Sympathy for the Devil

by Jukebox

Tags: #dom:female #f/f #f/m #hypnosis #pov:bottom #sub:female #covert_hypnosis #covert_hypnosis_(implied) #hypnotized #kidnapping #masturbation #sub:male

Lian discovers an ugly secret hidden away in the basement of her mentor’s psychiatric hospital, and must decide whether his warnings about his old partner can be believed.

"Well, someone's a clever girl." The low, husky drawl drifted sinuously out of the darkness into Lian's ears, a confident purr that belied the harsh environment of the cell. It didn't sound like the voice of a woman who'd spent seven years down here among the gloom and shadows with no one to talk to except herself; it sounded warm, soothing, the kind of voice you could imagine unburdening all your troubles to. Lian found herself shivering with terrified fascination. She closed the door behind her, gripping the key tightly in her left hand to reassure herself of its presence.

The woman in the shadows continued to speak despite the lack of a response. "What was it that gave Daniel away?" she asked. As Lian's eyes adjusted, she saw a pale face, framed by long dark hair, staring out from behind the Plexiglass barrier that separated her from her visitor--well, it would be pale, wouldn't it? Johanna Kraen hadn't seen the sunlight in close to a decade. "It was probably the requisitions, wasn't it? Seventeen patients according to the paperwork, but here he is buying enough food for eighteen. Was that how you noticed me, clever girl? Did I finally nibble my way to someone's attention?"

Despite her fear, a tiny smile dimpled Lian's tan, rounded cheeks. "It--it was the staffing numbers," she said nervously, trying to tell herself that it was okay to engage Kraen in conversation despite Doctor Okorie's lurid, paranoid stories. "We had two employees on the books who didn't have any assigned role in the hospital's hierarchy. I followed them down into the sub-basement, and found this room. When I talked to Da--Doctor Okorie about it, he.. he told me about you." She knew that every tiny hesitation, every pause in her speech and hitch in her breath, told the woman in the cell volumes about Lian's state of mind. She couldn't escape the feeling that she was made of glass, that the stranger was looking right through her to see what was inside her head at every moment of their conversation.

Johanna chuckled. "Oh, I'll just bet he did," she snarled bitterly, a cynical laugh escaping her sneering lips. "I'm sure he was full of fascinating stories about his old partner. Is my name still above the doors of the institute? Does he make excuses for me, tell everyone that I'm engaged on important research or away at a very long conference in Switzerland? Or has he simply buried my role in his distinguished career?" She paused, her expression softening. "I'm sorry," she said, the soothing warmth returning to her voice. "I'm sure he's something of a hero to you. It must be very disconcerting to discover that he's capable of an action like this."

"N-no, it's fine," Lian replied, even though it wasn't fine at all. She hated how easily she was being manipulated into accepting Doctor Kraen's outbursts, conditioned through targeted social pressure to defer to the other woman. But recognizing a pattern of behavior wasn't the same as correcting it. "He... he doesn't speak of you. When he does, it's to say that you had a nervous breakdown and you're being cared for privately."

Johanna greeted the news with a derisive snort. "By two orderlies who are completely deaf, and not a single visitor in seven years. Did he mention that to you, clever girl? Did he tell you that your voice is the first I've heard since he drugged my drink and locked me away down here? He won't even come to see me himself. He writes me letters, sends them down with the daily papers and the journals I still subscribe to. I can't reply, of course--no pen, no ink. Even if I did, all my correspondence is burned in front of me. This is an oubliette, you see. A place where communication goes to die." The bitterness returned to her tones, an undercurrent of anger in a plea for sympathy. Lian tried to remind herself that Doctor Kraen deserved none.

It worked too well. "Can you really blame him?" Lian asked, breaking her own stricture against engaging in debate with the prisoner with the same disconcerting ease that had drawn her into conversation with Johanna. "He told me everything you did in those last few months, all the things you--you convinced people to do, the experiments you engaged in." She cursed herself for that moment of hesitation, almost certainly a tell to someone as well-versed in reading people as Doctor Kraen. She might as well have put up a flashing neon sign that said, 'I'm Afraid of Being Hypnotized.' "He... he called you a monster."

A slow, triumphant smirk spread across Johanna's face. "Oh, let's not mince words, clever girl. I've read volumes of his correspondence over the years. I know exactly what he thinks of me. He called me the very devil itself." She paused, baiting the hook with silence. "Did he tell you why that was?"

Lian shook her head. The confession of ignorance terrified her, an unforced error in the game that she suddenly realized she was playing with the older woman. She didn't know the rules, she didn't know the stakes, but she understood with numb dread that she was nowhere near as skilled as her opponent. "N-no, I... no," she murmured, desperate to fill the silence and certain that Johanna would use that desperation against her from now on.

Johanna sighed, rising from the low bench on the far wall and crossing to the Plexiglass barrier. "It was a private joke between us back at the beginning, a play on the old quote about the devil quoting scripture to his purpose. He thought I was a little too glib, you see, a little too confident in my ability to argue people around to my point of view. We laughed about it, back in happier times. Back before his paranoia got the better of him." Her expression softened, becoming wistful and melancholy. "We thought we were going to change the world then. Revolutionize the study of the human mind. Perhaps he still will."

Lian shook her head in furious denial. "No, no, he's not--he showed me evidence. You recorded the sessions, you made videotapes of everything you did. You made those people--" Lian's voice choked off, unable to get the enormity of her emotion out through her tiny, choked-off throat. She was grateful that the darkened room and her tawny skin hid her blush--she didn't think of herself as a sheltered woman, she'd studied paraphilias and provided therapy to all sorts of people with frankly astonishing fetishes. But those videos had left her squirming in discomfort by the end. She would have switched them off if Daniel hadn't insisted that Lian needed the full context to understand why he'd taken such extreme measures.

It was discomfort, she told herself. Nothing more than that.

But Johanna didn't seem to believe her private insistences. "I know it must have been... confusing for you," she purred, her pause insinuating another kind of emotion lurking in the recesses of Lian's mind. "But I assure you, I had a reason for everything I did. For all that we've been studying hypnosis since Mesmer, it remains as much the province of frauds and charlatans as it belongs to psychiatry. We know that it works, we know that the trance state is every bit as real as sleep or hallucination, but beyond that? It's as deep and as dark as the Marianas Trench."

She began to pace the length of the cell, warming to her subject as only a woman who's been alone with the sound of her own voice for seven years could. "The truth is, hypnosis has never been subject to the kind of rigorous, controlled psychological studies that other branches of the field have. For every one researcher who's playing around with an MRI machine, another dozen have written the entire concept off as the domain of stage magicians and television psychics. It's simply too difficult to find a true control, to prove that a mesmerized subject is genuinely acting under the influence of the hypnotist and not their own volition. I'm sure you've discussed the problem with Daniel from time to time yourself."

Johanna's footsteps clicked rhythmically back and forth, each step as measured as a metronome. "Think about it. Think about the scope of human behavior, its breadth and depth, its triumphs and tragedies. The same man might be gentle and loving to his family, warm and kind to everyone he knows... and then, at the command of a general, willing to march off to a foreign country and shoot a hundred strangers. How can you prove the influence of hypnosis in a world where something like that can happen? Moreover, how can you prove it ethically? I may be a devil, but I have no interest in hurting anyone. There are limits to even my hunger for knowledge, I assure you."

Lian tried to shut the sound of those soft, measured footsteps out. She tried to look away, to keep herself from being drawn in to the motion of the bright orange jumpsuit as it paced with rigid precision. "But while humanity has always found itself flexible on the subject of violence, we're often far more... Puritanical... when it comes to sex. Oh, Kinsey might have demonstrated that our public personas stray far from our private morality, but even he would have been the first to tell you that an attitude toward sexual behavior, once formed, proves highly durable. A person's true sexual identity is a core element of their personality. Isn't that right, clever girl?"

Lian visibly tensed at the jab, unable to hide her startled reaction. Was it that obvious? Even to a trained expert in human behavior like Johanna Kraen, was it really so clear that Lian was attracted to women that she broadcast it to an almost total stranger within minutes? (Minutes. It was minutes, wasn't it? Lian suddenly found herself worrying about time distortion, a sure symptom of a trance state, but she didn't look at her watch. She didn't want to give away her anxiety now.)

"So if you could assemble a complete picture of someone's sexual identity--their orientation, the gender they assign to themselves, their comfort with certain common practices in the alternative sexual communities--you could discover a genuinely rigid, inflexible part of their core personality," Johanna continued, not waiting for a response. "You would have your control, a true control to measure your experimentation against. And best of all, it was almost completely free of the capacity for harm. If I hypnotized someone into shooting their own mother in the middle of a public place, I'd be a party to murder and I still wouldn't have proved anything. After all, people kill their own families every day. But if I could convince a straight, prudish virgin to disrobe for me...."

That was all it took to open the floodgates of memory. Lian saw in her mind's eye a trembling, shy woman slowly melting over the course of multiple sessions into a blank, beatific slave for Doctor Kraen. She remembered the sound of the patient's drowsy monotone as she begged to be whipped until long red welts covered her back. She recalled in vivid detail the pure pleasure that the hypnotized subject took in fellating the fake cock that jutted from Johanna's pussy, deep-throating the silicone shaft until the submissive woman's lips caressed the shaven flesh of the dominant's pubic mound. It distantly occurred to Lian that Johanna would have a soft, fluffy bush down there after seven years. No razors allowed in the cells, after all.

And that was just one subject. There were so many more. Lian watched them all at Daniel's insistence, taking the recordings back to her own office on a thumb drive and going through them one by one at her desk. The African-American woman with the curvy belly and voluptuous breasts, openly masturbating on the therapy couch with her eyes tightly shut as she moaned out mantras of obedience. The leggy white blonde who went from chilly disinterest in men to fucking one of Johanna's other subjects while the psychiatrist watched with rapt fascination in her dark, glittering eyes. The two men who showed up at the same time for a double-booked appointment, only to realize that they were following a post-hypnotic suggestion when they fell into trance for her and began to play with each other's cocks.

"You're beginning to understand, pretty girl," Johanna cooed softly, never interrupting the rhythm of her pacing even for a moment.  "You can see how much there is to learn, how many breakthroughs we can make if only we set aside the paranoid concerns of prudes and bluenoses and concentrate on what's truly important. I've already learned so much about hypnosis. You saw for yourself on the tapes. You heard how much more effective my inductions got, how much more irresistible they became as I studied my subjects and learned how to overcome their objections. Can you imagine what you could do with those same skills, clever girl?"

Lian could. She barely even noticed the room around her now, her eyes automatically and unseeingly following the motion of Johanna's pacing as she pictured herself in the other woman's place in those tapes. It was amazing--Lian watched every single one, and there was never a failure among them. No matter how hard all those patients tried, eventually they succumbed to Doctor Kraen's hypnotic power. Some of them were seduced slowly, over the course of dozens of sessions, but Doctor Kraen always had a way of lulling them back for visit after visit despite their better judgment until they no longer had the power to think for themselves. Until they were nothing but mindless, obedient slaves.

"I know that some small, petty people might be frightened of that kind of power. But you're more visionary than that, aren't you?" Lian nodded absently, not even realizing that her head was bobbing up and down in silent, vacant acceptance. "You know that everything we do is for a higher purpose, for the betterment of humanity. You're not frightened of the truth. You don't want to lock it away in a small, dark room because you feel like it threatens your own meager talents. No, you're better than that. You're stronger than that. It's okay to be honest with me and admit it. That's why you really came down here, isn't it? Because you knew that Doctor Okorie puts limits on you. And I don't."

The mention of Daniel's name should have shocked Lian out of her reverie, convinced her to abandon her quixotic desire to understand the motives behind the unconscionable act that her mentor finally admitted performing. But Lian was lost in the vision that Doctor Kraen wove around her, fascinated by the power that the other woman held. Power that could be hers. Her fingers twitched, gently brushing against the fabric of her skirt as her hand moved unconsciously in the direction of her slick and soaking cunt. The tingling heat of her earlier orgasm still lingered, a shameful memory that her thoughts tiptoed carefully around. But god, the sessions were so fucking hot....

"That's it, clever girl," Johanna purred, her tones sweet and soft and coaxing in Lian's ears. "We both know you didn't ask permission to see me. You came down here all on your own, because you knew that you wanted the knowledge only I could provide. You wanted to carry on my work, tending the garden I planted so we could watch it blossom together. It's alright. I promise I won't tell anyone. How can I? You're the first person I've spoken to in seven years. We can study together, you and I. And I can teach you so many wonderful lessons. I can show you how to take everything you want. Everything." Lian nodded. She couldn't stop nodding now. It all sounded so wonderful.

Then Lian realized what her hand was doing. "Oh!" she squeaked, the warm sensation of her damp panties against her already-slick fingers startling her back to consciousness with a jolt of embarrassment. "I, I was just... just...." She fumbled for a justification for her actions, even as her shocked and humiliated brain reminded her that there was no way she could explain away openly masturbating in the middle of a conversation with a complete stranger. She felt stripped of all her defenses, as though she'd taken off her skirt instead of simply slipping her hand into the waistband of her underwear to play with her pussy.

But Johanna only smiled indulgently. "It's okay, clever girl," she murmured softly, her expression warm and welcoming. "You were simply enjoying yourself, that's all. Believe me, we're very much kindred spirits in that regard. There's not much else for me to do down here." Johanna reached up and tugged down her zipper, slipping off the orange jumpsuit to reveal a pair of pert breasts and a muff of dark, curly pubic hair. "You needn't ever feel uncomfortable about physical pleasure around me, I assure you. I trust I can enjoy the same privilege?"

Lian squirmed awkwardly. She knew she was ceding a deeply-held personal boundary, allowing the other woman to loan-shark her into accepting nudity and mutual masturbation as a fait accompli, but it was hard to stand there with her hand still jammed down her skirt and claim that she was keeping their interaction strictly professional. Lian felt trapped. She felt helpless. She still felt dazed and floaty from their earlier conversation, unable to properly process any of the events of the last few minutes. (Minutes?) "Y-yes," she said at last. She didn't know what else to say.

"That's a good girl," Johanna whispered. One hand slid down into her nest of pubic hair, the other beckoned Lian closer. "Now, my clever student... I think it's time for our first lesson to begin. Don't you?" Her fingers began to move, and despite herself Lian mirrored the motion. Slowly, languidly, the younger woman's gaze became vacant and heavy-lidded. And the devil's work began anew.


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