Mar 24, 2019 2:48 AM
Magical Girl Vivian
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Vivian starts high school, and it's wonderful.

There's a QSA she can (and does) join. There's political activist groups she can (and does) join. There's Model UN and debate and so many more options than middle school.

She tells her parents about (some of) her clubs. They're delighted she's getting so involved, and that she's so enthusiastic about everything; none of them remember the days of early Saturday Chinese classes fondly. They meet her debate teacher and help her with her Model UN research. When her biology teacher praises her interest in environmental sciences, they even take her to a panel on climate change, and she listens in horrified fascination and asks the coordinators for volunteer information on her way out.

They are noticeably less pleased when she comes home with short, bright and entirely unmagical pink-streaked hair.

The argument itself is actually shorter than she expected, but afterwards her parents are much frostier than they used to be. They don't say anything more, not really, but her mother sighs and her father stares pointedly and they're perfectly well able to make their opinions known without words. It's both what she'd feared and not at all what she'd expected, and she doesn't know how to handle it, so she just complains wistfully to her QSA friends and tops up her dye job and misses what they used to have.

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Well, if she'd like to magically keep her roots coming in pink forever -

- and add some frills and gills and paws and claws and wings and things -

- she could do that, as evidenced by her sudden outside-looking-in view of herself against a sea of stars, angle and lighting adjustable for optimal mannequin viewing. (If she would like to test poses she will have to actually strike them.)

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She has magic----!

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----does she want magic?

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Vivian sits and thinks very seriously about this. Magic is Big and Scary and Important and she could do a lot of good, but she could do good without magic too; there are pros and cons and tradeoffs and even her parents made conflicted noises about it when they used to talk about it, where they thought she couldn't hear. The fighting is important, but it's scary, and she's not even fifteen yet, but she could fix so many things...

She makes her roots pink so she can feel like she has More Time, even if it's not that much time in total, and then settles down to think some more. Her English paper can wait an hour.

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Vivian is very diligent about her research. She finds articles on the threat posed by the swarms, and studies on the cost of collateral damage; she finds a truly bewildering number of Magical Girl Aesthetic articles of wildy variable quality; she finds fan sites of varying levels of creepy and conspiracy sites claiming everything from alien invasion to government brainwashing to Temptation From Satan Himself! She doesn't quite trust the teachers not to call her parents but she chats with some of her school friends, especially the politically-minded ones, and then the QSA-

-she'd be gay still if she was magic, her parents would never know or care otherwise-

After two days of research, she decides to make the world better.

(She has magic----!)

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One of the things she decided is that she needs two aesthetics- one for her, and one for her parents. First she does the petty stuff she wants anyway- fixes the vaccination scar on her shoulder, removes some small marks from her childhood, clears her skin, convinces her right eye to open the same amount as her left eye. Then she builds them piecemeal, since she doesn't know where she's going yet.

She's stealing concepts from Mulan for her Family costume; it's a stereotype but it's her stereotype, she wanted to grow up and cut her hair off and fight the bad guys and not just be the Perfect Daughter too. Her hair is black and flowing in an unseen wind, her skin is pale and smooth, her lips are red and her eyelids shimmer purple.

Then she reverses course, shortens her hair back to its usual length, but looking pleasingly tousled in a way she can never achieve herself without getting hair in her eyes. The streaks come back, but now they're pink and blue, and the ends of it all fade into a dark purple. She keeps the shimmering purple on her eyes, because it matches her hair, and because she can.

After practicing switching a couple more times, she starts digging for more options. What next?

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Vivian makes herself slightly taller - not much, she likes her height, but she doesn't have to round up any more. She pictures Mulan and tries to play with her muscles; she doesn't know if that'll affect her actual strength, and she's not changing much, but if she is going to be a magical fighter she's going to look and feel like one. On a whim she recolors her eyes- one pink fading to purple, one blue fading to purple. She plays with tattoos in unobtrusive places: she adds and removes a rainbow flag, adds and removes her favorite quotes, settles on a pink magnolia flower on her shoulderblade in homage to Mulan but tips the petals in blue and fades the edges into nothingness and makes the whole thing shimmer. As long as her roots stay pink, she can play with this, and for someone who's never really cared about how she looks at this level of detail it's much more fun that she expected. The ease of changing things, maybe, or the lack of permanence. Playing dress up with no consequences.

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The flower tattoo is good, the eye recolor is really good (according to her internal sense of how much she has to tweak to get magic).

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Oooh. Feedback!

She's not stuck with the eye color. The available reading is pretty clear that she has to maintain a minimum baseline Magicalness, but it doesn't have to be the same things you started with. She is not stuck with pink eyes for the rest of her life, but it's fun for now. She puts her hair back to the pink and blue streaks fading into purple, and leaves her eyes matching. Her skin is flawlessly pale, her eyelids still shimmer purple, she's got a definite color theme going-

-pink and purple and blue are awfully galaxy themed, aren't they?

Vivian pictures this and discards it. Her hair's on the neon side of galaxy anyway, not to mention the magnolia doesn't fit in the slightest. She's just not that interested in the Space Aesthetic, when it comes down to it. She takes stock of her current effect in the mirror, and decides it's still workable, she'll just have to step carefully around the Galaxy! vibe.

Fingernails go next. She alternates the three colors, but does french tips in white and her blue thumbs get pink and white magnolias on them. She does her manicure perfect to her standards - that is, her nails and cuticles aren't chewed down, they're harder to break or tear, and they're short enough she can keep practicing viola.

...viola is a thought. Can she pull off punk music? Does that work with the magnolias? Not worth testing, not quite yet. She puts her skin back to flawlessly pale, touches up her purple shimmer eyeshadow to be edged in pink, thickens her eyelashes beyond the bounds of her favorite mascara but still just below the bar of obviously unnatural.

She's still leery of making sweeping physical changes just yet. They'd need so much more planning. New appendages she's not accustomed to using, aesthetics she's not used to accommodating. She'll figure it out as she goes. How's she doing on magic?

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This round of changes hasn't done anything you couldn't do with mundane application of pigment. The magic is not super impressed.

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Well, the magic liked her eyes before. Can she make them eagle eyes, but in her same colors? A sight boost sounds fun, and more on the order of "adjust to glasses" than "adjust to surprise arms" as far as physical changes go. She's not permanently opposed, but her reading was very clear on the dangers of Going Too Far, and she'd like to get a sense for what the minimum is.

She's waffling between the music theme and the magnolias; since the music one seems more sound-based than she can really figure out right now, she opts for magnolias for the time being. Can she make her hair photosynthesize, or her nails? Can she sprout a pink magnolia tucked over her ear with a cluster of small white ones below it? Matching small white ones on her ears as earrings? Despite the magic's opinions on pigmentation-feasible changes, she runs a spiral of leaves from the flower on her shoulder blade to cover the upper half of her arm.

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She cannot make her hair or nails photosynthesize, at least not just by thinking that she'd like them to do that. She can sprout flowers, and that gets her over the minimum! After that it's judging her on aesthetics, and it seems to like the leaves.

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Vivian twirls in front of her mirror, enjoying her newly floral-punk hair, suppresses a delighted cackle (mostly) and then contemplates her outfit. Grumpily, she decides that she does probably need to put on a parent-friendly outfit first; no need to have the hair color argument again. Nervously, she strips off her tshirt and jeans. Time to start learning about costumes, she supposes.

She doesn't remove the pink and blue hair streaks - it was too hard a battle, she doesn't want her parents to think they won - but the dyes (she can do that, now, she can dye this color over her real neon roots without even thinking about it) get more pastel, softer, maybe slightly luminous later if she feels like it. Her bird eyes change shade to match, and her fingernails recolor in pastels and magnolias and leaves. She looks up pictures of Mulan's outfits and tweaks to her satisfaction; she starts with the outfit on the left, but fills in her pinks and blues, and raises the neckline up to resemble the middle dress' v-neck. She throws in a leaf pendant on a short silver chain just for fun. She's not very practiced at makeup but she gets her lip color and eyeshadow to look like something she thinks won't trigger her parents' complaints about American teenage fashion, and then makes one last stop in the mirror.

She doesn't bother bemoaning that she's not knowledgable enough to make the outfit fit Exactly Perfectly; she can still get it naively closer than anything she's warn before, and it's soft and she's cosy and she does a couple more delighted twirls at her reflection.

If anyone asks, she will totally deny generating copies of Mulan's wrist capes and a swishing train while she spins. Definitely never happened.

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The magic thinks this is an adequate outfit and will give her a little magic for it!

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