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Print and ebook versions of Wonder City Stories linked to sites where you can buy them at judemclaughlin.com!





Names Your Mother Never Called You

"That's… really unfair," Simon said, glowering at Nereid.

"I know!" Nereid exclaimed in her alarmingly deep voice. "Why did it have to happen to me when there are people who want this kind of thing?"

"Have you told your parents?" Simon said.

"They remember me as… a guy, like you do," Nereid said, running her too-large hands over oddly bumpy and hard thighs, remembering her mother fondly calling her "Pace"—short for Pacific, of course. I never got a nickname as a girl, she thought, not-quite-bitterly. "So, no. Though, I mean, it's not like Mom and Dad haven't been through weird para shit before. Not as much as your parents, but still."

Simon shrugged by way of allowing that weird para shit happened, but still looked depressed. "If I knew where the sex-change ray was, I'd throw myself in front of it."

"I know," Nereid said, as sympathetically as she could. Her usual tones sounded so weird with this new voice. "I'm sorry. I really wish I could just give it to you."

Then she noticed that it was happening again, and grabbed a pillow from Simon's sofa to cover her problematic crotch. Simon—Damn him!—noticed and started to laugh.

Nereid gave him an outraged glare that just made him laugh harder. "Heartless bastard," she muttered, then burst out, "I don't understand! There's no reason for it! It just happens!"

Simon tried to pull himself together, and in between giggles said, "Teenager."

"Noooooo!" Nereid howled into her hands. "I did that shit already!"

"At least this way, you missed the horrible acne?" Simon said. "I remember you having the worst case ever."

"Of course I would've," Nereid growled. "I remember having a lousy case for a girl. And I was a nerd. Nerd hormones always seem to do it."

Simon shook his head sadly. "Have you told any of the Cosmics yet, leader-ma… lady?"

Nereid sighed. "No. I think Wire may know—she keeps giving me odd looks, and her apartment is close to ours, so maybe she remembers me as a woman like Sophie does? I have noticed that they obey my orders a whole lot faster than they did when I was a woman. Even though they all voted for me as team commander."

He nodded and said, sympathetically, "That's one of the things that really freaked me out when I transitioned. Of course, people also found me even more threatening because black and all, and suddenly male."

"I… never thought of that," Nereid said guiltily. "Simon, I'm so sorry for not being as sympathetic as I could have been. This whole thing has been really… horrible."

Simon settled next to her and put an arm around her shoulders. "It's hard to imagine when you're okay with your body. Look, my mom has been offering to make me a sex change machine for years, I'm positive she'd do it for you. Being para can make this really easy for you."

Nereid looked at him, brow contracted in a worried frown. "Simon, I know why you haven't ever done that. You know that any machine your mother makes for you has a single use, just for you, and no one else would get to use it before the government takes it away."

"Pace… Pacifica, look, my politics aren't necessarily your politics," Simon said, squeezing her shoulder. "I have my reasons, and I can say that not all of them are as political as I've made them sound, okay?"

She looked at Simon, trying to discern how much of what he just said was total bullshit, and finally gave up. He'd always been better at a poker face than his sisters. She looked away and said, "I'll… think about it. Thanks." Oh, god, is Ivy still my friend? she suddenly wondered about Simon's sister, who had been one of her best friends for years.

"I grew up feeling this way," Simon said, reaching up to turn her face back to look at him. "I was used to it. I learned to ignore it, and when I couldn't ignore it any more, I did something about it. For you, though, this has been a shock, happening all at once. Don't measure yourself by my meter stick. Someone has altered your body without your consent. That's traumatic as fuck. Do whatever you need to do to recover, including asking my mom for help."

She threw her arms around Simon and hugged him hard, which turned out—given his little "Oof!" sound—to be harder than she meant to. She let up on the pressure, but couldn't apologize yet because she was crying, and she was trying not to drip. Despite knowing her propensity to be damp, he held her for as long as she needed him to, and she loved him more for it.



Date: 2015-12-07 05:45 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Nereid gave him an outraged glare that just made him laugh harder. "Heartless bastard," she muttered, then burst out, "I don't understand! There's no reason for it! It just happens!"

OMG POOR PACIFICA BUT THIS IS SO FUNNY

"I grew up feeling this way," Simon said, reaching up to turn her face back to look at him. "I was used to it. I learned to ignore it, and when I couldn't ignore it any more, I did something about it. For you, though, this has been a shock, happening all at once. Don't measure yourself by my meter stick. Someone has altered your body without your consent. That's traumatic as fuck. Do whatever you need to do to recover, including asking my mom for help."

Aww, Simon is such a complete love. They are like my platonic OTP (what would that be? POTP?)

Date: 2015-12-07 04:44 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Nereid needed someone to be sweet to her about the whole thing. :)

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