The character that took over

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Amidst the glow of computer screens and the rhythmic clack of keyboards, Alex sat in his cramped office, immersed in lines of code. At 19 years old, he was a mild-mannered software developer with a penchant for order and structure, finding solace in the digital realm where everything had its place.

A typical geek, he wasn't that much into fashion, didn't often get haircuts, and had a typical geek-hobby: Beyond the confines of his office and the mundanity of his daily routine, he was a passionate pen&paper roleplayer. A hero, a warrior, a creature of the night. Alongside his closest friends, he embarked on daring adventures and battled ancient evils, all from the comfort of a dimly lit tabletop adorned with dice and character sheets.

Their game of choice? A vampire-themed pen and paper roleplaying adventure set in the modern world, where they could cast aside the shackles of reality and embrace the darkness that lurked just beyond the veil of society.

But one fateful evening, as the dice rolled and fate hung in the balance, Alex's carefully crafted character met an untimely demise.

The air hung heavy with tension as Alex's character met its demise on the virtual battlefield of an imagined street corner.

"Damn it!" Alex exclaimed, frustration evident in his voice.

His friends exchanged sympathetic glances around the table.

"Sorry, man," Jake said, patting Alex on the back. "Tough break." He was the game master, but that didn't make him like it when the group suffered such a blow so early.

"Yeah, those rolls were brutal," Sarah added, shaking her head.

Alex sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I can't believe I'm out already. We're barely halfway through the campaign."

The group fell into a momentary silence, contemplating their next move.

"Well, we can't just stop now," Mark said, breaking the silence. "We've got to keep going."

"But what about Alex?" Sarah asked. "We can't just leave him out of the game."

"That's true," Mark chimed in. "Hey, what about Alicia?"

All eyes turned to Mark, curiosity piqued.

"Alicia?" Alex repeated, eyebrows raised. Alicia was a NPC that was part of the story. A young brunette, elegant, witty and tough, she was supposed to point the group to the main story arc.

"Yeah, you know, the NPC we've been traveling with," Mark explained. "She's a pretty crucial part of the story, and since she's technically one of us, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for Alex to take over."

Jake leafed through the notes. "You know, the adventure makes this very much possible. It even suggests Alicia as one of the replacement characters."

Sarah nodded in agreement. "Plus, it could be kinda fun. We've all had a thing for Alicia at this point, right?"

The group chuckled, recalling their fondness for the enigmatic NPC. She had been adorably written by the designers.

"I guess it could work," Alex mused, a hint of excitement creeping into his voice. "I mean, it's not like I've got anything to lose at this point."

"Exactly!" Mark exclaimed. "It's settled then. Alex, you're our new Alicia."

Alex grinned, feeling a surge of adrenaline at the prospect of stepping into a new role.

"Alright, let's do this," he said, determination shining in his eyes. "Alicia, here I come."

•••
As the weeks went by, Alex fully embraced his new role as Alicia, initially playing it off with a sense of irony and exaggeration to avoid any awkwardness. Yet, with each passing session, he found himself slipping effortlessly into the character's persona, surprising even himself with the depth of his portrayal.

His friends marveled at his natural performances, showering him with praise for his immersive roleplaying. "Dude, you're killing it as Alicia," Jake would say, while Sarah would nod in agreement, adding, "Seriously, I almost forget you're not actually her."

Alex found himself eagerly anticipating each roleplaying evening, the excitement building as he prepared to step into Alicia's shoes once more. It wasn't long before the character began to seep into his everyday life, his mannerisms and speech patterns subtly shifting to mirror hers. Alicia began to seep into his everyday life, her influence subtly shaping his actions and demeanor. He found himself speaking with her confidence, moving with her grace. It actually began to take a positive influence in many aspects of life, making him more assertive and confident, pushing ideas in the job and getting praise.

But it didn't stop there. One day, a daring thought crossed his mind – what would it be like to truly embody Alicia, even outside of the game? With his brown hair already grown out quite a bit, he reasoned it couldn't hurt to explore this new identity further. He told himself it would deepen his roleplaying.

Venturing out to a nearby clothing store, Alex found himself drawn to a sleek black dress, the perfect ensemble for the elegant vampire hunter he had come to admire. Hesitant at first, he purchased the dress, feeling a surge of excitement mixed with apprehension.

Back home, he hesitated to put it on, unsure of how it would feel. But as he slipped into the dress, he felt a sense of empowerment wash over him, a newfound confidence coursing through his veins. Standing in front of the mirror, he couldn't help but smile at the reflection staring back at him – a reflection that felt more like Alicia than ever before.

For now, he kept his transformation confined to the privacy of his home, wearing the dress only when alone. Yet, with each passing day, the line between Alex and Alicia blurred further, until it seemed as though they were one and the same.

And so, Alex found himself on the brink of a new adventure, one that would blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy in ways he never imagined possible. Little did he know, this was only the beginning of his journey into the depths of the unknown.

•••
As the summer break approached, the friends bid each other farewell, expressing excitement for the continuation of their campaign in the autumn. Alex smiled warmly, eager to see where their adventures would take them next.

As everyone began to leave, Sarah lingered behind, her expression thoughtful. "Hey, Alex," she said softly, "I just wanted to say... I really enjoyed how you slipped into your role as Alicia. It's almost like playing with another woman sometimes."

Alex felt a rush of warmth flood his cheeks, his heart skipping a beat at Sarah's words. "Thanks," he replied, his voice tinged with shy gratitude. They shared a heartfelt hug before Sarah departed, leaving Alex alone with his thoughts.

Walking home, Alex couldn't shake the sense of validation that Sarah's words had brought him. It felt like a confirmation of everything he had been experiencing – a reassurance that he wasn't alone in his transformation into Alicia.

Arriving home, he made a spontaneous decision. Without hesitation, he slipped into the black dress once more, feeling a sense of liberation wash over him as he stepped outside into the warm summer evening.

The night air felt electric against his skin as he walked the familiar streets, each step carrying him further into the realm of Alicia's world. With each passing moment, he felt more alive than ever before, a sense of freedom and empowerment pulsing through his veins.

As he walked, he couldn't help but wonder what the future held. Would the pause from their roleplaying game cause Alicia to fade away, a mere figment of his imagination? Or would she continue to thrive, shaping his reality in ways he never could have imagined?

With a sense of anticipation tinged with uncertainty, Alex embraced the unknown, ready to embark on a summer filled with endless possibilities. And as the stars twinkled overhead, casting their gentle glow upon the world below, he knew that the journey was only just beginning.

•••
As the autumn breeze carried a hint of nostalgia, Alex found himself fully immersed in the persona of Alicia. The second identity had blossomed over the summer, shaping his appearance and mannerisms in ways he never could have anticipated. With his ears pierced, bangs framing his face, and a wardrobe expanded to fit Alicia's style, he felt more comfortable in his own skin than ever before.

As the first roleplaying evening after the summer break approached, Alex made a decision – he would attend as Alicia. Gathering his courage, he arrived at his friends' gathering place, heart pounding with anticipation.

His friends greeted him with a mixture of surprise and acceptance, their eyebrows raised only slightly at his transformation. "Alex... or should we say, Alicia?" Jake chuckled, breaking the momentary silence.

Alex grinned, a sense of pride swelling within him. "I figured it was time for Alicia to make her grand entrance," he replied, a hint of mischief in his tone.

His friends exchanged knowing glances, a sense of understanding passing between them. "We had a feeling it might be like this," Mark said with a smile, clapping Alex on the back. "Welcome, Alicia. We're glad you're here."

Sarah stepped forward, her expression thoughtful. "It's amazing to see how comfortable you've become in your role," she said, her voice soft. "But now that Alicia's here... we'll need to make a new character, won't we?"

The realization hung in the air, a bittersweet reminder of the changes they had undergone. Yet, as they began to discuss their plans for the future, there was a sense of excitement in the air – a promise of new adventures to come.

And as the evening unfolded, Alex – now Alicia – felt a sense of belonging unlike anything he had ever experienced before. With his friends by his side, he knew that no matter what challenges lay ahead, they would face them together, united in their shared love for the game and each other.

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[Notes:
1. English being not my first language, I took AI assistance with translation. Sorry if that shows.
2. First posted at my Deviantart Ducklingstories]



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This story is 1663 words long.