December 11

Jubes was fascinated. Sara was standing in an otherwise blank spot and cooking in and with thin air. Her eyes were closed shut and her demeanor was almost that of a sleepwalker, save for the muttered instructions that were clear and precise.
She knew that, somewhere below in the big kitchen, Betsy was learning to cook through a mental link.
_Damn, *I* could learn just by watching,_ she mused. She could clearly picture the utensils 'held' by Sara... and she was certainly picking up technique, if nothing else.
It didn't even matter that her prime seat to view it was right next to Dead Fred - a decoration that had previously squicked her out to the ultimate degree.
Sara smiled again. That shy little smile that implied warm thoughts.
_Yo, Bets... Is she sneaking peeks at her SO?_
_You bet your ass she is,_ Betsy 'replied'. _Now shut up, this is a tricky bit._


It was possibly the creepiest thing he'd witnessed in his life. There was Betsy. He *knew* Betsy. She did some modelling work when school allowed and was a very lovely lass who did exactly nothing for him... but when she made herself a puppet for Sara, moving *exactly* like her...
It squicked him out, to use a Jubillee phrase.
On one hand was the essence of Sara... yet held in a body that was decidedly *not* her. And on the other hand... it wasn't Sara at all.
Just a puppet.
Mort satisfied his need for distracting work by contributing to the organized chaos of the kitchens. He stuck to stuff that he knew he'd be careful with. Hot things, mostly. Which meant frequent trips to the fridges to rehydrate. Frequent passes by the Betsy-puppet, glimpsing at him in Sara's way... and the wrong-coloured eyes.
Sara's words - and the wrong voice.
Sara's moves in the wrong skin.
And somewhere far away - her room, most likely - the real Sara, the pure Sara, was operating Betsy by remote and sneaking little peeks of him.
So close, as they said, and yet so far.
Even though it deeply disturbed him to be close to someone inhabited by her ghost , he couldn't truly stay away.
Because there was *just* enough of her for him to picture her there.
He could see her. But only if he didn't really look.


When a body assumes, it is said, they make an ass out of you and me. When Sara assumed, she made herself insignificant. For instance, Sara was assuming that many of her invitees would find themselves forced to make a choice between important business and her coming of age, and decide against the latter. Sara always assumed she was less important than anything or anyone.
She was turning seventeen, today. Almost of age. One year away from legal freedom and adulthood.
It should matter, according to Mortimer, to everyone who knew her.
It mattered plenty to him...
He tucked the most important gift in the world - at least to his secret heart and soul - into his coat pocket, straightened himself out and left his room. He was not the only one dressed up for the occasion. Even Kurt, the resident scarecrow, was looking suitably dapper in a suit with more tails than the one his god gave him.

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