Jun 25, 2019 12:02 PM
Jaime discovers a masquerade.
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Well, dammit.  She'd managed not to actually cry up till this point.

Door: opens.

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Jaime hugs her.

One can tell that she doesn’t trifle with hugs - or skin-to-skin contact - very often, but an effort is made.

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The opposing voices in her head yelling 'aaaa being dramatic in order to gain affection is manipulative aaaa' and 'but she told me to, and refusing affection is even more manipulative' balance out to something that involves neither clinging to Jaime for embarrassing amounts of time nor standing there stiffly without hugging back.

Sniff.  "Hana can't really help seeming insincere."

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“God knows I can’t judge anyone else on their social skills.”

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Sporfle.  "I think you're doing pretty okay right now."

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"Good. Don't feel compelled to collapse into a puddle on my account again, making people dissolve isn't as fun as it looks and I prefer not to use exclamation points. Do you want to see a movie, knit decorative scarves, put on a show with frog puppets, I don't know what ordinary people do when this happens."

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"I...really can't make any promises about future en-puddlings, but I'm very very flattered about your use of exclamation points." She wipes her eyes on her sleeve. "Um, I feel like even if normally our tastes in movies have more than zero overlap, they probably don't when I'm limiting the selection to things that'll make me feel better right now? Oh but hey wait - have you ever played Just Dance?"

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“No.”

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"I'm super curious whether I can beat you at it, then, because it just measures how well you can match up with a pre-set thing, as opposed to like, actually being good at dancing."

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“I’m very generally dexterous. Lead the way.”

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"I maybe should've thought of this before you became probably the most graceful person on the planet!" she chirps, walking to the room where the Wii is.

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“That might have been better planned.”

 

Jaime takes about five seconds to adjust to how the game works, and then proceeds to effortlessly outcompete her at it.

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This is about what she expected!  She's not a bad sport about it.

.....But gosh, the choreography is way more repetitive than she remembers, and was this cover of "Toxic" always so terrible?  She checks whether Jaime seems to be enjoying herself.

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Jaime has no visible affect! This doesn’t really imply anything about Jaime’s internal emotional state.

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Yeah, she figured.  She'll just have to ask her with words like some sort of reasonable person.  After the next song, she - nope.  Okay.  She is maybe not capable of being a reasonable person right now; that's fine.  She starts taking off her wrist strap and says with all the sincerety she can muster, "Welp!  That was fun; I feel a lot better.  Thanks for this.  It means a lot."

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“It was an interesting exercise. Do you need any more emotional - most people can’t answer that question, nevermind. I’m going to eat dinner.”

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"Okay, cool."  And then it's back to her room, this time with a substantial decrease in not-crying, it having been replaced by regular, unhyphenated - and, in Ari's opinion, highly superior - not crying.

Hana's still in the kitchen when Jaime returns, worriedly snacking on the bruschetta. "How'd it go?"

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The bruschetta is delicious. The ravioli - having been left in the sauce on low heat - is still warm; Jaime uses a wooden spoon to slosh it onto a plate, hands that plate to Hana, and does the same on a plate of her own. She performs a similar sequence of actions with the strawberry-cucumber salad, and with little bowls, and starts eating.

“She seemed improved. I’m much better than her at Just Dance.”

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"That's good to hear.  ...I feel like I could've guessed the second part."

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“I’m not surprised. Do you have any additional commentary on this situation that I should hear?”

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"If you - on second thought I can't tell whether it'd actually improve things for you to know this.  ...Hmm, but she might bring it up later, and she'll describe it very uncharitably if she does - if you walked away satisfied that she was feeling better she was almost certainly acting happier than she felt.  That's not to say that she doesn't feel better than she did, but her moods are fairly persistent, and she prefers not to - what she sees as burdening people with them.  - I'm not saying you should go back; it probably is best to take her at face value in these situations, just.  If you get an optionally-tearful confession of how she's a fake and a liar in a few days, that's probably why."

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Why are people so ridiculous.

”I’ll keep that in mind.”

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"She may have grown past it.  And without having talked to her in person, I can't say with confidence that she was definitely doing that.  It...wouldn't be the first time, is all."  She picks at her ravioli contemplatively.  Or well, she'd be doing that if it were less delicious; it comes out as an about average amount of gustatory enthusiasm.

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“I’ll deal with it when it bubbles over.”

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She nods and continues eating in silence for a bit.

"Oh, I was going to ask - Ari said that you thought Alexandra would refrain from making herself a permanent fixture in our lives; she also mentioned the possibility of her finding out about magic.  Do you think her willingness to leave us alone will hold up to the knowledge that we have supernatural power?  Assuming that we can't count on remaining enough of an unknown that she'll be indefinitely unwilling to confront us."

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