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Story Notes:
Written for Mizzy for the International Women's Day 2011 drabble meme. Not beta-read.

Sometimes it seems like everyone who lives around Dairine treats her like a little kid. Except the wizards, and her dad.

The non-wizardly adults who know her - well, most of them seem unsure how to act when she's around, like she might explode if they say something wrong. Nita sometimes jokes that she'd never thought Dairine's temper was that bad— and it's not, unless someone threatens something or someone she loves. It's more controlled now than it's ever been, because it has to be. She thinks it's stupid that people— people who don't know where she's been and all she's done— are afraid of her.

Her classmates had always thought she was weird, but the way she was treated at school (and not just by the kids) got worse, after her mom died. So much worse she couldn't walk across the schoolyard without noticing the adults stop talking when she glanced up, even when she wasn't looking at them. They were scared she'd break. For a while, so was she, but she still had Nita, and Dad, and she wondered, How much more scared would they be if they knew I'd created a world, pretty much?

She wishes what people thought of her wasn't so important; she tries to act like it isn't.

Unfortunately, as a wizard, she's got to learn what people think and how they think, and how to deal with them. Someday she might be a Senior, and then she'd need to know. She's got to learn not to be hurt by it, but to pay attention to it anyway.

Sometimes she feels like she is a little kid, with a whole lot more power than she'd ever thought she'd have at her command.

Sometimes, she's a little afraid of what she is.

-fin



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