Session Extra.4: Confessions
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Saturday, March 28, 2015 – 16:24

The plan was that we would swap bodies for a week. That we would spend our spring break in the body of someone else, analyze how it affected our sense of self, and log what we learned. While I desired to participate in more elaborate and formalized studies than this, it was the best I could hope for.

The VD was too powerful and dangerous for us to reveal it to the world at large, but that did not mean we did not have a duty to understand it. To use it as a tool to pursue some level of scientific discovery. While I was no psychologist, I could plainly recognize how one’s identity and sense of self could change when in the body of another person and… it was a concept that fascinated me. 

Over the past 5 months, much of my leisure time has been spent cataloging what my friends and I have learned by swapping bodies. Notes, theories, anecdotes— whatever I could analyze, quantify or qualify. All under the hope that one day, somehow, the ability to switch bodies could be shared with the world at large. It was a dangerous idea that could be used to destroy institutions, cause wars, and dispose of one’s enemies. In fact, the risks were so great that I often worried about how casually my friends were using it. Especially after New Year’s… I am grateful that I barely remember what I did that night, let alone whose body I was in.

Regardless, our current agreement placed me in the body of Shiaka Kurokawa 6 hours ago, and I was to remain within her body for another 162 hours. We gave ourselves loose guidelines for what we would do here, but I chose to help Shiaka, and myself, get accustomed to our temporary bodies with the help of a light sport. It was a relatively warm and sunny day for early spring, so we made our way to a local ‘tennis complex.’ A series of three public tennis courts, open to all, surrounded by a 3-meter-tall chain link fence. 

I began the next set by carefully lobbing the ball upward, swinging my arm up as I gauged the strength, before sending it free into the air and striking it over the net, onto Shiaka’s side of the court. Just as I had borrowed her body, she borrowed mine, the body of Zoe Xing. A tall athletic body, bound in a light gray jacket, jeans, and gym shoes, my dark hair just long enough to be fluttering in the wind. 

It was remarkably different from the body I wore. Short, frail, dressed in a cream-colored sweater. The knee-length A-line skirt and leggings obscured by the breasts hanging off of my chest. Its long blonde hair was bound in a loose ponytail that flopped in the wind, but not long enough to brush against my neck. While not the ideal dress for even a sport like this, I made due, and quickly began moving toward the ball as Shiaka lobbed it my way. Alas, I was not fast enough, and the ball whizzed past the green court, not touching it once, before bouncing on the burgundy concrete, and slamming into the fence.

“S-Sorry about that!” Shiaka shouted, slightly softening her deep voice. “It always takes me a while to get… used to this strength.”

“No need to apologize,” I said, speaking with the cutesy and willowy voice that came naturally. “It is all part of a learning experience. Remember, you need to gauge your power. You can’t put your all into every swing.”

I paused as I looked at the other five balls that were scattered over the court before heading to the bucket of balls by the net. The bucket contained another six.

“Let’s just try to maintain a rally for the time being,” I said as I served another ball.

My serve was lighter than I hoped, but Shiaka was able to hit it back, I followed and, five swings later, we established a rhythm that we could maintain. Every motion in another body was slightly different. The tug of one’s weight, the way one’s arms were shaped, the length of their legs, feet, and so forth. It all made such a difference that I could believe that an amateur athlete in their ‘preferred body’ could defeat a professional in an unfamiliar body. A theory that… raised many questions about how body swapping would transform the world of athletics.

Regardless, I did not allow my mind to drift far, and kept my eyes solely focused on Shiaka. How she swayed about before me, her movements awkward and exaggerated, her shots often too hard or narrowly missing the racket. She was getting better, gradually, as she settled into this tall male body, but I still felt the need to ask her a question I refrained from voicing until now.

“So, why did you want to spend a week in my body? Didn’t you say that being in my body felt like a ‘big, weird dream you couldn’t wake up from?’”

As I said that, Shiaka struck the ball with extra force. I retaliated, and just barely returned the ball to her court, where she bounced the ball back to me, her swing far more gentle than it was a moment ago.

“I… I’m sorry I said that.”

“No need to apologize. I understand why someone might be uncomfortable in a body like mine. Especially someone who has gone through as much as you.”

My mind flashed back to when she gathered us at her house, around her sister and parents, who explained what happened when she was 8-years-old. Before she revealed the scars that she had worn for the majority of her life. The scars that I currently wore.

“That’s actually why I wanted to swap with you, Zoe. Because your body is so… unlike mine. So unlike me. After the… incident, I accepted I was weak. That I was frail, that I was small, and that I could not stand up to people. I wanted to stick to the background, not stand out, because I was afraid that someone would hurt me again.”

Shiaka held out her racket to stop the ball, causing it to lightly bounce on the terrain below.

“Feats of strength and signs of athleticism made me feel nervous, because I saw them as traits that would be valuable in an assaulter. When I first attended high school in January 2011, I was terrified. Being around so many people in high school, so many of them tall, fast, and strong, I… I did not really feel safe around any of them. Because I knew they could hurt me however they wanted, and there was no way I could stop them. Maxxie was weird, but sweet. I could tell that she would never dream of hurting me. Jade wasn’t as tall as my dad and… despite presenting as a boy, I could tell that she was passive and lax. They were both easy people for me to get comfortable around… but the same was not true for you, Zoe. I saw you as someone who could hurt me. The mere presence of that power… it scared me.”

“Shiaka, I have never so much as imagined hurting you. I have only raised my hand against someone else once before and… I regret it.”

“That time you protected Vivi back in elementary school?”

“Yes,” I answered with a sigh. “She was being harassed by some asshole— I have chosen to forget his name— I stood up before her, he hit me, and after I took enough punishment, I hit him back, sending him onto the ground.”

“Then he ran away,” Shiaka continued, “crying, while Vivi started yelling at you for resorting to violence. But she still had your back when the teachers came questioning you. That story helped me learn to trust you. You only ever used violence to protect someone, and even then, you regret it.”

“You’re over-romanticizing things. It wasn’t so melodramatic or intentional. I was just a kid, and I wasn’t thinking logically.”

“Well, that’s not how Vivi saw it. As a little girl, she thought you were the coolest boy at school, and she actually had a bit of a crush on you for a little after that.”

“This is the first I’m hearing about this… She might have been the first girl to harbor feelings for me, but she was not the last.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Over the years, I have had a handful of girls ask me out. They thought I was handsome and, based on that alone, assumed they would enjoy going on a date with me. I always declined their offers, saying I was not interested at the time and that I needed to focus on my studies. Both of which were true. I suppose there is a small part of me that regrets not even attempting to learn about any of these women, but I do not need a high school romance to be happy.”

“Romance wasn’t something I thought I would ever get to experience for myself. Same with having a relationship. Even if I found someone who loved me for who I am, I know that even good relationships can turn bad. That even people who love each other can hurt each other.”

“Shiaka, I would never hurt you, no matter what.”

As I said this, Shiaka laughed and walked toward me. 

“Is that supposed to be a confession?”

I laughed at her attempted sarcasm before replying.

“What I mean is that I want to be there to support you, Shiaka. You are a brilliant woman, someone who has overcome a lot to get to where you are today. And I know you could reach even greater heights if you had the needed support. While I might not be a personal or empathetic person, I do care about you, and I want to offer you whatever support I can to help you become your best self.”

She timidly looked down from me, a giant smile on her face. It was surreal to see my original body adopt such an expression, but it made me happy regardless.

“When I’m in your body, I feel like the barriers I used to define myself are… gone. Like I can do everything I thought I couldn’t do. I’m strong, hearty, and tall. It was scary at first, but it’s also… freeing. It is an intimidating yet enticing freedom, one that I am still coming to terms with, but… I think it is what I need to take the next step in my life. So, thank you, Zoe. Thank you for lending me your body, and looking after mine. I know you will take good care of it.”

Shiaka then grabbed me off the ground, wrapping me in her arms as she hugged me tightly. A bit too tightly…

“I’m happy that I could help you, Shiaka. You’re my friend and—”

“I know we’re friends, but… do you want to be something more?”

My mind skipped for a moment as I tried to process what she was asking. Before I could respond, she let me out of her grasp and began walking toward the trees lining one side of this tennis court.

“Zoe, we spent a lot of time together these months. Maxxie, Jade, Terra, and everyone else were having their own ‘body swapping funsies’ while we were going over our findings. We were gathering the data, I was writing the models, you were interpreting the data— it was like the best group project I ever had in my life, and I think we learned a lot about body swapping. …But that is not the only thing we learned about. Spending time with you, seeing how cool, collected, and analytical you were. I knew you were always a super smart person, but seeing you in action, it changed my impression of you and— DAMN IT! I’m a man now, so I should say it like a man, without all of this preamble.”

Shiaka then took a deep breath, but I already knew the words that would escape her mouth.

“So, do you want to be… boyfriend and girlfriend?”

I could feel the cynical businessman within me telling me to avoid personal connections with co-workers, urging me to be professional, to be unemotional. But as I mulled over my feelings, as I dissociated myself from the ‘image’ of Zoe Xing, I was able to find my true feelings.

“You know, it’s rude to trap a girl like that and ask her such a serious question,” I said, putting a hand on my hip and flipping my ponytail about.

Shiaka stammered at my response, clearly not expecting anything other than a binary answer.

“However,” I said as I placed a hand on Shiaka’s massive shoulders, “I do like you a lot, and hope that this will mark the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Don’t you agree, boyfriend?”

As I said that word, ‘boyfriend,’ Shiaka began laughing, her voice loud and booming as she clenched her sides.

Goldarn it, Zoe! You are so good when you show some emotion… Maybe you can learn something about yourself by being in my body.”

“Heh. It’s something I noticed back in November, back when I was impersonating Maxxie at school. When I’m someone else, it’s easy for me to… fall into character, I suppose. I feel that I can relax and ‘play’ more when I am not presenting as myself. That I can be more emotive and explore more intense feelings. Especially when I’m in the body of a girl. I’m not sure if it is due to a change in hormones, brain chemicals, or merely a placebo effect caused by stereotypes about women being more emotional. But I feel that I have access to things I… denied myself as a man.”

“Oh, really?”

Shiaka turned around and looked at me with a sinister glimmer in her eyes. I stepped back into the chain link fence, only for her to place her hands on the fence, locking me in as she looked down at me, an uneven smile on her face. 

“So, I guess it’s up to me to help you break out of your shell, topple the barriers and help you pursue your true self?”

“I like to think of the barriers more like a gate I have a key to open, but rarely do. Or in other words, I don’t need to break out of nothing. But I would appreciate the opportunity to let this more fun side of myself out to play. Well, assuming you approve, mister boyfriend.”

I then grabbed the collar of Shiaka’s jacket, pulling her head down and her eyes parallel to mine. With a look of shock on her face, I planted my lips against hers. Shiaka recoiled a second later, releasing her arms from the fence and freeing me. She stared at me for a moment, a blank expression on her face, before she took a step toward me, lifted me into her arms, and kissed me on the lips. 

“So, does this all still feel like a ‘big, weird dream you couldn’t wake up from?’”

“Not quite. The dream has gotten bigger and weirder than I ever thought possible. But… I don’t think I ever want it to end.”

Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 18:03

I looked out the window as the houses passed me by, one after another. Every trip to the Flare household, it was always the same houses, gradually growing in size and wealth or, in this case, diminishing. My eyes drifted over to the rearview mirror, where I saw my reflection. A bored look was on my light tan face, my blonde hair was fluttering in the wind, and my body was dressed in a light blue sundress.

My eyes continued to drift across the interior of the car. A car that was given to Zoe back in January, after Kenneth Flare learned of the VD and decided that we could use more help with ‘transportation.’ It was a nice vehicle— a 2013 model that probably cost 50 grand when new— and it was spotless. All Kenneth asked in return was that Jad and I finally get our licenses. But I was not looking at the car for the sake of looking at it. My eyes merely lingered upon it as they made their way to the man in the driver’s seat. Zoe Xing. 

His slightly damp black hair fluttered in the wind, sunglasses covered his eyes as the afternoon sun beamed down on his light complexion, and on his face, he wore a slight smile. Beneath his face, he wore his typical dress shirt and slacks, while adopting the same regimented ‘driving posture’ he always did. I thought about teasing him for such rigidity, but as the words sat in my mouth, I realized that an apology was in order instead.

“Hey, Zoe? I’m sorry for going a bit hard on you today, I was—”

“No, I deserved it. While I’m sore, I know I will thank you later. I enjoy being strong. It makes me feel like I can protect those I love, and it improves my mental health. I know I have been slacking, and I’m fortunate to have such an insistent girlfriend, so… thanks, Shiaka.”

I laughed at his enthusiastic response and went back on my decision to tease him some more.

“You know, if you need additional motivation to work out, I would be happy to comply. I could stand to work on my fitness too, so maybe we could work out together.”

“Oh, really? Well, we are on different levels, but I’m sure that would be great motivation for—”

“—Just imagine it, the two of us, wearing nothing but the barest essentials, working our bodies hard, before getting all wet and naked before laying together. Based on your pants, I can tell that is something you are quite interested in.”

As I laid the bait, I looked down at Zoe’s pants. He mostly wore slim pants that fit well against his frame and, even when crumpled up while sitting, I could still see the indentation of an erection. It always brought a smile to my face when I managed to make him hard using only my words.

Alas, before the teasing could continue, Zoe reached our destination: his home. A simple one-story residence, two bedrooms, one and a half baths, an unfinished basement, no garage, and no mortgage. Despite having a clear map of it embedded into my mind, I realized that I no longer recognized it as ‘my home’ but rather ‘a home I knew well.’ 

Regardless of my connection to this place, we wasted little time grabbing our things and entering the front door. We were met with a modest, slightly barren, home. One with few furnishings and few decorations, but it was both clean and organized. Some would say it looked like the residents were still in the process of moving in and making this house a home. But this was how it had been for years.

Before we could do much beyond take off our shoes, we were greeted by Natasha Xing. Zoe’s mother and the only person he could truly call ‘family.’ A 52-year-old Ukrainian woman, about as tall as me, slightly overweight, dressed in simple house clothes. Her eyes were colored the same shade of hazel as her son, her dark brown hair was cut short, and she showed signs of age on her face. There were a few gray hairs on her head and her face had become home to more than a few wrinkles. Wrinkles that she normally hid with make-up, but not when she was lounging around her home.

She looked at Zoe before looking at me, first with a blank, repressed, expression, before adopting a light smile. 

“Hello, you two. Did you enjoy your pool party?” Natasha asked, a noticeable accent lingering in her voice.

“Yes, Mama, we all had a great time at the Flare residence,” Zoe replied, placing a slight accent on the word mama.

“It’s always a blast when we all get together, and it was nice having one last party before school starts again,” I answered. “Oh, and thank you for having me over, by the way.”

Natasha sighed as she took in my response, before smiling again.

“It is always a pleasure to have you around, Shiaka. …And you look very nice today.”

“T-Thank you, Natasha. But this really is not much. I didn’t bother to put any make-up on after the pool party or anything, so I know I don’t look my best.”

“Zoe… you look exhausted, is everything alright?” 

“Ah, yes, Mama. I just wound up swimming a lot more than I thought, so I’m planning on taking it easy tonight. Maybe turning in early.”

“That was largely my fault,” I added. “Zoe needed a good workout, swimming’s some of the best exercise you can get, and while this was for his own good, I passed the line at some point.”

Natasha shot me a stern look before returning her attention to her son.

“You really shouldn’t let someone else push you around like that, Zoe. You are a man, and a man should take charge of his own life, no matter what.”

Before Zoe could respond, I butted in with an ‘actually comma.’

“Actually, in this country, it is more common for the woman in a relationship to lead the house and the relationship. For them to tell the men what needs to be done and have them do their share. Besides, Zoe knows he can do whatever he wants, it’s just that he sees the wisdom in a lot of my suggestions. …And he recognizes the value of keeping his girlfriend happy.”

As Zoe laughed in response, Natasha offered me another less than generous look before speaking again.

“…Dinner is ready whenever you are.” 

As Natasha walked off to the kitchen, Zoe and I exchanged a glance, wondering if there was something we did to set off his mother. But based on our shared perplexed expressions, neither of us had any idea why she was so… bitter tonight.

A minute later, we found ourselves in the kitchen, sat at a tiny table against the wall, meaning it only sat three. I was in the ‘center’ while Zoe and Natasha sat at my sides, and all of us had a bowl of hearty borscht in front of us, with a ‘dollop’ of yogurt on top. It was a meal from her homeland that Natasha liked to serve whenever she had guests over, but it had been a weekly staple of this household for years. Borscht was easy to make in bulk, the ingredients were cheap, and it was pretty healthy.

She had her own homegrown recipe that she iterated over the years, changing it up based on whatever was on sale at the grocery. This meant you never exactly knew how it would taste when you took your first spoonful, and here, it was definitely more sour than it usually was. It was not the most agreeable thing to my palate. Though, did not grow up eating this for a good chunk of my life, unlike Zoe, who was quick to compliment his mother on the meal. She smiled in response, but was quick to brush it aside as nothing special.

I complimented her as well, but she gave me a disapproving glance, as if she could tell it was not to my liking. What can I say? My tastes were formed by the wackadoo Mexican Japanese American fusion foods that my mother made. Which titillated the palate differently than her authentic Ukrainian cuisine.

The dinner was punctuated with a sense of awkwardness. Neither Zoe nor I had much to say, and Natasha maintained a contemplative look, as if she was having a conversation in her own mind. Throughout all of this, I patiently picked away at my meal while Zoe diligently ate his, finishing first and leaving behind only a small morsel of broth.

Once all three of us were done, Zoe took our bowls to the sink and rinsed them, while Natasha headed into the fridge, where she produced a plate of walnut stuffed prunes. A sweet and nutty dessert that probably should have been called chocolate walnut stuffed prunes, given the light layer of dark chocolate over them. I was quick to plop one in my mouth, allowing the sweetness and juiciness to linger on my tongue, but right as I swallowed, Natasha tapped her nails against the table.

“You’ve both been surprisingly quiet.”

“W-Well, we just have little to say, Mama,” Zoe said as he swallowed one of his prunes.

“I suppose. You two seem to have grown very comfortable with your new lives.”

I looked at Zoe with apprehension, and he did the same, knowing that we would need to have one of those conversations.

“Natasha, we—” I began, only to be immediately cut off.

“Please. Don’t call me by my name. Call me Mama. So I know it’s really you in there, Zoe.”

“…Mama, I know this is hard for you to accept, but I am not your son. I am Shiaka Kurokawa. And that is who I will be for the rest of my life. The man beside me is your son, Zoe Xing, and no matter what, he will always be your son. This is the way it is now and there is no way to change that.”

“You always were so proper and dedicated. I understand that there is no way for you to go back, but… do either of you truly want this? To live another person’s life and abandon the one you spent 18 years building up?”

“Yes, Mama,” Zoe replied, his voice deep and monotone. “We decided we want to continue the lives we inherited, but take them in our own direction. I understand that this is hard for you, that you never signed up for any of this ‘weird body swapping crap.’ If there is anything we can do to make this easier for you, please let us know.”

As Zoe said this, he reached across the table and grabbed his mother’s hand. She clenched his hands with all her might, but Zoe did not so much as flinch. She then hung her head down, groaning to herself before speaking once more.

“With Zoe, I had someone who I could trust. Someone who I cherished. I tried to put him above myself, and told myself that everything I did, I did so he could have the best possible future. Every hour of overtime, every wretched odd job I used to work, every time I replaced a meal with garbage, I did it for him. I did it because I was his mother and… this is what good mothers should do.”

Natasha then raised her head and looked at both of us, sniffling while keeping her eyes dry of tears. 

“But… the son I knew is no longer one person. He is… two. And no matter how hard I try to look at one of you and see him, I see the half that isn’t Zoe. The man wearing my son’s face will never remember everything I did for him when he was a boy. He does not know the Mandarin his father taught him, nor does he know the Ukrainian I taught him. He will never again make a passing remark to something foolish I did when he was young, or sound like his father as he repeats one of his favorite phrases. The only one who could is you.”

As Natasha looked at me, a forlorn expression on her face, I struggled to think of a response. I knew she felt this way but… hearing it from her lips just made me feel like bursting out in tears. I tried to find the words, a way that I could ask for her forgiveness, for robbing her of something so important just by existing. It was an irrational apology, but it was all my mind could think of. At least, before Zoe shoved his chair back and stood up, looking down at his mother.

Mama. I might not be the Zoe you used to know. My memories are not what you would expect them to be. Ore wa Nihongo o hanasu ga, Chūgokugo wa hanasanaiHablo Español, no Ucraniano. As you said, I am not fully Zoe. I am both Zoe and Shiaka, just as she is both Shiaka and Zoe. But that will eventually change. Over the past two months, we have been losing aspects of our former selves and, eventually, after a few years, we will undergo a complete transformation. Eventually, I will become Zoe entirely, and she will become Shiaka entirely. I may be a different Zoe than the one you knew, but I hope I can make you proud as a mother, and that you can accept me as your son.”

Natasha stared at Zoe with fierce eyes, digging her nails into her palms. I braced myself as I anticipated the worst type of reaction from her. Instead, she brought her hands to her face and sat there in silence, waiting twenty seconds before speaking to us.

“I feel as if this is some divine punishment for my transgressions. For my lust and avarice. I still remember what happened on New Year’s. That decadent celebration of drunkenness and debauchery. I was reluctant to agree to the swap, and when I came to, I found myself in Kenneth’s body. I was so large, so strong, that I felt like I could do anything. But before I could come to terms with this form, the true Kenneth, in Lynne’s body, approached me, eager to show me what his body was capable of. It was ravishing! Strange, foreign, and hazy, but I felt a new world of sensation— a new world of possibilities— open up before me.”

As I heard Natasha recount such an experience, I felt that things were not adding up..

Mama, you never mentioned that you… enjoyed it like that,” I said. “You always seemed curious but reluctant. You even said you did it out of obligation, because it was an opportunity only a fool would pass over.”

“…I lied to you. I had spent so much of my life feeling like I was trapped. I was trapped in my hometown, trapped around my family, trapped behind the iron curtain. Only once I had grown into a woman was I able to leave in the pursuit of freedom. But I had merely gone from one cage to another. From a communist cage to a capitalist cage. The days were hard, the people were callous, and just when things were getting better— once I got a home, a husband, and a son— it all shattered before me. I was eventually granted stability and capital needed to live in comfort. But as I looked back on my life… I struggled to find much worth celebrating. No accomplishments to my name… except for my son.”

“When I learned of the VD… I saw a way out of this cage. I could be anyone. I could achieve wealth and status via untraceable theft. I could be freed from the shackles of womanhood and age. I could become a wealthy young American boy. I could do… anything I could imagine. I fantasized about using the VD to steal the life of someone and kill them before they could comprehend what happened. That way, there would be no way for me to go back. No cage for me to return to.

I knew such a fantasy was the epitome of evil, so I stayed my hand. Instead, I merely volunteered to be part of your frequent ‘swaps.’ Every time I swapped with one of you, I became someone more accomplished, attractive, and younger. I was happier in all of your bodies than I was in my own, and I enjoyed them in every way I could. I lost myself in this sense of otherness, and I fantasized about stealing every one of them. Especially yours, Zoe.”

“As my desires grew greater, I thought about destroying this devilish plaything. Its power was too tempting, too grand, and I was not strong enough to resist it. Yet, before I could, it destroyed itself. Upon hearing the news… I did not weep for my child who lost his body. I wept for myself. For I lost the final opportunity to become someone better. Part of me is glad that the VD has been removed from this world, that this power is beyond human hands. Yet… things are not back to normal. I will never forget what I experienced or what happened to my son. My strong, tall, and masculine son is now a petite and pitiable woman. A woman who is forever bound to his body. I choose to blame myself for this. For it is the only way I can comprehend such misfortune.” 

Mama,” Zoe began, “I had no idea that—”

“Please, do not offer me your sympathy… Shiaka. I am not the victim here. You two are. I apologize for making this about me, but I needed to confess the truth to someone. Perhaps now I can finally heal from these self-inflicted wounds.”

As Natasha wallowed in her sorrow, she stood up from the table, but before she could walk away, I thrust my body against hers, locking her in a hug. As our faces met, tears escaped my eyes.

“‘Offer me no sympathy?’ You’re sorry for ‘making this about you?’ You’re my fucking mom! I’m sorry I never knew about this. That we did nothing to help you. We lost our chance to use the VD when we could. So please, Mama, tell us what we can do to help you. Because no matter who I am, no matter if I am fully Shiaka, there will always be a part of me that cares about you.”

I waited in painful silence for far too long… before I felt a hand rest on my head. Of the scars across my body, the most sensitive one rested on my head. A small line of skin where hair no longer grew. As this tender part of me, the most tender area on my entire body, was stimulated, I looked forward to Natasha, where I saw tears trickling down her face.

“You are too good to me. I guess that means I raised you right. You are both brilliant, responsible people and I hope you can forgive this foolish and foul-hearted woman for harboring such vile desires. I ask that you forgive me and that… you both view me as a mother. That you, Zoe, are willing to remain my son. And that you, Shiaka, are willing to become my daughter. I see Zoe in both of you and… I don’t want to lose even a part of him. For he is all I have left.”

I tightened my grip around Natasha and felt a pair of long, strong arms wrap around me, before looking up and seeing Zoe. His glasses blocked his eyes, but I could tell he too was brought to tears. 

Mama, for as loving as the Kurokawas are, you are the woman who raised me, and… I never want you to leave my life. I would be honored if you accepted me as your daughter.”

“I know I have big shoes to fill, and I cannot say I will be half as good of a son as Zoe, but… I have accepted this life as my own. If you are willing to see me as your son, I would be more than happy to see you as a mother.”

As our words were shared, we remained locked in a silent hug, our faces all stained by tears, before Natasha— Mama—spoke to us again.

“Thank you. Thank you for everything you two have done… and everything you will do.”

Mama then began loosening her grip, urging Zoe and I to follow. She grabbed the plate of barely eaten stuffed walnut prunes and placed them into the fridge before looking over us, a genuine smile on her face.

“That’s right. I did not lose anything because of this. I gained an understanding for others on a level that few people on Earth can ever say they experienced. And… I gained a second child.”

She then stood there for a moment, looking out into space, filling her entire body with air, before exhaling and looking at the two of us.

“Shiaka, it is already late, and I would hate for Zoe to go driving at this hour. If you can, please stay the night. I’m sure I will have… much to talk to you about tomorrow morning.”

“Of course, Mama. I just need to let… Paz and Daisuke know.”

“You may call them mom and dad, for they are still your mother and father. While unorthodox, I suppose it is possible for people such as yourselves to have two mothers and fathers… Though, I should call Paz and see if she sees things similarly to me.”

Mama walked past us as she said that, looking almost as if she was on a light sedative with her open-mouthed smile and glazed eyes.

“I have much to consider this evening, so I will be in my room. I would offer you the couch, Shiaka, but I believe you and Zoe are more than familiar enough to share a room.”

“That… that’s true. Come on, let’s go Shiaka.”

Before I had the opportunity to say anything, Zoe grabbed me by the hand and guided me to his room. A sparse and regimented room with a simple bed, a desk, and a computer that ‘Shiaka’ helped him build a few years ago. The clothes were all kept in the closet, including the underwear and sock drawers, and aside from the rug over the center of his wooden floor, the only other fixture was a bookshelf. One with various textbooks, academic publications, novels, and a slightly cramped shelf with portable gaming systems and a few games. Not many though, as he borrowed most games from Maxine, Jad, or myself.

Zoe’s room had barely changed these past few months. Meaning it did not take me long to relax once I found these familiar sights, and after I reacquainted myself with Zoe’s bed.

“I was not expecting that,” I said as I spread my arms and legs out.

“I know,” Zoe said, joining me in bed. “Over the past few months, I have become intimately aware of the fact that Mama is a flawed person. She has the scars of trauma and is carrying around some hefty emotional baggage. I could tell that there were a lot of things bothering her, but I was more concerned with maintaining a sense of normalcy around her for these past two months.”

“And I thank you for that, Zoe. That was the right call at the time, but… my mental image of her just changed. I knew there was some deep unhappiness within her since we introduced her to the VD, but… I could not tell what it was.”

“She has an aptitude for hiding her emotions. I suppose that’s how developed such stoicness.”

“As far as can tell, that’s pretty much the case. …How do you feel about that idea she proposed? That I’m her daughter and that… we are of two families now.”

“That would make things so much less awkward being around the Kurokawas. Even though I am not their daughter anymore, they still raised me and… I would be elated if I could call them Mom and Dad instead of Paz and Daisuke. While Haruki would… probably get a kick out of me becoming her brother. As for Mama, I have to wonder how they would feel about her and if they—”

“She had sex as all three of them, had sex with all three of them, and spent a day or two living all three of their lives. So they’d probably be okay with adding her to their family. Haruki can be a bit quirky, but Mom and Dad are some of the nicest people we will ever meet,” I said as nonchalantly as I could manage.

“…Would you believe me if I said that I intentionally never looked at the notes for the ‘adult swap parties?’”

“I can’t really blame you for that,” I snickered. “Things got pretty spicy at those things.”

“…Whatever helps our families get closer, I suppose.”

“On that note, do you wanna get married before the end of summer?”

Zoe fell out of the bed as I asked this question and looked up at me with what might have been the most horrified expression I had ever seen on his face.

“W-What the hell are you talking about?” He asked, his voice an octave higher than normal.

“We share more than just years of experiences, Zoe. We are connected on a deep level, and that connection can never be severed. It runs deeper than blood, deeper than friendship. Even as we grow older, even once you have lived more of your life as Zoe Xing than Shiaka Kurokawa, we will still be bonded together. Could you so much as imagine someone you would rather have as a partner in life? Someone you would rather take as a spouse? Because I sure can’t.”

“Shiaka, I—” Zoe began as he rose from the floor. 

“But even without our unbreakable bond, I… I have fallen in love with you Zoe. Being in a different body, having different chemicals and hormones pumping through your brain, it can change the way you act and how you see things. We’ve observed that for months, and it was obvious after our week-long spring break. My sense of self has changed from being in this body. I have accepted being smaller, being cute, and my lack of physical strength. I have accepted that I have a different range of emotions. And I have accepted that I am… physically attracted to you. Your handsome face, your firm muscles, your broad features, and your dick. With every passing day, this body feels more natural to me, and it becomes harder to remember what it felt like to be a tall, strong man.”

“…Shiaka, I feel the same way. I love you too, and… I feel like a different person than who I was back in May. I’m not the little girl who was beaten to near death. I’m not the January girl who struggled to speak on her first day of school. The traumas and anxieties I once carried have… gone away as I learned to accept this new me. My sensory homunculus completely changed, the voice of my mind has grown deeper, and the thought of being a man for the rest of my life, while once horrifying… now fills me with a sense of comfort. I would be lying if I said that I would not go back to my original body if I could. But I am happy with who I am, and— as you said— it’s becoming hard to remember what it’s like to be a… tiny lady with big boobs.”

“Well, that’s definitely one way to describe your former body.”

“I was just trying to keep a light tone, Shi-Shi.”

“…Crap, I think I’m actually starting to like that nickname.”

“A-Anyway, were you serious about getting married before the end of summer? Because that’s about five weeks away and—”

“I said get married, not have a wedding. Weddings are a lot of work and money. But it costs a trip to the Cook County Clerk and $60 to get a marriage license, which is the more important thing. And I’m not going to change my surname by the way, so no need to change IDs or anything. We could head down to the Cook County Clerk’s office on Monday and take care of everything. We could wait, but I see no reason why we should.”

“Shiaka… I love how practical you can be. It’s something I need to get a better handle on. But before we move on with the next step in our relationship, as a man, I need to propose my way.”

Zoe then lowered himself to the floor, stood on one knee, and looked me straight in the eye.

“Shiaka Kurokawa, would you marry me? I… I didn’t buy a ring for this—”

“Eh, rings are old-fashioned, and while your delivery was pretty plain, I’d love to marry you… on one condition!”

I grabbed Zoe by his collar, brought his head close to mine, and whispered into his ear.

“I won’t marry you… until you fuck me.”

Zoe and I… gave our virginities to each other. On May 29th, to celebrate the end of our finals, to mark the end of our time at high school. In this room, on this bed, in the early afternoon, two months after we became boyfriend and girlfriend. It was sloppy, a bit panicked, but we were glad that we had our first time and, later that evening, we had our second. And it was way better.

Three days later, the VD malfunctioned, and while we had both enjoyed our new bodies in the most natural way, we had not gone full circle and had sex in these bodies. At first, we thought it was too soon to attempt it. But after the confession we just went through, it was clear that we were both ready.

I expected Zoe to jump on me at that suggestion. Instead… he laughed.

Oh my word. I’m sorry Shiaka. I’m just remembering when Max— when Barbara asked us about our masturbation history back in November, and we both only ever did it once.”

“Per her request, we kept it up every day for the first two weeks of December, so we could… How did she describe it? ‘Suckle the plump juices from the pomegranate of knowledge?’”

“She even sent us tips to masturbate better… very detailed ones.”

“Before having us play musical masturbators because she thought it would bring us together if we knew what it felt like to cum in each other’s bodies. Which, in all fairness, it absolutely did. Even if Lynne really struggled with your dick.”

“The VD made us such perverts,” Zoe laughed. “I was reluctant at first, but… I learned the error of my ways quickly.”

“Same here, honey. Now then, would you kindly lock the door to give us some additional privacy?”

“Sure thing, sunshine.”

As Zoe headed over to the door, I pulled down my sundress and began folding it diligently, as I didn’t want it to get any unnecessary wrinkles. I had a spare set of clothes mixed with Zoe’s, where they mingled with his scent, but I didn’t want to taint such a nice dress.

As I finished my folding, I saw Zoe lift his undershirt, revealing, once again, his topless body. While his abs and pecs were still faint compared to what I’m used to, seeing him strip before giving me a ‘come hither’ look was enough to… how did Barbara describe it? Make my heart go doki-doki.

In return, he took off his glasses and glared at me, looking at my small curvaceous form, obscured only by my light lavender underwear. I smiled as I felt his desire, and he responded by taking off his belt, allowing his pants to slide down his ankles. With his body naked aside from his boxers, he sat on the bed beside me, eager to get started… But as I looked over the room, I realized this was unacceptable.

“Come on now, I get that we’re having sex, but that does not give you an excuse to throw your clothes all about like a teenage boy.”

“I… am a teenage boy.”

“You know what I mean! No sex until no mess!”

Yes, miss!

Like a professional cleaner, Zoe began to pick up the clothes he scattered about, folding them one after another, before placing them in a pile on top of his bookshelf, right next to my sundress. He looked at me like a dog waiting for their favorite treat and, like any good owner, I gave him what he wanted, taking off my bra and allowing my breasts to hang out. While he got a generous look at them at the pool, there was something about seeing them fully free, unbound, and unrestrained, with my nipples already erect.

At this sight, Zoe slid down his boxers, freeing his dick. It shot forward a full eight inches, aimed directly at my face, and as I glanced at it, I brought my hands to my panty, slowly drifting it down my legs before flinging it on top of the pile. I laid down on the bed, presenting myself before Zoe. Though I could not see much past my breasts, I could feel a dampness persisting between my legs, meaning this should be nice and smooth.

Once I was in position, I saw Zoe looming over me, fire in his hazel eyes, his hands on my legs, and his dick inches away from me. I racked my brain for one final comment before we began, but before I could say something, I felt it enter me, sending a wave of foreign warmth through my being. However, it did not slide in as easily as I hoped.

“Hey, uh, Zoe, could you try—”

As I attempted to offer pointers, I felt Zoe’s penis wiggle about inside me, navigating my being, and leaving me unable to speak as it went in deeper and deeper. Though I had explored my body in great detail, I never went this deep, and as Zoe continued to explore further, my mind flashed back to our first time together. To the wall I felt.

“Z-Zoe, I don’t know if I’m okay with—”

“Aw, is the dominant one in our relationship asking me to be gentle?”

Words escaped me as I tried to formulate a response as I was… scared. Even when standing next to Zoe, I never felt this small. Here, with his dick inside me, the head pressing against my cervix, I felt like I was small enough to fit in his palm. I worried that he would embrace his inner man and use me to satiate his own pleasure, regardless of my feelings. That he would teach me a lesson for being so bossy to him. Instead, he moved closer to me, bringing his body on top of mine in order to kiss me.

“You are so cute when you’re happy,” he said, less than an inch from my face.

Before I could find the words, he brought his hands to my breasts and began brushing his fingers across them, dancing his thumbs atop my nipples. As he began, my breathing grew heavy, my face reddened, and my vision blurred. Zoe knew my body better than anyone, and he knew exactly how to… stimulate it. 

My body was covered in scar tissue. It was mostly concentrated around my abdomen, but the scars spread across my head, breasts and limbs as well. The scars fully recovered, and while they brought me no pain, they were more sensitive than the rest of my body. Touching them made my body flinch, heightened every sensation, and proved to trigger both a panic response… and one of pleasure. I discovered that I could stimulate these parts of me to give myself greater pleasure, yet I was always reluctant to do so.

Zoe, meanwhile, was trying to use this quirk with my body to grant me greater pleasure. While this brought her distraught due to her PTSD, she knew this was not the case for other people inside her body. That these patches of scar tissue could function as erogenous zones. She was being kind in touching me there, for she was trying to offer me a glorious magnitude of pleasure. However… I could not take it.

“T-This is too much for me. P-Please take it slower until I—”

Before I could finish that thought, Zoe moved his hands away from my chest and adopted a slower pace. I felt a high-pitched squeak escape my lips as I recognized this new pace, only for Zoe to silence me with another kiss.

“Sorry about that. I kind of lost myself for a moment.”

“T-Thank you. …Y-You can try going a little faster, let me just use my hips a little…”

Zoe did as I requested, adopting a tempo that was more my speed and, instead of touching my breasts, he brought his lips to mine. It was relaxing compared to what he just sent me through with the ‘breast play,’ but it was still enough to make me feel like I was floating through a sea of clouds. As such, it was no surprise that I was quick to reach a climax, spraying a morsel of fluid onto Zoe. He laughed as he realized what he had done— that he made his girlfriend cum— but he did not stop. 

Instead, he increased the pace slightly, and moved his penis around, as if he was searching for something, staring into my eyes all the while. As I let out a flinch, he smiled, and thrust forward. Instantly, it felt like every motion of his penis was giving me an additional 50% of pleasure and, after a mere few seconds, I felt myself orgasm yet again.

I let out a meek “thank you” as Zoe brought me to this second high. I stared at his smiling face, reflecting my own, but before I could lean in for another kiss, he moved away from me. He stood up, slid his penis out of me, filling me with a sudden sense of emptiness. 

Before I could think to ask him what he was doing, he brought a hand to his penis, still as hard as it was at the start of our session, and dripping wet with my juices. He thrust his hand up and down and, seconds later, he sprayed a teaspoon’s worth of cum on his bedroom’s off-white walls.

After Zoe looked at his newly made mess, he let out a small laugh before looking at me, a nervous smile on his face.

“So, uh, sorry about being a bit rough there. Did you enjoy yourself, Shi-Shi?”

Yeah… Once it got going, it was probably the best sensory experience of my life. …But why did you pull out like that?”

“Sorry about that. I sort of panicked at the last minute, and— let me grab some tissues to keep it from dripping and—”

“Wipe it up and come lay down with me, you dork.”

Zoe did as I requested, lapping up the cum with some tissues, before joining me under the covers.

“So, what was that pulling out thing about—”

“Well, I didn’t want to… cream you? Is that the term?”

“I guess. But why are you worried about that?”

“Well, I forgot to put a condom on before we—”

“After Haruki heard I lost my virginity, she put me on birth control, so you can bust inside me as much as you want.”

“Are you sure about that? It was kind of scary the first time—”

“It’s just cum, Zoe. The worst thing cum can do is transmit STIs and cause pregnancies. And I know you’re not carrying anything. Besides, I… am a little curious how it feels just… gushing inside me.”

Oh, make up your mind! Are you a pervert or not, Shiaka? You were practically begging me to act gentle, but now you’re asking me to creampie you!”

“I just want to try a full traditional experience, okay?!”

“Only if you lead next time. You’re cute when you’re submissive, but I think I like you better when you’re taking charge.”

“Even in bed, when you are supposed to be at your manliness?”

“To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing there, but—”

“Bullshit, you got me to orgasm twice, so you had to be—”

“It’s just you, Shiaka. I remember the first time, where you barely needed anything to get off.”

“I… I guess I just need to be a bit tougher and get a bit more… resistant to people touching me in my most sensitive spots.”

“Don’t fret, sunshine,” Zoe said as he placed his hands against my scarred abdomen. “I’ll do everything I can to help build your tolerance. I know there’s a dom within you. But if you can’t get her out, that won’t be the worst thing. I mean, you are awfully cute when you squeak like that.”

“S-Squeak? I don’t squeak!”

You do, Shi-Shi. And it’s pretty hot.”

Curious about what Zoe meant, I began brushing my hands against the most tender part of my torso, pinching it slightly and allowing myself to produce whatever noises my body wanted. A high pitched gasp escaped my lips and, as I played it back in my mind, I realized what Zoe meant. That was a squeak, and it was pretty hot.

“Oh? I could use this to my advantage… somehow.”

“Let’s save it for when we’re husband and wife, dear. After everything hubby’s been through, he wants to go to bed.”

“Don’t call yourself hubby! …At least not until we’re married.”

Zoe laughed at my enthusiasm, brought a hand to a scarred section of my leg and, seconds later, shut his eyes, falling into a deep sleep.

It was only 21:00, but I understood why he was so tired. He was physically exhausted after the pool, mentally exhausted from all of that wackadoo family crap, and emotionally exhausted after losing his male virginity. While not as tired, I could feel the same fatigues afflict my body, so I decided to join him. I turned off the lights and joined him under the covers, placing his limp arm over my body as I laid on my side, looking at Zoe as he slept.

After tonight… I felt a lot more confident about my future. When the VD malfunctioned, I felt that I lost everything. My flawless transcript that would get me into nearly any college I desired. My tall masculine body— one practically built for success in the world of business. The strong and composed persona I had built with my appearance and demeanor. It was all gone, and if I wanted to achieve the same things I once desired… it would be an uphill battle as, to quote my boyfriend, a ‘tiny lady with big boobs.’ One with a great transcript and a State support system that I was previously not entitled to, but… it changed the vision I had for my life and now. Even all these months later, I was unsure what I wanted to be.

I doubt I could command the same respect I desired as an executive given the sheer excess of discriminatory fuckwits who exist in the world of business. And I knew I lacked the experience to continue this life as a programmer. However, the more time passed, the more I realized that, whatever I did with this new life of mine, I wanted to do it with him. With the man lying beside me, breathing slowly, a smile on his handsome mug. My friend. My boyfriend. My fiancé. And, in less than two days… my husband.

We were forever bound on a deep level. A level that few people in this world would ever be able to achieve. And through this bond, I knew we could do anything we set our hearts on. 


Within a room cast in darkness, a pair of monitors shined. The first one showed five video feeds playing at once, its interface similar to a security camera system. 

The first feed displayed Jad and Lynne resting in the same bed, his nose brushing against his mother’s hair as they slept. The second featured Barbara, her limbs cast out in random directions as she laid under her covers, a content look on her visage. The third depicted Maxine, dressed in her felt pink pajama bottoms and a T-shirt, as she hugged a meter-long plush shark with a crescent-shaped mouth. The fourth showed Tyler, dressed only in his boxers, as he laid against the bed, the sheets only covering half of his body. While the final feed presented Zoe and Shiaka, facing one another as they slept, barely an inch between them.

The second monitor showed a dark interface. The left side was home to a file hierarchy, the upper center and right was dedicated to code, while the bottom portion contained a variety of fields. Empty boxes to be populated, dropdown menus to select, boxes to check, and a small vertical preview window depicting a list of variables.

ScenarioName = “Verde’s Doohickey – Session Extra”
ScenarioID = 039872801
FileID = Jad_Novus_4361726f.char
CharHash = 132037_24
UserType = “Character”
NameFirst = “Jad”
NameLast = “Novus”
BodyBase = 44657472616e73
BodyAge = 18
BodyModifier = 56444578747261
BodyOccupant = “Caroline Steticks”
TransformationType = “Body Swap”
BodySynchronisity = 73%
Gender = “Male”
Sex = “Male”
Species = “Homo Sapien”

Before these two monitors sat a woman dressed in green. She stared at the screens before her, darting her mouse across her second monitor as she brought up more and more information, before leaning back in her chair.

Woman in Green: “Now this… this is one sexy future. If I did not know any better, I’d swear this was crafted by my hand. But I guess the AI is just that sophisticated.”

As the woman in green mused over the displays before her, a pair of footsteps echoed from behind. She turned around in her chair and was greeted with a woman in red.

Woman in Red: “Are you going to do anything to help these people?”

Woman in Green: “I see no reason why I should intervene. They seem pretty happy to me.”

Woman in Red: “They might seem happy, but are you honestly okay with this? A child is now an adult, an adult is now a child, and a mother and daughter are now an incestuous son and mother.”

Woman in Green: “It is a weird situation, but do you think things would be better if they just suddenly woke up in their original bodies? They’ve accepted their new bodies as their bodies, accepted new names, new roles, new relationships, new sexualities, even new genders. In just 76 days, they have become new people and it would be cruel to rob them of their new identities in order to make things ‘normal’ again. Plus, I’m not going to give some transgirls biologically female bodies and then take that shit away from them. That’d be a dick move.”

Woman in Red: “…You could also restore the VD’s power and make it indestructible. You could give them the power to choose who they want to be.”

Woman in Green: “I could. But that would lead us to the same problem. If given the opportunity to undo this, they would almost certainly choose to go ‘back to normal.’ And while they could have more body swapping funsies after that, chances are they would put the VD in storage someplace for being ‘too dangerous.’ Which completely defeats the purpose of giving them a body swapper.”

Woman in Red: “You’re certainly full of foresights. I take it that you also ran an estimate on what their future lives would be.”

Woman in Green: “Of course. I might have been out of the game for a while, but I still remember the basics. And trust me when I say that their futures are pretty bright. Lots of love, a few kids, the good stuff.”

Woman in Red: “In that case, shall we allow this Scenario to operate independently?”

Woman in Green: “Yeah. At least for the moment. I don’t want to change the lives of these folks, but I think it would be interesting if they met their alter egos.”

Woman in Red: “I shall note that as a potential opportunity for The 2.0 Initiative.”

Woman in Green: “How big is that document by now?”

Woman in Red: “Over fifty pages so far, and most of the notes need to be expanded upon. This summer is going to be more than just bizarre.”

Woman in Green: “Already? Heh. Now I’m getting excited.”

Woman in Red: “Please contain your excitement. After all, we’re just getting started.”