Girl's Night Out
(Starring the DC teen heroes)
Story by Sean Taylor
Art by Stephen Doll
Stephanie Brown waited. She was getting awfully good at waiting. Peeling back the purple and blue of her costume, she checked her watch. Nearly 10:30. Robin was never this late. Something had to have come up. Maybe the Ghost Dragons or that freako Lady Shiva. Maybe even one of the psychos like Two-Face or that human bug who used to be the Killer Moth. It had better be something big or he'd get an earful of choice words for standing her up.
Oh well, she thought, leaning back against the tree. That what I get for dating the finest young hero in Gotham. The branch she sat on swayed slightly as she moved.
She'd hummed half of the newest Space Girls CD when she finally heard someone call her name.
It didn't sound at all like Robin. The voice was softer, higher pitched, almost lilting. Still, he was the only person she knew who called her by the short form of her real name when she was in costume.
"Robin? Is that you? What's wrong with your voice?"
"I came down with something."
"I'll say. You sound like a girl." She looked for him, but he was nowhere to be found. And the shadows were his element, she knew. If he didn't want to be seen, there was no way she was going to find him. "Where are you? And what took so long? You're almost an hour late. Just think of all the crime who could have stopped in that long." She laughed and waited for him to return the laugh.
"Robin, are you okay? It's me, isn't it? You've been rethinking this whole dating thing, haven't you? I should have known not to trust the old Spoiler luck."
"Shut up." There was a long pause. "Something really weird happened. That's what kept me. And I mean really weird, something that makes the trip you took to Apokolips look sane."
"So what happened? I'm sure the Bat-boss can solve it just like he fixes everything else in Gotham."
"Well ..." the strange voice said. "I don't think Batman can do much for what I've got this time."
"So show me already, mystery boy." She ran through every possibility she could think of for why his voice would have changed, but came up blank. And it really started to grate her nerves.
"You promise not to laugh?"
"I'll try not to." She sat up and pulled herself to a catlike crouch.
"Okay, I promise already. Just let me see you."
He did. And what she saw nearly sent her falling from the tree. Stepping from the shadows was one of most gorgeous, raven-haired prom queens Stephanie had ever seen. And she was wearing Robin's costume and looking at her with Robin's eyes.
"Bart!?" Carol Bucklen opened her front door and nearly passed out. Standing in front of her, in the red and white costume of her best friend Impulse, a.k.a Bart Allen, was a beautiful, just-stepped-off-the-cover-of-Teen-Glamour-magazine, redhead with a body that looked like nothing that had ever graced the costume before. "I mean, Impulse, is that you?"
The redhead smiled and said in a bouncy voice, "Sure, don't you recognize the costume?"
"But you're a ..." Carol struggled to remember the word she was searching for, but her mind was too preoccupied with staring at the new Bart to focus.
"Oh my God, Bart, what happened?"
"I don't know. But it's happened to every boy in Manchester." Impulse looked off toward the horizon. "And Toledo and Hollywood and Wichita and Atlanta and --"
"Alright! I get it already."
"Oh, sorry. "
Carol pulled Bart inside with a hard jerk. "At least come inside so people can't see you." She ran through the house, closing the blinds. "Umm, Bart, could you lock the do--"
Her hair blew in a quick gust of wind. "Doors. Locked. Anything else?"
She stepped back, taking a moment to give her friend a closer examination. The eyes were definitely Bart's. As were the features, but the package that held them was not the Bart she was used to seeing. Not unless Bart had hidden his c-cups underneath baggy clothes for as long as she'd known him.
"You're a girl ..." she said again.
"And I'm supposed to be the one with the short attention span who has trouble with logic?"
Without thinking, she stumbled forward and threw her arms around 'him.' "Aren't you scared?"
"Not really? Stuff worse than this happens in Death Road 3045."
She pulled out of the hug. "This is so weird. So, why'd you come to see me? Why aren't you out doing the hero thing, trying to find who did this?"
Impulse grinned, then glanced down at the floor. A rare still moment for the kid with no patience. "I don't have anything to wear."
Carol laughed so hard she nearly fell over.
"Well, I don't have any girl clothes."
Carol laughed again, refueled by Bart's comment.
"Are you going to help me or not?"
She stopped laughing for a moment, glanced up at the eyes she remembered, now looking at her just a little above a pout that resembled that of a high school seductress.
She lost it again, this time falling back into the family recliner. She tried to catch her breath to end the laughing fit, and found it worked only when she looked away from "Bartarina," as she started to think of him. When she stopped, she turned to take another look at her best friend's new figure. "Well, I don't know if I'd have anything to, umm, fit you. I'm not exactly your size, you know."
Impulse sighed and let his gaze drop again.
"Ah, come on. We'll find something for you."
In her closet, she dug through to find a few outfits that might work until Bart and his hero buddies could figure out what had caused the gender change and fix it. She tossed a navy pantsuit and a checkered, blue and white mini-dress, and a pair of linen pants and a short-sleeved sweater onto the bed.
"Well, what do you think of these, Bart ..." She paused, giggled, then added, "Or should I call you Bartarina now?"
Apparently Bart had chosen a few outfits of his own. He was standing a few feet from her dressed in the Sailor Moon costume she'd hidden away for next Halloween. "Cool, huh?" he said.
As quick as a thought, he was in another outfit. This time a replica of the Catwoman costume. "Or maybe this one?"
"I don't have a Catwoman costume," Carol said.
"I know. I got this one from the costume shop. What do you think?"
"I think you need to let me make your fashion decisions, girlfriend."
"For the fifth time, Kid, I can't help you!"
"Ah, come on, Guy. We're buds, right? I mean, aside from that whole trying to sneak in and get drinks with the Ravers thing." Superboy hovered a few feet off the ground, looking down at Guy Gardner, owner of Warriors, the premiere super-hero-themed restuarant. Although, Planet Krypton might soon steal the title from him. "You've been through this before. You've got to know something I can do to fix this."
'This' was the newfound bustline that the kid found himself sporting. And the curvy waist and hips. Not to mention the long, dark hair covering his shoulders. One minute, he'd been hanging out at Cadmus, enjoying the attention as Tekka felt his bicep and tricep muscles yet again, and the next -- after she'd pulled away, looking at him like she'd seen a ghost -- he had found that his costume was stretching and comforming in all new places.
"Like I said before, Kid. It was different when it happened to me. Dementor isn't even around now so it can't have anything to do with him."
Kon-el noticed Guy staring and shot him a dirty look.
"Oops, sorry. Whoever did this to you sure did a number on you though. And not just you. You're the third one who's come by this evening asking me for help."
"The third, really? Who else?"
"That blond kid from the Titans, well, the former Titans anyway. Risk, I think. And the little Marvel guy, Cap Marvel's little brother or something."
"Great. What am I supposed to do now? I can't go back like this. Well, at least I can rule out it being some clone disease at least. Now that it's happened to somebody else too."
Guy motioned for the Kid to come down, and 'he' did. "I'll tell you what. I'll contact the JLA and see if they know anything about it. Come on in and make yourself comfortable." He even offered to open the door.
"I'll get the door, okay," the Kid said. "And stop staring at me."
"Sorry," said Guy. "Force of habit, I guess."
Kon-el took a seat at the bar while Guy contacted the Watchtower. Looking at the reflection in the mirror, 'he' found himself still shocked by the transformation that had occured. It wasn't possible, he thought. He looked more like Knockout than Superboy. If she could only see him now. Or even Roxie. Or Tana. Or even Hillary. And it was definitely a good thing that Roquette hadn't had a chance to see him. She'd have wanted to study the phenomenon. Find out if the changes were complete. That would be too weird. Besides, he could tell her they were complete. He was pretty sure he felt what must have been a cramp. Yep, that kind.
And what if the change was permanent? It wasn't fair. The name Supergirl was already taken. It was bad enough not being able to grow up and become Superman someday. But at least he could be Superboy. Now he couldn't even be Supergirl. Unless he could convince the current title holder to change her name to Superwoman.
He glanced at the mirror again. Hmm. He did still look good, just the wrong kind of good. Maybe that Hex woman could help get him a few modeling jobs. If she didn't mind the competition, that is.
"So," Guy's voice trailed back into the Kid's attention. "You're saying there are reports all over the country like this. Freaky. Any clues yet?"
There was a long pause.
"Well?" asked Superboy. "Well?"
"Don't get yer panties in a wad, little lady," Guy said, grinning at his 'wit.'
"Just see if I cut you any slack next time you get turned into a girl."
"Right ..." Guy turned his attention back to the communicator. "Sorry, I was busy with Supergirl here. She's an impatient little thing. Cute though. Oh, sorry, go ahead."
Another long pause.
"Okay, thanks. I'll pass the info on to the babe in the 'S.' Thanks." Then the communicator when blank.
"According to Oracle, teenaged boys all over the good ole U.S. of A. have turned into girls. But not at the same time. There's about an hour lapse between the first accounts and the last ones. Freaky, huh?"
"Yeah, where did the first ones come from?"
"Just outside of Atlanta. A little pocket of suburbia called Marietta."
"Thanks. I appreciate it. Let me know if there's any way I can pay you back."
Guy grinned again, then laughed. "Sure, I'll call you if any of my waitresses don't show up. I've got a replica of the old Wonder Girl costume that would look great on you."
The Kid ignored the comment and headed to the door. He immediately thought of his teammates in Young Justice. Not that he'd need any help, of course, but it might be fun to see what look the national makeover had created for Impulse and Robin.
"Robin?" Stephanie jumped down from her pirch and landed a few away from Robin.
"In the flesh, well, someone's flesh, anyway."
"What in the world happened to you? I've got to tell you, this is really weird. I mean, don't expect me to kiss you while you're like this. I mean, well, I'm not sure what I mean at all. This is just too weird."
She took another long look at the person who was obviously the Boy Wonder she'd grown to love. Only there was no boy to wonder about anymore. With the exception of having Robin's eyes, the lovely creature standing before her was all girl. And quite a girl at that. More girl than herself even, judging by the constricting fit of the Robin costume.
"Tell me about it. One minute I'm putting my Biology book away to grab the costume and change, and the next I'm looking like I walked out of one your teen fashion magazines."
"Any clues why?"
"Nope." Robin grew quiet for a moment, then said softly, "Steph, can you do me a favor?"
Steph cocked her head sideways, giving her 'boyfriend' a quizzical look. "Sure, what?"
She stepped back. "I told you before. No kissing or anything like that until you get fixed -- I mean, changed back to normal."
Robin rolled 'her' eyes and sighed. "No. I mean attack me. Rush me. Try to knock me down. I'm still trying to figure out this new center of balance thing. I'm no good to anyone if I can fight without losing my footing."
Steph grinned behind her mask. "Oh. Sure, I can do that."
She leaped to the branch above her, swung around it once, and let go, aiming the flat of her feet at Robin's chest. The 'Boy' Wonder managed to deflect the blow, but not enough to put her down. She landed off to the side and sprung again, this time putting 'him' down with a low kick to the knees.
"That's what I was afraid of."
Steph reached down and offered her hand to help him up. "I see your point. Maybe you'd better stick with me until we can get this thing figured out. Besides, I've been waiting forever to get a chance to play the protector. Do you know how tired I get of you trying to rescue me?"
"I thought you said it was cute."
"Well, it is."
"But you just said --"
She pulled him to a standing postion. "So sue me."
"Great," Robin said in the lilting female voice. "My hero."
Steph heard a soft electrical beep eminate from Robin's belt. "Someone paging you, hot stuff? Maybe a hot date with some suburban Romeo?"
Robin smiled. "Right." He grabbed a communicator from the belt. "Robin here. What's up?"
While he listened, Stephanie cursed her luck. She had really been looking forward to kicking some bad guy butt and closing the night off with a little smooching from her own Boy Wonderful. But now, stuck spending the night with the Girl Wonder, trying to reconcile her attraction with his new look, she was ready to just chuck it all and head home where it was 'safe.'
"Huh? Sorry, I was thinking."
"No prob. Listen, I've got to get to a meeting. Normally, I'd not let you come with me on Young Justice business, but, well, you're probably a little more well-equipped in this case."
"I don't know," she said with a smirk. "From where I'm standing, you're looking pretty well-equipped yourself."
"Very funny, Steph. So, are you game?"
She sighed. "Sure."
"Thanks." Robin pushed a button on his belt and in moments, she saw the Redbird come rolling into view.
Stephanie Brown, she thought, what have you gotten yourself into this time?
To be continued ...
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