Transparent.

AN: Hourou Musuko/Wandering Son/Transient Son is the property and ingenious creation of the renouned author and mangaka, Shimura Takako. Publishing rights belong to Fantagraphics Books (USA), Enterbrain Inc (JAP), and Comic Beam (JAP). Broadcast rights are maintained by AIC Classic Studios and Fuji TV. All of the songs used in this story are the creations and properties of their original writers, performers, and recording contractors. I hold no ownership rights to this title whatsoever, and I never will, nor do I hold ownership rights to the songs used in this story. I am simply writing this story as a leisurely past time, and because I am a humble fan of this story simply telling a story out of profound respect for the author and sincere understanding and affection for her characters, whose humanity and compassion are so moving that they prompted the idea for this story.


Chapter 1: Mirror, Mirror.

Song: "Mirror" by Barlow Girl.


Why?

This was the question he always asked himself when he did this, staring into the mirror every morning as he got ready for school. As he stood there, eyes fixated on that single, full-length pane of glass, he could feel its harsh, unforgiving gaze upon him. It mocked him, mocked the skin he wore, the body he had been born with. This insignificant object was the most painful thing to see in the entire world, because it told him who he was supposed to be in the eyes of everyone but himself and the select few who truly understood him. This was who he was, and that was never going to change, not matter how hard he wished, no matter how he presented himself to the world, not matter how much he squirmed when the cramps came and the pain wracked his body and stained his skin and undergarments with blood, or when the pain and irritation of the bandages grated against his chest. Those damned things, they were like cancerous tumors to him, cumbersome, horrid things that hung off his torso and wouldn't stop growing. They were a damning statement to what his body was, but a complete juxtaposition to what he saw himself as inside.

He wished he could just cut them off like one would a diseased appendage and be done with them once and for all.

He hated all of this, hated his life, his peers, his world, his body, his clothes, his beauty… His birth sex. Everything was the exact opposite to what he felt and knew he was within. It was like he was living one big lie to the world, one that had been forced upon him by society and by his very genetics, and one that he would most likely be forced to continue living the rest of his life, a masquerade of falsehood, a faux persona, a mere shell of what he was at the core of his being. And he loathed himself for it most of all. He hated that he was so consigned to his fate because of the sheer enormity of it, that he had not done anything to try and fight it tooth and nail, to try and claw his way to freedom from within this form.

Yoshino Takatsuki hated his femininity, this damned female form he'd been born into. And every day, the mirror told him just how much it hated him back.

And every day, he would ask himself: Why?


Mirror, Mirror, On the wall,

Have I got it?

'Cause Mirror, You've always shown me,

Who I am…


Why?

This question had burned its way into her very soul over time, a riddle for the ages that taunted her at every turn, keeping her locked in a constant struggle to find the answer, one that she would most likely never unearth. Even now, her reflection in the mirror was ridiculing her, prodding at her insecurities in hateful spite as her gaze locked with its own, not in hate, but in sorrow, in pleading, in desperation. She wanted more than anything to understand; she wanted to know the answer to the questions and supposed "confusion" that was rattling about in her mind like beads in a rainmaker. Everything about her screamed of contradiction, her body a prison of flesh to the demure, angelic soul within that begged and prayed for release. However, she was always met with nothing but scorn and ridicule from every turn, her very self finding new ways of tormenting her each day.

And the worst part of it? She still couldn't stop it.

No matter how hard she tried to fight it, her body was rejecting her, twisting her appearance to fit its own, predesigned purposes at the genetic level. It was as if every inch of her was being punctured by another of those damned black follicles each day, ruining her soft, silky smooth skin with each new bristle. Her voice, which was once as sweet and clear as a meadowlark's began to deepen and harden, resembling something like metal grating against metal now as it changed. And that ugly … "thing" that was growing between her thighs. It was so foreign to how she knew she truly was inside. So alien. Like something out of a horror movie. No matter how hard she tried, or prayed, or changed her outward dress, it seemed like there was no way of fighting what she was born to be.

Shuichi Nitori felt tears come to her eyes as she wordlessly begged any divine power that was listening to answer her prayers, to take this curse from her and free her from this masculine prison she was slowly becoming trapped within.

As she once more asked them that all-consuming question: Why?


I'm finding it's not easy,

To be perfect.

So sorry, You won't define me.

Sorry, You don't own me!


They both would fight it the best way they could.

Yoshino may have been dejected, but he wasn't going to go quietly into womanhood without a fight. He had been able to attend school in a boy's uniform before, and even though he had given that up for the most part, he still would wear the clothes that he wanted, a raiment that reflected his true nature within. The teachers dismissed this as nothing more than a rebellious stage, a step in his psychological development into his own person, as though this was something that he would just grow out of. Like his parents, they believed that once he reached adolescence, he would realize the inevitable, see the writing on the wall, as it were. They thought that once he saw his body was mirroring what they had told him all his life, that he was a girl through and through, that this nonsense would cease, and he would accept his fate gracefully, like that elegant, regal lady he was growing into before their eyes.

His moment of surrender had all but proven that.

He still would dress as he saw fit, but they just saw that as something he was progressively losing interest in. The ridicule of his peers helped that along, and neither sex was any help in that aspect. But then again, why would they be? They believed they were the normal ones, and he was an oddity, a weirdo, a freak. Whether it was the girls pretending to keep their voices down when he passed by them in the halls at school, gossip spilling from their lips like venom, or the boys openly poking fun at him when he fidgets in class or during P.E. ever so often in discomfort at the symptoms that plague his birth-sex, he had a constant reminder of what he really was on the outside.

And yet, a spark of resistance still shone brightly inside of him, one that caught people's attentions when they made fun of him.

He is a fighter, a rebel, and a stoic mask of coldness hides his pain.


Who are you to tell me,

That I'm less than what I should be?

Who are you? Who are you?


They both would fight it the best way they could.

Shuichi may have been an outcast, but she was far from deterred. Life was a constant barrage of double-talk and condescending lies, yet she took it all in stride. More than once, she had broken down, that kind and gentle soul of her's losing its iron-edge under their degrading tones, their hateful words, their cutting glares. Her family was the worst of it all. Regardless of what her parents said to her, she still could not escape the prejudice of the world, even when wrapped up in their warm, loving embrace. She shared a room with the Devil herself, a stuck-up, prideful little brat of a sister, whose primary concern was how her actions and status in school would reflect on her. There was always a negative undertone to whatever she said, a spiteful motive in her actions, a judgemental gleam in her eye whenever she came to gaze on her. It was as if the entire world was out to force her into this role that she wanted no part in.

Her appearance at school in her true attire challenged their stigma in the boldest way possible.

That day forever marked her in the eyes of her classmates, her teachers, her parents, her sister, her friends. Maho quietly hated her for weeks after that "coming out," and she still holds a disdainfully tone in her voice when casual conversation is made over the diner-table. Her homeroom teacher still looks at her with a worried expression from time to time, possibly fearful for her future in a society so close-minded and petty. The school nurse seems to be the only person there besides her friends that understands what she's going through, always smiling at her and making her feel like she has worth in this backwards world. However, her classmates are a different story. Mindless slaves to the status quo, sheep without individuality. They show their ignorance in their own ways. The girls go silent when she passes by, muttering odious remarks under their breath, sometimes aloud, pretending that they hadn't said a thing. The boys, however, are a different matter. They are more physical in their torment. They push her, they hit her, they take her things, they muss her pretty hair, they shout the most horrible obscenities at her, and then laugh in her face.

But through it all, she is made of tougher stuff than they.

Underneath that quiet, reserved shell of a boy, there resides a lioness, a princess, an Amazon.


I don't need to listen,

To the list of things I should do.

I won't try! No, I won't try!


What Yoshino had seen was not the truth.

This pathetic piece of cheap glass was nothing more than an inanimate object, something that had no say in who he was, how he looked, or what he thought of himself. All that he was, all that he ever would be, was not in the hands of others, nor was it in the hands of this form he had been born into. So what if he didn't look right in their eyes, if he challenged their perceptions of what was or was not proper in their society? Their society was just as flawed as they saw him to be, and they were completely blind to it. They had allowed him to dress as he desired for quite some time, playing things off as it just being a phase, something trivial to ease their conscience and quiet their fears of the unusual as they defined it. Yet, Shuichi's attempt to dress as she desired had been a complete red flag to everyone, resulting in her alienation from the people who were supposed to be helping her learn and grow in the best person she could possibly be. To him, this was the ultimate act of hypocrisy. Unlike them, he would be there for Shuichi, defying them by her side as they showed off who they truly were at the core. He rejected their views, he knew who he was and that was perfectly fine.

The world was the one with the problem, not him.

The undershirt was cool against his skin, brushing slightly against the bandages that bound those damn things to his chest, but not deterring him in the least. With each button clasped on his dress-shirt, he felt another insecurity being locked out of his heart and mind, denying them entrance in his thoughts as the fabric would the cold of winter outside. The slacks slid on with ease, flexible and modest in every sense. Unlike those damned skirts they made him wear at school, there was no fear that some sick little freak would find a way to see up them, nor did he have to worry about how he had to sit or move. Things were easier this way, and he liked it. His hair was already short by choice, and he saw no need to try and style it with any of that foul-smelling stuff his mother had bought him. Today, all of that would be left untouched on his dresser as he wrapped the scarf tightly around his neck and headed out the door, shoving his gloved hands in his pockets.

But before he continued out into the snow to meet his friends, he took one last look in the mirror in the hallway.

Inside, he saw his true self. He was handsome, he was confident, and he was strong.


Mirror, I am seeing,

A new reflection.

I'm looking into the eyes,

Of He who made me.


What Shuichi had seen was a lie.

That shimmering pane of plagiarism was not what made her who she was, and it never would. What it said she was and what she knew to be true were two different things, and what she saw would never be real. No matter what it said about her, not matter what people said about her, no matter how many lies society tried to shove down her throat, this was not her. This was not what defined her, she was. Everything she was, all of her hopes, her dreams, her thoughts, her actions, her choices, her future, they were all her own to make, not this piece of glass, and certainly not society's. So what if they had mocked her when she came to school dressed on the outside as she felt inside? So what if she didn't fit into that little box they had set up for her? So what if she defied their concepts of what she should be? She would be who she was, and nothing could dissuade her! She was an individual in a world of copycats, a society fraught with double-standards and bigotry. They had allowed Yoshino and other people like him to dress as they felt, why not her? Where they afraid that it might hold her back? That it might reflect badly on them? That was their problem. She had no reason to be afraid of who she was, and she certainly had no reason to hide it.

She was perfect, just the way she was.

The sports bra felt good as it hugged her chest closely, a sensation that she always enjoyed. It wasn't that she needed it, she simply felt more like herself when she wore it, like she was closer to that part of her the world liked to put down and force down. The silk panties slid smoothly up her legs, caressing her skin in a soft and gentle way that no other fabric could. The sweater felt the same, warming her from the inside out as it clung to her body. Next came the skirt, a simple piece of cloth that still felt so natural for her to wear, and still made her smile whenever she saw herself in the mirror. It seemed to make her feel whole to wear all of these, like it freed her true self form this fleshy prison, if only for a little while. She applied her makeup with the practiced skill of a model. Light foundation, a little blush to accentuate her cheeks, lipstick to make them pop, and liner to bring her gorgeous chestnut orbs to life. The wig was the last to go on, settling fluffily atop her short, natural locks with ease before fitting snuggly, helped along by her black hairband.

Struggling to put on her coat, she paused for a moment to see if anyone was home before she went out to see Yoshino and the others, then snuck out to the foyer. As she put on her shoes, she caught a glimpse of herself out of the corner of her eye.

An angel smiled back at her, a lovely young lady with a soul as beautiful as a star.


And to Him,

I have beauty beyond compare.

I know, He defines me! (Yeah, yeah!)


They were who they were, and that was never going to change.

Yoshino smiled as he walked onward to meet his friends, not even shivering as the cold air brushed against his face and the snowflakes settled in his short, black hair. Going out like this, dressed as who he truly was inside, it was such a release. Times like these were so therapeutic, they freed him on all levels. Mentally, he shrugged off all of the doubt and fear that had plagued his mind for the longest time, restoring his confidence and boosting his morale in ways he had never thought possible. Physically, he felt lighter in every sense of the word. It was as if the weight of the world were suddenly life from his shoulders, and there was nothing holding him back. He couldn't even feel the itching on his chest from the bandages! And spiritually, it was as if his soul was being cleansed from the inside out. It was like he was alive for the first time in years! He felt so free, so unbound. He knew that this was how he was supposed to be. He wasn't supposed to conform to the short-sighted views of this world, rather he was to live his life as he knew he was, turning a deaf ear to their opinions and thoughts, just as they had to his own.

The world could never understand how liberating this was.

Luckily, there were people he did not have to pretend for, and they were the ones that truly mattered to him beyond anything else. Sure, Saori might be a bit odd, but she still supported him and Shuichi in whatever they did, wanting only for them to be happy and comfortable in their skin, regardless of what the world told them. Kanako, that energetic little ball of fire, she always had his and Shuichi's backs, always smiling at them whenever they were around, never once showing a hint of ill-will towards anyone she had called "friend," regardless of the choices they made. Makoto, she was in the same boat as the two of them, born into a form that she finds to be untrue to who she really was inside, wishing the world would see the beautiful, mature young lady that lay within her freckled boyhood. She was always there for all of them, an understanding ear for them to confide in. Chizuru, she was so funny and so free spirited, and her impulsive nature always knew how to bring a smile to her heart.

As long as he had friends like these, as long as he knew who truly defined who he was, there was no reason to pretend.

He was Yoshino Takatsuki, a handsome young man whose birth-sex did not determine who he truly was inside.


Who are you to tell me,

That I'm less than what I should be?

Who are you? Who are you?


They were who they were, and that was never going to change.

Shuichi could not help but add a little bounce to her step as she walked down the sidewalk to meet her friends, a genuine smile playing at her lips as she enjoyed the sensation of freedom, of allowing her true self to fly free once more. Snow drifted down from the cloudy heavens to settle gingerly atop her beautiful brown trusses, her breath misted whimsically in the air before her, the cool winds caressed her angelic face and brushed her hair back slightly. There was no way to truly describe how she felt, as every conceivable word fell short in her mind. Spectacular? Liberating? Incredible? Unfathomable? Freeing? The world could never know how good this felt, to let go of every label that falsely defined them, to silence every condescending voice that spoke down to them, to shake loose the expectations that bound them like so many chains and truly let their spirit soar into the sky unhindered, though their feet still be tethered to the ground. All her life, she had dealt with the prejudices and the chastising attitudes of her peers, and in moments like these, all of that seemed so alien to her. What was so wrong about expressing your true self? With wanting to become on the outside who you truly were on the inside? Why was individuality encouraged, and yet looked down upon?

They would never know this freedom, and she pitied them for it.

Very few people understood how she felt inside, and it was to them that she had long ago entrusted her heart, her friendship, her compassion. Yoshino knew her true self the best out of all of them, because he too felt the same as she, that he was bound to a body that was not his own, and that the two of them were not meant to conform to this world's view of them. He knew that she was a princess, and that her beauty was something that the world envied and wanted to discourage. Makoto understood her as well, as she was in the same position as she and Yoshino were, a mature young lady in a bespectacled, freckled form that she had no interest in stay trapped in. She was the shoulder that Shuichi would cry on when the world would become too cruel, the open ear to all of their problems. Saori, that strange girl, she was so sweet and so strong. She protected her whenever the world would try to bring her harm, stood in the gap for her and reminded her that she was beautiful, regardless of what people might say. Chizuru, as odd as Saori, but twice as tall. She was an unbound soul, a free spirit, and that sense alone was infectious. Everyone around her couldn't help be feel a little lighter whenever she came into the room. Sweet, innocent little Kanako… No matter what petty arguments would crop up between her friends, she would always be there to try and make things right, with hope in her heart and a twinkle in her eye.

With friends like these, why would she ever have need to worry? They saw who she was underneath her body's falsehood, straight to her heart, to what really mattered

Shuichi Nitori was a beautiful, wonderful young lady, and the form she had been born with would never keep her caged.


I don't need to listen,

To the list of things I should do.

I won't try! No, I won't try!


AN: That's right folks, I just used a Christian-Rock song in a fanfiction about a story that's main theme is transsexuality. You don't like it? Tough.This song's message is realizing that the world, the mirror, society, our peers, they don't define who we truly are, and that they have no right to tell us that we all less than what they think we should be in their warped view of things. And you know what, this fits our two heroes perfectly. Despite what society may have you think, God's love is for everyone who would but accept it, and believe. It doesn't matter who you are, what your outlook on life is, what you perceive yourself to be inside or out, God loves you, and if society doesn't like it, they can take it up with Him. Inside, he knows we are truly beautiful for who we are. (Gets off soapbox) Now, I know a lot of you are going to come back at me with a lot of claims that I'm twisting Scripture to fit into this story where it won't ever in real life. To that end, I suggest you start looking into things for yourself a bit deeper. You might be surprised what you learn. This soapbox will be revisited later, but for now, get over it.

Again, gentle, constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, while any signs of flames, trolling, and other such forms of spiteful ill portent will be dealt with accordingly. Thank you once more for taking the time to read this, and I hope you enjoyed it. I will look forward to hearing from you all again in future chapters, and until next we speak, stay safe out there and stay awesome, True Believers.

EXCELSIOR!