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Looking for Solutions
I wrote this to aldersprig's prompt "Rensa, and something to give her some peace."

“In some ways,” the therapist said calmly, “it would be easier if you were still being abused.  Instead, the only ongoing abuse is that you can’t leave.”  She looked at Rensa with a considering gaze.

“But I don’t want to leave Yannic,” protested Rensa, “I…like him, a lot, and I want to have this baby and more after this one.”

“But you’re afraid someone will take the babies away from you?”

“Apparently,” she sighed.  “In my dreams, anyway.”

“Pregnant women do, occasionally, develop some odd ideas,” allowed the therapist, “so in this case we need to be able to determine whether it’s that or something more akin to a disease state.  Have you ever talked to anyone about your experiences on the day the Palace was sacked or on your pilgrimage?”

“A little, only to skim over it really.  The only people for me to talk to are Yannic’s cousin Mirren or people who were there.”  Rensa paused, “The ones who were there know and I don’t want to upset Mirren by telling her what her friends did that day.”

“So, there’s no-one you can talk to about these things?”  The therapist made some notes on her clipboard, “Have you considered developing other friendships?”

“I don’t meet other people on a regular basis, not to talk to freely.”  Rensa shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

“I think we may need to change that,” said the therapist briskly.  “Now, what were your interests before the regime changed?”

“My accounting, financial and economic studies, oh and reading.”  Rensa added, “I would have liked to have tried more handiwork, but materials were usually in short supply.”

“And what would you like to do now, if there were no constraints on your behaviour?  If you didn’t have to be Empress?”  The therapist smiled encouragingly.

Rensa thought for a moment and asked, “Could I still be married to Yannic?”

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Even in her old life, he would have been practically perfect. The extended family would have fought, very politely, over who got to marry him - he's less related to them than any other possible man!

<nod> She does need to get out more and interact with people who weren't involved with the revolution. And a hobby or two wouldn't be bad, either. I doubt either would fix anything, but they might give her some space to start uncurling a bit.

Dunno whether her attachment to Yannic is a healthy one or not ...

He is doing his best to be a good husband...

What about that nice lady - the clever intern at the dress store?

Maybe she should start a book club on the side.

Mirren's next task - assemble a circle of friends for Rensa?

I'm not sure that revolution-vetted "friends" would be a step in the right direction ...

Hrrm, a point.

But non-revolution vetted friends have _other_ problems.

Not necessarily! Well, okay, it's a story, so anyone she befriends is going to have attached plot, but most people aren't going to be any sort of security risk. (And Imperial security can check them out quietly after she's met them instead of pre-screening. That'd be at least a smidge less creepy and controlling.)

Without prohibiting them from suggesting people they think she'd like?

Tricky to do without it looking like vetting. Appearances and policy both matter, here, I think. Ideally, she'd develop her own network of contacts, social and political, but the situation is rather a long way from ideal.

Just thinking people who aren't vetted by the revolution might end up being counter-revolutionaries wanting to use Rensa.

At the moment, the only possible Emperor is Yannic...

...Point. And he made sure other people knew that, didn't he?

Some, but there are far more people who don't have much of a political agenda (the one who sent back the sketchbook leaps to mind), or who even if they have agendas that aren't strictly pro-revolutionary aren't going to do anything worse than bend her ear a bit looking for an advocate. I'm not saying don't check up on people, especially if they're actively pursuing the association, but do it quietly after it's clear that they're interesting, not preemptively.

They'll have to work out a balance.

I see your logic.

I don't see ... M-name... her assigned companion as badly as you do, I think. I think she's better at looking out for Rensa's well-being than, sometimes, Rensa herself is.

Mirren is certainly looking out for Rensa's physical well-being more aggressively than Rensa is. I'm not sure she has much sense of Rensa's mental well-being or how to help on that front. Dunno if she has or is being pushed into an Agenda.


Perhaps we should prompt more-from-Mirren's-p-o-v next prompt call?

Sounds like a plan. Last time we saw her POV she was a wee bit stressed about her relationship ...

Let me finish this lot of prompts first, okay?

Mirren isn't quite revolutionary mainstream so she is a step in the right direction.

She sure looks like she's right there in the thick of things -- and is Rensa's assigned handler.

She's Yannic's cousin, whom he trusts. He gave her the job because of who she was, not what, but yes, she knows their group without having been a member or participant.

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