The Adventures of Tuxboy!
"I Was a Teenage Bishounen!"
By BobCat and Slothsoul
Note from BobCat: This story owes greatly to several fics I have recently reread after many years. Carrotglace's Insertion and Benjamin Oliver's Nuke 'em Til They Glow, specifically. It was also inspired by Skysaber's My Gilded Life, which Slothsoul read and I haven't gotten to yet. These stories reminded me that fanfiction wasn't all m-pregs and Snape/Hedwig slash fiction, a lesson I had forgotten after years of absence from the fanfic scene. They also reminded me of the fun of mangling anime. Hence the fic you are about to read.
The philosophy of this story is as follows. A good self insertion fic gets its fun from the fact that you have somebody running around who knows what's going on before it happens. However, there are two tendencies among good self insert fics. The first is that the self inserted character is often an order of magnitude more powerful than the other characters in the story. Now this is fine for Insertion and Nuke 'em; in fact, a lot of humor is derived from the sheer overwhelming superiority of their parody Mary Sues. However, it's overdone. The second pattern is the tendency to overdo it on the crossovers. For instance, take Insertion. It's an excellent fanfic, but at this point, the story is more Sailor Moon and Dragonball than Ranma ½.
So while rereading these stories, the thought occurred to us: why not intentionally nip that sort of thing in the bud? Let's take somebody who knows what's happening and shove them into the story, but put them in the lower tier of powers and see how much of an impact they can have by messing with stuff. Let's also make sure that the story stays fairly focused on the series in question.
And with no further adieu and talking about other fics, let's present OUR story, shall we?
Chapter 01: …This isn't Metropolis.
In the Not Too Distant Future, Our World
"I still don't get any of this," said Chase Hunter Carlson. He was a large man in height and girth, though he was still in his early twenties. Chase was glancing around the office nervously, as though the answer to his question was floating in the air around him. "I mean, I thought this was all just virtual reality and junk. I don't understand all of this talk about alternate realities."
Chase's search was abandoned when the bearded man behind the desk started to speak. He was fairly well dressed, though a bit unkempt. He had the look of a man who had been on his feet for too long without a good rest. He also looked annoyed. "Well Mr. Carlson, I don't know what you were told when you came here, but this is not just 'virtual reality and junk.' We here at Feldman Immersive Travel got our start in VR cruises and the like, but we've come a long way since then. Didn't you read the ad? The words 'virtual' and 'reality' don't appear once!"
Chase scratched the back of his head nervously. "I just saw you were doing product testing on some new technology. I have some time off from school, but I couldn't really afford to go anywhere. I figured, why not?"
The bearded man grinned. "I bet a paid vacation sounds like a nice break from kegstands and coeds, eh?" Chase frowned a bit at this. He couldn't quite tell whether the man was being sarcastic. Either way, Chase felt teased. "Well, let me break it down for you. Do you happen to be a physics major?"
"Uh no, actually. I'm in Philosophy, though I'm not too far into it yet."
"Ah, a major in 'would you like fries with that.' Nice career move there, Slick."
Chase frowned. "Do you always poke fun at your customers like this?"
"I don't see a customer. I see a guinea pig who couldn't be bothered to read the forms he signed. Here, let's get you to the lab and I'll explain on the way." Chase was becoming more and more annoyed, but he really needed the money. He wasn't sure what his guide thought the college lifestyle was like, but it was less 'kegstands and coeds' and more 'top ramen and all nighters'. Chase kept his mouth shut and listened. He had read through the papers he had signed. He just hadn't understood all of it.
"So you see, kid, Feldman Immersive Travel is always looking for new ways to enhance our customer's experience. We provide a valuable service. After all, a poor man can't afford to take a three week vacation to see the Taj Mahal. He can, however, take a day off, go to one of our facilities and plug into a virtual reality version of it. But it isn't as good as the real thing. Not by a long shot. That's all that keeps the real tourism industry alive these days. Or at least, that's what the board of directors thinks. I swear, they wouldn't understand the value of authenticity if it poked them in the eye. So our research and development has been at work coming up with a way to cheaply get the customer something just as good as the real thing. And you're the last stage of clinical trials we need before we get to unleash this new product on the market. This means we've worked out a lot of the bugs before you hook your brain up to it. Aren't you feeling lucky?"
Chase coughed politely. They had just entered a room full of what appeared to be coffins. Chase recognized them as Virtual Reality chambers. The bearded man was outpacing Chase by quite a bit and was leading him to a door in the back. "Uh, that doesn't answer my question about how it works. At all."
"I'm getting there. Sheesh, kids these days. Anyway, we're using some exciting new breakthroughs in string theory. But since you seem to have decided that you'd rather use reason instead of data to learn things, I'll dumb it down a bit. Basically, there are an infinite number of universes out there. In that infinite number exists every possible universe. Also, we have found that the laws of physics often differ a lot from world to world. This means that pretty much anything you want to find exists out there somewhere."
Chase was starting to get mad. Sheesh, I've been on this guy's payroll for all of fifteen minutes and I already feel like I need a vacation. "How does that help?"
"Well, it involves a lot of math and science, but basically we can transmit your mind into the body of someone living in one of those universes and you switch places with them. We keep your body, with their mind, unconscious and on life support until you get back. Right now we're setting it for three days. Meanwhile, you get to go nuts and live a real world vacation without the hassle of leaving your home town!"
Chase said, "But aren't there all sorts of philosophical and moral issues inherent in this? I mean, aren't you playing God in peoples' lives?"
"Don't try and turn this into your department, Slick. Right now, we don't care about moral implications. We care about 'does it work without killing people.' Leave that to the philosophers."
"But I am a…"
"I meant the philosophers smart enough to understand what they read. Ah, here we are." The two were in a room dominated by a large machine. It was a large cylinder set into the floor. It was made of dull grey metals and there were strangely shaped prongs projecting from it on all sides. "Don't look at those too long. They're third dimensional equivalents of fifth dimensional shapes. It'll give you a headache."
Chase was getting less and less comfortable by the moment. His guide's demeanor and the sheer weirdness of what he was about to do were starting to get to him. He thought long and hard about his options. Chase sadly concluded that he had none. The main part of the employment contract he had understood was a stiff penalty for canceling it early. All his thinking did was make him miss the guide's question. "Huh?"
"I said, where do you want to go? Remember, you can go pretty much anywhere you like. You can even go to other points in history. Wanna go meet Plato or something? I'm sure you'd like that, Mr. Philosophy."
"I don't speak Greek."
"That isn't a problem, actually. For just that reason, we designed this thing so that the language portions of the brain don't get overwritten when we transfer a person. When you get there, you basically speak every language they speak and nothing else. So waddaya want, Hercules?"
"Do you have to be so… gruff?"
The man smirked. "It's a union thing. I get fifteen minutes off every four hours and I can treat guinea pigs any way I want. Plus we have a pretty sweet dental plan. Now, you gonna answer me? My fifteen minutes start pretty quick."
Chase thought for a moment. It was tempting to meet a famous historical figure. However, he quickly realized that meeting a famous historical figure could mean traveling back to a country that was going to get sacked by Mongols or whatever. He didn't know his history well enough to plan around that sort of thing. No, he was testing something new and that was enough danger. He might as well protect himself. "You said anything, right?"
"Yes. Yes I did." The bearded man was starting to lose the somewhat jovial edge to his banter.
"Could I be, ah, Superman?" Chase felt a little silly.
"A popular choice." This encouraged Chase. This probably meant that it had been done before and successfully. "Alright then." He tapped a few buttons on a control panel near the large cylinder. "Lay down on that table. We'll hook you up in a minute. For now… well, you can't be conscious when you make the jump. We're gonna have to give you an anesthetic."
"We're about to rip your soul out of your head and shove it across time and space into someone else's head. We don't know what that would look like or how you would perceive it, but the monkeys in the trials that we didn't knock out tended to come back a little, how to phrase this politely, shell shocked."
Chase's eyes flew open. He had noticed a few cages earlier. He hadn't noticed that they contained rhesus monkeys, about half of which were rocking back and forth while in fetal positions. "Anesthetic would be lovely."
"Night night, princess. Enjoy your time off from goofing around!" As Chase went under, he made a mental note to be more careful about what he signed in the future. Also to punch out that technician as soon as his brain was back in his head.
It was a bit anticlimactic, really.
Chase hadn't known what to expect, but he had seen enough sci-fi shows to have it ingrained into his head that things like dimensional travel usually involved pretty flashing lights, thunderous sounds and the on-and-off feeling of being torn apart and pulled back together that resembled oh-so-clearly the feeling of losing your virginity.
In the end, Chase had only closed his eyes. A literal second later (at least to him) he opened them again and near darkness greeted him.
A dim light was the only thing that gave him an idea of his surroundings.
He was in a room, as far as he could tell. Which gave him a whole new set of worries.
"…I swear to God, if I sit up only to find out I'm short a kidney, I'm suing." Chase muttered. His voice sounded a bit high-pitched, maybe he was still groggy?
Chase lay on the ground for several more moments, finding the ceiling to be particularly interesting for some reason. Upon further inspection he realized that the dim light from before was actually coming from a window with its curtains drawn.
Finally, after deciding to wreak unholy vengeance on his current enemies who had wronged him, Chase struggled to his feet. His body protested balefully at the movement, and his head was none too keen on it either, but he managed to stand up and take one shaky step.
And then promptly collapsed on his face.
"OW!" The boy groaned, rubbing his nose and sitting up clumsily. "What just happened?"
He looked around, a useless effort with so little light, and then felt his surroundings until he found something (a nightstand, maybe?) and used it to push himself to his feet.
Chase experimented with a couple of more wobbly steps before he was forced to hold on to the wall to avoid falling yet again.
What the hell? This isn't drunken wobbliness, my balance is all wrong!
"…Ok, the kidney thing before was just the crazy musing of a groggy madman, but I'm seriously starting to worry now." Chase muttered, feeling around his side for a scar.
Chase wasn't wearing a shirt, but that didn't worry him. There was no scar either. There was a LOT of other things that weren't there as well.
Never having been one to fool himself, Chase knew he was fat. And he was comfortable with it. He wouldn't have minded losing a few pounds, but he wasn't going to lose any sleep if he didn't. Especially if he didn't feel like trying.
Hey, he was an American, after all.
But that was the point: He was fat.
His waist felt thin, with a vague subtle feeling of recently-refined small muscle. Nothing like what he remembered.
No wonder his balance was off.
What followed was a rather pathetic and hilarious display as Chase all but threw himself at the curtains, somehow managing to stay on his feet despite the numerous close calls. It was impressive, in a way, and he did make it to the window.
The curtains were flung open.
"ACK!" Chase cried as he shielded his eyes from the burning light and staggered back, falling on his butt.
Numerous obscenities followed.
"Damnit…" He muttered, blinking away the wetness. It was light enough now to look around.
It was a small apartment, nothing special or worth mentioning. A bed, a night stand, a desk, a closet and a mirror. It was comfortably messy and lived-in, with clothes and books scattered.
This is a bachelor's pad.
Chase glanced at one of the books. Pre-Calculus 101? Crap. Here's hoping I don't have to do this guy's homework… this is supposed to be my spring break!
Shrugging, he stood up, noticing as he went that the unsteadiness was not as bad as before. At least he was getting used to…
Looking down, it was obvious it wasn't his. He really was thin. It was even more unsettling to see it rather than feel it. Humans are like that; seeing is believing.
He was wearing pajama bottoms and nothing else, his skin wasn't any darker than it had been, but of a slightly different hue. He lacked body hair for some reason, and it only accentuated his modest muscles.
Another thing, he realized as he brushing his bangs out of his eyes, was that he didn't use to have black hair.
"…No way…" Chase finally said, a small grin forming on his face. Superman had black hair, after all. Things were looking up.
He rushed to the mirror (sloppily, but at least there were no more close calls) with a couple of long strides and was greeted with the image of…
…A complete stranger.
"Huh?" Chase blinked.
A young man with Asian features stood on the other side of the mirror, with the same confused expression he had. One of the first things Chase noticed was that the guy was unbelievably pretty. Clear, brown eyes and smooth skin that lacked imperfections with black, clean-cut hair falling over it in a formal fashion. He even seemed to give off a gallant aura, confusion aside.
He looked entirely too girly for his comfort.
He also wasn't Clark Kent.
"What the hell?" Chase asked, raising his hand to touch his face. Had something gone wrong?
…Or maybe everything was fine? It wouldn't exactly be farfetched to think that things would look differently in real-perspective rather than the ink-and-paper viewpoint provided by comics.
Maybe this is what Clark Kent would look like in the real world?
Chase stood thinking for a minute before glancing at the nearest wall. He seemed to come to a decision as he marched over to it. With almost no wobbles too.
"Alright." Chase said, taking a deep breath and trying to relax his muscles. "Alright. I can do this. Just a test run. I can do this. …Ok."
And then he kicked the wall as hard as he could.
…Ok, so he wasn'tClark Kent then. So much for that theory.
"SON OF A--!" Chase cursed, hopping around the room with far more grace than he displayed walking. "ARGH! OF ALL THE STUPID--! DAMNIT!"
He finally hopped over to the bed and dropped on it. He sulked for a couple of seconds, rubbing his foot.
I should have known, damnit! He growled. Of course I'm not Superman, he may not be as fat as I was, but with all his muscle, he HAD to have weighed more than me, so I wouldn't have had so much trouble keeping my balance! He fumed for a couple of more seconds. …Of course, I could have been Superboy, I guess. But that's out too now. …Probably a good thing, if I WAS Superman, that kick would have brought the building down. I can't believe I didn't think of that until now.
"So now what?" He finally said. Who the hell was he?
He looked around for a couple of seconds, and then at the sky.
No answer. He had no idea what he was trying. The technician hadn't said anything about any way to contact them if he needed to.
"…Mister… …Er… Well, I don't remember your name. But… I think something went wrong. Can you hear this?"
No answer still. It was vaguely embarrassing to be speaking like this.
"Damn." Chase finally said, giving up. Then he remembered the words of the abusive technician.
"We keep your body, with their mind, unconscious and on life support until you get back. Right now we're setting it for three days. Meanwhile, you get to go nuts and live a real world vacation without the hassle of leaving your home town!"
Chase frowned. "I guess there's nothing I can do till then, huh?"
Sighing, he decided to at least get to know his surroundings. Which was just an excuse for him to get some air, but it was valid. He raided 'his' closet for something to go out in.
It didn't exactly help his situation.
"…Apparently, I've swapped minds with a gay Asian porn star." He mused as he stared at all the tight-fitting clothing and formal pants. Whoever he was seemed to like to dress formally or flamboyantly. Closer inspection revealed some more casual shirts that were various patterns of pastel colors. He had been joking when he first looked at the closet… but the gay porn star theory was starting to look plausible. It certainly explained his looks. "What's wrong with some jeans damnit…"
He grabbed a shirt and some pants at random and slapped them on quickly, before checking for shoes. Of course, there were only dressing shoes, no sneakers. They all looked recently polished too.
It was all too freaking perfect. "Oh for God's sake. This guy's a neat freak." He glanced around the apartment, noticing the mild mess of the apartment once again. "Oh even better. He's only a neat freak when it comes to his clothes. I just hope that he doesn't have a boyfriend."
Annoyed, he grabbed the nearest pair of shoes and went to the door. He caught the sight of the math book he had noticed before.
Debating for a second, he picked it up.
As he thought, it was in Japanese kanji. He hadn't noticed it before, he had just read it out of reflex. He probably only noticed it now because he was looking for it. He flipped a couple of pages and stared at the kanji.
He could read it just as easily.
"…I guess I do get to understand whatever language this guy did…" Chase muttered. He also noticed, now that he was listening for it, that all of his muttering had been in Japanese. This probably meant he was in Japan right now, and not in the body of an Asian-American.
He idly wondered aloud if he could still speak English.
Obviously, no answer came. Note to self. When I get back, tell them that there needs to be some way for us to communicate.
Sighing, he set the book down and walked off. He needed a beer. He just hoped he was old enough to get one.
Wandering aimlessly isn't fun. At least, Chase didn't think it was.
Without something to keep his mind on, Chase's stomach (or the guy's stomach or… he was just going to think of it as his stomach, since it would make things simpler) was noisily reminding him that it was almost ten in the morning and it hadn't been given a breakfast. Fortunately, whoever it was had been no stranger to long walks, judging by the fact that he'd been at it an hour without any real fatigue. Chase was also getting used to his new center of balance and had only fallen over twice during the excursion.
Huzzah. Things were looking up.
He had managed to find out that he was in Tokyo, in the Juban District, according to the signs. The district name struck him as oddly familiar, but he couldn't place it. Aside from the information from the helpful street signs, he was just as blank as he had been back in… 'his' room. Passing by another burger joint in his walk, his stomach grumbled in protest.
"Quiet you, there's nothing I can do about it." He growled.
In his haste to get out and walk around, he had forgotten to check if he had a wallet. Or a car. …Or his house keys. He could only hope he had forgotten to lock the door too.
"This absentmindedness better wear off after I get used to this place…" He muttered. "Ah, who am I kidding. I forgot stuff like that all the time back home."
How could he forget his wallet? Aside from the money he could have used to get some food, there was probably some form of ID in it. He could have solved his most pressing mystery by just taking the time to read a little card.
Argh. Frustrating… He grumbled, turning around a corner.
And then the crumbled-up paper struck his head.
"Hey!" He cried in surprise as it bounced off of him and rolled on the ground.
"Oh! Sorry!" A female voice apologized nervously.
He turned to the girl, not really mad. By this point, he was expecting a black cloud to randomly appear over his head and rain on him.
"It's no pr…"
Chase stopped. He took a long, hard look at the girl.
He felt his mouth dry up completely as he took in the sailor uniform. It was nothing special, just standard for schoolgirls like her. The girl looked about 14, maybe 15. He guessed that she was pretty to guys her age, but to him she looked like a girl who would grow into her looks eventually. She had blonde, unrealistically long hair tied into two bun/pigtails and blue eyes that shifted nervously under his stare. She was also blushing.
Chase stared at her for a couple of seconds more before his eyes fell on the ball of paper that had hit him.
"…30 point test…" He muttered numbly.
The girl let out a gasp as her blush deepened with child-like irritation.
"Hey!" She protested, rushing over and picking the test up before shoving it back into her briefcase. "T-That's none of your business!"
She seemed to hesitate for a second, but then she stuck her tongue out at Chase, rushing off quickly. The question of how he knew the score without opening up the paper crossed her mind briefly, before it was tossed aside in favor of wondering how she would keep her mother from killing her.
Chase watched her disappear into the distance with the same numbness that comes with dawning horror. He turned his head to the building in front of him.
His eyes fell robotically and stared at his reflection on the window.
He recognized who he was now.
He was Mamoru Freakin' Chiba.
And he was in SAILOR MOON.
For the next THREE DAYS.
"Heheheheh…" The bearded man from Feldman Immersive Travel giggled, staring at the computer. "…Awesome."
"I guess we start now."
A second figure walked next to him, hunched and yawning. He was wearing blue jeans, a black long-sleeve t-shirt and nothing else; all ragged, worn and baggy. He was a young man with Latino features and tired, dull brown eyes with bags under them. His overgrown black hair was unkempt and fell on his eyes lazily along with a small fuzz on his chin.
He looked incredibly exhausted as he basically collapsed in a chair next to the man, raising his leg up to the table and staring into the screen as he stretched.
"He just figured it out." The bearded man confided with a grin, at ease with the newcomer's peculiar attitude.
The boy gave a grunt of acknowledgement and focused on Chase. "…Cute. How long are you going to stay like that?"
The man smiled easily before his form shifted. He became younger and with no facial hair, his blond hair darkening and becoming a bit shaggy as glasses materialized in his eyes. Gone was the suit, replaced by simple black jeans, a gray shirt, and sneakers.
"Well, I suppose. He's not here anymore in any case." The formerly bearded man replied.
As he finished speaking, the other boy glanced at the area that made up the FIT lab. It wavered out of existence, leaving a normal, poorly lit storage room behind. The screens also remained.
"…How did it go again? 'Discovering alternate worlds while trying to make VR more realistic'?" The boy questioned lazily.
"Come on, Sloth." The older of the two replied. "You and I both know that I made up most of the techno-babble on the spot. I can't even remember it. He didn't understand it either. He just assumed I knew what I was talking about."
Slothsoul shrugged in an uncaring manner. "So long as it keeps me entertained, Bobcat."
Glasses-boy, Bobcat, gave another one of his easy grins.
"Let the show begin."
To Be Continued!
This is where our story starts. What will happen next? Will our hero get over the trauma? …Not likely. It will be funny though.
Next time: What kind of hero throws freaking roses anyway?!