"…are you awake?" Anubitur whispered to the dark.
"Yeah," Guragiel replied.
Anubitur shifted under the blankets to pull her closer, burying her face in the crook of the other sibylla's neck. "Have you decided yet?"
In lieu of a reply, Guragiel just wrapped her arms tight around Anubitur, trembling ever so slightly. "…I'm jealous," she finally murmured. "It must be so easy for you, knowing so clearly what you want to be…"
Anubitur stroked her hair silently, tenderly, and said nothing.
"I hate it. I don't want to change, I don't want to have to choose one or the other." She was crying, her tears dampening the pillow and her pair's hair. "I can't. I'm not."
"…then, how about you let me choose?" Anubitur asked.
"…don't joke about this, I'm being serious."
"I know. I am too," she said, leaning back to meet Guragiel's eyes, gleaming with tears and faint moonlight. "If you're not happy with it, you can blame me. I'll take all the responsibility for whatever happens. I promise."
Guragiel looked away, shifting in bed to face the ceiling, eyes closed. "…I'll think about it," she finally said.
The sky was just barely starting to lighten when Anubitur awoke to the touch of Guragiel's hand on her cheek. "If you choose, I think I can accept it, whatever happens."
"Well then," Anubitur murmured, touching her forehead to her partner's, "let's become men together. At least that way, we'll both go through the same thing, right?"
"…alright," Guragiel said with a firm nod. "Let's.
They kissed once, softly, and fell back asleep in each other's arms until the morning.
Hand in hand, Anubitur and Guragiel entered the Spring.
Hand in hand, Anubituf and Guragief left.
"…I don't feel any different," Anubituf said, staring absently out the train window. "I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I figured something had to be different, right?"
"The changes come later," Guragief replied. He shifted, crossing and uncrossing his arms, leaning his head on his hand. "…at least this way we'll have time to get used to them."
Anubituf's eyes moved to look at Guragief. "…are you…how do you feel?"
"I'm fine with this," he said, smiling a little. "I don't think I'd feel any better if I'd become a woman, anyways."
"…you don't have to put on a brave face in front of me, you know."
Guragief pulled one knee to his chest and wrapped his arms around it. "…I'm not."
Anubituf stood, moving from his seat facing to Guragief to one next to him, and leaned on his shoulder.
"Welcome back, Anubi," Guragief said absently as he heard the door open, not looking up from the papers in front of him.
"Thanks," Anubituf said, peering over his shoulder. "Still working on that application?"
"I just want to make sure everything's in order." Guragief glanced up, did a double-take, and stared wide-eyed at Anubituf.
"…does it really look that weird?" he asked, running a hand through his newly-cut hair. "I mean, I've always worn it long, so I can't really get used to it myself…"
"No, I was just startled," Guragief laughed. "It suits you! You're really starting to look like a man, with that and the earrings…"
"Why, thank you! I just wish it didn't take so long for my body to change…" he sighed. "But what can you do, I suppose. Have you thought about getting your hair cut?"
"Not really…" Anubituf said, leaning back in his chair and stretching. "I'll probably leave it until my breasts are gone, at least. And even then, I don't think I'd want it as short as yours."
"Long hair really does suit you better…" Anubituf said, taking a seat next to him at the table. "Here, let me take a look at that. The last thing I'd want is to get back on the Arcus Prima and leave you behind, you know."
Guragief pushed the papers over to him and toyed with his hair as he looked them over.
"…I never thought I'd say this, but I miss my breasts sometimes," Anubituf sighed, leaning on the table.
"…I never thought you'd say that either," Guragief replied, taking a sip of his tea. "I mean, I do too, but…that's a bit different, I think."
"It's not as though I particularly want them back… I wasn't happy when they started growing, and having them shrink was something of a relief," Anubituf continued, staring out at the garden past the great windows. "It's just… Something about the feel, or the weight, was nice. Especially in the Maaju pool."
"That makes sense," Guragief said, nodding. "I miss my actual breasts less than the shape of my body, I think. Being this tall and broad is just…uncomfortable. I can't even fit in my sibylla uniform anymore."
"…no, not really." He looked down at himself, at his flat chest and narrow hips. "If I had become a woman, I'd probably wish I had a body like this."
Anubituf leaned his head on his hand, smiling gently up at his friend. "It's a shame you had to choose."
"Yes." He looked up, a faraway look in his eye. "Yes, it is."
Anubituf and Guragief clinked their teacups together and drank.
"This is much better than that party," Anubituf said, leaning back in his armchair. "Especially with Wauf there. It was nice to see him again, but he could have kept some of those anecdotes to himself…"
There was a lull as they enjoyed their tea, before Guragief spoke. "Thank you, Anubi."
"I think if I had become a woman, we really would have gotten married, maybe even had children," he said, smiling gently at the man who had been his pair. "And I don't think that would have been a bad life. But I prefer being able to stand beside you like this. I still wish I never had to choose, but if this means we can be equal and the same, I'm happy for that."
"…maybe it was my way of trying to keep things from changing between us," Anubituf murmured. "Everything else could change, but as long as we're the same as each other, at least we have that." He put down his tea and stood, leaning down to steal a kiss from Guragief. "Let's stay this way forever, Guragi. Together and in balance."
Guragief smiled, warm and unguarded, and kissed him back. "Let's."