374: Friendly Conversation

on April 21, 2009 in Book 14

In Which Dee Reveals Herself During A Meditation Session

I expected Dee to try to make the case for contacting my grandmother again during our meditation session, but she was all business… though she made it fairly clear that her mind was still on what I’d told her.

“You haven’t been practicing your breathing,” she chided after leading me through the exercise.

“It’s only been one day… my life isn’t exactly full of opportunities to stop and breathe, just lately,” I said defensively. I added, “I guess I could try it in my next bubble bath… I mean, I try to relax when I’m in there, anyway.”

It would also give me a great excuse not to talk to Feejee: Sorry, I’d love to tiptoe around your favorite subject some more but I can’t talk now, I’m working on my breathing.

“You might try it before you go to bed,” she said. “The calming affect on your body and mind can help you rest easily… and will also make your sleeping mind sharper and more aware when you enter a dream state.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” I said.

“I dreamed I was flying last night,” Two said. It was kind of a random interjection, coming from her, but we had been talking about dreams. She sounded proud and happy about it… I figured she’d seen a chance to mention it and had jumped on it.

“Where’d you go?” I asked her, wanting to draw her out a little bit more. Why not? Having happy dreams was a huge step up for her.

“Go?” she repeated, her smile faltering a little.

“Um, what I meant was, did you go flying somewhere in particular?” I asked. “It’s okay if you didn’t.”

“No, I didn’t,” she said, frowning and scrunching her face up. “I will try that next time.”

“My dreamscape is often a largely undifferentiated patch of darkness,” Dee said. “Some dreams are more abstract than others. There truly is no wrong way to dream.”

“Are you sure?” Two asked.

“I am hardly an authority on the subject, but then, I do not know who would be,” Dee said. “I think it comes to that: there is nobody qualified to judge the rightness or wrongness of a dream.”

“Maybe,” Two said. Her eyes were still kind of pulling to the side, like she was still weighing things out.

“If it made you feel good, it was a good dream,” I said.

“Feeling good isn’t the same thing as being good,” Two said with all the force of conviction she could put behind a rule.

“Who told you that?” I asked, doubting she’d come up with that one on her own… but I hadn’t told it to her, and I was pretty sure Amaranth wouldn’t have, either.

“Miss Ruth,” Two said. “Though I didn’t think any of the things she was talking about felt good, so it is possible that she was mistaken.”

“I had to learn to control my dreams at an early age,” Dee said. “Being a natural telepath, it was possible for them to stray beyond the boundaries of my skull if I wasn’t careful.”

“How… how do you control your dreams?” Two asked.

“Well, there are several techniques,” Dee said. “The first step is always to realize that you are dreaming.”

“Okay,” Two said.

“As my pretty Dehsah explained to me, for some people that alone… knowing that one is in a dream… is enough to give them total control,” Dee said. “She told me that my grandmother, Degra Daura, had been frustrated with her younger sister’s slow progress in getting her sleeping mind under control, as she had possessed a natural knack for it. She did not understand how anyone could suffer a bad dream when she found them so easily banished.”

“Wait, do you mean that if I practiced enough, I could get rid of bad dreams forever?” I asked.

“It is within the realm of possibility, as my grandmother was said to have accomplished it,” Dee said. “But I have not, and neither had any of the other elves Dehsah reared.”

“Oh,” I said.

“But it’s very likely you could reduce the frequency and intensity,” Dee said. “Are you frequently troubled by bad dreams?”

“I don’t know if I’d say frequently,” I said. “I used to have weird dreams that I guess were kind of disturbing and uncomfortable at the time, but they were really… well, I guess almost sexual. But when I do have bad dreams, they tend to be doozies… people chasing me. Stuff like that.” I shivered, thinking of Mercy and her half-demons chasing me. “I don’t think it matters how rare or common they are… they’re horrible when they happen and I’d rather not have them.”

“I just want to get rid of that ridiculous owl turtle thing,” Two said.

Dee and I looked at her, but she offered no further explanation.

“When I was younger,” Dee said, “and I mean, quite a bit younger… very young… I used to have a dream where I was called into the chapel and the family council was in session, and they explained to me that there had been a mistake when I was born and that…” She ducked her head, blushing. “I am sorry,” she said. “I do not believe I should go on.”

“Dee… you know what Amaranth said about us being your friends?” I said. “If you can’t tell us this, who can you tell?”

“In Durakesh, I had my Dehsah… and anything that Dehsah would not understand I could share with Darek or with… someone else,” Dee said. “But I told Dehsah almost everything, including this dream. That was the first time I was… well, I suppose ‘spanked’ would be the appropriate word, though the Pax term has picked up some differing connotations for me.”

“You don’t have to tell us,” Two said. “Dreams can be private. My friend Hazel told me that she doesn’t like to tell anybody her dreams anymore.”

“Thank you,” Dee said. “But I suppose… a thing can be private and still be shared among friends? ”

Two looked at me for clarification.

“Yeah,” I said, nodding. “We won’t tell anybody, Dee.”

“Well, then… excuse me, would either of you be uncomfortable if I disrobed?” she said.

“I wouldn’t,” Two said.

“Um, what?” I said.

Dee had closed her eyes.

“I would feel more comfortable discussing this if I wasn’t wearing my robes,” she said.

“If you mean you’re doing this under protest…” I said, not sure what else would require nudity.

“Nothing like that,” she said. “But if you are not comfortable with my body then I will keep it to myself.”

“No, it’s okay,” I said. I wanted to hear what her dream had been that had been so bad, and I didn’t want her to think I was uncomfortable with nudity. I was Amaranth’s toy, after all, and it wasn’t like I’d never seen Dee stripped down before. “Please. I’d like to hear what you have to say, and if you have to… I mean, I can put up with a naked woman. It’s not exactly a hardship. Not that…”

“Mack likes breasts,” Two said.

“Yes,” Dee said, her lower lip twitching upward. “I am fond of them myself. Very well.”

She carefully removed her robe, folded it, then placed it aside. For somebody who normally covered her skin, she was very at ease with herself. I knew she objected to the idea that her body was something obscene or shameful, and so while I didn’t exactly glue my eyeballs to her breasts I didn’t look away. While Dee had a very sculpted look, she was subtly softer than what I associated with elves… meaning the surface ones… that wasn’t so subtle about the area of her chest. Her breasts were modest compared to Amaranth’s or Feejee’s, but they were very shapely and they seemed to be impossibly symmetrical, even in how they hung unsupported.

Her legs were long, longer in proportion than Amaranth’s or even Steff’s. She was delicate looking, without a bulky gown or robe. Had she really thought she could out-lift some ox of a guy?

She sat there, her eyes still closed, breathing quietly and gathering herself in the dark room for several seconds before she spoke.

“I dreamed that they took me before the family council and they explained to me that there had been a mistake, when I was born,” she said. I couldn’t help thinking about how much this sounded like part of Steff’s dream that she’d told me about, back when I’d finally tripped over her dick for the first time. “That Daella Degra was not my mother and her wife Durilla Degra wasn’t my… stepmother, that Dehsah was my mother.”

She spit out the end of it more quickly than I’d ever heard her speaking, as though she was eager to be rid of the burden of the words, and when she finished she seemed to be braced for a reaction.

I thought it was a little bit creepy that she was dating someone she’d seen as a mother figure, but that was nothing new. It seemed underwhelming for the build-up.

“That got you a spanking?” I asked.

“Dehsah was looking out for my mother and for me,” Dee said. “It would have been quite embarrassing to both of us if I’d shared that dream with anyone else, and likely hurtful to her.”

“I don’t think she could have been a very good mother if you wanted a different one,” Two said, and that’s when it fell into place for me, why Dee was unloading and why she still seemed to be expecting recriminations to come raining down on her head.

Dee came from a culture that put motherhood up on a pedestal, and it seemed like she’d hardly known her own mother growing up. That had to mess with a person.

“I didn’t want a different one, this was a dream,” Dee said, her eyes flying open. There was a raw, child-like fear in them that I didn’t associate with Dee. “Before I learned to control such things.”

“There’s no wrong way to dream,” I said, thinking her own words were probably better than anything I could come up with.

Dee ducked her head.

“I apologize,” she said. “I should not have taken our session off its path by bringing up my juvenile foolishness.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “It wasn’t just you, we just got to talking about dreams.”

As embarrassed as she sounded, I got the feeling that Dee felt better. She’d let out what would probably qualify as a deep, dark secret… or a shallow, bright one or whatever they’d call it… where she was from and her friends hadn’t cared. At the same time… and as much as I thought her relationship with Dehsah sounded weird, knowing this little bit more about her made it feel like she was closer to us.

At least, it did to me… my personal friendship with Dee had really started when I’d needed a toothbrush, and since then… as Amaranth had alluded… a lot of our interactions had revolved around me needing Dee’s help. I didn’t know her that well. I’d tried to be there for her when she needed support, but she wasn’t someone I just talked to. I knew things about her but I wasn’t sure that I knew her. This little glimpse that Dee was revealing to the two of us seemed like it wasn’t just a fact about her childhood, it was a bit of herself she was showing to us.

To put it more briefly, it was like she was bonding with us.

Naked bonding.

If it had been anyone but Dee and Two in the room with me, that might have gone somewhere… and yet it wasn’t all that awkward. They were both so at ease with it that it was hard for me not to be, too. The darkness helped, too. It wasn’t so dark that I couldn’t see every detail of Dee’s body, but the dark was calming.

“I… I would like to learn more about controlling dreams,” Two said. “Please.”

“I suppose that would be a productive use of our time,” Dee said. “As I said, there are different techniques that bear fruit for different people. We will begin with affirmation and visualization, as these can both be done easily by oneself before falling asleep.”

Dee led us through a couple kinds of exercises, which were similar to meditation but more like concentration. I felt a little foolish at the thought of telling myself over and over again that I was going to have a certain type of dream, I was, I was, I was. Dee told me that feeling self-conscious about it was okay, as long as I didn’t let it stop me from following through.

“Your will is yours to command,” Dee said. “You should not feel embarrassed about using it.”

“I have a hard time falling asleep when I’m thinking things,” Two said. “Sleep is what happens when I stop thinking.”

“Well… you may see the intended results by thinking on this and then falling asleep,” Dee said.

“How do I know when I’ve thought about it enough?” Two asked. She sounded unusually insistent and urgent on this point… the way she usually got when she thought someone else was doing something wrong. “How do I know when I’m done?”

“Perhaps you could start with a reasonably brief period of time and then increase it if it proves ineffective?” Dee suggested. “If your dreams are problematic for you, there is… possibly… another option we could explore.”

“What’s that?” Two asked.

“Please understand, I would not suggest this if you were not a dear friend, as it is a fairly intimate act,” Dee said.

“I don’t think I like intimate acts,” Two said.

“I am not referring to sexual intimacy,” Dee said. “But mental and emotional intimacy. When I was learning to control my dreams, I had help from my relatives who were experienced telepaths, who would enter my sleeping mind to aid me directly.”

“I’m not sure you should be messing with her mind, Dee,” I said. “No offense.”

“I’m not offended by that observation,” Dee said. “And I would not be ‘messing with’ anything… merely present and in communication with Two.”

“Have you ever done that before?” I asked. Two’s worst nightmare couldn’t be as bad as a demonic entity, but Dee had bitten off more than she could chew by taking on tasks that were beyond her capabilities… in fact, her description of how she had injured her back fit there.

“I have not,” Dee admitted. “But it seems simple enough. I’ve seen it from the other end. It’s a matter of contacting a sleeping mind instead of a conscious one.”

“But if something goes wrong, it’s not just your mind that’s in danger,” I said. “And even if it was just you, you don’t have anything…”

“I am offering my help to a friend, not trying to prove a point.”

From her tone, I could tell that objecting further would just make her less inclined to listen.

“I think I would like to try that,” Two said. “I don’t think I’m very good at dreaming. I think I could use the help.”

“Perhaps we could try tonight,” Dee said. “As there are no classes tomorrow so it will matter little if I lose part of the night’s sleep.”

“Okay,” Two said.

“Just be careful,” I said to Dee. “You’ve overestimated yourself before.”

“I do not think that’s precisely the case,” Dee said. “I have underestimated opposition. Believe me, I won’t soon forget my latest lesson on that subject. It was very… humbling. I have always held the impression that elves are physically superior to humans, and if there is a difference in strength between males and females I haven’t noticed it.”

“Well, I think there’s less physical difference between elven males and elven females than there are in humans, or most… many… races,” I said. “As for elves… here’s how it was explained to me, at least for the surface kind. Elves are born pretty much at their peak. I mean, yeah, you’re a baby and you have to grow up, but you don’t have to exercise to stay in shape like humans do… elves exercise to train their muscles, not to build them.”

“Is that not simply a different way of saying the same thing?” Dee asked.

“Um, no,” I said. “Me out on the field learning how to handle a quarterstaff, that’s what I mean by training muscles, but the more humans… and most mortal races… exert their muscles, the bigger and stronger they grow. Men more so than women, I think, but we still have to exercise to get stronger. Somebody who sat on the couch all day and never did anything would probably be weaker than an elf, but a human who’s worked on it can easily be stronger than one, and there isn’t really anything elves can do to catch up. Though elves are still faster and more coordinated and all that.”

“I see,” Dee said.

“I don’t know how true that is,” I said. “It’s just what I learned in school.”

“Is there any chance that the seeming disparity in strength between human males and human females is cultural?” Dee asked.

“What do you mean?”

“If human strength is tied to exertion, and less is expected of women in physical areas…”

“Oh,” I said. “I don’t know, that might be part of it, but I really think we’re just built differently.”

“My friend Hazel says that boys are stronger than girls but that doesn’t mean girls have to act all helpless,” Two said. “She said that dwarves are stronger than gnomes but that didn’t stop her from giving Andy a thumping when he put his hands lower than a gentleman ought to.”

If Hazel had resorted to “a thumping” over a little petting, what did that mean for the pregnancy theory? I was inclined to believe that Amaranth knew what she was talking about there, but… well, as much as Hazel had come out of her shell and as much as she seemed to be a bit, uh, saltier than her cousin, she was still a shireling girl. She still wore her plain dress that went to the floor.

She’d said she’d been “intimate” but they’d been “careful”. As Dee had just observed, there was more than one meaning of “intimate” and I couldn’t picture Hazel doing… that.

“My friend Hazel’s cousin Honey said that reminded her of a joke,” Two continued. “Only I didn’t think it was a very good joke. I asked my friend Hazel why it was funny, and she told me that it wasn’t. I don’t think a joke can be a joke if it isn’t funny, though.”

“What was the joke?” I asked. Two was being downright talkative that morning. Her dream about flying must have agreed with her.

“Why do river girls stick their legs in the water?” Two asked.

“I don’t know, why?”

“Because it feels like their feet are being tickled,” Two said, then she laughed a horribly fake laugh. “I don’t get it.”

“Yeah,” I said, shaking my head. “I don’t, either.”

“It is not particularly funny if you do,” Dee said.


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5 Responses to “374: Friendly Conversation”

  1. Natalie Ford says:

    I had not been reading for a while but just thought I’d say that I love how this now loads on my iPhone!

    Current score: 0
  2. Jonathan says:

    Being a Pinky and the Brain fan, I’m going to have to insist that the species name for Hazel’s child be a “Gnarf!’

    Current score: 1
  3. Arakano says:

    Feet as erogenous zones is a lovely idea for gnomes/halflings… 😀 Making their famous foot-hair basically a second set of pubes. Although I wonder whether it is actually considered more scandalous to touch feet than to touch genitals… it seems to be so, to me, from what we get implied or told regarding Hazel and her dwarven boyfriend. But then again, mayhaps touching feet etc. is considered shocking and sexual and thus Hazel would not allow it, while genitals are SO shocking they are not even talked about. That would make Hazel a nice example of the failures of abstinence-only attitudes. See also purity-ring movements with high oral and anal sex rates etc…

    Current score: 3
    • Kanta says:

      After the sleepover, Two was instructed to tell Mackenzie and Amaranth that she did NOT give her friend Hazel a foot rub.

      Current score: 2