The tyrant young girl finally left the room, teapot in hand, and Julian felt himself able to move and speak again. His friends did as well.
"Oh my god," exclaimed Samuel, who removed his delicate gloves, and tentatively touched his new porcelain arm with his equally smooth fingertips. "I look so..." ...He didn't finish that sentence.
"Guys, are we stuck like this?" Victor asked. He'd tried to sound terrified, but hadn't quite managed to match the tone he was aiming for. He was studying his new jointed fingers, able to move in unprecedented ways, but feeling stiff at every turn.
Julian stayed silent, like he always did when he was panicking. His usual method of simply letting his hyperventilating take its course did nothing, what with him not even having any lungs left with which to breathe. His whole body was now plush filled with fluffy cotton. He could feel it shift a little inside with his every movement, little bits unevenly spread scuttering down his arm when he lifted it, or sliding around when his head shook. Which, right now, was happening, what with his constant shivering.
And of course, all that wasn't even taking into account they didn't even simply look like toy version of themselves, but genuinely cute girl dolls.
Samuel, usually blonde and lean, had taken a new, permanent paleness to his skin and hair, accentuated by a black dress and hair ribbon, and an equally dark makeup. His porcelain skin was unblemished, dainty... But it exuded none of the usual fragility of this kind of material. It seemed uncrackable, a solidness protective in nature.
Victor had changed the most of the three, from short and scrawny, he'd become tall (relatively speaking, he couldn't be more than 12 inches right now) and ripped - an apparent 6-pack probably literally sculpted onto his plastic, jointed body, defined muscles on his arms and legs, but all in a way that was still feminine. A femininity that could kick ass.
Julian had been lucky overall, "merely" looking like a female version of himself, but the devil was in the details. His hands had all but disappeared, his arms and legs now ending in little stubs with wooly threads mimicking the presence of fingers and toes... And he had little paw patches sewed on his palms. In fact, attached underneath the pastel pink frills that were supposed to be his dress, a little immobile tail filled with cotton had made its appearance, and his head was topped by two plushy cat ears.
"We need to get out of here before she comes back..." Victor started. He dropped out of the little plastic chair he was on and glanced around the room looking for an exit, his eyes instead stopping on his frightened friend. "Oh god, are you alright, Jul?"
Julian simply shook his head, shivering again when he felt the cotton in his body rub against itself, sensitive tickles coming from under his own skin.
Samuel dropped down from his seat as well, somewhat regally, and came up to squeeze his friend's hand comfortingly. "Jul, you're okay. Everybody's okay. We're gonna be okay," he gently murmured, knowing that this sentence always worked on his friend like a magic spell. "We'll get you two out of here."
Victor's head jolted towards Samuel before Julian had a chance to calm down. "Wait, you're not coming with us!?"
"I..." Samuel started. "Well, I dunno. There was just something that felt... good when she called us 'you girls'. I want to explore that a bit longer if I can."
Victor's cheeks turned slightly pink. "Look, that has nothing to do with... We need to get out and reverse whatever this is, even the…” he sighed. “The good bits."
The soft one spoke up, his panic having been replaced with surprise. "You two... too?"
The three friends exchanged confused glances for a couple moments.
Victor sighed again, crossing his arms and looking down at the ground in pain. "Look, I get it. Every... guy wants to be a girl, but that's not how the world goes."
"No, they don't. I do, all three of us do, apparently, but that's not true of guys," Sam retorted, smiling after a deep exhale. "My goodness, admitting it to myself was painful, but I didn’t know it would feel so good."
Julian was pretty stunned. He kind of always... passively knew Sam didn't want to be a man, but it wasn’t like it was possible to just... reject it? Was it?
"...Can we just get back to the topic of escaping? She isn't gonna be gone for long..." Victor said with an appearance of worry, but he really just wanted to change the subject. Unfortunately for him, he felt like what he was about to ask was just going to bring it right back. "Are you sure you want to stay, Sam?"
Sam turned to the tea set they'd been placed at, pensive. "No. I'm kinda sure, but not, like, sure beyond a shadow of a doubt. I still think it's the right thing for me, though, you know?” He shrugged a little. “...In fact, while we're on the topic of trying out new stuff, could you guys- I mean, could you two call me Samantha?"
"Samantha..." Julian muttered, getting a feel for the name. Getting a feel for the concept of changing one's name. Getting a feel for the idea of... not being a boy forever. Was it what he wanted too, or was he simply thinking that because that's just what Samantha had done?
Victor looked away, not wanting to show his pained expression to his friends. "Sam... No. Just no," he stated, tears pearling in his eyes. "We'll never be girls. The quicker you accept that the better."
"But we're already girls, like, right now," replied Samantha. "It's not a matter of becoming one, here. It's of whether we'd want to turn back if the option presented itself. And my answer is no, simple as that."
Julian fell deep in thought, failing to follow the conversation for a little while. Was it the same for him? It wasn't an unreachable desire, it was real, and the choice to make was whether to renounce it or not. He thought about trying to look at it from every angle, deciding to answer any question that popped up in his mind. There was the one from earlier, about whether he was only thinking this because Samantha did it? It hit him that this was looking at the chain of causation all wrong. It wasn’t that Samantha being a girl made him want to be one, but that it made him realise that's what those feelings had been all along. Samantha’s epiphany didn't create the feelings, just put words on them. But if these feelings existed, was it right to act on them? What would his family say? Well, acting on those feelings would make him happy, that’s about all the justification he needed. It was fine in that regard. And his dad and his sister didn't have a say in the matter. Their happiness didn't hinge on it like his did. So then what was left in opposition? Society, maybe? But society is meant to morph for its people, not the other way around. If anything, that meant he had to change it himself, so that it wouldn't need to be done by others later.
So that was it, huh?
He was a girl too, now.
What should her girl name be, though? Samantha didn't change hers much. But she could go for whatever she wanted. Looking down at herself, with the fright of the situation gone... She realised she actually loved this body. Now, her last one wasn't brittle, but it was still breakable. This one, though? It could take anything; it was like that tale of the tree and the reed. And the feel of cotton under her skin - well, her plush, rather - it was soft and comforting, feeding into her need for being touched, now that it was no longer new. She thought about picking something that matched it.
"Squeeze!" she exclaimed to her two confused friends, interrupting Victor’s ugly-crying rant. "I'm Squeeze," she clarified after a couple moments of silence. "I'm a girl too."
Samantha gave her an ecstatic smile before Victor had the time to process it. Once he did, though, he stammered in fear and felt weak in the legs, falling forwards like a poorly balanced action figure. "Not you too... Not you too…!" he started, confused beyond any level he had ever been in his life. "You're both insane, is this what's happening? I'm not like you guys, I'm not...! I can't- I can't be..." he continued, rolling himself up into a ball.
Squeeze dropped down from her chair and unpromptedly hugged her friend, who after a moment of surprise, tightened his legs around her and resumed crying.
"It's not fair... It's not fair! Why can you get to be girls, but I can't?" Victor begged for an answer, his tears falling into her shoulders, which soaked them up like a sponge.
Samantha came up behind them and crouched down, bringing Victor’s head to her eye level. "What's preventing you from being one?" She carefully considered the most comfortable posture, and joined in the embrace.
Victor sobbed, overtaken by the pain Samantha had felt earlier, that of admitting it to oneself, then exploded into a relieving scream. "You guys...!" he wailed.
"You girls," corrected Samantha.
"Y-You girls!!!" he repeated, basking into the powerful feeling of this new label. Of having decided to allow the impossible to happen.
Squeeze laid happy, sandwiched between her friends, gently feeling the sensation her own name alluded to.
When she came back to her room with the teapot smelling of delicious herbs and berries, she was stunned to discover her dolls gently waiting on their seats, with a vivacity unrestrained even around her, which was always sign that the bearers of her spells had lost that which hurt them. She smiled over the success of her plan, glad to have been the push the neighbors’ ‘boy’ club had needed all along. "Hi!" said the porcelain one with a wave. "I'm Samantha, this is Squeeze, and she's Vivianne!"
"Hi~!" the plush one voiced with enthusiasm and a joyful smile.
"Hey..." muttered the plastic one, glancing at her feet, embarrassed.
She returned the smile, sat down and filled each cup with a deliciously fruity-smelling tea. They had to get the most out of this afternoon, before the spell would return them their humanity in a few hours, only with any change they desired to keep.