Involuntary Sisters' Weekend; Part 5 (of 5); 4:15-8:00

The treehouse wasn’t very far into the woods, but it had been a while. It took Carter about ten minutes longer than it should have to get there with how many times he needed to retrace his steps. He moved quickly, kicking up dead leaves and keeping watch for other people about that he’d have to avoid. Once or twice he tripped over his skirt and tumbled.

He was low on time. The shadows of the trees were getting longer, and the light against the ground was noticeably tinted yellow.

Involuntary Sisters' Weekend; Part 4 (of 5); 2:45-3:45

Carter sat leaning over his knees, which were pressed together so his panties weren’t visible beneath his skirt. The TV was on and the commercials were droning on, but he was looking at Victoria.

She was sitting beside him, off to the side so she wasn’t too close. She was looking at him too, some disposed-of tissues on the side table nearby. Her eyes were still a little red and puffy, and she looked… defeated.

Carter sighed. He was so bored.

“So…” he said, shifting in his seat and trying not to ask about magic, “How’s school?”

Involuntary Sisters' Weekend; Part 3 (of 5); 12:00-2:40

Carter paced back and forth across his room for a while, occasionally glancing back at his door as if it would suddenly become unlocked. Eventually, he was shaking so much he had to sit and take a breath.

He was losing control. How could he possibly fix this situation? What could he say to Victoria to convince her to change him back? What would happen if somebody came by to check up on them? Who would believe him, the way he looked now, over Victoria?

He almost didn’t believe it himself.

The book. Carter scrambled, pulling open his backpack and grabbing the book.

Xìngbié; part 13 (of 13): Dádào Xìngbié

Nat woke up feeling groggy. The potion had made him incredibly exhausted—

He bolted upright. The potion! He’d—

The empty vial was still on his bed table. He had tried to down it all at once, but a little bit of pink fluid still clung to the inside of the container.

It didn’t work.

Nat closed his eyes and curled his hands into fists.

It didn’t work.

It didn’t fucking work!

For all of that asshole’s promises, the potion hadn’t done anything!

Involuntary Sisters' Weekend; Part 2 (of 5); 9:20-12:00

There was nobody outside when Carter glanced out the front window, but he still nervously glanced around anyway. All it would take was a stray neighbor with a phone to catch a picture of him and alert his parents that something was wrong.

A strong gust blew away some of the crispy brown leaves, but everything else was still.

Carter closed the blinds, and pulled the curtains shut just to be sure.

Victoria was waiting by the couch. Carter took the Wii remote from her, feeling more than a little silly as he followed her instructions to put the wrist strap on. She was literally blowing dust off the console, and practically bouncing with excitement as she put the game disk in.

Victoria plopped down on the couch and motioned for Carter to sit, informing him that they were playing Mario Kart first.

Carter groaned and tried to get comfortable. Normally, the plushness of the couch would be super relaxing, but the way it made him sink into the cushion caused his shirt to bunch up, making his chest shift and squish as well. At this point he was seriously considering whether a bra would help or not.

Involuntary Sisters' Weekend; Part 1 (of 5); 8:00-9:20

Carter knew that he was awake, but didn’t want to open his eyes. What time was it? Maybe it was still early and he could get another few hours in before checking in on his sister.

Ugh… the thought still bothered him. He was glad his parents hadn’t gotten them a babysitter for the weekend, but this was the third trip out of state since the school year started. Didn’t they know he needed the weekends to himself and his own friends?

He still needed to know what time it was.

Xìngbié; part 12 (of 13): Ultimatum

The inside of the restaurant was cool, even through Nathan’s (Tyler’s) sweatshirt, and dimly lit. There weren’t a lot of people about, possibly due to it still being nine in the morning. Nathan had made sure that the restaurant was open before he came, but it was only now occurring to him how odd it was for a Chinese restaurant to be open so darn early in the day.

Xìngbié; part 11 (of 12): The World Shattered

What had it said? What had it said?! Something about love? And on the flip side? He couldn’t remember exactly, but he thought the word had been… sex? Gender? He’d gotten a fortune cookie talking about love and gender, and then… the games on his bookshelf being replaced, new shoes appearing in the closet, all his underwear being replaced.

And then on and on, one change after another, until he was wearing a skirt on dates and trying on lipstick in the mall. All these recent feelings—they weren’t teenage angst or self-doubt, they were him realizing that he was doing something wrong. But then he’d forget. Even something as obvious as forgetting which table he sat at just barely registered before it slipped from his mind forever.

But the worst part, by far, was that he had almost figured it out! Just a week ago he’d been helping Tyler with his homework, and Nathan could tell that something was wrong. But every day he forgot more and more who he was supposed to be.

Xìngbié; part 10 (of 12): The Final Step is Acceptance

Nat probably should have known better than to agree to go to the mall with his friends the day after his date with Gavin. Surprisingly, though, Nat’s mother was actually allowing him to go. She’d even given him one of her old purses to carry his wallet in, since Nat didn’t have a purse of his own. Maybe his mother had finally realized that Nat needed to spend more time with his friends outside of school.

Xìngbié; part 9 (of 12): The Most Lovable Boy in the World

Nat pulled the skirt up his legs and snug around his waist. It fell just above his knees and was decorated with the images of butterflies, a lot like the ones dancing about in Nat’s stomach. He hoped Gavin liked it as much as Nat himself did.

The sandals he chose because he liked how much they showed off his fresh toenails. Nat’s top was sleeveless, exposing his bare shoulders, and it was just long enough that that it reached down to Nat’s waist as long as he didn’t bend over. His father would have a field day if he saw this outfit; it was a small blessing that he was working through the weekend.

Xìngbié; part 8 (of 12): Rebuilding

Nathan had only a few minutes to get dressed before heading out to meet the bus. But he was still standing in his room with nothing on but a bathrobe. His closet and dresser were wide open, and there was absolutely nothing in them that Nathan wanted to wear. Everything he owned was too tight and too revealing.

Brushing the wet hair from his face, Nathan shuffled though his underwear drawer to look for a pair of panties that wouldn’t be utterly embarrassing to wear. His mother had left early, so he wouldn’t be able to ask her to schedule a haircut until he got home.

Xìngbié; part 7 (of 12): Cracks in the Wall

Apparently a warm front had breezed through the region, because the next few days were going to be unseasonably warm. Nat took the opportunity to do something that he’d been eager try—he was going to leave his jacket at home and go out wearing that fashionable tank top that he’d been saving for a sunny day. Giving up this chance while he had it would just be criminal.

Xìngbié; part 6 (of 12): Know who your Friends are

“Um… shit.”

Nat stood at the end of the lunch line with his tray, looking out at the cafeteria and feeling unusually confused.

He had no idea where to sit.

Fighting the knot in his gut, Nat looked for a familiar face. He spotted Gavin sitting with his friends at a table, but it looked like it was full. Besides, how awkward would that be? Sure, Gavin and he were friends, but they didn’t really share friends. Nat would just be intruding.

There came a tap on Nat’s shoulder. He looked around to see Emily, from his next period, standing there with a tray in her hand as well.

Xìngbié; part 5 (of 12): Gender Confusion Sunday

There came a sharp rapping at the bedroom door.

“Nat,” his mother called through the door, “I’m going out to Burger King. Do you want your usual?”

“Sure, mom,” Nat replied.

His mother had distracted him, but not from his homework. He was standing in the middle of the room with his shirt off, looking down at his waist. His hips seemed… wide, and his pants clung tightly to his legs. It had been hard to get them on for some reason. And sitting down was almost uncomfortable. But this was the third pair of pants that he’d tried on, and they were all like that. The only ones that were even a little bit loose didn’t come all the way down to his ankles.

Xìngbié; part 4 (of 12): Valentine's Day

When Nathan finally stirred on Saturday, the alarm clock read 11:32. Nathan sprang to his feet. He’d slept in! He never slept in. It was a bad habit. At least, according to his father it was.

At least the movie wasn’t until 3 o’clock. Nathan still had plenty of time to prepare and still get his homework done like his father had insisted. He wasn’t opposed to Nathan spending time with his friends (at least, not after a talk with his wife), but he still wanted Nathan to focus on schoolwork first.

But first Nathan needed a shower. He slipped out of his room and darted toward the bathroom. But as he turned the corner, he ran right into his father coming the other way.

Xìngbié; part 3 (of 12): Comfortable as an Old Shoe

Nathan stared down at his open sock drawer in confusion. This absolutely was not the way that it had looked the day before. He’d had maybe a dozen white socks and a few black dress socks. He certainly had not had three dozen pairs of socks of varying lengths and colors, some with pictures of animals and cartoon characters. And there was no way that he’d had a small collection of rolled-up tights and leggings of various colors and patterns.

Xìngbié; part 2 (of 12): Old Habits Die Swift

In the morning, Nathan didn’t feel the least bit rested. He was struggling to keep his eyes open even in the shower. If he didn’t perk up soon, he was going to have a hard time staying awake through his morning classes.

Shampoo, conditioner… where’s…?

There was no body wash on the shelf in the shower.

I don’t use body wash, Nathan realized, groaning. It was going to be one of those days, wasn’t it? He grabbed a bar of soap and scrubbed himself down quickly.

A knock at the door, his mother, let him know that he was running out of time before the bus came. Nathan turned off the water and got out, grabbing a towel from the rack. He rubbed himself dry, but paused when he saw his stomach. It looked different… flatter? Sure, being Chinese, Nathan had always been smaller and thinner than other boys (much to their amusement and playful mockery), but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was… wrong about him.

Xìngbié; part 1 (of 12): Takeout Chinese

Nathan poked at his food with a fork. Part of him found it ironic that a Chinese American family was eating Chinese takeout for dinner, but his mind wasn’t really on the food.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” his mother asked from across the table. She was frowning, but it was concern in her eyes.

Nathan’s younger brother snickered, and Nathan cast him a dark look.

“I’m just not very hungry, I guess,” he lied. He hated lying to his mother, but he really didn’t want to talk about it.

“He’s upset because he still doesn’t have a date for Valentine’s Day,” Tyler chimed in.

Nathan stabbed his beef with his fork, looking down to hide his grimace.

“Tyler, stop antagonizing your brother and eat your dinner,” their father said.

Tyler grumbled something under his breath, but didn’t respond.

Nathan silently thanked his father, but he knew that Tyler was right. He was fifteen now and still didn’t have a girlfriend. All his friends were always talking about girls, but Nathan had such a hard time getting a girl to go out with him.

Not that he hadn’t tried, of course. He’d asked out four different girls this school year already, and each one had said no. And every time they did he wished he could just disappear and never have to try again. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, he felt even worse than usual.

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