It had been a very long week. After I figured out I wanted to focus on trans communes, I got a number of sources and recollections from May. And in the breaks between working on the paper, I worked the bureaucratic systems in place. I didn’t even have to go to any offices or such. I just logged into my profile online in the government database, filed a name and sex change, and then sent that to uni to adjust stuff.
Of course, this lead to an email from my favorite professor congratulating me and asking to see me in person for a proper celebration. Professor Sappho really liked to build relationships with her students, to understand how they tick and to be accomodating. Which was easy to do with the small group of people she had to teach.
And that’s why I was currently standing outside her office, having sent her my final earlier that day, as I was hyping myself up to cross the threshold. “You here to see my wife?” The sudden question startled me, making me jump. It took almost all my willpower to lower my reaction from jumping through the ceiling to just hopping slightly. Oh great, now I’m Kara Danvers. The lady who asked me was as femme as they come. Long, curly black hair in a braid, a flowing summer dress, five inch high heels. And she was carrying something that smelled great.
“Oh, yeah! Lily Donnellan, I’m in Professor Sappho’s history class.” I politely extended my hand for a quick handshake.
“Zoe Sappho, lovely to meet you.” She shook my hand and shot me a quick smile.
“Likewise. She’s mentioned you often.”
“Oh she would have. I’m glad she stopped going out for drinks with her students, if I’m being honest. Gushing about me every lecture already makes me flustered. Every time I’d come along she’d get so drunk she’d forget we’re married, ask me out, and then cry when I turned her down.” Zoe chuckled slightly, a bright sound, and I could very obviously see what Professor Sappho saw in her. “Can you be my girlfriend, she’d ask me, I’d say no, she’d cry out why not, and I’d say because we’re already married. She’d then get the goofiest smile on her face.”
“That’s, oh gosh that’s adorable! I knew she was somewhat sappy from all her stories. I didn’t expect her to melt that easily!” The image of Professor Sappho crying her eyes out because her wife wouldn’t be her girlfriend had become forever seared in my mind.
“It’s a trans lesbian thing, they all melt that easily. If you end up dating one you’ll notice.” She rolled her eyes with a smile, the tiny wrinkles adding to her charm.
“Guess I better get a mop and a bucket for the future then, if I’m gonna melt like that.” I scratched the back of my head, and Zoe gave me a wink, right before she opened the door.
“Cass, sweetie, you have a student here to see you. And I brought you lunch.” Zoe immediately crossed the office to give her wife a kiss on the cheek, as she put the lunch box down.
“If it’s you Lily, I was hoping you’d show up a bit earlier, but you might as well join me and Zoe for lunch now-” Professor Sappho’s gaze turned up as she was speaking, before her gaze fell on me. “Lily what backalley doctor did you use to change your appearance that fast? I want names, I want dates, I want locations and methods so I can recommend them!” The Professor stood up, walking over to me and gesturing at my whole being, before pulling me into a hug. “Okay this is extremely unprofessional of me but screw it, congrats on coming out! Seriously though, who’d you use?”
“Leonard Fuck-I-Never-Learned-His-Last-Name from 101-A, two weeks ago, botched demon heritage awakening ritual.” The deadpan way I said that hopefully made it sound a little bit funny. Because it is a little bit funny. “I went to bed, he wanted power, he tried rituals, I woke up with boobs and horns and all the other bits and bobs.”
“Okay seriously though.” The Professor broke the hug. I gave her an awkward shrug. “Fine, keep your secrets young lady, especially considering you passed my class this year.” She sat back down behind her desk, Zoe having had just observed the interaction while shaking her head. “I’m gonna have to check out some of the sources you cited. Maybe go on a trip to see them over the summer. What do you say Zoe,” Professor Sappho turned to her wife. “A trip around the world in 60 days, to see locations of trans communes?” They held hands and my day was instantly improved a thousandfold. Okay no, seeing them kiss had already improved it. Because, that could be me a few years from now.
“I’m choosing the lodging this time Cass. Crashing on friend’s couches during the Europe trip was not good for my back.” Zoe gave the Professor a quick kiss, chuckling to herself. “But, now it’s time for lunch. You can join us if you’d like, Lily.” She turned to me, and I awkwardly held my shoulder.
“If you don’t mind.” I sat down in one of the chairs opposite Zoe and the Professor, as Professor Sappho cleared her desk for the meal.
The lunch went longer than expected. I had kept a distance from the Professor up until this point. She had only known me as the punctual, always present student that delivered work early and paid attention. Nothing past that. In hindsight, it was obvious I kept the distance because I didn’t want anyone getting close, because they’d be getting close to a mask, not the real me. Which lead to a load of questions. About my family, hobbies, interests. About figuring out I was trans. She still thought the real story was just a joke. And I didn’t feel like scaring her by turning off my glamour. So I let her believe it. It was three in the afternoon by the time we were done, and I began making my way home, deciding to walk instead of taking the tram.
That decision would bite me in the ass later... The sky got cloudy pretty fast, hiding the bright mid June sun behind a thick layer of grey. I hoped it wouldn’t rain, forecast hadn’t mentioned rain, but I still got somewhat worried about the prospect.
It wasn’t the chance of rain that had made me anxious in that moment, however. No. You know how sometimes, you feel that somebody is staring at you? You don’t know who or from where, but you feel somebody has their eyes set on you, and so the hair on the back of your neck stands on end? Yeah. Now imagine your demonic tail which is currently made invisible and ethereal was acting like a cat’s tail and standing stiff as well. I was this close to getting on all fours to pounce whoever was stalking me. But I couldn’t see anyone when I looked behind me. And my dress did luckily have enough of an open back to where I could use my wings to break free if someone decided to grab me from behind.
I was thankful it hadn’t come to it by the time I got home. However, I was startled by Leonard’s apartment door opening right as I passed it. “Were you followed?” Were the first words out of his mouth. And he was looking as disheveled as someone you’d expect to ask that question. So, to his regular level.
“I… felt like I was? But if I was, they didn’t approach me.” He sighed from relief at my answer.
“Okay, good, it wasn’t paranoia then. This poses another problem.” He waved me in, and with a shrug I accepted his invitation.
“Yeah the problem of you going outside looking like Gandalf’s college days.”
“Says Little Miss Transformers Dress.”
“Hey! It looks nice, and it’s a trans joke and disguise joke. Glamour to hide my horns and tail, remember?” I gestured to myself as I turned it off, whipping my tail for emphasis. “Anyways, what’s the other problem then.” I crossed my arms and rolled my eyes at that moment.
“Somebody followed us both to our home. We share an apartment building. I can’t think of any reason why I’d be followed. And your tattoo should protect you.” Leonard gestured towards my ink, which I had noticed by now changed color based on whether the glamour was on or not. White roses when off, red roses when on.
“Well maybe it’s a wizard detective who heard about your royal fuckup and got hired to catch you and bring you to justice.” If there was such a thing as a magic council that dealt with that. Or wizard detectives. I hope John Constantine’s just a comic book character.
“Said fuckup was fixed when your grandma showed up last week. No, it must be something different.” He shook his head at my suggestion, and so I started counting on my fingers.
“Well, Victor’s dead, and definitely not haunting this place, I think I’d have seen his pasty ass sneaking through my underwear drawer to call me a pervert. And Saul literally got wiped from existence. Huh. I was expecting a wipe from existence to include memory wipes, but I guess not.” I stopped counting. “That’s really the only enemies we had. Hell, one of them wasn’t directly our enemy, we just got roped in to assist.”
“What if it’s your dad?” His question made me freeze in place.
“No, no no it, it can’t be him. It wouldn’t be him. He would have no way of recognising me. He, he wouldn’t know about you. Why’d my dad follow you as well?” I really, really, REALLY desperately hoped it wasn’t him. I wasn’t ready for him. I was nowhere near ready to face him. I don’t think I’d be ready to face him even with Heartbroken May by my side. And his presence would make her hulk out right away. Leonard awkwardly grabbed my shoulder in solidarity.
“Sorry for suggesting it. In and out Lily, in and out, deep breaths.” He gestured with his hands to nail the exercise home, and I followed along. Before punching his shoulder once I was calm enough.
“Bad option, keep thinking.” As Leonard hummed in contemplation on my command, his gaze fell to his window.
“Maybe it was something out of Berserk?” His voice hiked up.
“And what, pray tell, makes you think something out of an old anime is after us?” I gave him a smug expression, to which he replied with a nod to his window. I turned around to see.
In the distance was a silhouette. A shape, standing proud and tall atop a building. The basic outline made me think it was a wolf, but even from this far away, I could tell the proportions were off. The silhouette jumped off and away, disappearing from my line of sight. Which in turn made be look back on Leonard with a shocked expression.
“Berserk my ass that thing yelled Monster Hunter!”
“Well, the good news is, you can swing a weapon from those games at it with ease now.” Leonard earned a second punch from me with that comment. “Ouch, two in just as many minutes?”
“I’m on high alert because a giantass hound or whatever seems to be tracking us! So yes I’m feeling punchy.”
“If you make it a third I’m using my water balloon spell as a spray bottle, and it will work because you’re more cat like now with those ears!” Just to nail the point home, he conjured up a small water sphere, and so in return I hissed at him and left.
Not going to lie though, my thoughts were occupied with the possibility of getting a sword and shield that turn into a giant axe to deal with whatever that beast was... I might have Empurrserker powers, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t get a tool to assist me in ass-kicking. Hell I’d probably need it.
A punch from me to that thing would probably feel like Félicie bapping your face with her slime paw after you make a bad joke.