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Here's a birthday present for Alkarl on IRC. He was okay with it being posted publicly, so all of you get to enjoy it, too. Slightly NSFW. ===========================================================================
I stare at my notes, spread out hither and yon across the workshop, over dolls, on workbenches, and tucked into boxes of fabric. My gaze roams over them like that of person who has lost some item in the last five minutes, and tries, repeatedly, to search the same three pockets over and over, hoping that on the seventh try, perhaps, it will have magically been there all along. Once I am no longer able to fool myself, to believe that there is something here I must have missed, I sigh in resignation. The book I need is probably at the Mansion.
Let me be the first to say that I have no issue with Patchouli. She is a brilliant woman, although perhaps not of the most sunny disposition. Still, we are alike in our natures, and in our passion and thirst for discerning the secrets of the world. Our focuses differ, as do our ages, but she is, in some respects, a role model of sorts.
No, it is not her that instills this feeling of reluctance within me. What makes me uneasy is...
My face feels hot at the very thought of it, from anger, from embarrassment, and from memories, many of which, I am loathe to admit, are not entirely unpleasant. Shanghai and Hourai pretend not to notice, which is a kindness.
Unable to come up with any further excuses, I begin to pack the things I'll need for the trip. I also lock up: not just as a matter of course, but because I might not be back for...
My hand stills as I reach for the keyring.
I don't even want to finish the thought. Have I given in that much, that I'm already accepting what w— what might happen? Through the tide of self-loathing and lingering shame, I continue locking up anyway; I don't want Marisa prowling through here. Again.
The gatekeeper must see me coming from across the lake as I fly over its sparkling surface. Her vision is exceptional, as with most youkai. Certainly not tengu-level, but it doesn't take a white wolf to see a moving figure silhouetted against the blue sky in the late morning light. She keeps a very casual eye on me until I land in front of the red mansion. She gives me a smile, which is a good sign— I've seen how she reacts to Marisa's approach.
"Good morning, Alice!" she calls out cheerfully. "Come to browse the Library?"
I return her smile with one that I hope doesn't look forced. "It would appear so... Is Lady Patchouli currently available?" Read: Marisa hasn't come barging in recently, has she?
Meiling beams at me. "Why, she certainly is! In fact, she's been rather productive lately!" Read: No she hasn't, and we're quite happy about that.
I nod, and give a slightly more genuine smile this time. "That sounds wonderful. ...May I enter?"
The guard nods. Turning around, she simply gives the lock on the gate a smart rap with the back of her knuckles. There's an odd, subdued flash of color, and the mechanism click-click-clicks as tumblers turn and bars are withdrawn.
"...I've been meaning to ask," I say, "How exactly do you do that?"
"Family secret," is all she says as she pushes open the entire wrought-iron frame with no apparent strain. Raising her voice, she calls out: "Sakuya~"
—All of a sudden, maid. "Good morning, Miss Margatroid." For a minute, I think I see beads of sweat on her forehead, and her chest rising and falling quickly, but then it's gone. "Please, follow me." As I trail behind Sakuya, I notice the redhead giving us... no, giving the maid a look that I can't interpret.
It's not my concern, really. I should be more focused on what lies within the mansion. That is very much my concern.
She brings me through numerous hallways, all shuttered tight at this hour. The illumination comes from candles placed at regular intervals, which I can't help but disapprove of. Fire hazard aside, it seems like an absurdly inefficient method when compared to magical lighting or electric lights. I guess the vampiric urge for traditional appearances is winning out over Remilia's own desire to keep the technological edge, since she's essentially the local representative of Western culture.
...Aside from myself.
After descending some stairs, we arrive in front of the large wooden doors that mark the entrance to the Library, with a capital L. And mark the entry they do: there are no nameplates or helpful signs. If you made it here, then you were probably already looking for it.
"Just a moment," says Sakuya, bowing, and then— No maid.
I wait patiently, mentally steeling myself. I will be stronger this time. I will. I must. I'm not going to let that—
And like that, maid.
...She's panting for breath this time, and I can hear what sounds like an unhealthy wheezing sound coming fr— No, she looks perfectly fine. Does Remilia know about this?
"You may enter," she tells me, opening the doors.
I nod my soundless thanks once again, and step through them into the dim, hushed Library.
Voile is, to put it simply, big. I do not know its true dimensions, and I often suspect that it may not, in fact, have true dimensions. Not if you limit it to only three, at any rate. Therefore, to describe how absurdly vast it is would be an effort in futility.
Simply accept that it is big.
Despite that, travel time is less than one would expect. It only takes me two and a half minutes to reach Patchouli's desk. Even though the mage-lights give the place a seemingly dim feel, the librarian's desk is well-lit by, unexpectedly, an electric lamp. Three of them, spaced out here and there, and a fourth that seems to not be working, tucked away in a corner.
Surrounded by books, the Great Sage Knowledge is sprawled out on a recliner, feet kicked up onto her desk. Her clothes are relatively simple; denim jeans and a black turtleneck sweater. Her long purple hair is draped across the headrest, some of it spilling over the sides. As I approach, she looks over at me, the golden crescent-moon pin in her hair glinting just so off the lamp-light.
As a concession to a fellow magician, she deigns to set down the book in her hands, placing it against her chest while she speaks to me. "Good morning, Alice. Have you come to browse, chat, or is this a business call?"
My eyes shift to both sides before I speak. ...She isn't here. Good. "Y-yes, I have," I say, voice unexpectedly cracking. I cough to cover it up, and push onward. "I have come, that is, to search your collection for a tome on neural networks. Do you have such a thing?"
She actually raises an eyebrow, and mutters something to herself before answering. "Several. I assume you would prefer something recent?"
...Isn't the field fairly new? "Yes, please. Preferably something from a more abstract standpoint?"
Naturally, I inevitably began to study computers in my quest for the creation of an automatic doll, but lacking the ability to put one to use, I have mostly been learning theory and basic concepts, and then experimented with implementing them in my dolls. For example, my Goliath Doll would never have seen the light of day if I hadn't been able to solve the threat-recognition and target-acquisition issues. The de-icing problem still remains, however, which is why flight capabilities have been taken offline for the foreseeable future.
She gives me a faint nod, and holds out her finger. A small green light forms there, then drifts away from it, beginning to head toward a long passageway between shelves off to her left. "Will that be all?"
"For now, I believe so. Thank you."
She nods distractedly back at me, already going back to her book. "You're welcome." She pauses, looks back up at me, as if to add something else, then hurriedly buries her face in the book once again.
...I think maybe that, too, was a kindness, perhaps.
I follow the floating green light down the passage for half a minute, up another passage, over to the right, and then across a curiously open area, into another wall of shelves.
At some point, I look up, and see, above me, in the distance, Patchouli's desk, the librarian still in her recliner.
As I stated before: big.
Ten minutes later, the hovering green light turns down a row of shelves, drifts slowly into it, and then comes to a stop halfway down the row. As I draw nearer, it moves towards one book in particular. I pull the book off the shelf, and examine it. It's very recent, clearly a book from Outside— as if being in English wasn't enough to make that obvious. That's no problem for me, however.
My error was made, right then: I sighed quietly, and believed I had gotten through this without her interference. After leafing through it a little to ensure that this really was what I wanted, I turned around, ready to let the hovering light lead me back.
Physically, it is a lovely smile, I have to admit that much. I don't like it, and I don't like her, but the attractiveness of her features is an objective fact.
"What do you want." My tone is stiff, cold, and unfriendly. The question isn't a question as much as it's a statement through clenched teeth.
She cocks her head slightly, and red, red hair falls softly to one side. "I was simply passing by, and decided to see how you were doing," comes the reply, full of an innocence I'm sure she never possessed. She takes a step forward. "You are doing well, I hope?"
I take a step backwards, and feel the spines of books and smooth lines of the shelves press against my back. ...Wait, why am I going on the defensive? I need to get out of here. I need to leave, now. "I was doing better before I met you. Goodbye." I step to the side, and start to push her away, but—
"...Stay a moment, won't you?" That voice, so smooth and liquid, carries an undercurrent of pleading that sounds so utterly alien coming from one such as her. The strangeness of it, damn my curiosity, causes me to look back.
The familiar looks as she always does: confident, beautiful, and mildly dangerous in some unspoken way. ...But there's something about it that draws my attention, this time. It's no glamour, no charm, no enchantment, I'm sure of that. Those absurd little wings on her head , though...
I almost want to laugh. They're drooping, slightly. It gives her an air of surreal, unplaceable melancholy until you notice it, at which point it becomes sort of funny.
—The books, pressing into my back again. One hand of hers upon my hips; the other holding the wrist of an arm that sought to stop her on instinct while my mind was occupied with... No, it's hidden, now. That confidence, that quiet, coy look of hunger that I've come to ... mostly dread, mostly, has returned.
Her face is close.
She smells of oleander. Unexpected, yet fitting, somehow.
And something is wrapping about my thigh in an almost playfully relaxed way.
Some treacherous part of my mind, silent until now, reminds me that for all the struggling and last time wasn't all bad. And in fact, wasn't I—
...I tell it to shut the hell up.
"Get off of me," I practically growl.
"I've missed you, Alice," she says, ignoring my words, and looking straight into my eyes. "I know you may not believe me, and by all rights, you certainly shouldn't." The hand on my hips moves slowly up them into the curve of my waist.
"Then keep pining, demon. Release me." There's a look of surprise on her face, and her hold on me slackens, allowing me to try and wriggle free. But it's over in the next second; all it results in is me taking half a step forward, lightly bonking her forehead with my own, and then being gently but firmly pushed against the shelves once more.
My face must be a picture of fury, because when she starts to speak again, she halts, looks down, and then tries again. "...I, think, Alice, that for all your resistance, you are not being entirely honest with yourself."
I spit at her, but she sees it coming— my throat is dry, and it takes a moment to work it up. Her head bobs to the side, and then back. "All right," she concedes, "perhaps I should have chosen words less suited to unimaginative and tawdry romance novels, but..." Her eyes drop from mine, and look me over.
...Not like a piece of meat, but as if evaluating me.
And that, that right there: that is the other part of what is making this feel so unusual. Previous encounters have had her going for the very hard sell, laying it on thick with the seduction and enticement and coercion. Either she's using exceptionally subtle magic, such that I can't feel her working it, or she's actually trying to...?
Wait, why do I care? This is ridiculous.
"Maybe you should have, but I could not possibly care less. Release me now while there's still the faintest chance I won't speak of this to your master."
Those were good words. Clear, unmistakable, and introducing the idea of a threat while dangling the hint of a means of escaping it.
They weren't the words I said, somehow, for some reason.
What came out was: "...But?"
Her eyes, a deeper shade of red than even her hair, come up to meet mine. That smile comes with it.
"...But I have to wonder given that you haven't made a move for your book, there."
the Grimoire, at my side, in its holster
She presses in a little closer, and the hand on my waist slips across my back. Her voice grows a little quieter. "And your dolls...? I don't see any of them with you. Ve~ry strange, no?"
back at the house, Shanghai and Hourai were left to guard the place against intruders
The something that was coiled around my thigh loosens and begins to creep upward, making a most curious sort of wiggling movement. My cheeks grow hotter than they already were.
It reminds me of those not-unpleasant memories, where it played a key role.
"Most of all, though, was that voice... If you'd really meant it, I wouldn't be able to do this to you. I might even have been killed."
the voice, my birthright, that I kept in check because... because...
She leans in to nip at an earlobe, and I tremble in her arms. It's only minimally due to any discomfort.
"So tell me, Alice..." comes her voice into my ears, now but a whisper. "Why? Why is this happening?"
why is why is why, why, why IS it happening and the tip of her tail is pressing into me, against me, through the silk and nylon and she smells so good and she raises many distressingly valid points, and I want to say that this is all confusing and to some degree it is, but I think that I
My eyes lock with hers, and I know without looking that right now, they're the same red as her own.
I think that
She pauses, and I can see the beginnings of trepidation creeping in, causing her to wonder if maybe she pushed me too far.
I think that she did
I think that right now I need
"Either sate your loathsome urges, or leave me be so that I can see to myself instead, but for the sake of the gods, shut up and do something already."
The sound of delight she makes is as though she were committing something scandalously criminal. Which, I note with some irritation, it just about is. That doesn't say anything good about my compliance with it.
It's just... been a while. That's all. Marisa has never been... We're colleagues at best, and collaborators more often, but even though half of Gensokyo is convinced we're an item, nothing could be further from the truth.
...I have heard her tell me, after far, far too many drinks, about what she'd like to do to Reimu, Patchouli, Rinnosuke, and (for some reason) that kappa girl, however. I would be more insulted about not making the list if she didn't do half the things she did.
That is neither here nor there, however; in fact, with a muffled nag and a faintly familiar smell, we stop being there in the library, and instead start being here, in a small bedroom.
It's rather sparse, considering. Seven luminescent fixtures at points around the room brighten the place in a with a comfortable ambiance of sorts. Against one wall is a large bed with red sheets (unsurprising), and a few meters away from that, a black oak writing desk and a chair sit, obviously unused at the moment. Behind us is a door that makes several clicking sounds as she waves a hand at it, causing something to glow.
I don't get to examine much more of the room, because she makes a crazed sort of giggling sound and pushes me onto the bed, skirt already falling from her legs, and vest sailing across the room. And apparently she was also wearing a blue dress somewhere that I didn't notice, because there's one that's settling over the back of the chair even now. It even looks kind of like mine. As do the frilled ribbons on it.
A lot like mine.
I look down to find myself stripped down to my underwear and pantyhose. My outrage at this is suppressed, momentarily, by confusion: the dress is still buttoned. Even the ribbons haven't been undone! I suppose it's a trick of the trade, but how—?
And I don't even know where my boots went.
"You know, Alice," she says, bringing my attention back to the grinning demon girl crawling over to me, on top of me. "You should really consider wearing something a bit more daring, you know?" She leans down, and begins kissing along my neck, and down between my breasts, down to my belly...
Something in me comes to life at her touch, like a spark turning into the smallest flame, and I squirm a little.
"I mean, plain white is fine, and all, but really, it couldn't hurt to live a little." On that last word, she slips a hand under the pantyhose, under the waistband of my underwear, and rubs just right—
"Mmnngh," is the best reply I can give to her, right then. It really, really has been a long time.
That tiny little flame begins to grow as it finds the tinder it was set in.
She looks right at me after she places a kiss at my navel. "Enjoying yourself~?" I give her a glare that says "no," "yes," and "shut up," all at once. It only makes her chuckle, but at least she has the decency to get back to work.
...And then her tail wriggles its way beneath me.
The flame catches, and grows into a blaze.
My hands, clutching the sheets, uncurl and release the crimson silk just as I feel a sudden coolness between my legs, and see my underwear settling on top of the writing table.
Not a moment too soon, it seems.
My legs lift up, and lock around the familiar's shoulders as I push myself up and twist my body to the side, turning us over. She lets out a startled gasp of surprise, and tries to extricate herself.
The blaze, roaring and crackling becomes a furnace. Something, somewhere inside of me enjoys this very much. Not the sexual act, specifically, but ...myself, somehow. It is a low, steady drumbeat of emotions, and I feel the connection between that part of me and the rest of myself joining in the drumbeat as if it were a chorus. Trying to describe it seems to lessen it, to rob the feeling of some integral part of its nature. It feels so right, doing what I am doing, though...
Beneath me, the familiar's cheeks are as red as her hair. Her breasts, covered an elaborately lacy black brassiere, heave up and down as she breathes quickly.
She is ...excited?
I had expected her to try and take control back from me, but... that smile of hers looks hopeful, somehow, and her wide red eyes gaze at me with awe and anticipation.
That deep, thudding drumbeat grows stronger, like war drums.
I remember the drums.
...Well, of course. No wonder I enjoy it. No wonder she did this.
I grin, and her breath catches as I lean down, putting my face near her own. "Little devil, you are more perceptive than I gave you credit for." Her body shudders for several seconds as the voice pours from my lips, feeling like the most natural thing in the world.
"Th-thank you, Alice..." she says, sounding almost shy. It's so unexpected I nearly laugh, but get it under control at the last moment, and turn it into an amused chuckle. I reach down to my hips and focus a fraction of my magic on the miniature threads of Outsider fabric of the pantyhose. They part noiselessly, removing the last barrier between the wetness growing beneath them and the air.
"You may continue," I tell her, pushing my pelvis forward towards her. She licks those soft, lovely lips of hers in eagerness, wriggles down a bit, and then begins to lap, lick, and caress my womanhood with her tongue. I hum appreciatively, and reach back behind me, seizing her tail. There is a muffled squeak from between my thighs, but as I begin to stroke it, her alarm turns into a happy, quiet moan.
My head lolls back slightly as I close my eyes, and enjoy the attentions of the demon girl. And all the while, the steady, deep drumbeats of my legacy pound out their rhythm in my veins, drowning out the lewd sounds echoing in the room.
Nothing, before today, has felt so good, or so indescribably right.
Things wind down around early afternoon, the following day.
The sheets are stained, rumpled, and the entire room smells of lovemaking and, faintly, oleander. My hair, long since freed from its ribbons, is a scattered, uneven mess. My bangs stick to my brow, clinging to the sheen of sweat there. I am hungry for something to eat, and my throat feels a little raw. I feel sore in places I wasn't aware I could feel sore.
I am also immensely satisfied.
The little devil is snuggled up next to me, still occasionally trembling, looking a bit dazed, but smiling happily like a schoolgirl with a crush. Her fingers toy with a lock of blonde hair that hands between us.
She sighs, and I take that as my cue to ask something that popped into my mind somewhere between the ice cubes and when she demonstrated how frighteningly flexible she was. Actually, it had been on my mind since... since the first time, but now I was asking it because I wanted to know, not out of confusion and anger.
"Tell me, little devil..."
"Mmm?" She looks up at me, eyes lidded, but inquisitive.
I'm sure I know the answer, and I all but said as much earlier. But I wanted to hear it from her lips. ...Her, full, delectable, sof— ah, getting carried away.
Closing her eyes, she gives a soft giggle. "You already know, don't you? We're from the same place, after all..."
Good... But just to be absolutely sure: "I wasn't aware there was a family of devils in Bucuresti. You don't even have the acce—"
"Pffft. Are you really trying to feed me that cover story, Alice?" Amused, she shakes her head slightly, causing that blood-red hair to rub softly against my skin. "Does it actually fool anyone?"
I think about that for a moment, feeling my satisfied grin turn into a smaller, more private smile. "Almost everyone, so far."
I run a hand of my own through her hair as I answer her. "Reimu didn't recognize me, and Marisa never knew. Mima hasn't said a word, but she would have used it against me by now if she did know. And Yuuka... I think knows, but doesn't really care. Same with Patchouli." I lift my shoulders in a slight shrug. "To everyone else, I'm just the youkai woman with the dolls."
The familiar giggles. "Not to me~"
"...Oh? And what am I to you, little devil?"
She pulls herself up a little, and we share a slow, sensual kiss before she answers.