Warning: Hypno language
"Lady, I swear, I'm a person!" Sage cried out for what had to be the dozenth time.
The Witch sitting opposite her just peeked her eyes over her glasses, throwing the woman a look of clear condescension and sarcasm. "Uh-huh. Sure. I to~tally believe you."
"What is it going to take to prove this to you once and for all?!"
"You're asking the wrong question," the Witch replied.
"Well then enlighten me, oh Wise One."
"Well, you can't prove a negative."
Sage threw her hands up in exasperation. "Alright. You've officially lost me."
"Well, what do you believe makes a doll?"
"Oh, gee. I don't know. Cloth? Clockwork? Artifice? Magick?! Lady, hellooo~! Flesh and blood here. Granted motion by life, not Magicks. I am completely au natural," Sage retorted, emphasizing her point with a tongue in cheek hip gyration
"See? There's the error in your thinking. A doll is a being of Purpose and Stillness. The material is, funnily enough, immaterial. To prove you're a person, you'd have to prove you lack those two qualities. Thus, I reiterate, you can't prove a negative."
Finishing her lecture, the Witch took another sip from her tea while Sage sat aghast at what she'd just heard. Silence overtook them until the empty teacup clinked back down atop its saucer.
"Could I get a refill, dear?"
"Wha-oh. Yeah. Sure," Sage replied, reaching for the pot.
As she poured, Sage continued her line of questioning, "So what? You're telling me there's not a person out there who can truly claim to be a person?"
"Not half as absurd as a doll calling itself human."
That earned the Witch a glare that would cause a weaker woman to wilt, but she held her ground, simply reaching for her cup once it had been filled.
"Fine then. Proof by exclusion. You say I'm either a human or a doll. If you fail to prove I'm a doll, then by process of elimination, I must be human. You said there are only two criteria that need to be filled, so proving them should be simple, if you're so confident."
"Are you sure?" the Witch asked, her know-it-all air evaporating for the first time.
"Yes, I'm sure."
"Are you absolutely certain, dear? The realization could be quite… jarring."
"Yeah, lady, I'm sure. I'm not so weak as to crumple over a simple deba—"
"Oh no!" the Witch exclaimed. "Out of biscuits already. You can't have afternoon tea without biscuits…"
"I'll get some more fricking biscuits, but then we're continuing this!"
"Tha~nk you, dear," the Witch shouted back sarcastically, Sage already halfway to the café's counter.
When she returned, biscuits in hand, the Witch took one to let soak in the tea a moment before responding to Sage's initial question. "Very well. If it's proof you want, then it's proof you'll get."
"Finally… This whole rigmarole has been quite tireso—"
"Dear, quiet yourself a moment, please. I'm collecting my thoughts."
Sage stopped herself, awaiting the Witch's argument. And waited. And waited. Growing tired of the Witch's contemplative nibbling, Sage redirected her interests to their surroundings, anything to occupy her mind
The outdoor café they sat in was quiet that day. The hustle and bustle of the evening crowds hadn't yet arrived. Light, tingly music lilted over the speakers as the smell of the tea and biscuits wafted through the air. A gentle breeze blew her long hair around, but why tie it up?
After what seemed an eternity, the Witch finally spoke. "It's nice, isn't it? So peaceful. So tranquil. So calm. You could sit like this for hours and hardly feel time pass at all."
Sage had to agree. How long had they sat like this already, enjoying their repartee?
The Witch continued, "Time just seems to slow to a crawl, like a clock winding down. Everything gets slower… and slower… and slower. You could start it back up if you wanted. But isn't it nicer to just sit back and enjoy it?"
The Witch had a point, Sage thought.
"So just relax. Let time wind down. Let everything slow to a crawl. As that internal clock just tick—"
Sage felt herself go limp as all the world seemed to pause. She thought to panic, to get up, to yell, but…
Everything was just so nice when it was Still…
"Time winds down. Perception winds down. You wind down. You could get up if you wanted. You could leave if you wished. Or you could just sit here and be Still with me."
The Witch paused, waiting for what, Sage knew not.
"Then sit. Be Still. Let time pass you by. Nothing need disturb you. Nothing need bother you. Nothing need be thought by you. Mind racing as it always does, arguing, fighting, debating, it's tiring isn't it? Trying to do so much, think so much, be so much. Let it all be Still."
And so Sage obeyed.
"That did not go as expected..." Sage exclaimed, opening her eyes and blinking slowly.
"No, I imagine it did not."
"That was hardly a logical argument."
"No, I imagine it was not."
"Fine, I admit. You've proven I can be Still. What of the other criterion you listed?"
"Oh, that? That requires no proof. Now be a dear and go fetch another pot of tea, will you?"
Sage stood and began to walk, feeling her whole body move in a stilted, yet natural manner it never had before, Purpose guiding her back to the counter. "Yes, my Lady," the doll answered.