Dear Annette F. Waverly,
Enclosed are the results of your requested tests. Do expect a letter from our Billing Office in the following weeks.
She knew that part, as she had read that letter beforehand, and long enough beforehand so that she had dealt with billing as well. That letter was not a concern of Annette’s for her sake. In fact, it never was. She nagged Terrebonne State University’s biology department to dedicate its DNA testing facilities to her own curiosity. And to heed an old friend’s requests.
As she had mentioned to others before, she decided to get the official answers regarding who Harwood’s children were. He mentioned it to her before his death. He didn’t make a bunch of donor kids just for them to unknowingly date each other! That would be disgusting! But he ran out of time and mental happiness to fulfill that himself. Annette did what she thought was right, albeit sitting on the results for a while afterwards.
The results were comprehensive, considering that they tested individuals across the state. It didn’t matter if all of his spawn ended up living in Twinbrook, but Annette knew that they didn’t miss a step. Testing children who came from couples who showed up in the records of the state’s sperm bank. Ricky, Carmen, Benji Kindle. Orlando, Edmond Pidgin. Patrick Castor.
But maybe considering Harwood’s age, they were told by Annette to reach out everywhere. They took records from strange corners. Chances were that he made a mistake down the line, in all of his many years.
She should have seen it coming.
When Annette read the letter herself, she was brought back one of the more regretful nights of her life. Although she didn’t bear much trauma for having an awful start to her marriage and for Bill bailing on a celebratory dinner afterwards, it sickened her to think about it much. But she had the other guests, who got a lot more out of the evening.
It was comforting to see Harwood looking the slightest bit troubled at the table too. He looked off to his side, with his giant green eyes locked on something at the other end of the table. At a few points, he bit his lower lip in frustration.
“Hey, it’s a night to forget about the bad shit,” said Annette. “Whatcha looking at anyways?”
“Thought there was someone I knew,” he muttered. “Anyways, you know this menu better than I do…I think. Your best picks?”
At that time, she had better things to worry about than what Harwood’s eyes followed that night. But for a split-second he seemed engaged in a staring contest with someone much closer.
In fact, the other person noticed. He furrowed his brows and made a snide remark from across the table. “What’s your problem, old man?” He then got up to bug the waitress for a bottle of wine.
In fact, Sinbad had to have felt no remorse at those being his last words to Harwood. Annette knew he didn’t care about him. That wouldn’t even change as he read the most important lines in that letter.
We also expanded testing to see if anyone in the criminal DNA records of the state was a match. Below is the one match found:
Sinbad Rotter (birth name: Sinbad Takasugi), b. October 17th, 2000 to Emma Takasugi.
Well, it was silence save for Sinbad’s heavy breathing. Annette inched closer to the door, trying to listen. It still surprised her when she first read it, even when it didn’t. She didn’t act violent about it, but Sinbad? Whatever his reaction could have been intrigued her, in the sense that it created a horrible pit of fear inside of her. She wouldn’t let him hurt her, but would he stab a painting on the wall? Kick Sagebear in a boiling rage?
He stormed out of the room, with Amy begging him to calm down. She struggled to hold on to his arm. “Honey, don’t hurt anything! I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way.”
Amy turned towards her friend, with a worried face. “I’m sorry. It’s hard to control him when he’s like that.”
Annette first tried to comfort her. “Relax. I can handle his anger by now. Heck, he’s around knives all day at work, and I don’t fear him anymore.”
“It’s just…I know this is a touchy subject for him. I can barely talk to him about it, and now he has yet another thing to be angry towards. I’m just glad that the old man is dead now. He wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t want to see him get hurt.”
That was true, but Annette’s heart sank when the next possible target hit her. That target still lived and was just a short walk away. Shark said something about getting himself some tea and sitting outdoors after the proposal, to try and cope. She bolted downstairs and through the back door. However, Sinbad beat her by a few seconds. By the time she got outside, Shark’s mug already shattered against the ground.
He pinned Shark to the side of the house, seething in misplaced rage. “Did you know about this?” he yelled.
“Yes! Okay, I knew about this for a while, even when he was still around. Like, he had a suspicion about you…lemme go already! This isn’t my fault.” Shark then pushed him to the ground with ease.
Although physically defeated, Sinbad continued his vocal assault while still knocked over. “I can’t believe you. So you knew that I was his son, and you try to fuck me? That’s your first reaction? Fucking his son? I have all rights to murder a sick fuck like you.”
Annette intervened with the m-word being uttered. She used every ounce of strength in her tiny body to hold Sinbad back from attacking her nephew. “That’s enough,” she said to him.
“Stop sucking up to them!” Sinbad almost wriggled free of her hold on his arm. “What, you think it’s okay to leave a kid in an abusive home? You wanna apologize for that deadbeat?”
“That deadbeat was my friend,” Annette said. “And I know he meant better than you think he did.”
“Piss off,” Sinbad told her. “This isn’t your fight.” Annette pulled him back with all of her might.
“It is when you threaten murder against my family, you know.” She gave Shark a pout, hoping for more good karma with him. He didn’t give much of an expression back, and left the scene. He walked up the stairs and back inside, muttering something about them running out of his favorite earl grey tea.
Annette felt safe to let Sinbad go, as she could wrangle him again if he went inside still violent. He had a slight change of heart though, not attempting to kill hurt her for her intervention. He just fumed without touching her.
“It’s not too cold to sleep outside,” she said, locking the door behind her.
She found Shark the next morning, with his body unscathed but his mind needing the healing powers of a fluffy cat. Rose purred as he stroked her thick fur.
“Are you gonna get dressed today or not?” she asked him, trying to gauge his mental state. He was still wearing a t-shirt and underpants, after all.
“I don’t teach on Tuesdays, so why?” It was a legitimate reason. “And Amy does, and I thought you knew what that meant.”
“You think he’s gonna come back after that last night, though? All that resentment, and let’s be real, you fucked his dad. That’s a turn-off.”
“Well, I know Sinbad too,” said Shark. “He’s strung.”
“Yeah, I got that much,” she said.
“But it affects him in a lot of ways, you know? He doesn’t think his anger through, so what made him threaten murder last night is nothing today. He’ll come back. And he’ll come back again and again because he knows he won’t survive long without me. He gets nervous when he feels like something’s gone, and he doesn’t want someone’s intimate manly touch gone from his life.”
“And I agree with him, and you. Men can be awful, but they can also be pretty damn great. And it’s the damn great parts that keep you coming back.”
Shark rubbed the spot where Sinbad had him pinned down, right near his collarbone. “Definitely.”
She loved seeing Shark smile at her, with all of the familial sweetness he could muster. Annette could have left right there. But alas, she had a burning question.
“How did it happen, anyways?” she asked Shark.
“You saw. He just attacked me outside.”
“I mean about Harwood. How did he father him?”
“Probably the same way lots of kids are made. When a mommy and a daddy make a horrible series of mistakes.”
“So you think he really knew?”
“All he told me was that he had some suspicions,” said Shark. “I guess I mentioned the guy, and why not dating him led to me falling in love with bitter old Harwood. He said that the dates lined up, but you know? I don’t think Sinbad wanted him in his life before this crap. And he aged out of foster care before they ever knew the other existed. You can’t blame the old man for being a deadbeat. No one told him. It’s…it’s not his fault.”
“You’re preaching to the choir, kid,” she said. “It’s funny how history’s repeating itself. And how you’re evil enough after all, fucking your dead partner’s son even after you know the truth. I couldn’t even come up with that if I tried.”
“I guess I have a preference.” He shrugged his shoulders for effect, with a cheeky smirk.
“So…like father, like son?” she asked Shark.
“Oh god, you’re asking that question?”
“Yeah. Kind of wormed my way out of having to blow your grandpa, so I guess I don’t know how it works.”
Instead of getting offended further, Shark smiled and laughed. “Yeah, like father, like son.”
Sinbad, being a member of the household, had to do his chores and he did them. Picking up Franco from school when his parents were busy and when the other two adults had to stay for a meeting was one of them. Soon after that bad night, he had to do that.
Franco waited with some of his friends. Many of them got photocopies of Annette’s letter too. And already, Carmen was whispering something about her new big brother.
She ran up to him with sickening cheer and a wave. “Hey there, big bro!” she said. “You now have to spend every holiday with us. It’s the rules. And I’m your only sister, so I have to be the flower girl at your wedding.”
“Fuck off,” he muttered, then raising his voice. “Franco, we’re going.”
“But everyone’s been talking about you. This is weird,” Franco said, as they walked closer to the curb. “Is everyone related now? Everyone’s referring to each other as siblings. It’s weird.”
“Seems like it,” Sinbad said. “I just hope I don’t run into more of them.”
“Hey big brother! Mind getting us some booze before prom?”
Sinbad looked over his shoulder to two older teenagers yelling for him.
“I’m not that kind of criminal,” he replied. “Who the hell are you two anyways?”
Franco looked over too. “The Pidgin twins? Guess they’re your brothers as well.”
“Christ, who else do I have to be a big brother to?”
“Him?” Franco asked about one shirt, tan-skinned child in back of Sinbad.
Patrick Castor didn’t want to be an annoyance, but he wanted to give a kind hello to, yep, his new big brother. Or perhaps compliment him on also having awesome green eyes.
“I don’t care about you, or those other cumstains. Leave me alone, because I’m no big brother. And I’m not associating myself with you just because of some deadbeat lout! Fuck off!”
Before he could damage the school’s property, Amy ran outside to try and subdue him. “I know you’re mad, but you can’t just terrorize little kids over it,” she said, as she tried leading him away from the scene. “It was a bad idea to send you here, and Annette shoulda known that.”
“It’s just…if there was one thing I liked, it was being alone in the world. Now I have these guys to deal with.”
“Honey, they’re just kids. And you should be thankful to have siblings, because I sure don’t have any. You’ll find a way to like them,” Amy said. “I mean, you like Franco enough.”
Franco had followed them, hoping to go home.
Amy let go of her fiance’s hand. “I need to get back to the meeting. You can get Franco home. You can do this, like you can do a lot of things! Why let a bunch of kids stop you?”
Franco just had one thing to ask of Sinbad. “Can I just say good-bye to Hannah?” She was walking towards her mum right then.
“She was at the sleepover?” Sinbad ate dinner with her that night, after all, and she almost got him caught in his affair.
“Oh yeah, that one. And she isn’t my sister either…sure you can, kiddo. In fact, you mind having a treat after this? Maybe a cookie?”
Franco bounded over to her for a good-bye hug, while her mother glared at them. He cringed when he noticed how harshly she took Hannah’s hand to almost throw her into the car. He could see Sinbad do the same.
“He ain’t lying about that,” Sinbad said, in a soft voice. “Come on, I just need to talk about some things. And your parents won’t care anyways.”
“You mean it? Mum gets insulted when I buy food from someone else,” said Franco. “And I don’t think she’ll be happy at you for it either.”
“It’s our little secret.”
They both got won over by triple chocolate brownies, which they ate at a picnic table near the shops.
“It’s just that Amy has a point,” Sinbad said, with a defeated sigh. “I shouldn’t have said those things in front of you.”
“Why’d you do it, then?” Franco asked, with a mouth full of chocolate.
“You know, I bring this up because of your little friend. Your uncle Shark…I have some issues with the guy. He’s a hypocrite. Defend one guy who left his kid in an abusive home, try to get a different one out of hers. But I’ll give him this; he seems to care about Hannah. Someone has to.”
“Well, I care about her,” said Franco.
“It’s just that you’re a kid. You can’t do anything as a kid. If you could, than I would’ve…would’ve ran away. You’d have a much nicer uncle Sinbad if I could have done that,” he said. “I like that you care about her, though. I think she really does too.”
“Can you help with this?”
“Can’t. I’d do some drastic things, and I get into enough trouble with your mum already. You wouldn’t want to see me in jail, now would you?”
“Perfect, you help her steal from the city.”
“No, that’s your dad’s thing. I help her steal cars and break into places, totally different.”
“You mean there’s…there’s even more that she does?” He sighed with disappointment. “That’s just great.”
“Oh, like you understand? Have you been listening to aunt Amy again? She’s always on my case about the things I do-” He stopped when he saw Franco get off the picnic bench.
“I can’t even trust mum?” he asked himself, almost on the verge of tears. “I can’t trust anyone there, can I? What’s the point of even staying?”
“I don’t think that’s the worst she could do,” Sinbad said. “Get back on the bench.”
“I wanna go home…but I don’t.”
Those earlier words from uncle Sinbad about running away sounded more and more tempting.
A/N: I don’t necessarily plan on a Dystopia arc for this story, so I get to waste the “Big Brother” chapter title on something far more literal.
So Harwood was Sinbad’s father THIS WHOLE TIME!! I cracked the code!
As much as I know that there is no in-game connection between Harwood and Sinbad beyond them being neighbors, Nessa mentioned that they could totally be father and son and I couldn’t get it out of my head. It’s those green eyes, but a few other physical things too (similar builds, thin faces, very defined lips, etc).
But as mentioned, this also means that Shark likes Sinbad for the absolute wrongest reasons possible. And when you look at what he said, he knew that about Sinbad for YEARS. I also reckon that Annette spoke with him about the DNA test results to confirm what he already knew (she’s able to mention “the envelope” as if he knows exactly what that envelope is).
As for how Annette was able to orchestrate testing the DNA of a dead man and at least seven confirmed children (plus, there might have been some negative results in there too)…she has the money. Shhhh…
Uh, I don’t necessarily disprove of Sinbad’s misdirected anger because it is fine to be angry over what happened. Whether or not his father was an uninformed innocent in this case or a horrible deadbeat who left his son in an abusive home out of ignorance/neglect, what’s wrong with feeling anger over what wasn’t done? Especially when everyone else around him is quick to idolize Harwood.
His violence is pretty inexcusable, though.
One last thing: Annette’s middle initial stands for Fatima. This will probably come up later in the story, but I’ll make it canon now. It’s also the only name I can confirm was not part of her birth name (i.e. what she had before she came to Twinbrook).