It wasn't Jackson's first time at a recreational hypnosis convention, but for this Charmed, he was hoping to make it the most memorable, even if he got swept up in an amnesic trance. The cons he'd attended before were more observing experiences, learning a lot, seeing a lot, but mostly from a distance. He was used to being a wallflower in many aspects of his life, but hypno was where it came easiest, and also where he was trying to break that habit as best he could and put himself out there to experience in great depth what others seem to easily get into.
He was glad that several trance practice classes were being held this year, and that when the teacher suggested pairing off, he found himself close to a nice-looking young woman who seemed as eager as he was to engage.
"Hi, I'm Maven."
"Jackson. Nice to meet you Maven."
The pair shook hands, pulling their chairs close to each other as everyone else in the class began to, grouping together to practice trance techniques amongst themselves.
"So, are you new to hypnosis?" Jackson asked his class partner.
"Sort of. Have learned a few things; looking forward to learn as much as I can with hypnosis from the top side of things; it's all interesting for me. How about you?"
"Same for me, but I'm on the subject end of the spectrum."
"That works for me," Maven smiled.
"Have to warn you though, I'm not that good a subject. I do try, and I'm willing to try with you, but I'm a bit weird with it."
"Well," Jackson thought for a succinct response, realizing he had to describe what amounted almost solely to feelings he'd not discussed often. "Trance doesn't come that easy to me like everyone else.
"So what kind of inductions or modalities do you respond to the best?"
"I like audio, but I think my strongest are visual and kinesthetic," Jackson spoke, his casual voice laced with hopeful anticipation. For someone with few chances of receiving live trances, Jackson tried as hard as he could to hide his joy, at the possibility, and the look in Maven's eye that hinted at she liked his response, and could be as excited as he was.
"I can definitely work with those. Now, do I have your consent to touch you, on your hand or your arm? Is there any part that you're not ok with?"
"Anywhere you want to touch is fine with me. If something doesn't feel ok, I'll speak up."
"Good, now," Maven extended her upward-facing palm toward him. "If you'd like a tactile induction, you can give me your left hand."
Jackson tried hard to keep the pace of placing his hand on Maven's warm palm slow and not too giddy.
"That's good, and you can just take a deep breath for me. That's right, deeply in...and deeply out. Good, already starting to feel more relaxed than you were a second ago, and with each breath you take, and second that passes, you can find the relaxation as a constant, something pleasantly enduing, perhaps profoundly so. So the next deep breath you take could be even more profound, as you breathe in slowly....and breathe out just as slowly. That's good. Feeling really relaxed yet?"
"I think so," Jackson said, a light-headed tone making his words softer than he expected.
"Sounds like a good sign to me, and as you continue to relax, more and more with each breath, you can notice my finger rubbing circles over the top of your hand. You can feel it, notice it a little more than most things in the room, even pay attention to it until it's all you want to focus on. Background noises, voices of other people in the class practicing, you can let those fade off in the distance. Maybe my voice becomes a little clearer, isolated, or the only sound you're aware of, just like that feeling of relaxation running though you with every breath, with ever circle my finger draws on your skin..."
Jackson felt caught off-guard by how smoothly the induction seemed to be going. It wasn't his first trance practice class at this con, finding hypnotists whose skills were deemed at least amenable to his senses. Maven seemed like a natural at getting his senses to ascribe to gently-spoken words, better than he was expecting.
Maybe it was her probably involuntary affect that matched his that put him at ease. Maybe it was how practiced she seemed at taking his hand creating gently flowing relaxation that started to flow easily throughout him. Maybe it was the look in her eye that showed a pleasant confidence, besides the pretty blue color that he found it easy to fixate on.
"I see you've noticed my eyes as you continue to relax and listen to me more." Maybe it was how keen she already seemed at noticing Jackson's reactions, and what might drive him deeper.
"That's totally fine, stare as long as you like, but don't be at all afraid if your eyes start to get a little heavy, a little drowsy. Relaxation has a way of making eyelids want to close a little bit, and then a little more. The sensation of them closing feeling as nice as the sensation to stare, sharing space with the feeling of how nice it is to keep relaxing more and more, until those eyelids close, and you can....simply....sleep."
Jackson found is eyes closed half a second past realizing his vision had darkened. Maven's words came out clear to his mind, even though paying attention to some of the words seemed secondary. He may have heard and he could totally feel how good a hypnotee he was, a thought that made the corners of his mouth turn to smile a little. He stayed like that until a finger snap near his ear woke him.
"Welcome back," he heard Maven's greeting. She smiled as he blinked his eyes in surprise a few times, still taking in a trance he was obviously surprised had gone so smoothly. Thankfully he didn't seem surprised that she was capable of being a good hypnotist, but more that he was capable of being a good subject.
"Wow," he muttered, almost as if to himself.
"How was that?"
"I...didn't expect that to be so easy."
"Heh, maybe you're a better subject than you give yourself credit for."
"Maybe..." he tried not arguing the details about more past trance experiences that didn't work versus the ones that did.
"Would you like to practice again? What would you think about an anticipation induction?"
He tried to remember what an anticipation induction was supposed to be like. It didn't sound back, but her eagerness and recent performance sold her offer to him the most.
"Sure, I'm up for that."
"I still have your consent for touch, right?"
"Yes, you still have it."
"Good, then as you give me your left hand again, you can start to focus on my left hand, or the index finger of my left hand, moving, swaying gently from side-to-side, starting to move in circles. Easy-to-follow circles that your eyes follow effortlessly. They make relaxing circles for your eyes like the finger on your hand making relaxing circles for you body again."
It had barely occurred to him what Maven was doing with his hand in hers again, already too relaxed to focus on much else besides her voice and finger.
"Gentle circles, gentle spin cycles, moving around and around, one after the other. And maybe your eyes barely notice, but still notice, how much closer my finger is getting after every moment. It's like every second that passes, every word I speak, and the anticipation building inside you, just brings my finger closer and closer towards you. Wanting it to come closer, so intrigued to see what a hypnotist's finger will do to a good hypnotee."
Jackson watched, like Maven told him, somehow aware of how that finger closed the distance, rising ever so slightly, until by the time it came within inches of his forehead, his eyes had to look up, to feel it softly press to his forehead as she told him to "sleep."
Eyes closed and back to floating in relaxation, he wanted to marvel at how successful a practice he was, but was content to sit, relax, and listen to Maven emphasizing the positive lassitude, praising how good a subject he was. An unbidden smile came easily to his tranced face, remaining there even as a finger snap woke him.
"Wow, you are...really good."
"Thanks, I still feel new to all this," Maven admitted, almost shyly.
"I never would've guessed that."
"There's always a lot to learn, but every little thing to learn is big and amazing in it's own way; that might be the thing I love about hypnosis the most."
"Maybe me too," he felt his senses coming down from the high of his favorite experience of the con so far.
The class continued on with more demonstrations and useful examples that both Maven and Jackson took note of, Jackson constantly wondering in the back of his mind how well Maven could use those techniques as well. As the class ended, he made a point to catch up with Maven after and thank her.
"Hey Maven, just wanted to say thanks again for the great experience in class."
"Thanks, I enjoyed that too. It's nice to be able to come to these things and get exposure to a lot of this stuff instead of just online."
"I agree, in-person makes a world of difference," nodded to Maven's assertion.
"So, what do you think about being a hypnotee now? More convinced of being good at it?" Maven questioned Jackson with curiosity a little, wondering if her effect changed his earlier claim.
"Well, honestly I didn't go that deep since I was leaning in the chair and didn't want to fall out or onto you; I had to keep my balance up consciously while enjoying your voice."
"I'm glad you didn't fall out of your chair too; need to keep appropriate suggestions for that in-mind next time."
"Good idea, and I hope there's a next time with you."
"There's a decent possibility I think; maybe tonight, if I'm free."
"If you're free, I would like that. And hopefully I'll be even more convinced of being a good subject by then."
That made Maven smile nearly lopsidedly. "Do you usually doubt yourself this often?"
"With most things? No. Hypnosis though...maybe it's just the way I look at it, unlike others. They say that people go into trance all the time, everyday, without being aware of it. My judgment of it all draws a line between what could be everyday hypnosis, and what we just did in class."
Jackson received a long look to his words, fortunately seeing an expression that didn't look at all negative, but elevated his curiosity as he grew more and more sure her face showed a lot of it. After a long minute or two of silence, she finally spoke.
"Would you mind if I tried to help convince you of what I'm seeing?"
"How do you mean?"
"I mean a quick affirmation trance, building off of what we just did, and a small affirmation trigger for your benefit, something keyed only to me and only for this weekend."
Jackson took a long minute for himself, remembering that he was still in-between classes and had to consider the next one he'd attend, but not willing to turn down what looked to be another successful experience.
"Sounds good to me."
"Good, let's have a seat for a moment."
She led him to one of the free couches in the con lobby area as the crowd was starting to thin out.
She extended her hand to him. "Still ok with touch?"
He smiled and placed his hand in hers again. Gently, she started tracing circles across his skin again, and just smiled at him for another long wordless minute. He enjoyed the feeling, small pangs of relaxation tugging at his awareness while soothing his senses, open to a voice that proved to be just as soothing.
"You can pay attention to whatever you like, Jackson. My face, my eyes, the colorful blur of people around us, the temperature keeping you nice and warm...any and all of it gives you that nice feeling you're very aware of now, something you felt not very long ago, something you're happy to have come back to you. But as that all happens, you can notice how the spread of things you notice start to narrow, to be filtered down. You can still notice everything else I've mentioned, but maybe in just small pieces, as a part of a bigger package of relaxation."
As Jackson's eyes narrowed along with his relaxation, he started to absently wonder if Maven was psychic, and how she knew everything that was happening to him as she pointed it out.
"The relaxation is the foundation, topped with the small surrounding pieces, and bigger complementary pieces you can really, acutely notice, better than others. That finger, drawing circles of your hand, suddenly draw so much attention to you now. It could've been the first thing you've noticed from the start, beginning to stir everything I've talked about into that narrow sense of relaxation, swimming along the currents of my voice, flowing through you, always guiding you into further relaxation."
Despite dimming thoughts, he was proud of himself to notice how she never used the conversational tone that segued into the hypnotic tone of voice, and how she never had to since the tone caught him from the onset and was something he was all but willing to listen to.
"The finger stirring relaxation into your skin, my voice swirling around your mind, you are just so relaxed, so very hypnotized, so very aware that your hypnotized. And the more relaxed you feel, the more you can start to realize that it is not just me even being a good, or a great hypnotist to your mind; it means that you are a good, even a great hypnotic subject, a great hypnotee. The doubt you had about yourself before seems so trivial now, and when you really think about it, you can accept that how good a hypnotee you are, that's no longer up for debate..."
Deep sighs coupled with crooning, convincing words filling him with half-understood positivity was Jackson's awareness for what seemed like a whole class session, until he was woken up, given time to come back to his senses, and realized only five minutes had passed.
"I...don't think I'll ever get tired of that, ironically," he added feeling the compulsion to yawn, making them both laugh.
"I know, right? Even after all of it is scientifically explained, it's still this marvel that just gets to you?"
"You have no idea." It took Jackson another minute to realize who he was talking to and the kind of con he was at again, prompting another shared laugh.
"Oh, I've got some idea. And I think you've got a better idea too."
"I think I do now, thank you."
"You're very welcome, this has been fun. I hope to see you later, but if circumstances don't allow, just remember with a little practice and self-confidence, some things just aren't up for debate anymore."
She left to head to her next class, leaving him with strangely appealing words, that made him feel the stirring on the back of his hand again, and with it a moment to appreciate new beliefs, that he was a really good hypnotee, and that hypnotees were really good at this. It felt as wonderful and as wordless as the energy spreading through him, either carrying or being ushered by those new beliefs.
He couldn't tell. All he could tell was how energized and ready he was for more classes.