Stage Fright


by leopoldine_glitch

Tags: #bimbofication #dubious_consent #exhibitionism #humiliation #sub:female #transgender_characters #chastity #dom:female #f/f

"You heard everything though?" Stephanie tried to sound calm. She had some performance training herself. An amateur next to Anya no doubt, but drilled on the basics. And that included keeping emotions in check. But the official performance was over, and the mask was slipping. Manipulations of this kind were a legal grey area, so Anya had claimed. Mesmerism was a science as much as it was an art, and on both counts their subject had nominally committed to the process. But part of this had also involved interfering with the subject's memory and will long-term, and, privately, Stephanie wondered if they might have slipped. How must this look to an outsider, whose appreciation of science and taste for art was less refined than the inner circle of Anya and the theatre society? At such moments, Stephanie began to question her own motivations. And they *were* questionable.

Back in the summer, when Stephanie had become a part of that circle, she'd been impressed by the audacity of Anya's scheme. But there was something more than that, and Stephanie knew it all too well. Anya's insight into mesmerism and the finer parts of behavioural conditioning were every bit as formidable as her prodigious skill as an actress, and that filled her with an emotion she could not, at first, account for.

She recalled first feeling it on seeing Anya's second year performance as Hyppolita in Midsummer Night's Dream. At the time she put it down to professional jealousy. But it was just not her accomplishments and obnoxious talent that impressed her - Stephanie was a performer in her own right, after all. Rather it was the will behind them. That fixed, un-self conscious desire for power that she pursued with the cold rationality of a surgeon, and the arrogance of a virtuoso. Watching Anya perform night after night, guardedly engaging her in conversation, witnessing the bewitching effect she had on peers only slightly less discerning than herself - Stephanie's feelings were becoming complicated. On the final night of the pre-Term performance season, in a moment of drunken sincerity in the dark behind the marquee, Stephanie realised that the growing emotion was not envy but fear. The kind of fear that turns rivals into collaborators. The kind that makes you sell out your friends.

Stephanie hadn't brought Emily along that night in August with any specfic intention of making her a subject. So she had thought. When Anya had confided to Stephanie her plans Stephanie had remembered only two things; an inordinate and somewhat guilty pride that Anya had deemed her worthy of initiation, and second, that Anya's description of the perfect subject described - in so many ways - her best friend.

The criteria were also not what one would have expected. Impressionable was a relative term. There were a number of specific conditions to be met. Stephanie understood the significance of most of them, but found herself reluctant to investigate those she did not. This was another uncertainty that would come back to haunt her. After all, in all those lessons she'd internalised she had yet to find a definition of impressionable that described herself. Why change that?

"I don't think there was anything I missed," Anya mused.
"But this is the closest she's come to outright disobedience since her conditioning began."
"Was it really disobedience though?"

This made Stephanie pause, and wonder if there was any part of the lessons - her initiation into hypnosis - she'd forgotten.

"Think about it; everything she did - coming here, stating her case, bargaining - at no part was there any hint of a conviction that any of this would work?"
"But then why come? - wait. She needed to confirm. But not confirm because she already knew."
"Go on..."

Stephanie was returning to first principles. Anya, she supposed, would be pleased. The act of hypnosis was to blur those barriers that divide the conscious and subconscious. Once inside, the hypnotist could tap into those unconscious desires, lay them bare, draw them out into the cold light of the rational mind. But then go further. By adjusting the rational mind in such a way that those unconscious parts - those fragile assemblages of desire and fear - could coexist, a great many things would then become possible.

"She knew I wouldn't help her - that suffering the humiliations we've prepared for her is her only option. She didn't come to confirm that - she came to know what it would feel like have her little scheme fall apart in front of her."

"Precisely - remember, the embarrassment is the point. It’s the impossibility of the situation that keeps her in a constant state of indecision and therefore under our control. Shame, impotent rage, unquestioning obedience, defiance and respect. These contradictions must exist at once for our conditioning to hold. No doubt they require constant upkeep.”

“And that’s what our little games are for”, Stephanie chimed in.

“Well, not just that.”

Stephanie broke into a wicked smile. In moments like these Anya's cruelty ceased being implacable. Now the feeling was mutual, and every bit as sweet as watching Emily squirm.

"We're taking a lot of risks with the pieces of her reason we've kept intact, but we knew this would be the case. We've more than got this in hand. Your friend's capacity for withstanding humiliation is every bit as keen as her capacity to feel it. And I'm impressed, really. But still..."

Anya brought her hand to her lips in a gesture of thought that felt like a private joke.

"Some reinforcement will be necessary before we send her out tomorrow."
"Of course. I laid out a couple of strategic triggers - she should pick them up once she's in the water. And I've got a little extra something prepared for her tomorrow, too. Even futile disobedience can't go unpunished."

"Good girl!"

Taken off guard, Stephanie flinched - visibly this time. She'd forgotten just what a potent tool Anya's voice really was.

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