Leslie Rafe exited his apartment to see one of his neighbors struggling with a heavy box. "Here, Mrs. Call, let me help you with that.” She smiled her gratitude and sighed in relief as he took it from her hands. He lifted the box and said, "Where to?"
The tiny, elderly woman smiled. "To the curb, Leslie. I'm getting rid of it."
Rafe smiled and carried the box to the curb with her following close behind. This charming woman was one of the few that could get away with using his first name. "What is this, Mrs. Call?"
"Oh, some old books I no longer have any use for. Feel free to look through and take any you might find useful." After he set the box down, she pulled him down to her level and brushed a light kiss on his cheek. "Thank you, Leslie."
"You're welcome, Mrs. Call." He lifted a hefty volume from near the bottom. "Ooh, this looks interesting."
"You just be careful with that," she said, tapping a finger on his forearm. "It's not what it appears."
Rafe glanced at his watch. "Ouch. And speaking of appearing, it appears I'm late for work!" He gave her a quick hug and raced up the stairs, the book held firmly in his arm.
"Do be careful, Leslie," she whispered after him.
It was nearly midnight before Rafe let himself back into his apartment, worn out. Too long of a day had him so tired he could barely put one foot in front of the other.
He dozed through his nightly routine and crawled into bed. Rafe took a few deep breaths and relaxed. His eyes, however, had decided they would remain open. After an hour or so of fruitless trying, Rafe got out of bed. A glass of warm milk later, he returned to bed.
Nope. No luck.
With a sigh, he got up again and padded on bare feet through the apartment. His eyes fell on a book and he picked it up.
A smile curved his lips. It was the book from Mrs. Call's box. He flipped through it, finding it a mixture of prose and poetry. The smile grew as he returned to the bedroom.
Rafe opened the book at random. The poem blurred before his eyes. He blinked, but the words stayed blurred. He whispered the words of the poem to himself, and they cleared up.
Confused, Rafe read the poem from beginning to ending, aloud.
"Tieresias, seer of old
Come now, be so bold
As to use your Elysian charms
And hold me in your Sylvan arms.
"Grant me the gift you bear
Change this garb of flesh I wear.
Tieresias, seer, trickster bold,
Grant me the blessings granted of old."
Rafe frowned. "Short poem," he mused, closing the book. He lay down and whispered the last stanza to himself again as his eyes closed.
They popped open again half an hour later as agony lanced through his body. Rafe screamed as he trembled in his bed.
When it eased, he gave a relieved sigh and rolled onto his stomach, preparing to get up and find out if he was injured.
"Ow!" He yelped, startled at the pitch of the cry, as he got on his hands and knees, a hand rising to rub a suddenly-aching chest.
A moment later, a horrified scream of shock split the air.
"No... no way...." Rafe struggled to the bathroom and slid on the light. He looked into the mirror, and grabbed onto the sink to keep himself upright. A hand reached up and tugged lightly on a long strand of chestnut coloured hair and he winced as it didn't come off. Licking his lips nervously, he reached up and slowly undid his pajama top, crying out in dismay as he saw what he'd only felt before.
Slowly, trembling now, he reached down and gingerly felt lower. Rafe went to his knees, sobbing aloud as he realised the transformation was total.
Now what was he going to do?
Heads swiveled in Major Crimes as a beautiful brunette in too-large, mannish clothing stalked in. Her head raised almost defiantly, she met each one stare for stare, daring them to say anything.
No one did.
She stalked over to the double desk on the opposite adjoining wall to Simon's office, noticing one was empty. Fine by her -- the one she wanted to see was right there.
Hitching up her too-large pants, she sat in the chair beside the desk and waited, practically vibrating with impatience as she waited for him to finish keying in something.
For a long moment, there was no reaction. The swiftly clicking keys slowed, faltered -- then came to a halt as large eyes blinked and the man turned to face her. "May I help you?" His puzzled shock was audible.
"Believe me, Blair, out of everyone I know, you'd be the one most likely to be able to help me!" she sighed, passing a tapered hand over her forehead.
The large blue eyes, somehow made larger by both the glasses and the short curls, blinked owlishly as he removed the glasses and frowned at her. After a moment, he said slowly, "I... I'm sorry, Ma'am... have we met before?"
Her jaw unhinged and she shook her head, gawking openly for a few moments in naked disbelief. Then, it was as if realization slapped her in the face, so quickly did her expression shift. "Oh...that's right..." she whispered, seeming to collapse in on herself. "....I forgot...."
Blair reached over and lay a hand on her slim one. "Forgot what, Ma'am?" he asked gently.
She raised her eyes to meet his. "Blair," she whispered tightly. "Bring your laptop to the interrogation room, please. We... we have to talk."
Slowly, he nodded. "Just let me leave a note for my partner."
"Yeah," she smiled shakily. "I don't think either one of us needs a ballistic Jim on our backs."
Blair did a double-take at that. He hurriedly scribbled a note and left it on Jim's desk. Then, he grabbed his backpack and said, "Follow me."
"I know the way," she snapped. She couldn't resist the barb, "Can make the boy a detective, and he stilll carries that pack around...."
Under the circumstances, Blair showed impressive aplomb and self-control. He managed to hold off until they were actually inside the interrogation room with the door closed before he rounded on her. "Okay, lady, just who are you and how do you know so much about me?"
"It's me, Leslie," she replied. "Blair, I need your help. I need to know if you've ever heard of someone named Tieresias."
Blair shook his head, holding up a hand to ward off the words. "Hold on a second, here. First off, I don't know any woman named Leslie. And second, why are you so all-fired interested in such an obscure myth? And thirdly, you've not answered my questions!"
With a heavy sigh, she leaned on the table. "I need to find out about Tieresias because he was prominently mentioned in a poem I read out loud last night. It must have been some sort of spell, because this morning, I woke up like this!"
Blair shook his head again. "I'm not following ---"
"Dammit, Blair!" She struck the flat of her palm on the table. "I'm Leslie! Leslie Rafe!"
Blair blinked. Then, he blinked again. Slowly, his eyes raked her form up and down, taking in the long brunette waves, the flashing hazel eyes, and the unmistakable feminine curves badly filling out the oversized, male-cut Armani suit.
"You're....Rafe," he said at last.
"Rafe...that works here."
"That Leslie Rafe."
"Yes, dammit, yes!"
Blair sank into a chair and held his sides, laughing till he was gasping.
She also dropped into a chair, too numbed by his reaction to even cry in her frustration.
The interrogation room door opened. "Hey, Sandburg, Rafe! You two want to ---" Jim's voice died as he stared at the woman, his jaw slowly going south.
For her part, she slowly regained her smile, basking in his acceptance that this was indeed who she claimed to be, even if she didn't understand how.
Blair shot way up in his seat. "Jim?" he gasped out, in shock. "Jim....you're saying this... IS....Rafe?"
Jim nodded, slowly, his hand tapping his own heart.
This action made Blair's eyes go even wider. As he stared at the transformed detective, he blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
"Well, at least this explains why you were asking about Tieresias...."
Jim frowned. "Who's Tieresias?"
"A myth," Blair said at the same time Rafe said, "A witch."
Jim's frown deepened. "Which is it?"
Rafe filled him in on what had happened to her. Jim shook his head and rubbed the back of his neck. "That's about the strangest thing I've ever heard...."
At that point, Brown came in. "Hey, Jim! Simon wants you upstairs -- something about the Carlson case." He smiled at Rafe. "Excuse us, Ma'am -- police business."
Jim looked at Blair. "Can you handle this, Chief?"
"I think so," he replied with a smile. "You go on, and call if you need me."
"You do the same," Jim said, pointing at Blair. He left with Brown.
Rafe came out of the chair with a shout. "Police business? Ma'am?" She let out a noise of frustration. "I don't look that different!"
"No, but keep in mind, we're the only ones who know who you really are." He met her eyes. "You should tell Brown, if you're going to --"
"No. Henri gets kept out of this. The fewer people who know, the better." She wiped her hands on her pants. "So... where do we go to find out about this Tieresias character?"
Rafe paced the Loft's living room nervously, the staccato 'click-click-click' of Blair's typing making a counterpoint to the soft padding of her bare feet on the floor.
Without even looking up, Blair asked, "What is it? The clothes not fit right?"
"Huh?" She whirled, her eyes going wide as the material of the skirt swirled around her legs; an interesting and unexpected sensation.
He smiled up at her for a second, then returned to his search. "I asked if the clothes fit."
"Yeah, they fit fine." She sank onto the couch, splaying out mannishly. "Who'd have guessed me and Connor would end up the same size?" she moaned.
Blair glanced up and made a small strangled sound before forcing himself to not stare. "Where..." he squeaked. He cleared his throat and this time, managed to get his voice to something approximating normal. "Where did you say you read the poem from?"
"I didn't," she said, sitting up and leaning forward to make her point --- which presented its own problems in the scoop-necked shirt. "It was from a book my neighbor, Mrs. Call, gave me yesterday mor --- Blair, why are you staring at me?"
It was Blair's turn to let out a startled, monosyllabic "Huh?" as he gave a guilty start and had the grace to blush. "Sorry."
Rafe frowned deeply. She looked down, and her eyes grew wide as she realized what he was staring at. With a frustrated cry, she keeled backward, pressing the heels of her hands into her eyes.
"I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through," Blair said honestly. "It must be wrenching."
"To say the least," she sighed as her hands fell to either side of her, connecting with the couch with double thumps. "Find anything?"
"Yeah, I think so." He was peering intently at the computer screen.
Rafe walked over and looked at the screen. Her brow furrowed. "You can read this?" she asked incredulously. "It looks Greek to me!"
“That'd make sense." Blair smiled up at her, "It is Greek."
"Oh." Her cheeks stained with pink and she sighed. "So...what does it say?"
"It's the myth of Tieresias."
"The what?" she gasped. "That poem was no myth and this is sure no myth!" Her gesture took in her form.
"No, but apparently Tieresias was thought to be a myth." He fell silent for a moment, scanning the screen. "He was a wise man who saw two snakes mating and killed the female. He became female instantly. After seven years, she saw two more snakes mating and killed the male, becoming male once more. Then he was called to decide an argument between Zeus and Hera. Apparently, he took the wrong side, cause the loser -- it varies on which version of the myth is read -- blinded him. To compensate, the winner gave him the gift of prophecy."
Rafe ran her hands through her gently waving hair. "He was a gender-shifter." She shook her head slightly. "But how does that help me?"
Blair stood up. "Let's go see that book, Rafe. If I see it, maybe we can figure ..." his voice trailed off. "Uhm...we can't call you Leslie Rafe -- people will think we've both gone crazy."
Rafe sighed. "Okay, why don't you call me by my sister's name, then?"
"Lucy Rafe it is, then." He smiled his most charming smile at her. "Shall we depart, fair maiden?"
Lucy rolled her eyes. "Oh, for pity's sake -- just come on!"
Blair laughed as he followed her, catching up a pair of comfortable flats from the pile of ladies' clothing in the box as he did so. "I swear, sometimes I think we're living in a comic book...."
Back at her apartment building, Lucy suddenly grabbed Blair's arm. "Mrs. Call!"
"Mrs. Call!" Lucy was smiling. "She gave me the book! Maybe she can answer some questions about it!"
Blair grinned and bounced lightly. "So, where does Mrs. Call live?"
"Right there," she pointed down the corridor. "Come on."
Their knocks and calls went unanswered. Lucy met Blair's eyes. "This isn't like Mrs. Call," she said softly. "And I know she's here -- her car's out front!"
Blair tested the door and found it open. They walked in and found the old woman lying on her bed. "Mrs. Call!" Lucy called, running to her side.
Blair hung back, watching them. The old woman was very weak, and Blair couldn't hear her whispered questions, but he heard Lucy's answers.
"Yes, Mrs. Call, you told me to be careful... yes, it's really me... the Tieresias one...Tieresias...yes, how did you know I repeat---...yes...." Then her head snapped toward Blair. "He's a what?"
After staring pop-eyed at Blair for a moment, Lucy turned back to Mrs. Call. "But even if that's ... Mrs. Call?" She shot to her feet and groped at Mrs. Call's neck.
Lucy let out a wail and fell to her knees beside the bed, burying her face in her hands for a minute, before shakily getting to her feet and pulling the sheet over Mrs. Call's face.
Blair lay a hand on Lucy's arm as she joined him at the doorway. "Are you okay?"
"No. She was a good friend." Lucy sighed and wiped her eyes. "She said you could help me."
"Oh?" Blair asked.
"Yeah, she said you were a shaman." Lucy smiled at his expression, then she frowned deeply. "Which begs the questions -- what is that, and why have you kept it secret from us?"
Blair just looked at her, unable to come up with a believable rebuttal. At last, he got out, "That's not important right now, Lucy. What is important is you. So come on, let's look at that book!"
Once they were back in her apartment, Lucy opened the book, jabbing a tapered finger on one page. "Here it is. This is the poem I read."
Blair studied the book. He saw not only the poem, but a faint bit of prose as well. He read it silently, then asked, "Did you repeat this last bit?"
Lucy blinked at him. "Mrs. Call asked that, too! Why? What is that book?"
"It's a book of spells," Blair said, meeting her eyes. "The one you read --- well, it says here that...."
"That?" Lucy prompted when he paused. "That what, Blair?"
His voice was soft. "That...the transformation is... pretty well...permanent."
Lucy let out a wail for the second time in less than an hour; sinking, trembling onto the couch.
"....unless you repeated the last stanza."
Her head snapped up. "Yes!" she cried. "I did! What does that mean? What did I do?"
Blair was studying the book again. "Do you remember the last line of the stanza?"
"Yes -- what does that have ---"
"Say it, Lucy."
Lucy shook her head. "'Grant me the blessings granted of old'. But I don't ---" Her eyes widened and she doubled over in pain.
Blair knelt beside her, holding her as her body reshaped itself. In seconds, Leslie Rafe knelt where Lucy Rafe had been.
He sat on his heels and looked at his hands, then down at his male body and clothing -- the pajamas he had worn when he transformed the first time. "It's over," he whispered. "It's over!"
Blair closed the book and shook his head. "No, Leslie -- it's only begun."
Leslie looked wide-eyed at him. "What... what are you talking about?"
Weeks passed. Life returned to what passed for normal in Cascade.
Then one day, the captain of Vice came down to talk to Simon. "What d'you think that's about?" Henri asked his partner.
Leslie shrugged as he worked on his report. "Don't know, don't really care," he said nonchalantly.
Simon came out, and Leslie and Henri overheard him talking to Jim and Blair about a possible undercover assignment.
Suddenly interested, Leslie walked over to them. "Sir? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to overhear --- but do you need someone who can pose as a prostitute?"
Vice's captain chuckled. "Thank you, Detective, the offer is appreciated, but I'm afraid you're the wrong sex."
Blair and Leslie locked eyes for a moment, then Leslie smiled. "Yes, sir. But let me go make a phone call. I know someone who might be able to help." He left the bullpen.
Leslie slid into a stairwell, making sure he was alone.
Moments later, a tall, striking brunette in an emerald green dress walked into Major Crimes. "Captain Banks?"
Simon looked up. "I'm Banks."
She smiled and held out a tapered hand. "Leslie told me you needed some help. I'd like to help."
"Excuse me, ma'am," the Vice captain said, "But just who the Sam Hill are you?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," she chuckled. "My name is Lucy. Lucy Rafe."
Return to The Realm