407: Conditioned Behavior

on August 24, 2009 in Book 14

In Which Amaranth Presents A Well-Laid Plan

Getting roused out of bed by knocking pretty much knocked the dream out of my head for the moment.

“Ugh… just a minute,” Ian said. He pushed himself off of me and started looking for something to put on. Even though he’d just woken up, his dick was as hard as I’d ever seen it.

“It’s me,” Amaranth said from outside.

“Give me a minute, we’re not exactly decent,” Ian said.

“Of course you are,” Amaranth said. “Mack, please come let me in. Ian can stand back from the door if he’s feeling modest, but there’s no one here to see you except for me and I’d very much like the opportunity.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, getting up shuffling towards the door.

My brain was in a fading dream-fog and my legs weren’t quite working right yet. Numbness gave away to pinpricks of pain after a few steps, but it was entirely worth it when I got the door open and saw Amaranth’s big, radiant smile.. .a smile that grew in both size and brightness when she saw me.

“There’s my girl!” she said, putting her arms around me. She actually pulled me out into the hallway with her as she drew me into a kiss, but at the sound of a door opening somewhere, she pushed me inside.

“How’d you know we were here?” I asked, closing the door.

“When I couldn’t find you in Harlowe, I had a feeling you’d turn up here,” she said. “Actually, I had that feeling before I checked Harlowe, but I wanted to see how Steff and Dee were doing. Dee’s arm is back in the socket, so that’s good.”

“How’s Steff?” I asked.

“She’s doing fine, just fine,” Amaranth said. “Dee’s keeping her asleep with her telepathy. She looks incredible, though. I mean, she didn’t look bad before. There are some elven women would have killed for her old bustline… just not the ones Steff would have cared to emulate, unfortunately. Though with her cultural conditioning, she may have some trouble adjusting… I want you to make sure she knows you appreciate her breasts, baby.”

“I’m sure she’ll do her best,” Ian said.

“Hey,” I said. “I’m not actually obsessed with breasts.”

“No? Amaranth is the only girl whose face I ever see you looking at,” Ian said. “Her and Two, and you’re not really looking at Two so much as pointing your face towards her.”

“Not looking at faces isn’t the same thing as seeking out breasts,” I said. “I just… people intimidate me and make me feel uncomfortable. I’m not good at meeting gazes. So when I’m facing someone, I look… elsewhere.”

“Breasts are less scary than faces?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Oh, come off it, baby,” Amaranth said. “All of that may be true, but you do like breasts a lot… you just don’t let yourself dwell on it very often. It’s there in your actions, if not always in your thoughts. You might want to practice talking about other women’s breasts a little… maybe if you develop the vocabulary for describing them and how you feel about them, you’ll be able to be more open? Anyway, it’s not just her breasts that are changing. Her penis is definitely bigger. That’ll probably be a harder adjustment for her, which is why I think we should try to keep the focus on her breasts. At least until we know how well she accepts it… which she might, and I kind of hope she does, because oh my mother, does her penis look nice.”

“That’s definitely in the top five list of least likely sentences ever,” Ian said.

“Well, if you liked penises, I think you’d think it looked nice, too,” Amaranth said. “I’m sure Mack will back me up, when she sees it.”

“Yeah, I’ll take your word for it,” Ian said. “I’d be willing to listen to her practice talking about breasts, but I really don’t need to hear about the other dicks in my girlfriend’s life from her own mouth.”

“So, Steff’s okay?” I asked. “I mean… she’s out of the woods?”

“Seems like it,” Amaranth said. “Physically she’s fine. I’m worried about how she’ll handle it emotionally, but I’m trying to balance that with excitement about her new body, you know?”

“I tried finding you last night to let you know where I’d be going,” I said.

“That’s okay, baby, but you can’t have tried very hard,” she said. “Everyone else had an easy enough time finding me… it seems like there’s either something about a costume party or about Veil itself that makes a lot of people get over their inhibitions and go for what they really want. I feel so bad that I’m not going to be available tonight. I could be doing so many people so much good…”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“It’s done, baby,” Amaranth said. “It can’t be changed now… all we can do is deal with the consequences. Still, I can’t help but wonder about the missed opportunities, not so much for myself but for everybody else. Sexual repression isn’t healthy, and since I’m apparently the only nymph on campus who believes in doing her sacred duty…”

“Um, don’t you think you might be overstating the case a bit?” Ian asked.

“No, I had seven guys and three girls tell me that Barley turned them down,” Amaranth said. “I don’t know how she can stand to do it. I feel guilty when I have to tell somebody I can’t pee on them.”

“Uh… yeah,” Ian said. “I actually meant you were overstating the case about repression. I don’t think anybody’s ever died from not finding a partner who’ll accommodate their weirdest kinks.”

“Oh, really?” Amaranth asked, raising an eyebrow. She put her hands on my shoulders. “I suppose that’s easy for you to say.”

Ian’s cheeks colored a little.

“And on a related subject,” she said, turning me around to face her, “I can’t help noticing your cute little butt is about as unfucked as it can be. Ian’s been straining for your rear since before you gave it up to Steff. I can’t believe you’d turn him down now.”

“Hey, she doesn’t need a reason to tell me no,” Ian said. “She doesn’t owe me sex.”

“Oh, Ian, stop,” Amaranth said. “You’re more turned on by the thought that she does than she is… and since you both are, that’s not a problem.”

“Anyway, she didn’t turn me down,” Ian said. “We just… weren’t adequately prepared.”

“What do you mean? Mack’s done it before,” Amaranth said. “And you can’t tell me you weren’t ready. You wanted to do it when she was getting changed.”

“I mean we didn’t have rings or… stuff,” Ian said.

“It’s not like there’s a pregnancy risk,” Amaranth said. “And you could have improvised something for lube.”

“Um, actually, I guess I did turn him down, a little,” I said. “I’m not really comfortable with experiments in that area. The area of personal lubrication, I mean.”

“Honestly, it’s the lack of protection that bothered me more,” Ian said. “I mean this in the most sincerely respectful way possible… but fucking a bisexual half-demon in the ass without protection seems like a really good way to get a really nasty infection.”

“Oh, Ian… a person’s race and lifestyle don’t have anything to do with whether or not sex with them will generate a disease,” Amaranth said. “Well, except to the extent that the more unprotected sex you have with them, the more chances there will be.” She sighed. “Oh, well. I suppose there wasn’t really anywhere to carry rings on those costumes… I was just hoping you two would get a chance to do it. Well, I mean, you will have more chances, but I meant before… too long.”

“It’s okay, Amaranth, I told him,” I said. “About Mercy and the whole deal with Caron… and about the mermaids, too.”

“You did?” Amaranth said. She looked at Ian. “Oh, well… I suppose you must’ve taken it well enough. I hope you can understand why Mack didn’t tell you these things before…”

“I guess,” Ian said. He looked at me. “I guess you’ve got a right to decide who you tell what, but really, the part that blows my mind is the mermaids… how do you sit on something like that?”

“It seems like any outcry I tried to make would just fall back on me, or at least I’d get swept up in it,” I said.

“Don’t you think people have a right to know?” Ian asked.

“As long as Feejee and Iona aren’t actually doing anything, they have a right to attend school here with as much safety and security as everyone else,” Amaranth said. “I’m afraid that if this got around, they’d be treated like public enemies.”

Hostem humani generis,” I said.

“Oh, baby, have you been studying High Draconic?” Amaranth asked.

“It… kind of came to me in a dream,” I said, and I realized this should have been the first thing I mentioned, to Ian and her. The only excuse I had was that I’d just woken up, and Amaranth could be distracting.

“Draconic phrases come to you in your dreams?” Ian asked.

“This one was brought by my father,” I said. “Apparently it wasn’t a one-time thing, yesterday.”

“What did he say this time?” Amaranth asked.

“Just a lot of stupid mind games,” I said. “Nothing important.”

She tipped her head to give me an over-the-glasses look.

“You’ll let me decide what’s important, missy,” she said. “What did he say?”

I told her what I could remember of the dream, including the setting and props.

“Is it scary that some of the things he says make sense?” Ian said. “I mean, that stuff about carrying around people you hate… that’s kind of like stuff that Coach Callahan tells me about leaving stuff outside the ring.”

“Whatever you’re about to say, missy, think twice about it,” Amaranth said, while I was trying to decide whether I wanted to say that I found it scary that he thought Callahan made sense or that it wasn’t surprising that her advice sounded like a demon’s. “Anyway,” she continued, “if he’s trying to make a good impression on Mack, it’s not surprising that some of the things he says sound reasonable.”

“If he really wanted to get anywhere with me, he wouldn’t give me fatherly advice while chopping up the bodies of my floormates,” I said. “Even if most of them are… um, unpleasant.”

“Violent fantasies aren’t always bad… they don’t automatically lead to violent behavior, and they can be a healthy outlet,” Amaranth said. “But I think you’re right in thinking that you personally shouldn’t indulge in them… you’ve got your own ways of finding release.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“On that subject… I’m sorry I didn’t let you sleep longer, but I wanted to make absolutely sure I knew where you were,” Amaranth said. “Really, the only way we could possibly screw things up today would be to not show up, so it’s my plan to stay with you all day. We’ll skip meals… Caron didn’t specify any hard standards for the required show, but if you get yourself sick to the stomach it could become problematic.”

“Unless she’s into that,” Ian said.

“No, she’s into height disparities and non-consensual scenarios, especially comeuppance stories,” Amaranth said. “The fact that Mack is a member of a tall race, relatively speaking, turns her on. The idea of seeing her getting her bottom beaten by someone even taller turns her on more.”

“And if she got to sell Mackenzie for a bajillion gold pieces, that would turn her on even more,” Ian said. “As comeuppance stories go, it can’t get much better than that.”

“I suppose not,” Amaranth said. “She’ll just have to be satisfied with our spanking scenario. I’ll try to tailor the plot to her interests, though.”

“Wait, there’s a plot now?” I said. “Why do we need a plot?”

“Well, we want to keep her interest,” Amaranth said. “And not just her… I mean, there’s going to be an audience. Don’t you want to do your best in front of them?”

“I think the fact that I’m being spanked by a nymph would hold most people’s interest,” I said.

“Possibly… but I would like to try to do more than that,” Amaranth said. “Anyway, I thought we’d go into town in the early afternoon… that way we have a bigger margin of error for things like transportation problems. We’ll go find the club first thing just so we know we know where it is, and if there’s a front office or whatever we can check in and make sure there are no problems with our invitations. If everything goes okay, then we’ll find a bookstore, or maybe visit the imperial library…”

“Oh, could we do that?” I said. “The library, I mean?”

With the campus library so close at hand, it had never occurred to me to look for one in town, but now that the idea was out there it sounded wonderfully intriguing. Not only would it be cool to see what a library looked like in a town the size of Enwich, but it would be likely to have all kinds of resources on local history.

“Sure, baby,” Amaranth said. “There’s actually a branch that not too far from the club, according to the street map. It might be a better choice than the bookstore, since we won’t have to leave the neighborhood. The only thing is that it does close at seven, so unless the doors at the club open before the party officially starts then we’ll have to hang out at a cafe or something.”

“Can I just say how thrilled I am at the thought of the two of you hanging out alone in downtown Enwich on a Saturday night?” Ian asked.

“Oh, we’ll be fine,” she said.

“Then I guess you won’t mind me being fine with you,” he said.

“You’re a sweetie, Ian, but we don’t have an extra invitation,” she said. “We’ll be off the street by nine… and I think the two of us will be safer before then than you would be hanging out by yourself after that. I don’t even know what would be open after nine, besides bars and nightclubs, and you’re not old enough to get in if they card you.”

“Oh, shit!” I said, thinking I’d spotted another trap. “Do we have to be twenty-one to get into the Tomb of Horrors?”

Amaranth smiled placidly.

“I checked, sweetie,” she said. “We don’t. It’s eighteen-or-adult-equivalent. We’ll get runes drawn on our hands when we go in so they know not to serve us.”

“But won’t you be back on the street sometime after midnight?” Ian asked.

“Oh, shit… I hadn’t even thought of that, either,” I said. “How are we getting back? The school coaches will have stopped running long before we’re done.”

“Baby, please relax… just because you didn’t think about it doesn’t mean I haven’t,” Amaranth said. “First of all, the school is running an hourly coach from ten to two tonight, because of Veil. We can hire a private carriage to pick us up from the club… we do get to collect tips, remember? But I was actually thinking of taking an inn room for the night.”

“That seems like a waste of money,” I said. “How many tips do you expect to get?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Amaranth said. “I think we should make out pretty well, though… anyway, it’ll already be late and as much as I’d love to handle the Veil crowd on campus, I think by one in the morning most people will have found a partner or gone to bed. Besides, I think we might need some time to ourselves after this.”

“Okay, so here’s the plan,” Ian said. “We go find this Tomb place, then we go get checked into an inn room, then we go… hang out at the library for a few hours… then find a cafe until it’s time for me to escort you to the club.”

“Ian, you’re sweet, but I’ve got it taken care of,” Amaranth said.

“Yeah, don’t subject yourself to the horrors of a library just for our sake,” I said.

“Look, you guys decided to let me know about this,” Ian said. “And why? So I can sit around on campus waiting and wondering if something went wrong? I can’t go in with you, I can’t help you once you’re inside or up on the stage or whatever, but if you let me see you in at the door and then meet you when you’re done, at least I’ll know that things are going okay… and if they’re not, if something comes up beforehand or whatever, I might have a chance to help.”

“He’s got a point,” I said to Amaranth. “Unless you really want it to just be the two of us in the inn room…”

“Hey, I’m fine sleeping on a couch or getting a separate room or even just going back on the last coach back to campus,” Ian said. “As long as I get to see you there and watch you walking out.”

“No, I don’t want to be alone so much as away from whatever craziness might be happening on campus,” Amaranth said. “I would love for you to join us, Ian… I just don’t feel right about involving you in our mess.”

“I’m involved,” Ian said. “I’m involved with you and Mackenzie, and that’s pretty much the same thing as being involved with messes.”

“Hey!” I said, but Amaranth just laughed.

“Alright,” she said. “But two conditions.”

“What are they?” Ian asked.

“One, you don’t go walking around downtown by yourself, either,” Amaranth said. “If you don’t want to worry about us, then we don’t have to worry about you, either.”

“Fine,” Ian said. “If there’s nowhere safe to hang out in, I’ll go back to the inn room and wait for you to reflect me. What’s the other condition?”

“That when we all get back to the inn room, you do what you should have done last night,” she said. “You’ve wanted it long enough, mister… and I’m going to watch you do it, no ifs, ands, or… other conjunctions.”


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6 Responses to “407: Conditioned Behavior”

  1. MadnessMaiden says:

    And Ian weasels his way into coming. Great. >.<;
    Then again, he could be useful. Still. :/

    Current score: 0
    • capybroa says:

      Aww, let ‘im tag along. He’s good for snark value, at the very least.

      Current score: 1
      • Moridain says:

        Plus he is a breath of common sense they can seriously use. 😀

        Current score: 7
    • Lythar says:

      I kinda figured Amy woulda gotten the idea that Ian should perform with Mack and just beat the crap outta her, but… I guess not.

      Current score: 0
  2. Penguinator says:

    Students going to bed before one? That’s the most unrealistic thing in this story yet.

    Current score: 6
  3. Jechtael says:

    I’m amused at how the “roll to see if you get an STD” mechanic translated to the MUniverse.

    Current score: 3