had asked, "Full of what?", Alec clamped his hand over her mouth and dragged her away before she could tell him. One of the things on Max's list of goals, beneath 'Be a really good Shadowhunter' and 'Read all the books in the library', was to find out what Jace was full of.
After searching a few bedrooms, the kitchen, and the music room, Max found Jace in the training room, and, as a bonus, Isabelle was there as well. He wasn't sure she'd care about his discovery, since Isabelle didn't get too excited about things that weren't clothes or shoes or weapons, but it was worth a shot. He propped the heavy door open with a brick and paused at the edge of the mat to figure out what they were doing. At first, he thought they were hugging – but, upon closer inspection, he realized that Jace had Isabelle's arms pinned to her sides and, despite her squirming, she couldn't free herself. "You have to twist your shoulders," he was saying, "no, in the other direction –"
Max cleared his throat.
It didn't net him the attention he was hoping for. Isabelle just said, "Hi, Max," before moving so quickly he couldn't see exactly what she did. A moment later, she was flat on her stomach on the mat, and Jace now had her arms pinned behind her back.
"Close," he said, "but you still left yourself open."
Isabelle mumbled something Max didn't hear, but he suspected it wasn't very nice. "Guess what?" he said.
"What?" Jace said, letting go of Isabelle and allowing her to get up.
"I found something cool. Want to see it?"
"We're a little busy, Max," Isabelle said. She dusted herself off, rotated her shoulders with a slight wince, and faced Jace again. "All right, let's go."
"But it's really cool!" Max said before Jace could restrain her.
Isabelle huffed, clearly exasperated. Jace ran his fingers through his hair, then turned to look at Max with a faint smile. "Sorry, Max, but I have to teach Izzy how to do this so she doesn't fail miserably like she's threatening to when your mother tests her. We shouldn't be too much longer. We'll come find you when we're done, all right?"
Max pushed out his lower lip, thinking of putting up a fuss, but decided it probably wasn't worth it. "Okay," he conceded. "I'll go show Hodge, then." He'd really wanted Jace to see his discovery first, but Hodge was a decent second choice. He was always interested in anything Max had to show him, and even when he wasn't, he was good at pretending.
"Great. We'll see you later." Jace then immediately yanked Isabelle into a restricting hold, catching her by surprise if her yell was anything to go by. Max hung around for a moment to see if they were going to do anything interesting, but Isabelle didn't seem to be making much progress, so he left the training room. Watching Jace and Isabelle spar rarely got that exciting, anyway. Jace and Alec, on the other hand… they tended to be brutal, and if nobody stopped them, they'd continue until someone needed medical attention. Isabelle had once chalked that up to "extreme unresolved sexual tension". Max didn't know what that meant, but it had been funny to watch Hodge inhale his tea up his nose. She'd also used the words "alpha male" and "idiotic superiority contest". Isabelle had a lot of funny ways of describing things.
"Try again," he heard Jace tell Isabelle.
"What if I just knee you in the groin repeatedly, will that work?"
"On an actual attacker, probably. On me, it'll get you killed."
If Isabelle replied, Max was too far away to hear it. He made his way towards the library, pausing only to pet Church, who was lying in a sunbeam with his fluffy belly exposed. Church barely cracked open an eye. He wasn't much fun to play with – maybe Hodge would let him keep his fantastic discovery as a pet.
When he entered the library, Hodge was conspicuously absent, but Hugo was playing with something shiny on the desk and Alec was curled up in a cushy chair by the fireplace, reading one of those enormous, ancient books he liked so much. Max didn't know what was so great about books written in Latin that had moldy covers, but Alec was awfully fond of them, so there had to be something interesting written within.
"Where's Hodge?" Max asked, leaning on the arm of the chair. Alec pointed upwards without taking his eyes off the page. "Upstairs?"
"That's what I said."
Max thought about pointing out that Alec hadn't actually said anything. Alec sounded irritated, though, and there was never much point in trying to talk to him while he was reading. In fact, Max had never found much point in trying to talk to him at all. He actually suspected Alec didn't want him around most of the time – Alec was fourteen, had little desire to hang around with a five-year-old, and perpetually wanted to be left to his own devices. On the other hand, he would read to Max when he was in a good mood (which was rarely, these days), and when Max had nightmares, he'd let him sleep in his bed. It was all very difficult to understand. Maybe it would make more sense when he was a teenager. "Upstairs in the greenhouse?" he persisted.
It was a bit of a stupid question, really. When Hodge wasn't sequestered in the library, he was haunting the greenhouse atop the Institute. Isabelle called it his 'Greenhouse of Solitude'. "He sits in there by himself all the time, looking ponderous," she had explained when Max asked why.
"So why don't you go up there too?" he'd said.
"Because I like being able to breathe." Both she and Alec were horribly allergic to something in the greenhouse, and neither of them could stand to be up there for more than five minutes. Max didn't like it all that much, either – it smelled nice, but some of the flowers made his nose run and his eyes itch. Jace was the only person besides Hodge who really spent any time in it.
Still, he had an amazing discovery to show off, and since venturing up into the greenhouse to find Hodge wasn't the best option, he went with Plan C and said, "Guess what I found?"
"You have to guess."
"I don't know," Alec said, with a tone to his voice that suggested he was getting impatient and Max should cut to the chase unless he wanted to become cat food.
"Then come on, I'll show you! It's in my room."
"I'm busy." He got up anyway, just as Max had predicted he would. He'd learned a long time ago that the best way to get Alec to do something he didn't want to do was to annoy him. Eventually, he'd do it, just so he could be left alone again.
Max bounced along the hallway with his brother trailing behind and opened the door to his bedroom. "It's over here." He walked over to the nightstand, where he'd left the shoebox, and stopped short. Before leaving, he had carefully cut tiny air holes in the lid, but now that he thought about it, he should have found a way to weigh the top down so it couldn't be easily pushed off. It had shifted halfway off the box, leaving a large opening, and the box itself was empty.
"Uh oh," he said. "I think he escaped."
"'Escaped'?" Alec echoed. "Max, what exactly were you keeping in there?"
Max opened his mouth to tell him, but then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something move in the shadows under his nightstand. "Hold on!" he said, getting down on the floor and reaching for the one shadow that was darker than the rest. His fingers closed around something fuzzy. "Never mind, I found him." Carefully holding his struggling pet against his chest, he climbed to his feet again, turned around, and held it out. "See?"
Max had never before seen anyone go from normal-complexioned to the color of milk in the space of under a second before.
"Wait, where are you going?" he called, but Alec was already gone. He went back out into the hall just in time to see the door to Alec's bedroom slam shut.
Well, that certainly hadn't been the reaction he was hoping for. Max looked at the creature in his hands – which he decided, on a whim, to call 'Bobby' – then padded down the corridor and knocked on Alec's door. "Did you see him? It's a giant spider! Isn't that cool?"
"Why not? What are you doing in there, anyway? Don't you like him?" Max asked, bewildered.
"Keep that thing away from me!" Alec shouted through the door. He sounded kind of funny. Max was pretty sure his voice hadn't been that high a few minutes ago. He frowned down at Bobby, but the spider didn't seem offended by being referred to as a "thing".
"He's not a thing, he's my pet."
"I don't care! Get rid of it!"
Bobby poked his front legs out of the box and braced them against the door, reminding Max of Church when the cat wanted to get inside a room he was being kept out of. Then he climbed right up onto the doorknob. "He wants to come in."
"Don't let it in!"
"What is the world is going on down here?" Hodge had chosen either the very best or the very worst time to descend from his Greenhouse of Solitude, depending on how one looked at it. He was now standing by Max's side, wearing what Isabelle called his 'I-do-not-get-paid-enough-for-this' expression.
"Make him get rid of it!"
Alec was practically shrieking now. Clearly puzzled, Hodge glanced from Alec's door to the spider in Max's hands, and his eyebrows shot up. "What is that?"
"It's Bobby," Max said.
"Bobby?" Hodge repeated.
"You named it?"
"He's my pet," Max continued. Hodge was a very reasonable person, surely he'd understand why Max liked Bobby. Alec had probably just gone crazy. Jace always said he was eventually going to crack under the strain of thinking he was so much smarter than everyone else. "I found him downstairs. Can I keep him? I'll catch him bugs to eat!"
Within the confines of his bedroom, Alec made a noise that was somewhere between a strangled sob and a muffled scream. Hodge put his hands on Max's shoulders, turned him around, and directed him back to his own bedroom. "You'll have to ask your parents when they come home tomorrow. Until then, keep, er, Bobby in your room."
"Can I show Jace and Izzy?"
"I suppose," Hodge said, so Max retrieved Bobby's box and returned to the training room in search of his siblings. They appeared to have completed their work for the day; Jace was stretching and Isabelle was lovingly coiling her new whip around her arm. "I'm back," Max announced.
"Hey," Jace said, climbing to his feet and raking his sweat-dampened hair out of his eyes. "So what did you want to show us?"
Pleased that Jace had remembered, Max held up the shoebox. "Look!"
To his delight, neither Jace nor Isabelle recoiled from Bobby, although Isabelle did wrinkle her nose. "That's… great," she said, in a voice that sounded like she didn't really think it was great. "Why did you want to show us this, again?"
"I don't know, Izzy, it's kind of cute." Jace was grinning. "Look at all its fuzzy little legs."
"Little? That thing's the size of a soup bowl. I hope it's not a baby."
"You can pet him, if you want," Max said.
"I'm good, thanks." Isabelle gave the box a slightly disgusted look, then wandered off to pick up the weapons scattered around the room, shaking out her long hair as she did so.
Jace, on the other hand, reached into the box and prodded one of Bobby's legs. Bobby scurried away from his hand and crammed himself into the corner. "I think he's shy," Max deduced. He balanced the shoebox on one hand and patted Bobby, who quietly tolerated the affection.
"You haven't shown that to Alec, have you?" Isabelle called, sliding model seraph blades into a rack on the wall. "He's… not exactly a spider person. He won't be happy if you spring that on him."
"Oh," Max said. "Too late."
Jace raised an eyebrow. "Is that what all that screaming was a few minutes ago?"
"Well, we won't be seeing him for the rest of the night," Isabelle predicted dryly.
She was right. Since everybody else had things to do, Max devoted the remainder of the evening to making sure Bobby was comfortable. He took a few rocks from the garden behind the Institute and set them on the lid of the box so Bobby couldn't escape again. Despite a half hour of searching, though, he hadn't been able to find any decently-sized bugs, so he just cut the tip off the slice of pizza he'd eaten for dinner and left it in the box. Isabelle said that spiders didn't eat pizza, but everyone liked pizza. Then, before he went to bed, he made Bobby a little nest out of tissues in case he wanted someplace soft to sleep. "Good night, Bobby," he whispered into the box as he turned out the light. It was nice to have a pet, he decided, snuggling into the covers and closing his eyes.
The next morning, Max was woken by a shout and a wall-rattling bang as someone presumably attempted murder in the hallway. This wasn't unusual – Alec, Isabelle, and Jace tended to get up very early for training, and with so much adrenaline in so little space, impromptu displays of violence often occurred. As long as nothing and nobody got broken, everyone just ignored them. Max sat up, brushing his tousled hair out of his face, and put his glasses on. "Bobby, I had this dream about – Bobby?" The shoebox was no longer on the nightstand. He kicked the blankets away, peered over the side of the bed, and witnessed a truly awful sight.
The box was on its side on the floor. Its lid had fallen off, the rocks scattered. The tiny morsel of pizza was staining the blue carpet an ugly shade of purple. And, worst of all, crouched next to the empty shoebox, half a leg sticking from her mouth, was what Jace called "the greatest menace the Shadow World and mundane world alike have ever seen".
Max watched in horror as his brother's cat chewed up what was left of Bobby, swallowed, and swiped her tongue around her mouth. Then she sat down to preen.
Both disgusted and furious, Max jumped off his bed, pointed to the door, and screamed, "Bad cat! Get out!"
Unlike Church, who might have been brave yet still ran when anyone yelled at him like that, Olivia merely looked at Max like he was a mild inconvenience and didn't budge. Max thought about kicking her, but only for a moment, because one, it was cruel to hurt animals, and two, Olivia would probably just rip his foot off anyway. Instead, he gave her his meanest glare, attempting to scare her away.
Five minutes later, after she'd thoroughly washed her paws, face, tail, chest, and behind her ears, she stood, stretched, and casually slunk out of the room. Max crouched down and looked sadly at Bobby's empty box.
Poor Bobby, he thought. Getting eaten must be a terrible way to die. Hopefully, he hadn't really been a baby spider like Isabelle had suggested. If he was old, at least he'd probably lived a nice life. Maybe he even had a spider wife and little spider children somewhere. They would never know about his tragic demise. Max liked the term 'tragic demise' – he'd found it in one of Alec's books a few weeks ago and had hoped for the chance to use it eventually, although these weren't the circumstances he'd been imagining.
"Stupid cat," he mumbled, getting to his feet with the box cradled in his arms. "Stupid, stupid cat…" He muttered a few ruder words under his breath as he walked, mostly ones he'd learned from hanging around the training room while Jace and Alec were sparring.
When Max reached the kitchen, he climbed up onto a stool and slammed the shoebox down on the island. Alec, who had been sitting on the other end, bolted out of his seat and backed up against the counter before Jace and Isabelle even registered Max's presence. "Max, get that thing –"
"Your stupid cat ate Bobby!" Max snapped.
"Bobby?" Jace said, sounding slightly incredulous. Isabelle giggled into her glass.
"Yes, Bobby!" Max said impatiently. "It's short for Robert Jr."
"You named a spider after your father?" Jace asked.
"They both have a lot of hair!"
Isabelle sprayed orange juice across the island, narrowly missing Jace, who had inadvertently taken himself out of the line of fire by leaning over to grab the sugar. She then attempted to mop up the mess with her napkin, but was laughing far too hard to make any real progress.
"I got up and she was chewing on him," Max continued over Isabelle's giggles. "It was horrible!"
To Max's frustration, nobody seemed particularly moved by Bobby's Tragic Demise - least of all Alec, who actually looked rather delighted. "Really?" He turned to Olivia, who had snuck in while they were preoccupied, taken her customary spot atop the microwave, and was watching them eat with an air of superiority. She blinked at him with big, innocent green eyes. "Good girl," he said, scratching under her chin. Anyone else trying such a thing would have immediately lost use of that hand. Purring like a motor, Olivia rolled onto her back and tilted her head to allow him better access to her throat.
"Don't praise her for killing things!" Jace said, appalled. "She'll come after us next!"
"You don't have to worry until Church disappears." The calm certainty with which Alec spoke was unnerving. Max saw Jace and Isabelle exchange an unreadable glance and wondered if they were plotting Olivia's Tragic Demise. He knew for a fact that Jace, after Olivia had sharpened her claws on his leg, once wrote a list of ways to dispose of her and make it look like an accident, but he'd never followed through on any of them – whether because Alec genuinely loved the pint-sized demon, or because Jace was just as afraid to get within two feet of her as the rest of them were, Max wasn't sure.
"Okay, I'm a little creeped out." Isabelle had finally regained full control of herself and was soaking up her orange-juice-backwash with a handful of napkins. "But really, Alec, you should be more sensitive. Bobby the Spider's life was cut short in its prime."
"Oh, come on," Isabelle said, "what did spiders ever do to you?"
Alec just stared at her. After a moment, she coughed and said, "Right, right."
"Is there a story here that I'd be interested in hearing?" Jace asked.
"No," Alec said flatly.
"I'll tell it!"
"You weren't even there, Izzy."
Isabelle opened her mouth, but whatever she'd been about to say was cut off by Hodge's entry into the kitchen. "What's going on now?" he asked wearily.
"The demon cat ate Bobby," Jace replied through a mouthful of cereal.
Hodge, Max thought, didn't look nearly upset enough by Bobby's Tragic Demise. "Oh," Hodge said. "Well, that's unfortunate."
"It's more than unfortunate." Nobody was grasping the depth of this tragedy. "He was the only pet I've ever had."
"There might be more spiders down there, you know," Isabelle pointed out. "Nobody ever cleans the church."
Max perked up. "Really?" Maybe he could find Bobby's wife and children and give them the loving home Bobby had been deprived of.
Alec looked sick. "Max, if you promise to just kill any spider you come across, I'll buy you a goldfish."
"You can't do anything with a goldfish."
"Olivia would probably just eat that too," Jace said. Alec glared at him. "What? It's true. Remember what happened to Izzy's hamster?"
"She left the cage open and it got out."
"And Olivia ate it."
"You can't prove that."
"We only found half of poor Snowball," Isabelle said. "The bottom half. In the library. It traumatized my innocent six-year-old mind."
"It could have been Church."
"Church is spoiled, he doesn't bother trying to eat anything that'll run away from him. Olivia likes her food to run. She wants it to suffer before it dies."
Max was starting to get the feeling that everyone had already forgotten he was in the room. That happened a lot. Hodge, shaking his head, took a bowl from the cabinet and set a pot on the stove. "Does anyone else want oatmeal?" he asked.
"I do!" Max said. "But don't put anything gross in it this time. No raisins. I don't like raisins." Then he returned his attention to the matter at hand. "I'm going to find another spider," he told Alec, "and put it on your pillow."
"Don't do that," Jace said. "At least put it somewhere Olivia won't get to it first. Try one of the desk drawers."
Alec smacked Jace around the head with a box of Lucky Charms. Jace reacted to this like any sane man would – he finished chewing, swallowed, took a sip of his juice, and wiped his mouth on his napkin.
Then he launched himself off his stool.
Alec yelped, caught off-guard by the blond missile aimed in his direction, and the two of them disappeared behind the island with a cringe-worthy thud. All Max could see were a few flailing limbs. Hodge mumbled something about "just living here" while Isabelle turned around to watch, balancing her bowl on her knees. Max looked at his sister. "Is this the sexual tension thing you were talking about?"
Isabelle burst out laughing, thankfully without a mouthful of juice this time. Hodge snorted. Alec stopped trying to kill Jace long enough to screech, "What?" Thinking maybe this was a good time to wrap things up, Max declared, "I'm going to get a pet that's so big, it'll eat Olivia!"
"I can get behind that," Jace said, voice slightly muffled, like his face was squashed against the floor. "Let me know what you – ow – come up with."
"Okay." Max picked up the empty shoebox. "I'm going to put this away," he announced, in case anyone was interested, and left. When he came back, Hodge had finished cooking the oatmeal and was now perched at the island, but other than that, no one had moved. Jace was still on the floor. Alec was sitting cross-legged on his back, eating cereal. "What are you doing down there?"
With some difficulty, Jace turned his head to the side to look at him. "Accepting my defeat with dignity."
"Maybe my definition's wrong," Isabelle said, "but that doesn't look very dignified to me."
"Au contraire. This is quite dignified. Begging would not be dignified. Weeping would not be dignified. Stabbing Alec with a cleverly-concealed fork would not be dignified."
"You don't have a cleverly-concealed fork," Alec said. "I took your cleverly-concealed fork. It wasn't cleverly-concealed. Do you want the marshmallows or not?"
"Yes." Alec gave Jace his mostly-empty bowl and stood up. He didn't like marshmallows in any kind of cereal, which Max frankly thought was quite unnatural, but he knew from experience that Alec didn't like being called unnatural, so he kept his thoughts to himself. "You know," Jace said, spooning up the discarded marshmallows, "I think it's a crime that they don't import Lucky Charms to Idris."
"Oh, yeah," Isabelle said. "You should totally tell Mom to bring that up at the next Clave meeting. I bet it'll go over really well."
Max ate his oatmeal quietly and daydreamed while Jace and Hodge argued over some dull-sounding historical event. Isabelle (who didn't have the patience for that sort of thing) and Alec (who didn't listen to anything he could read in a book instead) had long since disappeared. Finally, when he realized they weren't going to talk about anything interesting, he put his bowl in the sink and went to get dressed.
He spent the next hour scouring the church for spiders, but the only ones he found were tiny and scuttled away before he could capture them. He finally went back upstairs, empty-handed and filthy, ran into Hodge, and was sent to clean up before his parents got home and wondered whether or not he'd bathed all week.
Bobby's empty box was still sitting forlornly on the nightstand when he got out of the tub. Max shoved it under the bed and picked up a book he'd been trying to read. Since he didn't have a pet to play with anymore, he might as well do something else. Unfortunately, the book was written for a reader at least three times his age, and he'd only gotten through about a chapter in the last few weeks. He stared at the tiny print for a minute before deciding there was a far better way of deciphering the complicated words.
Once again, Hodge was absent from the library, but Max wasn't looking for him this time. Nor was he searching for Olivia, who'd draped herself across the desk and was licking her paws without a care in the world, occasionally batting at Hugo if he ventured too close. Max finally spotted Alec sitting in the same armchair he'd occupied yesterday, the same book open on his lap. He glanced up when Max came to a stop in front of him. "Whatever you've found this time," he said, looking wary, "I don't want to see it."
"There aren't any more spiders," Max complained. "And Olivia ate Bobby, so you owe me."
"Look, I'm sorry she ate him, but it's not my fault."
"It is too. Mom told me once that she would've left her in Idris when they moved but she didn't think you'd leave if she couldn't bring Olivia. If she wasn't here, Bobby wouldn't have been eaten. His Tragic Demise is your fault."
Alec rolled his eyes. "Fine, whatever. What do you want, then?"
Max plopped his book on top of the one Alec had been absorbed in. "Read to me."
"Max, you know how to read. I taught you to read."
"You owe me," Max reminded him. "And I can't read all the words. They're hard."
"Okay, okay." Alec gave in, putting his own book aside. Max grinned and clambered up onto his lap. There was a perfectly good chair on the other side of the desk, but Alec had a bad habit of speaking too softly to be heard if the listener was more than three feet away. This was more comfortable, besides. "Where do you want me to start?"
"The part with Jonathan Shadowhunter and the Greater Demons." Max pulled his legs in and watched Olivia make the journey from the desk to the back of the armchair in three elegant leaps. For a sixteen-year-old cat, she wasn't nearly as lazy or creaky as he thought she should be. He tugged at her tail and yanked his hand out of the way before she could scratch him.
"Don't annoy her. Why do you think she doesn't like you?"
Max frowned. "Jace says she doesn't like anyone because she's a demonic son of a bitch."
"That too," Alec said. "But don't repeat anything Jace says in front of Mom and Dad. Ever."
"All right. Read." Alec began paging through the book in search of where Max had left off, but before he got there, Max thought of something else and poked his arm. "How come you don't like spiders?"
"I just don't."
"Great. Now shut up."
Max obligingly closed his mouth, leaned his head against Alec's shoulder, and listened as his brother started to read aloud in a low, quiet voice.
He was silent for a long time and beginning to drift off when an idea struck. "I'm going to write a book about it," he mumbled, interrupting Alec mid-sentence.
"'The Tragic Demise of Bobby'," Max yawned.
Alec laughed, for no reason Max could understand, and ruffled Max's hair. He didn't do either of those things very often anymore. Suddenly feeling very fond of him, Max said, "I like you more than Bobby."
"You're welcome." Max smoothed out a crease in Alec's sweater and cuddled closer to him. "Keep reading."
Try not to mind the abrupt ending too much, I ran out of steam.
I swear I will now make a valiant effort to write the angstfic that's been haunting my thoughts for more than a year now.
Reviews, of course, are dearly appreciated!
(FYI, since people keep asking - Olivia is not a canon character. I invented her for my own nefarious purposes.)