Chapter 15

Cate Fox and the Case of the Fading Magic by Emily


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Meanwhile, back at Puellae Aurora Academy…


Sophia sat in her room alone. Again. She had hoped having Cate as a roommate would work out. But alas, Cate only lasted two weeks. She put on some pop music to try to cheer herself up, but she couldn’t get into it when she didn’t have a roommate to complain about it.


She stared at the other side of the room. It was still disheveled from when Cate haphazardly packed her things and left. Lying on the floor next to the unmade bed was Cate’s school uniform from where she left it to get changed for her lacrosse tryout.


She got up and started folding Cate’s clothes and making her bed when there was a knock at the door. Sophia sighed. “Come in.”


Julia entered the room. “Soph, it’s not healthy to lock yourself in your room. How about you come to dinner with me.”


“I’ll just get carry-out.”


“I know you're worried about the fading magic.”


“I’m upset about Cate, too.”


“Fuck the cop, lets get dinner.”


Sophie frowned at Julia. “Cate is more than that. She’s one of us. And she can’t seem to stay out of trouble.”


“If she was one of us, she’d still be here and not off wherever she is probably reliving some twisted action hero alpha male fantasy.”


Sophia shrugged.


Julia sat next to her. “Sophia, that asshole belittled you every chance she got. She doesn’t deserve your empathy.”


“That’s not what I saw. I saw a first-time girl, who is trying to figure out life. She doesn't know who Cate is yet. She’s still figuring that out. Sure, she’s clinging to her old persona, but she’s slowly opening up, accepting that she’s more than her dead life. On Monday afternoon, for the first time, I saw the real Cate Fox. She was used to having all of the power and privilege but now she’s in a world that hates what she is and what we represent. She’s just as lost and scared as we are, and she needs us.”


Julia sighed. “I’m sorry. I guess I didn't realize you two had grown close. I’m worried about you. You’re my friend. You’re still here. Cate’s not.”


“You’re right,” Sophia replied, putting her head down. “I’m just not ready to go socialize.”


“The offer still stands if you change your mind.”


“I went to the library to see Mr. Barnes today.”


“Oh? Why’d you go to see him?”


“Well, he never did answer any questions about the Magic Club and what Ashley was going through.”


“What did he say to you?”


“Well, he wasn’t there. Which is also kind of suspicious.”


“Are you… continuing with Cate’s investigation?”


“No. It’s just that without Cate, who is? And if Mr. Barnes is gone, one of the few people with answers is gone too.”


“Sophia, you need to get out of this room and back into the world of the living.”


“I know. I will. Soon.” 


* * *


Lulu was licking an envelope when Sam walked into her room. 


“Whatcha up to?” Sam asked.


“I was just about to mail a letter to my friend Suzy from back home,” Lulu replied.


“Oh? How is she doing?”


“She’s dating a girl from her class who has her own rock band. She was asking about romantic date ideas.”


“Oh? Are you going to try some of those date ideas on us?” Sam put one arm on Lulu’s hip and ran her fingers through Lulu’s short hair. Sam never considered herself bisexual. But she could easily see the real Lulu through her current masculine shell.


“Depends on if you want to go to a concert,” Lulu smirked.


“Sure. But good luck finding a decent musical act in Weatherford.”


Lulu smiled and they both slowly kissed. 


Sam felt the scratchiness of Lulu’s face, but didn’t have the heart to tell her she should start shaving again. “Did you tell her about your curse disappearing?”


“I did.” Lulu backed up and suddenly became self-conscious at the reminder.


Sam saw this and pulled her back into a kiss. “I love you, Louise. Nothing is going to change that.”


Lulu smiled at the affirmation and kissed back, but something was wrong, and she noticed Sam was deep in thought.


“Sam, you’re worried. What’s up?”


Sam laid down upon Lulu’s bed and let out a sigh. “A person out on the quad asked me how my boyfriend was doing.”


“Oh.”


“I was so angry.”


“Don’t be. I’m currently masc presenting. I’m just not ready to be femme presenting in this body.”


“I know, and I don’t want to rush you.”


“Then don’t.” Lulu sat down next to Sam and intertwined their hands.


Sam smiled but it didn’t change her demeanor.


“You’re still upset.”


“I keep thinking about Cate. She lied to us.”


“Did she really?” Lulu asked rhetorically. “When did you first meet her?”


“We were both investigating Ashley’s disappearance.”


“And the first time I met her, she interrogated me. She was gentle about it of course.” 


“I also found her gun in her dresser.”


“You see?” Lulu smiled and ran her finger through Sam’s pink hair. “We knew she was a cop. We just chose to look the other way.”


“What does that say about me? That I ignored all of the signs?”


Lulu then put her hand on Sam’s face. “It says you love me. It says that you will use every resource available to you to keep me safe.”


“Cate’s methods were crude.”


“You did meet her while sneaking around other people's rooms.”


“Exactly. I snuck in. Cate just barrels into danger.”


“You found Ashley together.”


Sam sighed.


“Listen, I like Cate. I think she was a positive influence on you.”


“A positive influence? We were caught stalking teachers and interrogating them.”


“Aside from that. I see something different light up in you when you’re around her.”


Me?”


“Yeah, you. I haven't seen you have that much fun since we took that ski trip.”


“Are you saying… I like the thrill?”


“No, I think you like saving people. You saw Cate as a way to fulfill that desire.”


“Maybe. But now what? We never finished questioning Mr. Barnes. In fact, Ms. Hathaway said we’re not allowed anywhere near him or allowed to continue Cate’s investigation.”


“You’ll think of something,” Lulu said, patting Sam’s knee. “Hey, wanna walk to the mailbox with me?”


Sam smiled and got up and they both left for the walk.


* * *


Lulu and Sam walked out to the quad and to the mailbox. Lulu saw Joslyn, the transgender girl sitting at a table playing on her phone. Up until Lulu’s magic faded, Joslyn was the only Normie at the school. It appeared Lulu and Joslyn had something in common now.


“Hold up,” Lulu told Sam as she walked towards Joslyn. She sat down next to her.


Joslyn took her earbuds out of her ears and looked at Lulu for a second.


“Hi, Joslyn, I’m Lulu.”


“Hi, Lulu,” Joslyn replied. “I heard what happened to you. I’m so sorry.”


“Thank you,” said Lulu. “Joslyn, I know we haven’t spoken before, but may I ask you a question?”


“Um, sure.”


“Joslyn, do you feel safe here?”


Joslyn looked at her in surprise. “Safe? At PAA? Of course.”


“You heard that my curse disappeared and I was forcibly detransitioned. But, I’m still trans and…”


“And you’re worried about presenting as a Normie trans girl.”


“Exactly.”


“I’m accepted by most people here for being trans. Most people don’t care I’m a Normie because they know I’d love to be a TG in a heartbeat. I’m free to be who I want to be.”


Lulu nodded. “But you’re alone. Do you feel, I dunno, shunned?”


“For being a Normie? Or being trans? Actually, I’m an introvert. I prefer to be alone with my thoughts. It helps with my writing. But I have friends. In fact, I have more friends because I’m not in a clique. I’m accepted by Magics, by Sciences. Hell, the Weregirls even take me shopping with them.” 


Lulu finally smiled.


“Just be Lulu. Everyone will understand. If they don't, I’ll give them a piece of my mind. Or I’ll get a Were to kick their ass.”


Both Lulu and Joslyn giggled.


“Hey Lulu,” Joslyn said. “Do you want to go clothes shopping with me?”


“I’d love to. Thank you, Joslyn.” Lulu slowly rose up from the table.


“Any time.”


Lulu waved at Joslyn and rejoined Sam. 


Sam had heard everything and hugged Lulu tightly.


* * *


Brandon watched Lulu and Sam walk across the quad to a mailbox and saw Lulu drop an envelope in it. They were afraid of walking up to them. While Lulu was accepting, they got weird vibes from Sam as if she didn’t entirely trust them.


They didn’t blame her. Of all of the people to be affected by the fading magic, Brandon was the only one to have made out.


But they had to talk to them. Maybe their new information can help Lulu.


“Sam, Lulu,” Brandon spoke up.


“Oh, hi, Brandon,” Lulu replied.


“I thought of something. For your case.”


“In case you hadn’t heard, Headmistress said to cease and desist,” Sam reminded them.


Brandon didn’t know what Sam was talking about. “There was a boy.”


“A boy?” Lulu asked.


“At first I thought it was a dream, but now I think it was real, and made to feel like a dream. He cornered me, slipped something on me, and my ring glowed - as if it was being drained.”


“Brandon,” Sam sighed. “We’re not-”


“I had the same dream too,” Lulu interrupted.


Sam and Brandon both looked at Lulu for clarification.


“I mean, in my dream it was my bracelet.”


“Was this after you started showing signs of fading?” Sam asked.


“No, this was before. Like a month ago,” Lulu responded.


“About the same time Ashley went missing?” Brandon asked.


“Maybe,” Lulu replied.


“What good is this information now?” Sam asked.


“Tell Cate,” Brandon suggested.


Sam and Lulu looked at each other.


“Brandon, you didn’t hear?” Lulu asked.


“Hear what?”


“Cate was expelled. She’s gone.”


“Expelled? For what?”


“Following a teacher home and interrogating him then telling everyone she was a cop pretending to be a student,” Sam shrugged.


“No,” Lulu corrected. “Cate got expelled for trying to help us. Trying to find out what happened to our magic.”


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


Lulu frowned and shrugged.


Sam was devastated seeing her girlfriend give up hope like that. She felt the same way too. For all of the grief Cate caused, she instilled a certain amount of hope within the group. Lulu was right - Cate’s presence gave Sam a certain thrill. But it also gave her confidence that they were doing the right thing and everything would be OK. Now all of that was gone. 


* * *


Sam walked Lulu back to her room and told her she needed to run an errand. From there, Sam went straight to Cooper Hall to see Sophia.


She knocked on the door.


“Julia, I’m not coming out!” the voice behind the door shouted.


“Sophia, It’s Sam.”


The door unlocked.


“Sam,” she said, opening the door. “What’s going on?”


“Are you hiding up here?”


“Like I told Julia, that’s my prerogative.”


“That can’t be healthy.”


“It is if I lose my magic and turn back into a guy like Lulu-” Sophia paused for a moment. “Oh my God, Sam, I’m sorry. I didn't mean that.”


“I know what you meant. I want Lulu to get her magic back too.”


“I don’t see how,” Sophia said, letting Sam in the room and then sitting down on her bed.


“We have to continue this investigation," Sam suggested.


“Investigating this caused my roommate to get expelled.”


“Well, we still need to ask around about this Magic Club.”


“I did attempt to talk to Mr. Barnes. But I’m just too afraid to do more. I’m sorry, Sam. I just can’t.”


“Fine,” Sam said, walking back to the door. She turned around. “You know, if more people lose their magic, Cate getting expelled will have been in vain.”


With that, Sam walked out of the door and closed it behind her. She didn’t stop walking until she was outside Cooper Hall and out in the quad.


She sat down and put her head into her hands.


“I’m sorry,” Sophia's voice said.


Sam looked up to see that Sophia had followed her outside.


“I’m not good at this type of thing,” Sophia admitted. “Investigating is more of a you and Cate thing. I don’t know where to begin.”


“We can start when we left off - Magic Club.”


Just then a boy approached, Sam didn’t immediately recognize him, but Sophia did. “Pardon me ladies,” he said with a smile.


“Can we help you?” Sam asked.


“This is Brett,” Sophia said. “Cate’s um… Were… friend.”


“Oh,” Sam said, warily. “What do you want, Were?”


“I heard you talking about Cate, Shifter. I wanted to see if any of you have heard from her.”


“Why do you care?” Sam fired back. “We heard what you did to her.”


“Did what? We had two perfect evenings. I respected her boundaries.”


“You pretended to be someone else. You tricked her.”


Sophia sensed an argument brewing, as Weres and Shifters tend to be antagonistic to each other. She interjected, “We haven’t heard from Cate since she left.”


“Where’d she go?” Brett asked. “I was just as surprised as everyone else that she got expelled.”


Sophia timidly shrugged.


Sam pulled out her phone. “She’s…” she looked at her ‘location sharing’ app. “...in Pittsburgh? I thought she was from-”


“What’s in Pittsburgh?” Brett asked.


“Emma’s boyfriend,” Sophia answered.


“Emma - the previous owner of Cate’s body?” Brett asked.


“How do you know that?” Sam asked.


“She told me-”


“She told your alter ego-”


“Yes,” Sophia interrupted. “Cate was kinda obsessed with finding her and switching back. More than figuring out what happened to Ashley.”


“Do you think that’s what she’s doing?” Brett asked.


“Let’s find out,” Sophia said, sitting down across from Sam. She pulled out her phone and dialed Cate’s number and put it on speaker.


The phone rang and on the seventh ring it went to voicemail. “Hi everybody, you’ve reached Emma. I can’t answer my phone right now but first a joke. Where do attackers go to dance? (pause) Lacrosse Balls! (laughter) I love you all! Go Tigers! (beep).”


“Cate, it’s Sophia. Call us back.” She disconnected.


“Wow,” Brett said. “It’s Cate’s voice, but Emma’s tone and inflection sound nothing like Cate.”


“She’s so friendly and bubbly,” Sophia giggled. “I think I’d get along with Emma. Anyway, at least we know where Cate is.”


Sam nervously fidgeted in her seat. “I dont know.”


“What’s wrong?”


“Her phone’s been idle for hours.”


“That doesn’t mean anything,” Sophia said. “She rarely used her phone. The fact she hasn’t changed her greeting proves it.”


“I haven’t changed my voicemail greeting,” Brett said. “It’s some generic one.”


“Same,” Sam said.


It was Sophia’s turn to be nervous. “Do you think she’s in trouble?”


“It’s Cate we’re talking about,” Sam reminded them.


“I know!” Sophia replied.


“Either way,” Brett added, “we should tell her to come back and appeal the expulsion.”


“You weren’t there,” Sophia said. “Headmistress was way beyond pissed!”


“I hate to say it, but the Were is right,” Sam said. “Lulu thinks we should’ve stood up for Cate. But she was trying to help us, and maybe there’s some merit to that. Maybe we should’ve told the headmistress we were acting as a group.”


“We need to go get her,” Sophia said. “She needs our help.”


“How do you know that for sure?” Sam asked.


“Because she thinks she's a 42-year-old detective. She’s really a 14-year-old TG. Her ego and hubris are going to get her in trouble. Like her first week here when she challenged the sheriff.”


“So what do we do?”


“I’ll go to Pittsburgh,” Brett offered.


“No, I should be the one,” Sam volunteered.


“We’ll all go,” Brett said.


“Do you want to get Lulu?” Sophia asked.


“No,” Sam replied. “Stay here with Lulu. I don’t want her getting in trouble. Me… and Brett will go.”


“Great,” Sophia said. “I’ll work on Cate’s appeal.”


“Now we need a car,” Brett said to Sam.


Sam bristled at the thought of working with a Were. “I hate to tell you this, but I don't have a car.”


“Only seniors can have cars on campus,” Sophia pointed out.


“Can’t you like, shift into a car?” Brett asked Sam.


“What? Fuck you. Why don’t you shift into a wolf and I’ll ride you.”


“Hey!” Sophia said, getting between Sam and Brett. “We need to work together.”


“Why him?” Sam said to Sophia. “Cate hates him. I’m not even sure of his motivations.”


“He volunteered,” Sophia reminded Sam.


“I like Cate,” Brett added. “Like - really like her.”


“But she hates you,” Sam reminded him.


“We need all the help we can get,” Sophia spoke over them. “She has a two day head start.” While Sam and Brett were quiet, Sophia noticed Kayla Robinson walking through the quad. “Hey. How about her?” 


“Her?” Brett asked with a disgusted tone. “What about her?”


“Kayla is a senior and has a car,” Sophia replied.


“No, Cate will kill us,” Sam replied.


“First, let’s find out if she’ll even help us.” Brett started walking, and Sam was forced to follow, then Sophia. “Hey, Kayla.”


Kayla stopped and looked at Brett as though he was an insect to be stepped on. “What do you want, freshman?”


“Don’t give me that ‘freshman’ thing,” Brett retorted.


“Fine, what do you want, Brett?”


“Umm, do you two know each other?” Sophia curiously asked.


“Orientation,” Kayla said. “I thought he was a brand new senior.”


Sophia pushed Brett’s shoulder. “You fooled her too?”


“All Weres are players,” Sam flatly accused.


“We are not players,” Brett said defensively. “I’m single. Have you seen the male-to-female ratio here?”


“What do you all want?” Kayla repeated, raising her voice.


‘We need a ride to go bring Cate back,” Brett said.


“You want me to do what?” Kayla asked incredulously. “Help Cate Fox? Why the hell would I do that? That bitch ruined lacrosse. Coach Barnes hasn’t come back to practice and hasn’t been seen since Monday.”


“She hasn’t?” Sophia said, worried.


“Because we need Cate to get to the bottom of the fading magic,” Sam replied.


“You’re the only one we know with a car,” Brett added.


“Didn’t you attempt to date her last weekend?” Kayla asked.


“Yeah,” Brett timidly admitted.


“Please, Kayla,” Sophia implored. “If you do this for us, we’ll be eternally grateful.” 


“So you want me to drive you three?”


“I’m staying here,” Sophia replied. “I’ve got to convince Ms. Hathaway that Cate belongs here and to let her back.”


Kayla looked at Sam and Brett and chuckled. “A Shifter and a Weregirl. And you want me to drive? At least color me intrigued. Where to?”


Sam, Sophia, and Brett shared glances at each other.


“Umm… Pittsburgh,” Brett answered, his voice barely above a whisper.


“Pittsburgh!” Kayla exclaimed.



* * *


It took an hour to convince her, but Kayla finally agreed. When Sophia waved bye to them, she walked to Colby Hall to see Lulu and knocked on the door.


“Oh, hi, Sophia.” Lulu opened the door to greet her.


“Hey, girl. I have a message from Sam.”


“Sam? Why didn’t she just come up here herself?”


“‘Cause she’s on her way to Pittsburgh.”


Pittsburgh! Why?”


“She’s going to go get Cate and convince her to come back.”


“Why didn’t she just tell me that herself?”


“Because she thought you’d want to join them, and Sam was insistent you not go and get in trouble.”


Lulu sighed. “Well, she’s right. I feel like I owe Cate. I also feel like she’s really our only hope to get to the bottom of this.


“That’s why our task is to get her reinstated,” Sophia smiled.


“What do we have to do?”


* * *


Sophia and Lulu walked into the administration building and knocked on the headmistress’s door.


“Come in,” she could be heard saying.


The two girls walked in and the headmistress looked up from what she was doing.


“Good afternoon, Miss Blake, Miss Matthews.”


“We wanted to talk to you about Cate,” Sophia began.


“Miss Fox was expelled.”


“But don’t you think it was a little harsh?” Lulu asked. “She was only trying to help me.”


“Cate Fox was expelled for a number of reasons. Following the Barnes to their personal residence. The incident in town that Miss Blake was present for. She had a gun on campus. She was caught drinking alcohol. Her actions Monday night were just the last straw.”


“She needs us,” Lulu said.


“And we need her,” Sophia added. “She was doing so well. She needs PAA.”


“I’m sorry ladies, I truly am.” the headmistress replied. “I have already informed her parents that she was expelled. Even if I wanted to forgive Miss Fox, they would have to be the ones to re-enroll her.”


“What happened to the Barneses?” Sophia asked.


“Mr. Barnes was suspended pending an investigation into his fraternization with a student. Mrs. Barnes must’ve just taken the week off after what Miss Fox did to her on Monday.”


Lulu and Sophia looked at each other and realized this was going to be harder than they thought.


“Miss Matthews,” the headmistress said, changing the subject, “I can’t help but notice your condition has worsened.”


“My bracelet fell off,” Lulu responded, holding up their bare wrist. “My curse is gone.”


“Have you informed your parents that you are male again?”


“I have not.”


“Don’t you think they’d want to know their son is back? Do you want me to make that call for you?”


“Absolutely, not. Their son is not back. I wish to remain at PAA. I am Lulu and plan on becoming Lulu physically again.”


“May I remind you magic is illegal-”


“I’m prepared to medically transition if that’s what it takes.”


“Miss Matthews, you realize this is a school for TGs and not for transgender teens right?”


“That’s not fair,” Sophia chimed in. “Josyln gets to be here.”


“Miss Clark’s parents have a lot of money and have donated to our sportsplex,” Ms. Hathaway responded.


“Lulu should be able to stay,” Sophia repeated. “Money should not be the deciding factor.”


“Wait, Sophia,” Lulu said, holding her back. She turned to the headmistress. “I’ll gladly swap places with Cate, if that’s what it comes down to.”


“Lulu, no,” Sophia cried.


Lulu stepped forward. “Cate is a TG and she did nothing wrong other than prove her loyalty to her friends.”


The Headmistress looked at the two students, then reluctantly picked up the phone.


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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

Ooh I really liked this chapter! The Sam, Brett & Kayla road trip is not something I knew I needed in my life until now but I'm loving this particular unlikely trio. Miss Hathaway is kinda giving like a TG'd Nick Fury vibe where she takes these gambles and has secrets and frankly can be sort of a dick (like with the Lulu vs Joslyn thing).
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Emily

Awesome. I hadn't thought of that comparison. :)
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marter

Now the headmistress is misgendering her students. She's is def suspect number one
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