I sat on the roof, cross-legged, with the guy I’d run into and knocked over. He was leaning against the side of a higher building that backed onto the one we were sitting on.
I hadn’t really looked at him before, he was more of a roughly human-shaped blob. Now that things were calmer, I could actually get a good look at him.
Surprisingly, he was actually kind of cute, though I couldn’t help but feel like there was something weird about thinking that. Inappropriate, maybe. After all, I had just saved his life. Twice.
My body twitched, and I felt it begin to revert back to its normal state. Mr Whatshisface just stared, mouth open. He actually even blinked a few times.
“So it was you,” he said, when his mouth finally started working again. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting him to say.
“I’m sorry?” I asked, wincing as I heard my own voice in my ears. At least the super version of me sounded like a girl.
“The person I ran into,” he said. “You looked… different.”
My mouth felt dry. How the hell was I supposed to explain this to him? ‘Hi, I recently became able to shapeshift into a white woman with superpowers, oh and also I’m actually a woman myself, even if I look like a guy to you’?
“I do that, sometimes,” I said, feeling about as awkward as I ever had in my life.
“So is this your normal body, then?” he asked, clearly thinking very hard about what he said. “Or is this a disguise?”
I sighed. I couldn’t come up with a clever enough lie to bother telling him anything other than the truth.
“This is me,” I said.
“Cool,” he said, nodding. “Uh, I’m Qiu. Thanks for saving me.”
“Oh, yeah. Don’t mention it,” I said. “I’d tell you my name, but honestly I’m still trying to figure out what to do now that you’ve seen my real face.”
His eyes grew wide, almost panicked.
“Hey, your secret is safe with me,” he said, and even mimed zipping his lips shut. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Thanks, I feel much safer now.”
His expression turned serious, and his eyes narrowed.
“Hey, I need to ask something,” he said, a little shyly. “You don’t need to answer me, but…” He shook his head, struggling to find the words. “How much control do you have over your transformation?”
I sighed, figuring the question would come out sooner or later. Better to just get it out of the way.
“None,” I told him. “It’s complicated, but the short answer is that I don’t really have any say in what I look like.”
“So you didn’t choose to turn white, then,” he said bluntly. I started at him, surprised. That was not the point I’d expected him to fixate on.
“No, I definitely did not choose to turn white,” I said. “And if I could change that, I would. I mean, it makes for a good disguise, but… it’s not me.”
“I’m guessing you only have your powers when you transform?” he asked, sounding almost sympathetic.
“Seems that way. I don’t know, I haven’t been this way for very long. I’m not even sure what I’m doing, honestly.”
He smiled at me, a bright, warm smile.
“Maybe not, but you saved my life,” he said. “You’re already a hero in my eyes.”
I could feel myself turning red.
“I, uh, I guess I should get you home, hey?” I asked, cringing inwardly. It sounded like the end of a date.
“I’d, uh, I’d say I’ll get myself home, but I don’t even know how to get down from this roof,” he said, sounding just as awkward as I felt. It actually made me feel a little better.
“I guess I can give you a lift,” I said. “Where to?”