The first thing Clarisse Martin did when she came to school was cut her hair short and dye it blue.
The upperclassmen found this a little bit amusing – after all, changing yourself when the school Changes you so much, so quickly, seemed a little overkill – but the teachers said nothing, and none of the other students actually said anything to her about it.
Clarisse found the lack of commentary strange, but, since she hadn’t done it for them, was unworried by it. She found the few giggles from older students completely understandable, and ignored them.
When the Reveal on the first Friday of classes showed Clarisse and the rest of the Tenth Cohort some of what they’d gotten into, Clarrise walked slowly to the doctor’s office, running her fingers through her hair. It explained a lot – but she liked her hair blue.
Her Change knocked her off her feet only literally, fusing her legs together from the ankle down into a sort of tail. “I believe there is more coming,” Dr. Caitrin theorized. “In the meantime, getting around might be a little tricky. We’ll work something out.”
It was the kind of situation that could get you down. It was the kind of situation where being stared at wasn’t so much a matter of why as which of the myriad of reasons are you noticing? Clarisse tried to keep her chin up and a smile on her face. It wasn’t about them, she reminded herself. This was her thing to deal with.
When the man with the terrifying blue eyes managed to convince her to be his – it was Hell Night, her wheelchair had gotten thrown across the hall, and he had a voice like a heavenly melody – she accepted the collar, the oro’ at the end of her name, and the rules without argument. They weren’t, in the end, about her; like a school uniform, they hung on her like accessories.
But when, angry after a bad day at school and frustrated over her wheelchair and her slow-as-molasses change, he began shouting at hr, Clarisse shook her head and met her Keeper’s eyes.
“You’re a no-good, stupid bitch…”
“You don’t get to tell me no.“
“You get to tell me what to do.” She touched the collar around her neck with three fingers. “You don’t get to tell me who I am.”
He stared, stunned into speechlessness.
Clarisse kept talking. “You get to decide where I go. What I say. What I wear, if you’re so inclined. You don’t get to decide who I am.”
He said nothing, but touched her hair – still short, still blue, almost the same color as his eyes – with three fingers. His other hand touched the place where her ankles had fused together.
He didn’t have a hand to touch her self with.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/565158.html. You can comment here or there.