You Could Go Home Again, part 16 of 16 (end)

“Come in... did it fall through, what you had planned with your friend who was coming back early...?”


“You’re the friend who was coming back early,” she said, putting her arms around me. “I love my family, but I’ve had enough of their chaperoning to last me a while.”

You Could Go Home Again

part 16 of 16

by Trismegistus Shandy

This story is in my "Valentine Divergence" setting, like my earlier stories "Butterflies are the Gentlest", A House Divided, and "Nora and the Nomads". I've tried to write it as a stand-alone, but if you find it confusing, reading those earlier stories first, or at least "Butterflies are the Gentlest", might help.

Thanks to Unicornzvi, epain, and Scott Jamison for their comments on the first draft.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. So are my last several stories posted here, although I forgot to put the CC license notice in some of them.

Black Friday, several of us went shopping including Katie and me. She asked me what I thought of some of the things she tried on, and I told her. I bought a pair of pants and a couple more shirts, and a fair number of Christmas presents.

We ate lunch at the mall. When we got back to the house, Katie’s dad and Gus had supper ready for us. We played a couple of party games after supper, things suitable for a large number of players, and simple enough that Usagi could join in although they were over Jenny’s head. After Jenny and Usagi were sent to bed, the rest of us watched another movie: a big-budget film from a Hollywood studio, an alternate history where the the Divergence happened in the middle of the Civil War, and soldiers on both sides at Gettysburg become members of the same hermaphroditic neospecies.

Saturday, Katie said she wanted to get back to campus. “One of my friends is coming back from Thanksgiving break early, and we’ve got plans,” she told her parents. She hadn’t mentioned those plans to me yet, but I didn’t say anything. We hadn’t had much time to talk in private and maybe it was something that had come up just recently that she didn’t want her parents or siblings to overhear.

Katie’s dad gave us a ride back just after lunch; they dropped me off at my dorm, then Katie and I kissed goodbye and she got back in the car to go to her dorm.

I had unpacked and started watching the latest episode of “Shifting Alliances” when there was a knock at my door. I opened it and saw Katie.

“Oh,” I said. “Come in... did it fall through, what you had planned with your friend who was coming back early...?”

“You’re the friend who was coming back early,” she said, putting her arms around me. “I love my family, but I’ve had enough of their chaperoning to last me a while.” We kissed, and sat down next to each other on my bed.

“So what is this mysterious plan?” I asked.

“That was stage one, and this is stage two,” she said, taking my hand and putting it on her thigh. “Stage three is up to you. I’m ready to go all the way if you are.”

“I — um — maybe? But, I, uh, I’ve been meaning to buy some condoms but I haven’t got around to it —”

“It’s okay, I’ve got plenty left over from when I was male.” She fished in her purse and pulled out a package. “So what do you think?”

“Let’s see where this goes,” I said, trembling, and kissed her again.

The following Sunday, we took the bus over to Chapel Hill and met Amy and David for lunch. We talked about movies we’d seen, books we’d read, how annoying some of our professors were this semester, and North Carolina politics. Then Amy looked at me and Katie and apparently saw something that I hadn’t thought would be so obvious, especially to an Athens magnolia.

“Spill,” she said. “You two are doing it, aren’t you?”

I stared at her. “To anybody else I’d say it’s none of their business. To you, I’ll just say how did you know?”

She shrugged. “I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t have said anything. As to how, well... My high school was mostly Athens magnolias, but not all. I know what Gainesville squid look like when they’ve just had sex recently, how squid couples act when they’re doing it regularly, and... well, y’all look completely different from squid, but somehow kind of the same, too.”

“Yeah,” Katie said. “This morning... I went over to Joel’s dorm to meet him before we caught the bus over here, and he wasn’t in the lobby yet, so I went up to his room, and... one thing led to another.”

“That wasn’t the first time,” I said, “but I think that’s enough detail.”

David nodded. “I know a lot of neospecies don’t talk about sex as easily as we do... it’s kind of clinical to us most of the year, we know when we bloom we’re going to want to be pollinated worse than we ever want anything, but we don’t actually want it or even care about it when we’re not in bloom.”

“We spent the blooming last year together,” Amy said. “David came to my house and we lay out in the back yard together. It was the first time I’d gotten pollinated, and it was too wonderful for words.”

“Our parents always made us stay indoors during the blooming until we turned eighteen,” David explained. “I turned eighteen before the blooming last year, but Amy’s birthday’s in August, and the blooming’s generally in June or July.”

“I wasn’t even capable of wanting it until I was almost nineteen,” I said. “And then... I’ve only done it once as a girl and three times as a guy, but it was never worse than good, and mostly it was great.”

“That’s more than me or David,” Amy said. “Unless — we could count every bee and butterfly separately, then we’d have a pretty respectable number of notches on our bedpost, or whatever the phrase is.”

“We didn’t get any hummingbirds this year,” David said. “I’ve heard they’re kind of rough, but maybe more exciting than bees or butterflies.”

I thought of Larry and Bill’s handcuffs and whip, and managed not to flinch at the thought. “Some people like it that way,” I simply said.

There’s not a lot more to say. Katie and I stayed together though that semester and the next; during Christmas break, we talked on the phone several times, and during the following summer, she came to visit me in Hebron.

Ron moved into an off-campus apartment in St. Louis with Lindsey, and didn’t go home again for several years, until his parents unbent a little. I went to visit them a couple of times during summers and Christmas breaks in my last couple of years of college, and they came to visit me a couple of times — I’ll get to that soon.

The next fall semester after Katie and I got together, though, I started changing back into a girl. I suspected, but wasn’t sure, and was thinking about going to the clinic for blood tests. I was dreading having to tell Katie, and procrastinated; but she noticed, of course. She’d been through it before, and knew the signs.

“Yeah, you’re definitely smaller than you were before,” she said, after examining me. “If you’re like I was, you’ll probably be able to get hard for another week, maybe two.”

“Do you want to stay together until then?” I asked. “Or break it off clean, all at once?”

“We can stay together as long as you’re attracted to girls,” she said. “Even if we can’t have sex for part of that time... And, you know, we can still be friends afterward.”

“Yeah.” I was still friendly with Larry and Bill, though they’d started dating another girl last spring, one who’d never been male and would probably stay female except under the most extreme provocation. “I want to stay in touch.”

“Maybe we can be roommates next semester.”

“I’d like that.”

We were quiet for a few minutes, and then I said: “Do you maybe want to stay together as co-girlfriends? Date guys together, and tell them we’re a package deal?”

“That could work. But — hmm. I think we should vet them.”


“Ask them how many times they’ve changed sex since puberty. If it’s not at least once, we won’t go out with them again. Plus the usual other criteria, of course.”

“That’s — um. Wouldn’t that be awkward if they change too, though?”

“Yeah, but think about it. If you and I keep hanging out a lot, one of us is pretty likely to turn into a guy eventually. Or if we’re both hanging with another girl, one who’s prone to changing sex fairly often like we are, the odds are really good that one of us will change into a guy if we stick together long enough.”

“Yeah. Yeah, that would work. Let’s try that.”

So we did. We dated a couple of guys together later that semester, after I’d finished changing, but didn’t really click with either of them. We roomed together at the beginning of the following semester, but then she turned male, and had to move to another room; that didn’t matter, because we were dating, and he had a single until the following semester when they assigned him a roommate.

He stayed male and I stayed female until after he graduated. In that time we dated another girl for several months, but it didn’t last; she wanted Katie to do things to her that he didn’t feel comfortable with. We also went on one or two dates each with three or four other girls who didn’t work out; in some cases, after finding out that they’d been girls ever since puberty we decided not to go out with them longer-term, and in some cases we wanted to go out with them again but they weren’t interested.

The summer after Katie graduated, we got married. We talked with each other and our families about where to have the wedding. Aunt Ellen said we had to have it in Hebron, it was traditional to have the wedding at the bride’s home church. But nearly all of Katie’s friends and relatives, and the majority of my friends, lived in the Raleigh area. So, although Aunt Ellen grumbled, she agreed that she and Uncle Tyler could come to Raleigh for our wedding. Grandma and Grandma Kritzer came too, and Ron and Lindsey. I think Uncle Tyler was really pleased that I was marrying only one other person, though I didn’t mention that Katie and I were still open to adding a third person at some point.

We got an apartment near NC State during my senior year, which turned out to also be conveniently near Katie’s new job, at a lobbying firm whose offices were near the capitol. Not long after I graduated and got a new job — a thirty-minute bus ride away in Durham — we started dating Helena, one of my co-workers. And we were just starting to get serious about her, and talking about maybe proposing to her, when Katie started turning back into a girl.

“I think I mentioned that our department just hired a couple of new guys?” he said, as we lay in bed after noticing the first signs of his changing. “I guess one of us had to change... and it would probably be me, because most of the others have two or three wives or girlfriends, and in some cases daughters, to keep them stabilized as males.”

“And because you’re more prone to changing than the average person,” I said.

“Well. With another woman at home, you’ll probably be a guy within a few months, right?”

“Probably. It would be even more likely with three women living here, though. Meanwhile, let’s get some more use out of this while it still works,” I said, reaching for his slightly smaller but still very satisfying manhood.

We kept our next date with Helena, and after supper, Katie told her that he was changing. “Oh,” Helena said, looking disappointed. “I’m sorry... this has been a lot of fun.”

“We’ll still be friends,” I said. “And... we were planning to ask you something, and this doesn’t change that, although it may change your response.”

“Helena Owens, will you marry us?” Katie and I said in unison, as we’d practiced.

“What? But you’re — by the time we can arrange the wedding, you’ll be —”

“If you move in with us,” I said, “with three women in one household, all of them with a history of changing sex more than once... one of us will almost certainly turn male pretty soon. Probably me or you, because we haven’t changed as recently.”

“Hmm. Yeah, that’s pretty likely, isn’t it? But let’s do it this way. I’ll move in with you, and we can schedule the wedding as soon as one of us starts turning male. I’m a traditionalist.”

So we did, and it was Helena who was the groom at our second wedding. My relatives didn’t come to that one, but Ron and Lindsey did, and most of our Raleigh-area friends, and all of Helena’s extremely extended family.

We’ve got four children now; I’m Amy’s mother, Helena is Terry’s, and Katie is Melinda and Roger’s. Amy is ten, and probably going to be turning into a boy or girl within another year or two. If they’re male, that may introduce some new complications — so far we’ve never had all three of us parents female for more than a couple of months at a time, but if Amy turns male because of the pheromones from kids at school, and then I turn female (I’m the man of the house at the moment)... well, one male and three females will probably be stable for a while.

We’ll still be a family, whatever happens.



That's all; thank you for reading. Please leave a comment, even if you're reading this months or years after the serial was finished; I keep reading new comments posted on older stories. I can't improve if I don't know what parts of my stories worked or didn't work for people.

I have a Twisted novel of about 40,000 words that's finished in first draft. I'll start revising it soon, and start serializing it after I finish the second or third draft (depending on how drastic editing it seems to need and whether it needs another pass). Meanwhile, I'll probably post two or three short stories at weekly or biweekly intervals, and a stand-alone science fiction novella in several chapters. Anyone who wants to beta-read any of those stories should respond by private message to this post.

I have five unfinished novels in progress, all of which I'm working on intermittently:

  • A story where Dr. Jekyll's drug is rediscovered several decades after his death, and becomes a popular recreational drug in the 1960s/1970s.
  • A portal fantasy where the portal transforms people who pass through it, changing their sex and age. The other side of the portal is the world of my novel The Bailiff and the Mermaid, but this novel will be stand-alone, not a sequel.
  • Another story with a similar theme, only marginally TG, but with a more alien secondary world. The TG elements are marginal enough that I'd probably shop this around to mainstream publishers before posting it on BigCloset or Smashwords.
  • The third novel in the Launuru and Kazmina series (after Wine Can't be Pressed into Grapes and When Wasps Make Honey).
  • A superhero story about a character who metamorphoses every winter, waking up in the spring with a new body and powers.

Feedback on this post will exercise some influence on which ones I spend the most time and energy on. When I finish one or more of them, I'll probably post here asking for beta readers.

Four of my novels and one short fiction collection are available from Smashwords in ePub format and from Amazon in Kindle format. Smashwords pays its authors better than Amazon.

The Bailiff and the Mermaid Smashwords Amazon
Wine Can't be Pressed into Grapes Smashwords Amazon
When Wasps Make Honey Smashwords Amazon
A Notional Treason Smashwords Amazon
The Weight of Silence and Other Stories Smashwords Amazon

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