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An Original Transformation

Part 4

She gave a slow, resigned nod and took to fussing with her bright hair instead of her covered wrists. I leaned back and breathed in the blended aromas of the shop. Half of it was a sticky sweetness pushed out to cover up older, mustier scents.

I continued, “Or we could try the carts next. Like the free sample vendors at markets.”

According to my research, they typically weren’t the highest quality of transformation tech, same with how similar carts often sold holiday gift and food sets fluffed up for appearances but underneath was just propped up by cardboard. It might not be bad to try a sub-par transformation the first time so that when I tracked down a good one it would be a better contrast. I pitched the idea to Fleur, and she mulled on it as she traced the hot edges of her tea.

“Makes me think of when I first…was myself. I went shopping. One of those big tropes of stuff online. I wanted to indulge in all the stuff I’d never done before. Get stuff done.” Her eyes snapped to the baristas and the random people milling about on the other side of the café. They were sure not to hear but Fleur still spoke in private tones with vague phrasings.

I leaned closer and offered a smile to her. She kept her flat expression as she reminisced, “I was going to do curls with little bows. I can’t imagine how it would’ve gone. Fortunately, the hairdresser talked me out of it. It was a crazy time. I tried everything.”

I had a sense of that. Fleur had kept some photos and her journal had nice descriptions. The fancy hair period was my favorite, but she cursed that one.

She noted, “I’m not saying just trying stuff is wrong, but I regret I didn’t have more help. I embarrassed myself a lot. I’m just saying this is pretty big for you too. You’ve been waiting so long for this. And I want it to go perfectly, whenever and however it goes.”

I smiled and told her, “I know it will. And, even if it doesn’t, at least I have you.” Fleur dipped her head and kept a faint smile to herself. Between this quiet moment and when we left the café, we finally had an idea of what we might be able to do.

It came as a bit of musing aloud from Fleur. Despite her busy schedule with classes leading into college and her aspiration to be a psychologist, she still found time for video games. Typically, they were just games based on shows she watched but those often just made her clench her controllers till they cracked. I always commented when she posted them online.

Recently, she’d taken to playing different genres. An off-hand comment about character stats led her to propose, “If only there was an armor which changed your physical attributes piece by piece.”

From there, the piecemeal plan began. Fleur took out her phone and started searching for partial transformative agents. It was something I’d noticed before. People would buy girly face transformative stuff and then use it to play pranks on sleeping roommates. I had videos like that saved in bulk.

But Fleur had something different from this idea. The main problem was that even piecemeal products had a built-in time-lock. It was part of managing nanite products. Lasting changes only occurred with core genetic alterations like with Fleur’s. So that would mean we might buy a wig which would give me real, long hair but it was likely to revert before the evening was over. It would be challenging to balance it all, but it wasn’t like any transformation I’d seen attempted.

Fleur’s fingers flew over her cell's touchscreen with renewed purpose and clear, unblinking eyes as she put together a list of products we could acquire which would be within our budget. Partial transformational products would be cheaper, but we’d need to assemble it all.

Fleur put together a tentative ‘treasure hunt’ list we could use. She explained, “I had to guess, but I’ve already done my research for tonight, so that helped. Each of these items should have extended transformation cutoffs. Because they’re partial, the rules are not quite as strict as on other stuff. First off, we make your cute hair even cuter. There’s a salon down the street next to the supercenter.”

That sounded like a good first step. We discussed color along the way once we got going. I wasn’t so much into making a choice as I was grateful to see Fleur’s energy back up. I lingered at the door as a mass of harsh and pleasant odors wafted from inside the salon. It took me a moment to realize that the salon was actually the same one from Fleur’s account of her failed fashion first efforts.

One of the hairdressers recognized Fleur and gave a quick little wave. She was older, with her graying hair cropped close. Her right eye was clearly prosthetic. It was strange to see with how much nanites could do to fix injuries. I didn’t inquire, because it would be rude.

Fleur delighted in explaining the situation to her. The hairdresser folded her arms and looked me over from top to bottom. I turned a few times.

She noted casually to Fleur, “You’ve never brought a boy around. Should I take anything from that?”

Chuckling, Fleur told her, “He’s a friend.” At one time, I would’ve given a spasm of a frown at those words. We got asked those sorts of questions more and more with how we hung around so comfortably. Eventually, I started to wonder why Fleur didn’t think of me that way...at least a little.

I wasn’t the most handsome guy around, but I took care of myself. I thought I looked decent when I dressed up. And I also imagined I’d make a nice lady, to which Fleur often agreed.

Fleur’s answers to these questions were of the hand-rubbing variety, at first, as she struggled for answers. I thought it was hidden attraction. But it was rarely so simple.

First off, Fleur’s world-view, while something I quickly got over, made her hold her tongue when we hung around people I knew from before. They always made assumptions about Fleur one way or another. That she was a bad girl who was going to lead me astray or that she was good at heart, rebellious, but just needed to be fixed. Never mind that I knew many of them had drifted into indulgences and bad habits beyond anything Fleur ever suggested.

But the appearance they put on was culled from social mores of centuries past, which I recognized the more I spent time with Fleur. All these expectations led us to push away from romantic answers, even though I would still find myself curious.

Secondly, Fleur still had weekly therapy about her self-identity. She sometimes shared what she talked about with trembling teeth, but other things remained private. I’d gathered that her sexuality and romantic inclination was not easy for her to put into words. While I could tell our transformation discussions were thrilling to her in ways that others could express better, she didn’t want to change me for sexual reasons. Nor did she seem especially interested in men or women physically. The posters on her wall revealed more about which Decepticons she still loved.

The conclusion I came to was that she had lost so much time growing up as the gender she felt comfortable in that, despite her fully-developed body, she still hadn’t reached psychological puberty. It was a little frustrating but, considering I looked at her and envisioned her naked just as often as I imagined myself body-swapped with her, I had my own stuff to work through too.

So far as answers, we still let people formulate whatever theories they liked about our alleged secret romantic liaisons. The hairdresser gave a little glimmer with her gaze but went to work looking through her selection of wigs.

After some vetting, I wound up with a straight, blond wig not too long but groomed and lovely enough to give a feminine look. It was nothing like my regular hair, which was the point of picking it out against the rest. As well, it was discounted and would offer us the longest period of transformation to collect the other pieces.

I tensed up as the hairdresser prepared the wig and sat me down at the nearest chair. I stared into the mirror with the stark lights above as Fleur lingered behind me and the hair settled onto my head. I was quite glad my pants were loose, lest I embarrass myself with a rush of feeling.

The wig itself just sat on my head. I didn’t even feel the tingle of a special shampoo or any other sensation. One moment, I felt the warmth of a wig disconnected from my hair, and the next, the separation was gone like an edit in a film. My head still felt as warm but a tug and a brush revealed the lengthy, silky locks were now rooted to my head for the next several hours.

With the drag Fleur had put me in previously, the wig wasn’t too much of a surprise. I’d been prepped for it. And, to me, it wasn’t really, technically a part of my body which had been changed by the nanites. Still, I couldn’t resist running my hands through it. I crossed my legs as the hairdresser offered up something to change the look of my hands and nails next. Fleur rejected it. She already had something lined up for that.

Going outside gave me a rush, but I didn’t catch any eyes drifting over me. And I certainly looked more like a guy who took care of his hair than any vision of girlhood. But Fleur was set to change that before long since we were now on the clock for the wig. Next on her list was a necklace at a store nearby which would change my voice.

The store catered to the kind of clothing Fleur preferred. They even sold a few studs, like she was wearing. I knew there were piercings which transformed but Fleur didn’t even bring them up. Despite the effects of such being temporary, it still meant I would have extra holes in my body that I would need to explain to my family.

Fleur selected the metal necklace, which was (appropriately) a yin swirl with the yang part left empty. It was only a few dollars and even if it didn’t provide a bit of temporary transformation, it was nice enough that I would’ve adored it anyway, especially as something Fleur chose for me.

I didn’t clench up or react as much to the necklace as I did the wig.

I tried out a simple, “Thank you.” Not enough of my voice to get a feel for it but enough to know it had changed.

“I really like it…I do. Yeah”, I added. The words slipped from the ambiguity of the familiar into a tickling strangeness. I remembered the few times Fleur had made videos on her phone. No matter how much she looked into the mirror with hand-settled calm, her voice stammered in them.

She seemed to notice what I was thinking because the next thing she did was turn the same phone right at me. She resolved simply, “For posterity.”

I folded my arms and smirked, countering, “Only if it’s both of us.” She tilted her head forward with her jaw tightened. She looked at the black-ice swarm of the camera lenses. She didn’t need more than a moment to lean close to me as she aimed it right at us. Her smile was as tight as her jaw. She snapped a few seconds of video with us both looking goofy as I held up the necklace and quoted, “More than meets the eye.”

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About the author

MajorKerina

Bio: I'm MajorKerina and I love to collaborate creatively with a group of friends to make tales where people have their genders, identities, and very realities questioned, contorted, and turned upside-down. I like slice-of-life with a spicing of the supernatural, strange, or surreal. Reality with a scent of the impossible. You can find me on DeviantArt, Twitter, ScribbleHub, and other places.

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