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Sugar Pine 8

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“Woah dude, what happened to Sugar Pine 7?” Cib spoke abrasively. The cameras were rolling as they pulled up and into the lot.

“Uh, what do you mean? Are you talking about the cabin? It’s right there, Cib.” Steven pointed squarely, imagining his snarky voiceover about Cib and the state of the cabin. He had a good feeling about this trip, despite the setbacks and some trouble filming they had earlier. Not that anyone would need to know about that.

“Nooo, this is Sugar Pine 8, can’t you read?” Cib has gotten out of the car and was gesturing towards the giant infinity sign that had been graffitied across the door of their cabin.

“The seven isn’t even- Cib it’s an infinity sign,” Steven rolled his eyes.

“No, it’s a sideways eight obviously. God don’t you know an infinity sign looks like this,” Cib proceeded to make the strangest of movements that definitely looked nothing like an infinity sign.

“Are you guys having... an infinity war?” Parker snickered from behind them. The cameras zoomed to his smug grin as Steven held back giggles to preserve the take.

“I’m going to have so much fun with that,” Steven finally laughed.

“I know I’m not usually a pun guy but I just had to,” Parker shot back, turning is head to emphasis the pun with a wink as he was getting out of the car. Steven was right behind him.

“We’re not making that your bit,” Steven said.

“Yeah, I know, just let me have my moment,” Parker answered as they joined Cib, who was talking to the rest of the people on their trip.

“Are we going to move the cars after we get our shot?” James asked.

“I mean, yeah. They’re not in the best place right now,” Steven shrugged, “we can worry about that afterward, it shouldn’t take that long,”

 

It took longer than expected.

 

“Hey Andrew did you pick up any food? I doubt we’ll be able to go out every meal,” Steven asked. They were sitting along the couches and whatever surface someone decided to sit on. Filming was fun, but everyone was visibly drained. Maybe because this was supposed to be a vacation, everyone had less tolerance for the regular amount of work. Steven could feel it in himself as well.

“Yeah, it’s mostly just snacks though. Stuff we can take back easily,” Andrew replied.

“Good, works for me,” Steven gave a lackluster thumbs up, throwing his head back in a relaxed boredom.

“What are our plans for the next few days?” James asked, tapping at the schedule he kept on his phone.

“The easiest way to get the most footage in less time is to split the group up. Maybe tomorrow we can go out and do whatever. Parker and I were planning on seeing a psychic to start the whole possession thing,” Steven explained.

“Are you going to try to ask for a real curse?” Cib asked.

“We should, but no, probably not. I’m just going to ask if she can pretend to curse us or show us something that looks like it could be cursed. I don’t know. She sounded like she really believed her stuff when we talked on the phone, I don’t want to like, offend her though,” Steven scratched his head in annoyance. He was really looking forward to their bit, they had a lot of ideas and the psychic seemed willing to play along. She was an older woman, so their main concern was that she wouldn’t understand what they were doing if they just waltzed in with cameras and photo-release forms, especially if they were planning to be a bit rude in the video.

“I kinda want her to curse me,” Parker mused, “it’s not like anything would actually happen. Of course, if I start spitting black bile before the vacation’s over, we can always go back and get it removed.”

“Would she really want to remove solid evidence of the occult?” Jeremy wondered. There was a collective shrug.

“Well, I don’t know what you guys are doing but I’m going to take a lovely camera-free walk,” James said after a moment of comfortable silence. He removed himself from the couch, ignoring the bemoaning from the rest of the occupants at the shift.

“I’ll come with you!” Cib jumped up eagerly from the other couch. James just shrugged as he grabbed a set of the keys to the building.

“Be back in an hour,” Steven called, slumping sideways to lay in the spot Cib was sitting in, turning over to face the ceiling, phone in hand, scrolling through Twitter idly.

The door closed behind James and Cib, leaving them to woods and road. James checked his phone for the time, before setting off past their cars and down the road. Cib followed awkwardly behind, the tone of this stroll yet to be set. The sky was clouding over, rain threatening to fall before the day was over. The air was humid and thick, edging on uncomfortable.

“There’s a pond somewhere near here. I saw it from the road. It had parking near it so I’m pretty sure it open to the public,” James mentioned. Cib nodded, “is it a good filming location?”

“I don’t know yet,” James said with a smile. Cib just rolled his eyes.

“If we have a car left over tomorrow we can try to go over with a camera,” James fiddled with the map on his phone, getting increasingly more annoyed at the spotty service, though his frustrations stayed silent.

“How do we wanna break up the groups tomorrow?”

“We already decided on our groups,” James reminded Cib.

“I know,” Cib said. James looked up from his screen and stumbled on a tree root.

“Whoa there James”

“Whoa there Steve”

James caught himself from falling, which was a welcome surprise given he was much more preoccupied with the strange echo. Only by stopping did he see where the voices came from. Through James’ body walked a ghostly version of Steven. Next to him was a similar Cib.

“Cib. Cib! Are you seeing this?” James whispered harshly. Cib looked at him oddly.

“What? You mean the branch you tripped on?” He said.

“No!” James was about to explain when all of a sudden, the ghostly Steven stopped.

“James?” it asked, turning to face where James was standing. It looked straight through him. James held his breath and waited, glancing furiously from real Cib and fake Steve. Fake Cib also stopped, glancing around in confusion, before settling his gaze on where real Cib was standing. His eyes went wide. Comically wide.

“Dude!-“

And they were gone, both fake Cib and fake Steven. Almost as if they were never there at all. Real Cib was still staring at James, who only then realized he had been ogling back.

“Are you okay?” Cib asked, concerned.

“That’s a good question. I don’t think I can answer that right now,” James looked around where they were standing, but there were no more ghostly figures. No more

Parallels

Chapter Text

“I think I’m losing my damn mind,” Parker said, stumbling into the office with two bottles of two different alcoholic beverages and Wednesday’s shirt that he had yet to change out of.

“Welcome to the club, there’s at least one instance in the multiverse where Cib literally kills you. No cameras, no dramatic music, no fade to black,” Steve slurred, spinning very slowly in his swivel chair, crouched up on the seat uncomfortably. James was staring at his computer, making no move to interact with it. Andrew had taken up residence at a computer, probably editing what James was supposed to be. Autumn had earbuds in blasting music too loudly while her vision was slightly obscured by dark sunglasses. It would be considered a healthier way to cope if you ignored the bottle of whiskey beside her. Famous actor James Allen McCune was writing in a notebook and reciting something, which meant he was experiencing one of the visions. He looked the soberest, at least. It was probably because he didn’t get as many visions. He had yet to witness as much death and turmoil in any of the timelines.

Parker observed everyone in the room, struggling to find words. Seeing everyone like this was heartbreaking. Parker and Andrew were lucky to be one of the last people to start seeing things. Andrew had been the last one so far. It would only be a few weeks until they lost the only competent person in Sugar Pine 8, going by the rate that Parker had been seeing things. Then again, he died for real a lot more than anyone else had.

“Cib’s smoking with Jeremy if that’s who you're looking for,” James Allen McCune said, not looking up from his page.

“No, I just... I just don’t want to be alone with this anymore,” Parker said softly. There was a murmur of understanding from those listening. It was a warm sound, something that brought them a little closer together in the midst of all this confusion and chaos.

 

Jeremy and Cib were outside the building trying to build their own cloud with the amount of smoke they were letting off.

“I’m telling you, he looked me dead in the eyes,” Cib said.

“There was a crowd of people in that room, he could have been looking at anyone,” Jeremy reminded.

“No, he saw me, I think he recognized me. I think he was the one I saw at the cabin,” Cib insisted, “he looked at me and spoke. He said- god what did he say... it was something like, ‘this is what they’ll do to you. This is what happens when they get a hold of you. Don’t let-‘ and then he was gone.”

“How many have interacted with you so far?”

“I had a few Stevens hear me, Autumn sees me more often than not, but I’ve never had a Cib acknowledge me since the woods. Maybe it was because this one saw me first?” Cib listed.

Jeremy laughed dryly, “it’s like we’re collecting Pokémon cards or something. Trade you a McCune for an Autumn.”

“Go Fish,” Cib responded humourlessly.

 

“Yo remember when we visited Austin?” Cib asked. They were all sprawled on beanbags and cushions on the floor, passing a bottle around aimlessly.

“Didn’t you see a version of Gavin and Michael making out in a bathroom?” James said, counting the colours on Parker’s sweater.

“God that’s not as bad as seeing a version of Autumn dating Bruce from Funhaus,” Parker called out from the couch.

“He’s attractive, sue me,” Autumn retorted.

“I didn’t bring this up to argue about the potential bangability of Bruce Greene,” Cib pouted.

“Why’d you bring it up then,” Parker said to the ceiling.

“When I was there, it was the first time I saw an Autumn see me as well. She... I think she told me something in sign language, only I don’t know sign language,” Cib said.

“I don’t know sign language either, can’t help you bud,” Autumn sat up only to grab the bottle still making its rounds.

“Yeah, I figured, so I started learning a bit. I memorized most of the motions but I didn’t really understand what it was. I knew it started with an A and a K and ended with something like tit, tia, or sia,” Cob explained. Steve sat up ramrod straight.

“Akrasia,” Steve whispered.

“I think she knew... I don’t know, that there was a chance I would kill Parker for real in one of the timelines. I think.... I think she was trying to warn me...”

Chapter Text

“Do you think my wife gets visions?” Cib asked one day. Steve frowned, looking up from his work tiredly.

“You haven’t met her in this timeline. Did you even get her name?” He asked. Cib shook his head no.

“When I woke up, I saw her getting ready by the dresser. She smiled at me and asked about how it felt to be waking up a married man,” Cib smiled at the memory.

“When you saw one of me propose to you at the Streamy’s, you developed a secondhand infatuation that lasted a week. Please don’t go trying to find this girl.

“Ha, I can’t believe we won a streamy in one of the timelines.”

“Cib.”

“Steve”

“I’m serious. Don’t go looking for this girl.”

“But what if-“

“No. You do this every time you see one of your relationships. I’ve watched you ask Parker out on a date in this timeline because you saw the two of you at a restaurant professing your love to each other. I don’t care if you say your way of coping is to just go with the flow of these visions, you can’t stalk people on the off chance that they’re also crazy,” Steven said sternly.

“What if she needs help! Maybe Michael can help her as well! Put her on the same thing as Bruce,” Cib argued.

“What we did to Bruce should not be repeated!” Steven was almost yelling at this point. Cib stared at him, knowing there was something behind the hysteria. Steve tried to collect his words, but they wouldn’t come. Autumn and Parker were staring now, it was too much. Steven wanted to lash out, there was a thin form of him lashing out and leaving with blood on his hands. He let go of Cib, not even realizing he was so close to following the shadow’s actions. Instead, he ran out, slamming the door and getting into his car and leaving, he dialled Michael, already driving to where he knew the man would be. Steven needed it all gone. The faint shadows were better, the lack of noise only he could hear, no way to touch or interact. It was much better than holding a version of himself back as the blood on the other Steve’s jacket pooled under his nails, or being unable to sleep because a version of himself was getting it on with Cib while Sami Jo and Alyssa watched. Feeling it was the worst part. The brush of another body while he was brushing his teeth, or worse, in the shower. The feeling of multiple people stacked within the same place overwhelmed him even now.

“Michael speaking.”

Steve hung up the phone, still afraid of the cacophony of voices that spoke when he spoke, though he hadn’t heard them in the last three months.

 

The door creaked open, Steve didn’t bother to knock as most people were in and out of Michael’s glorified drug den all the time. He wiped his eyes before crossing the threshold, putting on a brave face past the gunshots, the blood, and the depravity that ghosted all around. He almost said “excuse me” to a flickering James Allen McCune and Michael making out on the kitchen countertop. Steven practically gagged at the image, guessing by the force in Michael’s grasp that it was not a redemption timeline. They all knew what Michael was capable of. How could they not know when they were surrounded by it ever since he found them. The image of Mimi and James Allen wrapped in bandages... they all thought it was part of the script until one of the images took off their coverings.

“What brings you here so early? I won’t have another batch ready for another month,” Michael called from the living room, staring at him. Steven had been stuck at the door drowning in his own thoughts and apprehensions long enough for Michael to find him.

“I- uh,” Steve cleared his throat, “it’s still... too much. Or, I guess, not enough. The visions are too much, the meds are not enough.” Michael stared, probably just deep in thought, although it was hard to tell with how cold his glare was whenever an SP8 member walked into the room.

“Bitter Bonsai won’t be ready for another month. I can try to tweak the recipe a bit, but it could make things worse, I’d rather wait until I can see more notes from other timelines to be on the safe side” Michael reminded him. They had this argument last time as well.

“I just- want my life back,” Steven mumbled. Michael rushed him, pulling him forward and slamming Steven back onto the nearest wall.

“You want your life back,” Michael parroted, “how do you think the rest of us feel? Huh? If it weren’t for what you and Autumn did, I would be living my own god damn life and not playing druglord for every single person you fucked up. You don’t get to be sorry for yourself,” Michael pushed him hard enough to leave bruises, backing away only after a sharp silence. The air practically smoking with how many shadows were moving and interacting. The louder Steve’s pulse sounded in his ears, the more shadows filled the room. Every possible interaction blending together in a thick haze. Steven sunk to the ground in defeat. Michael stood over him menacingly until he decided Steven had gotten the message. It took a while for Steve to calm down enough to open his eyes.

“Michael.”

“What,” Michael spun around angrily.

“Psilocybin,” Steven pointed at the floor in front of him.

“I don’t see what you’re seeing,” Michael deadpanned.

“It’s etched onto the floor here. As well as a lot of other notes. I think multiple Steven’s wrote this,” Steven got up, motioning for Michael to get paper and a pencil. He half expected the other man to go back into a rage at being ordered around. Michael came back with a sketchbook and pencils as Steven was pulling up the rug.

“It all fits together, but I know they’re different notes from multiple me’s. They aren’t flickering at the same time. It looks like notes on some sort of drug,” Steve talked as he quickly wrote what he could down. Some sections were already fading, replaced by some other timeline. Steven’s heart was still racing in his chest, only know it beat a little bit more hopeful. It took another five minutes to get the rest of the notes down, which he presented proudly to Michael, who at this point had given up anger to watch curiously over Steven’s shoulder. He took the pad and pencil, reading over everything and writing notes in some places.

“Are you sure you got this all down correctly?” Michael asked, an edge returning to his tone.

“Yes- well, maybe. I hope. Probably. Most likely,” Steven floundered. Michael just grunted something unintelligible. 

“This is different. For one, psilocybin is a hallucinogen, which I wouldn’t think would work to stop hallucinations. I’ll check the lab on my next shift for some of the nicer stuff, see if I can figure out how all this goes together. For all we know, these could be some kind of frankendrug from whatever the other Michael’s are doing to treat everyone,” Michael said, “I don’t trust this, but I’m curious. You’ll get your regular prescription next month but I’ll also give this a crack. I’ll let you know what I find, now get out of my house.”

Steve was about to leave, one foot out the door when he remembered something. He turned slowly, half-facing Michael.

“What did you mean? What Autumn and I did. We didn’t do anything,” Steven asked. Michael grinned like a wolf.

“You will, you did, you are. Just maybe not in this timeline,” Michael answered cryptically.

“Vague, much? Couldn’t give us a little more to go on?” Steven said.

“You’re not ready yet, and just because I know what happened doesn’t mean I know how to fix it yet,” Michael explained. Steve just shrugged before finally closing the door, hearing it squeak back open as the faulty lock protested the arrangement. Other Steven’s stopped, doing various actions and non-actions out of view. Steven just kept moving forward. He would figure out what Michael meant, and maybe some day they would learn how to fix it.

He reached his car, unlocking the door and opening the drivers side, only for a force to slam it shut before he could step in. He reeled backwards, glancing wildly for whatever did that, though not seeing anything. No vision nor human. The wind picked up, he could hear it in the trees before he felt it. There was a hand on is shoulder, but when he went to grab it there was nothing there despite the fact that he could still feel it’s weight.

 

“Converging, twisting in on itself, choking out all other variables. Merging, combining, all paths lead back into the woods. How far will you follow the wolf?”

 

As soon as the hand let up, Steve was in his car. He moved so fast he didn’t even remember moving. Within the next second he had the car rolling away, speeding back to the the office. It took him until the parking lot to realize he had instinctually gone to the old office. He took a chance to breathe after he had parked. Finding solace in the fact that he was far away from the hand and the voice. In and out, in and out he breathed. Skin still prickling from the encounter. After a few more minutes of breathing he opened his eyes and got out of his car. His blood ran cold, his eyes stuck on the sign that used to hold their name. The whole thing was spray painted with an infinity sign, same colour as was on the Sugar Pine cabin in Idyllwild.

He didn’t notice Jeremy come up next to him, practically jumping out of his skin when the man spoke.

“I think someone is watching us,” Jeremy said as Steven caught his breath after only just getting it back from the earlier scare.

“Michael said this is all because of something Autumn and I did. Or will do,” Steven mentioned. Jeremy nodded.

“Autumn has something. She’s connected in a way the rest of us aren’t. You’ve noticed too, haven’t you?” Jeremy said.

“She sees more than the rest of us, I feel more than the rest of us,” Steve shivered.

“Have you seen Parker? He said he wanted to tell me something now that he’s on the mend,” Jeremy said.

“Did you check the actual office?” Steven snarked.

“No, lets go that way,” Jeremy said, getting into Steven’s car without hesitation.

“How did you get here anyway?” Steven asked when they were both in the car. Jeremy was silent for a moment. Emotion completely voided by the dark sunglasses he almost never takes off anymore.

“I don’t remember.”

Chapter Text

[[fic to be continued after hiatus]]

when i do come back, i will probably wrap it up at chapter 4 or 5. i was losing the enjoyment of sp7 when I spent so long combing through the seasons just for a fic that wasn't even a good example of my best work.

 

 

paraphrased from the full explanation of hiatus on my Chemicals & Code fic (ch7)

this is paused as I started working on my own original projects.
I just have to start seriously thinking about what I want to prioritize, and for me, that is things that further my career and creativity.

I am also not getting anything out of this exchange anymore.

I write because I'm passionate, and I share that writing because I want to share that excitement with other people, but when other people don't seem interested, then it is healthier for me to write for myself, or find somewhere that can actually nurture my growth as a writer.

 

 

tl;dr I'm getting serious with my original writing and might be quitting writing fanfiction for a while, not forever though

you all know my socials if you want to catch some snippets of my writing projects.

i will continue with this at a later date. I mark anything i've given up with [[DISCONTINUED]] & i have yet to slap that label on this guy.

 

me: *slaps roof of fic*

this bad boy is not discontinued