chapter one
  There was a young girl who lived near the train tracks. We will call her Haruka. Haruka was a very cute and energetic girl, but she had a series of strange habits. She had her hair cut short on the summer before her 7th birthday, to match her best friend who we will call Tomo. One of her favorite pastimes was to mimic the behavior of her best friend. Now this isn’t a strange thing for children to do. But as the two grew older together it became a little awkward for Tomo. Something that Haruka was completely oblivious to. Now Tomo has lived next door to Haruka his whole life and never really noticed that Haruka was a girl. In fact he didn’t even know the difference between boys and girls. To call her a tomboy would be an understatement. She acted, talked and even dressed like a boy. And as time passed she started to address herself as a boy and became defensive if anyone called her a girl. At first Tomo enjoyed having a friend like her, someone who wasn’t afraid of taking risks or getting dirty.  But even after they entered junior high school, she still came to school wearing the boy’s uniform. he started to understand that it made him uncomfortable. Haruka was becoming too pretty to be a boy anymore. And it was glaringly obvious. Tomo began to feel differently when he looked at his best friend, but he couldn’t exactly pinpoint what it was. He tried many times to convince her to go back to acting like a girl, though he couldn’t think of a time she might “to back to”. She would simply reply, “I’m better this way” or “This is how I should be.” He knew he couldn’t win; her stubbornness outmatched his own in every way. Despite all her trying he could still see the sliver of femininity in her personality. As the days past the feelings that Tomo had towards Haruka became too strong for him to ignore, and apparent to the people around them. Everyone knew except Haruka. He didn’t completely understand, but he did believe that if she returned to acting like a girl, they would both be much happier, but she didn’t agree.

A day came when the carnival would arrive in their town. Eagerly the two of them decided to go together. They spent the whole day touring the rides and trying all the games. As the evening crept in and the lines began to die down, Tomo started to head to the exit. Thinking in all common sense it would be best to get home before the sun went down. But Haruka insisted on one last ride. She grabbed his arm and pointed with her other. Tomo’s gaze followed the line of her finger and found an older looking ride sitting at the end of it. It was the spinning type, ones that Tomo admittedly hated. This one seemed even more gruesome than your average ride, because there were no seats or handle bars, only padded backings lining the ride’s wall and a seat belt to keep you from flying. The lack of safety and general condition of the ride made him cringe. He tried to pull away, when he saw the wicked grin that streaked across Haruka face. But to no avail, she pulled his forward and dragged him closer to this dreaded beast.  “Haruka! ....wait I’ve got a bad feeling about this ride…” but it was too late. Haruka had arrived and was ready to ascend the stairs. Tomo gave a gentle tug on her wrist, turning her around. “Why is there no one else in line? I think this one is closed…” Tomo stated with a pleading tone. “It’s just getting late and all the other babies are getting home to their mommies.”  As they stepped closer a large, over weight man stepped out. He was unshaven and unkempt. He wore a tank top that was badly stained from a strange arrayment of food and BO. His deep and rusty voice snaked between his lips. “How old are you?” he asked. “14” Haruka replied without skipping a beat. Tomo echoed her answer. “Boy or girl?” the man asked again. Haruka answered without even thinking, in a loud and confident voice. “Boy!” The single word seemed to echo off the ride and dance in the air without end. “A boy huh? I see.” the man repeated, but didn’t question her further. Haruka gleamed, pleased that someone had not argued the fact with her. The man looked over and Tomo and without asking the question, Tomo replied the same. A smile slid across his greasy face as he spoke. “This next trial will decide your future. And someday you will return. Hold onto your friend or you will disappear.”  His lips split into a full on laughter. Without hesitation He snatched and tore their tickets and let them on the ride. After they received the safety instructions the two were left alone.

“Are you scared Tomo?” His voice shook out an unconvincing “no”, but Haruka only smiled and reached out her hand. As their fingers and palms touched, enclosing their grip, there was warmth that spread from the point of contact, and ran up and over the shoulders and into their cheeks. The ride started and their smiles were stripped from their faces. Faster and faster, until their vision completely blurred. As the ride spun Haruka felt a strange hear rushing over her whole body. The fever intensified so greatly that she began to pant heavily and struggled not to throw up. Mixed in with the heat were pressure points of pain digging against her nerves forcing her muscles to contract.  The ride slowed and the safety belts were released. Haruka slid to the floor in a massive heat, still panting from the pain. Tomo felt the tug, as his hand was still wrapped around her fingers. He spun around her, crouched down and looked her in the face. “Are you ok?” Haruka pulled her eyes open trying to blink away the discomfort. She strained to look him in the face, but managed to say. “It’s …it’s so hot… Tomo.” He placed his free hand on his own forehead, and then moved it to hers. “You do have a little fever.” Though it faded with the cool of his touch. “Looks like the ride made you a little sick, let’s get off and sit on a bench for a bit.” Tomo stood up and with his linked hand helped her to her feet. Haruka cringed in pain and half fell. Tomo quickly crooked his had under her arm to keep her from falling. He swung the arm over his shoulder and grabbed the space under her knees. Lifting her off the ground he carried her princess style off the ride. The pain was so strong that Haruka did not object to being carried, but simply leaned into his chest a little more. Tomo forced himself to swallow and walked to the exit. The large man waited for them there and greeted them as they left. His mocking tone slapped against Tomo’s ears and caused his nostrils to flare. “Never thought a BOY would faint from a little ride like this. Poor little Princess! Guess he’s not as tough as he thought he was.” His laugh echoed after them as they left the ride to find a place to sit.

 The bench was not far from the stairs so Tomo set her down and sat next to her.  As soon as his body appeared she pressed against him. Not able to support her own weight. Tomo’s face flushed red at the unexpected action. Unsure of how to act he remained still for several moments. Sitting there he studied her face, trying to see if she was perhaps feeling any better. But as he looked at her he noticed that something was a little off. He coughed trying to break the silence, but ended up speaking anyway.  “Um… Haruka? Where does it hurt? Do you still feel sick?” she looked up at him. “You look both pale and flush… you don’t look well at all.” As she stared into his face, tears welled up in her eyes and she spoke. “To… Tomo” her voice wavered as she tried to form the words. “It… it hurts in all the wrong places…” he looked at her both puzzled and embarrassed, not exactly sure what that meant. He waited several seconds for her to continue. “I … I think something’s wrong with my body… it doesn’t feel right… I think I’m a boy.” She looked down awkwardly at her own body then back up at him. Locking eyes she waited for him to respond, assuring her it was a natural reaction to stressful rides like that one. But instead he just sighed and said. “Can you just stop it for one minute? I’m really worried about you!” as he spoke Haruka could feel the heat leaving and it seemed to have a settling effect on her body. But the sensation it left her with was scarier than the pain and fever she had moments ago. Her hand subconsciously followed her fears and fell to the space between her legs. As she pressed her hand against her own body a new feeling overwhelmed her. Tomo had tried not to stare as she made this startling movement, but he couldn’t turn his eyes away. He was shocked and curious as to what she was doing.

“Come on Haruka!! Enough teasing! Just stop.”  Haruka lifted her hands and cupped her face. Trying to wipe the tears that wouldn’t stop.  “I’m … I’m not joking. Tomo.” Her trembling voice caused him to change his tone. “I’m sorry Haruka, I know that ride made you a little sick so, it’s ok I’ll play along today.” Her eyebrows curled and she replied. “I’m being serious! Why don’t you believe me?” he shot a glare back at her. “Because it’s not even possible and we both know it.” Haruka snapped into action. She sat up and grabbed Tomo’s hand all in one motion. She pulled up her shirt and pressed his hand against her chest. Tomo’s face flooded red and he looked away trying to free his hand from Haruka’s grip. The fabric moved beneath his fingertips and he began to feel lightheaded. “let… let go Haruka!” he yelled, but to no avail.” Stop doing this!” she breathed out slowly and Tomo felt the rise and fall of her chest. “Tomo! Look at me!” there was a long silence and neither moved. Finally he looked over at her, unsure of what to expect. He caught her gaze then looked down at his hand. She released her hand and Tomo followed. She swung her arms around her back and unlatched her training bra, letting the back swing freely. Sliding down her arms she the straps fall off her shoulders. Tomo looked around nervously knowing he couldn’t stop her, nor was he sure he wanted to anymore. As he looked around he saw that no one was there. In fact it was strange how abandoned the carnival had become. Not even the usual stragglers were within earshot. He glanced back to see if the large man was still looking on with his mocking gaze, but much to his surprise the man was gone. The whole ride had disappeared.

He looked back to Haruka to report his discovery only to find her completely bare-chested staring back at him. He looked her over surprised at what he had found. Her newly budding breast had disappeared and her body looked lean and firm. No longer the soft form he had remembered. Her shoulders had become sharp and the lines of her body more defined. He looked down not wanting to know more. His eyes jumped back to her face to see the tears streaming down the sides of her cheeks. “I… I … don’t want to be a boy.” She managed to say through the sniffles and hicks. She fell against his chest and wept on his shoulder. Tomo sat for a moment completely puzzled. The girl he loved and had always known finally was there ready for his embrace, wanting nothing more than to be comforted by him. Thinking back he couldn’t remember the last time Haruka had actually cried. But even so he couldn’t reach his hand around to place it on her shoulder. He wasn’t sure how, but it seemed true that the sweet “She” that he loved had become a “He”. The tears turned to sobs and left large salty stains on Tomo’s shirt. He could not let this go on. He felt a wave of discomfort roll through his stomach. He thought for a moment then patted Haruka on the back. “It’s going to be ok.” He said as he gripped her shoulders and pushed her back. He looked into her eyes, the only thing left completely unchanged. “We’ll find out what happened. Don’t worry!” Tomo felt a strange sense of calm as he stared into her panicked eyes. Somehow she was still the same. And he would do anything to get her back to normal. Her smile widened and her eyes creased, pushing tears down her face. The kind of trusting face he had not seen in a long while. As though at that moment she depended solely on him as her only strength. His body moved without another thought. Arms wrapped around Haruka and pulled her close to him. Despite their closeness second earlier, the action left Haruka shocked and embarrassed. She had never noticed before how strong his arms felt, how large his hands were, and how warm his body was. Letting her pride melt away she gave in and returned his embrace, raptured in the thought of his presence.

“What are you boys doing out her alone so late at night?” a young feathery voice echoed from the darkness. Tomo realized what he had done. He knew that Haruka was still Haruka, but in her current state she was a boy. Embarrassed he pushed her away accidently brushing her chest. He yelped and retracted his hand and she instinctively covered herself with her palms. “Tsk tsk tsk. Caught doing something you shouldn’t?” The voice questioned as the body it was connected to, emerged from the shadows. Their faces went white as they saw the form that appeared before them. A slender, but muscular girl stood there, hair cut short pinned back with a variety of colorful barrettes. She wore the same uniform as the girls from their school. Socks stretched to the knees and the skirt shortened to an inappropriate length. But the shocking part was not what she wore, but rather the face that smiled back at them. It was an exact match for the one Haruka has left behind. The girl waved her hands out and looked at herself as she walked forward. “I hope you don’t mind some of the changes I made. I thought something a little more feminine might make my appeal go up a little bit. What do you think?” she said and did a little half turn allowing the skirt to flutter just enough. “It’s pretty interesting that it took you becoming a boy to gain any interest in them.” She inched closer and placed her hand against Haruka’s face. “Of course maybe now that you’re in that body you might have a reaction to me as well…” as she spoke she slide her finger tips along Haruka’s neck and down the front of her still bare chest. Haruka couldn’t move, frozen as her skin turned a brighter and brighter pink. The girl’s fingers stopped just above the belly button the circled it slowly. Resuming gently she moved to the top hem of Haruka’s pants. Hovering for a moment, the girl’s finger dug into the small opening of the pants and pulled it away from Haruka’s flesh. A grin creased across her face and she said. “I guess you got to be a real boy after all.”

Haruka slapped away her hand and held herself in a way she never thought she would. Embarrassed and confused at the new feelings that pulsed through her veins, she glared at the girl. Hoping that small act would exact her revenge. But the girl only laughed. “You silly silly boy.” Haruka’s eyebrows furled and she retorted. “I’m not a boy, I’m a girl!” she laughed again falling back onto the bench next to Haruka landing in Tomo’s lap, who had only stared on shocked at the development. “Not from what I see you aren’t.” she said as she wrapped her arms around Tomo’s neck and crossed her legs. Inching her knew closer to Tomo’s chest. The skirt slide higher up her thigh and Tomo swallowed hard. He’d never been close to any girls besides Haruka, so the sudden contact was quite surprising. She turned her attention to Tomo and began rubbing her finger along his chin. “So Tomo, what do you think of Haruka’s body now? It’s much more appealing this way isn’t it?” she leaned closer. “If you want, you can have it. I’ll give it to you.” She said with a slitted grin. “What do you mean ‘Haruka’s body’? Who are you? Haruka’s voice cut through the girls tainted words slightly releasing Tomo from his daze. “If you have my body then what is this?” she asked as she patted her chest. The girl turned, uncrossing her legs. But she left one arm dangling over Tomo shoulder keeping her trance over him. She’d lost her sassy smile and taken on a harsh glare. “Well, you can’t have two bodies can you? You wanted to be a boy so you got your wish! Congrats!! As for this body you didn’t need it so I get it instead.” Haruka seemed a little relieved to know that by whatever it meant, her body was still intact even if she wasn’t the one using it. “Your second question, who am I? Well that’s simple yet oh so complicated. I’m you!” Haruka pondered for a minute and studied the girl. The body certainly did match, but the personality was a complete miss. “I see you’re confused. All thanks to that simple mind of yours. Every person has a feminine side and masculine side. Right? Well since you wanted to be a boy, there’s no better way for you to truly appreciate the male body than to put your feminine side into one. Right? So now you can create your own kind of masculinity using femininity as a base. Ironic but beautiful. As for me, I’m your masculine side. I know all the things that a man wants. How he wants a girl to dress and act. And without your dominate feminine side attached to me, I can create my own kind of femininity too. Even your male body couldn’t resist.”

Haruka stuttered terribly, but finally managed to make a response. “But I don’t understand what this is happening…. How did…. I don’t want to be a boy.” The girl placed her left hand on the back of the bench and swung her other arm around releasing Tomo, and approached Haruka. “My dear dear Haruka, but this IS what you wanted. You’ve always wanted to be a boy, and now you get to. Not just pretend or dress up. You get it all! The hormones, the hair, the flat firm body, the raw muscle mass, the power, you get the whole package. You should be happy. And the best part is you get to grow into it, become a man slowly. Great right? You never wanted to be with a boy anyway, right? So this sets everything straight. Besides I make a much better girl than you do, and there’s no way you can deny it. Either way there’s nothing you can do about it now… so I would just get used to it.” She smiled one last time before she stood up and walked away. After she reached the edge of the shadows she turned around and said. “I’ll see you in school tomorrow boys!” then she disappeared. Haruka and Tomo sat saying nothing for several minutes, only staring at the space Haruka’s female body had just stood. They both tried to take in all that had happened. Tomo sat studying his knees, embarrassed by his silence through the whole event.

Haruka slide her fingers downward over her chest, her eyes watching her own movement. “I guess… I guess it’s not so bad…” Tomo turned to see the tears fall one after another. He could almost hear her heart breaking as she tried to accept her new body and what she would become. He reached around and grabbed her shoulder, squeezing tightly. “I’m still your best friend. No matter if you’re a girl or a boy. I’ll help you through this. And I know we’ll get your body back. There has to be a way.” The soft flow of tears became a large flood and Haruka heaved up and down with violent weeping. She cried till she couldn’t cry anymore and all the while Tomo sat next to her hand on her shoulder, comforting her. When the weeping stopped he helped her to her feet and walked her back to his house. He didn’t dare take her to her house, incase Haruka’s body was already living there changing as much of Haruka’s life as she could. Haruka had put her shirt back on at the carnival and walked the streets in her tomboyish clothes. Luckily she was still young enough that she could disguise herself as a girl for a short time. She later traded out her clothes for an extra pair of Tomo’s Pajamas. Tomo had explained that Haruka was a just a friend from school that would stay the night. Then go to school with him in the morning. His parents didn’t question it at all and welcomed her to take a bath as well. This relieved and disappointed Haruka. Relieved she could stay for the night, but disappointed that they hadn’t been able to recognize her.

She stood in the doorway after her bath clutching the towel between her fists. Every part of her body that was visible beneath the pajamas was red from head to toe. It took Tomo a minute to realize that she was there. He was lying on his bed reading magazines when he looked up and saw her. He set down the magazines and sat up. “Are you ok? Did you stay in the bath for too long? You’re all red.” The question turned the shade of Haruka’s skin a tint darker. She didn’t say anything in response, just simply stared off into space, holding the towel closer to herself. “Haruka?” he said as he got off the bed. Walking towards her he asked again. “What’s wrong?” Her gaze dropped and she replied quietly. “I… I…. didn’t know guys were so di… different.” Tomo thought about it for a moment then realized what she was talking about. His face flushed to a tone matching hers. He swallowed hard and gathered his composure. He stretched out his hand and gently placed it on her whitening knuckles. “It doesn’t matter.” He said pulling one of her hands away from her death grip on the towel. “Try not to think about it tonight, or you won’t be about to sleep. Boy or girl, Haruka is still the same. So don’t think about it. Besides we need to get to sleep or we’ll be too tired in school tomorrow.”

Haruka looked around. “Where am I going to sleep?” Tomo moved some pillows around and cleared off the magazines. “With me on the bed of course. Unless you’d rather sleep on the floor…” “With you?!” she replied, her surprise echoing with every syllable. “Is that a problem?” he could see her fidget a little and walked over, taking the towel from her hands. He set it on her head and dried her hair more carefully. “We used to sleep together all the time when we were little” His tone was gentle as he spoke, rubbing the towel against her head. “And if you think about it, it should be even less of a problem because we’re both boys right now. But if you don’t dry your hair properly we’ll both get a cold.” Haruka’s head hung with the towel draping over it. She reached up and pressed down, rubbing her own head viciously. When she stopped she said. “Sorry I’ll try to be more careful.” She did her best to flash a smile, which Tomo returned. “Which side do you want to sleep on?” he asked as he pulled the covers off the bed. “Um… I don’t care…” she stuttered. “Ok… how bout I take the inside, that way you get up easier to use the toilet. Since ... um. Yeah anyway. I’m going to bed. Turn off the lights when you’re ready.” He jumped in and pulled the covers over him, turning so he faced the wall. Haruka swallowed and breathed out. She wasn’t sure why she was so nervous. Tomo was right, they slept together plenty of times before. And now it wasn’t “dangerous” for her to sleep with a boy, since she was a boy too. But she still couldn’t stop the heaving beating of her heart. She set the towel out so it would dry overnight. After, she got into the bed and pulled the rest of the covers over her. She mimicked Tomo’s action and lay on her side. Only she faced the opposite direction. She could hear the clock ticking as it synced with her heart. She had never been so aware of his presence before. She could feel his breathing as the contractions of his chest gently tugged at the sheets. She stared into the dark hoping that silence would lull her to sleep.

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