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Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

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        Koichi knew this conversation was bound to come up. In all honesty, he had no clue how it hadn’t happened sooner...it had been two years, after all.

        He knew Yukako deserved to know, but it was her that obsessed over him years ago with no regard for his feelings, let alone if he would ever meet her expectations. No matter how much Koichi wanted to be her idea of a perfect man, he couldn’t change some things. Neither could he change her reaction. 

       “Koichi...what do you mean?”

         What does THAT mean?

        He’d never been good at reading people, but now of all times it’s a trait Koichi loathed not possessing. 

        “I-“

        What words are supposed to be said, to that? After all, what he meant was already said.

        “NO- Stop. I mean, you can’t be serious...are you??” Yukako demanded with a pained accent. How could she not tell how serious he was right then? Was it just the denial that’s forced her to think that, or does Yukako really think Koichi has such little dignity to pull such a prank? Either way, it’s too much. Koichi felt the sweat pooling at his neck and back, and wondered if it was nearly as noticeable to her as it was to him. Despite Koichi’s resolve for everything strengthening over his years of being a stand user, anxiety still had an overwhelming grip on his mind and body at times like this. Even after forming a response within his mind, the teenager barely managed to choke out a few syllables at a time. There was no going back now, though, and he knew this.

 

        “Yu..Yukako, It’s- how could,, how could I make some-something like this....how could I make it up?” Koichi couldn't understand, but he wanted to, so desperately. The young woman’s expression wasn’t close to comprehensible. Angry? Disappointed? Disgusted?? All possible feelings circulated through Koichi’s head, but it would be years before he could put his finger on it. He must know, she had to tell him or else they’d go nowhere at all. With a shaky breath, the words slipped out seamlessly. “I’m transgender, Yukako. I wasn’t always who I am now...When I was born, well, I already told you.. Please say something, I’m begging you.” He barely breathed out the last two words as a whisper; but there wasn’t a chance she missed it, as she opened her mouth to respond, only to huff out a breath of frustration. Perhaps it was tinted with anger, but Koichi couldn’t tell, and could only wait for her words. 

         Words...why are they the only things I know?

        “I can’t fucking believe this! I can’t- WHY didn’t you tell me!?? If- if you told me this when I first confessed I would have taken it back immediately , if I knew you were actually a GIRL!! ” The strength of the last word felt like a sharp slap in the face. Koichi could have sworn he was suffocating. Act Two couldn’t make someone feel this heavy if it tried. The funny part is, Koichi thought, she never mentioned how it made her feel. 

        It wasn’t the breeze that made the boy so suddenly cold, but it sure didn’t help. Koichi almost couldn’t remember what it was like to not have all of the muscles in his body be excruciatingly tense. The sweat running down his torso had gone cold, and he wanted nothing but to be in silence. Far away from the gusting wind, where there’s no cars or students riding their bikes home late. Somewhere void of bustle and nature, where the only sound is that of his own breath. A place away from the voice of someone he trusted. Someone that felt just as betrayed.

        Yukako opened her mouth to speak one last time, and just like that, it was all over.

 

         The sun is all there is. That, and a hand pulling me along. I wonder, will we be there soon?   

         “WAKE UP ALREADYYY!!” Koichi hit the floor with a thump, and looked up after rubbing his eyes, to see Ayana towering over him menacingly. 

        “What the hell was that for?" Koichi groaned, dragging his hands down his groggy face. Koichi stood up, and stretched, feeling stiffer than ever after the events of last evening. Luckily his sister hadn’t seemed to notice that he was crying last night, based on her response.

        “What a blockhead...” she mumbled. “You’re going to be late for school!" Pointing outside with the face of a school teacher shunning a student, Koichi’s big sis probably thought she’s intimidating him. 

        “Yeah, okay. Says the one that had to repeat a year and still lives at home...” He murmured the last part but was forced to dash out the door before getting snatched by Ayana and surely earning a smack on the head. 

    

        Koichi worried for a minute that he was in too much of a hurry, before looking down and realizing that he fell asleep in his uniform. 

         Hopefully nobody notices what a mess I am..

        The school day went surprisingly normally, meaning boring; but at least for lunch he’d be in the company of his good friends. Honestly though, Koichi couldn’t decide if that’s something he wanted at the moment. Of course they would be of comfort, but at the same time it’s difficult for him to show that vulnerable side without it turning into a situation. Today the boys decided to bring their lunch out to the hillside, where the other students rarely hung around anymore. Koichi sat next to Josuke who lie with his arms propping his head up, and ate an apple left in his bag from yesterday; since he mistakenly left his wallet and any other food he could have brought at home.  

        As Okuyasu sat on the other side of Josuke, scarfing down some well-preserved left overs from Trattoria Trussardi, Koichi took one last bite and tossed the core of his apple down into the grass. Looking into the sky, Koichi almost instinctively covered his face with his hand to block the sun, but instead just closed his eyes. 

        “Yukako dumped me.”

         “eEHHH!?!?” Okuyasu screamed after coughing up the pasta he was choking on, but Josuke remained silent; and only sat up to look worriedly at the other one of them. The words just came out like they wanted to be said, even if Koichi didn’t want them to come out.

         If only it was like this during yesterday's conversation, huh?

        Koichi was expecting Okuyasu to blurt out two dozen questions in the next thirty seconds, but surprisingly Josuke spoke up first. 

        “When did it… happen?" He pried cautiously enough. Josuke was typically a very considerate person, but really had no subtle way to ask such a question. Koichi wasn’t about to leave them wondering, though, despite not being all too ready to continue the topic at hand. It helped that he was pretty out of it.

        “Well… yesterday. After school, when she found out that I’m t-" Koichi’s heart was beating arrhythmically at a staggering pace once he had caught himself. Part of him wanted to finish the sentence, but after the previous reaction, he wasn’t about to risk his friendship with two more of the only people in his life whose existence meant anything. This time it was Okuyasu’s turn to speak up.

        “You’re what?” He inquired, unknowing of the question's weight.

        “I don’t… know if I should say. You might not see me the same.” His concern didn't come out as breathy as it felt, but that didn’t necessarily mean neither of the other boys picked up the meaning behind it. Koichi really felt like he should be tearing up about now, but apparently there wasn’t anything left after he got it all out last night. 

        “Come on, you know you can tell us anything. You can trust us right? Besides, knowing you, it prolly won’t be that bad anyways!” Okuyasu chuckled at the end of his statement, but Koichi internally shuddered at the question amidst his sentiment. Did he trust them? He had no reason not to. After all, these were people that have put their lives on the line for him, and that Koichi has done the same for; and he still would. So why in the world was he uncertain about trust between them?

        “It’s well… not really normal. It should be, but I don’t want you guys to be put off…” He trailed off and averted his gaze, but while Okuyasu was about to say more, Josuke sat up with a grunt, and exchanged a look with him. Josuke cleared his throat and looked towards Koichi. 

        “I might be completely off here, but I think I might have an idea of where you’re going with this. So um, I think you should know something too.” He declared with a sort of shyness to it. “If this is about what I think it is, and again please don’t feel too awkward if I’m way wrong but, you see, Okuyasu and I we-“ He cut off to look over at the other for an approval of sorts, but before he could finish what he was about to say, Okuyasu’s eyes went wide as he caught on to what Josuke was trying to tell Koichi. “We are-“

         “Boyfriends!!” Okuyasu said with a huge smile on his face, unbefitting the conversation’s tone up to this point. Koichi looked up sharply at the word though, unsure of what he was actually expecting to hear. The hue of Josuke’s face reddened instantly, but Okuyasu was just glad to hopefully be of consolation to Koichi. 

        “Wait,” Koichi started, “really?” Not that this was an especially surprising fact upon deeper contemplation, but Koichi was mostly wondering how Josuke could tell what this was about. Then again, not everyone else needed words. Okuyasu on the other hand, was eager to speak as much – if not more – than Koichi needed to hear. 

        “Yeah!! We love each other lots! I just don’t go around bragging because people might pick on Josu for it… Wait are you also?” Okuyasu seemed to have had a revelation, but it was only a reminder to Koichi that they really had no clue after all. He had to start somewhere though.

        “Well, I am bisexual, but that’s not why she broke up with me. To be honest… I thought that was old news.” Koichi responded with a nervous chuckle. It was true, though, and surprising to him that not everyone already knew. However, the look of revelation Okuyasu had borne, turned to that of both delight and confusion. 

        “Oh, okay, but then… why?”

         Is this okay?

        Somehow Koichi felt like he might actually have been deceiving them. Will they see it as having been lied to like Yukako had? What if they are disgusted? They will surely start seeing me differently. Those were the thoughts that raced through Koichi’s mind, but Okuyasu and Josuke had been so open with him. It was only right to be the same. 

        “I wasn’t...born male.”