Disclaimer: This novel contains adult material including sexual themes and strong language. This work is not suitable for minors. Reader discretion is advised.
Session 09: School Daze
First period began shortly after I arrived at school, and thanks to Shiaka’s notes, I was able to find her desk and assume her identity and not look like a complete goof. The class was AP Calculus, a step above my math course, which was just regular Calculus, and today was thankfully pretty lax. We were just going over a test the teacher graded over the weekend. I took a sigh of relief as I realized that Shiaka’s prediction for this class was, indeed, correct, but that does not mean that I was all that comfortable during class. If you could not tell, I am not a very charismatic person, and needing to pose as somebody else while surrounded by people I didn’t know was discomforting, awkward, and intimidating to me.
I felt like I was doing something wrong, that I was going to be found out, and that I was missing something obvious, even as I had all the answers I needed right in front of me. Whereas I knew Maxxie’s home life pretty well, I knew very little about Shiaka’s school life or daily routine, so the best I could do was copy her more reserved and introverted mannerisms, staying quiet during class while passing through Shiaka’s test. A test she got a 94% on, surprise, surprise.
Wanting to focus on something, I decided to follow the teacher was he ran through the test, casually explaining concepts that I was not familiar with. I did my best to write notes on what Shiaka got wrong on her exam so she could review later, trying to accurately write the answer while resembling something close to Shiaka’s graceful penmanship, which was a lot better than my chicken scratch. It was while in this focused state that I was interrupted by a low pitched female voice that perked up from behind me, followed by a finger that tapped me on the shoulder.
“Shiaka, may I see your work on question 19?”
I immediately shot my head behind me and locked eyes with Vivi Gaimz. I would not say that she was a friend of mine, but we were acquaintances who worked amicably on a few projects in the past and got along well in general. She was a very reserved and responsible young woman, but also a very curt one. Speaking very plainly and directly, always getting to the point with any conversation and trying to end it as quickly as possible. She was not rude by any stretch of the imagination, but she put off an air that drove people away from her, leaving her as something of a social outcast beyond a small group of mutual friends who all seemed like very different people from the outset but were supposedly quite close. Kind of like me and my friends, I guess.
As for her appearance, she had a head of fairly long curly red hair, dull green eyes with bags beneath them, a very pale complexion, and was covered in freckles, head to toe. Her hair was not very well brushed from the morning, it almost never was, I could see a pimple or two on her face, and her dark uniform, which included a dark violet blouse, navy vest, and black pants. While this was normal for her, it always made me wish that she took more pride in her appearance, as she could be pretty cute if she tried a little bit harder, not unlike Maxxie. I understood that she did not really want to be outgoing or the center of attention, but I figured she should try a bit harder to look nice.
“Shiaka?” Vivi said back to me after I spent five full seconds staring at her.
“Hm? Oh, yes, here— you can take a look at it,” I meekly replied as I handed her Shiaka’s test.
Vivi spent the next minute looking over the problem in silence, glancing at her own test and writing in her notebook with a purple pen, rapidly making corrections and scribbling notes.
“Thanks, Shiaka. Here’s your test back,” Vivi said as she placed the assessment back on my desk.
“Oh, no problem Vivi. Anytime,” I muttered under my breath.
Following that interaction, I was instilled with a sense of slight confidence that, perhaps, I truly was overthinking this, and that the life of a student was not filled with as much nuance as I thought it could have been. After chiding myself for getting so worked up over nothing, I continued to diligently take notes, trying my best to understand what was happening and to mimic Shiaka’s handwriting, even though, realistically, nobody would question why ‘my’ handwriting was suddenly worse today. Every oddity in my behavior would likely not be perceived by others due to change blindness, especially with regards to the girl who never speaks during class due to… a lot of reasons, really.
Are you going to bring some of those up now, or…
There is a better time to bring them up later on in the day, so there is a more appropriate time to open up that can of worms. For now, I’ll move onto second period, which is a study hall for myself, Shiaka(J), and Maxxie(Z). Except on Wednesdays and Fridays, because of AP Physics.
What exactly are your schedules? …I should have asked you to explain this earlier.
Oh, it’s no problem… I think it will be easier to explain if I could get some paper and a pen-
…And you suddenly poofed that into my hands.
We’re in a pocket dimension of my control. I mean, I am the one who made the walls this lovely shade of lavender with a head nod.
Okay… so all of our schedules go something like this:
2. Study Hall
3. English Composition
4. Strength and Conditioning
6. Consumer Education
8. College Financial Accounting
9. Study Hall
2. Ceramics 1
3. Creative Writing
4. Studio Art
6. Consumer Education
7. Study Hall
8. Adventure Education
9. Study Hall
1. AP Physics
2. AP Physics (Wednesday and Friday)
3. Study Hall
4. Strength and Conditioning
6. AP Calculus
7. Consumer Education
8. Honor’s College Prep English
9. AP Microeconomics
1. AP Calculus
2. Study Hall
3. Strength and Conditioning
6. College Prep English
7. Consumer Education
8. College Financial Accounting
9. Study Hall
That is a lot of study halls… Mind if I ask why your Senior years are so lax?
We only need a certain amount of credits for graduation, and we already took most of the classes we wanted to. We tried to get into more classes, but if less than fifteen students want to get into a class, they were not greenlit. Plus, Maxxie wanted us to start working on a big project of some sort, and… didn’t … she is not a very organized young woman.
And what exactly is this project?
She wanted all four of us to make a video game together, even though half of us know little to nothing about game design. Nothing ever came of it. Not even a complete game design document.
Anyhow, after a disorganized break between classes where I was reminded of how unsettling it is to be surrounded by people who were a full head taller than you, I made my way to the IRC, quickly reached into Shiaka’s backpack to pull out her student ID, swiped in at the front desk, and once again was surprised by just how small I was at the moment. I went here on a daily basis, and everything was as big as it was when I was in freshman year, giving the familiar sights something of a nostalgic bent to them. Sights that were comprised of a well-laid-out mesh of bookshelves, wooden desks and chairs, and scattered computers, all part of a U-shaped room that overlooked a small courtyard area that houses a massive tree from back when this school was built in 1985.
As I was taking in the familiar sights, I was called over to a corner by a familiar voice, the one I had for 18 years, coming from my usual table, where I found Maxxie(J) and Shiaka(Z) already immersed in a conversation.
“Well, you can try and find some time in the bathroom— when your next study hall again?” Maxxie(J) quietly said with my voice.
“M-Maxxie, look, I really do not want the first thing I do as while in one of my friend’s bodies to be so… lewd.” Shiaka(Z) stammered, her tone and frazzled gestures looking out of place given her tall male form.
“You’re lucky nobody’s around this table, you know?” I said, jumping in on this conversation before plopping my butt and backpack down.
“Good morning Jad, how was your first period? Oh, wait, you made sure to keep your legs closed, right? I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that in my notes.” Shiaka(Z) said, sounding half sarcastic due to her inherently deep voice.
“I always cross or keep my legs pretty close together,” I told Shiaka(Z) bluntly as I gestured to show my legs crossing without even creasing the skirt.
“Yeah, he learned to act like a lady when he was twelve— Or did I not tell you that story?” Maxxie(J) mentioned, referring to the crossdressing story I brought up a while ago.
“Oh, yes, you told me. I’m still surprised you didn’t get in trouble with the school.” Shiaka(Z) replied.
“Pfft, you kidding? They were talking about a crossdressing day for a while. It was about to enter the planning stages, but then some parents caught wind of it, and got super salty about the idea of their dear little Nathaniel wearing a skirt,” Maxxie(J) loosely explained.
“It kinda sucks, but in just a couple dozen more years those old farts will be powerless and out of the public eye. Then we’ll get to run this world and become the crotchety old folks yelling at those damn dirty hip and happening pansexual genderqueer tweenagers… So did that schlong bother you while sitting, Shi-Shi?” Maxxie(J) asked, transitioning between topics with the grace and elegance of a dump truck.
“Look, this is really not the place for conversations about genitalia. Plus, we should probably use our body’s respective names and behaviors, if you catch my drift, Jad and Zoe.” I replied to Maxxie(J).
“Oh, in that case… Zoe, I just want to make sure you were… okay during this period, and didn’t have any… lower body troubles.” Maxxie(J) reworded her question, in what I have to admit was a fairly close approximation to how I would phrase the same question.
“I… I suppose that I did encounter some issues with controlling it. The boxers, size, and general position of it all when it was fully erect did prove to be a tad problematic.” Shiaka(Z) explained, imitating Zoe pretty well.
“Nice, full points except for the tad comment, ‘cos it’s a ‘tad’ redundant.” Maxxie(J) pointed out with a snarky smirk.
“I also encountered some… problems when it came to hiding it, but seeing as how desk hides your lap pretty well, nobody noticed. ‘Maxxie’ seemed to notice it and gave me a wink in response, but that was about it. The class was pretty boring otherwise, as it was a simple review of concepts we already went through. I couldn’t help but notice that ‘Maxxie’ was really focused on the material, frantically writing things down. She should have probably asked a question, but she was never the sort to interrupt class, not like you Zoe.” Maxxie(J) explained, pretty much nailing my vernacular, though I’m not surprised.
“My AP Calculus wasn’t that interesting either. We just went over a test, which I did pretty well on. I also handed my test over to Vivi Gaimz when she asked, which was the only time I really did much but sit, listen, and make some light notes.” I explained to my friends, keeping up this charade and smiling after I played my part.
“That is certainly more involved than my AP Physics course was. For whatever reason the AP students feel as if they can simply skip classes for an early holiday, and as such my class was far more vacant than usual. Even my professor felt this way, as they put a substitute in charge of this class for the next two days. All I had to preoccupy myself with during this period was a novel, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, in my backpack, as my homework had already been completed. I pondered speaking to some of my peers, but as I peered up from my book, I could not help but notice how they were all content during what was ultimately a stuffy hall.” Shiaka(Z) told the two of us, taking a deep breath and coughing after speaking.
“Eh, Zoe would be sure to mention the study hall thing sooner, but you’re doing a good job, Shi-Shi.” Maxxie(J) playfully noted.
“Not to be rude Zoe, but if I weren’t friends with you, I wouldn’t approach you when you have your head buried in a book. You can be pretty… intimidating.” I told Shiaka(Z).
“True, true, you don’t look that friendly when you are giving someone that gaze of yours. I think it may just be your default expression.” Maxxie(J) commented.
“I like to think it has to do with my more mature features. Even then, teenagers in general often perceive people to be on par with toddlers when it comes to identifying facial expression, often assuming that people are angrier than they actually are.” Shiaka(Z) stated, adjusting her glasses soon afterwards.
“But seriously, guys, how are you liking your temp bodies?” Maxxie(J) asked, taking over the conversation I took from her.
“I feel really small. I mean, not just in regards to height, my volume in general is so much… less than I’m used to, and I feel a lot daintier and weaker than I’m used to. No offense, Shiaka.” I bluntly laid out, feeling a bit bad at my lack of sugar coating.
“After being in your body for a few hours, I can certainly understand your perspective. But it’s nothing compared to jumping into Zoe’s body. I keep feeling that I will bump my head on something, slam doors, or accidentally throw things in the air. I can appreciate this in some way, I like the strength, and the height— I feel like a genuine giant in Zoe’s body. I no longer need to look up at people, I need to bend my head down to them, and I can’t begin to tell you how different that is! That said, I do dislike the bodily hair that Zoe has, and the voice. His deep masculine tones sound even deeper in my head, and it’s… unsettling to hear myself speak.” Shiaka(Z) said, sighing in irritation.
“Yeah, that’s one thing I don’t like about this side of the fence, the voice, it just doesn’t sound right to me. As a former male… Shiaka, what’s your angle on your squeaky new voice box?” Maxxie(J) asked, trying to make her voice sound higher.
“I think I always preferred female voices over male to be honest. There’s a lot of baggage you’re free to dive into to figure out why, but the long and short of it is that I actually do like using this voice. I wouldn’t really want to have it forever, I’d prefer something less… extreme, closer to your voice, Maxxie. …Wait, what do you mean by ‘former male’?” I replied, stupidly ignoring her comment until after my explanation.
“I was being a silly Billy. And as for how I feel about this bod, I’m having a good time. Sure, impersonating boils my broth a bit, but I have an adult’s patience and can stand still for forty minutes at a time— just not for days on end… Actually, do you wanna go somewhere special for Winter Break and bust the VD out? We can be entirely new people and shaz!” Maxxie(J) requested, likely already knowing our answer.
“We have briefly discussed this before. While we will likely make use of this VD over Winter Break, we should focus on the present. We will have plenty of time to find a location if that is what you desire, so please, do try to stay focused on one thing at a time.” Shiaka(Z) said while loosely holding her glasses, still not used to them, it seemed.
“Fine! …But how about we…” Maxxie(J) began, sending us into a deluge of pretty pointless conversations about what we would do with the VD.
It was a pretty one-sided conversation involving our parents, some mutual acquaintances, and even the world at large, with Maxxie(J) falling down a hole wherein she would use the VD to effectively switch bodies with everybody around the world in order to free the world of sexism and racism. You know, the normal stuff.
You said that so dryly that I could not tell if you were being sarcastic or not.
My friends and I are basically social outcasts, and there are only… seven other students in this school who I really know. So I only have a slight grasp as to what is ‘normal’.
I actually never put two and two together, but, yes, you don’t have many friends, mister Haganai.
Hehehehehe. Goodness I am easy to please with anime references. But, yes, it is true and… You look like you want this conversation to go a very specific way.
I do, I would like to hear the story of how you became friends with your crew.
Okay then. Maxie was an outcast, the new girl at school, transferred from a private elementary school for roughhousing, and was looking for a clique she could be part of. I, um, I had a few friends, I guess you could call them, but they were mostly friends because they were in my class, and they weren’t in my second grade class. Maxxie was in my class, she seemed fun when she did her class introduction, and I decided I should try and play with her. From there, we just kept growing, our friendship blossoming into… where it is today. We didn’t really have other friends at the time, and were perfectly content with just each other for three years.
Can you explain to me why somebody as charismatic as Maxxie did not amass a load of friends in grade school?
She got into fights with some mean kids and built up a bad reputation. Come third grade, we were separated, sent to different classes, and that really annoyed Maxxie, while it just left me kinda sad. Maxxie threw this massive fit where she demanded that the school put us back together, breaking things and punching people, and being sent to the school social worker at the end of each day. We were eventually reunited after the school had enough of her horse poop.
As for Zoe, he was the new kid who arrived during the fifth grade, a week after the year started. As such, he was something of an outcast, which I think he wanted. He was always very quiet, kept to himself, and took notes, which was really rare to see in fifth grade. One day during recess he decided to read in this bench area in the school playground, a really nice spot, surrounded by these really tall bushes and pretty short trees, giving it a lot of shade during the warmer months. Anyways, Maxxie felt kind of sorry for him, and tried to become friends with him. He was very reluctant, but after a week of pestering, he finally started hanging out with us, he became more friendly around us, and bam, he became part of our group.
Then there is Shiaka, who was the ‘January Girl’ of our Freshman year. After discovering this, Maxxie invited her to join us at our corner based lunch table, and she eventually came around. She was a bit resistant to talking and very clearly disliked the lunchroom environment, so we started going to this vacant shoebox of a classroom that we still eat lunch in to this day. She opened up over the course of a few weeks, and, yeah, another friend gained, amounting to a total of three. Yipee.
So, you only ever made friends with the new kids?
I never really thought about that, but I guess I did. Well, new kids are in an ample position to be swept into social groups, and what better group for social outcasts than a group of social outcasts?
Verde’s Doohickey Main Page
Session 01: Re;Birth.exe
Session 02: Osananajimi;Myself
Session 03: Maximum Flare
Session 04: The World of Girl Love
Session 05: It’s Slippery When Wet
Session 06: T-Girl Trouble
Session 07: All The Warriors
Session 08: A School-Style Swap
Session 09: School Daze
Session 10: Starred Social Links
Session 11: Finer Foreshadowing
Session 12: Dark Dreams Develop Despair
Session 13: Back 2 Best Girl
Session 14: Can’t Even Shine In A Prism
Session 15: Maxxie Mit Melancholy
Session 16: The Long Walk Home
Session 17: Obtuse Origins – Omega Overdrive
Natalie Rambles About Verde’s Doohickey