|Alison Blaire/Dazzler : Trying to decide whether to stay at the mansion or return to her music career, Alison gets some perspective from Xavin Majesdane.
"Because I was supposed to be happy!" she exclaimed, sitting up. "I was just so damn lonely. Everyone knew Dazzler when I was big. The bubbly happy pop idol. That was who everyone wanted to know. Nobody cared about Alison. I was defined entirely by what I could do."
She slumped. "I wanted to stop being fake. So I did. But...."
"Wow. I get not wanting to be fake anymore but I didn't know you hated it so much. It sounds... horrible. And you want to go back?" Xavin settled on the grass beside her.
"I miss it," she whispered. Her words carried in the dusk. "I shouldn't have ever missed it, but I do. Being on stage, singing, and listening to the crowd sing with me. Have you ever had twenty thousand people sing in one voice, knowing that you're the one who made that happen?"
It wasn't very diplomatic but Xavin giggled at that, just for a moment. "Sorry! I didn't mean anything by that - it's just so different to anything I've done. It sounds terrifying, actually."
"It's amazing," she marveled. "Even with everything we've done and everything I've seen since I got here, it's the closest thing to magic I've ever experienced." Alison relaxed into the grass. "And it's not just that. It's not even the parties or the awards or my name absolutely everywhere. I've helped so many people. The letters from the fans are amazing."
"Wow." Xavin picked up a fallen leaf and shredded it. "It sounds... incredible. Why aren't you going back? I mean, this place kind of sucks - everyone has so much drama and we're pretty much under lock and key for safety reasons."
"Because I don't know what to do anymore. I love this place. It's dramatic and oppressive, but it's the closest thing to a true family I've ever known. I'm free to just be who I really am, without the mask and without the pressure."
She covered her eyes with an arm, picking at the grass mildly. "You see my dilemma?" she asked, her smile wry.
Xavin gave a soft, bitter laugh, looking down at short, stubby fingers tangled in the grass. They thinned and lengthened, just for a moment, bitten nails staying the same as they changed. "You're lucky. I wouldn't know what that's like."
Alison rolled onto her stomach and propped her chin on her hands, looking up at Xavin. "How do you mean?"
Xavin shredded another leaf. "I had to make a choice last year - do I go school here as a boy or a girl? I chose boy because it's easier to hide my shifting that way and because it doesn't matter except - do you have any idea how much it fucking matters to those people?" The sun was shining on the lake, gilding the water. It was easier to study that than look at Alison. Heart pounding Xavin continued, "So I went with the one that was easier to keep up but it doesn't matter what I chose, because whichever way I went, I was going to have to spend the rest of forever in the closet over something that shouldn't matter." A wash of green spread across Xavin's hands and face for a moment, control temporarily slipping. "And now I'm freaking green. At least you can go back to being you. Not all of us can."