Caitlin Grey (foenix) wrote,
Caitlin Grey

Balance of Power: Chapter Four, Part Four

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You know, since pondering this story, I had long had a scene of picking a codename, and the horrors of a costume.  I'm almost to the NaNoWriMo goal...and I haven't even gotten that scene in yet.  Nor has there been any crimefighting.

        The sun rose, and the birds who had yet to escape the rapidly oncoming winter had been chirping for several hours by the time Brendan was awoken with a strange noise.  He shot up in bed, confused and scared at his strange surroundings.  It had been that way for him every morning in the hospital.  He had woken up wiht a body that did not feel as if it were his own, and it took him some time each morning to remember his predicament.
        That morning was no different, and it was only compounded by being in his new home, and dressed in unfamiliar clothes.  He looked around the room, from one side to the next, trying to remember where he was.  His first reminder was the weight of the thick mane of hair pulling against his scalp, both as it hung there, and when he saw the honey coloured strands whipping back and forth as he looked around the room.
        He blinked a few times, as the memories of the past week slowly creeped their way out of his sleep addled mind.  Brendan looked down and plucked at the rumpled pink sweater, almost not remembering putting it on the night before, but as the fog of sleep lifted, the memories of his long overdue breakdown returned.  He could feel the tears welling up once more, but he fought them down, wiping against his now dry cheeks.
        There was a wave of relief that washed over him as he remembered his breakdown.  Part of him was ashamed to have been reduced to a girl curled up on her bed and bawling her eyes out, but he knew that letting the emotion out was good for him in the long run, and he had been keeping his feelings over everything bottled up while he was in the hospital.
        Brendan's introspection was interrupted when he heard the noise that had woken him up in the first place.  It was a loud knocking noise, someone was at the door. 
        He hopped off the bed and ignored his body's now natural jiggling as he did so.  With a swift hand, Brendan did his best to fix his sleep tousseled hair and fix his sweater - his pink sweater - and made a quick look in the miurror in the bathroom, before rushing down the hallway.  Brendan only paused for a moment before hurrying towards the insistent rapping to remember where he was, and where the doors were.
        He gave a quick thought to how well he was adjusting to the new body as he sprinted down the hall with ease.  Brendan's bare feet skidded on the sudden change from carpet to hardwood floor as he rounded around to the stairs at the end of the hallway.  His balance and movement had adjusted well enough that such things were now almost second nature, and also did not stop him from taking more than one step at a time.
        If he had been living here for longer than a few hours - Brendan suspected he had actually slept here longer than any actual living - he may have skipped most of the steps, but instead only took two at once on his way down towards the front door.  In the back of his mind, Brendan thought that he was fortunate enough to be such a tall girl that he could still do that easily.
        With both feet landing with a loud smack against the tiled floor in the house's entryway, Brendan gave one last quick adjustment of his hair and clothes, and glanced through a window.  On the other side was a stoic, large man with dark skin, wearing a green military uniform.  Brendan recognised the young man, in honesty only a few years younger than himself, and rememebred seeing him around the base while Brendan and Alphonse worked on the emitter, but he could not dredge up the man's name from the depths of his mind.
        Brendan grabbed the doorknob in his hand and froze.  The only thought going through his head was how he was dressed, and about to open up the door for some guy.  He did not feel like he was in any danger, this man was stationed here to keep lab personel safe, and had performed admirably in those duties to the best of Brendan's knowledge, but the situation was changed now.
        They had not gone to any lengths to limit the knowledge of what had happened within those working on the base.  Brendan was certain that the man on the other side of the door knew what had happened, and had to wonder just what that person would think when he saw this person who had once been a man dressed in pink.  It was entirely possible that he would say nothing, and treat her as he would treat any other person on base that wasn't his direct superior, or that he wouldn't show it.  What would he be thinking though, Brendan wondered.
        Brendan's worry over what the man on the other side of the door was cut short when the officer spoke up.  His voice was deep, calm, and focused.  It sent chills down Brendan's spine at how unemotional it sounded.
        "Is everything ok, ma'am?"
        Of course he had seen me when I looked out the window, thought Brendan.
        He gave a sigh behind the door, and jiggled the handle a bit before turning it and pulling the door inside.
        Brendan smiled nervously and cleared some hair from his face as the officer's eyes looked him over.  "No, of course not," he said.  "Just a little disoriented, that's all.  Forgot I locked the door last night, that's all.  Just moved in, and everything, and I was still asleep.  Sorry, I'm babbling, come in."
        He stepped aside as the young officer stepped in the door, and closed it behind him.  His heavy shoes made a resounding thud with each step he took in the small area, enhanced only by the echoed effects of the emptiness.
        "Um, do you mind if I get changed?  Like I said, just woke up, fell asleep in these.  I'd offer you a place to sit, but the place is pretty bare still, I just got here, and everything."
        Brendan could not help feel as nervous as he did.  This person was an almost complete stranger to him, just a person he had passed a few times in the hallways of the lab facilities.  His other interactions so far had been with Alphonse, or the few medical personnel that had come through to look in on him.  Aside from them, the only other people he had seen were the oversight commitee to discuss the future of the project, and they were kept at a distance as he demonstrated the viability of Alphonse's theories as living evidence.
        Now, Brendan was faced with someone who was an unknown quality, all alone, and it only served as furhter reminder of his situation.  He may have powers and abilities beyond the normal person, but now he was very much a fine specimen of the feminine sex.  Much of the strength he had as a male was sapped away, giving way to thinner, softer muscles.  Now the only strength he had was in his abilties, which were still mostly untested.
        Given time, he would be more confident in such a situation, either with his own abilities, or just more used to being a woman with a strange, tall, strong man in such close proximity, but for now it was a very stark reminder of just what had happened, and what he would have to deal with from now on.
        The officer smiled and shook his head, finally showing some emotion past the stoic nature he had exhibited outside the house.
        "No need to apologise, ma'am.  We're all aware of what happened.  In fact, I'm one of the officiers who helped get the things you requested, and assisted in moving them in here.  Maybe I should have thought of bringing a few chairs by, for myself."
        Brendan smiled at the little joke, bringing some much needed levity to the tense situation.  He felt much more at ease afterwards.
        "Take all the time you need.  Professor McKenzie asked me to bring you in as soon as you're ready."
        Brendan nodded his thanks, and bounded back up the stairs, one at a time as he went up.  He gave a quick thought that he hoped the officer wasn't checking him out as he did so.
        He ditched his clothes once his bedroom's door was closed, and grabbed a clean pair of underwear, and a bra.  The bra was an adventure unto itself as he tried to get it on around his ample chest.  The challenge did not prove to be insurmountable, and once that was complete, again surprised at how close a match the girls had found and thinking it would have taken him so long to figure it out on his own, or ask.
        With those on, Brendan threw on the jeans he had been wearing before, and grabbed one of the blouses stacked on his dresser, taking the gold one off the top of the pile.  He only fumbled with the awkward buttons for a moment, and got the hang of it.
        Remembering he had not finished unpacking, he looked back in the clothes box, and discovered at the very bottom was a few pairs of shoes, and some socks.  He grabbed a pair of each, white socks and small white sneakers, and got them on his feet as fast as he could.
        He did not want to leave the man waiting for much longer, but grabbed the other socks from the box and tossed them atop the now messy dresser, thinking to himself that at least something looked like someone had lived here for awhile.
        Heather and Simone had supplied him with another pair of sneakers, several regular dress shoes that would have been fine in any regular closet, albeit for smaller feet, and they had even been kind enough, in a sarcastic way, to supply him with a few pairs of heels.  Out of everything they had sent along, those were far down on Brendan's list of anything he ever wanted to wear.
        Brendan scooped them up in his arms as best he could with the obstructions hanging off his chest getting in the way of where he would have usually piled stuff, and carried them to the closet.  Not even a week, and he was already amassing quite the collection of shoes.
        Once he had dumped them all into a random pile of scattered footwear inside the closet, he found a number of hangers already in there, as well as something pushed up against the side wall in a bag.
        Brendan pulled the hanging clothes bag forward, and turned on a light overhead with a thin thread hanging down from it.  Inside the clear bag was what appeared to be a military dress uniform, but cut for a woman, and with a skirt.  It was all black, with gold buttons and accents, and included a white blouse.
        Pinned to the bag was a note from Heather, explaining that she and Simone had found this in an old storage room on base, and thought it would be a 'neat surprise' for the new girl, and may come in handy.
        Brendan sighed and tossed the bag back onto the dowel, and shoved it back deep into the closet, not wanting to give it even a moment's more thought.  The girls were having far too much fun at his expense.
        He took a few moments in the mirror to do what he could with his hair, mentally adding a brush to his list of things to purchase, and returned to the stairs, where the officer had continued to wait all this time.  Brendan didn't think he had even moved an inch.

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