Chapter 6

Cate Fox and the Case of the Fading Magic by Emily


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I struggled underneath my attacker as they held their hand on my face. After a few seconds where I did not feel that pulling or sliding sensation I realized this wasn’t a Slider. I also heard giggling coming from the open door.


I used my free hand and slammed my palm into their face.


My attacker fell to the floor with a thud.


Suddenly Sophia woke up and turned the light on. 


I looked around the room and several students I recognized from the quad were standing in my room. My attacker removed their hood to reveal Kayla with a bloody nose.


“What the hell, Fox,” Kayla shrieked, holding her nose.


“What were you doing on top of me?” I yelled back at her.


“It was just a joke,” she responded, trying to stop the bleeding. “Freshman hazing.”


“I’m not laughing,” I scolded. “I could’ve killed you.”


“Stop being a drama queen,” she replied.


I wasn’t being dramatic. I thought about the Glock in my drawer. Had I been able to reach it, Kayla would have much more than a bloody nose. And I would’ve been in a lot more trouble.


Kayla stood up and turned her back to me. “Bitch.” She then left the room with her friends, leaving just Sophia and I sitting up in our respective beds.


“I’m sorry, Cate,” Sophia said.


“What are you sorry about?”


“I should’ve warned you. Seniors always do that to freshmen. You should’ve seen what they did to me last year.” She groggily looked at me and cocked her head curiously. “Are you fully dressed?”


“Yeah.” I laid back down, pulled the comforter back over me, and closed my eyes.


* * *


The morning started off just like yesterday. Sophia was up first. This time, however, I was still groggy from my late night adventure and on edge from the hazing. I sat up in bed.


“I’m sorry about last night,” Sophia apologized again. 


“You weren’t the one who made me believe the Shifter was back,” I replied, rubbing my eyes from the blinding light.


Sophia grinned as she picked up her shower caddy and a towel. “You slept in your clothes again last night.”


“Why does it matter to you?”


“It doesn’t. I want to help you. I had a hard time acclimating last year. It took me months to really accept that I’m Sophia. To be myself. For me to enjoy the situation I’d been given.”


“Yeah, well this is only temporary for me. And I’m not enjoying it.”


“I’m just trying to help.”


“Thanks,” I said. I saw her concern. “But I used to sleep in just boxers. I haven’t figured out what I should be wearing to bed.”


“I sleep in a T-shirt and shorts,” she offered, modeling her own sleep attire. “See, simple. I bet you think every girl wears sexy lingerie to bed. We don’t.” She then started removing her clothes.


“I had an ex-wife.” I turned away to give her privacy.


“Then you know.”


“I never really paid attention.”


“And that’s why she’s an ex-wife.” She needled.


“Ha ha.” Touché, Sophia. I couldn't help but crack a smile at her comeback. “You sound like my best friend, Max.”


Sophia smiled and giggled.


“What?” I turned around.


She was wearing a bathrobe now. “Did you just call me a friend?”


“Whoa, hold those horses. The jury is still out.”


She blew a raspberry at me. “Anyway, T-shirt and shorts. Try it. Or wear just panties. I won’t look.”


I nodded. Truth is, that’s what I would’ve worn if I wasn’t planning on sneaking out in the middle of the night. Speaking of last night. “Hey Sophia, do you know a student named ‘Sam’?”


“Sure. Boy or girl? There are a lot of Sams. It's one of the more popular names here. Samantha. Alex. Lily. Emily.”


“Pink hair. Shifter.”


“Maybe,” she shrugged. “I know a few shifters, but not a Sam. Shifters tend to keep to themselves. They have trust issues. Well - actually everyone else has trust issues with them. But they stay away anyway.” 


Seeing her standing there in a bathrobe reminded me that I need to take a shower too. “Um, do you have an extra towel?”


“Sure,” she said, tossing me a towel from a stack under her bed. With that, Sophia left the room leaving me there to get ready myself.


I got out of bed and slowly took off the uniform from yesterday. The pants and shirt were wrinkled. Thankfully I got five of them from the uniform lady.


After the outerwear, it was time for the underwear. I expertly unclipped the bra, which was easier than it was the first day I was in this body. Then the panties. I discarded the underwear and wrinkled clothes to a corner on my side of the room. I hope Sophia doesn’t act like my ex-wife and complain about my pile of clothes on the floor.


Next, I wrapped the towel around my waist - an act of defiance. I looked in the mirror and realized I can’t get away with walking around topless. I hadn’t thought to ask if this was an all-girls dorm. I re-wrapped the towel around my chest, just in case.


I loaded the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash into my brand-new caddy and headed to the shower.


* * *


The last time I was in a dorm bathroom was back in my academy days. The communal bathroom of Cooper Hall 4th floor was no different. A sign that said “Femmes Only” adorned the door. I could not find the guys bathroom which led me to the conclusion that this was an all-girls floor, at least. Inside, sinks and toilet stalls on one side, and shower stalls on the other. The only thing missing was urinals.


There were 3 shower stalls, and two of them were being used. I figured one of them was Sophia. I entered the empty one and closed the curtain.


I turned on the shower to let the water warm up and hung up my towel.


This morning marked the second time I’ve showered in this body. The first time, two days ago, I rushed through this. In denial of my situation. Uncomfortable about being in the body of some 14-year-old girl. Today, I had a little more confidence and acceptance of my situation. This is my body temporarily, and I have to do what I have to do.


I kept the curtain between the shower and the changing partition open just in case another prankster wanted to steal my towel. To be honest - that’s something I would do.


I got under the warm water and got to work cleaning myself up. I finally read the hygiene pamphlet last night before I went to bed. Shampoo first. Conditioner next. I was not used to long hair so it took me a while to make sure I washed it all, and then rinsed all of the soap out. My former body’s head was balding at 42, so my former routine was very short. This took forever. I was afraid I’d run out of hot water.


After shampoo and conditioner, my hair smelled like flowers. Ugh.


Lastly, I used the body wash. I made sure to get my armpits, and under the breasts. Cleaning there wasn’t as weird or sensual as I thought it would be. When women would say breasts were just bags of fat - they weren’t kidding. It actually helped me to just think that I had gained some weight and I just had moobs. Very perky moobs I might add.


* * *


When I returned to the room, Sophia was already dressed and bouncing around the room getting ready for class. Today, Sophia’s outfit was her uniform and skirt, with rainbow knee-high socks and matching arm warmers.


I kept my towel around me as I put on a pair of panties and pulled them up into place. My next move was premeditated. I hung up the towel and stood there topless. I was hoping Rainbow Brite over here would take the hint and repeat yesterday.


Sophia got to the door and turned around to look at me. “Put it on backwards, then twist it around. Have a good day, Cate!” She quickly exited the room.


Shit. What, did she have a hot date this morning? I was hoping she’d just do it for me.


I pulled out a bra from my dresser. Am I really going to do this? 


Jack Baker doesn’t put on bras, but I guess Cate Fox has to. I grunted and paced around the room wishing I didn’t have to put this on. As I paced the room topless, I realized how much they bounced and it started to get annoying. Great - even the boobs are telling me to put one on. I finally ended up facing the mirror, and decided I should do it now while no one else is around to see me.


I repeated what Sophia said. I put the bra on backwards. I clipped the band in front of me. I then twisted it around and shifted it upwards so my boobs were in the cups. Then I put my arms through the straps. I looked at the mirror and shifted the boobs so they sat right.


Shit - this bra makes my boobs look bigger!


Half of me was pissed I had to put on a bra. The other half of me - a very small half - felt a twinge of accomplishment.


I realized I was staring at a stranger in the mirror. I should really get a move on and start my day.


I put on a new shirt and pants, then finished it off with the tie and blazer and headed to my first class of the day.


* * *


My first class was some boring history class. The class was learning about something during the early 20th century and I tuned most of it out. Instead I jotted notes in my notebook about the case so far. 


I know we have multiple missing persons. Ashley Tart is the most recent. She was last seen at the bigot diner in town. Maybe she had a run-in with the manager and sheriff too. Or maybe she went there often and wore street clothes like the waitress advised us to do.


What about the other missing girls? I haven’t heard of anyone but Ashley. I may have to circle around to Ms. Hathaway to ask her about that.


Then there is ‘Sam’. How does she play into this? Why was she in Ashley’s room?


I had a half hour before my femininity class so I decided to stop back by my room and check Emma’s cellphone. Hopefully Max responded.


When I got back into the room, I was surprised to see Sophia facing away from me while she rummaged through my nightstand. 


“Sophia?” I said with a disapproving tone that told her it wasn’t cool to go through my stuff. She’s lucky she’s a cute girl now because the last officer who stole my lunch at work got the full wrath of Jack Baker.


She stood and froze, caught red-handed. She didn’t turn around.


I tried to make light of the situation so she knows I don't have any hard feelings. “I know you girls like to borrow things, but trust me, you have much more stuff than I do.”


She didn’t answer and I realized immediately something wasn’t right. I noticed she was just wearing a plain uniform and wasn’t wearing her usual colorful knee-high socks and arm warmers.


“Sophia?”


She turned around and stared at me with tell-tale orange eyes. 


A Shifter.


I instinctively reached down to my side, where I normally kept my gun, but there was nothing there. “You’re not Sophia.”


Her skin rippled and suddenly morphed into the girl from yesterday. Sam. Neon pink hair. Same orange eyes.


Holy shit. “Sam.” I had this feeling she was going to bolt like last night so I stood between her and the door. Not that doing so stopped her from pushing me down before. She had a few pounds on me.


Sam let out a gasp then reached into my underwear drawer and pulled out my Glock by her fingertips, like it was radioactive.


“Whoa,” I said, putting my hands up. “Careful with that thing. It’s loaded and there is no safety.”


She stared at the gun for a second, then at me, before loosely wrapping her fingers around the grip.


Oh, shit. I’m going to die a 14-year-old girl. “Look. If you’re going to shoot me, you want to do it right.”


Sam stared at me in confusion.


“First, you want to have a steady stance,” I advised, “or else the kickback will knock you on your ass. So spread your legs a bit and relax your knees.”


She looked at me strangely, but complied.


“Now wrap your right hand around the grip, but keep your finger away from the trigger. You know what the trigger is, right?”


She nodded and adjusted the gun in her hand. “Just stay back,” she warned me.


“Hold the gun up at eye level and look through the sights. Those are the little tabs on top of the gun. 


“Look, I don’t want to shoot you.” She was starting to tear up.


I breathed a sigh of relief. “Believe me, I don’t want to get shot either. This body’s host will be pissed and I might lose the security deposit.”


“Just tell me why you have a gun in your nightstand.”


“Protection,” I replied. “Some guys keep condoms in their nightstand. I keep a gun in mine.”


“What kind of sociopath brings a gun to a school?”


The moment she said it, I realized it did look bad. It never occurred to me the optics of that. I was working a case. “Well, I never know when someone is going to break in and start going through my stuff.”


She looked annoyed at my answer. Not the best expression when someone is holding a gun.


I wasn't going to tell her I’m an undercover cop. I wanted to tell her about my experiences. Why I carry. “Well, have you seen the assholes in town? You’d have a gun too. I should be asking you why you’re rummaging through my unmentionables.”


“I have seen the town. I don’t have a gun. Besides, weapons are prohibited on campus. I need to take this to Headmistress.”


She's not answering my question. “Why are you in my room, Sam? And how did you get in, anyway?”


“What did you do to those girls?” Sam asked, looking directly at me and holding my gun, her hand starting to shake.


“What are you talking about?”


“Ashley. Louise. What did you do to them?”


“I don't know what you’re talking about. Hey, listen, put the gun down and we can have a civilized chat. About anything you want.”


She awkwardly pointed it at me. “I want answers.”


“See you’re still not even holding it right. You’re going to hurt yourself. I want answers too. Why were you in Ashley Tart's room? Why are you in my room?”


“Why were you in Ashley’s room?”


I felt like this was going nowhere. “Why don’t you give me back my gun and we can compare notes.”


Just then Sophia - the real Sophia - came into the room and her jaw dropped as she saw Sam pointing a gun at me. Maybe Sophia can help me calm Sam down.


Sam looked at both of us. Her orange eyes were frightened.


“Sam,” I said calmly. “Let’s talk about this.”


She must’ve realized she was cornered and couldn’t get away having been seen by me and Sophia. She looked down at my gun in her hand. Her hand was shaking harder. She pointed the barrel to the floor and slowly extended it out to me.


That’s not how you pass a gun, but now’s not the time to teach her gun safety. 


I gently walked over and took my Glock from her. I popped out the magazine, ejected the round from the chamber, and threw everything onto my bed. “Let's have that talk now. Sit.” I motioned to Sophia’s bed.


Sam walked over to Sophia’s bed and sat down. 


Sophia came closer to us but looked at me. “Why do you have a gun?”


“Old habits die hard,” I explained to both girls. “Sam, Sophia. Sophia, Sam. If that’s even your real name.”


“It is,” Sam replied.


“Why are you here?” I asked Sam.


“My girlfriend’s magic is fading. I’m trying to figure out why.”


I looked at her. That wasn’t the answer I was expecting. “Your girlfriend’s magic?”


“Yes. Her curse is fading and she’s slowly turning back into a boy.”


“I guess some people are just lucky,” I chuckled.


“Some of us actually like being who we are, Cate Fox,” Sam countered.


“Like me,” Sophia added.


Now I was being lectured by both girls. Back to the topic at hand. “How is Ashley Tart involved?”


“Her magic was also fading before she disappeared,” Sam explained. “I’m afraid if I don’t act soon, Lulu will disappear too.”


“Lulu?”


“Louise.”


“Oh, your girlfriend is Lulu?” Sophia remarked. “She’s in one of my classes. She’s awesome.”


“She is,” Sam affirmed.


“Back up,” I said. “You said Ashley Tart’s magic was fading. How so?”


“She was getting older,” Sam replied.


I looked at her with a raised eyebrow. I still can’t wrap my head around magic actually existing. “Aren’t we all getting older?”


“Ashley is 15. When she disappeared she looked to be in her 20s.”


If Ashley Tart looked like an adult, then surely she could buy me some beer. “Puberty can hit you like a ton of bricks,” I tried to rationalize what Sam was telling me.


“Ashley was actually talking about undoing our curses,” Sam added. “She and Lulu were friends.”


“So you’re saying you think Ashley is responsible for the other missing girls?” I asked. “You should’ve just led with that.”


“I don’t think she’s responsible per se, but she’s involved in what’s happening to Lulu now,” Sam explained. “So what were you doing in her room?”


Sophia turned to me. “You broke into her room? Cate!”


I needed an excuse. I couldn’t tell them I was a cop. Although now that they both saw my gun, it wouldn’t take much of a leap for them to guess that. “I like a good mystery. I grew up with Scooby Doo and the Hardy Boys. I played Clue with my parents.” All of that was actually true.


“So you’re sneaking around because you enjoy it?” Sam asked skeptically.


“Some people play sports. Some people solve mysteries.” I opened my backpack. “Here are my notes on Ashley’s disappearance.” I held up the notebook.


Sam went to grab it, but I pulled it away.


“So your girlfriend is not missing?”


“No.”


“Then I need to talk to her. Lulu was it?”


“She’s not seeing guests right now.”


“Do you want to find out who’s doing this to her?”


“Yes.”


Sophia sat there looking at both of us, curious how this would play out.


“My last class is over at 3,” Sam relented. “Meet me inside the sports complex.”


“Deal,” I replied.


“I can give you my cell number.”


“I don’t have a cell phone,” I sort of lied.


“Yeah, you do,” Sophia corrected.


 I glared at Sophia. “That’s not mine, it’s Emma’s.”


“Who’s Emma?” Sam asked.


“Nevermind,” I sighed, grabbing Emma’s phone off of the night stand. I unlocked it with my thumb. “Go ahead.” Sam recited her number as I entered it into the phone.


“Can I go now?” Sam asked.


I nodded and watched Sam walk out of our room. I turned to Sophia who seemed annoyed. “That’s twice today. We should change our locks.”


She sat down next to me on my bed. “You broke into Ashley Tart's room?” she questioned. 


“Sam broke in. The door was already open for me to enter.”


“You’re going to get in trouble, Cate! And you never answered me - why do you have a gun in our dorm room? Weapons aren’t allowed here. You better put that thing away before anyone else finds out.”


“Trouble is my middle name.” I smiled at her. “Cate Trouble Fox.”


“That’s not funny,” she said, nudging my shoulder. “I guess you can’t help yourself. You’re a firefighter. You see someone in trouble, you dash into that burning building.”


She wasn’t wrong about my desire to save people. But I would never dash into a burning building. I recalled what Sophie said to me last night. I think she’d enjoy this - even if we do get in trouble. “Do you want to join me when we visit Lulu?”


“Maybe that’s a good idea,” she meekly said. “I’ll try to keep you out of trouble.”


“Good luck,” I chuckled. 


“Hey, can I give you my number?”


I sighed. “Sure.” I picked up Emma’s cellphone and unlocked it. When I was done inserting Sophia as a contact, I slid it into my backpack. I guess this just became my cellphone.


* * *


I arrived at my femininity class. Mrs. Barnes smiled and approved of my clean and silky hair. In fact before I left to come here, I realized my hair had much more bounce once it dried.


I looked at the girls around me. They had amazing hair. I should ask them which products they got. We can compare notes. I was about to ask my neighbor with similar wavy hair when I stopped and realized how girly that would sound. 


I was expecting to get more private homework from Mrs. Barnes. Instead she told me that that was good for the first week. The way she said that made me feel like she had much more in store for me. If she thinks she’s getting me in a dress…


Anyway, my focus during class alternated between the course material and my brainstorming about the case. My notebook was open to my case notes.


I thought about what Sam had said about Ashley Tart. She was aging. How long has she been missing? What if she was still aging? What would she even look like? What if that’s why we couldn’t find her? If she was aging at a constant pace, how old would she be now? I wrote down in my notebook, “How old would Ashley Tart be today?”


My train of thought was broken by the girl in front of passing down a stack of papers. I took one and passed it back. I looked at the paper. It was a shopping list for cosmetics. What the hell?


“Next week, we’ll be starting our ‘Introduction to Cosmetics’ unit,” Mrs. Barnes announced. 


There were some gleeful squeals from the girls around me. I shook my head. I hope Max comes through with Emma and the Body Hopper before then. 


* * *


When I got to science class, I looked around for an empty seat. That’s when I saw him. Brett. He was looking right at me. “Shit,” I thought. “I just can’t get away from him.” I quickly found an empty seat on the other side of Amanda, and sat down. Maybe she could shield me from his view.


Amanda was ready for me.


“Hey girl, I heard about this morning.” she said to me.


I’m not used to answering to ‘girl’ and it made me uneasy to respond to Red even though she was obviously talking to me. “I think Kayla learned to not wake me up.”


“Oh, she’s pissed.”


“Wait. Why is she pissed? She broke into my room. Woke me up from a peaceful sleep and made me think my life was in jeopardy. She got what she deserved.”


“She’s not used to people at school standing up to her. I would stay away from her for a little bit.”


“Well, I don’t care if I’m a freshman, I’m not going to put up with-”


“Ms. Fox,” Mr. Sanders interrupted. “Do you think I can start my class now?”


I resisted the urge to reply with a snarky comment, so I smiled and looked straight ahead. I think I got my point across to Amanda, so I didn’t really need to finish that thought.


Mr. Sanders started lecturing on geosciences. Plate tectonics, volcanoes and all of that good stuff. It was boring to me. As someone who’s spent decades in the real world, I knew it wasn't really useful. My eyes were kinda heavy and time was moving like molasses. I kept checking the clock on the wall. This class is taking forever. I wonder if he’ll notice if I shut my eyes for a few seconds. 


The only highlight of the class was near the end when the girl next to me asked Mr. Sanders how old he was when the dinosaurs went extinct.


Mr. Sanders was not amused.


After class, he stopped me before I was able to leave.


“Ms. Fox,” he said, his voice formal and dry.


“Hey - I’m sorry about earlier-”


He waved off my apology. “You’re a Displaced, you’re not getting much sleep, I get it. Please, just try harder to pay attention in class.”


Weird. I was apologizing about chatting with Amanda. I suppose I did doze off. It’s not like geoscience gets my blood pumping. But he’s right. I haven’t been getting much sleep. Between sneaking around, those Emma dreams, and freshman hazing, how could I? “It’s been an adjustment,” I simply agreed.


“Ms. Fox, I know the school provides you with a Normie counselor. But if you’d rather talk to a teacher - someone who knows what you’re going through - you should ask the Headmistress.”


“Well, there’s no one else like me.”


“You’d be surprised, Ms. Fox. You’re dismissed.” With that, Mr. Sanders turned and walked away to erase the whiteboard.


Should I ask for someone other than Virginia the therapist? I only see her once a week, and when I do, she’s certainly nice to look at. But does she really know what I’m going through?


I put those thoughts out of my mind. I still have the rest of the school day to get through. I was anxious to get back to investigating.


* * *


I walked out the classroom door only to be pounced on by Amanda. “Hey girl,” she started like earlier, almost dancing with excitement. “Are you joining us for lunch today?”


“Not today,” I replied. The truth is I wanted to be alone and think about the case and what I wanted to ask Sam’s girlfriend. Plus, I wasn’t feeling very social after the run-ins with Kayla and Sam.


“Oh, well, I’ve got a secret for you, then,” she teased.


“Oh, great,” I thought. Teen girl gossip. What next? “OK, I’ll bite. What is it?”


“Well, you know Brett from class?”


“Yeah, I met him. He introduced himself my first night here while I was eating meatloaf with my roommate.”


“He was staring at you all during science class.”


“I hope he got a good view of me trying to stay awake.” 


“Well, I also heard him whispering to the people around him,” she added. “He wants them to put in a good word for him with you. I think he really likes you.”


Jesus Christ, that boy didn’t take the hint. “As if I didn’t have enough to deal with right now,” I winced, tugging at my bra strap. 


“Seriously,” Amanda stared at me. “Brett is like, the hottest guy in our class.”


“I don’t care,” I tried to emphasize. “I’m just not interested.”

“Do you know how many girls want to date him?” she both asked and admonished me. 


Like I would know - or care. “No, I really don’t,” I said, my complete lack of enthusiasm showing through.


“Practically every girl I know,” she gushed. 


I paused for a moment as something didn’t seem right about that. “Wait, aren't most of the girls former boys? Are you telling me all of the girls are into boys now?”


“Well, I meant the Freshmen Magics. Some of our transformations were made to transform us to cishet girls. Therefore a lot of us are straight.”


“That just sounds wrong.”


Amanda frowned. “Yeah it was. Don’t blame us, blame the people who created those transformation spells. They must’ve forgotten being gay is a natural thing, or maybe we would’ve preferred to keep our original sexuality. ”


I forgot talking about magic was taboo, and now I remembered why. These girls were victims. Their gender, sexuality, and sometimes identity changed against their will. I needed to make a hasty exit. “Hey - so, I need to get going.”


“Sure. See you tomorrow Cate!” Amanda exclaimed. 


I checked my schedule to see where I was headed next, then started to count down the hours until I meet up with Sophia and Sam.


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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for me to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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