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Dinah Lance blondecanary
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Room 312, Saturday night
Post-luau, Dinah was playing with Camille in her room, music on and thinking of everything that had happened over the last two weeks, including vampires, demons, boys-who-were-girls, and presents and the party and everyone else there.

Loooots to think about.

[for one blonde witch]

"Yes." Dinah closed her eyes, but managed to brush her hair out of her face. "Before you found me, I went there. Me. Not Other-me." She gritted her teeth. "I wasn't sure... I was so damn hungry, Karla." She opened her eyes, hoping Karla wouldn't think less of her. "And I was curious, I guess. And scared of everything around me, and... I wasn't sure I could kill a deer, and I was scared I'd hurt someone, and-- I don't know. Maybe I wanted something positive, or what seemed like positive, out of that whole nightmare. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know."

And it scared her that she didn't know, not really. Or that she did know, and had wanted it, but it wasn't like she'd thought it would be at all, but she wouldn't have wanted it if she hadn't been starving, and like Jack said, it sucked to feel like something else was in control....

"Shh, Dinah, shh," Karla soothed, wrapping an arm around Dinah and petting her hair. "You were terrified, starving, and trapped in a body that was as much an alien as it was familiar. You were fighting instincts you didn't fully understand and so you went somewhere you could feed under controlled circumstances."

She bit her lip. "When you were with other vampires, you had to lie and pretend. When you were with me, you have to be extra-careful, on your guard, so you wouldn't hurt me. There, in that place, you could be Dinah, but there must have been safeguards involved so even real vampires couldn't harm the...donors? A place where you could just...do stuff, feel stuff...without having to constantly worry?"

Dinah nodded hard, tears pricking at her eyes, and leaned into Karla. She hadn't even thought of it that way, but that had been part of it. Someone else making sure. "Guards. The owner of the shop." She swallowed, trying not to cry. "S-- the guy. He was a fighter, too, I told him, he figured it out..." And that was embarrassing too, God, so much. "He knew right away I wasn't her."

"Yeah. You had all that sanity going on," Karla muttered. "Bet it wasn't obvious at all."

Karla could only go so long without making a smart-ass comment, even for Dinah.

"He didn't give away your secret, did he?"

Dinah gave a watery giggle at that, and swiped at her eyes. "She was really, really... yeah. God, I'm glad I'm not her. And no." She turned red again, embarrassed again but for a different reason. "No, he didn't. He felt sorry for me. He hugged me." Just kill her, this part just hurt to remember, in complicated, achey ways. "I almost chickened out, but he was so nice about it. He deserved so much better than that," she said suddenly, fierce. "It wasn't even the stuff they gave him, or wanting to push himself, he just wanted to feel something..." And damnit, now she was really crying.

"You will never be her," Karla insisted fiercely, wrapping her arms around Dinah and sending every soothing emotion at her that she possibly could. She wasn't sure if Dinah could feel it through the shield, but she was going to do it anyway. "Not unless there's a demon walking around in your skin. Your memories and powers do not Dinah Lance make."

"So, let me make sure I understand. This male went to...the flower shop?...voluntarily to be bitten," Karla confirmed. "He liked the thrill, that enjoyable fear you have when you know you're still safe. He'd tangled with other-you before and had had a good time? Liked the fear? And you, normal-you, couldn't make him feel that way, because you weren't dangerous in the same way she was." She rocked Dinah back and forth while she worked that through. "And now you feel guilty for being unable to give him what he wanted? Or rejected because what he wanted wasn't something you were able to give?" Both? Neither?

Maybe a little got through, or maybe Dinah just needed the hug; either way, it helped her calm down after a minute's worth of crying, enough to breathe again, and wipe off her face, still leaning against Karla as Camille patted at her leg, meowing in distress. Dinah picked the cat up and cuddled her, her voice hoarse.

"Rejected," she admitted softly. "And maybe just a little guilty. And so sad for him, God, Karla, that place, it messed people up so much. He went back to the flower shop three nights in a row, this huge risk where he could get killed, where he ended up feeling like, like someone's pet, because everything else was all the same..." Dinah shook her head, hating to remember what she'd felt when she'd bitten Sam. "And it was gross and it was scary, and we both felt sick about it when it was me, and ..." Dinah buried her face in the fur at the nape of Camille's neck, gulping for breath. "And it was still a little bit hot, a little bit sexy, and I don't know if I wanted it to feel better or worse."

"You know," Karla said, still rocking, "I can completely understand both the hot and sexy and the gross and scary." A fragment of a dream--Ben biting her neck while she moaned and begged for more--intruded for a moment before she resolutely pushed it away. "And even the being unsure whether it would have been better for you if the experience had been better or worse."

"We have one Dinah, lost, unsure, alone, and frightened. And hungry. We have one unnamed male, not a complete stranger, but not a friend either, one your psychic scent suggests was attractive. Both of you are looking for something--a meal, the ability to feel, even just for a moment, the smallest instant of connection. I can understand that male, I think. I think that was why Ender and Leto had such a hold on other-me. Even the fear of their stalking was compounded by the knowledge that she was desired and the excitement of actually feeling. If she and--I understand."

"Yeah?" Dinah sighed, and pulled back a little to smile, releasing her hold on Camille, who draped herself over Dinah's lap in response. Dinah put her head down on Karla's shoulder and closed her eyes. "He was attractive," she muttered. "And I couldn't stand anyone telling me it was wrong, so thanks for not doing that." She was quiet a moment, then softly said, "Other-me didn't kill him because she liked feeling what he felt. She couldn't hear or feel other vampires. They were just-- dead inside. Leto especially." She shuddered. "And I hate that she was more confident, and more fearless, and more sexy to him, and that I envy that, and she killed Priestly and how can I want to be anything like that? And I didn't want to hurt that guy, even though it was what he wanted. I just, I wanted ..." She shook her head. "Connection," she whispered. "Like you said. I'm so glad they didn't talk the other Karla into giving in. So, so glad."

Edited at 2009-08-16 07:12 am (UTC)

"I wouldn't tell you that it was wrong. It wasn't," Karla said, resting her cheek on Dinah's head. "Regardless of circumstances, he was there because he wanted to be and that is important. You didn't trick him or manipulate him into going; the decision was his. Immorality or wrongness comes not in the act, but in denying the right of consent to another."

Consent was a big thing in Kaeleer.

There was a moment or two of quiet while Karla collected her thoughts again. This was a big topic and she knew her propensity for just talking could do Dinah more harm than good. "And while you want to share some characteristics with other-you, you don't want to be like her. You want to be fearless and sexy and confident, and, hell's fire, I'd like to be those, too." The wanting to be sexy thing, at least, was new. "But you wouldn't use your sexiness or fearlessness or confidence the same way she did. You wouldn't explore pain and fear for pleasure. So, you can want to share some common, positive traits, but not want to be like the her that killed Priestly. It's not just the tools you have that are important, it's what you build with them."

Dinah gave a small, rueful laugh, and closed her eyes, emotionally exhausted. "And how dumb is it, that I have to hear someone else say that when it should be obvious?" She sighed, tilting her head further onto Karla's shoulder, and just petting Camille for the moment. Telling Tony had been about comfort and reassurance, knowing someone would love her no matter what she'd done. Telling Karla meant dealing with all this, and as glad as she was to be doing that, it was wiping her out.

Carefully, she unlatched the bracelet, and put it aside, then curled closer to Karla. "Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not good at this."

"Just as dumb as I am, when I need you to remind me that being here doesn't make me a coward or a bad Queen," Karla said, wrapping her arm a little more tightly around Dinah and shifting a bit, soDinah wouldn't be resting on anything particularly bony.

When the bracelet was set aside, Dinah likely felt a warm rush of pleasure, pride, and genuine happiness from Karla. "Thank you, Dinah," she said, trying not to smile too broadly. "I can't tell you how much that means to me."

"People are strange," Dinah muttered as they shifted together, one arm around Karla. "Or pain is, or emotions, I don't know." She thought of Raven and sighed a little sadly. "There should be better ways to learn to deal with all this." She thought of Sam again, and felt something in her chest hurt. "I hope... I hope that guy is okay. I hope he got through that last fight, and is doing something more than just surviving now."

She smiled with her eyes shut as Karla's emotions came though, and sent back, You're welcome. It's the truth. I know I could tell this to Barbara or Helena, and they'd love me and try to help, but I needed to understand it first. They both want to protect me so much. I needed a little distance first.

*I understand,* Karla sent, just a bit of wistfulness echoing down the link. *Their first instinct may be to shield you from the pain. But that only works for awhile. The pain must be confronted and worked through before it can truly leave. You're very brave to have chosen to face it directly. So many don't.*

Karla wasn't being patronizing. In fact, her psychic thread was tinged with the world-weary sorrow of one who had seen too many people turn to other methods of coping.

"I hope this male did, too," she said aloud. "I hope they all did. But, his taste in sexual activities may not change, even as he finds the connection he seeks," she cautioned. "I don't know how your world views these kinds of relationships, but in Kaeleer, we don't see them as unnatural. Unusual, perhaps, but nothing shocking."

Dinah sent back, I wonder if I'm kidding myself, if I'm not dealing, but this feels right. I don't want to be crying about it forever, or make more of it than it was. But it does hurt, and it was confusing, and I just... I can deal, if I don't have to do it in public. Just with a couple friends. She sighed. Helena will get so angry, too. I can't tell her this until I'm mostly okay. She doesn't think, sometimes. She's no Warlord Prince, but she's got her own set of instincts. An image of Helena, furious as hell and near-to-strangling Clayface flitted through mind. I don't need her blaming anyone here for this mess.

More meditatively, Dinah said, "Well, it depends. Some people are pretty harsh about it. They'd call it perverted, or crazy, or evil. Others would just say it's okay if there's consent." She straightened, and reached for her wine, taking a couple gulps, wishing for water, too. "I don't know. I'd hope that he'd find something less deadly to play with. God." She contemplated that. "He could've gotten in so much trouble, from either side, I know that much." She looked down again, shaking her head. "He has those two lovers here. And that shocked me, when I met him. This-him. Not Other-him. But he was just... nice. Kind about me being intimidated by some of the alumni." Dinah snorted. "One woman was fighting Leto in that Weirding Way, and actually doing well. The people who graduate from here are hard-core." Her voice softened again. "I liked him. But I knew he was out of my league. So I didn't really...." She shook her head.

Edited at 2009-08-17 09:17 pm (UTC)

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