DMGC: The Department of Magical Gender Change

When magic spells are cast, some are very specific, but others are vague on the details. If a wizard changes a man into a lovely maiden, he might decide what the new woman looks like and how she's dressed. But what happens if the change is triggered by a magical object, or an ambiguously worded wish? Who determines what standard of beauty to use? Who determines what clothes she's wearing after the transformation and makes sure that it's color-coordinated? Who decides on her hair and makeup? Or imprints skills she may need for her new life?

They are...


DMGC: The Department of Magical Gender Change

(By Jenny North)

The young fairy sat expectantly across the desk from the gruff older fairy who was chewing on a reed while he read a scroll.

"Dazzleflash," the older fairy sniffed derisively.

"I go by Daz," the younger one jumped in. He hated his name. It was so...trendy.

The older fairy gnawed on the reed while he read the document. "Focused on transformations with a minor in relics. Graduated with honors. Top of your class."

"Mr. Thornbender, I--"

"Why the fellspawn are you here, rookie? You could be working at the Royal Academy with grades like these. Why the DMGC?"

Daz shrugged. "I like transformation magic, sir. Magical gender changes are often the most vaguely defined but require such a specific outcome."

Thornbender looked at the nervous young fairy skeptically. The kid was hiding something. "Ain't that the truth," he muttered. "Anyway, it looks like you were recommended to the post by..." his voice trailed off as he read the signature and gave an irritated grunt.

He tossed the scroll on the desk. "Do you know why you're here?" Thornbender said gruffly.

Daz cleared his throat. "Director Moonlock thought I might be able to help with Quality Assurance, sir."

Thornbender leaned in as he narrowed his eyes and chewed on the reed in his mouth. "Do you know why you're here?"

"The, um, incident last month," Daz stammered. His new boss raised an eyebrow, indicating he should keep going. "The, ah, subject was an adult male that was supposed to be age regressed with a full gender change, but..."

"Go on."

"But...due to a clerical error he was only given a partial gender change and retained his, ah, manhood."

Thornbender growled and sat back in his chair. "What an embarrassment that was."

"And a bit of a surprise for her new parents at bath time, I imagine," Daz offered.

Thornbender looked at him darkly and Daz shut up.

The older fairy pulled the reed out of his mouth and pointed it at Daz. "Let me be clear. I view your presence here as a personal insult. A reminder from the people upstairs that they feel that we can't be trusted to do our jobs."

Daz just looked at his new boss, wisely saying nothing.

"Now I don't know whose rose blossom you farted in to land this assignment, and I don't care," Thornbender told him. "You may have been the unicorn's ass back in school, but here you're just another rookie. And despite what you may have heard, we run a tight ship. Interspecies transforms are for lightweights--if a guy gets turned into a goat, you never hear anybody criticizing the length of his muzzle. But gender transforms? The spell says, 'man gets turned into a beautiful woman' and we're left to figure it out...hair, makeup, clothes, everything. Is a button nose considered sexy, or just cute? Should her ears be pierced? Should a redhead have freckles? And Oberon save me from the accursed question about dimples." He jabbed a finger at Daz. "You do your job, pay attention to the details, and back up your team, and we'll get along fine. If not, the only thing dazzling about you will be how fast you feel my pointy shoe up your butt."

"Yes, sir," Daz nodded. "I won't let you down."

"Yeah, we'll see about that," the older fairy muttered as he stuck the reed back in his mouth. He checked a scroll. "Right, get downstairs. Sparkledust will show you the ropes. Now get outta here," he said with an annoyed wave.

Daz excused himself and headed down to the main floor, which was a buzz of activity. He flagged down one of the fairies hurrying past and said, "I'm looking for Sparkledust?"

"Scrying chamber four," she said, pointing down the hall.

Daz made his way down the corridor. The scrying chamber was empty, but the display was still active and through it he could see a couple fairies monitoring a new case.

He stepped through the adjoining portal and was instantly transported to the living room in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. Inside there was a single human woman passed out on the couch. She was completely nude and very attractive, a buxom blonde with long legs and a shapely--if exaggerated--figure. She looked like she could be posing for a men's magazine layout. That was strangely appropriate, since on the coffee table in front of her was an issue of "Jugs" magazine that was open to a page featuring a woman who looked like her twin.

Daz spotted the two fairies on the scene--a guy and a girl--standing on the coffee table and having a disagreement about something. Daz flitted his wings and flew next to the two of them, still deep in their argument.

"I can't believe you screwed this up again," the girl said.

"I don't get what the big deal is," the guy responded.

The girl pointed at the scroll in his hand and fiddled with it to change the display. "Look, here. It clearly says, 'Hair: Honey blonde.'"

"So?"

She flitted on her gossamer wings to the edge of the couch next to where the woman was starting to wake up. "This," she said, gesturing to the woman's mane of hair, "is platinum blonde!"

"Look, I don't see--"

With that, the woman started and became fully awake. She looked down at herself and screamed girlishly, groping her body frantically in terror. She looked down at the coffee table where the little fairies were standing, but gave no indication that she could see them. Instead, she grabbed the magazine and then looked at the image of her lookalike and then down at herself in a panic. Then she frantically ran over to the mirror that was hanging over the nearby accent table.

The guy fairy continued as the girl flitted back down to the table. "I don't see what difference it makes? I mean, I don't see him complaining," he said, pointing at the woman.

The woman cried out again in anguish. "Oh, God...oh, God...what the fuck is happening to me?" she said, touching her body in stunned disbelief.

"Well, not about his hair color, anyway."

Daz jumped in, looking at the girl fairy. "Sparkledust?"

"I'm Honeydew," the girl corrected. "He's Sparkledust."

"I'm Dazzleflash...um, Daz," he introduced himself.

"New guy, huh? Nice to meet you," she said brightly. Then, turning to Sparkledust, she said threateningly, "Fix this. It's no good for him to become a clone of a chick in a magazine if you keep mucking up the details." She flew off back through the portal.

Daz waited an awkward moment. "So...Sparkledust?" he asked inquisitively.

"What can I say? Mom and Dad really wanted a girl," he said with a shrug. "Call me Dusty," he said, shaking Daz's hand.

"That's kind of ironic your parents naming you that, considering what you do for a living," Daz said.

"Wow, that's never been pointed out to be before," Dusty sarcastically replied. He tapped away at the scroll and changed the display. The transformed guy's hair discreetly began to shift to a honey blonde color. He had broken down sobbing and wasn't likely to notice the change.

"Sorry," Dusty apologized. "It's just work stress, y'know? Did you need something?"

Daz swallowed. "Um, Mr. Thornbender asked for you to show me around. Today's my first day."

"Titania's teats, who'd you piss off to end up down here?" Dusty said. Daz just shrugged. Dusty continued, "So what have they got you doing?"

"Quality Assurance."

Dusty froze up and stopped typing on the scroll. "Look, that whole thing about the hair color..."

Daz held up his hands. "No, no, that's not why I'm here. I just need you to show me around. I'm not on the job."

"Not yet, you mean," Dusty said. "This is about that little girl with the willy, isn't it?"

Daz nodded. "Um, that wasn't--?" he inquired, gesturing at Dusty.

"Who, me? No, thank Oberon. No, that guy got transferred out of here right quick. They've probably got him sewing saddles for songbirds by now." He clapped a hand on Daz's shoulder. "Well, you don't look like the enemy," he joked. "C'mon, let's get out of here and I'll introduce you around."

The diminutive pair then took off and fluttered through the small magical portal which closed behind them. In their wake was a very confused man trapped in the body of a busty magazine model who was left to wonder what he was going to say when his wife and kids got home in a few minutes.

~o~O~o~

"We can do a lot of the work in-house," Dusty said as they toured the facility. "Which is actually pretty impressive, considering the variety of changes we can get."

"I thought it was all gender changes?" Daz asked.

"Well, sure, but there's a huge number of options," the other explained. "It can be a full-gender transform, crossdressing curse, or a partial transform like a shemale. And the tempo can vary, too. Sometimes it's bang, *KA-GIRL*! And sometimes it takes place over hours or even weeks. Sometimes there's even a trigger to restore the victim," he said. "The DMGC handles all types."

"That's a terrible acronym," Daz opined.

"Count your blessings!" Dusty smiled. "We used to be called the 'Department of Magical Sex Swaps.' It took about half a minute for people to start calling us 'DoMaSSes.' Flitter over there still has the mug."

One of the guys at a workstation smiled and pointed at his coffee mug. It had the old logo with the slogan, 'DoMaSS solutions for DoMaSS problems.'

Dusty walked him through the area where several fairies were working on magical displays that showed various planned transformations, with a split-screen for the before and after looks.

"Is it always men getting turned into women?" Daz asked, looking at the displays.

"Usually it's male-to-female, but we've got a small team that handles the odd female-to-male that comes in. Sometimes people specialize." He pointed to a male fairy planning a man's transformation to a woman with surprisingly large breasts. "For instance, Brambleberry here has a knack for doing bimbos." He paused to look at the display. "Geez, B.B., how in Puck's name is she gonna be able to stand upright?"

"Not my problem," the other grinned. "I do love my job."

Daz looked in amazement at the curvy transformed figure. "So as long as they don't specify the specific outcome, the rest is up to us?"

Brambleberry nodded. "This guy is going to be under a bimbo curse," he said, chucking a thumb at the display. "That's all they told us. So I get to be creative."

Continuing the tour, Dusty pointed out a large room that seemed to back off onto a warehouse of different types of clothes. A significant percentage of them were in various shades of pink. "Okay, here we've got Hair, Makeup and Wardrobe."

"For a transformation?"

"Oh yeah, we're full-service. Sometimes when a target changes they keep their own clothes or are left naked, but most often they're put in some outfit suitable to their new form. A target might need a 'starter outfit' or sometimes we might have to swap out their entire wardrobe. Usually with a gender curse much of the fun comes from forcing the target into their new look. Take that bimbo transform that B.B. was working on, for instance. The new girl might have a hot body, but often it's us that has to choose her hairstyle, do her makeup that first time, or pick out the outfit she's going to wear. Wizards that turn guys into bimbos don't often specify the style of dress, or heels, or jewelry, or makeup. They think all they want is blonde hair and big tits, but if they go *POOF* and their victim showed up in a baggy set of sweats, we'd hear about it."

"What are those guys doing?" Daz asked, noting a couple of fairies who were watching various television channels on a display.

"They monitor popular culture," Dusty told him. "Some outfits are classic: cheerleader, schoolgirl, French maid. But sometimes you'll get some new iconic looks that pop up, like the Playboy Bunny in the 60s or even the Hooters Girl in the 80s. Those guys keep tabs on what's considered hot." He smiled mischievously. "Hang on a sec, I always have to tweak these guys." He called over to the two fairies watching the display. "I cannot believe they actually pay you guys to watch television for a living!"

Both fairies, clearly used to the taunt, continued watching the various broadcasts. However, they each raised one of their hands and flipped Dusty the bird.

"Fantastic," Dusty grinned.

They walked on to the next section. Daz was increasingly impressed with the scope of their operation. "So if you're full-service, how do you handle combination transformations?"

"Oh, you mean like a guy into a mermaid, stuff like that?"

Daz nodded.

"Yeah, we do have to liaise with other Departments from time to time. If it's a change to something like a nymph, sometimes Magical Creatures can handle the gender change on their own, but most times we'll coordinate with them to handle the gender flip part. Same is true for age regression...like that "man to little girl" thing that got Pucked up last month. The Timestream Morphs took care of the age, but we were on the hook for the gender swap," Dusty explained. "Of course, the toughest ones are the reality wipes."

"Reality wipes?"

"You know: 'I wish I'd been born a girl.' We've got the easy part, making the gender change happen. But the Timestream folks have to readjust everything. Then Memory Calibration gets involved so everyone remembers the person in their new gender. Those things are a huge hassle coordinating everything across Departments."

They arrived at a new section. "Ah! And here we have Behavior Modification."

"You mean like changing peoples' memories?"

"No, that's what the Department of Memory Calibration is for. B-Mod is more like implanting new skills or preferences. A guy that's turned into a bimbo might be sex-crazy and attracted to men. Or we make it so she knows how to walk in heels or do her makeup, that kind of stuff."

"Hi, Dusty," a girl fairy called over to him.

"Oberon save me," he muttered under his breath. Then, brightly, "Lily! Hey. Lily, this is Daz. Daz, Lily."

They exchanged pleasantries.

"So, do you work in this section?" Daz asked.

Lily smiled. "Oh, I've been in B-Mod for ages. Dusty and I go way back, don't we?"

"Not especially."

"You don't call me anymore," she pouted.

"That's not true," Dusty corrected her. "I've never called you."

"He's such a scamp," Lily said to Daz. She touched Dusty's arm and he squirmed away.

Daz interposed himself under the pretense of looking at the displays. "So, um, how do you handle something like a body swap? Do you coordinate with Memory Calibration to change their memories?"

"Dude, those are the best," Dusty enthused. "They're real easy. We do that all ourselves. We just transform both bodies and physically swap their locations if we have to. There's hardly any work involved, though. The body transformation planning is already done since you have both targets' new forms pre-defined. There's no hair or clothes changes, and the two personalities are usually the same as before. Easy as pie."

One of the guys sitting at one of the displays overheard the conversation and gave a loud stage cough while saying, "Manticore dung!"

Dusty looked at him in annoyance. "Although Chestnut feels differently..."

Chestnut cut in. "Sure, in a straight-up changeover, it's easy. But then you get those spells where the victim is like"--he made a vacant expression and talked in a sing-song voice--"'Ooh, look, it's like I've put on makeup or walked in high heels my whole life! I guess my body remembers how to do it!'" He shook his head derisively. "That's all because of us. 'Muscle memory,' my ass."

Lily gave him a high five.

Dusty just shook his head. Turning to Daz he said, "Well, that's the tour, but feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. Always happy to have some new blood in the DMGC!"

Daz smiled apprehensively.

~o~O~o~

Several weeks later, a sandy-haired teenager looked down at his birthday cake and forced a smile. It read, "Happy Birthday, Xavier!" He hated that name, it was so...trendy. Besides, only his parents called him that. To his friends he went by his last name, Calhoun, or Cal for short.

What friends he had, anyway.

He sighed and looked around the table. His parents and his younger sister Lori were both there, as was his best friend, Pete.

More like his only friend, he thought morosely.

It wasn't entirely his fault...his parents had moved the family here several months earlier. It was his senior year of high school and he'd been having trouble making friends. And he wasn't as outgoing as Lori, who'd seemingly managed to make new friends almost overnight.

He envied her. He envied her so much. And not just for her extroverted personality.

"I'm sorry we couldn't invite more of your friends," his mom whispered to him. He just gave her a weak smile and nodded.

"C'mon, make a wish!" Pete said brightly.

Cal leaned over and closed his eyes tightly. He only had one wish. The same wish he'd always had. "I wish I'd been born a girl," he thought to himself, blowing out the candles.

The candles and cake were unremarkable. But unbeknownst to anyone, the matches his mother used to light them were from a very special matchbook. When combined with a fervent wish on a person's birthday, the person extinguishing the flame would find the magic hidden inside.

Cal's wish was about to come true.

Just not the way he imagined.

~o~O~o~

Daz was eating lunch by himself, as had become his custom the last few weeks. It seemed like hardly anybody was talking to him anymore. He didn't intentionally set out to antagonize anyone, but as his QA reports started to come out, people started taking all of his fault-finding very personally. The vast majority of his findings were minor infractions--a bimbo transform that was off by a cup size, a crossdressing curse that allowed the victim to retain his male underwear--but the DMGC staff viewed them as overly critical and nitpicky. They already considered themselves overworked and underappreciated, and Daz's niggling critiques were getting under their collective skins.

"Look, I'm just trying to be thorough," Daz told Honeydew one day.

"Would you just lighten up?" she snapped at him. "Merciful Titania, we just transformed an entire fraternity into a sorority! We had to make new wardrobes for the lot of them--do you know how much overtime we had to pull on that job?"

"Look, I'm sympathetic, but the school logo on the cheerleader uniforms isn't using the right font. People are going to notice."

She narrowed her eyes. "Fine, we'll take care of it," she grumbled. "Oh, and when you talk to Dusty, tell him there's a difference between auburn hair and red hair!"

Daz nodded, but he and Dusty weren't really on speaking terms these days. Dusty's carefree and lax attitude meant there were several minor issues with his work. It had gotten so Dusty had taken to avoiding Daz at every turn, even outside of work.

Finishing his lunch, Daz looked over the caseload for the afternoon. He couldn't check every case that went through, so he'd mostly do random spot-checks and any high profile cases. Demonic possession by a succubus, a cursed wedding dress...pretty standard stuff. Then his eyes fixed on a reality wipe that they'd just completed. Some guy wishing he'd been born female. That took a lot of cross-department coordination to readjust the timeline, so he figured he'd take a look just to be safe.

He found an open scrying crystal and tuned it to the subject's location. "Old name, Xavier 'Cal' Calhoun," he muttered to himself, entering the portal. "New name, Calista Calhoun."

It looked like he was the only fairy there, everyone else already having done their work. It was still very early and the subject seemed to be sleeping. Scanning around the room, Daz noted that the bedroom was neat and fairly gender-neutral. That was odd for a gender reboot, but not unheard of. Sometimes it was hard to tell a girl's room from a boy's, these days. And according to the file, Cal had only been living here for several months. By now the other Departments would have completed their work as well, so Cal's family and friends should remember him only by his new identity.

The figure in the bed started stirring. Daz reflexively started, thinking he'd been detected, but chided himself mentally since he was shrouded and hidden from mortal detection. He watched with mild interest as Cal woke up, shifting in the sheets.

Cal awoke from the strangest dream. He felt bizarre, like something was wrong with his clothes. He felt the constriction of a garment around his chest, the feel of a pillow of hair underneath his head. And even though he was in bed, it felt like he might be wearing shoes or sandals.

His first thought was, "Oh, crap, am I wearing women's clothes?"

Cal relaxed and sat back, berating himself for his own carelessness. Over the last few years he'd discreetly snitched some clothes from his mother, and had even bought a cheap blonde wig from a costume store the year before. In the privacy of his bedroom he'd try on his mother's brassiere or one of her old dresses. He'd even found a pair of her old high heels that he liked to play around in. Sometimes he'd sleep in one of her old nighties, but he was careful not to get caught. If he'd fallen asleep still wearing a complete feminine outfit, that was incredibly careless of him.

He sighed despondently.

That's when he realized there was someone in the room with him.

It was a woman, he realized. He definitely heard a woman's sigh and now that he was becoming more aware he could even smell her flowery perfume. He panicked, realizing that his mother was probably in the room with him and he was completely dressed in women's clothes!

"Mom, I can explain!" Cal blurted out, sitting up quickly and hugging the covers to his chest. She'd still see his wig, but at least she wouldn't see the rest of his--

Wait.

It was still fairly dark and nobody else was in the room. And he realized that his voice had sounded strange, more breathy and musical. And the hair falling in his face was black, not the blonde of his wig. And it felt like he was sitting on a pillow, but that could be the bed covers. But none of that was what really grabbed his attention.

He was used to wearing a brassiere and sometimes he'd even slept in it, enjoying the foggy-brained sensation of waking up and feeling his arm brush up against the 'breasts' that he fashioned from rolled-up socks.

But these breasts were soft and squishy. And until this very moment, he'd never felt the touch of his arm through his breasts.

He looked down and gasped. At first with astonishment, and then with joy. He was a girl!

His hands brushed against his bosom--it felt huge but he had no frame of reference for these things--and he reached down to his crotch. Fumbling under the sheets, he felt a tight dress and reached underneath it to confirm his new female sex. It was all he could do not to cry out for joy, it was a dream come true!

Cal threw off the covers and made for the mirror and the light switch, stumbling on his shoes and nearly plowing headfirst into the wall. His new body felt like it was ungainly and awkward, moving in several directions at once, he was so excited. Flipping the switch, he saw his new body.

He wasn't a girl, after all. He was a woman. And holy cow, what a woman.

The image reflected in the glass wasn't just sexy, she was sex personified. She looked to be in her mid-20s and would have looked more at home on a porno set than in Cal's drab bedroom. Her long black "bed head" of hair framed an angelic face that was gorgeous and erotic and seductive and slutty all at the same time. Her full ruby lips gaped back at Cal, and as he shut his mouth her lips formed a provocative and inviting pout. She was wearing big dangly gold earrings and a slender gold necklace with a little pendant nestled into her truly amazing cleavage.

Cal looked down in disbelief at his big fleshy melons, squeezing them in his feminine hands with the long red nails, and feeling an erotic shiver of pleasure as he brushed against his big sensitive nipples. He'd never seen breasts this big in real life. One of the women in his old neighborhood--Mrs. Garzon--had big tits like these, and all of the kids used to refer to her as "Mrs. Gazongas." But her boobs were saggy. Cal's were beautiful, firm, and perky. And huge.

Looking down further, Cal realized that he was wearing a bright red form-fitting minidress that clung to his new curves. He had a tiny little waist that flowed out into a scandalous set of hips and went down into his long, sexy legs perched on the platform heels he was wearing. He turned around to look at his butt and gasped in amazement at how big and round it was.

His feeling of rapture at becoming a woman started to fade as he saw his reflection in the mirror. Cal wanted to be a girl--even a pretty one!--but the creature reflected back at him was nothing but raw, erotic sex. He found himself getting aroused when looking at her. everyone was going to get aroused looking at her. Looking at...him.

His lip started to tremble and his reflection turned it into a provocative come-on. He started to tear up, looking like a cover of an old romance comic where the heavily made-up girl would weep passively and girlishly at some unjust twist of fate. "It's not supposed to be like this," he sobbed, his voice sounding like a breathy, seductive whisper. He stumbled back to the bed, tearful and overwrought, and eventually passed out from sheer emotional exhaustion.

"Oh, motherless Oberon," Daz swore.

He looked up the lead agent on Cal's case. "Of course," he muttered.

* * *

Dusty rolled his eyes when he saw Daz coming. "What's the matter this time?" he asked. "Someone get hazel eyes instead of blue?" The other fairies standing nearby snickered.

Daz got close up to him and whispered, "You have to come with me right now."

Dusty smiled and made no effort to lower his voice. "Look, Dazzlepanties, some of us have actual work to--"

Daz grabbed his arm and leaned in a few inches from his face. "Does a Code 96 warrant a few minutes from your busy schedule?" he hissed.

All the blood drained from Dusty's face.

~o~O~o~

"Maybe nobody will notice?" Dusty nervously asked, looking at the unconscious Cal.

"You're joking, right?"

Dusty shifted uneasily. "Well, why not? So he'll just be the hottest girl in high school." He looked again at Cal's figure and coughed. "By far."

Exasperated, Daz took a deep breath to calm himself. "This wasn't just a gender change, remember? This one rewrote history. And I'm betting the other Departments didn't screw their parts up. His family and friends are going to be expecting a girl all right, but not Miss Sexypants here. If he wakes up and marches down to breakfast like this, it's all over."

Dusty started to hyperventilate. "Maybe we can change him to the proper form before he wakes up?" he suggested desperately.

"Dusty, this isn't a minor hair color tweak. We'd have to recode the whole transformation matrix. And even if Thornbender didn't notice us expending that much magical energy--which I guarantee he would--don't you think someone would notice us doing a female-to-female transformation in DMGC?"

Dusty looked stricken.

"Besides," Daz said, "we still have to find the other one."

"Other one?"

Daz pointed at Cal's sleeping form. "Doesn't his new body seem oddly specific to you?"

At first, Dusty didn't follow. "You're saying that I didn't make just a few little mistakes on this one," he reasoned. Then, he stopped short and buried his face in his hands. "I didn't just screw this one case up," he realized. "This was supposed to happen to some other guy. I mixed up two transformations."

* * *

They returned to the DMGC where Daz quickly busied himself at a mystic terminal, looking through other cases for a match. Dusty sat next to him, slumped over on the desk.

"Oh, I am so royally Pucked," he groaned. "What am I gonna do?"

"You can start by not drawing so much attention," Daz muttered, making a fake smile as a pair of fairies walked nearby.

"Oh, this is big. This is huge," Dusty lamented. "This is an inquiry for sure. They're gonna nail my wings right to the wall for this. "

"Would you pull yourself together? It was just a stupid mistake."

"You don't know that."

"Actually, I think I do," Daz said, reading the display. "Look at this."

He pulled up the two cases, side-by-side. There was the first, Xavier 'Cal' Calhoun, a teenage boy getting a wish fulfillment for a gender reboot. The other case was a bimbo transform caused by a cursed tiki idol. That victim was a man in his late 30s--and in the same city as Cal, Daz noted--but what really caught his attention was the name.

"Xander Calhoun?" Dusty gaped. "Two guys with almost exactly the same name, in the same city, both getting gender flipped on the same day?"

"They're not even related," Daz marveled. "That is some seriously rotten luck."

"What am I gonna do?" Dusty moaned. "This time next week they'll have me cleaning up after vermin. I don't want to handle guano!" A female fairy walking nearby heard his outburst and looked at him strangely.

"Look, we'll figure something out, okay? There has to be a way to fix this."

"How? You said it yourself, we can't expend the magic to change one of them, let alone two!"

Daz's mind raced. "What about a body swap? You said those were easy. Can we do one of those without anybody noticing?"

Dusty thought about it and shook his head. "I could probably manage it without involving most of the other sections, but I can't trigger one without proper authorization or Thornbender would be sure to notice."

Daz nodded. "So we need proper authorization," he reasoned. "And the only way to get that is..." He turned his attention back to the display.

"What are you looking for?" Dusty asked, looking at the stream of information going past. He read the screen. "Magical artifacts?"

"It's the simplest way of forcing a body swap. If we can get both of them to trigger an artifact, it'll look like just another case coming in for processing." He read the screen. "Where in the realms is the Medallion of Zulo when you really need it?" he muttered.

"What about that one?" Dusty asked, pointing at the list.

"We don't have time to train a monkey to play a harpsichord," Daz countered. "Aha! This might do the trick," he said, pausing the display. "And it's not far from where they are."

"Maybe," Dusty said, reading the entry. Then he added, "Wait, that's not going to work. This initiates a straight swap. We need behavior modification included with these two to swap what was done to them."

"Okay, so...we do it in-house," Daz said. "When the body swap gets triggered it'll go over to the TransFemation Department since it'll read as a female-to-female switch. I've got a friend over there...I'll ask her to route the case to DMGC since it involves two gender-flipped victims. That shouldn't look too suspicious."

Dusty looked at him. "Why are you helping me?" he asked.

"Look, I've made some major screw-ups myself, okay? I don't want to see you ruin your life over a stupid accident."

Dusty sniffed. "Dude, whatever you've done can't possibly compare with this. I am totally Pucked." He slumped over on the desk.

Daz sighed heavily as he seemed to make up his mind about something. "Listen," he started. "You remember a few years ago when King Oberon visited Briarwood Academy and there was that...rogue magic thing?"

Dusty raised his head. "You're kidding, right? Everybody knows about the nymphette orgy at the graduation ceremony. That was like the most epic prank ever."

Daz winced. "Yeah, that...that wasn't supposed to be a prank."

Dusty looked at Daz. "Well, how in the name of fey would you know if--" He paused, looking at Daz's pained expression. Dusty's eyes grew wide. "Motherless Oberon, that was you? You're Puck's Apprentice?!?"

Daz made a face at being referred to by the popular moniker that people gave to the anonymous perpetrator. "Keep your voice down, will you?" he hissed.

Dusty looked at him in amazement. "You turned Oberon and the whole royal court into horny wood nymphs!"

"Yeah..."

"To say nothing of the assembled guests, the students, the faculty--!"

"Yes," he winced.

"It took them weeks to clean up afterwards! I thought they'd never get rid of the--"

"OKAY! I was there! I remember!" Daz snapped.

"Dude, that was epic!" Dusty said in wonder.

"It was a mistake," Daz told him. "I was a sophomore and a research assistant for one of the professors...the youngest they'd ever had. When I heard King Oberon was visiting, I wanted to do something big. I was showing off. So, I performed the Rite of Endless Spring to make the whole parade ground explode in a colorful burst of flowers."

"What happened?"

"I miscalculated. It was a dumb mistake amplified by my already crummy judgment. The magic went rogue, and...well..." He shrugged.

"Nymphomania," Dusty said.

Daz closed his eyes and shook his head. "Pan's tears, how I hate that they called it that."

Dusty looked at him in awe. "I can't believe they never caught you."

"Oh, they did," Daz corrected him. "I thought Oberon was going to turn me into sea foam, but thankfully Titania had more of a sense of humor about it. I tried to tell them it was all a big accident, but they weren't having any of it. Thankfully, one of my professors stuck her neck out to vouch for me or I don't know what would have happened. They put me on probation, held me back a year, and agreed to keep my name out of it."

"Wow," Dusty said. "I can't believe you got to meet Oberon and Titania."

Daz stared at him, incredulous. "Seriously? That was your big takeaway from that story?"

Dusty shrugged. "Well, also how a good friend came to your rescue to help you from destroying your life after you made a really stupid mistake."

Daz blinked in surprise. "Um...right."

"You know, I do sometimes pay attention."

"Sure, when it affects you."

Dusty shrugged again. "Eh, it helps filter out the noise." He took a sidelong glance at Daz. "So, you're saying this makes us friends?" he asked.

"We always were friends, wisp-for-brains," Daz said. "That's why I'm always riding you about paying attention to the details. I know better than most people how little mistakes can have big consequences."

Dusty nodded. "And what kind of consequences do you think there are there for truly gigantic mother-Pucking mistakes like this?"

"Probably nothing good."

Dusty sighed. "So, now what are we going to do?"

Daz considered that for a moment. "We need to check back on Cal and find out what's going on with Xander," he said. "But first, you're going to have to do something you're probably not going to like."

~o~O~o~

Daz watched from a distance while Dusty was having a private--and rather animated--conversation with Lily. He hated to involve any more people in this scheme, but it couldn't be helped...Dusty was right, they needed behavioral modification done on the body swap, so they needed someone from B-Mod to help out. Dusty was initially reluctant, but he was confident in his ability to sweet talk Lily since she'd been flirting with him for months. Daz hoped he was right...if she turned them in, both their necks would be in a noose.

So far, Dusty seemed to be doing reasonably well. Daz couldn't make out what they were saying, but while she certainly seemed surprised, at least she hadn't run off yet. Maybe Dusty had a chance with her, after all.

He watched as Lily smacked Dusty upside the head. Hard.

Daz casually eased his way over.

"Of all the stupid, irresponsible, immature, wisp-brained--" she hissed. She turned to Daz. "And you! You're in on this, too?"

"We're trying to fix it," Daz explained.

"Oh, like you fixed the graduation ceremony, Mr. Puck's Apprentice?"

Daz spun on Dusty. "You told her?"

"I had to!"

Lily cut in. "I told him I didn't think you had it in you to do something this mindblowingly stupid," she said. "You're just full of surprises, aren't you?"

He tilted his head in acknowledgment. "Look, Lily, I understand if you don't want to help, but if you could keep this to yourself..."

"Oh, I'm in."

Dusty looked shocked. "Wow, really?"

She looked at him and shook her head. "You're just lucky that I happen to be a fairy with a thing for immature and irresponsible boys who refuse to grow up."

Dusty smiled back and looked to Daz. "So where to now, boss?"

"We need to check on Xander and see what's going on there, and just hope that Cal can stay out of mischief for a little while longer."

* * *

According to Xander's file he was divorced and living on his own, so that was a plus. The three of them exited the scrying portal into his master bedroom, which was where the transformation was to have taken place. Since Xander had gotten Cal's transformation by mistake, his bedroom had also changed to reflect the tastes of a particularly girly teenager. There was an abundance of pink in the room between the pale pink walls and bedspread, and there were posters on the walls for a couple popular boy bands. The dresser, desk, and vanity were all covered with girly little knick-knacks, photos of friends, and makeup. The closet was open to reveal a full wardrobe appropriate for a teenage girl, and hanging in plain view was a cheerleader uniform with pom poms on the floor.

There was no sign of Xander in the room, but it looked like it had been partially torn apart. Dresser drawers were either open or up-ended and a few stuffed animals had apparently been thrown to the side.

Dusty flew back into the room while Daz and Lily looked around. "He's not anywhere in the house," he said breathlessly. "Now what do we do?"

Daz looked around the room. "His file said he was supposed to be the victim of a bimbo transformation triggered by a sexual fetish tiki idol, right?" His arm swept around the room. "Notice anything missing?"

"No idol," Lily said.

"Right. So yesterday he buys an idol guaranteed to increase his sexual potency, and today he wakes up as a teenage girl. He freaks out, throws a hissy fit, and then leaves with the idol. So, he's likely going back wherever he got it from to try and undo the magic." His fingers tapped away at his scroll as he read the display. "Which he purchased from..." He stopped. "Oh, Titania's tears."

"What?"

"Xander bought the idol from him."

Dusty just closed his eyes in anguish and turned away, but Lily was confused. "Who, him?"

Dusty groaned. "It's a sexual fetish idol that causes bimbo transformations that was sold at some random store in the city," he said. "Who do you think?"

Daz held up the scroll, and down at the bottom Lily read the three-letter code noting the prior owner: SRU.

"Okay, let's not panic," Daz said. "With any luck, he'll stick true to form and the store has already moved on, and Xander will be wandering the mall."

"And if our luck remains the same as it has been?" Dusty asked.

Daz hesitated. "Well, then, our best customer is probably wondering why his latest victim didn't get the bimbo transformation he was supposed to, and is on the phone right now with Mr. Thornbender lodging a complaint."

"Yeah."

"Okay, I'll track down Xander, you guys go check on Cal," Daz said, transferring the case information to Lily's scroll. "You know the plan. Just remember, if you need to make any changes, use minor magic cantrips only. We don't want to set off any alarm bells. Let's just try to keep this from getting any more Pucked up than it already is."

~o~O~o~

Xander Calhoun was having a really rough day.

He was gripping the steering wheel of his car in rage and frustration in his tiny little teenage girl hands. That fucking old man had tricked him! He shifted in his seat again, having had to adjust it twice already to account for his much smaller girl's body. He caught a glimpse of himself in the rear-view mirror wearing his normal male sunglasses and scowled at how cute he looked. He looked like a little girl trying on her daddy's glasses.

"Cute." He hated that word. Everything about him was cute ever since he woke up that morning. Waking up in his cute little sleep shirt that hid his cute little body with the cute and perky little tits and his cute little butt. And his face! Ugh. He had a sweet face with big doe eyes and a precious smile with an adorable little overbite and straight sandy blonde hair that framed his face in a disarming way. Maybe in a few years this girl would grow into something more fuckable, but for right now...

Cute.

He wished he could stab "cute" in the face. Right after that damn wizard, of course.

Xander gripped the wheel even tighter. What they'd done to his bedroom was just adding insult to injury. Bad enough he should have to look like this sweet little teenybopper without all of his clothes and everything changing. After he'd had to face the indignity of putting on his first bra and panties, he managed to find a pair of low-rider jeans in amongst all of the skirts and dresses. He then matched them with a camisole top--the first top he found that wasn't pink, covered in glitter, or have a wide-eyed cartoon animal on it.

He sneered at the purse on the seat next to him, a necessary concession given how snug the jeans were. Inside was his cell phone, which inexplicably still had his old contacts in there but was now bedazzled and pink. His new girly wallet was in there, where his license now identified him as miss Calista Calhoun. Also sitting on the seat next to him was the small tiki statue he'd bought yesterday, no doubt the source of his current distress. Xander could imagine that old guy having a good laugh at his expense when he sold him the idol, promising increased sexual potency and knowing it'd turn him into Nancy fucking Drew.

As it was, he looked like he was driving daddy's car somewhere to baby-sit some snot-nosed kids, but as he arrived at his destination he realized it was even more embarrassing.

He was a teenage girl going to the mall.

Going inside, he tucked the statue into his bag and made a beeline for that stupid wizard's shop. The path took him through the food court, where a number of teenagers were hanging around. A few of the boys looked him over appreciatively and it was all Xander could do to not go over there and punch their lights out. But as he gripped his hands into tiny little fists, he realized that wasn't going to be much of a threat anymore.

He arrived at where the store had been--he remembered thinking it was odd that they'd been able to squeeze a store between Victoria's Secret and The Body Shop--only to discover those two stores immediately adjacent to each other. The magic store was gone.

Xander looked around that whole area in a panic, thinking that maybe he'd gotten the wrong location. He looked on the directory and there was no sign of the store. Then, desperate, he made his way to the information booth.

The matronly woman standing there smiled at him warmly. "What can I do for you, sweetie?"

Xander chafed under the diminutive appellation but let it pass. "There was a store here yesterday--a magic store. Upper level, by Victoria's Secret. Where is it?"

The woman shook her head. "I'm sorry, honey, there's no magic shop in this mall. I've worked here for two years and they've never had one."

"No, there has to be," Xander said, annoyed. "Is there another Victoria's Secret in the mall? I'm sure it was next to it."

"Sorry, sweetie, that's the only one. Though if you're looking for undies, you might try--"

"I'm not looking for fucking bras, you stupid bitch," he snapped. "I bought this there yesterday," he said, grabbing the tiki idol and putting it on the counter.

"Well, I never," the woman sniffed indignantly. "What a horrid thing," she said. "And you, young lady, should have more respect for your elders."

"I'm not a fu--"

"Cally?" a voice called from a few feet away, directed at Xander.

Xander was nonplussed. A few teenage girls who were walking by had spotted him and were walking straight for him. Who the hell were they? They seemed to know him. He grabbed the idol and quickly tucked it back in his purse.

"What are you doing here?" one of the girls asked.

"What's it to you?" he challenged.

"Wow, PMS much?" the girl shot back. The taunt caught Xander off guard as he considered the implications about his new plumbing. "I thought you were supposed to be at cheer practice."

Xander tried to process this new information. The wizard hadn't just turned him into a girl, he'd turned him into a specific girl, someone these other teens knew. But if that was the case, why didn't he wake up at her home? Or was this 'Cally' still out there--maybe at cheer practice--and he just looked like her? He needed more information, and with the magic store now missing these girls were his best lead. "I...needed to take care of something at the mall," he told them.

The girls all smiled knowingly. "Yeah, no shit you did," the first girl said. "We're going there, too."

"You're going to the magic store?"

"The what? No, dummy, we're shopping for dresses for prom, remember? You are going with Pete, aren't you?"

Xander made a face. He had no intention of going to prom with anybody, much less trying on dresses. "Yeah, I'll pass," he said.

The girls traded sly looks. The first one pulled out her cell phone. "Do you need a ride home?" she asked with mock innocence. "Because I can just call your mom and tell her you decided to ditch cheer practice."

Xander considered that. Until he could find a way to change back, he was a teenage girl. If that other Cally was still around and these girls called her mother, then he and his twin would almost certainly cross paths. If that happened, then the authorities were sure to get involved to untangle the mess...they'd certainly want to talk to his non-existent 'parents.' He'd never convince them that he was actually a man named Xander Calhoun, and he'd probably end up in a halfway house for orphan teenage girls or something.

He grit his teeth and forced a smile. "I guess I'm shopping for a prom dress," he grimaced.

~o~O~o~

Back in the DMGC, Lily was looking over the details of Xander's planned transformation while Dusty dialed up Cal's bedroom again.

"Ooh, this is a mess," she said. "The physical changes are bad enough, but they did some behavioral modifications, too. Not just the body language, but a highly ramped up libido and sexual talent, as well."

"'Talent?'"

She furrowed her brow. "Yeah, he may not realize it yet, but Cal's got some mad skills when it comes to pleasuring a man."

Dusty opened the portal and they stepped through while Lily kept reading. "Deathless winters," she whispered.

"Yeah, I know."

"No, you don't," she said. "He's infected! For the first twelve hours of his transformation, any man that he has sex with will also get...bimboized, or whatever you call it."

"Yeah, it's worse than you think," Dusty said. "He's not here."

"What?" she looked up in shock. Sure enough, the room was empty. The bed was still rumpled and the closet was open to reveal a wardrobe that would make a hooker blush. But Cal wasn't there. "We have to find him! If his family sees him, or--"

"Wait, I found him," Dusty said from the hallway. He was fluttering and peering in the keyhole for the shared bathroom. "He's in here."

"Thank Oberon," Lily sighed. "We need to keep him from having sex with anyone."

"Do you really think he's going to be in that big a hurry?"

She looked at the scroll. "Oh, no...he's also a virgin."

"So...his first time will be even more special?"

"He infects people by sexual contact, dummy. This transformation was calibrated to take a sexually active man in his late 30s and turn him into a horny slut that jumps into bed at the drop of a hat. But some wisp-for-brains took that programming and dumped it into the mind of a sexually repressed high school virgin. This poor kid is going to be out of control."

Dusty peered in the keyhole again and did a double take. "Um, this sexual contact thing. Does masturbation count?"

"No, I don't see why it would, why?" She saw the pained look on his face. "Oh, eww."

"Well, better that than some poor schmuck, I guess."

"We gotta get him out of here," Lily said. "Who's still home?"

He did a quick scouting run and returned. "His sister seems to be gone, but mom and dad are still downstairs."

"Go get rid of them, somehow," she told him. "I'll keep an eye on things up here."

* * *

Dusty flew downstairs and found Cal's parents in the kitchen.

"I think it's great how the girls are settling in," Cal's mother said.

"Yeah, I was worried about uprooting them, but they've been real troopers," his dad agreed.

"You need anything mailed?" his mom asked. "I need to send off that gift and the post office is only open until 2:00. I'll stop off when I hit the grocery store."

"Nah, I'm good, thanks. Oh, and I'm going to be working outside on that gutter later today, if you're looking for me."

Dusty smiled. This was going to be easy.

He flew outside to the back of the house and landed on the grass as he spotted the gutter that was starting to come loose from the house. Now he just had to--

"WOOF!" came from right next to him.

"AAAHHH!" Dusty practically jumped out of his skin. He scampered back, closely followed by a large shaggy brown dog that bounded after him, barking loudly. As Dusty tried to distance himself from the animal, he tripped and fell on the ground, helpless against the canine's assault. The dog rushed at him but suddenly stopped short, at the end of its leash, still barking loudly at him.

"Oh, knock it off," Dusty muttered, picking himself off of the grass. When the dog continued barking, he flew up and said, "Okay, 'Nana,' don't say I didn't warn you." He flew overhead and gestured with his hand, causing the sprinkler system to turn on and soak the dog, who continued to bark loudly.

After several seconds of the racket, Mr. Calhoun came out the back door to see what was going on. Getting partially soaked himself, he turned off the sprinklers before going to check on the dog. As he got close, the wet canine shook his fur vigorously, soaking his master even further.

"Aaah!" Mr. Calhoun cried out.

Dusty smiled. "And now that I've got your attention..." He made another gesture at the house, and there was a loud bang as part of the unsteady gutter came crashing down. It was still partially attached to the house, but it made quite a mess.

"Oh, for--" Mr. Calhoun muttered. "Blasted squirrels." With that, he headed off to the storage shed to get a ladder.

"One down, one to go," Dusty said.

Flying back inside, he saw Mrs. Calhoun in the kitchen reading a book. Hovering overhead, he looked at her watch and made a circular motion with his finger, moving the hands forward. He then turned to the digital clock on the oven and gestured again so that the time now read 1:40. The clock made a noisy beep, catching Mrs. Calhoun's attention.

"What the--?" She sat up in shock as she saw the time, much later than she expected. She double-checked it against her watch and grabbed the parcel and her purse and hurried out to her car. Dusty followed along with her just long enough to change the clock on the car and put the gas gauge on 'E' for good measure.

"That ought to keep you busy," he said. He flew around to the back of the house to make sure Mr. Calhoun was occupied before heading back inside.

* * *

Upstairs, Lily peeked in on Cal, who seemed to be getting out of the shower. "I hope it was a cold one," she said to herself. She heard a electronic beep come from his bedroom and noticed that Cal's cell phone was sitting out on the dresser. He'd apparently just gotten a text message. She flitted over to look at it and saw the following exchange:

- PETE, CAN U COME OVR? NEED UR HELP!!!

- SURE, OMW
- U OK?

- TELL U L8R. SNEAK UP IF U CAN!

This latest message was from Pete, and it read:

- OUTSIDE NOW. UR MOM JUST LEFT. COAST CLR?

"Oh, sweet Titania," Lily gasped. In the former timeline, Cal and Pete were best friends, but now 'Cally' and Pete were dating. Cal must have contacted him to help figure out what was going on, but Pete was going to be expecting a different girl! Lily froze, trying to think of a text she could send to call him off when Cal entered the bedroom...he must have head the phone beep, as well. Lily's eyes went wide as she saw the transformed Cal, fresh out of the shower and wearing nothing but a towel. Dripping wet with his dark hair slicked back and his erotic half-naked form barely hidden under the towel, he looked like he just stepped off the set of an X-rated movie.

Before Lily could react, Cal grabbed the phone and peeked out the curtains when he heard his dad out back. He texted back:

- I THINK SO? CMON UP
- DONT FREAK OUT!!

Cal put the phone down and fretted nervously.

Lily's mind was a blank as she raced to think of what to do.

Just then, Dusty flew back into the room. "Okay, we're clear downstairs for a while. I--"

Lily grabbed him. As she did, they heard the sound of the front door close downstairs. The two flew to the door where Cal was peeking out into the hall and all three sets of eyes watched as Pete snuck quietly up the stairs.

"Who in the seven moons is this doofus?" Dusty asked.

"It's Cal's best friend, Pete. But now he's Cally's boyfriend. He--"

"Psst," Cal whispered, ducking out of sight behind the bedroom door.

"Cally, what's going on? Are you okay?" Pete whispered, approaching quietly.

Cal stayed hidden behind the door and beckoned him inside, noting his womanly hand with the long red fingernails. Pete must have noticed it as well since he looked puzzled.

Pete stepped inside and Cal closed the door quickly behind him. As he turned, Pete's jaw dropped comically. He gaped at the dripping wet raven-haired beauty standing there in nothing but a bath towel that did almost nothing to hide her eye-popping nubile body. Her big boobs were pressed into an inviting cleavage above the towel, and her wide curving hips and ass were barely covered below. Pete must have thought that he'd walked into a teenage fantasy.

"Don't freak out!" Cal said.

"I'm not freaking out," Pete said absently, his young eyes lustily tracing down Cal's indecent figure.

"Pete, it's me."

"Oh," Pete said, staring at Cal's terrified but beautiful face. Cal's lips were pressed into an inviting pout, which seemed to distract Pete. He shook his head. "I'm sorry, who, again?"

"It's me, Cal! I made a birthday wish to be a girl, and I woke up like this!"

"But...you are a girl," Pete said, confused.

"I know! I can't believe it, either!"

"You made a wish and it came true," Pete said. He gave a sly smile and looked around the room. "Am I on camera...?"

"Dude, I swear it's true! It's me!" Cal tried desperately to think of something to prove his story. "Yesterday for lunch we had chicken tetrazzini!"

Pete turned and looked at Cal in disbelief. "Oh my God, it is you, isn't it?"

Cal blinked in astonishment. Even Lily and Dusty seemed surprised. "You believe me just based on that?" Cal asked.

Pete shrugged. "Only you could come up with something that stupid to try to convince me."

"Oh. Well...thanks. I think. 'Cause it is me, I swear," Cal said nervously.

"Well, you look good," Pete said approvingly, looking down at Cal's bosom. "Like really, really good."

Cal blushed, embarrassed by his friend's lustful stare. "Thanks," he said, crossing over to his bed. "I really like being a girl and it's nice to be pretty, but I feel like I overshot the mark. I feel so...slutty."

"What? No..." Pete objected patronizingly, sidling closer.

"It's true!" Cal said. He got up and moved to the open closet, filled with sexy and skimpy outfits. "I mean, just look at these shoes!" he exclaimed, holding up a pair of sexy stilettos. He then grabbed one of the outfits from the closet at random. "Or this!" he said, holding up a tiny little latex dress. "Can you imagine me wearing something like this?"

"Yeah," Pete whispered. "I--I mean, I bet that would look nice on you."

Cal looked down at the clothes and his demeanor started to change. "Well, I guess so," he said in a breathy whisper, biting his lip. He hesitated, and his eyes narrowed and cut over at Pete, his gaze tracking down to the young man's crotch where a very obvious erection was forming.

Dusty and Lily looked at each other nervously.

Cal turned back to the closet to hang the dress back up and the hanger caught on the edge of his towel. The towel came undone and slipped to the floor, exposing Cal's impressive rounded backside. "Oopsie," he cooed, looking coyly over his shoulder at Pete.

"Um..." Dusty said.

Cal turned around slowly and seductively, tossing his damp hair over his shoulder and giving Pete an unobstructed view of his voluptuous and pornographically proportioned female form.

"UM--!" Dusty repeated, alarmed.

An adult or more experienced man might have moved in for a kiss or begun to engage in with some foreplay with the brunette seductress in front of him. Pete, on the other hand, was frantically unbuckling his belt and fumbling with the zipper on his jeans.

Lily, acting quickly, made a sweeping gesture with her hand. The magic caused Pete's hand to jerk suddenly, catching his penis in the zipper.

"AAAAAGGGHH!!!" he screamed, falling to the floor in agony.

Lily sighed in relief.

Cal seemed surprised and concerned.

Dusty bent over and almost fainted in empathetic pain.

Dusty felt his face flush as he watched the teenager writhing on the floor. He turned to Lily in shock. "What the hell?" he demanded.

Lily rolled her eyes. "Oh, relax," she told him. "He'll be fine. I'm sure he'll be back to jerking off to pornography in a few days," she said sarcastically.

Dusty held his hands out helplessly. "But...you can't just..."

"I can. I did." She pointed at Cal. "And, still infectious, remember? If it weren't for me, he'd be a bimbo like her. If he could, he'd probably thank me," she said haughtily, looking at the teen whimpering on the floor.

Cal, for his own part, seemed concerned for his friend but still a little hopeful. "Um, are you okay?" he asked, bending over. "Maybe I could--" He started to reach out with his hand.

"Don't touch it!" Pete yelled.

"Okay, all right," Cal said, chagrined. He made a barely audible little grumble of frustration.

"We have got to get him out of here," Dusty said.

~o~O~o~

Daz was flittering through the mall looking around for Xander. He had flown all the way from Xander's house and although it was only a few miles away, he was out of breath. It had been ages since he'd flown this much. For not the first time he wished that he could have just portaled to the mall using the scrying crystal at the DMGC, but they were coded to open near locations close to the transformation sites. If he started punching in seemingly random locations around the city it would have raised questions he didn't want to answer.

The one bit of good news was that he couldn't find the Spells R Us shop in the mall either, so presumably it had moved on. He landed outside a store and looked at the people walking around. Where would he have gone?

He retrieved his scroll and swiped the display as he reviewed Xander's case. There wasn't much, but...wait. There was a conspicuous footnote about a drinking buddy and "wingman," Vincent. He'd apparently been there when Xander bought the idol from Spells R Us. That was an odd thing to note, unless...of course. The infectious nature of the curse. The wizard couldn't get Vincent with the idol, but he--ahem--"booby trapped" Xander so Vincent's transformation was all but assured.

Of course, that plan had assumed that Xander would show up on Vincent's doorstep as a randy and stacked brunette wet dream, not as a teenage girl. But maybe Xander had tried to contact him to get help? It seemed more likely than--

A delighted squeal of some nearby teenage girls interrupted Daz's thinking. He idly looked through the store window to see them trying on gowns for a formal.

And standing in the middle of them, wearing a fancy off-the-shoulder peach colored dress, was Xander.

"Well...huh," Daz said.

* * *

Xander grumbled as the girls giggled at this latest humiliation. He had tried to avoid playing along, but his sullen attitude only encouraged the girls to help him to "get in the spirit" and try on some dresses. To him, each seemed more ridiculous and frou-frou than the last, and only served to remind him further of his revolting feminine condition.

When the girls dragged him into the changing area, he at least thought he'd get to enjoy a little peep show ogling the more mature girls, but even that didn't work out. Although one or two young women he saw had nice figures, they--much like the sight of his own female body--didn't do anything for him. It wasn't just the age--the ones he saw were old enough--but to him it felt like he was looking at other guys at the gym. The notion that he might now be attracted to guys turned his stomach.

Xander wanted to ditch the girls but he was nervous about calling their bluff to call Cally's mother. So he used his time with them to pump them for more information about the girl he was supposed to be. Initially he tried asking direct questions like, "Where do I live, again?" but they just looked at him like he was crazy. So he started asking questions in a more roundabout fashion.

"I was thinking about starting to go by my full name," he suggested to one of the girls.

"What, Calista? I dunno, sounds a little formal or something."

"I was thinking it went better with my last name?"

"Hmm...'Calista Calhoun.' Yeah, I kind of like that."

From this line of questioning, he'd learned his name--which jibed with the name on his new driver's license--but hadn't yet learned where he was supposed to live. His license maddeningly still had his old male address for some reason...it was all a weird jumble. He'd also learned that he apparently just moved here several months ago and went to high school with these girls. He had a sister named Lori and--Xander shuddered at this--a boyfriend named Pete. And he was a cheerleader. Ugh.

Xander fought off a growing headache as he faced these three girls...they were so vapid and giggly. As they fussed over the latest frock they'd forced him to wear, he forced a smile. He couldn't even remember their names...it was something stupid and girly like Caitlin or Madison or something equally ridiculous. He'd mentally started referring to them as Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

"I like this one!" Flopsy said, fussing at his dress.

Cottontail looked him over and beamed girlishly. "Ooh, Cally, you are so--" Xander closed his eyes, praying she didn't use the hated word. "--cute!"

He groaned.

"What, you don't like it?"

"It's not...me," Xander said.

Mopsy nodded sympathetically. "Well, no worries, we've still got one or two more stores to check out!"

He slumped his shoulders in defeat.

"What, getting tired already?" Flopsy said. "Okay, we'll take a break and grab some lunch in the food court. I noticed some cute guys hanging around there, too!"

* * *

From his vantage point perched on one of the dress racks, Daz watched the exchange. It didn't seem like Xander was enjoying himself, but at least he wasn't getting into any major trouble. His scroll made a noise and he picked it up, seeing Lily on the display.

"How are things going with you?" she asked him.

"Good, I think. He's at the mall right now, he'll probably be here for a while. How are things with Cal?"

"Better than his friend!" Dusty cut in.

"Pete's there?" Daz said, remembering the teen from Cal's file. "How are--"

Lily cut him off. "Don't worry about it. We're good, but we need to get Cal out of here. Any idea where?"

Daz considered that. "The mall is probably as good a place as anywhere. I hate being spread out like this, and we need to get the spell components together," he said.

Lily nodded. "We're good to go on that score, though I'm not sure how we'll convince him to go to the mall."

"Hang on a sec, I've got an idea," Daz said.

He flitted down to Xander's purse which was sitting temporarily unattended in the dressing room. With a little effort due to his diminutive size, he fished out the cell phone and started typing on the keys.

Back in his bedroom, Cal was done getting dressed and was just finishing putting on his high heels when his cell phone beeped. It was a text message from a number he didn't recognize. It read:

SPELLS R US GRAND OPENING!
POTIONS, SORCERY, AND TRANSFORMATION, WE DO IT ALL!
VISIT US AT ARDENWOOD MALL

Cal read the message and showed it to Pete, who was sitting very delicately in a chair.

"You think it has something to do with what happened to you?" Pete asked.

Cal bit his lip. "I dunno. I've never heard of this place, but it's kind of a weird coincidence, don'cha think? Especially that stuff about transformation. I guess it can't hurt to check."

Lily grinned and looked at Daz's image on the scroll. "Okay, I'm impressed," she said.

"I could have thought of that," Dusty grumped.

Daz nodded. "Right, I'll see you guys shortly. Call when you get here."

Lily put away the scroll and watched as Cal retrieved his purse from the dresser and put his phone inside.

Pete slowly staggered to his feet. "I'm coming with you," he said.

Dusty and Lily shared a glance. Neither of them seemed enthused by that idea.

Lily flicked her finger in the air.

"AAAHHH!!" Pete cried out, grabbing at his tender crotch and slumping back into the chair.

"Yeah, maybe you should just rest up," Cal said, and headed out the door.

Dusty turned and stared accusingly at Lily.

"What?" she asked innocently.

"I think you're enjoying that way too much."

She shrugged and flew out the door.

Cal snuck down the stairs making sure nobody was around before heading outside. His old used car was parked just down the block. As he walked down the neighborhood street, he attracted a good deal of attention with his foxy body and tight, skimpy outfit and high heels.

Lily flew after Cal, but Dusty paused a moment when he saw Mr. Calhoun standing by the side of the house, taking a break from working on the gutter. Fortunately he hadn't spotted his transformed child emerging from the house, but he stared in awe when he saw the unfamiliar voluptuous beauty pass by on the sidewalk, grinding out a sexy, hip-swinging strut.

Dusty looked at the man, aghast. "Dude, that is your daughter!" he said reproachfully. He spotted a tree branch overhead and swung his hand down roughly. An acorn flew from the tree and smacked the man on the head.

"Ow!" he said, rubbing his head and looking where the projectile had come from. "Damn squirrels," he muttered.

* * *

Back in the mall, Daz started to put away Xander's phone when he noticed a small hairbrush in the purse. He retrieved a single strand of hair and put it in his belt pouch.

He was just about to put the phone back when he suddenly got another idea. He quickly sent another message, turned the phone off, and put it back in the purse.

~o~O~o~

Xander and the girls were just finishing lunch in the food court by the time Dusty and Lily arrived with Cal at the mall. Xander had made every effort to speed things along, despite the girls getting side tracked with gossiping and flirting with some classmates. Despite his objections, the girls wanted to check out one more dress shop in the mall, saying they had a "good feeling" they'd find something there.

As it was, they were getting waylaid by a couple of high school jocks who were chatting up the girls. "I just got a new car," one of the guys bragged to Flopsy, who was prettily interested. "It's a...red...whoa." His voice trailed off and both he and his friend were staring off into the distance. Flopsy and her friends turned to see what had captured the boys' attention.

Across the food court, an incredibly striking brunette woman had stopped to review the mall directory. She was unbelievably stacked and was wearing a tight little red dress that showed off her curvy figure. She bent over to read the lower part of the sign, which caused her big round butt to stick out provocatively, and drew further attention to her long sexy legs and outrageously high heels.

The boys were staring at her open-mouthed. Flopsy turned back to the guy and punched him in the arm. "Huh? Oh, sorry," he apologized.

"Eww, I can't believe you like that," Mopsy said.

Cottontail nodded. "I know, right? She's just a total slut. Right, Cally?"

Xander was still staring at the woman. "Huh? Oh...sure. Slut." His female body remained maddeningly unaroused by the sex goddess he was ogling, but his male mind still appreciated a comely physique when he saw one.

"C'mon, girls, let's ditch these losers and spend some quality girl time," Flopsy announced, heading back into the mall.

"Joy," Xander mumbled, following along.

Meanwhile, from two different directions, two guys were making their way over to talk to the brunette. One slipped and fell on his butt, and the other one tripped and stumbled into someone carrying a tray of food, drenching him with soda and making a terrible mess.

"This is getting monotonous," Lily complained.

"You're telling me," Dusty agreed, moving to intercept another would-be paramour.

Daz flew up to them. "How we doing?"

"Fine," Lily said. "Though I'm wondering why you wanted us to take Miss Popularity someplace with so many people while she's still contagious."

"She won't be for very much longer," Daz responded. "The change took effect after midnight so the 12 hours is almost up. And I have a plan."

"I'm all ears," Dusty said.

Daz held out his hand. "Give me the hair," he said.

Lily handed him a strand of Cal's brunette hair that she'd brought, which he quickly wove together with the lock of Xander's hair he'd lifted earlier. He looked at Lily. "Okay, you need to get back to the DMGC double quick. When we trigger the body swap you need to process it when it comes in. Xander's house is only a few miles from here."

She slumped her shoulders. "Why'd you make me come all the way here, then? I could have portaled back from Cal's house."

"I needed you to baby-sit him," Daz said simply, indicating Dusty.

"Oh, right. Good point," she nodded.

Dusty started to object, and Lily quickly leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "For luck," she explained. She then peered over at Daz, saying, "You don't need luck." With that, she flew off in a hurry.

"Uh-oh," Dusty said, seeing Cal headed into the mall. "Sexypants is on the move."

"Probably headed to the information booth," Daz observed. "I'll handle things here," he said, handing Dusty the braided hairs. "You need to get these to the artifact. I hope you're fast."

"Heck, yeah! I was the anchorman on the varsity relay flying team!" he said proudly, flying off in a blink.

Daz caught up with Cal, who was getting a lot of admiring looks but fortunately not as many amorous admirers...for the moment. He knew he needed to buy the others more time before he sprung his last little trick, which he hoped should be falling into place shortly.

"That's so strange," the woman at the information desk told Cal. "You're the second person today to mention that magic store, but I don't think we have that here."

"Are you sure?" Cal asked desperately. "It seemed so specific. I think it's important that I find it."

The woman gave a little shrug. "The other girl said she thought it was by Victoria's Secret, but she didn't find it there. Maybe it's somewhere else in the mall? I'm sorry, I really don't know."

"Thanks," Cal nodded solemnly. He looked around the mall helplessly. But he'd come all this way it seemed foolish not to at least have a look around.

Daz breathed a sigh of relief as Cal started searching through the mall. Hopefully that would buy them the time they needed.

~o~O~o~

Lily arrived back at the DMGC, out of breath from her flight. Now she just had to make it to her workstation and--

"Miss Lilyblossom!" an officious voice called out.

She winced and turned to face her boss. "Mister Thornbender, sir," she smiled.

"Mister Chestnut and I have been looking all over for you!" he said.

Lily's eyes cut over at her B-Mod co-worker, who shrugged at her wide-eyed.

"I was helping Daz--I mean, Dazzleflash--with a case he was checking up on. He, um, wasn't clear how B-Mods were done on...magical possession cases."

"And did you?" Thornbender asked archly.

"Sir?"

"Did you help him?"

"Oh! Yes, sir, of course. No problems at all, right as rain." She smiled nervously, acutely aware of how fast she was talking.

"Good," he responded. "Because Mister Chestnut is having some trouble with one of his cases. I'd like your thoughts on the matter."

"Certainly, sir. Just as soon as I--"

"Now, Miss Lilyblossom."

Lily plastered a smile on her face. "Of course. No time like the present."

* * *

Dusty flew at top speed away from the mall, heading directly for his destination. The Brazier of Janus was a lesser-known artifact, but if you burned the braided hairs of two people in its flames, it would trigger a body swap. He just hoped it was where it was supposed to be.

It was a windy day and he found himself buffeted by headwinds, but he was moving with a purpose. But as he swooped low through some trees to get some cover, a strong gust of wind caught him by surprise and slammed him into the trunk of a tree.

"AAAHHH!" he cried out as he hit the tree, crashing into it wing-first. He fell down through the leaves and finally managed to grab on to a wide branch. He winced in pain as he tried to flutter his wing. It was broken.

"Motherless Oberon," he swore.

There was a noise on the branch and Dusty looked up to see a hawk standing on the branch with him. His heart raced. If it had been a smaller bird he might have been able to fight it off, but to a predator this size he probably looked like a tempting morsel. The hawk tilted its head slightly at Dusty and started to make a move.

* * *

Daz checked the time. Dusty should be nearly to the Brazier by now and Lily should certainly be back at the DMGC. Cal had nearly walked the mall and the last piece of the puzzle should be ready by now. He needed to nudge things along. He looked at Cal and concentrated carefully. This bit of minor magic was rather specific and could be a little tricky.

Cal paused despondently. He'd looked almost everywhere but there was no sign of this Spells R Us store. Maybe it was just a coincidence, after all. He paused to look in the window of the shop he was standing in front of. It was a dress store and inside he could see various teenage girls laughing and trying on dresses. He sighed as he spied his reflection in the glass, his own oversexed womanly form a sharp contrast to the girls' more honest and natural beauty. He--

"Ooh," he whispered, feeling a sudden twinge. He was still unfamiliar with his new equipment, but it felt like he had to go to the bathroom. He checked a nearby directory and headed for the restrooms.

~o~O~o~

"...and that's how you recode a transformee's preferences and behaviors without causing identity death," Lily explained, using Chestnut's display.

"Very ingenious," Thornbender said.

"Thank you, sir," she said, rising and giving Chestnut back his seat.

Thornbender stood there silently.

Lily cleared her throat nervously. "So...if there's nothing else...?"

"Oh, yes, yes," Thornbender said. "Go on, return to your duties."

Lily smiled and nodded but before she took two steps he cut in, "You know, there was one other thing."

"Sir?" she asked, her eyes cutting over to the clock on the wall.

"You haven't seen Mister Sparkledust, have you?"

"Dusty?" she asked. She shook her head slowly. "No...can't say that I have. Maybe he's grabbing a bite to eat?"

Thornbender gave a small smile. "Right, that must be it," he decided. "Well, I'll leave you to it, then."

She sighed in relief and jumped over to her console and began fiddling with the display.

Chestnut leaned over, "Where in the realms have you--"

"Shut it!" she snapped.

* * *

"Okay, let's not do anything I'll regret," Dusty said, edging back away from the advancing hawk. He backed up all the way to the trunk of the tree and looked around desperately. The next branch down was too far to jump and with his broken wing he wouldn't make it far. Even with two good wings he'd have trouble eluding this predator.

He pressed his back against the tree and squeezed his eyes shut, bracing himself for the impending attack. "Ooh, I'm gonna give you such indigestion," he swore.

But the attack never came.

He opened his eyes and the hawk was standing right in front of him. Its head was bowed down and it had one wing outstretched, inviting Dusty onto its back.

"Pan's tears, you gave me a fright," he said, climbing onto the hawk's back.

As they took flight, Dusty directed the hawk. "Dude, you're a life saver. What's your name, big fella?"

The hawk let out a piercing cry.

"Ouch, really?" Dusty said sympathetically.

The hawk gave a series of disconcerted chirps.

"No, no, believe me, I'm hip," Dusty said. "My parents named me Sparkledust."

The hawk made an empathetic chirping noise.

Dusty nodded in commiseration. "Yeah, no kidding. Parents, right?" He looked down and spotted his destination. "It's down there, on that building."

The hawk landed and Dusty dismounted, waving thanks as the bird took flight. He found himself on the roof of a small building, and from where he was he could see the Brazier of Janus. It was an ornate hanging metal bowl suspended from chains that were attached to a thin metal bracket that jutted out from the building. Further down the building there was a large sign that read, "Willy's Original Brick Oven Pizza."

"Mortals," he muttered, shaking his head.

The good news was that it was already lit and had a good fire going. The bad news was that with a busted wing, he'd have to climb down to get to it.

"I love my job," he said grimly, climbing carefully over the edge down to the thin metal bracket.

* * *

Daz watched as Cal emerged from the ladies' room looking much relieved. During Cal's stroll through the mall he'd had to discreetly fend off a number of potentially amorous advances and judging by how long Cal had taken in the bathroom his own level of sexual frustration had been building to a fever pitch. Cal looked flushed and it had nothing to do with the exertion of walking around.

Daz checked the time. It was going to be close. Cal was only going to be infectious for a little bit longer and he'd hoped that he'd timed this right.

Cal paused in the hallway outside the bathrooms. He was ready to concede defeat and give up looking for the magic store when he felt something brush his hair, like a breeze or something. He touched his hair gently, brushing it back into place and primping in a fetching way.

"Well, hi there," a male voice came from right next to him. Cal turned and saw a handsome man in his mid-30s with dark hair slicked back into a ponytail. He was wearing dark slacks and an expensive tight-fitting shirt that showed off his toned body. "My name's Vincent."

"Yes," Daz said. The old man from Spells R Us had obviously hoped that Xander would infect his lothario friend, so Daz had set up this encounter to tie up this one last loose end. After he'd used Xander's phone to text Cal with the SRU teaser, he texted Vincent to let him know that a hot-bodied brunette slut was looking to hook up in the restrooms at the mall, and included a picture of Cal to seal the deal.

Looking at how Cal was breathing heavily and eyeing the man, it looked like Vincent's fate was sealed. Daz didn't feel too sorry for the guy. After all, if Vincent had just ignored the text and stayed home, he could have avoided his fate. Daz did feel bad for how he was using Cal, but if the timing was right everything might still work out. He just needed to avoid any more--

Pete?

Daz blinked. He recognized the young man from Cal's file. What was he doing here? Lily had mentioned that he'd been at Cal's house, and... "Oh, Titania's tears," he muttered. Pete must have followed Cal here. Couldn't they catch a break on this stupid caper?

Pete was coming their way, but it looked like Cal and Vincent were about to move their session into one of the restrooms. Acting quickly, Daz gestured and Pete spun around, having felt something tap him from behind. He looked around in puzzlement, but by the time he turned back, the passionate couple had moved back down the corridor out of sight.

Daz sighed in relief. "I'm going to need a vacation after this."

~o~O~o~

Dusty descended carefully down the wall to the metal bracket a few feet below, and slowly started edging his way down the length of the narrow metal rail. It was still windy and a sudden gust nearly knocked him off balance. Righting himself, he said, "I could really do without that."

Reaching the end of the bracket he looked down and saw the Brazier of Janus just below him. He could already start to feel the heat from the flames. Looking at Cal and Xander's two braided hairs in his hand, he knew that the wind would just carry them away if he tried to just drop them in from where he was. He'd have to get closer. A lot closer.

"I swear to Oberon, if Daz read it wrong and it turns out I was supposed to find the Brassiere of Janice, I'm going to Pucking murder him," Dusty muttered.

He knelt down and pulled out his scroll and called up Lily and Daz. "Okay, I'm here. We ready to go?"

"No, wait!" Lily told him. "I need another 90 seconds, here."

Dusty edged towards one of the chains, getting himself in position above the Brazier. "Just 'cause you're cute doesn't mean you get to be bossy," he told her.

"Ha! I knew you thought I was cute!"

"Knock it off, you two," Daz cut in. "And I'm on about the same schedule as Lily." He watched from above the stall in the otherwise empty men's room as Cal and Vincent were getting hot and heavy. They were kissing passionately and with one hand Vincent was pulling down his underwear as he felt up Cal's breasts with the other.

Across the mall, Pete paused as he thought he spotted a familiar face. Xander and the girls were in a dress store across the way, and they were gushing over his latest dress. "Ooh, it needs a tiara!" Flopsy said.

Dusty started to lower himself down one of the chains, the heat now becoming intense as the flames licked closer. "Guys, seriously, any time now!"

Lily made a final adjustment. "Ready!"

Daz held his breath as he watched Cal lean back. Vincent held Cal's arms as he started to line his manhood up for penetration. "Now! NOW!!" Daz yelled.

Dusty slid further down the chain, the heat coming at him in waves. He threw the braided hairs into the fire and watched as they singed into ash. But the heat on the chain was too intense and he burned his hand. He lost his grip and fell.

~o~O~o~

Xander felt like he was falling and gasped in shock. One moment he was trying on a stupid prom dress, and the next he was experiencing total sensory overload. His eyes were closed but he could feel that he was still in a woman's body, and every fiber of his being cried out with sexual stimulation. His skin was tingling and sweaty, his lips were wet, his breasts were heaving and craving a man's touch. The smell of perfume in the air mixed with the sweaty scent of a man was driving him insane with desire. Ooh, and his crotch! It felt like it was--

"AAAH!" he cried out as he felt a man's hard shaft penetrate his nethers. He squeezed his eyes tighter and gripped onto the man, not wanting the pleasure to stop. He felt his breasts press up against his partner's hard chest and whimpered in pleasure as the man continued pounding away at his vagina. "Oh, God," he whispered. At this point he didn't care if he was a man, woman, or a flying squirrel as long as the pleasure kept coming.

Xander licked his lips and suddenly wanted to kiss his partner. Anything to enhance the sensations! He opened his eyes and through the fog of rapture he experienced...recognition?

"Vincent?" he asked.

"Yeah, that's it, say my name!" Vincent replied, continuing his assault on Xander's womanhood.

"Vincent!" he repeated insistently, trying to get the man's attention. Oh, God, the pleasure, why was it so hard to think?

"Say my name!"

"VINCENT!!!" he screamed in his friend's face, genuinely afraid.

"OOOOHHHH!" Xander cried out as the orgasm overtook him. At the same time, Vincent also cried out as he came, gripping Xander tightly and squeezing for dear life as he experienced his single greatest orgasm as a man.

It would also be his final orgasm as a man.

Xander started to come back to his senses and frantically tried to shove his friend away in disgust. He pushed up against the much larger man and almost retched as he felt Vincent's cock slip out of him. As he pushed harder, his hands suddenly encountered something...soft? Vincent's warm, soft breasts filled out and quickly overflowed Xander's hands. Xander jerked his hands away, but the huge breasts were practically in his face. He stared in shock at his friend's luscious new female form--the slutty face, the long blonde hair, the wildly-proportioned body--even as Vincent started to regain his own senses and look down at his new body.

The pair of piercing, feminine screams echoed resoundingly in the men's room.

Daz winced at the shrill noise and smiled in relief. He watched as Vincent stumbled back and gaped in horror at his new bimbo body with the long blonde hair, big round butt, and ridiculous breasts.

Daz shook his head, recognizing the handiwork. "Honestly, Brambleberry, you never do anything small, do you?"

~o~O~o~

In another part of the mall, Cal felt like he was floating, and then gasped in shock. One moment he was making out with some guy, and the next...he was in heaven. There was just no other word for it. He was standing looking at his reflection but even after all that had happened, he couldn't believe it was really him. He was a teenage girl just like he'd always dreamed of, and wearing the most beautiful dress he'd ever seen. It wasn't the biggest or the fanciest of gowns, but it was...perfect. It was lovely and suited the new Cal just perfectly. Looking at his reflection, the dress enhanced his teenage femininity just enough that you could see a glimpse of the woman that the girl would someday become.

Cal's breath caught in his throat as he choked out a sob of joy.

"Told you she'd like it," a girl's voice came.

Cal looked back in the mirror and saw three girls standing behind him, all smiling. He spun around to face them. Were these girls his friends? Two of them were also apparently trying on dresses, and were looking at Cal with looks of bemused support.

He threw his arms around the nearest one. "Thank you," he cried.

The girl laughed and gave him a little hug back. "Don't worry about it. But I think you still need to buy it."

"Cally?"

Cal looked up at the name, recognizing the voice. "Pete?" He ran over to his friend and stopped short, not sure if he'd welcome a hug.

Pete looked his friend over. "Wow, you look...amazing," he said. He took Cal's hands in his own and pulled him close. Pete made a strange little face and whispered, "Are you...you?"

Laughing and choking back tears, Cal said, "I think I'm more me than I've ever been!"

The assembled girls in the store watched as the young couple fell into a perfect, breathtaking kiss.

One girl leaned over to her friend and said, "That is what I want my prom to be like."

~o~O~o~

Later, back at the DMGC, Daz and Lily were in the quiet scrying room sitting in rapt attention.

"So you were falling to your death?" Lily said. "What happened?"

"That hawk swooped in and caught me in mid air!" Dusty declared.

Daz and Lily both groaned and leaned back, looking at each other in disbelief.

Daz looked at him skeptically. "A giant bird of prey swoops in from out of nowhere at the last minute and plucked you from certain death."

"My hand to Oberon, that's what happened!" Dusty exclaimed.

Lily shook her head. "The next time he tells it, it'll probably be an eagle."

"It was a hawk, and it happened," Dusty said firmly.

"What happened, Mister Sparkledust?"

The three fairies stood up quickly as Thornbender entered the chamber.

"N-nothing, sir," Dusty stammered.

"Right," he said, chewing on the reed in his mouth. Looking them over he added, "Well, you seem mighty pleased with yourselves. Busy day?"

Daz shook his head. "Nothing to report, sir."

"Ditto," Dusty chimed in.

"Kinda boring, really," Lily offered.

Thornbender nodded. "Good. That's good." He wandered over to the scrying crystal and started idly fiddling with it. "Mister Dazzleflash," he said, taking the reed out of his mouth and gesturing at Daz with it. "How's that Quality Assurance work going? Satisfied customers, just desserts, happy endings, all that rot?"

Daz coughed. "As you say, sir."

"Hmm." He punched in a final command and the scrying crystal came to life as he stuck the reed back in his mouth. "I do love me a good happy ending."

Cal's house was on the screen.

The trio said nothing, their eyes wide and darting over at each other.

"Just look at this pretty young miss," Thornbender said, watching as a delighted Cally chatted with one of her friends and carried a garment bag with her new dress into the house. "Masterful wish, brilliantly executed," he observed. The crystal's view followed Cally as she ran gleefully inside.

"But," Thornbender said, "what's that I always say? Pay attention to the details!" he said, looking at Daz. "You lose focus," he paused, looking at Dusty, "that's when things go wrong."

Daz frowned, watching on the screen as Cally ran up the stairs.

"The bedroom," he whispered. They'd forgotten to swap the bedrooms! The two girls were about to walk into the room with the bimbo wardrobe! "Mister Thornbender!" he exclaimed, "I think--!"

It was too late. Leading her friend, Cally breezed happily into her bedroom carrying her dress while Thornbender watched. She paused at the threshold in shock as her eyes took in her new bedroom...the pink walls and bedspread, the girly posters on the walls, even the cheerleader's uniform hanging in the corner.

Daz looked at Thornbender. "You...?"

"Pay attention to the details, rookie," Thornbender repeated, chewing on the reed. "Still," he said, "not a bad effort."

"So...you're not going to kill us?" Lily wondered.

"Huh." Thornbender considered that. "Well, lessee. You spotted a problem with maybe disastrous consequences to the entire Department. Then you showed initiative in fixing the problem at your level. And you demonstrated loyalty," he said, looking at Lily, "ingenuity," he said, looking at Daz, "and even self-sacrifice," he finished, looking at Dusty. "Aside from your little faux pas here at the end, your biggest mistake was not coming to me with this right away. But, I think we can overlook that," he said. "JUST. THIS. ONCE."

He regarded the trio. "We clear?"

"Yessir," they replied.

"Whew," Dusty sighed. "For a minute there I thought we were in trouble."

"They aren't," Thornbender said ominously.

"Huh?"

"Attention to detail, Mister Sparkledust. Think maybe that could have prevented this mess in the first place?"

"Um..."

"Yeah, don't you worry, I've got just the assignment for you. Miss Honeydew tells me that your skill at getting hair colors correct in your transformations is--what's the word she used?--'atrocious.' But I think six months assisting her in Hair, Makeup and Wardrobe will help teach you the difference between platinum blonde and honey blonde, yeah? And maybe remind you how much the details matter?"

Dusty cleared his throat. "Yes, sir. That seems...more than fair."

Thornbender nodded approvingly. "Well, then, I think my work here is done," he told them. "And I believe you three may have some celebrating to do," he said with the tiniest of smirks. "After you finish your regular duties, of course." With that, he left.

The three of them collapsed onto the floor with relief, still riding the high from their adventure. They laughed and recounted stories with each other, still sitting in the glow of the scrying crystal that pictured the delighted Cally rejoicing in her new life.

~o~O~o~

Standing in the scrying chamber, another figure stood watching the celebrating trio, but he was masked to their senses and walked unseen. He had a lean physique and a puckish demeanor and although he didn't look it, was far older than they. He regarded them all shrewdly, but his attention in particular was fixed on Daz.

"Well, you did pretty well with that one," he said aloud, knowing they couldn't hear him.

He walked over to Daz and bent down in front of the laughing young fairy and broke into a mischievous little smile. "Hmm. 'Puck's Apprentice,' eh?" he said approvingly. "I'll be keeping my eye on you."

THE END



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