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Takeda Lullaby

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He still thought of himself as a boy, still called himself a boy, standing with his yukata open before the mirror, the soft swell of his chest, the mound of hair between his legs. After everything that had happened, after all the lessons, all the tests, after being told that it was important he started thinking of himself as a girl now, that mankind’s future depended on girls just like him, he was still Kenji, right?

Outside, the sound of fireworks echoed, the slow hammer of drums, the glint of fairy light and paper lanterns in the glass of the open window, the warm summer breeze giving him goose-bumps as he inspected the shape of his body.

He turned, lifting up the yukata, exposing his behind and looking over his shoulder, and then turned back again, spreading his legs wide, and putting two fingers in a downwards v between his hips, the hair coarse to the touch.

From this body, he would make babies, the thought came unbidden. One day he would meet a guy, and he would stick it in him, and then they’d make babies. Maybe Masaomi, he thought, and then he tried to imagine Masaomi sticking it in him, and he laughed, because it was stupid, because Masaomi was his best friend, even if he didn’t act like it, and Kenji was a—

He was a boy, wasn’t he? Even in this expensive body, even with all the work the surgeons had done to him, he was a boy, right? Why then, hadn’t he felt like a boy before? Why was he only a boy now he didn’t have a thing, now that he could have babies?

At this time of year, his grandmother had always said, you say goodbye to the dead. Yet he was still here, he thought, standing before the mirror, the soft swell of his chest, the mound of hair between his legs; he was still here.