John bent forwards and blew out the candles; it was his sixteenth birthday and he felt a bit foolish having to do it, but it was for his family's sake, and the 'party' was just a small relatively informal one for close friends and family, so he didn't mind all that much. He was momentarily blinded by several flashes of light as his mum took his photo, and when he'd blinked his vision clear, someone had already moved the cake so that it could be cut and dished out. He spent the next couple of minutes making small talk with his family and friends while cake was passed out so that everyone could be there when it came time for presents. He didn't really see the big deal, but his mum insisted that it was, so he couldn't really argue.
After everyone was settled, he spent the next half hour tearing open wrapping paper and pretending to act shocked and pleased with what he got, although secretly he was disappointed with most of it. Eventually, it was his parent's turn to give their presents, and his mum handed him one wrapped in blue paper that had a sheen to it that you could only catch out of the corner of your eye but was definitely there rather than a trick of the light. There was a fancy label on it and when he questioned this his mum replied "Oh I had it gift-wrapped at the store. When I told them it was a birthday present they offered to wrap it for me and even offered a discount."
"Where'd you get it?" asked John perplexed. From the feel of it, he was sure it was clothing, and though he really didn't want it (his mum had terrible choice in clothes as gifts, and always bought some embarrassing item or another for his and his brothers' birthdays), he was curious as to what shop would give such an offer and use such nice paper.
"Oh I got it from that new place that opened a few months ago," she smiled "You know that place that sounds like an IKEA rip-off but actually has lots of great stuff."
"AKEA?" asked John surprised "I didn't know they did clothing."
"How do you know it's clothing?" replied his mother shocked.
"'cause you always buy me clothing for my birthday," he replied, "Plus I was just guessing from the feel through the paper."
"Oh," she blushed "Well, yes, I didn't know that either until I went in, but apparently they've just opened a clothing section, so I thought I'd get you something really special."
"Really?" asked John. Looking down he shrugged and started opening the present.
"Oh I'm sure you'll love it," beamed his mum "The clerk told me all the boys your age are wearing them."
"Uh huh," nodded John confused. He wasn't one for fashion and from what little he did know, the current 'fad' was one he wasn't keen to get into. As he finally freed the present from the wrapping, his fears were confirmed.
He lifted up a tube-like object, large enough to encircle his waist and long enough to fall to mid-thigh. The fabric felt soft and comfortable between his fingers, and he lifted it high enough to cover the grimace of horror that passed his face as he forced himself to be calm. The label read "Men's One-Legged Pant", but he knew that it really was a skirt, and the name 'one-legged pant' was just a marketing ploy to sucker people into buying it.
"Oh," he said, mastering his feelings, "It's...umm...great. What I always wanted. Thanks mum."
"Thank God!" exclaimed his mother "I was worried you were going to hate it." Behind her back, John could see his brothers smirking; both of them knew what she was going to say next and were relishing John's upcoming discomfort. "Why don't you go try it on?" asked his mum.
"Why not? You said you liked it, so I think we can all wait for you to go and change into it before we carry on with the rest of your presents."
"Oh yeah...good idea," he said, gritting his teeth with a mock smile. "It's a shame you didn't get some for Jack and Sam they really want one each." His brothers' angry glares told him that he'd scored some points back.
"Oh really?" replied his mum sadly, "I wish I'd known you boys could have all had one; it'd have made a nice photo to hang on the wall." Perking up slightly she added "Ah well, never mind, we can all go to AKEA tomorrow and pick you boys up something. Now," at this she turned back to the birthday boy "You hurry along and change, we're getting impatient from all this dawdling." She winked to show she was joking, but John knew he wasn't getting out of it. Forcing a smile to his face he grabbed the 'pant' and retreated to his room.
Slamming his door shut he threw the skirt onto his bed and cursed his luck. Why did his mum have to buy it for him? Anyone with an once of common sense could see it was a skirt and not menswear. As he pulled down his trousers he added a curse directed against the genius who'd come up with the marketing ploy (although he had to admit he wasn't sure if he was being sarcastic on the 'genius' bit as the guy must be one to have made it successful). Wincing as he looked over at the latest addition to his wardrobe he reflected on those he knew who wore one themselves. There were a couple of guys in school who wore them, and surprisingly they came from a wide spectrum of the social ladder. Almost all the emo kids wore them, and although John felt that he was a non-wangsty version of someone who was slightly emo, he'd never had the intention of wearing one himself. While it was understandable that the emo kids would wear them, what surprised him was that some of the 'cool' kids had not only given them a go as well, but had made them a staple part of their wardrobe.
Although he'd pretended not to know that AEKA had a clothing section to his mother, he actually did know, but had heard some very strange rumours. He'd heard all sorts of fantastic things on the web, and had overheard people at school discussing weird things happening with other items (he'd even seen in the newspaper that a recent series of disappearances in America had only one thing in common every victim had bought sheets from AKEA). He would have passed all this off as unfounded rumour and paranoia if it wasn't for the fact that he'd experienced unusualness of AKEA items firsthand. In fact it was the main reason he was dreading putting on the 'pant' many of the guys in school who now sported one had undergone personality changes after putting one on. He had no solid proof, but he had a distinct memory of many of those guys being different, especially Alex who'd always come off as a bit of a jerk (although they'd never interacted before), but after showing up in one of the one-legged pants had mellowed out and become fairly geeky, albeit also a bit girly, and was now someone John wouldn't mind hanging out with.
Sighing, John broke out of his reverie. There was only one option, and that was to put on the 'pant'. Taking a deep breath he grabbed the skirt and pulled it on. As he released the breath, he thought to himself 'Actually, this isn't all that bad.' Looking at his reflection in the full length mirror that was being stored in his room temporarily (or at least as temporary as 'ten years' was) he smiled. His hips had widened slightly and his ass had grown a bit, giving him a slight effeminate look in his lower half. As his hands started to feel the new shape to his body, he paused and blinked.
"What just happened?" he asked the room. A sudden sharp pain bent him double and as his head went down, long dark hair from his fringe tumbled across his face. As the pain receded, he gingerly pushed the hair from his face wondering how his short hair was suddenly long enough to reach his shoulders. As he looked at his reflection, his mind grew foggy and he started to like the look. As he watched, his face grew softer and more girly, although it still retained a hint of masculinity. The fact that he was starting to like the change scared him, and a part of his mind frantically tried to work out what was happening.
He felt the sudden urge to change his shirt to something that matched his new 'pant' but fought it down. A sharp pain made his knees go weak and he fell to the floor. As the pain receded, he knew another change had occurred. Giving into the external urge made the pain abate completely and as he stood up, he caught his reflection in the mirror and was horrified to see that he'd become even more of a girly guy. As he crossed to his wardrobe he wondered how he was going to explain his new appearance to his family, but something told him they'd only remember him like this. Opening his wardrobe he gasped somehow all his clothes had altered to suit him. Seeing a top that appealed to the new 'him' he started to reach out, but by force of will snatched his hand back.
Once more a wave of pain passed through him and he could feel his manhood slipping. It dawned on him that something had changed him, and the more he resisted it, the harder it would fight back by changing him even more. A soft voice whispering at the back of his mind confirmed this, and suddenly he knew what it was. He now realised why the guys at school had changed their pants had done it. Part of the magic woven in by AKEA caused the wearer to change to suit the clothing. Perhaps all AKEA's clothes did it, or perhaps it was just the one-legged pants, John didn't know, nor did he care. All he knew was that he was now slave to the whim of his newest birthday present, and he feared that if he resisted, it may go all the way. Giving in, his body changed his clothes on its own and he awaited what would happen next.
Standing in front of the mirror he wondered what the pant wanted him to do, but he couldn't feel it pulling on the corners of his mind. He pondered this and the voice whispered to him that he had control again, but only so long as he didn't go against the pant's wishes. He looked at the mirror and was disturbed that he'd actually become a fairly cute girly guy. Admiring himself, he wondered if he could actually pass for a girl and the pant agreed with him.
Sighing he knew he couldn't stay up here forever. Turning he left his room and headed back to the party. Halfway down the stairs he heard the doorbell ring and he called out that he'd get it. Upon opening the door, he saw Alex from school standing there.
"Sorry I'm late," he said "Got stuck running errands for my folks. Have I missed it?"
John stood there mouth gaping, confused. The pant whispered that reality had altered to suit his new form, and that Alex was now part of John's new life.
"Uh no," replied John eventually. 'Wow,' he thought 'Alex is actually kinda cute.' The urge to flirt with his 'new' friend filled him, and as he fought back he realised the mistake he was making. Once more the pain passed through him and he knew that if he resisted again, then he'd lose his masculinity forever.
"Woah!" said Alex as John fell dizzily "You OK hon?"
"Yeah, just felt a bit lightheaded," smiled Jean. Inwardly he wondered why he now identified as 'Jean' instead of 'John' and the soft voice of the pant told him that it was part of his last change. He wondered what the other part of the change would be, and then he suddenly realised what Alex had called him.
"What...what did you just call me?" he asked, dreading the response.
"Hon. What, not right? Guess we still need to work on our pet names for each other."
Inwardly Jean gasped. He didn't know what to say. To resist Alex's charms would mean becoming Alex's girlfriend, not resisting would mean that he would 'remain' as Alex's boyfriend. He didn't know what to do. The split second he had to decide stretched out into an infinity. The part of him not under the pant's sway was divided. Part of it wanted to say no because of what Alex had been in the past, while the other part actually liked the idea, even without it being what his pant wanted.
An infinity compressed back into a split second, and Jean made his choice...