Beauty from Tragedy
By Calamity Cordite
Chapter 1: Pretty Tragic
Disclaimer: Pretty Face belongs to Yasuhiro Kano. I'm using the characters without permission. This story was not made for monetary profit and should not be used for such. It's intended as a tribute to a fun manga.
Author's Note: I am not a medical professional so the medical aspects of this story are for the most part purely fiction and most likely junk science. Except the part about hormones not changing sexual orientation. If hormones controlled sexual orientation then there wouldn't be any such thing as homosexuals. That's a no-brainer folks and it frustrates me when I see someone use hormones as an excuse to change a character's sexual orientation in a story. You transplant a straight male brain into a straight female body you're gonna end up with a lesbian. No exceptions. The brain is our primary sexual organ.
This story explores the possibility of Rando actually becoming female in body in addition to the more tragic element of the real Yuna having died. If you find either of these ideas troubling, then you should probably give this story a pass. This was meant to be a one-shot since I pretty much gutted the canon plot, but it was fun to write so if I can think of an interesting direction to take things from here, I might add more later. Pseudo-twincest anyone?
This also happens to be my first fanfic that doesn't involve Ranma so it was a little odd for me. Let me know what you think. It was also proofed only by myself, so there may be quite a few errors. Apologies in advance for that.
It's not like I was a monster before it happened. Sure, I was rowdy and violent with a short temper. Sure, I tended to bully people to get my way. It's not like I would have really hurt anyone that didn't deserve it. It's just that because I was small I learned very early on that I'd rather be a predator than the prey. So I trained myself in the martial arts and I grew strong—far stronger than my small stature would lead anyone to guess. I also adopted the swaggering attitude of a violent thug and developed a reputation for someone that you didn't want to mess with. So what if I wasn't respected by my classmates? I was feared and that was pretty much the same thing...or so I thought back then.
It happened on the day I had won the regional karate tournament in Hokkaido. I was riding high on the rush of victory, still feeling the impact of my kick that had felled my final opponent. My friends—or rather, my lackeys—were clustered around me in the back of the bus we were riding loudly singing my praises as we made spectacles of ourselves. I really didn't like them. They were pretty much scum, willing to follow anyone stronger than they were. Yet, I when I was around them, I tended to get caught up in the stupidity and I behaved much like they did.
At least until I saw her watching me. She was Rina Kurimi, an amazingly cute first year girl from my school with shoulder-length, straight, black hair and deep brown eyes. She always seemed like such a serious girl and she always looked at me with a slightly sad expression, as if I had disappointed her in some way. I was madly in love with her. I hated it when she caught me acting like an idiot and I quickly reigned in my obnoxious lackeys. Even though I knew my love for her was doomed—I was a third year upperclassman with a reputation for being a thug, not someone a girl as pure and nice as Rina-chan would ever be interested in—I couldn't help but want to behave better in front of her.
A few stops later and I was alone in the back of the bus, both Rina-chan and my lackeys having gotten off earlier, wondering if it was too late to change my image to that of someone Rina-chan could love. First I'd have to ditch those jerks in the karate club. No big loss there. As I said, I hated those sorts of guys: weak and easily intimidated. As for the rest...
I never got to finish my thoughts because at that moment, the bus lurched to the side. I heard a crash and then I was hanging weightless above my seat.
"What the—" I started to shout and then everything went black.
It was ironic that I was thinking about change in those last moments. I didn't know it then, but my life had been about to reach a terrible turning point. When I woke up, everything had changed so radically it just wasn't recognizable.
Waking up from a long sleep can be disorienting. More so when that sleep was a year long coma. The light burned as I pried open my eye lids, immediately causing me to squint. I felt strange and weak, but I forced myself to sit up, blinking a number of times to clear my eyes as I peered around the room. It was some sort of hospital room. A man in a white lab coat stood with his back to me as he did worked on something on the counter. Must be a doctor. I was about to ask him what was going on when he turned back to see me sitting up. He let out a manly shriek and fell back against the counter clutching his chest in what was in my opinion an overly dramatic gesture.
"G-geez, you startled the heck out of me, waking up all of a sudden like that," the man commented as he collected himself.
"W-who are you?" I asked, noticing my voice sounded a bit different—higher, more girlish. I cleared my throat and asked the next question. "Where am I?"
"Me?" the man asked, straightening up and adjusting his glasses, giving me a confident smile. "I'm your attending physician, Dr. Jun Manabe. You're in my private hospital, the Muron Clinic."
"What happened?" I asked, my hand coming up to feel my throat as my voice refused to reach its familiar register.
"Ah, well you see, you were in an awful accident," Manabe explained. "The bus you were on was run off the road and crashed down a hillside. It's a miracle that you're alive at all. As it is, you've been in a coma for over a year now."
"A year?" I squawked.
"Yes. Your injuries weren't too severe but your entire body was horribly burned. Most people that suffer burns that bad don't survive," the doctor informed me to my shock. I was suddenly afraid to look at myself for fear of seeing how badly scarred I was. I guess it showed on my face because the doctor hastened to add, "Ah, but don't worry. Over the year you've been in the coma, I've completely repaired the damage. Please take a look in that mirror."
I looked over at the mirror he indicated and found myself staring at a familiar face framed with light reddish brown hair and perched on top of a slender body. The problem was: it wasn't my face. Nor did those modest mounds of flesh hanging off the naked chest have any business being on a male body. I looked just like Rina-chan!
"What the hell is this?!" I roared, grabbing the doctor by his lapels. "What did you do to me? What did you do to my face and body?" I demanded.
"Eh?" Manabe squawked. "'What?' you ask? You're burns were hideous, especially your face and genitals. They were completely destroyed. Luckily for you, several days after you were stabilized, a young homeless girl was brought in with a bad case of food poisoning we think she contracted from eating out of the trash. She died shortly after she was brought in, but she was a compatible donor match for you so I was able to replace your burnt skin with hers and I was also able to implant her reproductive organs into you to replace the remains of your original ones that had to be removed due to an infection. Yes siree, it was a difficult, nearly impossible job, but I managed to fix all the damage and give you a chance for a normal life. It all healed perfectly with no sign of any tissue rejection." Manabe struck a noble pose running his hand through his black hair and chuckled in self-congratulation. "Yes, if you searched the world over you wouldn't find a better reconstructive surgeon anywhere. My genius reigns supreme!"
"A normal life..." I repeated in dismay. There were so many issues in there that I couldn't process them all at once. I settled for decking the doctor instead. The anger held all the other less pleasant emotions at bay. "I'm a guy!" I shrieked. "How could I possibly have a normal life looking like a girl?! I've got balls, damn it..." I trailed off as something else Manabe had mentioned penetrated. I ripped the sheet off my lap and looked down between my legs.
"Not any more," Manabe smirked, getting up off the floor. "As I said, they were badly burned and an infection made it necessary to remove them along with your penis. You would never have been functionally male again. However, thanks to my hard work, you are now a functional female. You've even had several monthlies since you healed from the surgery. Congratulations!"
"You bastard!" I roared, grabbing him by the throat, fighting off the urge to wring his neck. "I don't want to be a girl! Put me back to normal!"
"You...can...say...that," the doctor chocked out, "but...it's...impossible...now. I...don't...even...know...who...you...really...are."
"What?" I asked, loosening my grip.
He held up a picture of what looked like a barbecued corpse.
"This is a picture of you from the time of the accident," he explained as I leaned over the bed and vomited from the monstrous image in the photo. "You were burnt beyond recognition and you had no ID on you."
"I'm Rando Masashi, third year student at Seika High School," I said numbly, recovering from emptying my stomach. The idea of that poor bastard in that picture was me temporarily took the fight out of me and I found myself feeling momentarily thankful I looked like I did, girl's body or not.
"Rando...that's strange," the doctor said, stroking his chin. "If you are that boy, you should be dead from the accident. Five people were injured and one died in that accident. Just like you, the deceased was burnt black and had no identification on him. The family was sure that was Rando Masashi."
"Well, it ain't 'cause I'm right here and I'm alive, ain't I?!" I shouted, a bit of my fire coming back.
"Ah, then it was a mistake then. It happens," Manabe shrugged, dismissing the matter as irrelevant.
"Geez," I said, climbing out of the bed. "I gotta get home or they'll keep believing I'm dead. And then I'm coming back and you can explain to my parents how this happened."
"But getting dressed first might be a good idea," Manabe smirked.
"Kyaaa!" I squeaked girlishly as I realized just what I was showing to a man, trying to cover myself with my hands.
Manabe pulled aside a curtain to reveal a rack of dresses and other clothing.
"To tell you the truth, while you were sleeping I tried several of these on you." He picked up a floral print cheongsam and held it up. "You'd look good in something like this."
"Pervert!" I shrieked and applied my foot to his face.
"I can't believe it," I muttered to myself as I ran down the street dressed in a sweater and a plain skirt—the least feminine things Manabe had. "Did they really think I've been dead for over a year now? Who did they think I was then?"
I skidded to a halt in front of my old address and could only stare in dismay at the scene. The house was gone. It was just an empty lot with a 'for sale' sign out by the street.
"What the..." I gasped, sinking to my knees. "My house is... There is no house... Why?"
"What's wrong, Miss?" a woman asked as she paused on the sidewalk beside me.
"Where is the house?" I asked.
"Oh, well there used to be a house here until about half a year ago," the woman explained. "But the family lost their son. They said that living there, the memories would be too much so they moved away."
"Where?" I growled, getting in the poor woman's face.
"I-I don't know," she squeaked, taking several steps back before fleeing down the street at the unhinged look on my face. As she left I heard her mutter to herself, "That girl is an ogre."
I sighed. This was all too much. There were so many things I couldn't process and I found myself wandering into the shopping district as I struggled to figure out what I should do. Nothing made sense at all. What was I? My parents thought I was dead, and they moved away. My body was that of a girl. My house was gone. I had nowhere to return to.
Suddenly, I caught my reflection in a shop window and froze. I looked just like Rina-chan. But my skin was donated by a girl that died. Suddenly a chill traveled down my spine. It couldn't be. It couldn't have been Rina-chan...
Suddenly, I looked up and froze. Relief flooded me even as I began to panic. It was her...Rina-chan...staring back at me...me who was wearing her face. Then before I could do anything Rina stepped forward, her eyes glistening with tears as she grabbed me in a tight hug.
"Sister!" she sobbed on to my shoulder.
I don't know how it happened, but the next thing I knew, I was at Rina-chan's home being hugged tightly by her parents as they tearfully rejoiced that someone named Yuna had come home.
"I was so surprised when I saw her standing there I thought my heart had stopped beating," Rina-chan joyfully described to her parents.
"W-what's going on here?" I asked in confusion as her father continued to hug me like he was never going to let go.
The man released me to put his hands on my shoulders and hold me out at arm's length.
"Since you ran away during your third year of middle school, we were so afraid something terrible had happened to you," he explained.
"Ran away?" I repeated, a cold lump beginning to form in the pit of my stomach.
"Of course," the man confirmed. "Aren't you Yuna?" he asked as if the thought that I might not be was utterly ridiculous.
"Umm..." I said, trying to think of how to tell them that I wasn't. "Oh Kami," I gasped as suddenly the magnitude of what was happening finally penetrated my consciousness. I had to tell them. It wouldn't be right for me to go on letting them believe I was this Yuna. I thought of taking them to Manabe and having him explain it, but then I thought of how he explained things to me and instantly scrapped that idea. The man had all the empathy of a boot to the head. "To tell the truth, I'm not Yuna."
"What?!" came the expected chorus from the other three people present.
"But how could that be?" Rina's mother asked, her hands coming up to her mouth in a worried fashion.
"This isn't funny, big sister," Rina added, giving me a disapproving look.
"I think you guys should sit down," I suggested. "I think I have something to tell you and if I'm right then it won't be easy to hear."
Although they clearly suspected me of being nuts, they went and sat down, looking at me expectantly. I remained standing and was pacing back and forth as I tried to think of a gentle way to break it to them that their daughter and sister was most likely dead. Sighing, I decided that I was too young to have to do something like this, but I owed it to them to tell them.
"It all started over a year ago," I began. "I was in a terrible accident that left me severely burned all over my body and near death. In fact, I should have died. The doctor said it was a miracle that I didn't. As it was, I spent over a year in a coma until I woke up earlier today. My doctor explained that he was able to graft a compatible donor's skin onto my body to replace my own destroyed skin. He said the skin came from a homeless girl that has just recently died of food poisoning. I'm sorry, but I think that girl might have been Yuna."
Rina's mother gasped and put her hands over her mouth as tears welled up in her eyes. Her father just stared at me in disbelief. Rina...poor sweet Rina jumped to her feet with an angry look on her face.
"No!" she proclaimed, throwing her arm out to the side as if to brush away everything I had just said. "It's not true! You're Yuna! You can't be dead because you're standing right here in front of me! You're just confused from whatever accident put you in a coma! They just lied to you about what happened! But it doesn't matter because you're home now! My beloved Yuna is home now!"
"Rina..." I said softly, feeling like a complete jerk as I watched the girl I loved glare at me with tears running down her face.
"Then...if you aren't my daughter," Rina's father asked in a brittle tone, "who are you?"
I tore my eyes away from Rina to look at him.
"I'm..." I started and then realized that I couldn't tell them who I was—that I was not only not their daughter, but that I wasn't even a girl. Or at least I didn't used to be. It was too embarrassing. "I'd rather not say," I answered with an apologetic look.
"If you can't even tell us who you are, then how are we supposed to believe this preposterous story?" the man asked, his eyes narrowing. "It hardly seems likely that you just woke up from a year long coma a few hours ago and yet Rina found you wandering around town. I'd really like to believe that our Yuna wouldn't tell us such a hurtful lie, but how can we be sure? Maybe Rina is right and you are confused about who you really are."
I sighed. I guess I was going to have to take them to Manabe after all.
"Ah! You're back," Manabe greeted. "Is this your family?" The doctor gestured to the three Kurimis behind me.
"No," I replied. "I went to my old house, but there's nothing there but an empty lot now. I was told my parents moved away about six months ago with no forwarding information because there were too many memories in the house with them thinking I was dead and all. I've got nowhere to go now. But that's not why I'm here. I think...I think this is the family of the girl that died. You know the one you told me about." I gestured down at my body. "They need for you to confirm what I told them."
"Well, it was true that she had no identification when she was brought in and we weren't able to find any matching descriptions for missing persons, but she did look an awful lot like this girl," Manabe said thoughtfully as he gestured at Rina. "It would be good if we could finally identify her."
"I am Kazuki Kurimi and this is my wife Yoko and our daughter Rina. The young lady that brought us here looks exactly like our daughter Yuna, Rina's twin sister, who ran away from home in middle school. I hope we can get this straightened out," Rina's father bowed formally.
"I'll wait outside," I announced, uncomfortable with intruding on what was likely going to be an emotional scene for Rina and her family.
"Just don't go far," Rina's father advised me. It was clear that he still didn't believe my story, but I didn't blame him.
I stepped out of the room and thought about sticking around, but Dr. Jun didn't seem like the type that knew much about discretion. I didn't think I could face Rina and her family once Manabe spilled the beans on who I used to be so I spilt. I didn't know where I was going to go but anywhere would be better as long as I didn't have to see the look of disgust on Rina's face once she knew I used to be a guy. It's not like they had any reason to care about me once they accepted the truth and I would probably just end up being a painful reminder of their dead daughter.
I had been wandering the streets for about an hour when a guy stepped into my path. I looked up to see there were four of them surrounding me. They had the look of common street thugs and from the way they were smirking, they were looking for trouble.
"Hey, Cutie," the one that stepped in front of me spoke up. "My friends and I were about to go get something to eat. Why don't you come with us. It'll be fun. How about it?"
"Just leave me alone," I said. Fun? Yeah, right, for them maybe. "Please move out of my way."
"Aw, now don't be like that," the thug replied to the chuckles of his cohorts. "A pretty girl like you...well, there's no way we could leave you alone." He reached out and snatched my wrist in his paw, giving it a moderate squeeze that was no doubt meant as a warning. "Come on. Let's go. We'll show you a good time."
Alright, fine. I gave them a chance to avoid this. It wasn't my fault if they were too stupid to live. I deftly reversed the thug's grip on my wrist and flipped him, slamming him hard on his back onto the concrete. I followed up with a punch that broke his nose and drove the back of his head into the sidewalk, relieving him of consciousness. It all happened in less than five seconds. I stood up and turned to the thug's shocked buddies, blood dripping from my fist where the guy's nose exploded in a gory mess when I broke it.
"What the hell?!" one of them squawked in outrage. "What did you do to Reiji, you bitch?"
"I've had a very bad day," I remarked calmly. "I asked you to leave me alone, but you insisted on showing me a good time. Well, that guy was pretty pathetic. I hope the rest of you can show me something better if you want to show me a good time. Well, what are you waiting for? Step on up. One at a time or all at once. It doesn't matter to me. I'm gonna send you all straight to hell!"
"Stupid bitch! You'll pay for that!" With that the remaining three charged me.
Thirty seconds later, I was walking away from a pile of broken and bloody bodies as they groaned pitifully.
"Tch, weak," I sneered over my shoulder at them.
Of course, the comment was addressed to myself as much as it was to them. I was nowhere near my former strength and my skills had gotten pretty rusty too. I was even breathing kind of hard as well. It would probably take me months to get back to where I was, assuming that I even could now that I was a girl and all. I mean, I was fairly certain I could get my skill polished back to what it had been and maybe even my endurance. I wasn't so sure about my strength though.
I looked up at the sky and saw the sun was dipping close to the horizon. Rina's family had to have left the clinic by now. I decided to head back. Maybe Dr. Jun would let me crash there for the night.
As it turned out, I hadn't even made it two blocks back in the direction of the clinic when a car skidded to a halt on the curb and I suddenly found myself tackled by ninety pounds of crying girl. I looked down to see Rina latched onto me like a limpet and with as tightly as she was clinging, it was pretty clear that she wasn't planning on letting go any time soon.
"What's going on?" I asked, confused as Rina's mother and father approached to stand over us. "Didn't you believe Dr. Manabe?" Then it occurred to me that this was that weirdo doctor we were talking about. My eyes narrowed. "Or did he say something weird?"
"I asked you not to go anywhere, Masashi-san," Rina's father replied, answering my question in an indirect way. "Please get in the car and come home with us. You shouldn't be out walking around alone at this hour looking like you do. It's not safe."
"Come home with you?" I asked in a perplexed tone. "Why would you want me to do that?"
"You're my daughter's legacy," Kurimi-san explained. "Because of her you have a chance to have a normal life and a part of Yuna has a chance to live on. If you think we're not going to be a part of that life, than you have another thing coming."
"Well said, Papa," Rina's mother nodded, giving me a watery smile. It was clear she had been crying a lot with how red her eyes were and how blotchy her face was.
I just didn't get it. How could they want to be around me? Every time they looked at me, they'd be reminded of their dead daughter that they clearly cared deeply for. Hell, my parents couldn't even live in the same house because it reminded them of the son they thought they lost...well, in a way, that they really did lose since I obviously wasn't anybody's son anymore.
"I'm not your daughter," I clarified. "I can't be Yuna. If you're hoping for me to replace her...I just can't."
"And we wouldn't expect you to," Kurimi-san agreed. "Just come home with us for the night. We can talk about things and decide what to do after tonight. You did say your family moved away and you had nowhere else to go. Just come back home and hear us out. If you don't like what we have in mind, then we'll help you find a solution that you are happy with. What do you say? It's the best deal you'll get all day."
He did have a point. I didn't have anywhere else to go and it was a heck of a lot better than crawling back to that pervert Manabe for charity.
"Alright," I finally agreed. "I'll go with you and listen to what you have in mind."
"Good," Kurimi-san said, giving me a relieved smile. "Because to be honest with you, I don't think we'd be able to pry Rina loose from you with a crowbar and I'm not about to let another daughter run away from home again."
Rina gave a watery giggle and clutched on even tighter in confirmation.
Later that night I sat on Yuna's bed—my bed now—and thought about what I had agreed to. It was absolutely insane, but it would give me a chance to have a normal life, or at least a normal life as a girl. The Kurimis wanted me to take over Yuna's identity. I had protested that at first, thinking that they really did want me to replace Yuna, but they explained that if I took over Yuna's identity then it would be like I had always been a girl. I would be spared the stigma of having formerly been a guy and ridiculed because of it. They assured me that I would be Yuna in name only. They wouldn't try to force me to be anyone but myself. At the same time, they would try to help me cope with all the problems I was going to have trying to adjust to my gender change. All they wanted from me was a commitment to do my best to adjust and think of them as family, and they would welcome me into their family as an adopted daughter with special needs. I wouldn't even have to be all super-girly if I wasn't comfortable with that.
When I brought up my concern about me being a constant reminder of their real daughter, they pointed out that Rina was Yuna's identical twin sister. Regardless of my presence they were always going to have that reminder anyway. They also pointed out that my hair color was different from Yuna's due to the surgery or chemicals I had been exposed to during my treatment. I looked less like Yuna than Rina did, so it would be easy for them to accept me as a different person and not expect me to be like the real Yuna.
They really had given it some thought. I wondered how they came up with all this while in the midst of their grief at having found out their daughter was dead. It seemed they truly were kind people. I shouldn't be surprised though. They were Rina's parents after all. Mine now too, I guess. I did have to wonder if I should try to find my own parents though. Given my body, it might be best if I just let them continue to think I was dead. I'd have to think about it some more.
After I had agreed to assume Yuna's identity and become their daughter, they told me two other tidbits that they hadn't wanted to mention before I agreed so it didn't sound like they were trying to coerce me. The first was that the unknown patient that had been at Manabe's clinic had racked up medical bills to the tune of fifty million yen. Manabe had suggested that those bills had nothing to do with Yuna Kurimi who was not the person that he had treated in his clinic. If I agreed to assume Yuna's identity, then not only would he not inform anyone of the dead girl's identity, he would forget about the medical bills. I was honestly touched. Sure, he may have been a weirdo mad scientist-type but it seemed he was a really decent person as well. The second item was much less comforting. Manabe had told them that if I were ever to have a family of my own and give birth to a child the child would biologically be Yuna's, produced with her egg from her ovaries that had been implanted inside me. Said child would truly be a blood related grandchild of the Kurimis.
I panicked a little at that thought. I informed them in no uncertain terms that I may for all intents and purposes be female, but I wasn't into guys, period. I had no intention of allowing a guy to touch me in a sexual way. Their response shocked me right out of me panic. They said that if I needed to be a lesbian to be happy then they would support me all the way. I was in a unique situation having been born male and they understood it would be impossible for me to become a totally normal girl.
That rocked me back on my heels. Was I a lesbian? I had been a straight male. I still had a straight male brain. I was still attracted to Rina-chan in a major way. Her clinging to me earlier had caused reactions that I had been absolutely ignoring. But it had never occurred to me that in terms of relationships I would have to relate to a girl as another girl, both physically and in the eyes of society, no matter if deep down I still thought of being with a girl as 'straight'. I guess that did make me a lesbian, but whether or not I was going to become a practicing lesbian...that was another matter entirely.
A knock on my door pulled me from my thoughts.
"Big sister?" Rina-chan's voice called through the door. "I'm coming in."
"Come in," I called back as Rina opened the door and slipped though. She was holding a framed picture and a photo album to her chest and she timidly approached me. When she stopped in front of me, she wordlessly offered the framed picture.
I took it and glanced at it, my eyes widening in surprise as I was greeted by an image of the old me—of Rando Masashi.
"What...why...?" I stammered.
"I've kept this always," Rina said softly. "Ever since he was lost...since I thought you were lost...I could never forget him...you." Rina looked at me with an almost fierce look. "I loved Yuna! I loved Yuna so very much...but..." Rina shyly looked down again. "But I also loved Rando Masashi."
"Rina..." I breathed, stunned by this revelation.
"And I definitely think he was becoming interested in me too," she said with a nostalgic smile, "because sometimes I noticed him looking at me."
"But why didn't you ever say anything?' I asked, still reeling.
"That...I couldn't do that," Rina said sadly. "Because Yuna wasn't here. She was missing and I didn't know if she was safe." Tears were rolling down her cheeks now. "Having fun by myself was something I just couldn't do. Being happy by myself was something I just couldn't do. And then Rando-sempai was gone too. But...but you're here now. You're not Rando-sempai and you're not my beloved Yuna...but now it's like I have both the people I love the best right here in front of me in one person." Rina threw herself at me, once again latching on tightly and crying on my shoulder. "In your head and heart you are my Rando-sempai, but your body and face is that of my beloved big sister and I love all of you with all my heart. Please never leave me again!"
"Rina-chan..." I cried, tears now streaming down my own cheeks as I hugged her back. "I love you too. I love you so much! I'm not going anywhere! I'll never leave your side! I'll never disappear again!"
And then I don't know what happened but it was as if a dam had burst. Suddenly I was sobbing uncontrollably as all the stress, fear, and grief over what happened to me suddenly overwhelmed my ability to contain it. Rina and I clung to each other as we both wept out our pain.
I don't know how long it lasted, but when our tears finally slowed to a trickle, Rina released me and sat down beside me, picking up the photo album she has tossed there when she threw herself at me. For the rest of the night, Rina showed me pictures and told me stories about the girl whose identity I had taken as my own, the girl whose skin was now my own, and the girl whose babies I could potentially give birth to. Rina told me about the girl I was now: Yuna Kurimi.
I would always be Rando Masashi inside, but, as I was contemplating on that fateful day when my life changed, I was going to have to reinvent myself. I wouldn't turn my back on everything I was, but I decided that I would try to adopt as much of Yuna Kurimi as I could...for Rina's sake. It wouldn't be easy. In fact, I expected it to be one of the most difficult things I'd ever done. But then, I was a fighter. I didn't achieve the things I had by never doing anything I thought might be difficult. With manly determination, I would become a girl Rina could be proud to call her sister.