52: Climax And Resolution

on August 13, 2007 in 02: Love In The Time Of Magic

In Which A Decision Is Made

After I knocked on Amaranth’s door, I heard a rather loud sniffle, and then the sound of something heavy being shifted around, and then her bare feet slapping angrily against the tile floor. She finally opened the door. Her eyes were a little bit puffy and red, but not as much as mine would have been after crying all day. She looked down at me with a look on her face that I couldn’t quantify.

Cold anger?

Hard sadness?

Hurt defiance?

It went without saying that she was breathtaking.

“Come to yell at me some more?” she asked. The catch in her voice betrayed the strength in her face.

“I didn’t yell at you,” I said. Impressively, I managed to say this without yelling. “Can I… can I please come in?”

“Why not,” she said sulkily, stomping away. I followed meekly behind her.

“Your robe is, um, still showing,” I said, pointing to the corner of the bed. Amaranth went bright pink and shoved it back under the mattress. Like many people do when they try to do something angry, she put more force than thought into this… rather than lifting the corner of the mattress first and then just sort of tucking the robe beneath it, she did her best to shove and stuff the robe out of sight without moving the mattress. It sort of worked… sort of.

“So, what do you want?” she asked when she’d finished. It sounded like she was daring me to say one more word about her forbidden garment.

“I… um… you remember that suitcase I gave you?” I asked. In the time it had taken her to push the robe mostly out of sight, I’d come up with something that almost resembled a plan.

“Yeah,” she said, and her voice had become more sad than angry. “I suppose you… you must want it back.”

“I just… I kind of need it,” I said. “For something.”

“Oh, right,” she said. She was getting herself mad again. “You don’t have to say anything more. You obviously can’t trust the science girl with your stuff… she might do weird experiments on it.”

She turned herself all the way around, pushing the case at me as she came back around to face me. It was the fastest and sloppiest she’d ever done her “producing an object from thin air” thing, but of course, I still hadn’t actually seen the case appearing.

“It’s all there,” she said, as I took it from her. “Whatever’s in there, I mean. I didn’t even open it up.”

I turned and set the case down on her bed.

“Good,” I said, unhooking the latches. “Because if you still thought I hated science even after you’d seen this, then I don’t know what I would do.”

“Seen what?” she asked

“This is Buzz Saber,” I said, pulling out the first of my Mecknight figures. Buzz wore a tight suit of leather armor, and with his chainsaw slung over his back, there was nothing obviously fantasy about him. I paused just a moment, until it seemed like Amaranth was about to question why I’d just put a little plastic man on her bed, and then I pulled out another toy. “This is his motorcycle.”

I touched the figure of Buzz lightly on the top of its head, and it came to life, leaping on the bike and drawing the chainsaw. Vehicle and weapon both roared to life with tiny little motor noises, and he rode around on top of her bed spread, brandishing the whirring instrument. Entranced, Amaranth leaned in and touched her finger to the edge of the blade.

“It’s an illusion,” I said, as Amaranth looked down at her fingertip in disappointment. “The edge doesn’t actually move like that.” I pulled out some of the other knights and set them up. “These are Flash Bolt, and Piston, and Gearhead, and this is… um, Annie… she doesn’t really have a code name, for some reason. They use their mechanized motorbikes and chemical propelled weapons to, you know… fight evil and stuff.”

“Why… why are you showing me this?” she asked.

“So you’ll know that I couldn’t hate you for liking science… because I love it,” I said. “I just… I have a hard time believing in it.”

“And that’s why you think anybody who does is stupid,” she said, turning away from the spectacle of the enaction figures.

“No!” I said.

“I heard what you said,” she said, a sliver of despondence in her voice. “And I know you hate lying… so… so… it must have been the truth.”

“Please, Amaranth,” I said. “I’m not lying now. I… I lost my temper, that’s all.”

“That doesn’t mean you weren’t telling the truth,” she said.

“Amaranth, I used to spend so much time, alone in my room or down… well, by myself, imagining–fantasizing, really–that I lived in a world where there weren’t things like demons, and you could solve any problem by building a machine or figuring out a formula, or whatever,” I said. “When I… well, when I’d go back into what I thought of as ‘the real world’, you know, high school, and now college, I always had to tell myself that those things weren’t real. The only way I was ever going to have control of my life was to learn magic and make a lot of money as an enchanter, which meant keeping my head level and my feet on the ground.”

“So, now you have to shout down anybody who tries to say otherwise,” Amaranth said. “I remember. Push or be pushed, right? If somebody tells you that science is real, you have to bludgeon them until they admit they’re wrong, or it means you’re wrong…”

“Amaranth, you’re right… I’m really not good at seeing a middle ground,” I said. “But… it comes from years of having to convince myself that science only works in stories. In a way, I was really shouting at myself.”

She shook her head.

“I’m sorry,” she said, blinking away tears. “What you’re saying makes sense… but… I watched you let Puddy manhandle you and throw you into the table without a word of complaint, and then… and then…”

“…and then I have no problem telling the Mechan circle exactly how I feel about them,” I said. “Okay, look, that was me being stupid. Puddy’s… well, I thought of her as my friend. The Mechans were a bunch of strangers. If I’d been thinking of them in terms of… well, in terms of you… okay, I’m not saying this right.” I could see in her face that I was losing her, that she was maybe seconds away from bursting into tears and then probably telling me to get out. I got desperate. “I’m sorry I yelled, Amaranth, and I’m sorry I called anybody stupid, because you’re the least stupid person I know… and I love you, and… and…”… and I said a bunch of things that were anything but words.

“You what?” Amaranth asked, leaning in close. Her curiosity, at least, seemed to have forestalled the tears.

I tried again.

“I don’t know what I would be, if I can’t be yours,” I said, forcing each word out individually.

“I… I don’t even know what to say to that. I mean, you have just given me the shittiest day of my life,” she said, turning away from me. “I have never been so angry… I have never been so sad… I have never been so afraid as I was when I thought you would hate me forever.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I… I felt the same way.”

“You thought I could hate?” Amaranth asked me, horrified.

“I thought if you could hate anybody, it would be me,” I said quickly.

She slapped me.

Hard.

“I love you,” she said. “I could hate you least of all.”

“It’s just… it’s a lot easier for me to accept being hated than being loved,” I told her.

“That’s sad,” she said, her voice very flat.

“I know,” I said.

She sighed, and then didn’t say anything for a while.

“I don’t really have a lot of possessions,” she said, in the same flat tone of voice. It reminded me of Two. She sort of hugged herself as she turned and walked away across the room. “I like to think I take good care of the ones I do have. It was only for like a day, but I think you’d agree I took good care of the suitcase you gave me.”

“Yeah,” I said, not sure where she was going.

“So, if you really are mine, I expect you to start taking a lot better care of yourself than you have been,” she said, whirling around. There was an almost angry glint in her eyes, and her voice was becoming more alive as she spoke, and full of a steely resolve I wasn’t used to hearing. “First thing Monday, you are going to quit that stupid non-fighting class and sign up for mixed melee. The same class Steff’s in, if you can, so I will know that you’re actually going, and that you’re paying attention. If you can’t get into that one, then you will sign up for any mixed melee, small blades, or serious unarmed combat class you can get into. You are going to learn how to protect yourself, whether you want to or not.”

“Okay, okay,” I said.

“Not ‘okay’,” she said. “‘Yes, ma’am.'”

“Yes, ma’am,” I mumbled, more than a little sheepishly.

“If attacked, you will defend yourself,” she said. “You will not allow yourself to be… to be victimized, or molested.” The steely edge in her voice lost some of its sharpness here, as she still had problems with this concept. “If you can’t stand up for yourself, remember that you belong to me, and stand up for that instead. Most importantly, if anybody’s giving you problems, you will tell me. It’s not for you to decide if it’s worth bothering me about or if I can do anything about it… as your owner, that’s my responsibility.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Don’t mumble when you say that,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, more firmly, though I blushed furiously.

“Unless you’re ashamed of being mine,” she said.

“No!” I blurted out quickly and forcefully, then blushed harder, and said, “I mean, no, ma’am,” without being told.

Amaranth made a throaty little purr before she proceeded.

“You will not yell at anybody, or lose your temper in public, or threaten anybody with violence,” she said. “Any violation of these rules will result in immediate disciplinary action, regardless of context or setting.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, my blush intensifying as images of me being punished in public flashed behind my eyes.

“In my absence, you will obey Steff,” she said. “If an order from either of us is too far past your comfort level, you are ordered to say, clearly and distinctly, that this is the case.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Good,” she said. She took a deep breath and let it out, then gave a little giggle. I think she’d surprised herself.

She’d sure as hell surprised me.

“Now, you’re not off the hook for your behavior last night,” she said. “Or for letting me spend the whole day thinking you hated me. If you want to be mine, you’re going to have to be ready to pay for that, to work it off. Are you?”

I took a deep breath and considered. She was giving me an out. I could tell her no, and… well… maybe now that I’d explained how I felt about science, and I’d made the effort and apologized, we could still be friends. There just wouldn’t be this thing between us, with the punishments and the “yes ma’ams” and the weird, almost sexual stuff that kept happening… things would just go back to normal.

Certainly, more normal than they would be if I said yes.

I closed my eyes, and braced myself for my answer… not quite sure exactly what it would be.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good,” she said. “Sit here,” she said, patting the head of her bed. I did, and then heard her gathering up the Mecknights and setting them back in the case. They deactivated when held in the hand. She came back to stand between me and her dresser, picking up a black felt-tipped pen.

“Hold still,” she said with a wry smile. With one hand beneath my chin to tilt my head up towards her, she began to mark across my forehead.

“Semi-permanent marker,” she said as she wrote. “Unless you’re an accomplished breaker or can shell out the silver for spelled solvent, only the eraser on the other end of this particular marker will remove the ink.” She stepped back to look at her handiwork. “If you are very, very, very good, I will remove it before the dance tomorrow.”

She stepped to one side, so I could see myself in the mirror above her dresser. The writing appeared backwards, of course, but the big block letters weren’t difficult to read. Amaranth had written, very clearly and distinctly, the words “NYMPH’S TOY” across my forehead.

I pictured myself going through the day tomorrow with that emblazoned on my head. It went without saying that staying in my room all day wasn’t an option.

“Now, have you showered today?” she asked.

“I… well, I kind of woke up late, and I didn’t really have… um, I mean, no, ma’am,” I said. I remembered Barley inviting me along for “recreational showering”, and wondered if Amaranth was leading up to something like that. I didn’t know if I was ready for something like that… especially not with communal bathrooms. Considering that a couple of my floor mates had already demonstrated unease at using the showers when I was around, it was pretty embarrassing to think about one of the other girls coming in and finding me in a position that was somewhat sexually intimate. Okay, did I say embarrassing? It was close to terrifying.

Okay, it was kind of exciting.

But it wasn’t what she had in mind.

“You will shower every morning, and, unless you’re physically exhausted, every night before you go to bed,” she said. “What I said about taking care of yourself applies to your appearance and cleanliness as much as anything else, and besides of which, we want to be careful about germs.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, deciding that now was not the time to ask what the hell she was talking about with the “germs” thing.

“Do I even need to ask if you’ve got any cleaner clothes?”

“No, ma’am,” I said, dropping my head. The previous night’s misadventure meant I was now down to a grand total of two t-shirts, both of which had been worn more than once in the past week.

“We really need to expand your wardrobe,” she said. “Tomorrow, Steff and I are going to take you clothes shopping… we’ll pick something out for you to wear on your little date, too.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Now, you’re going to shower before we go to dinner, and while you do that, I’m going to run and borrow a skirt and some things from Steff. You’ve got bigger hips and thighs, so it might come up a little short on you, but I’m not going to let people see you walking around in dirty clothes all the time.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, blushing so hard I was surprised I didn’t burst into flame. Me, in a skirt… all exposed to the world? And a skirt that had regularly been worn by another girl… with parts of it in regularly close proximity to her… to her body? I wasn’t sure why, but that somehow made it seem… dirtier. That was the only word I could think of, but somehow it just avoided being the sort of dirtiness that made me feel like I needed to scrub my skin for hours.

I wondered if Amaranth was going to borrow some of Steff’s underwear, too.

“Now then, there’s just one more thing before you go shower,” she said. “Take off your clothes.”

“What… I…” I stammered, with a glance towards the still-open door.

Take. Them. Off.

I gulped and hastened to obey, my “Yes, ma’am,” being somewhat swallowed up by my shirt as I stripped it off. My eyes were squeezed tightly shut when I finished, as if they were observing the old “If I can’t see them, they can’t see me!” rule. I certainly didn’t have anything to do with it. I stood there in the slightly chilly room, waiting for Amaranth’s next command to come, but it never did… instead she yanked me over to the bed, sat down a little ways back from its edge, laid me out across her lap, and proceeded to spank my bare behind within an inch of my life.

I cried out in shock and in genuine pain at the strength and enthusiasm of the punishment she laid on me, as savage as the impromptu caning Steff had given me, but with all of her skill and natural instincts brought to bear upon me, as well.

Tears streamed down my face. As the burst of perverse pleasure swelled up within me, I bit my lip to try to keep in what I knew would be a monstrously out of place gasping cry of exultation. Though my lip bled from the effort, I couldn’t hold it in when it finally came… came with the intensity and swiftness of a thunderbolt.

As if to punish me further for having somehow, somewhat enjoyed myself, Amaranth did not stop when I’d achieved that odd sense of release/relief… at least not the first time.

She kept going, now sometimes alternating a swat with a fast but strangely gentle stroke of the back of her fingers, up from just below the bottom of… of my pussy… to the base of my spine. This was both soothing and exciting, and made more exciting from the fact that there was no outward pattern I could discern as to when she would do it.

Despite not being the least bit painful, or more than a little humiliating (though I did cringe and gasp a little bit every time her nails accidentally brushed part of my most intimate place, or dragged on the the only almost equally dirty part of my ass), this motion served only to heighten the semblance of pleasure which grew and burst up within me a total of three times before Amaranth herself was spent. She sprawled backwards, her legs dangling over the side of the bed and her head against the wall, and we both lay there panting and gasping like we’d run a marathon.

Dimly, I wondered if what I had felt was anything like what an orgasm felt like… but I pushed that thought away.

That was sex.

This had been punishment, and I deserved it… every ounce… every inch… every drop of it.

It was Amaranth who finally broke the silence.

“I love you, Mack,” she said, in her normal voice, though with a hint of fatigue. “Differently than I love anybody else.”

“I love you, too,” I said.

She sat up, and pushed my legs away, so that I slid off her and stood up.

“Go… go shower,” she said. She was still short of breath. I started to reach for my clothes, but she stopped me with a gentle touch and the playful admonition, “I thought I told you not to wear dirty clothes.”

“But… yes, ma’am,” I said. “Um… can I have a towel?”

“I’ll bring you one when your outfit for the evening is ready,” she said. She giggled. “I mean, it would be pretty embarrassing for you to get out of the shower and have nothing to wear, wouldn’t it?”

“But… yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Well, get going,” she said, giving me a push–via the bottom, of course–towards the door. At least her room was pretty near the end… once I was inside the bathroom, my state would be more-or-less socially acceptable, and once in the shower, completely so…

…minus the black label on my forehead, but I could keep my face to the wall if anybody came in, and happened to need a shower so early in the evening.

Amaranth stuck her head out the door as I was almost there.

“Don’t forget to get your soap and shampoo and stuff,” she said brightly. “There’s no point in showering without them, is there?”

Mutely, meekly, and above all happily, I obeyed, walking past doors… some of which were open, though I didn’t dare stop to glance inside and see if anybody could see me. I kept my eyes fixed straight ahead… or rather, straight down at the floor… but even so, I was happy.

It wasn’t that parading myself nude–naked–down the hall wasn’t humiliating, because it was downright mortifying. I fully expected to drop dead any moment… or at least bump into Sooni and her flock of cat girls… or be told off by the R.A., Kiersta… or be expelled or fined or arrested for public indecency; in other words, locked up for being so dirty, so filthy, so very downright nasty as I was.

But it was for her.

And so it was okay.

My ass stung like hell, my eyes kept wanting to well up with tears that had to be of shame, and I was sure that everybody on the floor who wasn’t watching would soon have heard the story and know what a total freak I was… but I was Amaranth’s once again.

I belonged.

I was in love.

It wasn’t the same thing as being normal, by a long shot, but it was still kind of nice.


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3 Responses to “52: Climax And Resolution”

  1. pedestrian says:

    The new normal. Amazing how the limits of “normal” are so fluid.

    Current score: 1
    • Psi-Ko says:

      And yet, even thinking about feeling like thinking about the possibility of THINKING of sex are worthy of six showers and fifty “Hail Khersis”‘

      Current score: 2
  2. Kanta says:

    “‘It’s just… it’s a lot easier for me to accept being hated than being loved,’ I told her.

    ‘That’s sad,’ she said, her voice very flat.”

    That’s life.

    Current score: 2