Chapter 11

Cate Fox and the Case of the Fading Magic by Emily


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I woke up to the sun streaming through the window. I realized I wasn’t in my room. I was still in Brittany’s


Her arm was draped over me and I was the small spoon.


Last night was... Wow. We kissed a lot. We got to second base. I stood firm on that being as far as we went. There were moments that even second base felt risque. 


I removed her arm and sat up in bed. 


She rolled over then reached up to grab my naked breasts.


I smiled and removed her hands, “I should get going.” I got out of bed and retrieved my bra and the rest of my uniform.


“So soon?”


“I have places to be this afternoon.”


She pouted as I put my bra back on. “Can I come?”


“Not this time.” We kissed and parted ways.


I walked through Colby Hall, doing the walk of shame. It was Saturday and I was dressed in my disheveled school uniform.


As I was about to leave the building to exit out into the quad, I passed a girl who was dressed in head-to-toe pink. She was every bit as attractive as Brittany. While I didn’t recognize her, she recognized me.


“Cate!” she said.


I looked at her and cocked my head. I don’t think she’s in any of my classes. Her eyes were ice blue, so she wasn’t a Shifter or a Slider. Man, I’m getting so many attractive girls banging down my door lately. “Hi, Do I know you?”


“Brandi” she said with a very bubbly personality.


“Oh right!” I said looking at her. I saw barely any resemblance to the masculine persona I met yesterday. 


“It happened again.” she said. “I’m me! I feel great!” She spun around the lobby as occasional students walked by. Her pink skirt flared up as she spun.


“Great” I said, forcing a smile.


“Are you going to try to fix this” she asked, concerned.


“Ummm.” I hesitated. “I’m not sure what ‘this’ is yet. But yes. Some students don’t want their magic to fade. We need to stop that. Hopefully we can make an exception for those like you who want their magic fixed.”


“I want to feel like this forever.”


“I’ll do my best Brandi.” I turned and exited the building.


I saw Sam, Lulu and Sophia wearing weekend clothes at a table in the quad. I was going to try to avoid being seen, but Lulu spotted me.


“Cate?” she said.


“Oh hi” I said, feigning surprise. “Lulu, it’s good to see you out and about.”


“Where were you?” Sam said looking at my appearance.


“She didn’t come home last night.” Sophia added with raised eyebrows.


“It’s nothing.” I said, trying not to give in to their wild imaginations.


“She met someone at Lunacy.” Sophia said.


“Oh, Me and Sam met at Lunacy last year.” Lulu said.


Sam blushed.


“I should get back to our room,” I added. “It’s almost lunch time and I need to clean up and get some new clothes. I have a lunch meeting in town.” 


“With whom?” Sam asked.


“Someone who may have answers about Ashley.”


“You’re not going back to that diner are you?” Sophia asked, worry evident in her voice.


I shrugged.


“I have a study sess with Julia,” Sophia complained. “I can’t keep you out of trouble.”


“I’ll be fine.” I said.


“I’ll go,” Sam volunteered.


“No, I can do this by myself. I typically work alone. I was just letting you two know just in case I don’t make it back for dinner.”


“Cate!” Sophia whined. “Don't do something stupid.”


“I’ll behave.”


“Did you behave last night?” Sam asked.


Lulu elbowed Sam.


“I did and I will.” I announced then walked towards Cooper Hall.


* * *


I took a long shower. Most of it was daydreaming about last night with Brittany. My hand started wandering and it hit me - I was enjoying this too much. 


I shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t even be here. Brittany was distracting me from the truth. The truth being that I should be searching for Emma. I certainly shouldn’t be using her body to date.


I need to focus. I have my next lead in the Ashley Tart case. Solving that would go a long way towards me getting out of dodge before I become too attached to people at PAA.


After I showered I dug through my clothes to look for street clothes. While I did bring some of Emma’s clothes with me to school, I had no outfits in mind when I did so. Not that I have one in mind now. I like that we have a uniform and I don’t have to decipher the latest in teen-girl fashion.


I settled on a pale blue T-shirt with jeans and sneakers. Both were more form fitting than the outfit I came here in. The jeans were skinny jeans and stopped well above the ankle. The T-shirt was tighter than I thought, but realized it was designed that way and hugged my curves and left a window of my midriff exposed. I should really try to put something a little more modest on, but I was running out of time. Either way, I hoped it was enough to remain inconspicuous off campus.


I retraced my steps back into town - this time alone. I stopped right before the diner upon seeing a group of teen boys loitering by the entrance. 


There was also another boy leaning up against the brick building who was near where I was standing. Even though he was leaning up against the building he was much taller than I was. “Careful,” he whispered. “Those are Normies.” He had a backpack on and was playing with his phone. He didn’t look up at me and continued looking down.


I was annoyed that this mystery boy immediately took me for a PAA student. Or it's possible he’s from PAA too and in one of my classes or saw me on the quad.  I didn’t recognize him so I ignored him and walked to the entrance of the diner. I have a mission to attend to.


I snaked through the boys.


“Whoa,” one boy said. “Hello there.”


“Hi,” I said, keeping my head down. I’m now regretting my outfit choice.


“Wanna join us?” Another boy asked.


“No thanks,” I replied. “I’m meeting someone.”


“Wait, I don't recognize you,” a third boy said.


“Is she one of those freaks?”


“I’m just new here,” I replied as one of the boys blocked the entrance.


Just then, I felt a hand on my ass. I swatted it away. Maybe I misjudged this situation and my ability to talk my way out of it.


“I think she wants to join us.”


“Sorry pal.  I have a lunch date.” I was weighing my options. I can turn around and deck this guy. But that would draw unwanted attention to myself and I won’t be inconspicuous much longer. Or I can walk away and try again later, but then I would miss my opportunity with the waitress.


Just as I was about to make my move, the ass-grabber screamed in pain.


I looked to see what was happening, and I saw the tall boy twisting ass-grabbers wrist.


“What do you think you’re doing to my girlfriend?” the tall boy questioned.


The group of boys were ready to pounce on my savior until he stood up straight. He towered over them by at least a foot. The group decided he wasn’t worth their efforts and started to back off.


“Let’s go,” the tall boy said, grabbing my hand and pulling me through the group and into the diner.


“Cate, go in,” Tall boy directed me towards the hostess stand.


I walked in and he followed me.


“Table for two,” the tall boy requested. I was getting annoyed that this boy was barking orders. Who does he think he is?


The hostess, who did not recognize me from last week, smiled at the boy and led us to a booth.


We sat across from each other. I examined my savior. Crystal blue eyes, crew cut. Maybe a little on the chubby side. But tall. Very tall.


“It’s me,” he finally said.


I looked at him more intently. Who could this be? The face kinda gave it away. He looked related to someone I know. “Sam?” I questioned.


“Shh,” she confirmed.


I looked at him… her again. Her eyes were unmistakably blue. “But your eyes. They’re not orange.”


“Because this is my dead-form. Who I was born as.”


“You were born like that?”


“Well, I grew into this. Let me tell you, being over six feet tall did not help my dysphoria.”


“Sam, I told you I didn’t need help here.”


“Oh, and what were you going to do against five Normie boys?”


“I had it under control. Ass-grabber was about to lose his hand.”


“Whatever, Cate,” she said, rolling her eyes.


There was a few seconds of silence before I finally said, “You shifted into your dead-form to help me?”


“I’m helping Lulu.”


Of course. I nodded. I bit my tongue before I could muster up the words, “Thank you.”


Sam nodded and didn’t say more, knowing full well I don’t like saying thank you or asking for help.


Sam awkwardly shifted in her seat. As she did her knees hit mine.


“Quit fidgeting,” I said. “You’re making us look suspicious.”


“You try being over 6’ tall!”


“Should’ve tried out for a basketball team.”


“Now you sound like my dad. Always pushing men’s sports on me.”


“The WNBA is a thing too.”


“I don’t like this body at all. You notice my preferred height is 5’6””


“I used to be 5’8”. Now I’m - I don’t remember. Shorter than you - when you’re you.”


“Do you want me to be shorter than you when I’m around you?”


“No, don’t do that.”


Sam made an uncomfortable smirk as she moved around in her seat and our knees bumped into each other again. She looked very uncomfortable. Her male outfit fit her, but it looked like she wanted to rip her own skin off. Her knees then hit the underside of the table, making the silverware clatter.  “Sorry,” she said.


I let it go. I was still learning what dysphoria meant to each person I met at PAA. Each had a different story and a different viewpoint. “We’ll make this quick so you can shift back.”


The waitress finally came over. I noticed her name tag for the first time. “Kristy.” Kristy pulled out her notepad and a pen. “OK, what do you want to know?”


I was hoping she’d be taking my order, but I respect that she wanted to get straight to business. The pastrami sandwich could wait. “You said you saw Ashley Tart here?”


“Yes. She was with a teacher. She was always with a teacher.”


That’s interesting. “Really? Rumors said she was dating a Normie.”


The waitress shook her head. “That wasn’t a normie teacher.”


“Wait up. Are you saying Ashley was having an affair with a teacher at the academy?”


Sam and I looked at each other. Both of us had a surprised expression on our faces.


“But Ashley was 15,” I said. “She was dating a teacher?”


“It happens in normal schools too,” the waitress replied. “But she didn’t look 15 after the first meeting. She looked 18. Then 20. Then 30ish. I didn’t recognize she was the same girl at first. But the teacher remained the same. Unless he was dating your friend’s two older sisters and mother.”


Sam finally spoke up. “What did the teach-” Her voice cracked as she said that. She then cleared her throat and her voice got deeper. “What did the teacher look like?”


I glared at Sam. Quit being awkward.


“Tall, muscular, athletic,” Kristy responded.


“You said you confused her for possibly her sisters and mother,” I said. “Did her grandmother ever come in here?” 


Kristy thought about that for a moment. “I see where you’re going with that. There was one day I remember a senile old lady wandering around outside the diner.”


“What happened to her?”


“The cops picked her up.”


“What did they do with her?”


“I assume they sent her back to where she came from.” Kristy shrugged. “Home? Maybe a nursing home.” She chuckled.


“A nursing home,” I repeated. “Of course!” I then looked at Sam. I noticed Sam was looking out the window. “Sam, What’s up?”


Outside the diner window, the group of boys were talking with the manager of the diner.


“I feel like we’re about to wear out our welcome,” Sam replied.


“Thank you,” I said to Kristy. “You’ve been a big help.”


Sam and I stood up from our seats. Sam grabbed her backpack and we made a beeline for the diner exit. Sadly, sans a pastrami sandwich.


At the door, Sam stopped me. “Wait.” Her eyes suddenly turned orange, her hair turned bright pink and she shrunk down to the Sam I knew. She exhaled a sigh of relief. “I was starting to suffocate in that body.” She fished sunglasses out of her now-baggy clothes and put them on to cover her orange eyes. “Let’s go.”


I looked at her with amazement. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.”


She grabbed the top of her pants and bunched them as she walked out the door. I followed her. Neither of us looked behind us as we turned the corner at the nearest cross street.


“That was excruciating,” Sam said, bunching her shirt into her pants. “I hate being him.”


I really had nothing to say. She shifted into a form that is painful for her just to help me and this case. For that I’m grateful.


“Where to next?” Sam asked. “To find that teacher?”


“No,” I replied. “Didn’t you hear her? A nursing home. Let’s go find Ashley.”


“How?”


I held up my cell phone. “We’ll call all of the nursing homes in the area looking for her. She’s gotta be around. Or least they should’ve known about her”


For the next twenty minutes the two of us searched our phones for nursing homes in the area. Each one we called looking for Ashley or an unnamed woman. Finally the fifth home we called has a “Jane Doe” under their care.


* * *


Sam found a public bathroom where she changed out of the baggy boy clothes and into her girl clothes that were in her backpack. When she was done, we walked the mile or so and into “Sunshine Homes.”


There was a receptionist there to greet us. “Hi girls, what can I do for you?”


“Hi, we spoke on the phone,” I replied. “I’m looking for my grandmother. She’s been missing for three weeks.”


“What’s your grandmother’s name?” 


“Ashley,” I replied. “But over the phone you said you had an unnamed dementia patient. That could be her.”


“Ah yes,” the receptionist said. “Jane.” I’ll take you to see her.


The receptionist led us through the halls of the nursing home. Each person in here was in various stages of assistance. Some seem like they had active lives. Some seemed to be nearing the end.


We were led to a room that had the name tag “Jane Doe” on it.


“Jane,” the receptionist said. “Good afternoon. You have visitors.”


Jane didn’t turn her head or acknowledge our presence.


“Is this your grandmother?” the receptionist asked us.


Before I could speak up, Sam answered. “Yes, thank you. Can we have a moment?”


“Sure,” the receptionist said and left the room.


I turned to Sam. “How do you know?”


“I don’t. I thought we could use the time to determine if she’s Ashley Tart or not.”


“Have you met Ashley?”


“I haven’t. She’s a sophomore and I’m a junior. She was in some of Lulu’s classes, but I never outright met her.”


“But Sophia and Lulu might be able to recognize her?”


“I mean,” Sam said looking at the old woman sitting there. “Would they be able to recognize her in this state?”


I picked up my cell phone and called Sophia. 


She picked up on the second ring. “Hey Cate, what’s up? How did lunch go?”


“No pastrami, but we’re at a nursing home.”


“What are you doing there?”


“We need you to ID a nice old dementia patient.”


“How am I supposed to find you?”


“Sunshine Homes.”

“Where’s that at?”


I was getting annoyed.  She could just google it.


Sam could overhear the conversation. “Turn on location sharing.”


“Good idea.” I said to Sam. “Sophia, I’ll turn on location sharing”


“OK, I’ll be right there,” Sophia replied and disconnected.


I looked through my photos settings to enable Sophia and Sam to see me.


“Now what?” Sam asked.


“We need to buy some time before Sophia gets here. The nurses aren’t going to let us loiter.”


“Well, if this was my grandmother, I’d read to her.”


“Then read to her.”


Sam opened drawers. Found medical supplies, gowns. She sighed when she found the only book in the room. She held it up for me to see.


The Bible.


“I don’t want to read this,” she said.


“Do it for Lulu.”


Sam sighed and we both sat down next to Jane. Sam opened up the book. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” she recited.


I saw the receptionist poke her head in the room and smile at the heartwarming scene of a dementia patient being read the bible by her two granddaughters.


A half hour later, Sophia showed up.


“Oh, thank God,” Sam said, closing the Bible. “No pun intended.”


“Sorry, I had to wait for an Uber.” Sophia said. She then knelt down in front of Jane. “Oh my.”


“What is it?” I asked.


“This is Ashley.”


“How can you tell?”


“The shape of her face.”


Jane's eyes moved and focused on Sophia. “Sophia?” she said through dried, cracking lips.


“Ashley,” Sophia replied, placing a hand on Ashley’s hand. “What happened to you?”


“I don’t remember,” she replied with watery eyes. “I don’t remember a lot anymore. Just… fragments.”


“Who did this to you?” I asked.


Ashley turned her head towards me, but didn’t fully acknowledge me and faced Sophia again.


Sophia and I traded glaces. I gave her the knowing look that this was her show.


“Ashley, who did this to you?” Sophia asked.


“Magic club.”


“Magic club?” Sam echoed. “But magic is ban-”


Sophia shot Sam a glance to be quiet.


“I just wanted to help,” Ashley said.


“Does she know what happened to Lulu?” Sam insisted.


“Ashley, who was with you?” Sophia asked.


“I just wanted to help,” Ashley repeated.


“Ashley. We’re here now,” Sophia said.


“I just wanted to help,” Ashley repeated again.


The three of us looked at each other.


“What now?” Sam asked both of us.


“I just wanted to help,” Ashley repeated and started rocking back and forth.


“We found her,” I said. “We should tell the headmistress. Maybe we can get her some help.”


* * *


We called campus and told Ms. Hathaway where to find Ashley Tart. Before long, people from the school and the police showed up.


I saw Sheriff Dearing talking to the headmistress. I kept my distance from him as to not complicate matters.


Some people from the school were examining Ashley, but they all concluded she was too far gone to leave the nursing home.


When the crowd thinned, Ms. Hathaway sat down with Sam, Sophia and I.


“Thank you girls for finding her.”


“Can she be fixed?” a hopeful Sam asked.


“I’m sorry Miss Weaver,” Headmistress replied. 


“What’s going to happen to her now?” Sophia asked.


“She’s going to stay here.” Headmistress replied. “She’s in good hands with people who know how to treat the elderly with advanced dementia.”


“So she can’t come back?”


“That wouldn’t be appropriate.”


Sophia sat next to Ashley who finally stopped repeating herself. “We have to go now.”


She acknowledged her again. “Sophia I’m scared.”


“I know sweetie. I’ll come to visit. I’ll bring your friends.”


With that, the three of us returned to campus. It was odd that I was the only one happy about it. We found a table in the quad and sat down.


“Why the long faces?” I asked. “We solved the case.”


“We haven’t solved anything,” Sam corrected me. “Lulu’s magic is still gone. We don't know who did that to Ashley. She’s not even in the right mind to answer questions and provide us with useful information.”


“Whatever happened to them can still happen to the rest of us,” Sophia warned.


I didn’t say anything. I was a missing person’s detective. I located missing persons. I solved the case. I was happy, and yet Sam and Sophia were being a buzz-kill.


“I need to take a walk,” I said. So I got up and walked to the Administration Building.


As I walked away I mumbled, “Ungrateful.” I solved the case. I’m a hero. Why can’t anyone see that?


All I know is that I’m done with this case. I need to get back to working on the Slider case. I also need to get back before I enjoy being Cate too much. Spending last night with Brittney let me know this was a slippery slope. I couldn’t stay here.


* * *


I stood outside the headmistress’s office. The door was open and I knocked on her door frame. “Ms. Hathaway?” 


“Miss Fox, what can I do for you?” she asked looking up from her desk.


“I solved the missing person's case. I found Ashley Tart. Case closed. I’m ready to return home and work on my own case.”


“Are you sure?” she asked. “I’ve talked to your teachers and I’ve heard that you’ve fitting in well here.”


“Maybe too well. I don’t want to get attached.”


She sighed. “Miss Fox, I didn’t just invite you here to solve a case. I invited you here to be a student because I believe it’s better for you here than being a Displaced young girl in a Normie world.”


“But this isn’t my body. I owe it to Emma Kincade. I really need to help solve my own case. My department needs my help to find her and catch the Slider.”


She looked disappointed. “If you wish. I can call your Chief and explain that you did a good job.”


“Thank you.” We both exchanged nods and I walked out of the building.


I checked my cell phone for the time. It was dinner time. I wondered if Brittany wanted to do dinner. Maybe I can let her know I was leaving. No hard feelings.


* * *


I walked into Colby Hall on a mission. I needed to thank Brittany for a fun time and let her down that I was leaving PAA. Maybe we can share one last meal. I stood at Brittany’s door and knocked on it.


It took a while before she answered the door, but she did and had a concerned expression on her face.


“Cate, this isn't a good time.” she said. She was wearing masculine clothing. A t-shirt, a few sizes too big and cargo shorts that looked like she was holding them up like Sam did earlier.

“I'm sorry. You’re busy?” I said.


“No, peak full moon lasts for only 3 days. This is kinda a… private time for us.”


“Us?”


“Weres”


I didn’t get a chance to process that statement because the watch on Brittany’s arm beeped.


She looks at me with pleading eyes. “I’m sorry. You shouldn’t see this.”


Suddenly I heard bones cracking as her face distorted.


Holy shit. I stood there in shock, unable to look away. Sure I saw Sam shift twice, but her shifting was fluid. This… was not. This was violent and blood curdling.


More cracking of bones as I slowly backed away from her. 


She screamed an animalistic groan, “Go.”


But I couldn’t. I watched as bones shifted and popped and muscles throbbed and rearranged. She got taller and gained muscle mass. The hair on her head receded as hair grew on her bare arms. She slowly filled out the baggy clothes she was wearing.


30 seconds later it was over. 


Standing in front of me was not Brittany. It was Brett.


I took several steps backwards and found my back pressed against the door that must’ve shut during the commotion. “What the fuck?”


“I told you not to watch,” he said.


“You’re fucking Brett!”


“I told you I was a Were!”


No way. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Brittany was Brett?  Fuck, how oblivious was I? “But you never told me you were Brett.”


“I thought you knew. Would that have made a difference?”


“Yes.”


“Why?”


“Because you’re a fucking guy!”


“Well I wasn’t one the past 3 days.”


I was confused. Did Brittany explain she was a Were in the beginning? If she did, it just never sank in. That gorgeous woman flirting with me was too perfect to be a dude.


“No way. If you brought it up, I didn’t hear you. It was a loud club. And you never brought it up again. You had to have known that that I didn’t know. You took advantage of me.”


“I didn’t trick you, Cate. I actually like you.”


There were so many thoughts swirling in my mind. Emotions I couldn’t find words for. The only thing I was able to spit out was, “Fuck. I trusted you. I told you things I haven’t even told my therapist!”


“Cate, please-”


“Fuck you!” I yelled, opened the door and slammed it behind me. Curiosity got the better of me as I looked behind me at the door. On the door I had walked through twice in the past 48 hours, clear as day, were the name tags “David/Dianna” and “Brett/Brittany.” 


* * *


I ran back to my dorm and threw myself onto my bed. I put my face into my pillow. I hadn’t cried in years. I didn’t cry at my divorce or at my parents funeral. But here I was on the verge of bursting with tears. Never before have I had the rug pulled out from under me like that.


I’m crying. Fuck you hormones!


“Cate?” Sophia said from behind me. 


I didn’t even check to see if anyone was in the room before I barged in.


“What’s wrong?” she asked.


I was embarrassed. How can I tell my roommate that I was tricked?


“She was a he.” I mumbled through my pillow.


Sophie was silent as she processed those words. “A Shifter or a Were?”


“A Were.”


“The girl you met at Lunacy?”


“Yes.”


“Cate?”


“Just… don’t. This is embarrassing.”


She sat on the bed next to me and starting petting my back. “I know. I’m dating a Were too. Kinda. Monthly.” This was the first time she finally admitted it. “Sit up. Let’s talk.”


I reluctantly sat up in bed and wiped the tears from my face. I tried to look away as I did it. “Fucking hormones.”


“I’m dating a Were,” she said. “But I’m straight. I’m only dating them during the full moon. And it kills me that I avoid them the other 27 days of the month.”


“I’m just so angry. I was tricked.” I said. “She… he… they knew I was new here. That I’d fall for that. I don’t know if it's these teenage hormones, but I felt like I was under a spell.”


“Weres don't practice magic. Well, I’m mean… they could. But they’re usually just happy charming people with their insanely good looks.”


I chucked. “Brittnay was certainly attractive. Turns out Brittany was Brett.”


“Brett? The guy who came to see you on the first day?”


“Yeah, that’s him.”


“Did Brittany tell you she was a were?”


“She said she did. But it was loud in the club. My ex said I have selective hearing. Here was this gorgeous girl coming on to me. I liked every moment of it.”


“I know the feeling. I love James, but I can only see him once a month.”


“Did James trick you?”


“No. I knew Jamie before James. She’s the one who actually set me up with James.”


“She set you up with herself?”


“Well yeah, but she was honest about it.”


“Anyway. I don't want to see Brittany ever again.”


“That’s fair.”


I took a deep breath. “Let's change the subject. What did I miss?”

“When you left, Sam and I were talking about who Ashley was working with,” Sophia said.


“Ashley said there was a Magic club.” I said. I wiped my eyes with my bed sheet. “If there’s a magic club, it’s likely underground.”


“Yeah, those types of things are always in basements.” she said with a straight face.


I looked at her annoyed at first.  Is she serious?


She then looked directly at me then smiled. Then she let out giggles of laughter and it was infectious as I found myself giggling with her. I cupped my mouth and got embarrassed at the girlish laugh.


Sophia nudged my shoulder.  “I got you to laugh.”


I smiled back at her.  “You did.  Thank you.”


“I can ask around about this so-called magic club.  If it exists, there has to be a Magic that’s pissed about it.  What else did that waitress say? Sam said Ashley was meeting someone.”


“The waitress said Ashley was with a teacher,” I said. “Someone athletic. I don’t have a teacher like that.”


Sophia thought about that and answered, “But I do. Mr. Barnes.” 


Mr. Barnes? Mrs. Barnes' husband?”


She nodded.


“The waitress said it appeared they were having an affair.”


“Ew. He’s like in his 40s.”


“Hey, now,” I complained. “I’m 42.”


“You’re 14, Cate.”


I don’t know why, but my mind suddenly flashed to having a drink with Mr. Sanders. Was that creepy? I certainly didn’t want to get intimate with him. Ew. Shivers went down my back just thinking about it. “Even if he was having an affair with Ashley, how does he fit into this puzzle? Could he be responsible for taking her magic?”


“Well, it's no secret the Barnes’s aren’t really happy about their circumstances.”


“I’ve only met Mrs. Barnes. What’s the husband like?”


“Art teacher. Librarian.” Sophia said.


“Librarian?” I echoed. “My ex-wife was a librarian.”


“He’s nice and friendly.”


“So was my ex, at first.”


“So are you and Sam going to confront him?” she asked. The tone told me she didn’t approve of that plan. “You can’t really go into the library and ask him point blank if he was having an affair with a student.”


Well, I was planning on leaving here. I asked Ms. Hathway to be released. After this incident with Brittany I wanted to get as far away from PAA as possible.


For the first time, I noticed Sophia was crying.


“Wait, why are you crying?”


“Because ever since we found Ashley, I can’t help but wonder if this thing is coming for me. I saw Brandi - her curse temporarily faded today.”


“You saw that?”


“Cate, this thing is getting worse. Ashley, Lulu, Brandi.”


I looked down at my lap. Just hearing the pain in Sophia’s voice made me want to help her. I couldn’t help her if I left. The embarrassment of the Brittany situation gave way to tremendous guilt. I wanted to go home. But I can’t. Not yet at least.


I grabbed my notebook and pen. I tapped the pen onto the notebook as I brainstormed what I could do to get answers from Barnes. Mr. Barnes doesn’t even know me. Mrs. Barnes does. In fact, she seems like someone willing to talk to me. “I know a way to get close to the Barness,” I finally announced, “I can try out for the lacrosse team. Or maybe I can ask for some one-on-one attention from Coach.”


“What would that do?” Sophia asked.


“It would allow me to talk to Coach Barnes outside of school. Maybe see if she thinks her husband is having an affair with a student.”


“All that, just to question Mrs. Barnes about her husband?”


“She wants something from me. I want something from her. Don’t worry, I have no plans of actually joining the team.”


“Sure, Cate.”


“I’m not really joining the lacrosse team.”


Of course, that’s not what happened.



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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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danifish879

Welp it looks like Cate figured Brett out. And found poor Ashley! All the different depictions of transformations and euphoria/dysphoria that have been going on lately are really drawing me into the story. I Iike how it naturally provides relatable context for transfolk who'd understand why using one's dead form for going undercover would be taxing on Sam or why someone may like to keep their transformations from one gender to another private like the Weres.
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Emily

All of these ideas are what drew me to this story when the idea came up in the discord. So much potential for allegories - and for fun characters in an expanded universe.
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marter

So they had a teacher who could use magic but fired her for using it. I don't understand why not at least call her about Ashley. It's like they didn't try at all. I'm very suspicious of the head mistress.
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Emily

Magic is illegal very frowned upon here. Many of the Magics are victims of magic, so just the idea of using it is upsetting to those see it as dangerous.
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marter

Time to explore the black market then
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Emily

Perhaps. I want to avoid this story veering into "Hogwarts West" terfitory.
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marter

Yeah I get that
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