393: Snap Shots

on June 26, 2009 in Book 14

In Which Amaranth Gives It To Sooni

While I was snuggling up with Amaranth, Ian headed for the door.

“You know, this thing is sticking worse all the time,” he said, fighting with the knob. “You really should have someone come up and fix it before it breaks.”

“No, it’s just locked… you just have to push it in and jiggle a little,” I said.

“I unlocked it,” he said.

“No, you didn’t. It’s the lock that sticks,” I said. “If it’s not opening, that means it didn’t unlock, so push it in and twist.”

“I did!” he said, but obviously he knew he hadn’t and he listened to me or else it was a sheer coincidence that he got the door open a second later. “There it… aaaaah!”

His own scream was quickly overwhelmed by another louder and much higher pitched one, one I instantly recognized even though I was just out of the line of sight of the door.

“What’s going on, Sooni?” I said, rushing forward. “And why are you screaming?”

She was dressed like her favorite animated heroine, Science Princess… at least from the neck down. She was wearing the miniskirted labcoat that was Science Princess’s uniform in her powered up state. She had full length leggings and gloves that replicated Science Princess’s tabby fur, and even had a kind of sleeve thing over her fox tail to make it look more like a cat. She must have known that no mask would really make her slightly vulpine face and fox ears look like a cat, so she just had her miles of hair piled up on top of her head like a helmet.

I was a little surprised that she hadn’t at least replicated the goggle-mask thing that Science Princess wore, but maybe she just hadn’t put that on yet.

She was holding a big cube-shaped box with a pair of handles on the sides, that I assumed was supposed to be some kind of science thing… at least until she flipped it around and I saw it had a crystal prism jammed in a hole on one side. It seemed Sooni had gotten ahold of a clunker of a camera from somewhere. It looked like it was at least sixty years old… I was surprised she didn’t have something newer. But, then, if she was short on funds, then maybe it was a case of beggars and choosers.

“I screamed because he screamed at me!” she said, jabbing a finger at Ian. “I only was coming to take your picture, not have your naked boyfriend attack me!”

“He’s not naked, and he didn’t attack you!” I said. “And what do you want to take my picture for?”

“For the weavesite, if you ever make it!” she said. “Turn sideways, and pull the cape around you. Nobody wants to see your flabby tummy.”

“Uh, yeah, no,” I said, sucking in my gut a little bit. “I am not getting my picture taken like this.”

“Mack… she did help fix up your costume,” Amaranth said. “And, anyway, I think it’s the costume she wants a picture of. Am I right, Sooni?”

“What? Yes, of course,” Sooni snapped. “Did I not just say that? I must have a picture for the weavesite so people can see how good my fur is.”

“It is very good,” Amaranth said. “It almost fooled me.”

“Of course it’s good, I just said that!” Sooni said, stomping her foot. I had to amend my previous assessment: she was dressed as Science Princess from the neck down to the ankles. Below that, she was still the same stompy old Sooni, with the hideous wooden platforms that her mother had picked out for her. “Stop being so stupid and make your lesbian girlfriend pose right!”

“Sooni. Look at me,” Amaranth said, giving her a stern voice I’d only ever heard her use on me. I felt a little bit jealous, especially when she tilted her head forward and rolled her eyes up to give her an over-the-glasses glare. “My Mack is not being completely reasonable, but this isn’t the way to get what you want. I want you to…”

“Don’t talk to me like that, you fat naked tree cow!” Sooni shrieked, stomping up a storm. “You are not my mother! My mother is a lady! She possesses quiet dignity and refined grace!”

“Does she have any extra?” Ian whispered.

Amaranth stood unmoved by this display. She didn’t flinch, or move her head.

“Mack,” she said. “Take off the cape and give it to Sooni.”

“What?” the two of us said at the same time.

“You’re not wearing it,” Amaranth said. “Not like that. Sooni, you can take your pictures of it and then undo your alterations and give it back to Ian. If that’s not something you can do right away, just hold onto it and return it at your convenience. The tiara, too, baby.”

“But… but… I did it for her,” Sooni said. “Because she’s my friend! It matches her underwear! It won’t look right on anybody else!”

“Mack, apologize to Sooni,” Amaranth said.

What?” I said, and this time, Ian joined me.

“Don’t make me say it again. Sooni was nice to help fill out your costume. You were inconsiderate when she wanted to take a picture. Apologize, missy.”

“I’m… I’m sorry, Sooni,” I said.

“That’s a little better,” Sooni sniffed.

“Now you apologize to me,” Amaranth said. “I’m not a ‘tree cow’, and I’m not fat, and I am not stupid.”

Sooni sighed dramatically, but she bowed slightly at the waist and said, “I am sorry, Miss… Nymph.”

“Thank you,” Amaranth said, relaxing her pose. “I’m sorry I tried to act like your mother.”

“Hey, what about me?” I asked. “Aren’t I going to get an apology?”

“Nobody did anything to you, sweetie,” Amaranth said. She put her hands on my shoulder and stepped me back a bit, then turned me a quarter to the side. “Is this something like you had in mind, Sooni?”

“Yes,” she said. “Only she needs to take the cape and hold it across her, so it’s the focus.”

“I don’t want my picture on a weavesite,” I said.

“You can blank it out,” Amaranth said, molding me into the desired position. “And even if it doesn’t go up anywhere, it’ll be nice to have. Hold that!” she said, and she stepped out of the shot.

Thank you,” Sooni said, taking the picture.

“Fine. Can we go now?” I asked.

“Just a second, baby,” Amaranth said. “Sooni, none of us have any cameras… since you have one, would you mind taking pictures of us in our costumes?”

“Not at all!” Sooni said happily.

“Okay, let’s get one all together, one with our two fierce warriors, and one with me and my toy,” Amaranth said.

When Ian and I came together for our picture, he whispered, “I do have a camera, actually.”

“Did you bring it?” I asked.

“No.”

“That was fun!” Sooni said when we were finished. “I can’t wait to extract them!”

“Just remember to get us copies,” Amaranth said. “Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome!” Sooni said, and she skipped back across the hall.

“You see, Mack?” Amaranth said. “That worked out pretty well, once we gave Sooni a chance.”

“Once we got past the screaming and stomping and fit-throwing,” I said.

“That only happened because you wouldn’t give her a fair hearing when she asked for a picture,” Amaranth said.

“Yeah, well, if she’d come to me and said, ‘how about I help you make a better Veil costume and you let me take a picture and put it on my weavesite’, then I could have told her hell no,” I said. “I can’t be held responsible for deals she imagines we make.”

“But it’s such a little thing that she wanted, and it makes her so happy,” Amaranth said. “And part of that happiness is the fact that she did something for her friend. Did you miss that?”

“Hold on,” Ian said. “Did you miss the part where she wanted the picture for her weavesite and Mackenzie doesn’t want that? That’s not a little thing. That’s like, personal integrity or autonomy or something like that.”

“Well… yeah,” Amaranth admitted. “But that’s only one part of it. And anyway, she can’t put together a weavesite on her own. Ultimately, Mack’s going to be the one who controls what happens to that picture.”

“I will be if I give in and make her weavesite for her,” I said. “I hadn’t actually committed to that yet.”

“Oh,” Amaranth said. “Um… okay. Well, maybe I was trying to be clever there and I missed the mark a little bit. But, still… at least we’ll have pictures now.”

“I guess,” I said. “Let’s just get going before anything else happens.”

My coat didn’t exactly sit right over the cape, or vice versa so I ended up carrying it. The boots really were awesome at keeping cold air from seeping in around my ankles. The campus was an amazing sight… I started to feel like maybe I didn’t need an all-concealing mask to walk freely and not be remarked on… there were fairy princesses and dragons and a wizard in purple robes with a wand that trailed stars when he moved it. There were scientists and mechanics. There was a girl who looked like she was an elf under heavy glamour, with a silvery mane, hooves, and a unicorn horn. There were zombies and ghouls and revenants, and even a few old school misconceptions of demons.

“The G&D students must be making a killing tonight,” I said. “I hope they can get some kind of class credit for it all.”

“Speaking of… where’d the… bug-fairy-thing… person… find the energy to do so many full-body glamours?” Ian asked.

“She’s a sylph,” I said.

“Sylphs have pretty high energy reserves,” Amaranth said. “And they can replenish them fairly quickly.”

“Also, glamour doesn’t take as much as an actual alteration,” I said.

“I just think it’s wonderful that she’s doing something like that,” Amaranth said. “Using her talents, making some money for herself… doing something that’s hers and not Puddy’s.”

“I can’t believe she’d do it if Puddy’s against it,” I said.

“Well, you know, she’s been hanging out with Trina more,” Amaranth said. “And whatever you think of Trina, I think it’s been good for both her and Puddy for them to have separate lives. I don’t want to defend anything Puddy’s done, but… this is probably her first time away from home and her parents’ supervision. There’s a lot of new stuff to deal with, even without getting into relationship stuff.”

“It’s not Puddy’s first time away from home,” I said. “She told me she went to summer camp, and I got the impression that’s when her whole ‘Girls Gone Primal’ lesbian thing started up, so it’s not like this is a huge experiment.”

“Well, it could still very easily be her first serious relationship,” Amaranth said. “I mean, does it seem to you like she has any idea how those work?”

“No,” I admitted. “I guess it doesn’t.”

“Well, that’s what I’m talking about,” Amaranth said. “They hooked up the very first day, and then they were joined at the hip… Mariel latched onto Puddy like she was a lifesaver, and Puddy… well, I’m sure she has her good points, but she’s obviously relished the power this gives her. I don’t think their relationship is hopeless, necessarily, but I think it can only be a good thing that they’ve got some distance and the perspective that brings. It’s got to be healthier, in the long run.”

Ian cleared his throat.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

“Seriously, what?”

“Just… uh… nice night for dramatic irony, huh?” he said.

Even though he was being kind of a dick, I had to snerk at that a little.

“You don’t know the half of it,” I said, shaking my head.

“Yeah, that’s generally the idea,” he said.


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14 Responses to “393: Snap Shots”

  1. Arkeus says:

    I can’t wait for Mack to realize how much worse than Puddy Amaranth is. If she does.

    Current score: 2
    • Konso says:

      Ohhhh, I get it. You’re a troll. Jebus, I can’t believe I fell for that for so long. I’ll just take your statements as idiotic babble from now on…. simple fix πŸ˜€

      Current score: 24
      • MentalBlank says:

        Thanks Konso. All the Amy hate gets to me too. She’s not exactly experienced in this role in a permanent capacity. Why can’t people accept that she’s learning too?

        Current score: 9
        • Athena says:

          It’s not just Amy hate, in this instance. Arkeus never has anything good to say about anything in this story. That’s why Konso is getting so many hearts πŸ˜›

          Current score: 2
        • randOne says:

          If Amy isn’t capable of handling the responsibilities she accepted for Mackenzie, she shouldn’t have accepted them in the first place. If she’s too inexperienced to do a good job, the fault still lies with her, because she didn’t have to take the job. The difference between malicious intent and consistent thoughtlessness doesn’t matter too much when it comes to hurting other people.

          Perhaps more important than my views on fault, Amy *doesn’t* seem to be learning. Maybe it happens later in the story, maybe I missed some slow progression over the last 400 chapters, but she seems to still default to the exact same “of course I’m right” attitude with everyone, up to and including her mother goddess.

          Current score: 1
    • bleph says:

      I wouldn’t say “worse”, but rather – more dangerous. She is well-intentioned, which combined with her persona and nature make her deadly to someone as vulnerable as Mack.

      Current score: 2
  2. Arakano says:

    I must say, I have always hated Amaranth’ behaviour in this chapter. What kind of dominant is more protective of their own feelings than of those of their submissive? Sooni insults Mack (and in a way that affects her already problematic body image), AND walks all over her, and Amaranth only speaks up against Sooni’s insults against herself, even denying Mack an apology by Sooni, much less letting her decide about that picture-taking.

    Always leaves me fuming with anger.

    Current score: 10
    • BlackWizard says:

      β€œBut it’s such a little thing that she wanted, and it makes her so happy,” Amaranth said.”

      It seems like it’s ALWAYS ‘such a little thing’ with Amaranth. She’ll let’s everyone walk all over Mackenzie and she’s always apologetic for the person with boot prints all over Mackenzie. This is getting more than a little tiring that Amaranth let’s everyone do what they want to Mack and rarely lets her stand up for herself at all. I’m not saying that Amaranth is a total bad influence for her, but it’s definitely a 3 steps forward 2 steps back kind of relationship TO Mack, not necessarily FOR Mack.

      Current score: 5
  3. Anthony says:

    And Ian continues to be awesome. He’s really come a long way from “I hear Harlowe girls like it in the ass…”

    Current score: 7
    • MadnessMaiden says:

      I’ll agree to that. (But I still hate him. XD)

      Current score: 2
    • Maesenko says:

      I really do think Ian is generally better for Mack than Amaranth, and this chapter provided yet another glowing example of Ian DEFENDING Mackenzie when Amaranth BLAMES Mackenzie.

      Plus, Ian “called [Amaranth] out on her BS” again, as it were. Love it.

      Current score: 4
  4. JerK says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what Ian offers Mack other than occasionally fulfilling her urge to be beaten. They certainly don’t get along personality wise in any meaningful way.

    Current score: 2
    • Firebat says:

      IMO Ian gives Mack the chance to actually learn to defend herself and realize what she’s actually thinking without worrying about disappointing Aramanth and her rediculous standards/levels of acceptance.

      Current score: 5
  5. Jechtael says:

    Looks like Ian took Dramatic Irony II (Specialty: Metacomments).

    I’m just glad Amaranth finally admitted she was wrong with someone politely admonishing her instead of verbally beating it into her or her having to see the results of her error lying sprawled across the floor.

    Current score: 5