Jun 25, 2019 11:55 AM
Jaime discovers a masquerade.
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"Yeah, that was ominously specific.  As for strategies, like I said, we could move around often enough that it'd be pretty hard to figure out where we were at any given time, although if she has the resources to be bothersome in multiple locations that'll be less effective.  Hana's aunt has a few places, but we also have some other vampire friends we could probably stay with.  It wouldn't be difficult to find out we're connected to them, but they'll have defenses of their own that might help.  Might be harder to control what she learns about magic that way, though.

"Strategy number two: we go to her, show off magic threateningly, hope that's enough to make her leave us alone for long enough by itself.  Ideally, we rig it so it looks like there's extra limitations that we don't in reality have, which we can drop pretending we do in the event of actual danger.

"Three: we fake your death.  I don't really have any specifics on this one except that it seems pretty easy to do with magic? Obviously we'd have to make it seem unconnected to Hana and me; she definitely seems like the vowing-revenge type unless I'm really misreading her.  Oh, and also I feel like you could probably springboard off of the face-sharpening part of turning to drastically change how you look faster than you normally could; you could make yourself unrecognizable.  And you'll probably look different enough that you may want a new identity anyway.

"Four: this one's super morally sketchy, and it's not permanent, and I feel like it maybe wouldn't actually deter her, and none of us are skilled at it enough to finesse it.  But.  We could just make her not care about you.  I don't think we should do it if we have any better options, but I don't know enough about the situation to say whether we do, so I thought I'd mention it."

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What the fuck.

“I’m actually pretty deeply appalled by you even bringing up fucking with her mind as an option. Let’s not, say we did.”

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"Okay."

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“I appreciate the thought, just, do let’s avoid casually crossing fundamental ethical boundaries.”

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"Okay."

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Jaime pats her awkwardly on the shoulder.

”If we move houses in a week, then move again in two weeks, then continue moving every two weeks as relevant, and we’re discrete about the moving process, I don’t think she’ll be able to track us.”

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????????

????

"Okay.  Sounds good.  I'll just, uhm, go message Hana, let her know what's up.  Unless you had something more to add."

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Jaime doesn’t respond to her nonverbal question marks.

”No. I can make dinner; do you have a preference between burritos with tzatziki and greek fettuccine alfredo?”

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She has a preference for not obliging people who justifiably probably hate her to do nice things for her.  "I'm.  Not actually hungry."  She gestures with her mug as an explanation.  "Thank you though."  And with that she turns and walks briskly to her room.

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Hana gets back eventually.  "So, what happened?  Well - Ari said that Alexandra stopped by, and that we'll have to switch residences a few times, and then I'm pretty sure she's just been typing for forty minutes, which is only very rarely a good sign."

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Jaime seems to have compromised between fettuccine and burritos, and made from-scratch ravioli in a delectably fragrant cucumber-yogurt sauce; she’s stirring the ravioli into the sauce as she speaks. She’s also sliced up additional cucumbers, and a hefty number of strawberies, and turned them into some sort of bizarre salad coated generously by a balsamic-yogurt sauce; a pan with unbearably fancy looking bruschetta on it sits off to the side.

“She suggested mind control as a possible solution to Alexandra, I said that I found it appalling that she would consider it, she shattered and curled up into a little ball of despair. I’m both concerned and confused.”

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"Ah. That...does sound like her. I can certainly see why that would be concerning and confusing, but if you can elaborate on why specifically you find it so, I might be better able to provide some answers. - If your concern is that this'll interfere with you getting turned or us protecting you from Alexandra, you don't have to worry about that."

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"It turns out that when I live with people for three months I start caring at all about their well being, independently of other concerns. Are you imagining that I wander around in a cloud of complete self interest."

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"It seemed like a reasonable thing to have on your mind. It wasn't my intention to imply it was the only thing and I apologize for it coming off that way."

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“Do you want to deliver food to her, or should I.”

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"...I definitely don't think you should.  It might be better for me to just go check on her first, too."

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“As you like.”

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She goes off to knock on Ari's door.

 

She returns a few minutes later and holds out her phone for Jaime to look at.  Visible on the screen is:

Hey. Can I come in?

 i'm good
but thanks

Do you want me to bring you dinner? It smells really good

i did the thing where i burned some magic on not needing to eat for a while
again
sorry

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“I feel like I’ve miscalibrated, either on how emotionally delicate she is or on how much she values my good opinion. I’m not sure what to do about that.”

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"I think she probably values your good opinion a fair bit, but she might just be that sensitive to anyone she doesn't actively dislike.  She gets annoyed rather than upset when my aunt criticizes her, but in every other case I can think of, she's had - the same type of reaction if not usually on the same scale.  I'm not sure there are many people who can take being called appalling to their face gracefully, although I may be wrong about that.  And," she looks down at a wall of text on her phone to check a detail, "she mostly doesn't view herself as...capable, I think, of being a good person, even though she believes very strongly that it's important to be one, so it's upsetting to have such a strong indicator that she's failing.

"She is," scroll scroll scroll "very confused that you 'don't appear to hate' her, and she mostly deals with situations she's not confident in by, er, not dealing with them; the fact that she disappeared herself is possibly less about her distress and more about that.  - And it wouldn't surprise me if she'd be handling this a lot better if this had somehow happened in isolation, rather than because of and soon after the - encounter - with Alexandra, which she found very alarming."

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“I could tell.

I’m going to go monologue at her and see if that helps, enjoy the bruschetta.”

 

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"....All right.  Thank you."

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“You’re welcome.”

She walks over to Ari’s bedroom. She knocks, three times, on the door.

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No response.

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How shocking. 

Jaime sighs, quietly, and decides to display an emotional range.

”I’m not upset with you, and I don’t hate you! You’re adorable! I don’t gauge my dislike for people based on their morality, there’s a sense in which I’m still in love with Alexandra! You aren’t very competent but people’s fundamental value and likability exist independently of their competence! I thought that the specific proposal you made was appalling, I actually think you’re pretty neat in general! If I disliked you I would tell you and I wouldn’t make you food, you’ve observed my general bluntness for three months! You’re much more personally charming than Hana and I like you more, she always seems really insincere! Open the fucking door so I can give you a hug!”

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