Identity Crisis: Act II

Story (c) 2000 by Hikaru Katayamma/Keith Dickinson. All rights reserved. The character Sheila Vixen (c) Eric W Schwartz. All other characters are (c) Hikaru Katayamma.  This story contains adult situations and language. By reading it the viewer agrees not to hold this or any other person responsible for any content they may find objectionable. If you don't like it, don't read it.

Identity Crisis
Act II
Chapter 1

Reversal of fortunes.

  Coughing, I opened my eyes as I gasp for breath. Rolling onto my side, I continued to cough and suck in badly needed air. Feeling a hand on my arm, I heard a deep voice asking, "Are you all right?" Unable to stop coughing, I simply nodded. "Thank God," I heard, relieve apparent in the voice, "When I woke up, I found you trapped under me. You weren't breathing."

  Thinking back I remembered what had happened. We had been in the locker room when Sheila and revealed that she had the amulet. Confessing her shame at keeping it, she had made a wish. The oddly familiar feeling of pain as we were engulfed in the demon's fire blotted out all sensation. Unlike the first time though, it seemed to last forever. There also was the sensation of my spirit being pulled and ripped in different directions. Just when it felt like it was going to last forever, I heard a scream that drowned out both Sheila's and mine.

  Released from the flames, I had dropped to the ground, something heavy landing on top of me. It was an immovable mass that crushed the breath from my body. Unable to leverage myself up to breathe, I had passed out only to reawaken a few second ago.

  Rolling over onto my back, I felt something laying underneath me, but was too tired to worry about it. Looking at the form next to me I saw a familiar face. It took a few moments for me to register the fact that it was my face. The one I wore when I was human. The one I had when I was with the SDF. "Arden?" I asked, "Arden Eastridge?" My voice sounded wrong, it was too high pitch.

  I saw a sad look on his face. He almost looked close to tears. "No. It's me, Sheila." The shock of what he said struck me like a physical blow. Feeling everything spin, I closed m eyes and concentrated on breathing slowly, trying not to hyperventilate. "What the hell was Sheila doing as a human and in my old body no less?" I asked myself.

  Opening my eyes again, I once again saw my face. Everything was identical, right down to the shape of the goatee. The only things different were the eyes. They were the dragon's eyes! I reached out to touch his face, I needed to know it was real, but was stopped by the sight of my hand as it came into view. It was covered in black fur half way up to the elbow, where the pattern changed to a zig zag of burnt orange fur.

  Trying to sit up, I was assisted by Sheila as she... no he helped me up. Looking down at my body, I was horrified to see that I was now a Vixen. I was in Sheila's body. I don't know how long I sat there, just staring. My mind had locked up at the distress of what I was seeing.

  "Arden?" I heard through the fog. "Arden!" came the voice again, this time shaking me. Coming out of the fog, I looked over at Sheila. "Arden, what happened to us?" she asked. Shaking my head, I just shrugged. My mind raced for an action. "I don't know. I just don't know enough about the amulet." I said, trying to figure something out.

  "The Amulet!" It hit me like a bolt of lightning. "Where's the amulet! We can't afford to lose it!" I demanded, grabbing Sheila by his shirt. "It's all right," he said, "I've got the amulet right here." Holding up the amulet he handed it to me. Hanging it around my neck, I tucked the medallion inside my shirt, startled at the cold feeling as it lay between my breasts. This definitely ranked a fifteen out of ten on my Weird Crap O'Meter.

  "What am I?" I heard Sheila ask. Looking back over at him, I saw the confusion and disgust as they played across my old face. "You're in my old body," I said quietly, "My first body. Before I became a bear." Crossing my legs, I rotated myself so that I could watch him. It took me a second to realize just how effortlessly I was able to twist my legs into a lotus. This body certainly was far more different than anything I'd ever expected to be in.

  As I watched, Sheila began to examine his body. I knew how he felt. I was intentionally refusing to do the same. It was a form of denial.

  Flexing his hands, I watched as Sheila got used to having a fifth finger. "I'm a...a... What did you call it?" he asked. "Human. We're... You're called Human," I answered him. "Human," he repeated. Rubbing his hand over the skin on the arms, he shuddered. "Don't you get cold with this little fur?" he asked. Nodding, I grunted an agreement.

  While Sheila continued to examine himself, I took inventory of our surroundings. We had shown up in a small clearing in the woods. The woods weren't too dense and had little underbrush. Not seeing any signs of life in the near vicinity I turned my attention back to Sheila while keeping my ears perked.

  He had paused his investigation with is hands at his waistband. Sitting there tailor style, he glanced up at me and swallowed. "I'm almost afraid to look," he said. Chuckling at the image, I shook my head. "It's nothing you haven't seen a hundred times," I prodded. "Though I suppose it will be a bit different from what you're used to," I said a bit sheepishly, remembering the differences.

  Pulling the waistband out, he looked down. "Gack!" he exclaimed. "What?" I demanded defensively. That had been my old body after all. "It's so... so..." he said hesitantly. "So what?" I asked. With a shrug, he glanced up at me. "Different," he said looking back down. "It just....hangs there." Getting a sudden case of the giggles, I stood up. "I'll give the two of you a little privacy so you can get better acquainted," I said trying not to laugh.

  Sheila got an indignant look on his face and backhanded me in the arm with his fist the same way he used to in the other word, the only difference is that he hit me hard enough to knock me off my feet. Completely unprepared for the blow, I landed hard on my right side, barely able to break my fall with my hand.

  Hugging my left arm to my chest, I kneeled, my head touching the ground and whimpered. It hurt like hell. "Oh no! Arden!" I heard Sheila say as he crawled over to me. "Are you all right?" he asked. "Christ Sheila, do you think you could have hit me any harder?" I answered angrily. It didn't hurt this bad when I had been shot. If Sheila's body was this sensitive, I could be in for some serious trouble.

  Wincing as he probed the arm, I was relieved not to feel any bones rubbing together, though it still hurt like hell. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hit you so hard. I'm used to having to really throw my weight into it before you feel anything," he said, stroking the fur on my head. Breathing deep, I fought to speak. "I know," I said, nodding, "but you've got to be careful Sheila. You're not some lightweight vixen now. Just a little more effort and you could have broken my arm."

  Hearing Sheila crying, I sat back and looked up at him. "Oh no...Please... Stop that." I begged, watching him. Sniffling he scowled at me. "What? Real men don't cry?" he asked. Giving a weak smile I shook my head, "No. It's just too weird to sit here and watch myself cry." He gave me an incredulous look. "So you think this is difficult?" he asked. "Try looking at yourself huddling on the ground, knowing that you almost broke your arm," he said getting a confused look. Reviewing what he had said in his mind, Sheila decided he had the right tense. Shaking his head he said, "You're right, this is too weird."

  Wiping eyes, Sheila stood up. Reaching down with his right hand, he took a hold of my good arm and helped me up. "How's it feel?" he asked. Shaking my head, I sniffed and tried to keep it still. "It throbs pretty bad," I answered, "I don't know. It might be cracked. If nothing else I'm going to have a heck of a bruise."

  Nodding, he took off his shirt. Wrapping it around the arm, he paused each time I yelped, eventually tying the arms around my neck in a serviceable sling. Smiling up at Sheila I saw him hugging him self and shiver. "Cold?" I asked. Looking around he shook his head, "No. I feel... I don't know... Exposed," he said. I nodded. "You're used to having your fur, even when you don't have clothes. You don't even have that now as a human." I explained. Giving a quick nod, he agreed. "Now I see why you were so tight assed about clothes," he responded.

  Looking around the clearing, Sheila planted both hands on his hips. Watching him I started to giggle again. I never realized how cute I looked standing like that. Still giggling, I turned and walked away, shaking. "What the hell am I doing?" I asked myself. I felt what little grip I had on reality getting stretched to near breaking.

  "I do not think I like being a Human," I heard Sheila say. Turning to look at him, I began to laugh harder. "Oh really?" I managed to squeak out. Grabbing a breast in my good paw I shook it at him. "For you're information, I just wanted to have you as a lover, not become you!" I declared, eyes wide as the absurdity of the situation pounded in on my brain.

  Giving me a concerned look, he walked over to me. "Are you OK Arden?" he asked. "OK? Sure I'm OK," I answered, my voice rising in pitch. "I'm just peachy keen. I'm the most screwable female vixen I could ever imagine, stuck in some unknown reality with myself standing around looking like fricken Robin Hood." I declared. Throwing my hand in the air, I gave another bark of laughter. "And to top it off," I said leaning forward, "All I can think about right now is the fact that you look cute!" Giggles dissolving into laughter, I finally lost control.

  After a few seconds I felt the sting as Sheila slapped me. The pain and shock brought me back from the edge. Rubbing my cheek with my paw I looked back at Sheila. "Thanks," I said, blinking. I was still shaking from the adrenaline, but my mind was curiously quiet. When I was in the hunt, I could purge myself of emotion, but this was different. The emotional turmoil was still there, just detached. A small piece of my mind was still jabbering, but it was now safely stuffed away in a corner.

  "We can't stand around here forever," I heard Sheila say. "Do you smell or hear any water?" Inhaling, I tried to see if I could smell water but failed. Closing my eyes, I listened for the sounds of running water, but couldn't hear any. Shaking my head at Sheila I took another good look around, trying to decide which direction was best.

  "I don't know about you, but I think we should head south," Sheila said pointing. "How do you know that's south?" I asked. Giving me an odd look, he scowled. "By the moss silly." Putting my face in my good paw, I shook my head. "Never underestimate someone's knowledge because of their appearance." I remembered Ito beating that into my head repeatedly. Now, to my shame, I had made the same assumption with Sheila.

  Nodding, I agreed, "Sounds reasonable to me." Walking over to where he stood, I took the Wakazashi from his belt and slipped it into mine. I'd be better off using it one handed than I would with the Katana. Hopefully the need would never arise.

  Giving a sigh, I tried to brush off the kimono I was wearing. The thing was made from real silk too. Unfortunately it also hung down around my ankles. Looking for a way to give myself some mobility, I finally just looked up at Sheila. "Hey babe.... er.... boyo you mind whacking this kimono at about knee length for me?" I asked. His jaw dropped open in disbelief. "Are you nuts! I had to put a three hundred dollar deposit on that thing!" he argued. Straightening up, I just looked at him for a second. "And you were planning on collecting it when?" I asked.

  That got him. Thinking about it I saw him smile and shake his head. Kneeling down next to me, he took the bottom of the kimono. Pealing it outwards and up, he then tucked it in under my belt from the inside out. It had a tendency to flare out at the bottom, but otherwise accomplished the goal. Standing up, he smiled. "See? And we didn't have to cut it," he said mockingly. Shaking my head, I rolled my eyes to the heavens and just muttered "Men."

  Turning away, I started walking south, listening to the sound of Sheila laughing. Smiling, I felt a little better about things. Maybe being in Sheila's old body wouldn't be that bad.

  After about three hours or so we took a break from walking. It's not that the trip was hard, just that we weren't really ready for it. These damned wooden sandals I wore were killing my feet. To top that off I was hot, thirsty, tired and my arm throbbed. Sitting down, I removed the clodhoppers and massaged my feet with my good hand. "Oh man, what I wouldn't give for a good set of hiking boots," I complained. Sitting down next to me, Sheila chuckled. "You're the one that had to go for accuracy Arden-san," Sheila quipped back.

  Thinking about it, I realized that we'd have to do something about Sheila's name. "Can't have him running around with a sissy name like Sheila," I thought to my self with a chuckle. Looking over at me, Sheila asked, "What's so funny." Still laughing, I gave him an impish smile. "A guy named Sheila," I explained. Thinking about it, he laughed. "I suppose that could be a problem," he said thoughtfully, "How about Vic? Short for Vixen." Nodding I liked the idea. "Vic Sheen," I said extending it. Nodding we came to a general consensus about his new name.

  As the wind shifted I smelled something that made me perk up. "Water. I smell water," I said to Sheila. Extending a hand I let him help me up. Tucking the sandals in my sling, I followed my nose. All that was missing was a toucan beak.

  After about five minutes of fast walking up wind, we came to a tree line. Before us was a small stream, about five or six feet across and not too deep. The water was fairly fast flowing and sparklingly clear. Walking forward I knelt by the stream. Scooping up water with my good hand I realized I couldn't get enough to make it worth the effort. Putting my hand on a stone in the river, I lowered my muzzle in and took a good mouthful. Swishing it around for a bit, I then swallowed.

  "Are you sure you should be drinking that Arden?" Sheila asked. Nodding I took another mouthful. "A stream like this is usually clean enough. You never want to drink from stagnant water or slow moving water. Fast water like this, especially with lots of rocks and stuff to aerate it is generally safe," I explained.

  After drinking our fill, we sat back against a tree, enjoying the day. There was a couple of hours left by my reckoning. We should be able to get in another hour or so before needing to camp for the night. Our big problem was going to be food. We didn't have any on us, and I hadn't spotted anything bigger than the occasional squirrel or rabbit. They probably heard us coming and ran.

  "Uh oh," I heard Sheila say. "What's up?" I asked. Giving me sheepish grin he confessed, "I think I need to use the john." Laughing I corrected him. "You're a guy now. Either you're pissing or taking a dump. Anything else is unmanly," I explained with a chuckle.

  Standing up he looked down at me. "Fine, I'm going to go take a piss," he said, walking to a nearby tree. Listening to him relieve himself, I realized that I too had the call of nature. Standing I walked over to a worthy looking tree and dropped my panties. Careful to make sure that I wasn't going to get splattered, I let go. Eyes wide at the feeling, I simply added it to new experiences on my list. Realizing I had no way to "shake it off" I was stuck for a moment. I don't care what the Boy Scout book says; I was never one to use leaves when there was paper available. Standing up I pulled up the panties and hoped for the best. I'd have to ask Sheila about this. God this was going to be embarrassing.

  Returning to Sheila, I saw him adjusting his pants with an uncomfortable look. At least we weren't on uneven terms.

  Following the river downstream, we discusses the little things that were likely to trip us up, fur maintenance being primary on the list at the time. It was quite an entertaining talk and very educational as to viewpoints of the other sex. Mentally I shelved the 'Guy Book of Rules' and started working on a pink one.

  About forty minutes or so into our walk, we came to the edge of the forest. Before us sat a wide valley. Running down the middle was the stream we had been following. About half a mile or so in, we saw a cluster of buildings that formed a town. A dirt road led through the town and into the woods off to our right. I could make out people milling around, but no specifics. I had Sheila's eyes.

  "What do you see Sheila?" I asked. Shaking his head, he shrugged. "I can't make out much yet, but it looks like they're human," he said. Putting my good hand on his shoulder, I gave a squeeze. "Concentrate on trying to see them clearly. See if you can zoom in," I instructed. Squinting a little, he concentrated on the town. "Whoa!" he exclaimed, shaking his head. "What the heck was that?" he asked, looking at me, "Can all humans do that?" Shaking my head, I frowned. "No, only ones with dragon's eyes," I said quietly.

  As it sunk in, Sheila's eyes got big. Sticking out his tongue, he used a hand to check it. It wasn't forked like it was in the old world, little relief though that it was. Once again struck with the realization that he wasn't normal, Sheila shivered.

  Turning back to the town, he concentrated again. "I see humans, and animals, nothing like us. Or rather like you," he said. Nodding, my worst fears were confirmed. I was going to be a freak. "Describe differences you see between these people," I suggested. Nodding he looked back. "Height, hair color and length. Females generally have the longer hair. Only males have fur on their face, though not all do. Size and weight vary. There are some really tall ones standing out by the tall building that look a little different. They're tall and thin. Their ears are pointed, not round, and the faces are longer and narrower than the others," he reported.

  Thinking about the description, the only thing I could think of was Elves. If there were elves here, then there should be magic and other faerie races. If that's so, then I might squeak by as just being exotic and not an abomination.

  "Lover boy," I said, "I think we've lucked out. Those last ones you described to me sound like Elves. If so, then there's hope for us to get by here yet." Smiling, Sheila rubbed his hand along my snout. "Lover boy. I think I like the sound of that," he said. Leaning over, he started to kiss me, but I backed away.

  Surprised and hurt he stopped. "What's wrong Arden?" he asked. Shaking my head, I felt like an idiot. "I'm sorry Sheila, but..." I paused, trying to think what to say. "I'm sorry. There's still too much guy left in me right now." Seeing the sorrow on his face, I stepped forward and hugged him with my good arm. "I'm sorry hon. I just need some more time to get settled in, you know?" I explained, looking up I continued. "I wasn't gay or even bi-sexual in my other life. Kissing my old body just.... It's just too weird right now." Nodding, he hugged me back and gave me a little kiss on my head. "I guess I can understand that," he said, stroking my fur.

  Keeping his arm around me, Sheila and I walked towards the town. Somewhere in this world was the key needed to bring Bjorn back and we needed to find it before we could move on to Husaquahr and Ruddygore.

Chapter 2