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Mature content
Milestone - Yana's Gift :icondkfenger:dkfenger 25 30
Literature
Trust Machines - A Gift of Silence
Tina and Andy were the first to the Venn Machine.  Still holding hands, Andy put in some money to start it up, and Tina picked the time.  A month.
“Are you sure?” asked Andy.
“I have the vacation time.  I’ve even arranged for a replacement weathergirl.”
Andy glanced back at Janice, strolling up behind them.  “Yeah, that’ll go over well.”
Tina laughed, and turned to blow Janice a kiss.  “Make us something sexy.”
She hopped into one side of the Venn Machine, pulling Andy in behind her.  Janice darted into the other side, and before the door had vanished was already saying “bra”.  A moment later, a very utilitarian looking bra fluttered to the ground on the far side of the Venn Machine.
Janice stared at it for the entire timeout.  It was the dullest, beigest bra she’d ever seen.  She picked it up, turned it this way and that, her victorious grin slowly fading.  &
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:icondkfenger:dkfenger 20 30
Literature
Trunked 10
Thanks to Bernice’s goading, everyone got out of the townhouse on time to head to campus for the first day of classes.  While there was some muttering and grumbling, it was mostly playful.
Steven and Maggie headed toward her first class, holding hands firmly to keep Maggie secure against the wind.  Steve’s grip nearly crushed her hand, despite the fact that there was little more than a gentle breeze blowing.  Maggie’s hands were, to be fair, quite easy to crush.  Being a living skinsuit did have its downsides, but at least being crumpled didn’t hurt.
Tanya held Bernice’s hand as they walked toward their inevitable parting for the day.  In their case it was because Tanya wasn’t used to walking on two legs, as she’d spent most of the summer with a tail instead.  Bernice gave her sweetie a long and lingering kiss when they had to part, and giggled at how Tanya wobbled away afterward.
Bernice made her way to the engine
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 21 43
Literature
Trust Machines - A Gift of Coal 2
Tina tapped on the terrarium with a black clawtip.  She’d been a seven foot tall four-breasted catgirl with clouded leopard spots for so long now that she considered it her “normal” form.  “Hey you two, we need to talk.”
The heads of two metallic snakes popped up from the tangle.  One hissed [yes?] in morse code.
“Hey Dirk, we’ve got a problem.  Took most of a year, but your contact says the cartels sent someone around to have a chat with him about the diamonds.”
[How bad?]
“Oh, they didn’t rough him up or anything.  It’s more of an ‘offer you can’t refuse’ deal.  We cease and desist, and for our silence regarding our ‘special technique’, we get paid out roughly the same amount as we’ve made over the last year.”
The two snakes conferred in rapid, hushed hisses, then turned back to face Tina.  [Do you think it’s a good deal?]
Tina nodded. &
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 15 19
Mature content
Squeaky Clean 2 :icondkfenger:dkfenger 41 33
Literature
Trunked 9
Jem burst into Maggie’s apartment with all the vigour that her brilliant colours and eye-searing dress suggested.  “Hey everyone!  Thanks for the invite,” she said, with a perkiness that didn’t reach her eyes.
Bernice grinned, and gave the neon-coloured catgirl a hug.  “Thanks for coming over.  We’ve had a heck of a day, and were hoping...”
“Hoping what?” asked Jem cautiously when Bernice’s hesitation went on too long.
Bernice stepped back to study Jem.  The catgirl’s tail wasn’t swishing, and her ears drooped.  “You seemed so cheerful at the mall, and friendly.  I... guess I hoped you’d liven the place up a bit.”
Jem looked around at the others.  “Did something bad happen?”
“We told you about Maggie yesterday, right?  The whole skin-suit thing?”
Jem nodded.  “Yeah, but you were hoping she’d... she didn’t c
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 29 35
Mature content
Super Shortie :icondkfenger:dkfenger 23 28
Literature
Short Stuff
“Stupid, stupid sister-creature,” groused Kara as she slammed the door behind herself.
The guy sitting in the living room unfolded from the couch to stand and face Kara.  “You found her?”
Kara sighed and nodded.  She dumped her keys into a bowl by the door, then pulled a crystal out of her jacket pocket.  “The tracer worked, once I was close.  Thanks for the lead on that.  Stupid girl had gotten herself transformed, just like I thought.”
Peter strode over to Kara to wrap her in a hug, resting his chin atop her head like usual.  “Is she stuck?”
Kara shook her head.  “They changed her back.  Freed her.  Then she turned around and went right back to them.  Something about too much fun to stop.”
“That’s not quite so bad.  And you can always find her again, right?”
“Meh.  I don’t wanna think about her.”  Kara struggled to get her co
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 25 20
Mature content
Slimming :icondkfenger:dkfenger 69 21
Mature content
Absence 2 :icondkfenger:dkfenger 47 12
Mature content
Absence 1 :icondkfenger:dkfenger 52 24
Mature content
Blessing of Touch :icondkfenger:dkfenger 54 39
Literature
Trust Machines - A Gift of Coal
“Merry Belated Christmas,” called Dirk cheerfully as he entered Tina and Amy’s apartment.  “Ready for the big day?”
Tina grinned down at him as she closed the door.  “Oh yeah.  Being seven feet tall and extra muscly has made the packing so much easier.”
Dirk peered around.  “You haven’t packed Amy up, have you?  Where is she?”
Tina patted her belly, and Dirk’s eyes went wide. “You ate her?”
A tiny mouse-head poked up from a kangaroo-like pouch in Tina’s belly.  “Yeah, she finally talked me into it.  Said it would make the perfect Christmas present.  It’s like a waterslide in here!”
Dirk chuckled softly, and petted Amy’s little head.  “I’m glad you’re having fun, then.  Planning a role reversal later?”
Amy shrugged.  “Maybe.  If Tina promises to make my belly non-fatal.”
“Of cours
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 16 28
Literature
Trust Machines - Beastly Beauty 12
Chapter 12 - Dressy Dates
Violet yawned as she answered her phone.  “Hi Mom.”
“Don’t just ‘Hi Mom’ me, young lady.  Where are you?  Where were you?”
“Bailey’s.  Last-minute sleepover.  Kinda.  I spent most of the night as her bra.”
“And was there a boy at this sleepover?” her mother asked acerbically.
“No there was not.  Technically.”
“Technically?”
“Jimmy’s currently a hermaphrodite.  And didn’t stay the night.”  After a moment, Violet added, “And he’s a sweetie.”
Ruby sighed.  “You’re treading close to the line, dear.”
“But not over it?” Violet asked, her grin leaking into her voice.
“No.  And I may be willing to consider a ‘Jimmy is a sweetie’ exemption.”
“If?” asked Violet.
“Someone promised me a dress.”
Viol
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 8 15
Literature
Trust Machines - Beastly Beauty 11
Chapter 11 - Special Services
When the gang arrived at the mall, some familiar faces were waiting beside the Venn Machine.  Amelia waved to them and cheered.  “I told you they’d show up.”
Violet grinned.  “We have plans for the weekend that involve the Venn Machines.  I’m guessing you do too?”
Amelia nodded eagerly.  “Darla’s boyfriend’s birthday is tomorrow, and she wants to be a special gift for him.  Your new ‘Special Services’ entry says to inquire about... anything.  Just how far will you go with it?”
“Try me,” challenged Violet.  “And yes, delivery is available. Given all you three have done, I’m inclined to waive the fees for whatever you want to get up to.”
Bailey sighed, but nodded.  “Freebies all around tonight.  Just make sure to tell your friends.”
Amelia snickered when Darla blushed.  “I’
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 13 20
Literature
Trust Machines - Beastly Beauty 10
Chapter 10 - Monster Menace
“What was so important that you needed me to come to the mall tonight?” asked Violet.  “We all have our dresses for tomorrow.”
“Not what,” said Bailey, pointing to three girls standing near the Venn Machine.  “Who.”
Violet smiled when she saw the three cheerleaders that had helped her over the past week.  “Amelia, Darla and Stella all want dresses?”
“Yep.  We won’t be the only two showing off tomorrow.  Chelsea will blow a gasket.  Plus, when they found out we’d added school-approved body mods to our price list, they wanted in on that as well.”
“You put all the new stuff up?” asked Violet.  At Bailey’s nod, she grinned.  “This might get interesting.”
Violet and Bailey approached the cheerleaders.  Violet waved as they got close.  “So what’s the plan?”
Amelia looked to the
:icondkfenger:dkfenger
:icondkfenger:dkfenger 9 19

Favourites

[Mythological May] Day 20 - Displacer Beast by Ulario [Mythological May] Day 20 - Displacer Beast :iconulario:Ulario 20 3 PetrificationTag6 by colorfultrick
Mature content
PetrificationTag6 :iconcolorfultrick:colorfultrick 38 3
Mature content
Part-Time Plaything (Doll TF Story) :iconxtheinvisiblehandx:xTheInvisibleHandx 37 13
Mature content
Remembering the Times :icontalgreywolf:TalGreywolf 5 5
Mature content
MonstrouSisters :iconsketchyseraph:SketchySeraph 21 3
Mature content
Ahead All Week (preview) :iconcheesium:cheesium 20 4
Mature content
An Unusual Birthday :iconcheesium:cheesium 57 4
Little Bat Family by Lopoddity Little Bat Family :iconlopoddity:Lopoddity 2,657 205
Literature
Life of a Catgirl Maid
Gary was unemployed, but not through lack of trying, and rent was coming up. How do you get experience for a job if you don't have a job to get experience?
He hadn't fought tooth and nail through college just to crash and burn here. He had no siblings to turn to, and his parents had been all to happy to have him move out and they'd be none too happy to have him move back in. They blamed his current lack of finances on his overindulgence on video games, never mind he hadn't been able to afford the money or time for a new game for over a year. Let alone anyone to play them with.
Why did life have to be one giant bumper car ride? Gary almost envied those middle-men-drones who could count on where to go to work and where to go home to each day, if they weren't obviously miserable wrecks trapped in the rat race.
"Do you even know what you want to do with yourself?" His parents would always ask.
The advertisement in the want ads was too good to be true, but Gary was in desperate times
:iconalexwarlorn:alexwarlorn
:iconalexwarlorn:alexwarlorn 35 46
Literature
Bus Trip
Ricky looked for the bus number that matched his ticket. The Chicago bus terminal was huge, and made no sense to him. Not that even being here made much sense. Only 30 minutes ago he was on the Navy Pier and finally made up his mind he was going to leave this place. Decisions like that were hard. It had taken him over a month to finally make up his mind to leave, so he didn’t want to extend his stay any longer by missing the bus out of here. He could afford a ticket as far as Seattle, so he had bought a ticket to Seattle. He couldn’t explain why it seemed like the thing to do, but it was done. That didn’t leave him with much cash but he’d figure something out once he got there in a couple of days. He usually did.
Finally finding the express he was looking for he climbed aboard and showed his ticket to the driver, who glanced at it and him, and checked him off the electronic list.
“Wi-Fi’s out,” the driver said to him.  Of course it was.
Tu
:iconAbNom:AbNom
:iconabnom:AbNom 6 3
Mature content
Doll Seeking Owner (Doll TF Story) :iconxtheinvisiblehandx:xTheInvisibleHandx 33 11
Literature
The Magical costume Company- Diana
The Magical costume Company: Diana
Diana looked at the invitation again. She wondered why she had been sent it. She had never been invited to one of these grand weekend parties before.
Diana was a member of neither of the major cliques at her school: there were the Jocks and Cheerleaders on one side and the Nerds and Geeks on the other, leaving the dozen or so remaining students in the middle treated like dirt by both sides. Diana was concentrating on her languages and had no interest in science or sport. Of course, this meant she encountered the Jocks and Cheerleaders in her English and Spanish classes and the Nerds and Geeks in her German and Japanese classes. Diana's only respite from the sneering of other pupils was the French classes she took.
The invitation had arrived a week ago. At first she was delighted, then the paranoia of the outcast took hold and she tried to find ulterior motives for the apparent generosity. She had replied, saying that she would be there and mentally he
:iconMidnightZingaro:MidnightZingaro
:iconmidnightzingaro:MidnightZingaro 15 5
Literature
The Case of the Witchy Watson - Inanimate
Quinn and Angie: The Case of the Witchy Watson
By: ThatGuy


It was an unusually foggy night, that found two women walking together down an empty parkside street. The two were keeping in step despite the weather - one would think they would be trying to get out of the gloomy weather, but instead they were strolling casually along and chatting normally. Or at least, one of them was.
The woman in front was a bit older than the other, late twenties at the most. She was dressed head to toe in collegiate gear: an official college jacket with all school colors and a sorority pin put proudly on her chest. She wore a skirt and stockings like the cheerleaders wore, and indeed had the toned legs of a woman who had done quite a bit of jumping and kicking in her life. All this was accentuated by the constant bounce in her step, and a bubbly demeanor that was obvious even without hearing her talk.
The girl with her was clearly a student - in her second year, at most. But in spite of he
:iconThatGuyInThatCorner:ThatGuyInThatCorner
:iconthatguyinthatcorner:ThatGuyInThatCorner 29 20
Slow Down by Lopoddity Slow Down :iconlopoddity:Lopoddity 3,502 188 Mt49 by colorfultrick
Mature content
Mt49 :iconcolorfultrick:colorfultrick 36 29
Literature
False Positives (TG/TF)
I pulled up to the gate and showed the guard my invitation; she waved me through and directed me to visitors' parking.  At this angle, the Lamp didn't look as much like an old-fashioned Arabian oil lamp as it did in certain photographs, but you could see how it got that nickname; all round and bulbous in the center, with a long curving balcony-thing about three or four stories up.
And, of course, there were genies inside.
I parked and looked in the rear-view mirror, combing my hair and straightening my tie.  Nobody was quite sure how much the genies understood about human gender -- obviously not enough -- but to whatever extent they did, I had to give the right impression.  These stupid breasts might be immune to hormones or mastectomy, but I'd bound them down as tight as I could -- which left them still pretty noticeable -- and I'd worn not just masculine clothes, as I did every day, but formal clothes, a suit with jacket and tie.
At least the nanites didn't insist on l
:icontrismegistusshandy:trismegistusshandy
:icontrismegistusshandy:trismegistusshandy 10 1

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Two women in sleek shiny dresses fled the club, giggling as they dashed into the night.  It looked like half the club was shambling after them like zombies, heads filled with lust thanks to the magical dresses the two were wearing.  A well placed cab rescued them from the horde, and whisked them away.

The raven-haired, chesty one laughed as she craned her neck to watch the crowd turn away once their dresses were out of sight.  “That was insane.  I mean, I remember when we had the red dress shoot and everyone went nuts, but...  I figured that was people playing along on a porn shoot.  Not...”

Darryl chuckled in his light, feminized voice.  “I think Yana dialed back the attraction factor this time, too.  Nobody was trying to tear our dresses off.  Maybe it helped that we were obviously together?”

Nadine snuggled up against him and purred.  “Mmmm.  Your dress is working on me, too.  I might not want to tear it off... partly because I know it’s Heather... but I’m just about ready to overlook that this isn’t your normal body and drag you off to bed.”

Darryl patted the skirt of Nadine’s dress.  “While both Heather and Yana would undoubtedly have fun with that, I think my sweetie has gone far enough in keeping her promise.”

“There isn’t room back here for three people,” said Nadine.  “Wish I could stretch out a little, my legs are killing me.  Aren’t yours?”

Darryl shook his head, making his long chestnut hair cascade over his shoulders.  “For a change this extensive, it’s easier to turn people into robots.”

Nadine blinked at that.  “You’re a robot?  You act totally human.”

“OK, maybe cyborg is closer.  My mind is still normal, my body... not so much.  I’d get Yana to amp it up to prove it, but I’d rather not blow the cabbie’s mind.”

Nadine grinned wickedly.  “You might not want to, but...”  She slithered out of her dress, and gave it a hug.  “Hey, Yana.  Thanks for being my dress tonight.  Your sweetie is right, you’ve done your penance.”

The dress reformed into a doll-sized woman.  Yana grinned up at Nadine.  “Thanks.  I really am sorry about the pumpkin thing.  I had no idea it’d traumatize you.”

“Are you okay, sweetie?  I didn’t realize until after I asked that being clothing is hard for you.”

Yana shrugged and looked away.  “Trying not to think about it.”

“Can I hug her?” asked Nadine.  “She really looks like she needs it.”

Darryl looked around at the cramped quarters in the back of the cab.  “I guess she can have my spot.”

Darryl vanished, but before his dress – Heather – could collapse, it was refilled by Yana growing back to normal size.  She burrowed in against Nadine’s side, gratefully accepting the other woman’s hug and cuddles.  

“Sshh, sshh, it’s okay now,” murmured Nadine.  “I won’t ever ask you to do that again.  Was it so bad, being worn?”

Yana shook her head.  “Just being stuck.”  She made a face.  “I know, Darryl.  I like being stuck.  Just not as clothes.”

“Darryl?  You can hear him?  I figured you’d turned him into your bra like last time.”

Yana was already mostly facing Nadine, so when tugged the left side of her dress down, the cabbie wouldn’t be able to see her exposed breast.  Nadine could, though, and gasped.  “Darryl?”

Darryl’s face grinned up at her from Yana’s breast.  His eyes peeked over Yana’s nipple, and his mouth was perched under it.  “In the flesh,” he whispered.  “What’s left of it.”

Yana squirmed.  “Tickles when you talk.”

Darryl started singing, so Yana pulled her dress back up, muffling him.

“That’s crazy,” fretted Nadine.  “He’s just a boob.  Why?”

“He volunteered.  Kinda.  And I figured it’d make him happy.”  Yana smirked.  “Very happy, he says.”

“Bizarre.”

“Magic doesn’t have to be threatening,” Yana said, trying to be reassuring.

Nadine rolled her eyes.  “You haven’t been doing a good sales job on that point.”

Yana chuckled ruefully.  “No, I suppose not at that.  What would help you see?”

Nadine looked away, and didn’t answer.

The silence in the cab was broken by the cabbie announcing they were at their destination, though his request for payment got a little strangled when he realized there was a naked woman getting out of his cab.  Yana summoned a few bills from her be-ribboned purse, hiding how they appeared in her hand before she passed them over.

As the cabbie pulled away, Nadine waved, and blew him a kiss.  Yana shook her head.  “You’ll scandalize the neighbours.”

“Good.”

Yana hurried her naked friend inside and closed the door.  “Don’t you want something to cover up?”

“Nah, I like being naked.  It’s part of why I love working at KK’s studio.”

“And I just don’t get that either.  Naked at home isn’t so bad, but where everyone can see?”

“Speaking of naked,” grinned Nadine.  “Can you change Heather back?  Maybe she’d sell this magic thing better.”

Yana’s clinging, shiny dress grew even shinier as it spun into glittering ribbons.  They fluttered off Yana’s body and into a rough humanoid shape that a moment later became Yana’s imposing co-worker from the wardrobe department at KK’s.  Heather looked around and grinned.  “Just us girls, then?”  She showed no sign of noticing that she and the other two were naked.

“And me,” chirped Darryl in stereo.  His face grinned up from each of Yana’s breasts, one facing Nadine, the other Heather.

Heather clucked her tongue.  “No, no, this will never do.  Girls night.”  She covered Yana’s breast with a hand, giving it a good kneading.  Darryl squirmed and giggled and when she let go he stuck a tongue out at her.  “Aww,” pouted Heather.  “I wanted to moosh him away into nothing.”

“Works for me,” laughed Darryl.  “Feel free to go a bit bigger in the process.  Or a lot bigger, you’ve got me to add muscle...”

This time when Heather started kneading, Yana’s breasts grew and grew under her touch, sculpting into improbable shapes before Heather smoothed them back out to something more normal.  “Woah.  You’re bigger than Nadine.”

Yana glanced at Nadine’s enormous breasts guiltily.  “I felt a little overshadowed.”

Nadine harrumphed at the looks she was getting.  “I’ll have you know these are entirely natural.”

“Really?” asked Yana, while Heather just raised an eyebrow.

“Okay, not really.  I was already pretty big when I started doing porn, and every now and then figured ‘why not go a bit bigger’.”

Yana smirked.  “Why not, indeed?”  Her breasts grew even larger, as did she, adding well-defined muscles to her growing body.  “Oh, I could get to like this.”

Heather stared up at her.  “Wow.  You’re taller than me, now.  Having fun?”

Yana chuckled warmly, and gestured for the others to follow as she moved out of the now cramped entry hall and into the living room.  “So.  Girls’ night in, plus trying to show Nadine how magic can be cool instead of scary.  Ideas?”

“Random silly transformations?” suggested Heather.  A moment later, she was covered in glitter.  The sparkles grew thicker and deeper, burying her in a mound of sequins.  When Heather struggled free of them, the ones that scattered away vanished, and soon they were all gone.  In the process, Heather had lost half her height.  She looked up at Nadine and grinned.  “Oooh, now you’re a giantess.”

“Not to Yana,” laughed Nadine.  Then her eyes went wide as Yana dwindled, stopping at Heather’s height.  Another female figure formed between them, and pulled the three down to kneel.

“Oh mighty goddess Nadine, grace us with your blessings,” intoned Darryl, getting a giggle from the other two before they echoed him.

Nadine smirked.  “Still hard to feel like a giantess when all the furniture is scaled to me, not...  Woah!”  A sparkling of ribbons swarmed the couch, tables and chairs, and soon they were half sized as well.  

Heather took a seat and grinned up at Nadine. “You were saying?”

Nadine bit her lip, looking around.  “Wow.  Um... can I pick you up?”

Yana stepped forward, arms up.  Nadine scooped her up, then sat on the floor and proceeded to fawn over Yana like a kitten.  Before long, she was holding a figure that was more spotty-cat than cat-girl, and grinning even wider.  “I wonder what it would be like to be a pet.”

Yana looked over at Darryl sharply.  “Hey!  She asked.”

“Too soon.”

“What?” asked Nadine.  “You were going to...”

“You asked!” protested Yana.  “And Darryl stopped me.”

Nadine pushed Yana off her lap.  “I did not ask.  I speculated.  I might ask, but...  Darryl’s right.  Not yet.”

Yana stomped over to Darryl as best she could with fuzzy feet.  Her efforts made Heather giggle, which got the woman turned into a tiger-girl for her troubles.

“Yana,” protested Nadine.

“No, it’s fine,” purred Heather.  “Being a kitty is nice.”  The two catgirls snuggled up against Darryl.

Nadine sighed.  “Can we go back to normal and try this again?”

Yana shook her head.  “Nope.  Forward, not back.”

“How about growing everything up to a size where I don’t have to sit on the floor, and I can look at you without cricking my neck?”

Yana waved her hands expansively, and the furniture grew back to normal.  As the shrunken women grew their fur faded away, leaving Yana with ocelot spotted-skin, and Heather with tiger stripes.  Both had fuzzy, triangular ears, and slim furry tails, but were otherwise human.

Nadine got up and made her way to an overstuffed chair, while the other three snuggled together on the couch.  “You three look awfully comfy together.  Am I a third wheel?”

“Fourth wheel,” corrected Darryl.  At a glare from Yana he raised his hands defensively.  “Kidding.  Don’t erase me.”

Yana stuck her tongue out at him instead.  “My boobs would be more than happy to reabsorb you.”

“How can you just joke about that?” asked Nadine.  “Isn’t it traumatic?”

Darryl smirked.  “To be breasts?  Nope.  Do you really think it would be?”

Nadine snickered.  “Okay, point taken.  It’s still a diminishment.  You’re helpless.”

Heather glanced over at Yana.  “Helpless can be fun, with the right person.  You’ve never wanted to be tied up by a lover?”

Nadine nodded.  “But I’m still human.  What’s the point in bondage if you can’t struggle?”

“Exactly!” exclaimed Yana.  “I can leave Darryl a little ability to move, and that can be even more fun.  As boobs, or even as clothing, though that’s a little trickier.”

Nadine shook her head.  “Not the same.”

“True,” agreed Darryl.  “But are you willing to concede it might also be fun, in a new and different way?”

Nadine narrowed her eyes at Darryl.  “You might look female, but you don’t think like one.”

That led to a sullen silence for a time.  Darryl broke it, suggesting they play a game.

“Truth or dare?” suggested Heather.  “With magic involved, it could be...”  She winced at the glower coming from Nadine.  “Okay, fine.  What’s your idea?”

“Pictionary?” offered Darryl.  The others looked at him in confusion.

“Hear me out.  Yana could use magic instead of pencil and paper to illustrate her clues.  It gives us a chance to show a playful side to magic.”

“Yeah, but I’ve seen how fast Yana is with it,” protested Nadine.  “I can’t draw anything that fast.”

“I can,” said Heather confidently.  “You’re on, magic girl.”

Yana grinned at the challenge.  Darryl hopped up from the couch and was soon back with the game box.  Yana and Heather had positioned themselves on either side of a large easel that had taken the place of the coffee table.

Heather drew first, quickly sketching a distinctive style of hat on the board.  Darryl shouted, “Pilgrims” before she was done.

Yana pulled a card, and grinned at Darryl.  She flicked magic his way, and his robotic nature was soon made extra clear by the exposed metal joints and random glowy bits.  Nadine giggled.  “OK, now he really is a robot girl.”

“Ding ding ding, we have a winner.”  Yana showed her card with Robot written on it.

Heather’s next card took a few more lines to suggest, but the claws and many quickly sketched legs conveyed Lobster easily enough.  Nadine looked over at Darryl with a grin.  “Aren’t you glad Heather got that one instead of Yana?”

Darryl shrugged.  “I’ve been worse things, that’s for sure.”

Nadine’s eyes went wide.  Then Yana gestured at Darryl once more, and his legs fused into a long, muscular mass, with a spray of glowing glass at the tip to form a cyberfishy tail.

“Mermaid?” asked Nadine, eyes wide.  “Oooh, cool.”

“Oh?” asked Darryl.  “Would you have liked this clue on you instead?”

Nadine waggled her hand uncertainly.  “I mean, half human is... better than not, right?”

Darryl just grinned inscrutably.

Heather’s next clue had her sketch the outline of a dancer in a few lines.  “Ballet” got a nod, but she kept drawing, pointing to the ruffles around the dancer’s waist.  “Tutu!” exclaimed Nadine, getting a victorious grin.

“You’re good,” said Yana.  “I’m going to have to step up my game.”  She gestured at Darryl once more, and his shiny skin got even more so as it became a smooth sheath of mylar.  With a soft foomp, Darryl inflated into a teardrop shape with an inflated fan for a tail.  His prior form was printed on its surface.

“Balloon,” said Nadine after a moment’s surprise.  She poked at Darryl curiously, and he rocked back and forth.  “Is he still in there?”

“Yep.  Can’t move a muscle, though.  Because he doesn’t have any.  Not your taste?”

Nadine shook her head rapidly.  “Are you going to change him back?”

Yana looked over at Heather, who’d already drawn a card.  “Naah.  This’ll slow Heather down a little, he’s the best guesser.”

Heather rolled her eyes and started to draw.  Two pen-strokes later, Nadine called out “Lipstick!  Hah, another one I bet you’d prefer wasn’t...”  She looked over at the balloon bobbing beside her.  “Not much of a conversationalist like this, is he?”

Yana drew a card and grinned.  “This one’s your speed, Nadine.  Your head and body won’t change at all.  Interested?”

“You wouldn’t rather change Darryl back to mostly-human?”

Yana’s grin grew wider.  “I think he looks good like that.”

“Oh, that’s how you want to play, hm?  Make me think there’s no other choice?”  Nadine crossed her arms over her chest.

Yana’s smile faltered.  “Okay, fine.  Darryl wouldn’t let me have a thread of magic if he knew you really hated the idea.  Do you?”

Nadine looked over to Heather.  “Why do you do this?  Did you like being a dress?”

“I love it!” enthused the big woman.  “Come on, she said you get to keep your head and body.  You’ll be fine.  If you really hate it, Darryl can change you back even if Yana won’t.”

Nadine nodded slowly.  “Okay.  One change.”

Yana clapped her hands with glee, and a moment later Nadine’s arms vanished.

“What the hell!  You said my body and head...”  Nadine rolled her eyes. “Right.  Nothing about my arms.”  She looked down at herself and frowned.  Her left arm was gone entirely, leaving only a rough edge at the shoulder, looking more like broken stone than flesh.  Her right arm was just a stub, only coming down to her breast, and ended in a flat, clean plane.  “Wait a minute.  I look like the Venus de Milo.”

“Ding!  We have a winner,” cheered Yana.

“May I have my arms back now?” asked Nadine.

“Oh, come on, N.  Try it out for a little while before you bail,” suggested Heather.  “Does it hurt?”

“Well, no...”

“And can you still play?”

Nadine shrugged.  “I suppose, at that.  Might be inconvenient when I want to have a drink, though.”

“And do keep in mind that you resemble a statue that is seen by many to be one of the most beautiful in the world.”

“Okay!  Okay already.  I’ll rock the armless look.”

Heather nodded, and pulled her next card.  Three circles later, Nadine called out “Tricycle.”

Yana grinned at her card.  “I’ve got one here that’ll get you arms.”

Nadine eyed her suspiciously.  “Am I going to regret this?”

“Nope.”

“You’re not going to give me anything else, are you?”

“I’d hate to spoil the clue.  Sorry, my hands are tied.”

Nadine sighed and nodded.  “Let’s see what you’ve got this time.”

She smiled as her arms grew back to normal, then frowned as she realized they were rather thinner than before, almost spindly.  More disturbingly, a second pair grew in underneath the first.  “Four arms?  Why would you give me four arms?”

Nadine noticed that Heather was looking behind her, and craned her neck.  She got a faceful of butterfly wing, and yelped.  “Wings?”  She wiggled her shoulders, making the painted vanes attached to her back swish through the air.  “I’m a fairy?  No wait, fairies usually have the normal number of arms.”

Nadine flexed her arms, studying them.  “Four arms.  Six limbs... insect.  I’m a butterfly girl?”

“Took you a bit, but yep, that’s it,” agreed Yana.  “Like it?”

“Can I fly?” asked Nadine curiously.

“Not at this size.  Unless I turn most of you into a balloon like Darryl, anyway.”

Nadine shook her head.  “I think not.  I am a little surprised you didn’t go the extra mile of antennae and faceted eyes.”

Heather snickered and pointed at Nadine’s head.  The butterfly-girl put an arm up and felt something protruding from her forehead.  “Antennae.  Cute.”

“Faceted eyes are really disorienting,” said Yana.  “Darryl can manage it, but it took him a couple of days to get used to it.  You wouldn’t have been able to see well enough to guess anything.”

Nadine chuckled.  “I’m glad I’ve got something keeping me part-human, I guess.”

Heather’s next card, only took three strokes - two half-moons, and the full one between them.

Yana frowned at her next card.  “I don’t think you’ll want this one.  Darryl’s up again.”

Nadine turned to face the mylar balloon-mermaid, and watched as the bulbous form sagged and drooped.  “Deflate?”

Yana shook her head, and gestured toward the silvery material that was piling up on the floor.  A side table vanished, reforming around Darryl as a large glass bowl.  The growing mass of silver sloshed and churned.

“What on earth did you do to him?” exclaimed Nadine.  “He’s quicksilver?”

Yana rolled her eyes, and pointed at the bowl again.  Heather ambled closer, and curiously dipped a hand into it.  The surface resisted her hand at first, deforming elastically, but after a moment her hand sunk in.  She lifted it up and let the silvery substance pour off her hand.

“Liquid...”  Nadine shuddered.  “Too much like goo.  Bleah.”

Yana stamped her foot, and gestured down into the bowl again.

Nadine’s eyes lit up.  “Oh!  You’re looking for... hm.  Action, verb... Melt?”

“Finally!”

“Hey Yana, can you grow the bowl bigger?  Say... hot tub sized?”

Another side table got scooped up by sparkling ribbons of magic, and the bowl grew.  Heather nimbly hopped over the rim of it, landing in the silvery puddle.  “Mmm.  Feels nice.  All melty and gooey.  Think I can join in the fun?”

“What?” cried Nadine.  “You want... that?”

Heather purred as she wriggled her toes.  “Feels amazing.  Heavy and squishy.  Can you melt me nice and slow?”

Yana nodded, then closed her eyes to concentrate on the magic.  Slow changes took the most work of all.

Heather wriggled and danced in the puddle of silver metal as she felt her body slowly lose cohesion.  It was most noticeable in her arms, they started to droop and elongate as she swirled them around, stretching like taffy into improbable curves.

As Heather danced she sunk, her legs slowly melting down into golden liquid, spreading in spirals among the silver already there.

Nadine stared at the spectacle, entranced by Heather’s dance and her rapturous smile.  Slowly Heather sunk, legs gone, hips and belly slipping away next.  She raised her arms to keep them snaking through the air as long as she could.  Her smile was the last to go, looking up at Nadine from the surface with a grin and a final wink before merging into the golden, churning mass that remained.

“Cat got your tongue?” asked Yana sweetly.  

Nadine tore her eyes away from the hypnotic swirls of the silver and gold, mixing and churning but still separate, as if two immiscible liquids were being stirred by invisible hands.  “I...  That was incredible.  How?”

“Magic,” said Yana simply, wiggling her fingers at Nadine illustratively.

Nadine squeaked and ducked away, as if doing so would have any effect on Yana’s power.  “I...  Sorry.  Being full of goo really got to me.  You understand, right?  Because dress?”

Yana chuckled softly.  “You wore me all night.  Don’t get me wrong, the dancing was great fun.  Way better than being stuck in a suitcase.  Taught me something about facing your fears.  Are you sure you don’t want to join them?”

Nadine was staring at the swirling liquids again.  “It does look oddly sensual.  Can I touch them without getting sucked in?”

Yana studied Nadine’s face for a time, a small smile curling her lips.  “Go ahead.  I won’t change you unless you specifically ask.”

Nadine bent over the rim of the bowl, and brushed the tips of her fingers over the surface.  Tendrils of gold twined about her fingers, tugging at her playfully then sliding away into the mass.  Nadine bit her lip, then tried again.  This time, when the tendrils tugged, she let her hand sink.  “They feel... warm.  I thought metal would be cold.”

“They’re not really metal.  Shiny and heavy, but still very alive and mobile.  Some of my best work yet,” claimed Yana proudly.

Nadine yelped as the tug on her arm got stronger, overbalancing her and dumping her into the pool.  “Hey!  You said you wouldn’t suck me in.”

“Heather made no such promise,” giggled Yana.

The metallic goop swirled around Nadine, making her squirm.  And giggle.  Before long she’d given up trying to get out of the slick glass bowl, and started running her hands through the stuff, tossing it into the air.  “Uh... is it vanishing when I do that?”

“Yeah.  Anything that separates vanishes to keep them from tearing.”

Nadine jerked upright, and vault out of the pool and clear over the rim of the bowl with an assist from her butterfly wings.  “What?  Did I hurt them?  Please tell me they’re okay.”

“They’re fine,” reassured Yana.  Nadine didn’t look convinced, so Yana restored Darryl and Heather.  They confirmed the story themselves, with Darryl noting that losing bits of himself felt weird, but not uncomfortable.   He got a dirty look from Yana and Heather as a result.

To restore some semblance of normalcy, Heather drew another card.  A quick slanted-L shaped line got “hockey stick” as an answer from Nadine and Darryl in stereo.

Yana glowered at her card.  She turned one pillow into a short, straight sword, getting various weapon names in answer.  A pillow turned into a plumed helm didn’t help matters much.  Turning the glass bowl into a replica of the Coliseum in Rome, however, did the trick.  “Gladiators!” called out Nadine, to much cheering from Yana.

“Could you make little gladiators fight to the death in there?” Nadine asked after they’d quietened down.  “You know, little self-animated robots.”

“There’s one problem with that,” said Yana.  “For them to look realistic, they’d have to be occupied.  Want to be shrunken down and duel a fierce warrior?  I’d make sure any injuries would vanish like the lost bits of Darryl and Heather earlier.  No harm done.”

“Would it hurt?” asked Nadine.

Yana shook her head.  “Not a bit.  Just like when Darryl got torn as a dress.  Right sweetie?”

“Right.  You just feel bits of you go away.  There’s this weirdness not having a part any more, kind of like when you’re missing a tooth.  But you get used to it, too.  I’m game if you are.”

Nadine laughed.  “You want to chop me up?”

“Disarm you, at the least,” grinned Darryl.  “You didn’t seem to mind it too much, earlier.   And think of it this way - you’d be human again, instead of a bug-girl.”

Nadine looked back at her wings.  “Eh, this hasn’t been so bad.  As long as I can see and move, and no part of me is gooey...”

Yana clapped her hands excitedly, and the gladiators started to shrink.  Darryl got the sword and shield Yana had already made, reduced to fit.  Nadine asked for a pair of spears, and to have her four arms beefed up.  Since she was smaller, it was easy to find the mass to honor her request.

The combatants didn’t end up even remotely to scale with the couch-sized Coliseum, standing tall enough that they could almost see over the edge.  Heather took up the role of announcer, calling for a “Clash of Titans.”

Darryl had used a sword before, but never a shield, and it showed.  He took a bad spear-slash to his left elbow, costing him half of the arm and his shield.  But in the same exchange he’d managed to lop off both of Nadine’s right arms.  The next exchange went worse for her as he batted her spear aside and took the other two arms.

“Do you surrender?” asked Darryl.

“‘Tis but a scratch,” scoffed Nadine, spinning with remarkable dexterity and kicking him in the chest.

Darryl stumbled back, and laughed.  “Look, I’ll have your leg!”  Yana kicked him again, and the sword flashed once more.  She hopped around on one leg, flinging insults until Darryl’s sword removed her other leg as well.

“Victory is mine!”

“Come back here and I’ll bite your legs off!”

Darryl strode closer.  “The fight is mine.  What say you, spectators?”

Heather drew a finger across her throat, and a moment later Nadine’s body was headless.

“Victory is mine!” crowed Darryl.  Then turned to look at what Heather was staring at, wide-eyed.  Nadine’s body had grown larger.  It had also grown two new heads on sinuous necks.  “Oh, it’s like that is it?”

Nadine roared at him, but her attempts to bite him in two failed miserably. However, each time Darryl’s blade removed a neck, two more grew in its place.  Not only that, but the necks grew longer and scalier with every regrowth, as did Nadine’s body.  By the time she had seven heads, she towered over Darryl, and her snakelike body wound halfway around the Coliseum.

Darryl fought bravely, but as he struck to sever another neck, one of the other heads lashed forward and nipped his shoulder clean away.  The next maw took his head, and a third swallowed the remainder whole.

Nadine bowed her seven heads to the cheering from the crowd.

“May I have my husband back now?” asked Yana.

“If I can lose most of these heads and the scales, sure.”

Yana considered that.  “Scales back to skin would be too simple.”

“How about fabric instead?” suggested Heather.  “Just on the outside,” she reassured Nadine.  “You’d be normal underneath.”

Nadine nodded all her heads, and soon she was down to just the two.  Her scales smoothed down, becoming patterns on the fabric that was her new skin.  As she was studying her new torso, a zipper formed down the front of it.  Darryl tugged it down, and then wriggled his way clear of her.  

“Well, that was an adventure,” he declared.

Nadine nodded.  “No hard feelings about me eating you?”

Darryl laughed.  “Truth be told, it was more fun than having my head bitten off.”

“Talk about a low bar to clear.”

Heather yawned theatrically, and scooped Nadine into her lap.  Nadine’s torso had gone back to her usual curvy shape, covered in green paisley fabric... but her limbs were still nowhere to be seen.  “You’d make a good pillow like this.”  Heather curled up on the couch, pretending to lie on Nadine.

“Okay,” said Nadine softly.

“What?”

“Just what I said.  I’m part-pillow already.  Finish the job.”

“Are you sure?” asked Yana.  “Normal pillows are full of feathers, or fibers.”

“As long as it’s not goo.”

Heather snuggled Nadine against her chest.  “Oooh, you just went nice and soft.  You were kinda lumpy before, but now you’d make a great pillow.  Can I keep you?”

“Sure.”

This time it was Heather’s turn to let her eyes go wide.  “Really?  Because I totally would.  With or without heads?”

Nadine licked her lips.  “Whichever you’d find comfier.”

Heather gave one of Nadine’s heads an experimental squeeze.  “Lumpy.  I’m sorry, but they have to go.”

Nadine nodded.  “I thought so too.  G’night,” she said, just before her heads vanished.

Heather snuggled the green pillow against her.  “You two mind if I sleep in my own bed tonight?”

Darryl chuckled softly.  “I think we can manage without you until Nadine changes back.  How long should I set her up for.  Just tonight?”

Heather brushed her hands over her new pillow.  “You heard her.  She said I could keep her.”

Darryl nudged more power into the spell.  “Done.  Bring her to us when you want her human again.  That’s my boon for your victory at the game.  Yana?”

Yana chuckled softly.  “Okay, fine.  One boon from me, too.  What would you like?”

Heather pulled a few cards from the box.  “Pick one.  Turn yourself into it until morning, so that Darryl gets to sleep as a human tonight.”

Yana smiled, and bowed to Heather.  “Your wish is my command.”  She looked over the cards, and giggled.  “Oh, this looks fun.”

A moment later, a plush penguin stood where Yana had been.  Darryl disenchanted himself so that he returned to full size, and scooped up his two foot tall sweetie.  “Well, now.  Looks like we both have something snuggly to take to bed.”

Heather saluted him.  “To our own beds, then?”

Darryl looked down at the penguin in his arms, then over at Heather’s body.  “She’d change back if it was a problem, right?”

“Well, she did promise to stay changed until morning...”

Darryl headed toward the stairs to the master suite.  “C’mon.  A king size bed awaits upstairs.”

Heather chuckled and followed along.  “Think she’ll make it to morning?”

Darryl studied the penguin in his arms.  It appeared to be grinning.  “She knows how I feel about promises.”
Milestone - Yana's Gift
And we're back having a peek at 'what happened next' in the Button setting.  This takes place almost immediately after Button 20 - Balance

I think I managed to squeeze in everyone's requests from the 500,000 pageview milestone journal.  Except for a call for more Squeaky Clean, which just couldn't fit with the rest.  I'll get back to that one before too much longer.
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I seem to have hit a pageview milestone without realizing it.  An eagle-eyed watcher pointed it out to me, and suggested that I write a fan-driven story to memorialize this milestone.

So have at it in the comments.  What do you most want to see in a story from me?  Pick one thing (theme, transformation, whatever strikes your fancy) per commenter.  I'll draw a bunch at random, and incorporate all of them into a single story...

EDIT: Story's done: Milestone - Yana's Gift
Tina and Andy were the first to the Venn Machine.  Still holding hands, Andy put in some money to start it up, and Tina picked the time.  A month.

“Are you sure?” asked Andy.

“I have the vacation time.  I’ve even arranged for a replacement weathergirl.”

Andy glanced back at Janice, strolling up behind them.  “Yeah, that’ll go over well.”

Tina laughed, and turned to blow Janice a kiss.  “Make us something sexy.”

She hopped into one side of the Venn Machine, pulling Andy in behind her.  Janice darted into the other side, and before the door had vanished was already saying “bra”.  A moment later, a very utilitarian looking bra fluttered to the ground on the far side of the Venn Machine.

Janice stared at it for the entire timeout.  It was the dullest, beigest bra she’d ever seen.  She picked it up, turned it this way and that, her victorious grin slowly fading.  “This isn’t sexy at all.”

“Nope,” agreed Dirk.  “So what are you going to do about that?”

Janice waved to the Venn Machine.  “Feed it.  I have no idea where my purses are.”

Dirk shrugged and pulled out a dollar.  “We’re all drawing on the same pool anyway.  You hardly need a purse.”

Janice popped the bill into the Venn Machine and set it for three days, then a month.  She waffled back and forth as she spoke over her shoulder to Dirk.  “Purses aren’t just about money.  They’re accessories, and hold all one’s other little essentials.  Lipstick, makeup, people I’ve transformed.  All the stuff a girl needs to stay pretty.”

“So we Venn you to have built-in makeup.  And never have a period.”

Janice turned away from the machine to face him.  “Are you serious?  I’d need to set myself for months at a time.  Years.  I’d need to...”

“Trust someone like me, or the bra you’re holding?  They’ll trust you for a month, since they’ve already agreed to be your lingerie for that long.”

“They agreed to a week, you promised to change them back after that.”

Dirk shrugged.  “They got in the machine with it set to a month.  They know what’s can happen.”  He reached past her, tapped the icon for a month, then opened the machine.  “There you go.”

Janice stood her ground.  “Would you do it?”

“If I turn them into lingerie, they’ll fit me, not you.  Probably not quite the look they wanted.”

Janice poked him with the beige bra.  “I meant, after I change them.  Would you?  For a month?”

“Depends on how you sweeten the offer,” said Dirk with a significant glance at the Venn Machine.

Janice took a step back.  “What?  You mean you’d want to change me...”  At Dirk’s grin, her eyes went wider.  “For a month?  To be... yours for...”  She took another step back, and yelped as the Venn Machine’s door appeared between her and Dirk.

Dirk stepped into the other side.  “Or we could change you first.  What would be something fun for the three of you?”

Tina and Andy shared a grin, then both reached out to tap their acceptance, turning Dirk’s side of the interface on.  “Juggling balls?” offered Andy.

Janice protested crudely, but her attempt to hit the red circle that would free her from the Venn Machine was blocked by Tina.  “Trust him.”

“Hell no!”

Janice struggled out of Tina’s grip, to find herself blocked by Andy.  “Trust Tina, then.”

That proved enough delay for Dirk, and a moment later three pink orbs landed on the floor of the Venn Machine.

Dirk scooped the three up, chuckling softly as he realized they weren’t actually balls.  “Well.  This should be fun.”  He tucked the three identical rubber breasts under his jacket so that none of the mothers in the mall would yell at him, and found his way into a back hallway for a little privacy.

He’d practiced juggling before, and thought himself passably competent.  These weighty orbs were another matter entirely.  They were big enough that it was tricky to hold two in one hand, making the start fiddly.  And then, once he had them flying in arcs, the nipples would turn this way and that in a most distracting manner.

After the fourth time he dropped a breast, he sighed, and shook his head.  “This was a bad idea.  Sorry girls.”  He tucked the two he was holding into the crook of his arm, and looked around for the fallen one.  Then looked again.  Where had it gone?   It had bounced off his foot and rolled further down the hallway, but he couldn’t see it.  Dirk cursed.  If he couldn’t find it, one of his friends would be stuck for a month.

He set the other two balls down on a nearby cleaning cart, and crawled along the hallway looking under the various carts and other miscellaneous bits of equipment stored against the wall.  Dirk finally found his prize twenty feet down the hallway, tucked behind a rack of serving trays from the food court.  He scooped it up with a gleeful yell, then turned back to find its companions.

The cart he’d set them down on was missing.  Near the far end of the hallway was a janitor, pushing a cart and whistling along with the music on their earphones.

Dirk sprinted like a madman, careening through the doors and past shoppers before catching the janitor just before she pushed her cart into the womens’ washroom.  It took charades, a bribe, and showing off the third breast-ball to convince her to part with the toys she’d found.

Dirk collapsed on a bench clutching his prizes once he’d freed them.  He sat there panting for some time, then muttered down to them, “after all this trouble, I should keep you this way all weekend.”  A smile grew on his lips as he imagined the reactions that statement would get.  He could almost feel Amy and Tina’s approval, and Janice’s opposing glower.  “Two votes to one, I guess you’ll just have to wait.”  The imagined glower turned into angry flashing eyes.  He blew a kiss at the breasts.  “I’ll make it fun, trust me.”

Janice tried to stay angry with him for the car-ride home, but by the time it ended she’d simmered down to a mix of boredom and curiosity.  When the juggling resumed, she tensed herself for another cold impact... but this time when she fell, it was onto something soft and fluffy, that kept her from rolling far.  She was scooped up and tossed once again.  The grip of Dirk’s hand, the solid smack of a catch... over and over.  There were more drops, each time onto the same yielding surface.

After a time, the drops grew less frequent, then stopped entirely.  Janice lost count of the throws and catches, until on one final catch she felt herself gathered together with her companions, and kissed.  Then she was set down on the cozy surface once more.

Then nothing.  She wondered if Dirk was going to leave them like this all night.  Or all week.  She berated herself for stepping into a Venn Machine set for a month.  Why had that seemed like a good idea?  Her mental beratings wound down once again.  Nothing to do.  Nothing to see.  Once her anger cooled, she dozed off.

Some time later the hands returned.  Dirk’s hands.  They rolled her around, tumbling her against her companions.  One finger teased at her nipple, sending electric tingles through her round body.  After an eternity of sensory deprivation, the tingles were more than welcome, they became her world, echoing and roiling within her like... like... her mind stopped trying to compare it to anything, and shut down to just enjoy the sensation.

When it stopped and she was once again wrapped in a cozy cocoon, Janice tried to reach for disappointment and aggravation, but it couldn’t summon the energy.  Instead, she slept.

Later, there was more juggling.  Tossing and falling, catching with a firm and confident grip before another trip through freefall.  The teasing and rubbing afterward felt even better.

The cycle continued until Janice had lost track of anything and everything.  Roundness was her world.

And then she was set on a hard surface.  Moments later she was human again, crowded into a Venn Machine with Tina and Andy.  She stared at the display uncomprehendingly, and even at Tina’s prompting to press the green circle so they could “play again” she just stood there.  The Venn Machine opened, and Tina guided Janice out.

As Janice tried to regain her sense of self, Tina gushed about how much fun it had been and asked if Dirk had amped up their pleasure levels.  He hadn’t.  “This time.”  

Tina and Andy were all for jumping back in, and opened the Venn Machine for another month.  “Hey, Janice.  Want to have your mind really blown?”

Janice blinked.  “It already has been.”

“I can see that,” chuckled Dirk.  “Talk to me?”  He offered a hand, and Janice clutched it like a lifeline.

“Why change me back?” she asked in a near-whisper.

“A couple reasons.  One, I’d had my fun with toys, and wanted my friends back.”

“And to change them back you had to change me too?” asked Janice.

“Not just that.  I wanted you back, too.”  Dirk emphasized the point by touching Janice’s nose with his forefinger.

“Oh.”  Janice looked puzzled.  “Why?”

“Toys are fun for a while.  But people are far more interesting than toys.  Do you want to be a toy again?  Venn Machine’s open.”

Janice looked over to where Tina and Andy were standing.  Tina gestured toward the open door, bringing a momentary smile to Janice’s lips.  She stared into the Venn Machine, contemplating the thought.

“Wow,” mused Dirk.  “I expected abuse, not serious consideration.  Did you like being played with?”

Janice felt her cheeks grow warm, realized the futility of denial.  “Maybe a little.”  She sighed.  “Okay, more than a little.  And it meant I couldn’t yell at you and fuck this up.”

“Is that what you’re worried about?” asked Dirk kindly.  “That one wrong word will make me go away?”

Janice nodded vigorously.

Dirk grinned at her impishly.  “It’ll take more than that to chase me off.”

“Why?” asked Janice desperately.  “Why would you put up with me?  I’ve got no hold over you anymore.  Why do any of you put up with me?”

“The millions of dollars worth of diamonds didn’t hurt,” offered Andy, earning him a glare from Tina.

“That’s not why,” said Tina.  “You grew on us once you couldn’t...”

“Couldn’t what?” asked Janice.

“Couldn’t talk,” admitted Tina reluctantly.  “You weren’t as bitchy when you had to hiss everything.  Why not?”

Janice shrugged helplessly.  “Hard to make a snappy comeback in Morse Code.”

“No it’s not,” said Dirk.  “But you do have to think about it more.  Were you happier as the snake?”

“No!  I don’t want to go back.  I like having legs and arms and eating real food.”

Dirk smirked. “I don’t blame you.  So that’s no on being turned back into a toy?”

Janice’s answer there was slower, but also negative.  Andy suggested giving her a mute button, which made everyone laugh, even Janice.

Once that died down, Tina and Andy repeated their offer to let Janice change them, then stepped together into one side of the Venn Machine.  Janice looked to Dirk, who shrugged.  “Maybe you can improve on the last go round?”

Janice rolled her eyes.  “I don’t think I can do worse.”

When she emerged from the Venn Machine to go pick up a pair of plain grey panties, Dirk’s look spoke volumes.  She sighed.  “I know.  I can’t help it. Do... do you think they’d let me try again?”

“Instead of being grannie panties?  Definitely.”  Dirk set the machine for another month, and Janice put the panties in one side before entering the other.

This time she emerged with something pretty.  A pair of sexy thigh-high boots.  But the way Dirk looked at her when she showed them off made something inside her quail.  “No?”

“You know it’s awful to be walked on.  How many people have you done that to?”

“But they’re so pretty...  Please?”  Janice’s eyes widened as she asked.  Why was she asking Dirk for permission?  Why did she care what he answered?

Dirk’s only response was a disappointed look that was worse than anything she could have said.  Janice couldn’t meet that look for more than a few second.  She ducked her head and found herself examining the boots in her hands.  “But...  This was the best part of Quick Draw, degrading the losers.”

“This isn’t Quick Draw, sweetie.”

Janice sucked in a breath abruptly.  “Sweetie?”

Dirk grinned at the fire he saw in Janice’s eyes.  “You’d prefer snugglebunny?  Cupcake?  Honeybear?  Ooh, honey badger.  That works, right?”

Janice started to giggle.  “Honey badger?  I can see where solitary and mean fits.”

“Don’t forget smart, tough and fearless.”

Janice looked away again.  “I don’t feel fearless.”

“Hey, if I can get you to believe smart and tough, I’m doing well,” claimed Dirk, drawing a little smile.  “What are you so afraid of?  I’ve never seen you like this before.”

Janice sat down beside Dirk, the boots in her lap.  She brushed her hands over them, feeling the supple leather.  “I’m scared that if I wear these amazing boots, I’ll mess up something I don’t even understand.  That Tina and Amy won’t let me do this again.  That you’ll hate me.”

“I won’t hate you.”

“Fine.  That doing so would disappoint you.  And that hurts even worse and I don’t understand why!  I care what you think.  What you think of me.  I’m not used to caring, and...”

Dirk hugged her tight.  “Put the boots on.  Just... don’t walk in them.”

“What, just sit here and look pretty?  I can do that,” said Janice brightly.  She had her old shoes off in a flash, and slid the boots on slowly, making a show of it for Dirk.  That he was watching avidly and appreciating the show led her to play it up even further with the second boot.  “What do you think?”

Dirk stood up, prowling slowly around her.  “You look sexy as hell in those.”

Janice squealed and squirmed as Dirk hoisted her over his shoulder.  “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” she yelled.

Dirk nearly dropped her in his haste to set her back down.  “Fine, be that way.  I was going to carry you home, so you didn’t have to walk on them.”

Janice looked up into Dirk’s eyes, surprised to find hurt there.  More surprised to find that she cared about it.  She dropped her gaze down to the boots.  “This was a bad idea.”  With Dirk’s help, she soon had them off.  Before long, Tina and Andy were back.

Janice looked up at Tina.  “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“You beat me at Quick Draw.  You’re good at it.  How do you... not do that, and...”

“Have fun, instead?”  Tina shrugged.  “Think about what your friend might enjoy.  And I find it helps to hold my hands behind my back when I get in, to block the reflex.  Want another try?”

Janice nodded.  Tina hesitated, hand on Andy’s arm to keep him from going to the Venn Machine.  “Say please.”

Janice tried to glare at Tina for her temerity, then dropped her gaze once more.  “Please.”

“Okay!” answered Tina brightly.  “Let’s do this.”

Once the three of them were inside the Venn Machine, once again set to a month, Janice stared at Tina through the interface.  Both women had their hands clenched behind their backs.  “Why let me try again?”

Tina smiled at Janice.  “Because being your boots felt good.  Right Andy?”

“Yup.”

“But mostly because you said ‘please’.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that before.  Did nobody ever tell you that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?”

Janice rolled her eyes.  “You get more with a kind word and a two-by-four than a kind word alone.”

“Is that really how you think?  Even now?  After all we’ve been through?”

Janice sighed and turned away, looking back at the blank wall of the entrance.  Her hands knotted together agitatedly.  “I don’t know any more.  The whole idea of being in here, with you, and not slamming the interface to change you is half terrifying.”

“And half what?” asked Tina gently.

“I don’t know yet.  As the seconds tick by and I’m still human, I’m starting to relax.”  She let go of her hands, brought one around to touch her chest.  “I feel oddly calm.”

Tina kept her hands carefully behind her back.  “I am not going to change you, or touch the interface at all.”  She took a step back, and leaned against the far wall of the Venn Machine.  “See?”

Janice smiled at the gesture.  “Thanks.”

“Now use this new peace and turn us into something fun to wear.”

Janice nodded sharply, and set to the work of finding the perfect outfit.  As she tapped her way through the designs in front of her, her nervous twitches toward the green circle grew less frequent.

“May I make one small change to you, before you change us?” asked Andy in the silence of Janice’s design work.

Janice started, nearly transforming the two before she pulled her hand back.  “How small?”

“Erasing your mouth.”

“What?” protested Janice.  “Why?”

“The less you talk, the better you and Dirk seem to get along.  I thought it might be interesting to try the logical extreme.  You wouldn’t be helpless, you’d be able to write anything important.”

Janice stared at the interface, and the pretty lingerie hanging there in space.  “I’ll think about it.”

After she’d finished her masterpiece of clothing design, Janice nodded to herself.  “Okay.”  She tried to add “I’m done,” but found that she could no longer speak.  Eyes wide, her hands flew to her mouth.  Accusing eyes glared at the lingerie.

“Oh!  I thought you meant ‘okay, change me’,” came Andy’s voice.  “You can cancel if it really bothers you.”

Janice looked to the red circle, dwindling to show the time remaining to make her choice.  Then her gaze returned to her beautiful handiwork.  Her hand darted to the green circle, and the lacy outfit crumpled to the floor.

As Janice emerge, Dirk chuckled. “That was the longest Quick Draw game I’ve ever seen.”

She tried to snark about it, but couldn’t move her nonexistent lips.  She touched a finger to where her lips used to be, then waggled it at Dirk.

“Wow.  You let them...”

While Dirk was boggling, Janice scooped two wisps of lace out of the other side of the Venn Machine.  She fluttered them at Dirk, then started walking toward the entrance.

“Woah.  This is going to be one interesting night...”
Trust Machines - A Gift of Silence
Couldn't leave the weathergirls alone, so here we are...  Much thanks to JMD1961 for letting me continue to abuse and/or redeem Janice and Dirk.  And for his advice on getting Janice's voice right in the opening part.

Previous: A Gift of Coal 2
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Thanks to Bernice’s goading, everyone got out of the townhouse on time to head to campus for the first day of classes.  While there was some muttering and grumbling, it was mostly playful.

Steven and Maggie headed toward her first class, holding hands firmly to keep Maggie secure against the wind.  Steve’s grip nearly crushed her hand, despite the fact that there was little more than a gentle breeze blowing.  Maggie’s hands were, to be fair, quite easy to crush.  Being a living skinsuit did have its downsides, but at least being crumpled didn’t hurt.

Tanya held Bernice’s hand as they walked toward their inevitable parting for the day.  In their case it was because Tanya wasn’t used to walking on two legs, as she’d spent most of the summer with a tail instead.  Bernice gave her sweetie a long and lingering kiss when they had to part, and giggled at how Tanya wobbled away afterward.

Bernice made her way to the engineering lecture halls, and took a seat in her first class of the day.  As usual, she sat in “keener row”, the frontmost seats.  She gave her tentacles a little shake to settle them, and pulled out her notepad.  After a few seconds, she realized that the whispering around her was all directed at her.  She turned around to favour the pair of girls behind her with a grin.  “Yes, they’re real.  And they’re magnificent.”

The girls giggled, and then one shyly asked if she could touch one.  Bernice flicked one tentacle closer, making both girls skitter back hesitantly in their seats.  After a little encouraging, they both tried touching the tentacle, cooing over how smooth it was, and how slimy it wasn’t.

Bernice giggled.  “Ew, if they were slimy I wouldn’t have kept them.”

“So this isn’t something you’re stuck with?”

“It’s something I’m going to stick with.  I like them.  And I’m sure they’ll prove really handy in labs.”  Bernice flared her tentacles out like wings. “Plus they look cool.”

“Down in front!” called some wag further back, and Bernice settled her tentacles into a tight cape as the professor walked up to the podium.  He took the faintest of double-takes the first time he looked at Bernice, then carried on with his spiel laying out the plans for the term.

Georgina and Elizabeth tagged along with Bernice after class.  They were all in the same program, so the entire flock of students was flowing toward the next room on their schedule.  They chattered brightly about tentacles and fashion, and “how do you get tops that fit”.

By the end of the third class, they had Bernice calling them Geenie and Lizzy, “like all our friends do.”  Bernice was amazed.  She’d had a year’s worth of classes with the pair, and barely exchanged a word with them.  Now they were walking to lunch with her, tagging along as she headed to where she was supposed to meet Steve and Maggie.

Bernice asked them if there was an ulterior motive to getting to know her.

“Well...” Geenie looked abashed.  “The tentacles caught my eye.  And you were so open about it, and then you implied you had... control.”

Bernice rolled her eyes.  “Yes.  I can give you tentacles if you like.  Planning to help start a trend?”

Geenie bit her lips, and looked over to Lizzie for support.  “I was hoping... wings?”

Bernice shook her head, to Geenie’s obvious disappointment.  “Bob mostly works with existing materials.”  She brought a tentacle around to lie against her left arm.  “See?  The flesh tone is the same.  Though...”

“Yes?”

“Well, we’ve had some recent exceptions when real things get incorporated.  Maybe if you could find some real wings of the type you want...”

“I have this gorgeous pair of fake wings, made with real feathers.  Would that work?”

Bernice considered that.  “Well...  It’d be an interesting test.  It might end up with the wings being less usable than before.  Would you be okay with that?”

Geenie rubbed her arms, looking down at them with a longing that made Bernice’s heart ache.   “They were hand made, and cost more than I want to admit.  I’d hate to lose them, but I could get another set made.  Tell me what the upside is.”

“If it works, they’d be real, and look amazing.”

Geenie nodded firmly, then.  “Okay.  Um... what does this actually involve?”

As they walked, Bernice gave a summary of what the Magic Trunk could do, and had done to various friends.  She was about to get to why it was bad to get into the trunk when she ran into Steven.

“Have you seen Maggie?” he asked frantically.  “She isn’t answering her cell.”

Bernice quickly explained Maggie’s fate as a living skinsuit to her new friends, and they put their heads together to try to figure out what to do.  

“Were you texting her in class or between classes?” asked Lizzy.

Steven shook his head.  “Not during class.  We usually text between them, but she’s usually the one that starts it.”  He frowned.  “I didn’t hear from her after her first class.  I was too busy fretting to notice something that should have worried me even more!”

The group followed Steven to Maggie’s first class of the day, but she wasn’t there.  And of course, a completely different class was in progress.  Moving on to her second class, up one flight of stairs and over a hallway, was equally fruitless.

“We don’t know where she was last seen,” worried Steven.  “This is hopeless.”

“No it’s not!” reassured Bernice.  “We could try to get her phone’s GPS location.  I don’t suppose there’s a tracking app on it already?”

Steven shook his head.  “No, but that’s a great idea for next time.”

“You can call emergency services, and they’ll locate her for you.  But you have to be next of kin,” said Lizzy.  “My parents have had to do that a couple times with my brother.  Are you her emergency contact?”

“Her mother would be.  And the idea of having to explain all this to her...”  Steven shuddered.  “Any other ideas?”

“Call her, see if we can hear her phone ring?” offered Geenie.  “She probably puts it on vibrate for class, though.  Drat.  Would she have been texting anyone else?”

“Maybe Jem?” suggested Bernice.  She texted the colourful catgirl clerk, and grinned at the response.  “Yes!  She said the last thing Mags said was something about regretting her coffee, so she probably hit the nearest washroom.  When?”  A moment later she got a time that was in the middle of Maggie’s first class.

The nearest washroom was easy to find.  It was empty, though several of the stalls were closed.  Bernice tried calling Maggie’s number.  A faint buzzing led them to the first stall in the row.  It was locked, but quick work with Geenie’s pocketknife soon dealt with that obstacle.  A crumpled Maggie was draped over the toilet.

Bernice cheered, and checked Maggie’s zipper.  It was down barely an inch, and a slight tug led to the skinsuit girl re-inflating.  Geenie and Lizzy stared in wonder.  “Woah.  So she’s really...”

“Hollow, yes,” said Maggie.  “Thanks for the save.  Who are your friends?”

Bernice hurried her out to meet with Steve as she quickly gave introductions.  Steve’s crushing huge left no doubt that Maggie was, indeed hollow.  “What happened?” he asked.

Maggie blushed.  “The back of my neck was itchy, and I must have snagged the zip by accident.  I need a collar to protect it.”

They brainstormed several other safety precautions.  A tracker app was the first thing they took care of, with Bernice and Steven both getting links.  Lizzie suggested a watchdog timer, that would prompt Maggie to tap it every so often, and alert the others if she couldn’t.  Maggie vetoed that as too annoying.  Steven vetoed the ‘go to school as a half snake’ idea as too scary.

“So we’re taking Jem up on wearing me to class, then?” asked Maggie.

Steven nodded reluctantly.  “I’d prefer that to the snake.”

With the crisis resolved, the group had little enough time left before their next classes to do more than eat.  After a quick lunch, Bernice waved to her new friends as they headed off to their respective elective classes.  Maggie tagged along with her to “History 242 - History of Magic”.  The trip involved a significant amount of outdoor walking, and Bernice held Maggie’s hand to make sure the breezes wouldn’t carry her away.

The classroom at the end of Bernice’s trek was cozier than she’d expected.  Most of the classrooms in the Engineering buildings were bare-bones, spartan affairs.  This classroom had wood panelling and chairs with actual padding.  They proved as comfortable as they looked.

Bernice and Maggie were still whispering to each other, wondering what the holes in the desks were for when a stern-looking woman strode into the room.  “Good afternoon.  I will have no idle chatter in my class, we have quite a bit of territory to cover and believe me, the subject matter has plenty to offer for distractions.”

Professor Boyd went on to lecture at some length, covering the syllabus, expectations and grading scheme.  There appeared to be rather a lot of memorization ahead, a prospect that Bernice found slightly daunting without a logical framework to hang it all off of.  So when Professor Boyd paused at the half-hour mark to ask if there were any questions, Bernice put her hand up to ask just that.

The professor shot her a pitying look.  “I’m sorry, this is much like the history of art.  Modern magic has more consistency to it due to the advent of mass produced magic, but we won’t be covering any of that in this class.  In many ways, this field is more about the quirky, individual artisans responsible for the more famous magic items, than it is about magic itself.”

After a few more questions clarifying grading, the professor nodded.  “Good.  With that covered, how many of you have at least seen magic in action?”

About a third of the class raised their hands.  Asking which ones had experienced it directly cut the number in half.  Asking if anyone owned a magic item cut it in half again.  The professor asked each to explain.  One guy had a small satchel that could hold multiple times its volume, and one of the girls in back had a magic mirror that applied her makeup for her.  The other girls in the class murmured about how lucky she was.  Her smug smile only increased as she was asked about its origins - it was a hand-crafted piece, not mass produced, though of fairly recent vintage.

Then Bernice described her maze-locked trunk, and was quite gratified to see the professor’s eyes widen.  “Would you be willing to bring it in to the department at some point?  We don’t get to see the really rare stuff very often.”

The rest of the class devolved into a scrum around Bernice and Maggie, asking questions about the trunk as she showed off her tentacles.  The girl with the mirror looked rather put out, until Bernice offered her a chance to use the trunk to make some ‘upgrades’.

When time was up, Bernice had at least a half dozen students interested in trying out some of the clothing, and had made a promise to bring all of it in to the department for testing.   As the class percolated away, Bernice held Maggie close and asked if she could speak with the professor alone for a bit.

“Magic trouble?” asked Boyd, getting furtive nods in response.  “If you two have time, you could come up to the faculty lounge and we can talk there, away from the prying eyes of your classmates.”

Bernice and Maggie agreed, and followed Professor Boyd up a flight of stairs and down a hallway.  The lounge had a lovely view out over campus, and an eclectic collection of overstuffed chairs of various types.  They settled in a cozy arrangement near one of the windows, well away from the kitchenette near the entrance.

“So what is the problem, exactly?” asked the professor, with a much kinder demeanour than she’d shown in class.

“Maggie ended up in the trunk.  Kind of on a dare, but then the jerk who’d dared her to do it slammed the lid on her.  She got transformed, and is now a skin-suit of herself.”

“Ah.  And the trunk produces permanent results, you said?  This is unfortunate.  There are no general purpose ‘un-cursing’ tools.  Sometimes you can find a specific effect that reverses the original, but this is out of my league.”  She looked around at the handful of faculty that had gathered around.  “Any of you lot hear about something that can turn skins into real people?”

They all shook their heads.

“Look, I’m going to have to call in the big guns on this one,” admitted Professor Boyd.  “The department head knows more about magic than anyone else here, maybe Mike will have heard of something.”

She bustled them off to the department head’s office, where a gruff voice answered her knock.  “Students?” cried the grey-haired man when they entered.  “The whole point of seniority is not having to deal with them.”

“Oh, it’s worse than that,” said Boyd with a twinkle in her eye.  “This one’s an engineering student.”

“What?  You dare sully this hallowed hall with such filth?”

Bernice watched the exchange, eyebrows raised.  Something about it felt off.  She turned to face Professor Boyd, and saw the grin there.  “What’s so funny?”

“Doctor Anson’s PhD is in Civil Engineering.”

Bernice turned to face the grey-haired old gentleman who was now waving her to a chair.  “That must be quite the story.”

“Perhaps you’ll hear it someday.  I take it Boyd here has found some mystery for me to unravel?  Something to do with your buoyant friend, and not your cape of tentacles?”

Bernice nodded, and told the tale of the trunk yet again.  She was unsurprised at the wide eyes she got when talking about the maze-lock.  The incisive questions were another matter.  Bernice answered the inquisition as best she could, making sure to be clear on what she knew, what she suspected, and what she just couldn’t recall.

After the third time she apologized for not remembering a detail, Doctor Anson smiled. “No, that’s fine.  I’d prefer you tell me what you do and don’t know, rather than guessing without saying so.”

The questioning ended with Bernice and Maggie tag-teaming the description of how Maggie’s modified body worked.  Doctor Anson frowned at what he was hearing, and asked for a demonstration of Maggie’s interaction with inanimate objects.

Bernice looked to her friend and got a nod, so she pulled a textbook out of her backpack and unzipped Maggie far enough to insert it.  Maggie immediately went inert, her eyes unfocused and her body still.  Bernice demonstrated that Maggie’s arms were now solid, rather than inflated as before.

“Let her move again,” said Doctor Anson softly.  “She should hear this.”

“Oh, she can hear just fine like this,” reported Bernice as she pulled the book out of Maggie’s back.  A quick zip left Maggie inflated and alert.

“Do you know how to get this fixed?” asked Maggie.

Doctor Anson’s expression was kindly.  “I’m afraid not.  What do you know of the common factor between all the most powerful, most responsive magic items known to history?”

Bernice shrugged.  “I’m taking the introductory course to find out that sort of thing.  I have the text, but I haven’t read ahead in it.”

The department head shot a look at Boyd that said “what exactly are you teaching them”.  She shrugged, and he rolled his eyes then gestured to her.

Professor Boyd sighed.  “Many historic artifacts are empowered by a person.  They provide both the power, and the guiding intelligence.  Given that Maggie ‘works’ on an inanimate object, then it seems likely that...”

Doctor Anson interrupted her.  “Not likely.  Certain.  She has become a magic object in her own right.  And I have never, ever, heard of such a thing being reversed.”

Maggie sighed softly, and nodded.  “I figured as much.  Thank you for confirming it.  I’ll... I guess I’ll learn how to cope.”

“How to cope?” exclaimed Doctor Anson.  “Do you not understand what this means?”

“That I’m stuck as an inflatable doll for the rest of my life,” said Maggie.  “At least I get to move around under my own power when I’m not being worn.”

“You’ve been empowered for only a few days.  It takes time to become familiar with the power, to become practiced with its use.  Your trunk has had centuries to gain such skill.”

Bernice gasped.  “The trunk was a person?”

“You gave him a name.  What did you think he was?”

“I don’t know.  Some kind of interdimensional magic spirit-thing.  I own a person?  How is that even legal?”

“Really, Boyd.  Not even the basics?”  Doctor Anson sighed.  “Magic artifacts are not people.  Most can’t even express themselves.  Legally, they are possessions.”

“I’m a possession?” whispered Maggie.

Doctor Anson focussed on her once more.  “Ah.  That does present an interesting situation.  I’ve never heard of an artifact so mobile or human-seeming as yourself.  You may end up setting some interesting precedents.   How would you like to be seen?”

“As a person, of course!  What else would I want?”

“Most of the artifacts that can communicate have made it quite clear that they prefer having an owner.  You don’t feel that?”

Maggie shook her head emphatically.  “The very idea seems as abhorrent now as it did before I changed.”

“Fascinating.  I don’t suppose you’d be interested in being studied and interviewed?  It’s so rare to have a chance to study this sort of thing first hand.”

“Could I get extra credit for it?” asked Maggie.

Doctor Anson quickly agreed, and asked what department Maggie was studying with.  Before they left his office, Maggie not only had agreed to participate in a number of studies, but she had signed the paperwork to change majors to Applied Magic, a joint effort between the engineering and history faculties.  The program was more focussed on the modern efforts at reproducing magic artifacts, but also touched on artisanal approaches as well.

*** *** ***

Back at the townhouse, Steven greeted Maggie with a hug that collapsed her torso, making her head and arms expand comically.  Maggie giggled as she popped back to normal when he let go.  “I was fine, sweetie.  Honest!  No harm done.”

“Did you learn anything from Bernice’s professor?”

That led into a big discussion of what they’d learned, and Maggie’s change of majors.  She had Bernice show off the textbook that Doctor Anson had loaned her, on the training of newly-minted artifacts.  “That should help me learn to control my abilities.”

“Abilities?”

Maggie nodded.  “Likely stuff related to what I already can do, which so far is ‘turn people into a copy of me’.  You remember, you were the one that wore me first.”

Steven nodded slowly.  “Yeah.  Being a twin of you was... different.”

“Going shopping as one of the girls was fun, wasn’t it?” asked Maggie eagerly.  “You had fun, I saw you.”

“Until you got caught on the breeze and punctured, sure.”

“Oh, yeah.  Hopefully I can learn how to get heavier.  Or amp up my self-healing.  Hey, I could practice that easily enough.”  Maggie headed to the kitchen to fetch a knife, and before Steven could protest she’d stabbed it through her left hand.

Maggie sagged a little as she lost air, but recovered once the cut had healed.  Steven fussed over her, but she insisted on continuing.  She even managed to talk him into stabbing her multiple times, though he avoided her torso.

“This is quite disturbing to watch.  It’s like you’re practicing being a knife-murderer,” said Kim, who’d stayed to watch after she and Robin had returned home.

“You should get some fencing blades, so she can at least try to defend herself,” added Robin.

“I don’t want to hurt Steven!” protested Maggie, then looked over at him. “Is this...”

Steven sighed, and nodded.  “It’s... less a problem than it was.”  He poked the knife into her arm, then watched the wound close almost as quickly as he could pull the knife out.  “You’re getting better at this, so I’m also seeing the advantage of it.”

“I am, aren’t I?” asked Maggie, watching herself reinflate.  “Cool.  I wonder what else I can practice.”

“Could you zip yourself up?” asked Bernice.  “That’d save us from a repeat of today’s crisis.”

Maggie turned her back to Bernice. “Unzip me.”

Bernice obliged, getting a pout from Steven as Maggie deflated.  “Sure, you get the easy bit.”

Bernice laughed at that.  “What, getting to stab your girlfriend multiple times wasn’t cathartic at all?”

Steven blushed.  “I... okay, maybe a little.  I wish I had a proper knife for it, something that looked suitably dangerous.”

“There’s the carving knife, but that’s still pretty utilitarian.  Maybe have a look in a fancy knife shop?  I’m sure you could find something cool.”

Robin grinned.  “No need...  I have a modest collection of blades.  A couple switchblades that have seen use... though not by my hand.  Plus some decorative ones, like a Japanese tanto.  What catches your fancy?”

“I’ve never seen an actual switchblade,” mused Steven.

Robin darted off to fetch one.  While she was gone, Bernice gave Maggie’s crumpled form a little poke.  “I don’t think she’s getting the zipper bit just yet.”

“Give her some time,” said Steven.  “Maybe if we leave her like this for a while, it’ll encourage her to try harder?”

Bernice peered down at Maggie’s crumpled form.  “Can you see the zipper moving?”

Steven shook his head.  Still, they left Maggie like that for half an hour as Robin showed off parts of his knife collection and Bernice got started on dinner.

Steven zipped Maggie up so she could join them at dinner.  She ate slowly, savouring the few bites she could manage for as long as she could, so that she wouldn’t be finished before everyone else.

Once dinner was over Maggie insisted on going back to her “homework”, interpreted by her as healing up cuts and trying once again to move her zipper.  She found it especially entertaining to have the switchblade puncture her as it opened.  Both the healing and the zipper saw improvements.  By the end of the night, she’d managed to shift it small amounts.  Not enough to zip herself all the way up in any useful amount of time, she fretted.

Bernice suggested replicating the mistake from the washroom that morning.  Maggie tugged her zipper down, and as before she’d barely moved it before she crumpled.  Ten minutes later she was reinflating under her own power, to cheers and hugs all around.

“Should we can call Jem and cancel?” asked Steven.  “You won’t need to wear her to stay safe.”

“Of course she still needs Jem!” argued Bernice.  “She can still blow away in the wind.”

“She can carry a backpack!”

“Excuse me, may I speak?” asked Maggie with a soft but firm voice.  The others quieted and turned to face her.  “Thank you.  This is my choice to make.  I would like to try a day with Jem, to see how it works.  And if that doesn’t work, the snake.”

“Sh...oot.  Really?” exclaimed Steven.

“Yes!  It would give me weight, and the strength to carry more than a notepad with me.  I can’t carry a backpack, Steven.  My whole body crumples if I have even a single textbook in it.  When I wore the snake tail, that part of me was solid and strong.  I could have panniers, and carry everything on my tail.”

Steven winced and looked away.  “This sucks.”

“We’ll get through it.  I know we will.  And hey, maybe the training will pay off and I won’t need it.”

“That’d be great.  How long do you think that’ll take?” asked Steven brightly.

Bernice was the one to shake her head.  “This stuff takes time, she has to learn a whole new and entirely unfamiliar set of skills.  You’re going to have to be patient.”

Steven sighed, and hugged Maggie gently.  “We’ll manage.  I hope.”
Trunked 10
The first day back to class is always chaotic.  Even more so if one is not going in one's original shape...

We learn more about Maggie's situation, both positive and negative.

Magic Trunk
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Tina tapped on the terrarium with a black clawtip.  She’d been a seven foot tall four-breasted catgirl with clouded leopard spots for so long now that she considered it her “normal” form.  “Hey you two, we need to talk.”

The heads of two metallic snakes popped up from the tangle.  One hissed [yes?] in morse code.

“Hey Dirk, we’ve got a problem.  Took most of a year, but your contact says the cartels sent someone around to have a chat with him about the diamonds.”

[How bad?]

“Oh, they didn’t rough him up or anything.  It’s more of an ‘offer you can’t refuse’ deal.  We cease and desist, and for our silence regarding our ‘special technique’, we get paid out roughly the same amount as we’ve made over the last year.”

The two snakes conferred in rapid, hushed hisses, then turned back to face Tina.  [Do you think it’s a good deal?]

Tina nodded.  “We’re already rich enough that none of us ever need to work again.  Amy gave up her day job a few months back.”  Tina patted her custom four-cup bra fondly.  “I just stick with the weather because I still love doing it.  Plus I have a bunch of fans that would miss me.  I still get catgirl selfies from all over.”

[Okay.  Tell him we accept.]

Tina nodded.  “I’ll go tell him.  Back in a bit.”

The snakes cuddled up again.  [Bring some of the good coal] hissed one, softly.

“Of course.”

*** *** ***

Tina returned with a box from Dirk and Janice’s favourite coal boutique, and set it on the table.  The snakes were out of the terrarium in a flash, and had the ribbon off and the box nosed open in no time.  They looked at the contents, then peered up at Tina in unison.  [Only two?] hissed one.

“Well... we can’t make money off of you any more.  So there’s no reason to stay like this,” said Tina softly, looking away.  “I feel bad enough about keeping you this way when you were making absurd money at it.  And now...”

[I would like to be human again.  I’ll change back in a few weeks anyway, right?]

“Pretty soon, yeah,” agreed Tina.  “But why wait?  You two could be human tonight.  All your stuff is in your bedrooms.  Amy’s kept them both spotless, though they might have acquired a little dust in the past week.  I miss her.  We could all go to the mall together and go back to human.”

[Have you been human in the last year?]

Tina thought about that for a while.  “There was that week last summer when we went to visit Amy’s parents.  Andy’s parents, I mean.  That was a weird week.”  Her distant gaze and perked ears suggested more interest in the memory than her reluctant voice suggested.

[Let’s all be normal.  Just for the weekend,] hissed Dirk.  [Then decide.]

Tina nodded first, and patted her breasts.  “I think Amy would like that.  She hasn’t said, but...”

[Andy,] hissed Janice.  [Normal.]

“Okay.  Everyone as they were.  I’ll... I’ll bring spare clothes.  Just in case.”

Tina loaded up small suitcase with a change of clothes for each of them, and brought out the travel terrarium.  Janice refused to enter, and coiled around Tina’s arm instead.  Dirk took the other arm, and Tina chuckled.  “I finally get to wear the whole gang, do I?  Maybe we can try more of that later.”

[Later,] hissed Janice.

Tina drew more than a few eyes at the mall, something she was very familiar with given her stature, both physically and as the most popular weather-girl in the area.  She posed for several pictures with fans, her snaky bracers drawing starry-eyed expressions of wonder, and at least two girls plotting to Venn some for themselves.

Tina hoped they weren’t planning to change each other.  Or at least that they wouldn’t end up becoming diamond-making versions.

At the Venn Machines, Tina didn’t have to wait.  Two of the machines were in use, but the third was standing empty.  With a sigh, she set the machine for eight hours, and stepped into one side.  A moment later, the other three were scrambling to get clothes on while Tina, now in clothes that draped over her like a tent, blocked the entrance.  “Sorry!”

Once everyone was sorted out, and Tina had changed into clothes that fit her reduced stature, they headed to one of the nearby restaurants to have a nice meal.  Tina snuggled up against Andy, marvelling at how much bigger he was in their normal forms.  “A girl could get used to this,” she murmured.

Andy chuckled softly.  “Missed me?”

Tina shuddered.  “More than I realized.  Your voice, especially.  Talk to me.”

Andy leaned closer and whispered in her ear, making Tina squirm and blush.

Janice laughed, a rusty sound that came out half hiss.  Then she hissed, [cute].

“You can talk normally, you know,” said Dirk slowly, his own voice sounding a little unsteady from disuse.

“Oh!”  Janice hugged one arm around him.  “I had forgotten.”

Her arm stayed there until they were served, then she ate like a starving beast.

“Better than coal?” asked Andy with a grin.

Janice stopped, a forkful of salad halfway to her mouth.  She studied the thought, then carefully ate the mouthful, chewing it slowly.  Once she’d swallowed, she shook her head.  “Not exactly.  When I was a snake, coal was so... right.  Like water when you’re thirsty, but so much more so.  I’d been starving, and it was...”  She shrugged.  “But coal has little variety.  There’s so much more texture and flavour to good food.”

She said nothing else about it until her plate was clean, but clearly savoured every bite.

“Dessert?” asked Andy, smiling as if he already knew the answer.

Janice shook her head.  “Can we just go home?”

Dirk unentangled himself and stood up, then offered Janice a hand as she did the same.  She’d been unsteady on her feet since changing back, and took his hand readily.

Tina’s car required some adjusting before everyone fit.  Andy took the passenger seat, and occasionally peeked over his shoulder to watch the couple in the back seat.  His grin only grew as he saw how Janice leaned in to Dirk.

When they got home, Andy tugged Tina to the couch.  She tried to sprawl over the entire thing, but giggled when she realized how much bigger the couch had become.  Andy snuggled in beside her, and watched to see what Janice and Dirk would do.  He didn’t think they both realized they were still holding hands.

Janice made for one of the overstuffed chairs, but a subtle tug on her hand redirected her to the loveseat, and she settled beside Dirk.  At first she perched on the edge of it, but before long she was snuggled up against Dirk as cozily as Tina was to Andy.

She glared half-heartedly at Andy.  “What are you smirking at?”

“You two make a cute couple.”

That got Janice sitting upright again.  “A what?”  She moved to get up, but her hand was still tangled with Dirk’s.  She looked down at it, then over at him.  “What?”

“He’s right.”

“What?” asked Janice, even more loudly than before.  And yet... when Dirk tugged at her hand gently, she sat down once more, then let him put an arm around her.  “Oh.”

Dirk chuckled softly.  “We spent the last year in each other’s coils.  First as mother and child, then as equals.”

“That was nothing like this.  Those snakes had no sexual urges.”

Dirk waggled his eyebrows.  “And you do?”

Janice blushed brightly.  Tina cheered.  “Don’t be shy about it.  Tell him how it feels to be held in his arms.”  She wriggled around in Andy’s arms so she could face him.  “I love being held by you.  I’d forgotten, with all our games, just how nice it is to have your strong arms around me.  I feel safe, warm and especially... loved.”

Andy smiled down at her, and leaned down to kiss her fondly.  As the kiss continued and Andy’s hands slipped under Tina’s blouse, Janice’s blush deepened.

“Getting any ideas?” asked Dirk softly.

Janice turned to face him.  “I’m a bitch.  First class.  Always have been.  Why do you care?”

“Does it matter?  I care.”

“Why?  I don’t understand.”

Dirk leaned his head forward to bump his forehead gently against Janice’s.  “It’s not about the head.  What does your heart say?”

Janice looked away.  “That we don’t need two bedrooms.”

“Sure that’s your heart talking, not something lower down?” asked Dirk with his stereotypical smirk.

Janice blushed even brighter.  “Maybe.  Not used to this.”

“Cuddling in a cute guy’s arms?” asked Tina.

Janice stuck out her tongue at Tina.  “You know what I meant.”

“It’s okay to admit you’re happy.  Relax and enjoy the moment.”

“How?” asked Janice, wriggling upright, but still close to Dirk.  “How can I relax?  I’ve never had any kind of stability in my relationships.  I’ll say something mean, and Dirk will...”  She closed her eyes, groaning softly as Dirk’s fingers skriched at her shoulderblades and neck.  “What are you doing?”

“Trying to get you to relax.  Worked when you were a snake.”

Janice held herself rigidly for several seconds, but didn’t pull away.  Dirk kept skritching, working one hand up to the back of her head.

Janice let out a soft moan and slumped against him.  “Don’t stop.  Don’t ever stop.”

“I’ll need meal and bathroom breaks.”

Janice purred happily, and snuggled against him.  “If you must.”

Dirk looked over at the sappy grins he was getting from Tina and Andy, and could feel a similar expression on his own face.  “Thanks,” he mouthed softly.

Tina nodded to him, then she got up and tugged Andy with her, heading to their bedroom.

After a time Dirk’s hands tired and the skritching slowed.  Janice sighed softly, then sat up.  “Done?”

“Hands are cramping up, sorry.”

Janice looked down at her lap.  Her leg was pressed against Dirk’s, and felt comfortable there.  She traced a finger along the seam.  “This should feel weird.  Letting you so close.”

“We’ve been close for months.  As snakes, but still.”

“I gave birth to you.  Isn’t that weird?  Until we changed back, I saw you as more my child than as a lover.”

Dirk nodded.  “Still adjusting?”

“Little.”  Janice yawned hugely.  “Can we sleep on this?”

“Sure.  In whose bed.”

Janice rolled her eyes.  “Each in our own.”

Dirk got up, and offered Janice a hand up.  She hesitated a moment before accepting.  “I’m not weak.”

“Didn’t think you were.”

“Good.”  Janice looked around.  “Um... which way to my bedroom?”

Dirk chuckled, and showed her the way.  They were still holding hands outside Janice’s door.  “Goodnight kiss?” asked Dirk with a smile.

Janice leaned in and offered her lips.  The kiss started relatively chaste, and stayed that way for about three heartbeats.  Then their tongues found each other, and hands roamed over bodies made new by a year’s unfamiliarity.  Those hands were soon under clothing, and said clothing was quickly discarded as they stumbled their way to Janice’s bed.

*** *** ***

In the morning, Tina was the first up.  She was making coffee when a very disheveled looking Janice appeared.

“Had a good night?” asked Tina, offering Janice a mug.

Janice grinned at her gratefully.  “Being human is the best.”  She took a sip of coffee and gasped.  “How could I have forgotten this?”

Tina laughed.  “It’s too easy to get caught up in being something else.  Andy loved being my bra, but the best part was his eagerness to make up for lost time.”  She bit her lip, glancing up toward the bedrooms.  “I want to do that again.”

Janice smirked.  “Sex?”

“That too.  But I meant going back to normal.  After so long away, it’s like... everything is new and right and perfect.”

“Perfect?” asked Janice archly.  “Hardly.  You’ve barely got any tits.  Can’t be a weather-girl looking like that.”

Tina stuck out her tongue.  “Not everything is about boobs.  And they feel just as nice as my usual monsters.”

“What does Andy think about that?”

“What does Andy think about what?” asked the man in question as he padded into the kitchen.  Tina held out a mug which he accepted gratefully.  Once he’d settled on one of the stools by the counter, he looked to Tina.  “I heard something about boobs.  Was she impugning yours?”

Tina shrugged.  “Do you like them more when they’re bigger?  Honest question, I won’t be offended if you say yes.”

Andy chuckled softly.  “Still sounds like a trap.  But I trust you.  So, yes.  Up to a point, bigger is better.”

“Even when you’re the bra?” asked Janice, curiously.

“Especially when.  Want to try?”

Janice shook her head.  “Going to try this being human thing for a while.  I think it could catch on.”

Dirk strolled up behind Janice and nuzzled at her neck then kissed her on the lips.  “Beats being snakes.”

Tina and Andy both squealed like girls at the obvious affection between the two.  “It worked?”

Janice stuck her tongue out at both of them.  “I swear, if you did this on purpose I’m going to turn both of you into my lingerie for a month.”

Andy shot a sly look at Tina.  “I’m game if you are.”

“Tempting,” mused Tina with a matching smile.  “But I have to work on Monday.  Unless you want to fill in for a week?”

“What?” gasped Janice.  “Are you two even remotely serious?”

“Yes,” they chorused.

Janice grinned.  “I accept.”
Trust Machines - A Gift of Coal 2
For those who wanted more Tina, Amy/Andy, Janice and Dirk...  Today seemed a good day for this sort of story.

Previous: A Gift of Coal
Next: A Gift of Silence
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deviantID

dkfenger
Shifty
Canada
Operating System: Agnostic
Shell of choice: bash
Interests
I seem to have hit a pageview milestone without realizing it.  An eagle-eyed watcher pointed it out to me, and suggested that I write a fan-driven story to memorialize this milestone.

So have at it in the comments.  What do you most want to see in a story from me?  Pick one thing (theme, transformation, whatever strikes your fancy) per commenter.  I'll draw a bunch at random, and incorporate all of them into a single story...

EDIT: Story's done: Milestone - Yana's Gift

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:iconsenorincognito69:
SenorIncognito69 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018  Professional Writer
Thanks for the fave! 8D
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:iconjmd1961:
JMD1961 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2018
The Inventor thanks you for the favorites, guy.
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:icondkfenger:
dkfenger Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2018
I have no idea why those two of the lot never got favourited.  So when I was re-reading the set, that got fixed.
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:iconjmd1961:
JMD1961 Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2018
It can happen.  One thing I need to get back to doing myself is recording favorites.   
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:iconsuperdegenerate64:
superdegenerate64 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
thanks for the fave m8
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:iconposyomismo:
Posyomismo Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2018
Thanks for the watch :D
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:iconjmd1961:
JMD1961 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2018
Thanks for faving our story.  ^_^
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:icondkfenger:
dkfenger Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2018
It shouldn't be too surprising, I love those two enough to write fanfic about them. <heh>
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:iconjmd1961:
JMD1961 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2018
Yup.  Thanks for that, too.
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:iconaliencaster:
aliencaster Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
May the Llama be with you!
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