The Scoobies Do: Chapter 4 - The Scoobies Bond

The Scoobies Do
Chapter 4 - The Scoobies Bond

by Jennifer Sue


 
Chapter 4
 
Tuesday morning, the Scoobies showed up early for school proudly wearing dark green nail polish. Buffy joined Gabi in wearing the lipstick. The guys decided to wait a bit before going that far.

Getting to their classroom as their teacher arrived, they chorused "Good morning Miss Peach."

"Good morning," Miss Peach replied with a smile. She was glad to see Gabe had joined the others since they helped each other and never caused any problems. "What can I do for you?"

"If it's not too much trouble," Buffy began. "Can you move Gabi's seat so she can sit in front of Rocky? That way the four of us can work together without disturbing the rest of class."

Miss Peach raised her eyebrows in surprise as Buffy referred to Gabe as 'Gabi' and 'she'. None of the them reacted as if anything was out of the ordinary meaning that they all were accustomed to referring to Gabe in the feminine. Of course, with his hair in the pigtails he did look decidedly girlish. "I don't see a problem with moving the seats," Miss Peach said. "In fact, I was planning on doing some rearranging anyway and this will be as good a time as any. But I do have one big concern. Buffy, you called Gabe 'Gabi' and referred to him as 'she', and none of you blinked an eye."

"I've never been much of a boy and really don't like most things guys do," Gabi spoke up. "Our families had a cook-out on Saturday and several things happened and we decided I should explore different ways of living, like seeing if living as a girl is a better fit to my personality. So far my being a girl seems to be a good fit amongst our families and we're going to continue exploring. My parents are contacting a shrink to help determine if my being a girl is right for me. I'll start seeing the shrink to make things official."

"Oh," Miss Peach was surprised by Gabe's openness and the obvious support of the others. "I have no issues with what you're doing and I can appreciate your desire to explore your options, but there could be issues with some of your classmates and their parents. I think your parents should discuss this with Principal Jass and Miss Demeanor, the school counselor."

"I'll let them know tonight," Gabe promised. "And thank you for understanding."

"You're welcome," Miss Peach said. "I expect you to each be on your best behavior."

"We will, Miss Peach," they chorused.

Miss Peach smiled at the four and wished all the students could be as trustworthy and well behaved.

When class started, Miss Peach announced she was going to make some seating changes. Naturally, there were quite a few moans from those who knew they were about to be relocated because of behavior issues. In all, about one third of the class was shuffled. Freddy kept the outside seat in the back row, with Rocky next to him and Buffy next to him. The seat in front of Freddy was left empty as was the seat in front of Buffy while Gabe sat in front of Rocky. No one in the class objected to those changes, in fact most seemed glad to have the four outcasts physically cut off in the back corner.

As the day progressed, the foursome made it a point to smile at everyone and ignored the reproving glares of their classmates and some of the staff. Gabe's pigtails and his and Buffy's lipstick drew many shakes of the head as did the polish on Freddy's and Rocky's nails. Their behavior and manners were beyond reproof. As they walked through the halls, they linked arms and smiled at everyone, being sure not to crowd anyone out of the way. Outside on the playground they linked arms and skipped around the perimeter laughing and singing 'We're Off To See The Wizard' ala Dorothy and friends along the yellow brick road. They drew stares of disbelief from the other kids and chuckles from the staff. The foursome were obviously having fun and didn't give a hoot about what their peers thought. Their actions cemented their position as social outcasts with their classmates, and the Scoobies couldn't have been happier.

After school, the five walked from school to their first combo lessons at The Metamorphosis School of the Arts. Sandy would be joining an existing class of children her age. After changing into their new dance outfits, the Scoobies went to their assigned classroom to meet their teachers, Wally Wacker and Vance Barr. Both men were well toned, slender and graceful. The teachers smiled to note the green dance outfits and the dark green nail polish on the four youths.

After a brief introduction they began the session by doing some stretches as the instructors and students got to know each other. They were surprised to learn that Rocky, Freddy, Buffy, and Gabi were the same age and in the same grade at school. They'd assumed Rocky was much older and that Freddy was younger. The men were impressed that the youths seemed almost proud to be considered social outcasts at school and laughed when they explained why they called themselves the Scoobies.

After the warm-up stretches, they began a series of exercises designed to test coordination and agility. Freddy and Gabi were agile and proved adept at mastering each exercise. Balancing on one leg while repositioning their arms and legs, handstands, cartwheels, repeating short simple routines were a breeze for the pair. While not quite up to the level of Freddy and Gabi, Buffy held her own. Rocky, on the other hand, proved his self-proclaimed clumsiness.

Wally Wacker worked with Buffy, Freddy and Gabi while Vance Barr tried to find the key to unlock Rocky's self depreciation. As the session progressed, it became clear that Vance Barr and Rocky were becoming increasingly frustrated with Rocky's repeated failures to achieve even a modicum of coordination. Buffy, Freddy, and Gabi became concerned for their frustrated friend.

Then inspiration struck Gabi. "Excuse me, but I have an idea that might help Rocky but I don't know how to use it. As teachers, you may be able to do something with it."

"I'm game," Vance Barr smiled. "I know Rocky would like to hear your idea too."

"Okay," Gabi smiled. "Rocky, can you sing the hymn we sang Sunday in church, "Raise The Song Of Harvest Home?'"

Rocky frowned in confusion, then shrugged his shoulders and took a breath. Wally Wacker and Vance Barr were stunned by the resonating baritone voice that emerged from Rocky's lips to fill the room.

"Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest-home:
All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin:
God our Maker doth provide For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God's own temple, come, Raise the song of harvest-home!

We ourselves are God's own field, Fruit unto his praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown, Unto joy or sorrow grown:
First the blade, and then the ear, Then the full corn shall appear:
Grant, O harvest Lord, that we Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, And shall take his harvest home;
From his field shall in that day All offences purge away;
Give his angels charge at last In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store, In his garner evermore.

Then, thou Church triumphant, come, Raise the song of harvest-home!
All are safely gathered in, Free from sorrow, free from sin;
There for ever purified, In God's garner to abide:
Come, ten thousand angels, come, Raise the glorious harvest-home!"

The acappella rendition was nearly flawless. Rocky's rhythm was spot on and his pitch was perfect. Every word was clear and pure, and the emotion was raw and wonderful. Rocky smiled and blushed when he saw how the others reacted.

Buffy, Gabi, and Freddy smiled. Wally Wacker and Vance Barr looked at Rocky with awed wonderment.

"Rocky, that was phenomenal! I don't think I've ever heard a more stirring rendition," Vance Barr gushed to the red-faced boy before briefly turning to Gabi. "Gabi, your idea was brilliant! Rocky, if you can memorize the words and melody of a song and perform it at the drop of a hat like you just did, you have tons of coordination! Your brain, lungs, throat, tongue, and lips were effortlessly functioning together! You have it in you, we just need to figure out how to share it with the rest of your body!"

Rocky smiled broadly as he realized maybe he wasn't doomed to be a clumsy oaf all his life.

Vance Barr sorted through some CD's in their kit and pulled one that featured a soft, rhythmic almost hypnotic drum beat. As Wally Wacker continued to work with the others, Vance Barr worked with Rocky. By the end of the session, Rocky was all smiles. He still flubbed more than he succeeded but he'd managed to do a few cartwheels.

As they were preparing to leave Rocky stopped. "Freddy, show me that slap yourself in the face trick again, I want to give it another try!"

Buffy and Freddy laughed. Gabi, Wally Wacker, and Vance Barr looked puzzled wondering what the slap yourself in the face trick was.

"Everyone should try it," Freddy chuckled as he sat in a chair at the edge of the room. After everyone took a seat he began. "First you have to sit down in a chair with both feet planted firmly. Then place the palms of your hands loosely on your thigh above your knees, left hand on left leg, right on right." After everyone had done that he smiled smugly. "Now crossing your arms touch your left hand to your right ear while simultaneously touching your nose with your right hand."

It took a few bungled attempts before everyone succeeded.

"Now put your hands back where they were on your legs," Freddy chuckled. After everyone had done that, he continued chuckling. “Now crossing your arms touch your right hand to your left ear while simultaneously touching you’re your nose with your left hand."

There were even more bungled attempts before everyone succeeded. Everyone was chuckling at their ineptitude.

"The last thing you do is place your hands back where they were on your legs," Freddy added and waited until everyone finished. "Now you know the routine. You simply repeat the sequence speeding up until your hands are a blur. If you make a mistake, simply reset and start over."

The others watched as Freddy repeated the sequence, each time speeding up a bit until his moving hands were a blur. As they tried it they quickly learned why Rocky had labeled it the slap yourself in the face trick. Their coordination went haywire as they speeded up. Sometimes they attempted to simultaneously touch both ears or touch their nose with both hands, sometimes they messed up by forgetting to cross their arms. At the faster speeds they did indeed start to slap themselves in the face when they messed up. Everyone was laughing at their antics. Gabi was the first to master it, followed by Vance Barr, Buffy, and Wally Wacker. Even Rocky finally mastered the trick.

"If I can learn to do this I can learn to do anything," Rocky declared as his face was beaming with pride and self-satisfaction. Then he looked at Wally Wacker and Vance Barr. "Thank you, I've spent the last four years smacking myself silly trying to learn this. I even bloodied my nose a couple of times. With your help, I was able to master it in one day!"

"It's certainly harder than patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time," Gabi chuckled. "I'll have to have my dad and brother try it tonight."

Wally Wacker and Vance Barr realized they'd enjoy teaching this small tight-knit group. They could learn a lot from the Scoobies. They also knew they'd be using that little trick that seemed so simple at slow speeds but could get nasty at higher speeds. It certainly was a test of coordination and speed. They decided to spring it on some of their friends when they'd had a few drinks. They thought that would really be hilarious.

*****

After picking up Sandy from her class, the youngsters headed across the parking lot to The Crateful Bread. ChooChoo greeted them and made the mistake of asking how their first class had been. The excited Scoobies practically talked her ears off with their enthusiasm. After they all had a mug of warmed apple cider with a cinnamon stick, the kids adjourned to the stock room where they sat around a sorting table to do their homework. Working together, they quickly finished it all off.

Buffy noted a shrink wrapped pallet of wooden crates by the loading dock and stock room that had been added behind the 261, 271, 281, and 291 portions of the joined buildings. Then she turned to Rocky. "Rocky, can you get the pallet jack and move that pallet to the end of the sorting table?"

After Rocky nodded and went to the pallet jack she turned to Freddy. "Freddy, can you look up the pricing on the computer?"

Freddy pulled the shipping tag off the pallet and headed over to a terminal on the shipping table and began typing.

Turning to Gabi she continued. "Gabi, can you pull that cart with the big spools of colored netting over here?

As Gabi went to get the cart, Sandy pulled the stools out of the way and sat back to watch.

Gabi watched the activity realizing this was something the others had done before. Once Rocky moved the pallet and pulled the jack out, Buffy took a box cutter knife and carefully sliced the shrink wrap off the pallet. Rocky lifted a crate off the top of the stack and placed it on the sorting table.
As Freddy finished typing, the printer by the computer began spitting out labels.

"This bottle is a hand sanitizer," Buffy explained as she squirted some of the gel into her hands. "You need to rub your hands together as if you were washing them until they're dry."

While Freddy, Buffy and Gabi washed their hands, Rocky sprayed a sanitizing cleaner on the sorting table and wiped it clean. All four then slipped on sanitized plastic gloves. Rocky slipped a folded paper over the open end of the tube of netting and inserted it into a small press that sealed the paper over the end of the bag. Pulling the netting out to a marked point, he cut it off. Then he repeated the procedure creating numerous bags of red or white netting.

Buffy began removing apples and placing them on the table. "Each one needs to be checked for bruises or defects," Buffy explained. "Put 10 good ones into the red netting and put 10 blemished ones into the white netting."

As they filled the net bags with the sorted apples, Rocky picked them up and sealed the open end with another folded paper. Then he peeled off a label and carefully applied it over the sealed paper end. The labels showed the source of the apples, what type of apple, and if they were preferred or seconds. The preferred label went on the red bags and the seconds labels went on the white bags. Rocky then placed the sealed tagged bags in large plastic tote bins.

As the first carton emptied, Rocky removed the empty box and replaced it with a full one. The work went fast and in half an hour they had the entire pallet sorted.

"You must do this a lot," Gabi stated as they cleaned up.

"We help out when we can," Buffy replied.

"They always give us treats like the cider and fruit," Freddy said. "So we don't mind helping out."

"And they let us use the barn loft," Rocky added.

"I take it this is one of the things the Scoobies do to help others," Gabi stated to the smiling nods of the others.

At 6:30 Pastor Palmer arrived to walk Rocky and Sandy home. Rocky quickly told his dad how much he liked the lessons and wanted to continue. It had been a long time since Rocky was so gung-ho and Pastor Beech really appreciated it. Freddy and Gabi walked across the street together since they only lived a few doors apart. When he arrived home Freddy couldn't get done telling his mom about how fun the lessons had been and that he was really looking forward to continuing them. Buffy lived above the store in one of the apartments so she only had to go up the steps.

While they ate a late super, Gabi was overflowing with enthusiasm for the classes. He also told how the Scoobies had sorted and bagged the pallet of apples.

"You guys are really weird," Eddie chuckled. "There is no way my buddies and I would ever get excited about working!"

"It didn't seem like work," Gabi replied. "We had fun talking and joking while we did it."

"That's the key to enjoying life," Lyle said. "Learn to enjoy whatever you do, even if it is work."

"I don't see how work can ever be fun," Eddie sighed.

"It's all in how you approach it," Faye added. "Approach it like it's a bad thing and it will be bad, approach it like it'll be a good thing and it will be good."

Eddie just shook his head.

“Dad, Eddie, Freddy showed us a neat trick tonight,” Gabi said when they’d finished eating. “Rocky calls it the slap yourself in the face trick. I’ll show you. First, push your chair back from the table, then do what I do.”

They were all laughing as Lyle and Eddie did indeed repeatedly slap themselves in the face. Lyle mastered the trick before Eddie, but Eddie stuck with it until he’d succeeded.

After Eddie headed off to do his homework, Gabi told his parents that Miss Peach had suggested they talk to the principal and counselor about Gabe being Gabi and exploring his girlishness.

They smiled and promised to call the school the next day.

*****

At 9:00am Wednesday morning Lyle called the school and requested an afternoon meeting with Principal Jass, guidance counselor Demeanor, and Miss Peach to discuss Gabe. Still smarting from his meeting with Faye just six days earlier, Principal Jass feared that as a lawyer, Lyle had to be more intimidating and decided to do all he could to placate the lawyer. After hasty arrangements including getting someone to cover the sixth grade class, the four would meet in the school conference room at 1:30.

Lyle and Faye had their first consult with child psychologist Dr. Norma Lee at 10:00am. Dr. Lee quickly put the couple at ease with her genuine caring smile and informal manner. Her office had once been a private home in the suburbs of the nearby small city and with the exception of the paved front lawn the exterior still looked like a private home. While it had been remodeled to accommodate Dr. Lee's practice it was still decorated to project a homey atmosphere to relax patients and parents. The waiting room was divided into a seating area and a play area. The doctor and her staff wore tasteful casual attire to keep the intimidation level as low as possible.

Once the couple had relaxed a bit Dr. Lee smiled and praised them for presenting a united front in dealing with Gabe. Then she asked Lyle and Faye how they'd reached the decision to seek professional help for Gabe's gender identity issues.

She listened intently as Faye Bull did most of the talking. Lyle Bull added comments where appropriate which pleased Dr. Lee as she noted the parents truly wanted the best for their child. The two year saga of Gabe using Abby from NCIS as a role model was a first for her. She'd read case studies of older girls using Abby as an excuse to go Goth, but none had done so at Gabe's age and to the best of her knowledge no boys had copied Abby. That Gabe had slipped so quickly and seamlessly into Abby's intellectual Goth portrayal despite gentle parental pressure to ease off the dark green lipstick showed the parents were truly concerned for their son. It also showed that Gabe was quite sure about what he wanted and that he had the fortitude to resist parental and peer pressure. The incidents of attempted assault on Gabe gave her concern but the prompt action by Lyle and Faye obviously had quashed the perpetrators and put the school on notice that any bullying Gabe might suffer would be promptly and harshly met by every legal means available. That Lyle had already set up a meeting with the school principal, counselor, and teacher concerning Gabe's gender issues showed the parents were firmly proactive on their son's behalf.

What really surprised Dr. Lee was Gabe's rapid assimilation into the Scoobies and total unquestioning acceptance by the extended families that Gabe was a worthy person, a boy if presenting as a boy or a girl if presenting as a girl. That Gabe had so rapidly melded into Gabi with the change in hairstyle to twin ponytails highlighted the parent's concerns. That he later slipped right into full girl mode despite a bit of initial reluctance when faced with donning a skirt and appearing amongst friends seemed almost surreal. In all her years of practice Dr. Lee had never seen or read of a case gender dysphoria being so openly and readily accepted by family and friends. It could only mean that they had already seen the girl hidden inside Gabe and had welcomed her unveiling.

A few other aspects of Gabe's case surprised her. First was that Eddie, his jock older brother apparently fully accepted Gabi as a sister. Second was the Skull Flower and Gabe's explanation for selecting it. Third was Gabe's openness in sharing the Skull Flower in Church. Fourth was Gabe's plot to take dance lessons along with self-defense lessons. Fifth was that Gabe lassoed his three new best friends into taking the same classes. Dr. Lee was eager to meet Gabe and set up an appointment for the next afternoon. She also decided she wanted to meet the extended families of the Scoobies.

As their consultation ended Lyle and Faye signed the appropriate paperwork allowing Dr. Lee, at her discretion, to communicate openly and freely with the Gabe’s school.

*****

“I want to thank you for meeting with me on such short notice.” Lyle Bull began the 1:30 meeting at the school. “As you’ve probably figured out, I asked to meet you to discuss Gabe. This last week has been challenging for all of us. With our encouragement and that of his friends, Gabe has done a lot of thinking about who he is. The result is one we’d hoped to never face, but he is our child and we will support him to the ends of the earth.”

“I can appreciate that, Mr. Bull,” Principal Jass soothed. “I can assure you the school will do our best to support him.”

Miss Demeanor and Miss Peach nodded their agreement.

“I’ve already checked the legalities and the school has to accommodate Gabe,” Lyle stated. “I hope we can handle this matter without resorting to threats and legal action.”

“I fully concur,” Principal Jass replied in a most condescending manner.

“I appreciate that,” Lyle replied realizing theat he was dealing with a pompous ass. “I won’t beat around the bush. Gabe has serious gender identity issues.”

Speechless, Principal Jass’ eyes bugged out a bit and his mouth dropped open in surprise.

“The four students spoke to me yesterday about the situation, ” Miss Peach added. “Buffy, Freddy, and Rocky have been calling Gabe ‘Gabi’ and referring to him as if he already was a girl. They have been very discrete and no one else is aware of the issue.”

“They were instrumental in bringing Gabe’s gender issues to a head,” Lyle explained.

“For a long time I’ve thought that might be an issue for Gabe,” Miss Demeanor stated as she tried to cover for Principal Jass. “Have you sought professional assistance in coping with this?”

“This all came to a head over the weekend and with some help from Pastor Beech, we’ve already had an initial consultation with a psychologist,” Lyle answered. “My wife and I are convinced this is not just some phase Gabe is going through. At this point we simply want to let you know to not only keep Gabe safe but to put his behavior in perspective. This is not to say he’ll misbehave, in fact I don’t think he’s capable of misbehaving. As you know, Gabe has never been what anyone would call macho. He’s already taken a lot of teasing for being a sissy. Now that he’s realized he’s never been happy as a boy, he’s exploring his feminine side and I have no doubts he’ll become increasingly girlish. We’ve authorized his psychologist, Doctor Norma Lee to keep you posted on Gabe’s needs in this matter and I’ll sign permission for Miss Peach or Miss Demeanor to communicate directly with Dr. Lee.”

“We appreciate your candor and will see that Gabe is safe,” Principal Jass assured Lyle as he recovered his composure.

“I know you will and thank you for it,” Lyle smiled. With that the meeting ended. As he walked back to his car, Lyle came to the same conclusion Gabe had, Hugh Jass was a huge ass.

*****

On Thursday Gabi left school an hour after lunch and climbed into the front seat beside his mother. Even though he knew his parents had already met with and approved Dr. Lee, he was still nervous about meeting with a shrink. On many TV shows seeing a shrink seemed like some sort of honor and was a sign of high status. Even though he understood he needed to be under a psychologist's care to transition, it still made him feel uneasy and guilty, as if he'd done something wrong.

As they registered, they realized Faye had made a mistake, the quarter of 2 appointment was really for quarter after 2. Gabe smiled and shrugged his shoulders as his mother apologized. It was highly unusual for her to make such a simple error but he just wrote it off to the way things had been so rushed these last few days. Faye told him to go into the play area while she sat and waited. Gabe did as he was told, not once suspecting it was a set up to see how he'd react.

Looking around he frowned at the toys most boys would play with for they had never drawn his interest. A faint sad smile flickered across his face as he looked at the toys meant for girls. While they were more appealing he'd spent so long avoiding them due to peer pressure he didn't feel comfortable touching them. The puzzles and books were way too simple or too long to get anything out of in the short time he had. With a sigh he sat on a chair and rested his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands. After a few moments he smiled and sat up straight.

Placing his hands on his knees, he began to do the slap yourself in the face trick. With a look of deep concentration he slowly repeated the motions for a minute to get them wired into his brain. When he felt comfortable with the movements he steadily increased the speed and his twin pigtails began to bounce around. By the time his hands were a blur, his pigtails almost seemed to be standing out straight. After about five minutes he began to smile as he fully mastered the routine. Then he began to giggle which messed up his rhythm and he slapped his face five times before he was able to stop. Laughter shook him so hard he slipped off the chair onto the floor.

After regaining control and resting for a few moments he resumed the position and began the routine again. This time his giggles didn't mess up his timing and he was able to slow down when he grew weary without slapping himself.

It was at that point he realized his mother, the receptionist, and another woman who must be Dr. Lee were intently watching him and smiling.

"You must be Dr. Lee," Gabi smiled as he stood and extended his hand towards her. "I'm your latest whack job!"

Dr. Lee didn't miss a beat and cut off Faye's rebuke about Gabi's whack job comment. "I'm glad to meet you Gabi. I must say I've never met a whack job as proficient as you! Well Done! You must teach me the slap yourself in the face trick."

Faye blushed as she realized Gabi had intentionally used the term whack job as a double entendre. It took a few moments before the receptionist got the joke.

"Well, Gabi," Dr Lee added. "Would you like your mom to join us for the start of your session?"

"No thanks, you passed my test," Gabi smiled. "No offence mom, but I think I'll get along with Dr. Lee."

"Go on then," Faye chuckled. "If Gabi gets too wound up, just call for me."

They all realized it was said in jest and Dr. Lee led Gabi back to her office where they settled into comfortable chairs facing each other.

"Even though your clothes are androgynous, you present as a girl," Dr. Lee began. "From what your parents told me you prefer to be called Gabi rather than Gabe and like to present as a girl. Would you like me to call you Gabi and treat you like a girl?"

"Yes, I definitely prefer being a girl and like to be called Gabi," he replied. "I feel comfortable as a girl, more comfortable than I ever did when I had to be a boy."

"Very good. Your parents and I had quite a conversation about you," Dr. Lee began. "To be honest I thought they were exaggerating a bit or taking things out of context, but after watching you in the waiting area I think they were being honest. You are a remarkable person."

"I prefer the word eccentric," Gabi smiled. "That's a nicer way to say I'm weird."

"You seem to be proud to be weird," Dr. Lee noted. "Is that how you've always felt or did it just develop slowly?"

"Well, I've never been normal," Gabi answered. "I've never liked doing things boys are supposed to like. It's not that I couldn't do them, I just thought they were dumb and hurtful."

"That's an interesting way of looking at things," Dr. Lee said. "Can you give me some examples of what you mean?"

"Sure," replied Gabi. "Sports is the best thing to show what I mean. Sports are supposed to build self-confidence, teach teamwork, and to provide physical exercise. I watched my brother Eddie play before I tried. It turned out to be a lot of abuse. Instead of building self-confidence, your inadequacies and failures were shoved in your face. Teamwork was a joke because they made us compete against each other for positions on the teams and the teammates pointed out their competitors failings. As for the physical exercise, most of what we did involved beating up on each other. The attitude of the coaches and parents was to win, win, win. There was no room for just having a good time. Thanks to Eddie I was good at every sport, but hated playing so I quit after one season. In school I regularly outperform the jocks in phys-ed which upsets them to no end because I simply don't care and I tell them I think sports are dumb."

"I assume those boys don't like you too much," Dr. Lee declared.

"Not much, but it never bothered me because I simply had no interest in what they did," Gabi answered. "They don't hassle me because I can embarrass them in phys-ed."

"I understand you have three close friends now," Dr. Lee said. "Who were your friends before them?"

"I never had any close friends," Gabi stated. "I got along with most of the kids and could talk to them or at times play with them, but I was never close to them. Usually at recess I'd simply run around the perimeter of the playground by myself. I can outrun everyone at the school in speed and stamina."

"Eddie has friends," Dr. Lee went on. "Didn't you ever want close friends?

"Eddie is my brother and I like him and we get along pretty well," Gabi declared. "I help him with his homework and teach him how to do things on the computer. But honestly he's a jock and all his buddies are jocks. It seems the more jocks you get in a group, the dumber they get. I saw how they treat each other, teasing and harassing, punching each other, trying to make each other look stupid... I never wanted friends like that!"

"Your parents said you helped Eddie with his Algebra," Dr. Lee continued. "How did you learn it?"

"I read the text book," Gabe shrugged. "Eddie gets frustrated easily and then he gets angry. He threw the book and nearly hit me, so I picked it up and began reading it. He was making it too hard. I showed him how easy it was and he was able to do it. Now he comes to me when he gets stuck before getting all worked up."

"It's interesting that Eddie comes to you for help," Dr. Lee said. "Doesn't he get angry because you're younger?"

"No, I never hold it up to him, it's just something we do," Gabi explained. "He watches out for me. His buddies all know better than to even try to hassle me."

"It sounds like you have a great relationship," Dr. Lee said.

"Even though we seldom want to do the same things, we respect each other," Gabi smiled.

"That is admirable," Dr. Lee added. "Now, I'd like to know more about your attraction to Abby from NCIS."

"That's easy," Gabi chuckled. "Abby is smart, intelligent, cute, and weird. The people she works with respect her for who she is and what she can do. They don't care how she dresses. She's happy being herself and doesn't care about being normal. That's all I want. I've never been normal and I never want to be normal. I simply want to be happy being who I am. Using Abby as a role model I'm finding out a lot about myself. I'm not using everything about her, but I like her Goth style and perkiness. I've been doing my nails for almost two years, and lipstick whenever I could. I let my hair grow and last Saturday I finally put it into the pigtails. I just love the way they bounce! As you can see I wear my version of Goth clothing and accessories. I think the black clothing most Goths wear accentuates the dark side of things, that’s why I went with dark green. I didn't like Abby's skulls because I felt they were too negative for her perkiness, but I did a lot of research and found these Skull flowers."

"Your parents told me why you selected them and I must say you've connected all the dots on that point," Dr. Lee smiled. "Your parents said your new friends and you call yourselves the Scoobies?"

"Yes," Gabi nodded. "Buffy is Buffy Ann Summers, just like Buffy the Vampire slayer. The Slayer's friends called themselves the Scoobie gang because they fought the supernatural and Mystery Inc. From Scoobie Doo investigated the supernatural. We went along with that."

"Okay, I take it Buffy's parents knew they were naming her after the Slayer," Dr. Lee said. "Is Buffy the one who put your hair into the pigtails and then gave you the skirt to wear?"

"Yeah, her grandparents were all hippies and her parents were big fans of the Slayer," Gabi explained. "She's as weird as I am and we get along great. She's got long red hair and freckles and used to dress up like Pippi Longstockings. Rocky is a pastors kid and the biggest kid in school, I think he's like 5'8" and he's only in the sixth grade like the rest of us. Freddy is the smallest guy in our class and is a computer whiz. We fit together well because we're all on the outside of the normal kids and don't give a hoot. Rocky’s a Dork, Freddy is a Geek, I'm a sissy, and Buffy is a flower child."

"Okay, it sounds like maybe you could all use some group counseling," Dr. Lee playfully suggested on half in jest.

"Nah, we're kewl with being different," Gabi smiled.

"Alright, I know we've covered a lot of ground today but we need to talk about you feeling that you should be a girl instead of a boy," Dr. Lee declared.

"I was terrified and excited when Buffy put my hair into the pigtails," Gabi explained. "But right from the start it felt so natural I can't even imagining going back to wearing my hair like a boy. With just changing my hair everyone treated me and accepted me as if I really were a girl without blinking an eye, even Eddie. They all said I was behaving like a natural girl but I was just being myself... I felt guilty that they were correct but it just seemed so natural I just went along with it. It wasn't until my parents and Eddie arrived that I remembered what I looked like. When Eddie came up to me and said it was about time I became a girl I panicked, wet myself, and passed out. Then I had to change into the skirt, and well, that sealed it! My parents just accepted it and so did everyone else. I felt really free and happy. I'd wanted to wear a skirt since I first saw Abby but I'd been afraid.
Now, I wear a skirt whenever I can without pushing it in anyone's face. I never felt so relaxed and comfortable before, I know I'm young, but I know I'm a just a girl with plumbing problems."

"That seems to be the same conclusion your parents have reached," Dr. Lee smiled. "It's too early for me to fully agree that mentally you are a girl but I can see you're happy and have no problems being accepted as a girl. We have to have a lot of sessions before I can officially say you really are a girl with plumbing issues. That doesn't mean we can't experiment with your girlishness, but I can not make a final professional diagnosis for a long time."

"I understand," Gabi smiled. "I did a lot of web surfing and saw the rules and requirements for gender dysphoria. If we're still not sure by the time I reach puberty, you can at least get me the medicine to stop testosterone can't you?"

"Yes," Dr. Lee smiled. "Your parents were right and so were you, you are quite intelligent. I've never had a patient your age asking such mature questions and understanding the time requirements for a proper diagnosis. I think we'll have a great relationship and I look forward to helping you help yourself."

“Thank you, I look forward to your help,” Gabi replied. “My parents said you’d be working with my school.”

“Yes I will,” Dr. Lee said. “Are you concerned about how you’ll be accepted and treated when you’re ready to reveal Gabi?”

“Of course,” Gabi answered. “I’m not afraid to do it, but I’m not dumb. I know I need to do it the right way, and that’s with official backing. My teacher, Miss Peach, already knows about me and thinks it’s okay plus she’s the one who said I should have my parents talk to the school administration. I think Miss Demeanor, our guidance counselor will be okay with Gabi. My concern is with the principal, Mr. Jass, and possibly a few of the staff.”

“If anyone treats you poorly, let me know,” Dr. Lee stated. “Legally they are required to let you be Gabi as long as you have the support and approval of a qualified doctor. I am one of the doctors who is qualified to give you that approval. Based on what I’ve learned about you so far, I don’t think it will be too long until I can give you preliminary permission to start exploring life as Gabi in school.”

“Thank you,” Gabi smiled.

Gabi gave Dr. Lee a hug before they headed out to the waiting room. Faye smiled with relief as she saw they were both smiling.

"Mrs. Bull, I must compliment you and your husband on raising such a wonderful child," Dr. Lee smiled. "This isn't the first time I've had parents say their child was intelligent but it is the first time I've discovered they were understating the truth. I deem it an honor to work with Gabi and her family and friends as she matures."

Faye and Gabi smiled as they noted Dr. Lee was using feminine pronouns when talking about Gabe.

*****

Faye took Gabi to meet the rest of the Scoobies at the Metamorphosis School of the Arts for their second set of lessons. The teachers were as eager to hear of Gabi’s first meeting with Dr. Lee as the Scoobies. This class went smoothly and everyone had a great time as they learned. As they waited for their children, Faye sat with Virginia and discussed how happy Gabi was in her girlishness.

When they arrived home, Gabi headed up to her bedroom to change into a green plaid pleated miniskirt, green kneesox, and her black leather boots. When she came down, she helped her mother prepare supper.

While Gabi was in the dining room setting the table Eddie and one of his buddies, Tad Pohl, came in the back door. "Is it all right if Tad stays for supper?"

"As long as his parents know," Faye answered. "Gabi's setting the table now, tell her to set a place for Tad."

"Thanks Mrs. Bull," Tad Pohl said as he followed Eddie into the dining room.

"Hey, sis," Eddie said to Gabi. "Tad Pohl's staying for supper. Can you set a place for him?"

"Sure," Gabi smiled at Eddie and Tad Pohl.

Tad Pohl stopped dead and his mouth fell open. Even though he'd known Gabe for years and knew he was into Goth, the sassy skirt and bouncy pigtails were a shock.

"Close your mouth, Tad," Eddie chuckled. "Gabi's too young for you."

Tad Pohl turned red and looked at Eddie, then back to Gabi.

Gabi put her hands behind her back, tilted her head to one side while smiling coquettishly as she twisted her hips from side to side making her pleats enticingly sway.

"Knock it off Gabi," Eddie laughed. "You're messing with Tad's head. Come on Tad, let's go up to my room."

Eddie grabbed Tad's arm and pulled the stunned boy out of the room.

Gabi chuckled as he heard Tad Pohl exclaim, "Dude, your little brother is a girl... a cute girl!"

"Yeah," Eddie answered. "You know he was never really much of a guy. Gabi's just starting to dress the way she behaves."

Tad Pohl was still bewildered. "So your parents, like, let her do it?"

"Sure," Eddie answered. "Look, you just saw her. Is Gabi a boy dressed up pretending to be a girl or is she a tomboy who's finally dressing like a girl should?

Tad Pohl thought a moment. "Gabi's a girl. No real boy could look that cute!"

"You got it," Eddie nodded. "The rules are still the same. You don't tease or hassle Gabi."

"Okay," Tad Pohl agreed. "Eddie, you got a weird family!"

"We try our best," Eddie laughed.

*****

The flower child, dork, sissy, and nerd. Buffy, the flower child; Rocky, the dork; Freddy, the nerd; and Gabi, the sissy meshed well. As the days progressed and stretched into weeks, the Scoobies bonded into a smoothly operating unit, sharing their strengths and weaknesses with such ease their weak spots were barely notable.

Each morning the Scoobies were the first students in the classroom. Miss Peach smiled to see the happy foursome. As the other kids came in, their dreary attitudes contrasted sharply with the perky Scoobies. Miss Peach was a good teacher but was also firm and demanded her students perform at their level of competency. This caused the scruffier elements of the class to dislike her and call her a slave driver. The obvious happiness of the Scoobies and the ease with which they completed assignments irked many of their classmates and drove them further apart. Fortunately since there was little interaction between the Scoobies and the others, their discontent never reached a head. But the gulf between the Scoobies and their classmates steadily widened.

The Scoobies also made rapid progress in their classes at The Metamorphosis School of the Arts. At the end of their second week, they were able to do simple group dance routines and were performing ever more complicated Kata. Wally Wacker and Vance Barr loved the Scoobies both for their abilities and their attitudes. Rocky's agility and coordination progressed faster than anyone could have hoped for. His newly discovered grace steadily eliminated all signs of being a clumsy oaf or troglodyte.

For the first time in Gabi's life, he had friends to invite over to his house and he was invited to visit their homes. While Lyle had seldom said anything negative about flower children, dorks, nerds and sissies, which to some extent or the other the Scoobies were, he'd always made it clear he wanted Gabe to have friends like Eddie. That had never happened before the Scoobies, but with Eddie's buddies around so much, Lyle never took much notice Gabe never had any friends over or that he never went to other kids homes. It was only when Lyle had been forced to look at Gabe's peer relationships after the goons tried to jump him that he fully realized how isolated Gabe had been. Lyle really didn't know how to relate to Gabe much less his new friends as none of them were interested in what he considered normal guy activities and Buffy was totally out of his league. But Lyle realized the four friends were good for each other and accepted the Scoobies as they were while trying to discover areas of common interest.

For the most part, Eddie and his jock buddies ignored the Scoobies when their paths crossed. Most of the time, Gabi and Eddie kept each other informed when one of them was having buddies over so the other could stay out of the way. It also helped that Eddie quickly shut down his buddies if they became too nasty to the Scoobies. Light joking was okay, but teasing was not. It was a fine line but they all quickly found it.

Gabi met with Dr. Lee every Wednesday after school. In addition, in the next month Gabi spent several Saturdays taking a series of extensive psychological tests. Working in conjunction with Gabi’s pediatrician, Dr. Al K. Seltzer, comprehensive blood work and body scans were completed. The blood work and body scans showed no abnormalities for a boy but the psychological tests confirmed that mentally, Gabi was a girl.

The week following Gabi’s initial meeting, Dr. Norma Lee met with Miss Peach, Miss Demeanor, and Mr. Jass at Hickstown Elementary to discuss Gabi’s needs and preliminary diagnosis. It became clear that while the women would do all they could to help Gabi transition as needed. Hugh Jass was quite reticent and only cooperated because the law told him he had no choice. Still, he knew enough not to do anything to hinder Gabi.



To Be Continued...
 



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