February 10, 2013 by Lyn
Just after Chapter 21: Shang
Damaris knew she was barking up the wrong tree when it came to Shang.
He wasn’t the first person to tell her no or anything. Damaris wasn’t that arrogant. It was just… something about the way he’d done it, something about what he’d said had just tweaked her. It wasn’t that he wasn’t interested in her, it was that he wouldn’t even try.
He didn’t do non-humans. That, that was the stalling point. And she didn’t know how to get past that without ending up with a Kept that hated her. Didn’t do non-humans.
The fact that he was himself a non-human didn’t seem to have gotten through to him.
Fact that he was… Damaris stopped pacing. That, that idea had some merit.
Except the part where, sadly, he’d probably hate her afterwards. She’d been being honest about that with Kat. She didn’t want a Kept that hated her.
So… She stared at the wall, plotting out her course of action. She’d have to work it so that he didn’t hate her.
Okay. She could do this. Maybe not easily, and she might have to owe a few favors when she was done, but she could do this.
The only question, the only real question, was whether or not she wanted to involve her crew.
And whether she could talk Kat into helping her. Because with Kat by her side, Shang would suspect nothing.
Kat, she was unsurprised to find, wanted nothing at all to do with Damaris’ plan. However, asking her had an unexpected side benefit.
“You’re asking. You could tell me to do anything you want to.”
“I can.” Agra had been mirroring their former Keepers when he’d done that. Damaris wasn’t sure she liked it, but what was she going to do, short of telling him how to treat his Kept?
“So why are you asking?”
“Because ordering you wouldn’t work right in this case. I can tell you ‘help me with this,’ but unless you want to, it’s not going to work well.”
“Hunh.” She looked down at her fingernails. Damaris noted that she’d taken to biting them.
“Besides. It’s, uh, kinda nicer to ask.”
That got Kat’s attention. “Well, yeah. I didn’t think anyone here cared about nice.”
“Some people don’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to.”
“Hunh. So, why Shang? Is it just ‘cause he’s left and you’re lonely?”
“Well. When you put it that way…”
Kat was getting better at hiding her expressions. Damaris almost missed the triumphant smirk. She smirked back at Kat. “Okay, that’s fair. but it’s not just that.”
“No?” Kat tilted her head. “It’s not like you really know who he is, do you?”
“Hrmph. Well, no, but have a couple classes with him. And I’m… I don’t know. I’m curious about him.”
“Because he didn’t change?”
“Because he’s so calm about the whole thing. He’s not flipping out. He’s not Changing. He’s not cowering in his room. He’s just wandering around, absolutely certain he’s human.”
“Hunh. Unlike the rest of the Ninthies, you mean?”
“Unlike the rest of all of us! We all freaked out when it was our turn. Me, Agra – don’t… please don’t tell him I told you that – all of us.”
“Even Kendon?” There was delighted malice in Kat’s voice. Damaris couldn’t blame her.
“So he wasn’t freaked. That’s why you want him?” Kat leaned forward, looking thoughtful. “Don’t you think you’ll freak him out? Being collared, whole nine yards?”
“Well, it might… but, then again. Nothing else here has. Smooth as molasses and cool as a cucumber. Maybe he won’t spazz. Maybe he won’t fight it.”
“Maybe he won’t hate it, you mean.”
“Well.” Damaris shared a companionable smile with Kat. “Whether or not he hates it is at least seventy-five percent my responsibility. If we’re going old-school with it, it’s all on me.”
“Hate it?” She touched her throat, remembering. “Some days. Not as bad as Agra. Not as much as you do.”
“Not as bad as you would, if you were allowed to, how’s that?”
“…okay. But you hated it some?”
“And you think you can get Shang to hate it less?”
“Well, that’s kind of the goal. Like I said, I don’t want a Kept who spends the whole year resenting me. Or, in this case, half the year.”
Kat thought about it for a moment. “All right.”
“What?” Damaris was hopeful, but she hadn’t expected acquiescence.
“You promise to do your 75% so he doesn’t hate it, and I’ll help you collar him.”
This story was written in response to Rix’s donation and request for more Damaris and Shang
For every $5US donated, I will write 300 words on the character or situation of your choice. In addition, every donation will bring you to a small snippet of story – a new snippet every Wednesday! Want more?