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For all that her life had gone entirely insane since she'd discovered that she was a Heterodyne, Agatha could fully enjoy the perks which came with her famous name.

There was the castle, to start. Eventually, anyway. Even after they'd managed to get it into working order again it had remained less of an asset and more a millstone around her neck until finally, with a great deal of trial and error, she managed to rework its personality enough to trust that it wouldn't try having "fun" with any guests who visited if she didn't keep an eagle eye on them.

But as soon as she had those last kinks worked out it became very easy to appreciate. She could happily spend the rest of her days in the library, except that would mean never visiting the labs which she could live out her life in just as gladly... if that didn't mean giving up the library. And the whole building was full of secrets that she'd probably never find all of, some of them unpleasant reminders of her more gruesome ancestors but just as often she'd find cunning gadgets and gizmos that could teach her new skills just by figuring out how they worked.

Then there were the Jägers. Though maybe she could have done without most of them if she'd come to her inheritance in a normal, more peaceful way, without the threat of The Baron on the one side and The Other on the other and the thousand and one other maddening trials that faced her at every turn, as things stood she could only be grateful to have them. And if she were honest with herself she knew that "normal" would never really have been any option anyway. Not for a Heterodyne.

Besides that, if she was honest with herself she knew that even if she'd somehow managed to be a Heterodyne who lived her life like every average person--well, average Spark, which in itself would mean not all that average--she probably still would have taken in the whole violent rowdy lot of them just because of Dimo, Maxim, and Oggie. It didn't seem likely that she'd ever befriend any of the others as strongly as she had the three of them but she couldn't forget Oggie falling on her in tears over having found her, and she didn't know that she had the heart to turn away anyone who was that affected just by her existence.

And, oh, there was being able to create. Anything she'd been through, everything she'd been through, was worth it just for that. She'd live through it all again, maybe not gladly--too many people that she cared about had died for the term to fit--but willingly, if anyone ever told her that that was what it would take for her to go on being able to build the clanks that she saw behind her eyes when she went to bed at night. Being able to look at a pile of scrap metal and see how bits and pieces of it could fit together, or how one gear could turn another and then another until she'd worked through an entire clockwork mechanism, was all that she'd ever dreamed of.

In the days when her mind had been trapped, smothered within her by the powers of her locket, there had been times when she'd tried to convince herself that having the Spark couldn't possibly really be as wonderful as she imagined it to be. That she'd built it up and built it up in her mind to a point that the truth couldn't possibly match because she'd always been so desperate to build something that would run for even three seconds without blowing up in her face. Then her Spark had been released and she'd discovered that if anything her imagination hadn't been able to match the truth.

All of these things were enough to make being a Heterodyne worth it, but the best thing that came with the name was something that she never even would have considered before the day that her locket was stolen and her life changed forever. In fact, not only would she have never thought of it but if someone had ever mentioned it back then Agatha Clay would have been mortified at hearing about what Agatha Heterodyne got up to, even more than she'd have been by the fact that she trousers more often than skirts.

The best thing was that nobody cared a lick about a Heterodyne having two men in her life. If anything, most people seemed pleased by the arrangement that she'd worked out with Gil and Tarvek. The reasons for their approval varied from person to person. Some who would have shunned them if it weren't for her name were just glad to see how much restraint she was showing compared to ancestors who filled entire wings of the castle with their harems. A common reason for acceptance, once the truth about her mother became well-known, was that at least the two of them could watch each other even if she cared to much about both of them to see if either was up to something behind her back; they'd now seen what could come of a Heterodyne giving all their heart to a single person, and they didn't like the results.

There was even a small but embarrassingly vocal group within Mechanicsburg who wanted her to take more lovers. Or at least one other; any time that they got a chance they tried convincing her to bed Vanamonde so she'd have a nice hometown boy by her side as well, regardless of what either of them thought about the idea.

The main problem that anyone seemed to have with their arrangement was that she would not marry either of them. The Agatha Clay who she'd been, who'd been so embarrassed just by people mistakenly thinking that she was Moloch's lover, wouldn't have been able to believe herself, but Agatha Heterodyne had learned a thing or two about the world since then.

It wasn't that she didn't love them. She did, so much that she surprised herself sometimes when she stopped to think about it. She'd never even realized that it was possible to care about two different people so much at the same time until the day she'd set down to work out what her feelings for each of them were once and for all. She'd realized then that somehow over the time that she'd known them it had become impossible for her to chose between them.

It wasn't that she didn't trust them either. They'd both more than earned her faith in them in spite of the things they'd each done to make it waver back when they'd barely known her. She was sure that they both had their own background plots going on that they didn't tell her about, especially Tarvek, but she fully believed that whatever those plots were they would never deliberately harm her through them.

It was the politics involved that stopped her. If she was going to cast aside her old name and be a Heterodyne then she was going to be a Heterodyne. She wouldn't just be a passing note in the history books about how Baron Wulfenbach's hold on Europa was strengthened when his son wed the last bearer of the Heterodyne name (assuming that whenever her uncle returned he didn't bring a new cousin with him), or about how the prophecy about the Storm King was fulfilled when Prince Sturmvoraus married her.

The decision was made even simpler by just how uneasy the peace between herself and the Baron was. Convincing him that she most likely really wasn't The Other--she doubted that she'd ever get him to completely believe that it was true, especially when they still hadn't found a way to completely remove her mother from her mind--and that she didn't plan to upset his empire or try to destroy or rule the world had been the most difficult thing she'd done since learning the truth about her origins. He had grudgingly allowed her relationship with his son to continue, though it was clear from the look on his face whenever he saw them together that he didn't approve, but she knew that wouldn't last if she ever announced that she planned to marry either of her men.

The only reason that he let her alone for the most part was that she didn't have that much power, really. Not outside of Mechanicsburg. But they both knew how easy it would be for her to change that if she really wanted to; she had the Jägers, she had the commanding presence inherited from her parents, and she had favors owed to her family by important people all over the world who'd jump just as quickly as Zulenna once had to wipe the slate clean. She had to take more care in making sure that it was clear to the world that she wasn't trying to gather power then some leaders of actual nations did in forging alliances and mustering their strength. And remaining legally unconnected to Gil's and Tarvek's own powers--unable to become Princess-regent of Sturmhalten should anything happen to Tarvek or in line for the Baron's own throne after Gil, any children she might someday have viewed as illegitimate bastards on their fathers sides and unable to inherit anything but the Heterodyne lands themselves--was part of that.

Maybe one day that would change. Years into the future, after she'd had plenty of time to establish herself and let people judge her based on her own merits instead of her husbands' names. After the Baron was either out of the picture or had come to fully believe that she would never follow in her mother's footsteps or allow her to take over her mind long enough to do anything unforgivable. But until then she was perfectly happy with things the way things stood between them. The only thing about her life that she'd change at all if she had the choice would be to finally permanently remove The Other from her mind, but that wouldn't have any real effect on her relationships with them aside from saving Tarvek from getting jumpy every time her locket snagged on something.

And really, why would they ever want to waste time planning out some big formal state wedding when they could have so much more fun spending all that time down in the labs together instead?

Yes, Agatha definitely knew how to enjoy the perks of her position.