"Welcome to Themyscira, daughter," the statuesque blonde smiled at Adam who after just nine days, was indeed showing very overt signs of becoming femininely curved. His sweatshirt, once baggy on him, now seemed to be much snugger, and showed signs of filling out in ways he never expected to manage.
Just nine days.
Which was why he had already accepted a change of name, too.
"Thank you, your majesty," he said quietly, feeling more than a bit awkward just then.
Amanda only smiled as she stepped forward, and bowed to the golden queen of the Amazons. "Greetings, grandmother. We much appreciate you accepting Adana into your care."
"Of course, Amanda. How could I do any less for one of my own kindred," the queen smiled at Adam. "So, Adana?"
"His…. That is, her choice," Amanda told her. "As the inevitable encroached, he chose the name himself. I felt it….suitable."
"It is a fine name," Hippolyta nodded at the young teen. "So, then, are you ready to begin your new studies?"
"Yes, your majesty," Adana, still feeling himself more male than not, blushed brightly at the sight of the women all around him.
"Excellent. I understand you cannot stay, Amanda. Still, I do hope you feel free to return when you can, daughter," Hippolyta told Amanda as she moved to embrace her. "Tell your mother she need not be a stranger either. I know her duties do not keep her that busy any longer."
"I shall remind her," Amanda smiled, and stepped back. "Now, unfortunately, my own duties do still call, so I have to beg off any hospitality for now."
"By the way, Tala was here last week."
"You still haven't made up," Hippolyta asked the somber woman.
"You all were," Hippolyta sighed. "It seems to run in the family."
"Well, so far Adana isn't. He…. She is much more…..subdued. Especially now."
"We shall see how long that lasts," the queen turned to the young teen, and gave him a cryptic smile.
Adana only blushed all the more. He might be increasingly feminine in appearance, but so far, his mindset was remaining stubbornly male. J'onn claimed that would likely fade in time. So far, it had yet to show any signs of even weakening. This, he realized, was going to be a very long, and difficult training session for more than one reason. Very long.
"Name," the bored security guard asked as he looked up at the girl standing in front of him.
The willowy, if shapely young brunette smiled, and held out an identification card even as she responded, "Adana Winter while holding a suitcase in one hand, with a backpack on her shoulder as she stood there, showing little concern for the obvious weight. "Freshman."
"Winter. Winter. Win…. Ah, right. You've got room 301, girl. Remember to read the rules, and no drugs, or partying. This is a respectable dorm, and I intend to see it remains one this semester," the man in a grey security uniform scowled.
"Yes, sir," she nodded, taking the key he handed her.
"And if you can't get along with your roommates," the man began, making Adana turn to eye him even as she began walking toward the stairs.
"Try harder. Room assignments are permanent these days. Unless you quit, or die."
"I'll try to be tolerant," she said dryly, eyeing him only briefly before heading for the stairs again.
"Ignore him," a younger girl with sandy-blonde hair striped with pink grinned as she joined her at the door to the stairs. "Robbie's watched one too many bad cop movies, and thinks he's some kind of super cop now."
"Is that what it was? Bad acting," Adana remarked wryly.
"Well, that, and he's really just that big a jerk," the girl grinned. "I'm Darla. Everyone calls me Pinkie," the blonde grinned as she lightly danced up the stairs with her. "Sophomore year, though I know I don't look it. But I have had all the best prep schools, so this place is kind of a joke. You?"
"Freshman," she admitted. "I've been in a….private school until now."
That, she knew, was the best way to describe the past three years of intensive training on an island full of Amazon warriors that took their duties very, very seriously.
"Sucks to be you. Most of the guys here are public school dropouts pretending to be socially concerned wannabes. Only their fams' money and prestige kept them out of jail, or worse. Being of age, most of them came here to torment those they deem their inferiors," Pinkie sighed.
"Let me guess. You're one of the inferiors?"
"Ooooh, you are quick. Which means you must actually have a brain. Trust me, they'll hate you, too."
"But I haven't even met…..anyone. Well, except you," Adana protested.
"True, but you're third floor. Right?"
"301," she nodded.
"I'm in 305. All the socially inept, or unconnected sorts languish on the third floor. Only the truly elite get first floor rooms. Get it?'
"So, rather than climbing the ladder, you hope to slide down it here," Adana suggested wryly as she climbed the steps without showing any indication her bags weighed her down.
"Hey, that's a good one," the blonde grinned. "But, yeah, pretty much. So, first day, or were you here in the summer?"
"First day. First hour. First minute," she nodded, pausing at the door to eye the wooden panel with a nameplate slotted for four names under the number. All of which were blank.
"The dorm monitor/den mother will put up the names later," Darla told her when she tracked her glance. "The first week in a new term a lot of newbies always drop out for…..various reasons, so they don't bother with name plates too much until the students are pretty much stabilized, and proving they intend to stay."
"Well, I'm here to stay. Mother insists. Something about learning proper social integration, or else," she sighed.
"Grandmother's worse," Adana sighed. "I think. She suggested I just be dropped off at the coast of my choice, and be left to make my way to the other coast on my own. No help but my own, as she puts it, skills and abilities to test my character, and resolve."
"Wow. Tough fam," Pinkie exclaimed as Adana unlocked the door, and pushed it open.
"You have no idea," the now voluptuously rounded brunette told her as she walked over to one of the two sets of bunks, and eyed them. "I won't even bother to tell you about my aunts," she told her carelessly.
"Looks like someone already staked out their territory," Pinkie drawled, eyeing the bags on one of the top bunks, and the lock on a trunk at the end of the bed.
Another bed on the lower bunk had someone's sheets piled on the end, and a large, pink teddy lay near the pillow already in place.
"I predict an abrupt change in someone's life," Pinky drawled, eyeing the pink teddy with a garish bow with a grimace.
"Nothing wrong with bringing a little bit of home with you," Adana murmured.
"And did you?"
She eyed the girl, and smiled blandly. "After a fashion," she said.
"Define fashion," Pinky all but challenged her as Adana set her bags down, and then tossed her backpack up on the unclaimed top bunk. "You're taking a chance there, you do know that? Most girls want the top, and they get grumpy about it if someone gets to it first."
"Well, call me Grumpy," Adana drawled with a faint smirk, and set her larger suitcase on the desk between the beds to open it up.
"Wow. Getting to the heart of the social challenges right off, are you?"
"Why not," she shrugged as he opened the suitcase. "You?"
"Hey, I know my limitations. I slink in, claimed a bottom bunk, and took off to let whoever else shows fight it out while I safely wait out the bloodshed elsewhere," Pinky grinned.
"Clever," Adana murmured.
"So, you aren't worried some wrecking ball won't come in, and call your bluff?"
"I'm not much for bluffing. I really do just want to get along, but I have learned to stand up for myself. Sometimes that means doing what you want in spite of other's expectations," Adana told her.
"I can't wait till you meet Barb."
"Well, those that know, and loathe her call her Barbie. But only behind her back. She's the queen-bee golden-girl around here. Cheerleader, honor roll, and all the usual kudos of the socially blessed. Not only is she a senior this year, but her daddy's a political big shot of some kind, as she will continually rub in your face," Pinky informed her with a gagging gesture.
"Worse. She's even threatened to use her family clout to browbeat some of the students here in the past," Pinky advised her.
"Hey, I'm too unimportant to even blackmail," she sighed with a grin. "I hope to remain that way. At least until I can land my first high-paying, but potentially profitable job. At least, that's the dream."
"Nice dream," Adana murmured.
"Well, aren't you kind of connected, though? I mean, private schools, and all?"
"Trust me, mom's very much into the bootstrap mentality. If I can't seriously do the self-improvement bit, she'd happily take grandmother's advice, and show me a coastline."
"Wow. But, no pressure, right," Pinkie grinned.
"Well, it's kind of expected in my family to be….."
"I wouldn't say perfect," Adana grimaced as she began putting things away. "Just….self-reliant, and disciplined. Mother is very fond of saying be yourself, but never miss an opportunity."
"My mom was just nuts, but it's just dad and me now. Who is very fond of saying, 'Why are you back here now,'" Pinky quipped in a faux masculine tone.
"He can't be that bad?"
"You'd think so, wouldn't you? I think the only reason he stays in touch is because he wants to know if I do actually make it big. Then he could sponge off me."
"Hey, that's just my circ's. No big deal. So, you're the family project type, huh?"
"You could say that. I've got….very big boots to fill."
"Really? So, you're fam is what? Business types? Scientists? Philanthropists? What's their deal," Pinkie asked insolently as she watched Adana put her clothes away.
"Mom's in….law. My grandmother is in…. Well, you could call it human resources. My older sister went into law enforcement, though, and she's out to make a name for herself as fast as she can."
"Do I know her," Pinkie asked with the eyes of someone that likely knew every celebrity on television.
"Not yet. Tala's only been at it a few years. Bootstraps, remember. Our family refuses to trade favor, or consequence to help gain what they feel should be earned."
"Yep. Tough love," Pinkie grimaced, then saw the silver-gilt white robe she was putting into a drawer. "Whoa, what kind of gown is that?"
"Uh, it's a family thing. For special….get-togethers," Adana adlibbed helplessly.
"Are you Wiccan, or something?"
Adana snorted, and gave a faint laugh.
"I think mom would laugh herself sick if she heard that one," the brunette told her.
"Uh, hi," a timid voice called as a small, mousy girl with a red ponytail peered into the room. "Hi. I'm Lena. Are you guys my roommates," she asked bashfully as she eased into the room as if expecting trouble.
"Not me. The professional model here is, though."
"What," Adana sputtered. "I am not a…."
"You got the looks, and the….."
Pinky gave an exaggerated heft of her own smaller breasts, and grinned.
"Just makes sense you would be the calendar girl type."
"No way, no how. Never in this, or any century," Adana growled.
"Whoa, girl," Pinkie said as Lena actually paled at her rising ire. "I was teasing. Nothing serious. 'Kay?"
Adana closed her eyes, closed her empty suitcase, and shook her head.
"Sorry. I…..got a lot of ribbing after….puberty. I'm still a little touchy."
"While some of us are still waiting for puberty," Pinkie declared insouciantly as she poked at her own smaller breast now.
Lena gave a faint smile, smaller, and thinner than either of them, and smiled bashfully again.
"I'm Lena. Lena Weems. I'm a freshman. Obviously," she blushed.
"Me, too. Adana Winter," she said, but didn't take the offered hand. She still had an issue with shaking hands. Or anything else. Sometimes she still had trouble with her motor control. The last thing she needed on the first day in college was to crush a classmate's hand.
True, she had learned to manage her strength better than she had at the start, but that was on an island full of super-powered Amazon warriors who could take her lapses a lot more easily than a tiny girl who looked like she might just be made of glass.
"Uh, nice to meet you," Lena babbled uncertainly.
"You, too. Look, I….. Where I come from, we don't shake hands. No offense."
"Then how do you say hello? Kisses and hugs," Pinkie quipped.
Adana eyed the girl, and decided she liked her insolent manner.
"Mostly, we bow," Adana told her, thinking of her great-grandmother.
"Oh, ho. Bowing and curtsying. Special robes. What century did you come from again?"
Adana rolled her eyes.
"So, are you a freshman, too," Lena asked her, the redhead still looking nervous.
"Me? Nah, I'm a sophomore."
"Sophomoric, maybe," Adana quipped.
"Ooooh, good one," Pinkie declared. "Might be hope for you after all.… Shoot, I really gotta come up with a good nickname for you," she decided when she paused, obviously struggling for a label to hang on her.
"I have a name."
"No one uses their real name in college. It's all slang, and cool tags, and….."
"And you want to mock the bowing," Adana demanded now, putting her empty suitcase into the still mostly empty closet.
"It's tradition," Pinkie sniffed.
"So is bowing," Adana muttered.
"Maybe in the last century," the blonde huffed as Lena just stared at them.
"You two aren't going to fight, are you," she asked, looking leery of both of them.
The two stared at one another, then burst into laughter.
"No," Pinkie spoke first, having laughed so hard she had to wipe tears from her eyes. "We're just ribbing each other. Friends do that."
"So, you're friends?"
"Sure," Adana said carelessly after glancing at Pinkie's cocky grin.
"I….don't think any of my friends are coming here. Must be nice to already know someone," the small redhead sighed as she went to her lower bunk, and sit down near the pillow. One hand unconsciously straying to the foot of the stuffed bear.
Adana smiled, and told her, "Actually, we just met. So we've been friends, what ten minutes?"
"More like seven or eight," Pinkie declared after making an overt glance at her watch. "Oh, make it nine."
"You're nuts," Adana told her.
"And you're stacked. We should draw the studs like flies," she declared.
"Okay, that's where I say ugh," Adana blurted out.
"No studs," she gasped dramatically. Then she grinned. "So, you bat for the other team," she asked, wagging her brows.
"Actually, I'm not sure what team I'm on," Adana told her. "I've been too busy studying."
"Whoa, that's entirely too much studying. Stick with me, girl, because I know the best sororities, and can get you into the best party. You'll be batting 'em out of the park in no time."
"Bootstraps, and discipline, remember," Adana told her. "No parties for this girl," Pinkie was told.
"What? Not even one little dance," the blonde gasped in mock-horror.
"Well, I can waltz."
"Waltz," Pinkie sniggered. Then stared somberly when Adana said nothing. "Wait, that was serious?"
"You, girlfriend, are weird. You have got to get out more, and I'm just the girl to get you out."
"I have to….."
"What mommy don't know, won't hurt her," Pinky winked. "Oh, thought I heard my roomie bellow. Better go see what crawled up her…..pantyhose," she said as someone shouted from down the hall.
"She seems…..uh, nice," Lena said quietly, one hand still gripping her bear's leg.
"She's a bit different, but she is nice," Adana told her agreeably. "So, you're Lena?"
"I hope we can be friends, too. I mean, aside from being roommates, it will make living together a lot easier," she smiled.
"Me, too," Lena blurted out. "I mean, I mean, yes, I hope we can be friends. Have you met….anyone else?"
"I've only seen you and Pinkie so far. Whoever else is assigned here was gone before I arrived."
"They must have come in after I did. No one had anything on the other beds when I arrived," the small redhead told her.
"So, what's your major? Or have you decided," the brunette asked as she eyed the apparently bashful girl.
"Haven't a clue. I'm leaning toward education. I thought…. I'm kind of considering being a teacher. Elementary, of course. I doubt I could handle high school again," she shivered.
"Who would want to try," Adana smiled.
"So, have you got a major," Lena asked, starting to relax just a little. Even letting go of her pink bear as she moved to straighten up a bit.
"I'm considering international law, or maybe economics."
"Wow. Hardcore stuff," Lena grimaced.
"Well, my family is already kind of….involved in law, and diplomacy, so….it's kind of expected."
"Oh, well, yeah. I can see that."
"Wow. Talk about Beauty and Beast," a Rubenesque blonde in tight jeans, and a tighter halter who looked all muscle walked into the room just then.
"Pardon," Adana huffed, turning from reaching for her backpack to unpack the last of her personal items into the drawers assigned by bed number.
"Whoa," the blonde grinned, eyeing her as Lena seemed to cringe again. "Didn't even see you, Jugs. I was talking about Tiny and her pet, there. You know, Beauty and the Beast? Seemed to fit."
"My name is Adana," she said flatly, "Not Jugs," she added. "And I doubt Lena appreciates your…..teasing."
"It's all right," Lena murmured, shrinking back again. "I just want to….get along…."
"Hey, hey, hey," the blonde held up both hands. "I was teasing. Didn't mean a thing by it. Pops is always saying my mouth engages long before my brain. So, no offense. Just trying to be friendly. Okay? I'm Carla, by the way. Everyone at home calls me Motor-mouth, though," she grinned. "Bet you'll never guess why?"
"I think I have a clue," Adana murmured.
"Let me guess. Since you got all righteous, and everything, you're likely the brainiac type that breaks the cheerleader stereotype, and spends all her time in books. Right?"
"I wouldn't say all my time," Adana muttered indignantly.
"Hey, that's cool. I'll need a smart roomie to help me get through this. I have to admit, I'm only here because Pops insisted all his kids get educated. I'd really rather be back home helping on the farm. Livestock, and agri, I know. Books, not so much," she admitted.
"You….really worked….on a farm," Lena asked her."Family farm. We all work, or we all work. Pops isn't big on choices," Carla grinned at Lena. "Let me guess. You were the family pet? Never got your hands dirty?"
"Actually, I've been a waitress for three years now. It's how I saved enough to get into college," Lena told her. "I'm…..a foster kid. Or was, I guess. When you turn eighteen, they kind of just dump you."
"That tanks," Carla huffed. "I knew some kids in the system. I hated the way the adults treated them, but, shoot, our peers weren't much better at times."
"No," Lena murmured.
"Well, you're out of it now, and you're among friends now. Right, Juu…. Ah, Brainiac? Friends," she asked, holding out a big, calloused hand.
"She….doesn't shake hands," Lena said quietly, eyeing the big hand.
"And, uh, don't call me Brainiac," she groaned, having a few negative feelings about that particular name. She could just imagine her mom's reaction to it. Let alone anyone else in her family.
"Okay, okay. So you don't like nicknames. Don't shake hands. Tough crowd. So, Adana, right?"
"Yes. Nice to meet you," Adana nodded now.
"Likewise. So, anyone taking business, or agri classes? Anyone?"
Adana sighed as Carla looked hopefully at them.
"Education," Lena finally murmured.
"Economics," Adana told her. "Probably some poli-sci classes."
"Econ-One! Cool! So, you'll be my study-buddy," Carla all but begged with a wide grin.
Adana sighed, and rolled her eyes.
To Be Continued…