Mending: Part II

Mending

Part II: Cute Things

My dad, Jason and I moved through the crowd and reached Caroline and her folks. Like many others, they had yet to disperse and find a corner for themselves, just standing there and using sign language to communicate, which I didn’t understand.  They saw us and my dad said something in sign language.

“You know how to sign?” Caroline asked, visibly surprised.

“Just a little.” Ian answered with a smile. “I used to date a guy who was deaf a few years back, he gave me the name. Thought me some basics. If I’d known you did, I would’ve signed to you earlier.”

I didn’t remember much about Dad’s relationship with Alejandro, having been there for a few months just before Jason had been born. They talked about it for a second and I zoned out.

“Hello again Colleen.” I said after a moment, making myself noticed.

“Charlie. Good to see you again.” She said. Her tone was nice and inviting but I still remembered the ‘I will crush you speech’ well. To my surprise, she didn’t seem too focused on me… Had Caroline not told her mom about us?

“Colleen, this is my dad Ian. Ian this is Caroline’s mom Colleen.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Dad answered. “I’ve heard quite a lot about you.”

“Likewise on both parts.”

I could feel a little something going on between them as they shook hands and smiled. Whether that was parental complicity or something else, I didn’t know…

“And the little guy hiding behind me is Jason. He’s shier than usual.” Jason practically hid behind dad’s legs. Doing the whole innocent kid routine. Caroline signed something to her mom.

“Hey, I’m Jenna.” The mystery girl introduced herself as the others kept talking, giving me a big smile.

She and Caroline looked pretty similar, both with a strong athletic build and a slightly unconventional appearance. Where Caroline had gone for the long white hair, Jenna had short tousled brown hair and also piercings on her lip, brow ,and many more on her ears. She rocked ripped jeans and a band tee. Needless to say, she was kind of hot…

“Didn’t know Caroline had a sister.” I said. In the past month, I hadn’t heard of her…

“She’s technically my niece, but since we’re the same age we’re more like sisters.”

“Oh. I’m Charlie.”

“Friend of Caroline?” She asked. Did she really not know?

“Yeah, uh, we’re roommates.”

“That’s nice, gotta say, I love your shirt.” She said, looking me up and biting her lip. My Blue Moon shirt was kind of nice, but I was a hundred percent sure she was just flirting with me.

“How have you been Caroline?” Caroline’s grandma asked her.

“I’ve been well…” She went quiet for a second. “Mom? Gramp, Gran? There’s something I wanted to tell you.”

“What is it peanut?” Her mom asked.

“Well…” Before I could think or react, she took my hand. “Charlie and I… We’re dating.” She quickly kissed my cheek and I stood there frozen. I couldn’t help but notice Jenna looked disappointed at the news…

“When did that happen?” Jenna asked.

“About three weeks ago?” Caroline answered, uncertain.

“Oh, faster than I thought it would then.” Colleen said.

“Faster than you thought?”

“I can spot a queer girl with a crush from a mile away. And this girl couldn’t be more obvious even if she was wrapped in the pride flag.”

“Guilty as charged.” I answered, raising my hands.

Before anymore on that subject could be said, Caroline’s phone beeped an alarm.

“Oh crap, dinner!” She yelled.

Without so much as a second of hesitation, she ran to the kitchen and checked the oven. We all followed her.

“Everything alright?” Her grandfather asked.

“Yes and no. We made dinner for sixteen and we’re like triple that now. We’re fine on brisket, thank god Allen wanted leftovers, but we’re going to need a lot more sides.”

“I sense a mission for the Campbell clan.” Jenna declared. “I’m up for it.”

“Everyone up for helping?”

We all agreed to it. Apparently the whole Campbell clan were all cooking masters so Dad and I got relegated to peeling vegetables while they did actual work and Jason endeared himself to Caroline’s grandma by pretending to be nice, he was sneaky like that. After a few minutes Caroline left us to check on everyone, asking about food allergies and stuff. My contribution was halted when Ahti and their clutch-mate came running toward me.

“Charlie, Charlie!” They called out.

“I’m here.” I said, getting on the other side of the counter.

The two of them stood completely naked save for Ahti who wore the polka-dotted bikini bottom Caroline had bought them. My gaze turned to Kulaat… She was cute. And I don’t mean in the adorable kind of way, I mean in the ‘I would totally want to snuggle her if it wasn’t for Caroline’ kind of cute. She had bright orange skin, her face was dotted by tiny round dots akin to freckles around her big flat nose, she had big bright green eyes and her belly had a light grey tone. I kind of smiled absently without realizing.

Kulaat muttered something, their tone worried, to Ahti in Ibariat and they answered back in the same language. She looked back at me then at her clutchmate and back at me again, all the while frowning, before staring weirdly. Was there something stuck in my braces?

“Everything okay?” I asked.

“Yes. Can we have some pudding?” Ahti said.

“Oh sure.”

I went to my room and retrieved a cup from my personal stash. After I’d first introduced them to it, Ahti had become almost addicted to the stuff for some reason.

“Here you go.”

I gave it to them and they dug in, Kulaat a little reluctant until she tasted the butterscotchy goodness, then letting out a series of happy wuns. I just watched them for a moment, taken in by their happiness until I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and saw Caroline.

“Charlie?”

“Yeah?”

“What’s up?”

“Ahti needed a pudding delivery.”

“Why don’t you just give them in bulk?” She whispered.

“Remember when Ahti got sick?” She whispered back.

“Yeah?”

“Ate a whole twelve pack in one sitting. Almost did it again next time I tried that, I had to stop them.” Self control was definitely not one of Ahti’s virtues.

“Ready to get back to work?”

“Oh uh, sure.”

We took a few steps toward the kitchen before I spoke again. “So… You hadn’t told you mom you and I were dating?”

“No, it’s not like I was ashamed or anything, I was a little too jittery to say it over the phone or text.”

“Oh okay. She seems to have taken it well. To be fair, she did say I could date you, just that she’d break me if I hurt you. It was very supervillainy the way she’d said it.”

She stopped and turned toward me. “When was that?”

“Remember when we went to dinner?”

“Oh.”

“Saw through me in like a second.” She said with a nervous chuckle. “Said something about having been that girl.”

“My mom’s bi. She’s dated or seen casually a few women since I was little and before I was born. Always been open about it.”

I nodded at the information. We went back to work and soon enough we had a gigantic dinner ready. In hindsight calling for takeout would’ve been easier, but if Caroline’s family were any way like she was when it came to food, they might have lynched me if I’d dared propose such heresy.

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Magpie’s First Flight: Part V

Ian Coleman
Nineteen Years Ago — October 1997

Just like John had said, I found myself attending school for the first time in a few months. The island’s only school was Havenport High, which despite the name served all students of the island K-12.

Thankfully John had somehow strong armed the school into admitting me as Ian Coleman and also sign me down as a guy; including using the men’s bathroom and locker room. Some people seemed a bit off put, asking some questions as I didn’t really pass for male, but I just brushed them off. Although it could get hard dealing with it, I tried to stay positive: It was just temporary, soon I’d be able to fix my stupid body…

Although Michael attended the same school as I did, he was a few grades higher than me so we shared no classes and had different lunch periods. The only time we crossed each other were when we came in and left. after our initial introduction I didn’t want to be his friend and he didn’t seem to want me to. But at least just went along calling me Ian, even if he slipped up a few times on my new pronouns.

After my first week was over, John took me back to New York. This time however we barely stayed within the city, heading straight for the Legion headquarter and then into the basement. I was about to ask where we were going when we stepped into a room with a giant shimmering vortex suspended within a frame made of technological components.

“Teleporter. Fastest way to travel.”

“We’re not going to be like blown to atoms and reassembled right?”

“No, it’s more of a wormhole really. It folds space on itself to connect two points together. No disassembly or anything, we come in and out in one piece.”

“Oh okay.”

He stepped toward the rift and I half-heartedly followed him into it. I expected something; a buzzing, a chill, anything really but nothing came. We just stepped through and walked into another room. It was similar enough but different enough that I knew we’d gotten someplace else.

I took a few steps off the platform and saw massive windows. What I saw beyond them, I wasn’t ready. There was earth, floating in space. I turned to the other side and another window showed me the moon.

“Wait, we’re in space?” I exclaimed.

“That we are. Welcome to Gateway kiddo.” John said. “The true headquarter of the legion.”

“How is there even gravity?” I asked, jumping up. I went higher than I would have on earth but I still reconnected with the ground.

“Gateway is actually a torus, which means it’s shaped like a donut.” A guy said. I turned around and saw him. The guy who’d just spoken was a Filipino guy in his late teens. He wore a red simple jumpsuit with the word ‘FORGE’ branded across his chest.“The station rotates on itself and the centrifugal force cause us to be lightly pressed against the outer hull which serves as the deck of the station. What we see as above us is actually the center of the station. If you run straight ahead, you’ll come back to this spot eventually.”

“Woah.” The idea of being on a space station blew my mind. At the moment, I had nothing left in it except how cool it was and how much I wanted to see more of it.

“Well, we better get going so you can see the doc.” John said, bringing me back to reality.

“Oh sorry, I get excited when people ask questions about my magnum opus.”

“You built this?”

“Yes I did. I’ve been working on these kinds of things since I was twelve. It’s the benefit of being an inventor-type mutant. Oh but where are my manners, I’m Forge, but you can call me Alejandro.”

“I’m Ian.”

“Oh you’re John’s newest bird, eh?”

“Guess so.”

“Come on birdy.” John yelled from the other side of the room. In the seconds I’d taken to speak to Alejandro, he’d moved all the way across the room.

“Coming!” I ran to catch up to him.

Although it wasn’t quite the tour I was craving, the walk to the doctor carried us through a series of living quarters and other accommodations including a large cafeteria and a rec room. We stopped in front of a door with a red cross painted on it along with another symbol I didn’t recognize and John pressed the bell.

A moment later, the door opened and a blue lizard-like alien came out. Although I’d heard plenty about Venusians, it’d been a decade or so since they’d first been discovered, it was my first time seeing one in the flesh.

“Hello!” It said in a jovial tone. “You must be Ian. I’m doctor Sij. I’m female in case you were wondering.”

“You’re the doctor?” I asked, surprised.

“I am. Although I’m new here, I’ve been practicing medicine on Earth bet for nearly fifty two years now. I’m a pediatrician, obstetrician-gynecologist, endocrinology, psychiatrist, surgeon, general practitioner and also a specialist in infectious diseases.”

“For real?”

“For real.” She confirmed. “Unlike humans we venusians need only about two to three hours of rest per day and I enjoy my job so I don’t typically require much time off, so in addition to my practice I’ve been keeping studying full time. But enough about me, let’s talk about you. If you would please sit down.”

She guided me to a set of chairs and we both sat down. She took a note pad and pen out before facing me.

“Mr. Coleman told me you were seeking assistance for gender transition from female to male. I’d like your input on that.”

“It’s just that I’ve never felt like a girl…” I said, muttering the answers. The four eyed-gaze of the doctor felt heavy, like I was being judged. “I’ve always wanted to be a boy, like that was my biggest dream… And I think hormones would help me be more comfortable in my body, because right now it just grosses me out…” As I spoke, the doctor took some notes on her pad in some strange squiggly alphabet. “So yeah… I really need your help.”

“Alright.” She said before spinning her chair around and opening a drawer and taking a stack of papers. “I have here a document I’d like you to read and sign, it explains the changes that would accompany hormonal transition as well as some of the risks. Of course I’d like to point out that many of the risk highlighted here are perfectly standard and are the same cisgender males experience.”

I took the papers and gave them a look over. They went through a lot of what I was expecting; deeper voice, stronger hair growth, increased growth, increase in energy and sex drive and etc. It also highlighted a bunch of risks, ranging from male pattern baldness to potential increase in cardiovascular risks, but I didn’t worry too much. Once I was done reading I took a pen that Doctor Sij handed me and signed the paper. She took it, looked it over and then took out a small pad and began writing something down.

“What are you doing?” I asked, leaning forward to see.

“Writing you a prescription for injectable testosterone. I could prescribe you pills if you are truly uncomfortable with needles but I have to warn you that they may be slower to take effect, may not stop your menstrual cycle and there is a risk that they may negatively impact renal and liver function.”

“Wait, so you’re not like going to ask me a whole lot of questions and stuff or make me see a shrink?”

“I believe that you are old enough to understand the risk and benefits of hormone therapy and that you know what is best for your own physical and mental well being and that you aren’t doing this on a whim. Of course if you’d like to talk about your feelings or about transitioning, I’d be happy to.”

“Oh wow… Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome. Although if you don’t mind I’d like to ask you a few questions about your mental well being. Would you be okay with that?”

“Sure I guess…” I answered with a shrug.

So like that she questioned me on a bunch of things; if I ever experience hallucinations, ever had delusions, if I ever happened to lose control and be within a dream-like state, as if someone else was in control of my body. Then came more mundane questions; my relationship with food, the stability of my mood, whether I was lacking energy, motivation or focus. For the most part, everything was fine. The only thing that caused me any emotional distress really was my body and people’s reaction to being trans…

“Well, I think have everything I need to be a hundred percent confident in ethically prescribing you hormones replacement therapy.” She said, giving me a smile. “The injections are scheduled to be performed once a month for now, on the upper thigh or buttock, it will most likely cause the area to be raised and sore for as few days. Mr. Coleman is trained in first aid and should be able to help you with your injections, although I’m always happy to assist if you would prefer I do it myself.”

“Alright… So is that all?”

“Well, if you’d allow it, I could administer your first dose. I keep some testosterone on hand for reasons I cannot disclose. Although I’d prefer if I could first perform a comprehensive check up as to establish a baseline for your health.”

“That would be perfect.”

Although I didn’t really know how to read Venusian emotions, I had a feeling that the idea of giving me a checkup and a shot made her really kind of happy. Although I normally dreaded doctors and examinations, the idea of getting my first shot kept all my doubts and anxiety at bay as she proceeded with everything.

Within a half hour, I found myself with my first shot done and being given a cherry lollipop courtesy of the doctor which I couldn’t resist and was dismissed although with a strong suggestion to come back for regular physical and mental examination, just to be safe. Just like she said, the place where she’d injected me remained sore as hell for a few days, but damn it, it was worth any amount of pain.