The walk to school was rather uneventful, save for Anna discovering a new urge of hers to excitedly run about on all fours, and almost failing to keep it in check when it came to climbing the last stretch. Surprisingly, Jules was already waiting for them in front of the gate, and came running to them with a wave.
“Heya girls!” He said with a smile, pacing down to walk in the same direction as them. “Sorry about last night, a rest really did me good.”
Lucie grabbed him by the head and ruffled his hair mischievously. “Same here, don’t worry. I’m sorry too, for what it’s worth.”
He pulled himself out of her grasp and turned his gaze towards Anna. “Huh. More complications I gather?”
She nervously lowered her head. “Gosh, is it that obvious?”
“You’ve got two bits sticking out under your hood, Anna. So, yeah.” Said Jules, with Lucie nodding in resigned approvement.
“Dammit.” She brought her hand to her mouth to nervously nibble on a nail (claw?), but found herself stopped by the facemask. “That means staying in the lab for the entire day, doesn’t it?”
Jules patted her on the back. “Hey, no maths lectures today. You’re at least not missing out on that.” It was his turn for a jokester smile. “Plus, I think you might get a nice surprise this morning.”
She looked back up, interested, and Lucie vocally echoed the sentiment. “Oh, what kind of surprise?”
“Hold on, I have it on my phone.” He said, pulling it out of his pocket and looking for the right app. “Here, take a look.” He showed it to Lucie, who cooed.
“Can I see too?” Anna asked reflexively.
“You do know what a surprise is, right?” He responded, to her dismay. She muttered little noises and let go of the topic, as they approached the main building’s doors. Double-checking that her ears were correctly obscured, she let her friends take the lead and followed them to the lab.
“Alright!” Jules exclaimed while stretching his arms, before taking one of the chairs. “Gonna show me what changed today?”
Anna fidgeted in her own seat, feeling similarly to yesterday. Once more she found herself… Feeling like she’d need to assert she’s fine with the changes. That she’s enjoying them, even, somewhat.
“Need some help?” Her girlfriend asked, noticing her inability to make progress. She quickly nodded with a thankful smile, and Lucie moved her chair next to her to help slide her tail out of her clothes, remove her hood and other face obscuring devices. Her ears flicked as they met with the air again, causing her to let out a little mewl before she caught herself and tried to keep her mouth shut with her hands, blushing slightly.
Jules had a shocked expression that seemed to say he’d seen it as a possibility, but hadn’t expected it nonetheless. “Wow.” He plainly said, his gaze following the sway of Anna’s tail. “That sure is something new again.”
Anna hesitated, searching for the right way to phrase her thoughts. “It’s… Weird. I don’t always exactly control my body sometimes, there’s like, little things that just slip out? But I kind of like it anyway. And, like, not despite the slip ups, but even them? They feel like they come so naturally, it’s… It’s relaxing to not have to think about my every moves sometimes.”
“Seriously?” Jules asked with a smile. She nodded in response. “That’s rad. Happy you’re happy, Anna.” She answered his smile with her own, her teeth noticeably pointier.
Jules’s phone notified him of an incoming message, and pulling it out of his pocket, he read it and chuckled. “Looks like your surprise wants to do a grandiose entrance.”
“Huh. Sam’s really come out of their shell, haven’t they?” Said Lucie with a smile.
“Sam?” Asked Anna, wondering what they had to do with her surprise.
Her ears picked up the door at the top of the stairs opening, and she felt her heart go haywire at the sight of her friend descending the stairs, gracefully avoiding tripping their feet on their sky blue dress. “Hello everyone!” Sam announced, smiling at the room, before their sight stopped on an heartstruck Anna. “I see I’m not the only one with a new look today.”
She tried to respond, but her mind failed her and the words came out as timid meows.
They took a graver look and squinted at her a bit. “Oh, it’s not just cosplay, is it?”
“It’s fine, she’s okay with it.” Corrected Jules before the misunderstanding grew too wild. “Looking sharp, by the way.”
Sam relaxed again. “Ah, that’s good.” Now informed there was no pressing problem, they switched the conversation back to themselves. “I do, don’t I? My sis’ is awesome!” They said, spinning around in their dress. “Have you seen what she got me out of her wardrobe? It’s perfect for when I feel femme!”
Lucie gave them a thumbs-up, and the catgirl traversed the short distance that separated her from them and started to rub herself against their torso, purring.
“Oh!” They exclaimed in surprise. “Feeling affectionate, Anna?”
“She gets like that sometimes, now. I like to call her kitten when she does.” Lucie explained with her mischievous tone that she’d missed getting occasions to use yesterday. “Oh, while that’s on my mind, do you want me to tell Sam what you told me last night, Anna?”
Anna’s eyes grew wide as she turned her head towards her girlfriend, her cheeks positively red. She went back and forth between nodding yes and no a couple times, before settling on approval.
Lucie grinned. “Sam, kitten is totally in love with you.”
“Uh,” they replied, with a confused look. “I thought she loved you…?” They quickly grasped the nature of their error from Lucie’s expression. “Oh! Oh my, Anna, you’re poly? That’s so cool!” They rewarded her with one of their signature bear hugs before letting her sit back down to catch her emotions, all starry-eyed.
“So that too has a word to describe it? I just thought ‘fuck monogamy’ was enough by itself!” Joked Jules.
Lucie snickered. “Want to know what else has words?” He turned his head towards her, interested. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re asexual and aromantic, right?”
He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “If that suffix means what I think it means, wow, I guess that’s one more thing I’ve learned today. Yeah, that sounds like me. You picked up on it real quick!”
She shrugged her shoulders triumphantly. “I just make a lot of guesses is all. The only reason I have many of them right is experience.” “I just bumped into the soccer coach, by the way!” Announced Sam as they sat down, uncharacteristically taking the lead of the conversation once more. “He was very confused by my clothes, that was fun, but has no issues with having me off the grass and onto the sidelines as a coach.”
“Nice!” Jules offered them a high-five that they gleefully completed.
“So, how’s it feel to be yourselves, you two?” Lucie queried, a gentle smile on her face.
“It’s nice…” Uttered Anna.
“Definitely nice.” Sam added.
The door opened again at the top of the stairs, and after it closed with a clack, Mr. Robert didn’t even wait to finish descending before asking “So, what new troubles await us today?” He was eerily calm as the students came into his field of view. “I see. Complications, complications.”
“Feeling better today, sir?” Asked Sam, standing up from their chair.
“Better yes, great still a no. Still have some amount of rolling with the punches to do…” He approached Anna and crouched to her eye level, studying her for a moment before pinching the bridge of his nose. “Yeah, you’re not leaving this room for the reminder of the day. Too risky.”
Anna sighed, feeling already tired. “It’s alright… That’s already what I was expecting.” Her eyes suddenly lit up. “Oh, before I forget! I’ve met the person that was the mummy? In my dreams. Her name’s Qelhatat, and she’s the queen of Egypt in her world?”
“The most unbelievable part in all this is the fact the other universe also has an Egypt, to be honest.” Responded the professor. “Alright. What else?”
She thought back to both conversations she’d had with the queen. “Okay, so she told me she takes over people’s bodies so she can live eternally, but she refused to tell me why. She wanted to take Sam’s body at first, and… I think the collar is some sort of fallback plan?”
“Puzzle pieces!” Exclaimed Lucie. “Okay, so what I’m guessing is direct contact is way more effective and that’s why it changed Sam so quickly, and if they had let go even later they’d be even closer to being a woman.”
“Wow. My ideal body, the fruit of perfect timing.” Sam muttered, eyes wide. “That’s crazy to think about.”
She nodded, and continued her bout of logic. “So, instead, she’s changing Anna little by little, first her sex, then her… Her species I guess, if that’s how that works… Damn it, we might have little time left then.”
Mr. Robert nodded in agreement, a grave expression on his face. “If we don’t manage to convince that lady to have a change of heart, this might just be Anna’s last day on Earth before she gets replaced…”
Anna’s face went pale as a ghost.