Thanks: Thanks to Sage for beta
Notes: For Keerawa
Frannie lay in Renfield Turnbull's bed with her head on one of his Canada flag pillowcases, and listened to the sleet pelting the window. Just her luck. Not only had the weather closed in so bad that she'd had to spend the night, but Turnbull was being the perfect gentleman and had insisted she take the bed while he sleep on the couch.
What was wrong with Canadian men? Didn't they like sex? First Fraser stonewalled her for years, pretending he was being polite or chevalier or something when really he was gay, and now Turnbull was courting her like she was made of fragile ice. She'd nearly snapped and made a move on him herself, but first she'd thought he might scream like a girl and run away, and then he'd fed her exquisite flapjacks with real maple syrup so she'd been too full to really enjoy sex anyway.
She pulled down the hem of the "Property of the RCMP" t-shirt Turnbull had lent her, and rolled onto her side. The illuminated maple-leaf clock read 11:15pm and in the faint glow from the streetlight she could make out the curling posters on the wall. Turnbull's whole apartment was like it had been decorated by a fourteen year old with an ice fetish.
Outside the wind howled and the sleet hammered against the glass like machine-gunfire, and— That was it. There was no way she was going to sleep any time soon. She sat up, switched on the light and looked around. There had to be something she could read. But the only book she could see was The Complete History of Canadian Hockey on the nightstand, with three bookmarks sticking out of it in different places, and she wasn't that desperate.
Maybe a drink of water would help. She yawned so wide her jaw cracked, got out of bed and padded barefoot across the plain wooden floor — apparently Canadians didn't believe in carpets — and that was when she realized something was wrong. Really wrong.
There was something growing between her legs. A lump or something. Jeez, maybe she had sudden onset cancer of the groin! She went to the closet and opened the door, hoping there'd be a mirror there or something, but instead she was faced with a row of identical red Mountie uniforms. "Doesn't he have any normal clothes?" she wondered aloud, briefly distracted, and then she jumped a mile in the air.
Her voice was wrong. It was deep and husky, and— Her hand flew to between her legs. She had a penis! There was a penis growing out of her— her— She went cold and clammy. It was getting longer. In five seconds, while she stood there with her heart racing and her mind completely blank it grew at least another inch!
"Jesus Christ," she squeaked, except that it came out more like a growl. She ran her hands slowly up under her t-shirt and Oh God, her breasts were shrinking. She could feel them deflating under her hands as she stood there. And her shoulders were stretching somehow, broadening. She put her hand to her face and her jaw was lean and scratchy and her nose was getting bigger.
She gasped. What if she'd been cursed with the Vecchio family nose!
She stormed out into the living room, threw the light switch and stood over Turnbull with her hands on her rapidly diminishing hips. "What did you do to me?" she demanded.
Turnbull instantly sprang awake, leaped to his feet and saluted. "Sir!"
"Listen, buster. It's me, Frannie" said Frannie. "And I'm turning into a man! What did you do to me? And whatever it was, undo it right now, or I'll stomp on your fingernails from here to eternity."
"I—" Turnbull's jaw flapped open, but nothing came out. He looked gobsmacked, and his eyes kept darting to the hem of Frannie's t-shirt.
She tugged it down and held it there. Stupid t-shirt. Stupid Mountie. "Well?"
"I can't imagine what would have—" Turnbull shook his head, his eyes still wide with shock. "Perhaps it was something you ate. But I used only the finest Canadian ingredients — even the salmon was imported fresh just yesterday. May I lend you some trousers, perhaps?"
Frannie moved behind the couch because her legs were getting longer, making the t-shirt less and less effective. She felt horribly exposed. "Please."
Turnbull bolted into the bedroom and came back with some gray sweatpants with the RCMP logo on the back pocket. Frannie pulled them on quickly, disconcerted by the way they brushed against her new parts. "How did this happen?" she asked plaintively.
"I swear I don't know, Miss Vecchio." Turnbull looked worried. "Perhaps we should inspect the ingredients I used. The honey was pasteurized, so I'm sure it couldn't have been that, and I've used the oregano a hundred times before and never suffered any ill-effects." He led the way into the kitchen, chattering non-stop as he went.
Frannie found his babbling both annoying and weirdly soothing at the same time. She yawned again and went to the fridge, but it was full of normal food. There was nothing in there labeled "Quik-Gro Penis Formula."
Meanwhile, Turnbull was rummaging through his well-stocked pantry, examining packaging and muttering to himself. He kept glancing guiltily across at Frannie, and well he should feel guilty. It was all his fault. It had to be. Nothing like this had ever happened to Frannie before, or anyone she knew!
"Could it have been the flapjacks?" she asked. "I mean, even the name of them — flapjacks. It sounds kind of masculine, don't you think? Sort of like—" She didn't want to say it, so she flapped her hand near her groin.
"I can't imagine why—" Turnbull took a glass bottle from his pantry and read the label. "Oh."
"Oh what?" Frannie went over to look at it.
It was the maple syrup. Genuine 100% Natural Maple Syrup — Making Canada's Men More Manly said the slogan.
"Oh," said Frannie. "I." She blinked across at Turnbull — she was nearly his height now — and said desperately, "It'll wear off, right?" The thought of anyone seeing her like this, Ray or Maria or Tony or, heaven forbid, Harding or Fraser, made her feel ill.
"I'm sure it will," said Turnbull, dubiously. "There's a helpline number on the bottle. Perhaps we should call them."
"Yes!" Frannie coughed and tried to speak again, but her voice was definitely deepening. It sounded all wrong. "You call," she said miserably. "Find out how to switch me back. I like being a girl!"
Turnbull picked up his curling rock novelty phone from the counter and dialed the number, and then explained the problem to the "helpdesk technician", Magda, at the call center. Frannie tried to listen in, but she was too busy poking her biceps and trying not to joggle her new genitalia inside her sweatpants. It felt way too weird to be enjoyable.
Finally Turnbull hung up the phone with a click, and said, "They said it would wear off by morning." He came over and patted her shoulder. "It's an uncommon side-effect, but not unheard of."
"Jesus, you'd think they could put a warning on the packaging. 'May turn you into a hulking gorilla of a guy'. What if I'd been planning to have sex tonight? This would have ruined everything!" Turnbull blushed bright red, and Frannie folded her arms across her stomach and glared at the floor by her feet. "I hate this! I want to be me again."
"I'll make some tea." Turnbull fussed around filling the kettle and arranging little cookies on a gold-rimmed plate. "You know, Miss Vecchio, I hope you'll forgive me for saying so, but I must admit I find your new features suit you very well."
Frannie narrowed her eyes at him. "Oh my God," she said. "You're gay too! First Fraser and now— What is it with you Mounties?!"
"No, no, no," said Turnbull hastily. "I'm not— Well, that is. Sometimes I—" He hurried over to pour the tea and refused to look at her.
"I'm wearing a horrible gray Mountie t-shirt and it's getting you all wound up," Frannie said, pointing at him accusingly.
"You look charming," said Turnbull, firmly. "And I bet you'd look even better without it."
"Renfield!" Frannie scowled at him. "I am a woman. I am a woman ninety-nine percent of the time. If you don't like that, I don't understand why you invited me here in the first place."
"Oh, I do!" Turnbull protested. "I like it very much. There are very few females of my acquaintance in Chicago, and you have no idea how much I miss discussing—" He hesitated.
"What?" Frannie stared at him suspiciously.
"Soap operas," said Turnbull, earnestly, "and shopping and shoes and handicrafts. I've never met a man as able to appreciate tatting as you are."
"I was being polite," Frannie ground out. "I thought I might get some sex out of you. And now it turns out you just wanted me to be a fag bag! Well, I won't." She stormed out of the kitchen and back into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Then she tried to throw herself onto the bed and cry, but her body refused to. It insisted on pacing angrily, and at one point her hand balled into a fist and twitched as though it wanted to punch the wall.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, she was turning into Ray Kowalski!
There was a timid knock at the door. "Miss Vecchio, you forgot your tea."
"I don't want tea!" yelled Frannie. She took a deep breath and tried to pull herself together. It would wear off by morning. The helpline had promised. "If it doesn't, I'm going to sue them within an inch of their life," she vowed. "And I'm going to sue Canada, too, for dressing their Mounties in bright red uniforms that make them look brave and strong and not gay at all. It's false advertising!"
"I'm not completely gay," said Turnbull behind her. He was holding a chintzy cup of tea that smelled like little old ladies. "I'm open to many kinds of love."
"Sure you are," snorted Frannie. "But you only started looking at my hem when there was a dick sticking out of it."
Turnbull ducked his head. "They're— I find them distracting."
Frannie glared danger at him for a long moment, then sighed and let her shoulders slump. "Me too, I guess." She sat on the edge of the bed. "I suppose you were in love with Fraser, too?"
"It was only a crush," said Turnbull, sitting beside her. "A mere infatuation. It passed the minute he informed me of his relationship with Detective Kowalski."
"Yeah. Me too." Frannie didn't mention that the minute had lasted a week of sleepless nights, wondering how she could have been so stupid. "Completely over it." She braced her hands on her thighs — they were tight and well-muscled. "You know," she said, "I'm in pretty good shape for a guy."
Turnbull blushed even redder and the teacup rattled in its saucer, but he met her gaze gamely. "Indeed you are."
"And you know what they say," said Frannie. "Cheese the day."
"I think it's 'seize'," said Turnbull. He sounded breathless and hopeful, and Frannie knew that feeling.
Maybe it wouldn't hurt to try this body out. It wasn't like she'd ever get a chance to love this way again, with two dicks. Not unless Fraser and Kowalski decided to— and even then, Frannie wasn't sure she could have sex in the same bed as Ray Kowalski, not even with Fraser. It would be too much like screwing her own brother. So maybe this— well, it would be educational, she decided. "We could, maybe," she started, not sure how to broach the idea.
Turnbull looked so hopeful, it hurt to look at him. "Yes?"
"I mean, it would just be the once, but I think I might like to try—" Frannie bit her lip and looked down at her lap. She was tenting the sweatpants. Jeez, men's bodies were as subtle as sledgehammers. She took the cup of tea off Turnbull and set it on the floor, and then grabbed his hand and put it on her crotch. Wow, that felt good. Or like it could be good if Turnbull had any idea what he was doing.
"Oh, Miss Vecchio," he said, and launched himself at her, and— well, it turned out he did have a pretty good idea how this worked after all. A damned good idea, even.
When Frannie woke up, it was morning, and the rain was still pailing down outside. She had her head on a Canada flag pillowcase, and Turnbull's arms were around her as neat as a car seatbelt, crossed over her breasts.
Her breasts! Her womanhood was back. She shifted her hips to make sure and yes! The floppy weight between her legs had gone! She sighed with relief and eased out of Turnbull's sleeping embrace without waking him. She gathered up her clothes and took them to the living room to dress, then called a taxi from the curling rock phone in the kitchen and let herself out.
Turnbull came by the station later that day, and Frannie felt her face get hot as soon as she saw him. She clutched the pile of incoming faxes to her chest and strode out of the room.
He followed her. "Miss Vecchio, if I might have a word."
"I can't talk to you right now," Frannie told him. "Not here."
He surprised her by grabbing her arm, firmly but gently, and propelling her into the supply closet. He pulled on the light switch.
She grabbed it and yanked it again to turn it off.
He switched it on.
She turned it off.
"In the dark," she said. "I can't. I'm too. Please." Her heart fluttered in her chest and she couldn't tell if it was embarrassment or confusion or being turned on.
"Very well." From the sound of Turnbull's voice, Frannie could tell he was standing at attention, with his chin up like he was on sentry duty. "Miss Vecchio, last night was, well, it was a revelation. I never knew I could entertain such resonant feelings for a member of the fairer sex."
Frannie glared at him in the dark. "I was a man."
"No," said Turnbull. "You were in the body of a man, but your soul, your ethereal spirit was and always will be that of a woman."
"Huh," said Frannie. She let her fingers brush the front of his tunic. "So, what are you saying? You want to do it again?"
"I, ah, that is. I'm not entirely sure I can." Turnbull sounded apologetic. "Are you sure we can't have the light on?"
"No light," said Frannie. The uniform was too distracting. She could tell better if he was lying in the dark.
"As you wish." Turnbull cleared his throat. "I wonder if you'd do me the honor of accompanying me to dinner this Friday."
Frannie's fingers slid up the uniform and tangled gently in the neck string thing. "On a date?" she asked, huskily. She liked the sound of that more than she'd expected.
"Yes," squeaked Turnbull. He coughed again. "I mean, yes," he said in his normal voice.
Frannie licked her lips and thought fast. Tatting aside, Turnbull was more fun than she'd ever thought he'd be. Perhaps he could be a fixer-upper. And all relationships required compromise. "Okay," she said, "on one condition."
Turnbull pulled on the light cord and looked at her nervously, and then his hand came up to tangle with hers on the string thing, and their fingers got knotted together. "One condition," he repeated. "Which would be?"
Frannie smiled seductively and took a step closer, enjoying how it made him adorably flustered. "We have dessert at your house," she purred. "With lots and lots of maple syrup."