The box was… pretty plain, if she was honest.
Not that Xena was complaining, of course – a gift was a gift, even if generic brown paper and a twine bow didn’t exactly scream “effort”, to her. No return label, either.
Oh, well. Maybe it was like… jelly of the month, or something? A gift that keeps on giving.
Looks more like a bag lunch.
Still, as she carries the little brown box in from the rainy day outside, she was curious – after all, any package timed to arrive on her birthday had to be something special, at the very least, right? Surely?
Tearing the paper and removing the twine was easy, but that didn’t… quite explain the box underneath. Party Time?
There was a note there, but she was so focused on figuring out the box she simply sat aside, completely ignoring the large “PLEASE READ FIRST” scribbled on the back in urgent red ink.
The box was…
…empty. Completely empty, aside from a weird sparkly glitter coating everything inside, some of which was thrown into the air by the force of her opening, tickling her nose.
Phew. Who sends an empty box as a birthday gift?!
Xena, fuming, picked up the card – and frowned.
“Party in a box? What the hell does that mean?”
Her question, funnily enough, was answered – loudly, and immediately.
Instantly, a loud hissing reached her ears – the sound of a balloon slipped over a helium tank, a cold, filling sensation sweeping across her tummy. The drakkai only had time to utter a bewildered “WHAT” before her tummy began to swell and stretch, scales giving way to an expanse of soft, pliable rubber. It was soft to the touch, squeaking beneath her claws – and for a moment there was silence, almost comically quiet.
Just a moment, though. The hissing returned, twice as loud.
Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, she wasn’t growing, exactly. While the changes were more or less proportional, she felt her clothes start to bunch and bag, but there was no way…
As she tried to press on her tummy, hoping to squish it elsewhere, her tail began to shrink down – softening, losing definition as she began to round out. A brand new balloon knot tipped the end, and as she hurriedly tried to read the note (which, she now noticed, said very plainly not to open facing yourself), a long orange ribbon snaked to the floor from it. As she watched, her claws began to feel oddly flat – and, to her bewilderment and confusion, fell apart into a little pile of Xena-print napkins.
That, unfortunately, was the least of her worries – ribbons and decorations began to pop up here and there, conveniently drakkai themed and colored. Clearly magic was at work here, and it was decorating a party with her.
Xena was beginning to feel a bit full as her clothes grew baggier, tummy swelling into her clothes even as her arms and legs receded into her shirt and shorts – a bad sign, if she’d ever seen one. Her hair, usually long and fluffy, felt oddly scratchy – and as the swelling continued, slowly slid away as so much confetti – scattering the table, and floor, and… everywhere, really.
“S-Stop, damnit!” The drakkai protested, flailing for the table – and slipping completely out of her shorts, which fell to the ground with a thud of dropped fabric. Worryingly, she wasn’t touching the floor anymore with her claws.
…more worryingly, she couldn’t feel her claws – and a glance downwards only showed an increasingly generic ovoid shape, like… a party balloon. One of a few, now scattering the ceiling. She couldn’t see them, really, but had a sinking feeling she knew exactly what was on them.
Party in a box. Duh.
Cursing her bad luck, the drakkai began to shrink further as her midsection began to round out, slipping through the neck of her shirt and dragging the ribbon along with her! It was a slow, gradual rise – clearly she only just now held enough helium to be buoyant, not that it really made her feel any better. She was a dragon, not… a toy! Usually. Mostly? Verdict was out, on that one.
The pressure continued to build inside as the hissing grew louder, her face feeling as if it was being flattened with a rolling pin – until, gradually, everything went dark.
…the next thing she knew, she could see. It was an oddly fixed view, roughly in her “middle” – but it gave her a fine view of the front door for… however long she floated there. It was a bit hard to tell, but if she had to guess it was at least a few hours – as, a little before six, the first guest arrived. First knocking, and a confused grunt as the door swung open, clearly not shut completely before she’d opened the box.
“Um. Xena?” A familiar voice rang out. “Hey?”
No reply. Not for lack of trying, of course.
The rabbit glanced over, clearly recognizing the box open on the table – then down at the clothes, and with a weary realization, up, at the drakkai-print balloons bobbing on the ceiling. The expression was almost comical, a mix of “should’ve known” and “this again.” Clearly in the habit of sending these boxes.
“…You realize I wrote instructions for a reason, right? The big red “please read” didn’t strike you as important? Honestly, why does nobody ever read the card…”
Muttering something about “it’s like they all WANT to get changed,” the rabbit plopped down at the table.
“Should change back at the end of the night, but uh. Open it away from yourself next time, okay?”