Fantasies and Realities: Episode 23

Lanard sits in her Tecton-assigned quarters, ~~ moping ~~, which is at least better than the emotional suppression of need, she supposes.

Lanard's head still feels awful, and her reflexes aren't what they should be either, though of course still much better than any non-Farris's. Her motivation to be polite and respectful isn't there either, so when she picks up a nageric ~~ signal ~~ at the door, she just signals back but remains put.

Roger waits a moment, frowning at the lack of Gen-perceptible response, then exercises a Companion's privilege to enter uninvited.

Roger: Sectuib Lanard? Are you all right?

Roger ~~ assesses ~~ Lanard's condition with the expertise of decades of being a Companion.

Lanard: [attempt, not quite successful, to be elaborately sarcastic] Why no, Sosu Roger, I feel like warmed-over Pen food. But why do you ask?

Roger: Because I wanted to know if your shenned foolish stunt with Nick was triggered by acute entran, temporary insanity, or just terminal lack of manners and good sense.

Lanard buries her face in her palm and mumbles through her hands.

Lanard: Nysek listens.

Roger stands in front of Lanard, hands on hips, glaring at her, his nageric ~~ disapproval ~~ fine-tuned to be glaringly obvious but not paralyzing.

Roger: What was that? I couldn't hear it.

Lanard removes her hands.

Lanard: I said, I'm listening. Go ahead and chew me out.

Roger: I'd rather listen to you explain just what you thought you were doing.

Lanard shuts her eyes, but of course she has no lids over her Sime senses.

Roger's ~~ waiting ~~ is therefore glaringly obvious.

Roger has a Companion's patience, and thus could easily glare all day if that's how long Lanard takes to respond.

Lanard: No, I think not. You don't want to hear anything, you just want me to confess to something so you can berate me. And I'm not playing. If you want to talk, go ahead.

Roger: Spare me the martyr act. I've known far too many people who actually earned that designation.

Lanard snorts.

Lanard: I'll bet.

Roger: Spoken like someone who's never picked up what's left of her House after a mob of juncts got through with it. Now, what Nick described sounded like a serious pathology. Since the other Donors who've worked with you haven't noticed any such thing, I'm pretty sure it was something else. I repeat: what were you doing?

Lanard looks up for the first time.

Lanard: Oh? What did he describe?

Roger: Something dangerously close to what his first channel, Wise Snake Farris, did when her addiction to pain during transfer reared its ugly head -- and she didn't care whether it came from her Donor or herself.

Lanard: Pain? Pain?!!

Lanard: [outraged] Of course I don't crave pain. What do you think I am, a junct?

Roger: None of the other Donors who've worked with you have noted you throwing resistance at them. So I have to conclude that you were doing it intentionally with Nick. What I want to know is why.

Lanard shakes her head and grits her teeth.

Lanard: All I wzndzd ...

Lanard stops, unlocks her jaw, and carries on.

Lanard: All I wanted was for him to make me feel like he was ... taking advantage of me. Is that so wrong?

Roger's nager loses just a little of its dangerous edge.

Roger: It was a game, then?

Lanard nods with difficulty.

Roger: And you forgot to tell Nick that, before throwing that resistance at him?

Lanard: [a bit more spirited] Did he think that I normally wear that sort of clothing when I go for transfer? It was s-s-supposed to be s-seductive.

Roger: You were trying to seduce him??

Lanard: Well, yes. That too. But the main point is, it was a costume. I mean, he's -- Well, you wouldn't understand.

Roger: Good looking? I'm not so old that I've forgotten what it's like to be attracted to someone. You're not the only young lady around to find Nick attractive. Although very few indeed have been offered the opportunity to do more than look.

Lanard: Well, I thought I'd offer him the opportunity.

Lanard smiles very thinly.

Roger: By scaring him half to death when you imitated the sort of transfers Wise Snake Audnes used to demand?

Lanard: I don't know anything about that. How could he possibly have thought I wanted pain?

Roger: Because you never bothered to tell him you meant it as play? Unlike most Companions, he knows that it's quite possible for a channel to crave pain.

Lanard rolls her eyes in a classically teenage fashion.

Lanard: Like I said, I didn't know anything about that. He kept wanting me to verbalize my consent, and I kept telling him not to wait for my consent. But he wouldn't. So I had to just sit there and let it happen between us.

Roger: You went to a great deal of trouble to get Nick, specifically, rather than just any Sat'htine Companion. Do you mean to tell me that you never read up on his history before requesting him?

Lanard: Certainly nothing about p-pain. I knew he'd dealt with rogues, who doesn't?

Roger: And that's why you asked for him?

Lanard: N-not the way you think. I just thought he might be more f-flexible than your bog-standard Farris Gen.

Roger: Flexible enough to go along with your game?

Lanard nods.

Roger: He probably would have been, if you'd told him what you wanted. For that matter, there are plenty of other Donors and Companions who'd be happy to indulge you.

Roger: Or do you think you're the only person ever to have fantasies?

Lanard: N-no. But it isn't the s-sort of thing you advertise for. Especially when it involves transfer and not just s-s-sex.

Roger: If you can't trust your Companion with such things, what can you trust him with?

Lanard: To do everything according to the rules, I guess?

Roger snorts rudely.

Roger: The rules are there to give people a common etiquette to follow when they have to work with strangers. They're a starting point for negotiation, not the limit of all possibilities.

Lanard: Sosu, just what do you think my transfers -- starting with my First Transfer, which all Simes are supposed to want to recapitulate -- have been like, anyhow? Do you suppose that I've been negotiating with Farris Gens that massively overpower me?

Roger: Apparently, you haven't. Which is why you're not getting what you want.

Lanard: You can't negotiate someone into giving a damn about you. "She's not my reward; I am her punishment."

Lanard quotes the punchline of a Gen T joke about an ugly old man who goes about everywhere with a beautiful young woman on his arm.

Roger: Is that how you view yourself? As punishment for the Donors you work with?

Lanard: No, it's how they view me.

Roger: And you know this how?

Lanard: I may be just barely not a "failed Farris", but I can still zlin.

Roger: Zlinning is very effective for diagnosing kidney stones, but much less effective at reading minds. That requires actually talking to people, rather than assuming you know what they're thinking.

Lanard: I still know how they feel about me. My draw isn't -- can't be -- fast and deep enough to satisfy for any Gen that can handle me.

Roger: It may come as a surprise to you, but it's perfectly possible for a Companion to enjoy working with a channel who can't fully satisfy him.

Lanard sighs.

Lanard: I'm sure. It's just that somehow I never meet any of those. Until now -- I thought.

Roger: Nick.

Lanard: Indeed.

Roger: And when did you decide that Nick was different?

Lanard: Sometime between when I met him and when we had transfer?

Roger: And yet you still didn't trust him enough to tell him what you wanted from him. And by doing so, you deprived him of the pleasure you could give him -- the pleasure of serving you a good transfer.

Lanard: I told him -- okay, maybe during the last stage of transfer wasn't the best possible moment -- but I did tell him what I wanted.

Lanard disregards the blatant attempt to guilt-trip her about how Nick felt about it.

Roger: No, it wasn't the best possible moment. At the very least, you owe Nick a heartfelt apology for the confusion you caused. When you have done that, we can start considering how to provide you with what you want.

Lanard: [snarl] Don't patronize me, old man. I don't want you to be "providing" me with "what I want".

Roger: You'd prefer to keep taking potluck with the Tecton? I rather thought you were tired of that, which is why you asked Hiram for help.

Lanard: [moan] I know, I know. Obviously. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we.

Roger is ~~ unperturbed ~~ by this response, having raised several children who turned into just such adolescents, for a while.

Roger: So, you asked Hiram for help, and he's inclined to provide it. At least as long as your House brandy maintains its quality, anyway.

Lanard: Fortunately, my direct responsibility for that is mostly nominal.

Roger chuckles.

Roger: You know the limits of a Sectuib's power. That's a start.

Lanard nods slowly.

Roger: Good. Then we'll begin there, little channel, and see where it leads.

Lanard nods again; her ~~ fine, fine, whatever ~~ is fortunately only nageric and so undetectable (or so she thinks).

Roger gives another ~~ amused ~~ chuckle at the display of youthful defiance.

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