Posted September 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Yoshi wiped her eyes on her arm, and gave a sort of strangled laugh. "I--I'm sorry," she said, and Teige was dismayed to hear that her voice was still shaking so much, "I-I did not e-even consid--"

"Oh, don't, now," Teige said gently, and opened his arms. "Here now, would a hug serve you?"

Yoshi made a little noise of agreement and allowed herself to be wrapped in Teige's arms. He squeezed her briefly, patted her back, telling her, "There. Look, you'll be all right, yea? We can just approach this shapeshifting business a bit more gently."

He drew back, holding her by the shoulders. She wasn't crying any longer, but she still looked upset. "But what if I just cannot do it?" she asked. "Shinobu's always said that most mixed-species people can't change shape."

"Ah, but what's she know?" Teige scoffed.

"She teaches the bestiary at the University."

"Oh." Teige paused for an instant, then turned to walk with her again, green fire enveloping him and shifting him back to his regular horned shape. He told her, "Ah, but you can already change shape! That's not your problem, is it now? It's just a matter of doing it when you mean to, yea?" She sniffed and said nothing. He continued, as they set off across the bridge once more, "Sure, you may not have a fun time learning, considering. But once you've got it down, you'll never have to change shape again if you don't want."

"That is true," Yoshi admitted quietly.

The single cloud overhead had grown, and a second smaller one had formed seemingly out of nothing alongside it. Yoshi was silent for a long time, but then said, "I am sorry. I promise I do not usually...cry like this. Or...I did not, before I began estrogen..."

"God, don't be sorry!" Teige replied. "Give yourself a break, kiddo, you've essentially just started being a teenager all over again. It'll all settle out with time, I promise."

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