extended play
**track seventeen**
Intermezzo (part two)

Ah, and another thing I forgot to bring with me to Ryokuto - my CD player. I'll have to take that along when I go back. I pop a random disc into the player, and settle in as I listen to the familiar sounds of applause followed by a fast electric guitar lick. Only... the words sound a little different, this time around:

    "Through the passing strange I fell
     To the wide-eyed opposite
     My gender was hidden well
     Now I don't know where I left it
     I...  woke up in Escher's world today
     My mother said it was okay..."
Ouch. I know that feeling. I sit up, and shut the player off. And while I'm up, I catch a silhouette falling across the rice paper walls. "Who's there?"


Reina! I shunt my bedroom door open. "Come on in. What's been going on? You really haven't been yourself these past few days... huh?" My gosh... he's crying! "Reina?" I walk over to him and hug him. "What is it, ototo-chan?"

"I don't wanna be myself, onii-sama..."

Hm? I lead him into my room, and shut the door. I get on my knees, so I can look him straight in the eye. "What do you mean by that, Reina?"

His tears dry up as he stares at me like I was the most clueless individual on the face of the planet. And I guess I am, because I don't know what's bothering him. "Look at me, Shun..." I stand up, and take a step back to appraise what might be so different about my little brother all of a sudden. I don't see anything unusual. He stands about chest high on me, with a tousled shock of light-coloured hair that comes to just below the nape of the neck. Most folks might be hard pressed to tell if he was a boy or a girl, but then, that's -

"That's it. I hate being like this."

"Like what?"

"Like a girl, Shun. Don't you get it? We were raised like this so we could take over the ryokan. Now that Yui's here... we've wasted our lives..."

I blink. Wasted? "Reina... what are you talking about? We were raised this way because that's what we are - the Kisaragis have always been bishonen. We might as well take advantage of our inborn beauty. It's not because we were being groomed to take over the ryokan someday - if that was the case, I'd have been raised as a girl, yes, but Mom and Dad wouldn't have bothered raising you like that...

"Anyway, I never wanted to run this ryokan..." I know it sounds like sour grapes to some of you, and I'm pretty sure that others of you want me to break into some sort of silly song about lumberjacking. Well, I'm not gonna do it. Reina's too upset for that right now. "If I did, I'd be taking more business and hotel management classes. But I'm taking drama classes and the like. I want to be an actor." Of course, maybe less so now than when I entered Ryokuto, but at least in the real world, I wouldn't have to do it 24/7.

"You mean, like Ojii-sama does with his Kabuki?"

"Ah... something like that. See? You've got to find your own road, Reina-chan. Something that allows you to use your beauty," and I run my hand along his chin, "to your best advantage."

"But girls don't want this kind of beauty, Shun-chan... they want a real man. What girl could possibly be interested in a half-man, half-girl, anyway?"

Well, the good news is, he hasn't been poking through my collection of manga while I've been away at school. Wait a minute... "What's this about girls, Reina-chan?" His eyes widen, and he quickly looks down at his feet. He'd obviously not intended to tell me so much. I grin. "Is there someone you're interested in, Reina-chan?"

He shuffles his feet, and nods.

My grin gets broader. "Anyone I should know?" His eyes dart back and forth for a moment, and then he leans in, and whispers a name in my ear.

No, I'm not telling.

"I see. Well, if you think she'd be more impressed by a more masculine personality, go for it... see what you can do. You've got it in you to act that way. And once you finish going through puberty, it may be that much easier." Mentally, I shrug. Reina's a Kisaragi, too... puberty doesn't seem to affect us as much as most males. Sure, we grow to adult size and all, but that's about it. But he needs the hope right now - and maybe a warning, too: "Acting macho isn't gonna feel right, though, I can guarantee it."

I don't think he's been listening. "Macho, huh..." He draws himself up to his full height, turns, and sort of swaggers out of the room. He's walking kinda funny... like he was a bit bowlegged or something. I think he's overdoing it. In fact, I know he is.

Once he shunts the bedroom door behind him, I can hear this "Hwwahk! P-TU!" I bring my hand to my forehead, and make a mental note to inform Reina that spitting will not impress any girl, regardless of how macho he thinks it is.

I'll do it later.

Escher's World c1991, Chagall Guevara
The performance in question is from Steve Taylor's Liver album, c1994. The actual line is "My agenda is hidden well..." but you might miss it the first dozen times you hear it. ^_^

Copyright reserved 1999 Ukyou Kuonji [UkyouKwnji@aol.com]

Disclaimer: Koko wa Greenwood is the creation of Yukie Nasu, and all characters and situations therein are the property of her and Hakusensha Inc., Victor Entertainment, and the Pierrot Project. No infringement is intended.

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