Private Only Here for the Puppy

Keen

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The student lounge was perfect today. Busy enough for Sela to feel comfortable with all the people around, but not enough to overwhelm. It was a rarity here. At least, whenever they were around. Either it was empty because people were busy, or if it was filled to the brim as people moved in and out to meet up with friends.

A voice in the back of Sela's mind told them they should feel jealous. They felt nothing. Most likely the voice was an echo of their dorm parent and minder telling them to go out, meet people, and make friends. Something they were interested in but didn't consider a priority. When they had so many friends in their dream, making friends in the awake-world wasn't important.

That didn't stop Sela from appreciating new people. Or in this case, dogs. The moment their eyes locked on the dog, they excitedly said, "Poodle," with the voice of a group of children. Sela nearly dropped the book they were reading before floating from the corner of the room to get a closer look at the dog. Only then did they notice that there was a person accompanying it. They looked floated to eye-level with the multi-colored haired girl to ask, "May I pet your poodle?"

 
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Fox Tarts

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Delaney was incredibly proud of herself. She remembered the route from her dorm to the student lounge. Only once (once!) did she have to stop and ask a stranger for assurance she was headed the right way. Now, the young teen stood at the entrance to the room and listened. Ignoring the wispy, almost not there whispers, for the ranging inflections and volume of real physical voices.

The room was full, but not crowded. People talked in their little groups and she was starting to get a sense for the room, its size and general placements. Georgette licked her hand and Delaney felt it as someone came up to her. When they spoke, the voice was almost familiar and a bit disorienting. It sounded like it was more than one person! Which was also reeeaaally familiar.

"Thank you for asking first." Delaney said, "And I'll let you pet her in a sec' but I need my dog's help at the moment." Delaney considered her options, and figured being frank in needing help was it. "I could actually use some help, if you're willing. Is there a nice spot to sit close to a wall and kinda away from the main flow of people?

"And would you mind guiding me over?"
 

Keen

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Sela had never gotten the name of the girl, but they recognized her from the Manta Carlos Community Center. While it was never confirmed, they were fairly certain she was blind. They wondered if she recognized them back. Was their voice too different now?

They were brought back from their thoughts by the girl's question. "... Right! Um, the place I was sitting is like that. I don't like being crowded around" What was the proper procedure for guiding a blind person? Sela didn't feel right grabbing her hand, so as they floated to the corner of lounge, they narrated what they were doing and the location. People on the sides picked up on what was going on and moved out of the way before Sela had to warn the girl.

"Here's a table. I pulled a seat out for you. There are some people seated at nearby tables, but there's good room for you and Georgette."
 

Fox Tarts

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Delaney followed the child's (?) voice to the seats, and though she felt the narration was excessive it wasn't a big deal. They probably felt it was the best way and they sounded young so she couldn't fault them for it. Georgette did her job and positioned herself to the left side of the chair so Delaney knew exactly where to stand and plop her butt down.

"Thanks for the help." When they knew Georgette's name everything clicked. "Oh! I've met you before! At the community center. There was free chocolate and I think you said something about not tasting unless you dream? That's wild." She commanded Georgette to sit with a hand signal, then unhooked the guide lead from the harness. Delaney ruffled the poodle's hairy ears. "Aright. Work break! As per state law you are allowed a break. Go say hi to our friend."

Georgette, understanding she was no longer working, happily spun around to sniff the strange being who, to her, was both there but not. Lots of smells in that cloudy body. Delaney held out her hand, "I'm Delaney Lavoux. What's yours?"
 

Keen

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"I'm Sela. Sorry for not introducing myself when we first met. Sometimes... I forget. I'm not used to... to..." They stopped, realizing that calling out someone's blindness may be rude. "Um, we're friends?" Caught off guard, they laughed a little. "That was easy."

Sela lowered themself to pet the dog. This time, she was significantly larger and their small hands couldn't cover as much ground as before. Despite being incapable of experiencing touch when awake, they enjoyed the excited tail wagging from Georgette. It also served as a welcome distraction from their awkwardness. They hadn't come here to socialize, just to watch, and now they were panicking as they tried to enter the proper mindset.
 

Fox Tarts

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"Don't sweat it. I don't think I gave my name either. And friends." Delaney smiled as she reclined back into the soft seat. She counted the steps to his spot, and she silently rehearsed that number for a second. "So what do you look like, Sela? Like, do you have more than one mouth you talk through? Can you change size?" Delaney couldn't quite place it but it felt like Sela didn't quite have the same presence as before.

Georgette's tail wagged away, her tongue lolled out in contentment. The poodle was sweet and loved attention when not working. Delaney reached out and added ear scratches to the pet fest. She had a good dog.
 

Keen

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She didn't, but Sela wasn't going to point that out. It was the polite thing to do. Both of them made a mistake and she was being kind about it. Also, they were much too happy about having a new friend to brag about when they returned to their dorm.

Delaney's questions were unexpected, but upon second thought, they shouldn't have been. "Um... Uh. I have only one mouth. I can make more, but they don't do anything. I only have a face and body to fit in. I can change size. Shape-shifter. I'm a shape-shifter." What was the best way to describe them? "Ummm... My whole body looks like space. I have four arms. My legs turn into clouds around my shins. I have bat ears with rainbow pastels interior. My eyes and horns are also rainbow pastels. My right horn is longer than the left. When I met you, I was an adult, so my voice sounded adult. I'm a child now." They paused. "Sorry. I'm not good at this."
 

Fox Tarts

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Delaney listened intently as Sela began to describe themselves. One mouth, one head, good start. And shape-shifting! That was cool! Then Sela really got into detail. The more they said the more the teen's mouth hanged open. "Not good at this! That was the best description of anyone I've ever heard!" Delaney freaking loved this island. It wasn't just vampires and witches but also freaking space people with pastel horns and cloud legs.

"You are so friggen cool!" All this excitement was not good for her cool goth rep but forget that! "You must have some cool powers too! I can like, hear things whispering and can do knowledge-y stuff. Like zap it from someone." She wiggled her fingers. "Oh and this." And took her middle finger and bent it further back than any finger should ever bend.
 

Keen

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If Sela could blush, they would. They've been told their appearance is unique before, and call them egotistical, they enjoyed every compliment they received. Even the ones made by people who were a little too interested in them. Usually when they were presented as an adult. The subtext could easily be ignored.

"Thank you," they replied. Every time they thanked and apologized to a person, they were reminded of the fae taboo. The school told them to not worry much about it and that they were protected from the fae trying to do anything. Sela wasn't scared anyway.

No. Not now. They couldn't get lost in their head again. They were speaking to a person. They were in a conversation. A conversation with very interesting things being brought up.

"I'd clap, but my body wouldn't make a sound... The knowledge stuff sounds very cool!" "Cool" was said like it was a stranger. It was one of those slang that Sela had a grasp on but didn't know how to deliver with proper effect. "I love knowledge. I love learning. But I learn weird. If I..." Their voice quieted. Was it really okay to talk about their eating habits to Delaney? Maybe later. "If I store something in my body, it'll appear in my dream. My dream is a different dimension. I have complete power over it. In the awake world—here—I'm weaker. I don't have as many powers."
 

Fox Tarts

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Delaney gasped at the mention of a personal dream dimension. Dreaming was pretty much the only time she got to see again, and even then she didn't see well. Usually a flash of color, or snippets of memory restructured or adapted. Mostly, she didn't dream. "I think being cool in general is a super power, and you are definitely cool."

She shifted to face the other better, and wished she could just reach out and touch Sela. Feel the features they described and normally she wasn't shy about asking but it didn't feel right at the moment. It was hard to explain. "I can touch someone and take their knowledge. Or give knowledge. And I love learning too. If only to fill my brain with useless facts I can sacrifice."

There was a huge book of trivia in her dorm room. It was just slow going because braille takes time to master. "If I had a dream dimension I think. . . I would make a giant spooky castle and fill it with monsters. And have a blood fountain!" A blood fountain would be so metal. "Oh, and a matching dog house for Georgette. She deserves a castle too."
 

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