Novel I didn't actually want to change ♂♀ [transgender] [c1-5]

Discussion in 'Community Fictions' started by ohko, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    I didn't actually want to change ♂♀
    + + +
    [​IMG]

    Genres:
    Drama, Gender Bender, School Life, Transgender

    Synopsis
    :
    In the 21st Century, it's not uncommon for people to be transgender. Far more frequently than is publicly admitted, many individuals have thought to themselves at some point that they feel like they were born as the wrong gender. For some people, this is merely a casual passing thought or an embarrassing guilty secret never to be spoken of again. For other people, these discordant feelings are so disturbing that they live on the edge of depression and suicide, a murky cloud looming over their heads as they attempt to suppress their deep-set feelings in order to desperately fit in with society.

    Every once in a while, you might encounter somebody who was brave enough to take the nerve-wracking leap to start taking medications to begin boldly "transitioning" their lives to live as the other sex. Their stories are peppered throughout the media, and they are publicly known in the everyday world as "trannys" (药娘)[1].

    But what about the 95% of people who never choose to "transition"?

    Lin Xiaorui (林晓睿), a second-generation Chinese college student with Japanese heritage[2], never wanted to be transgender. Even though he instinctively knew from a young age that he never fit in with the other boys and secretly desired to have been born a girl, he never dared to mention it to his conservative traditional family.

    Lin Xiaorui is also a realist. Even as a teenager, it was more than apparent to him how hard life would be if he made a certain taboo choice that everyone shunned. It would be hard to get a job, hard to pay bills, hard to face his family, hard to make friends, and just as hard to find love. The world as it stands remains filled with discrimination against "apache helicopters". Lin Xiaorui wasn't brave enough to commit himself to a life of constant hardship and struggles. A quiet peaceful life was all that he desired, and Lin Xiaorui never thought of himself as a particularly daring or brave person. He's been a quiet, studious, and obedient straight-A student all his life after all.

    Despite how badly his heart yearned for it, every part of his brain screamed that it was a bad idea to become transgender. It wasn't a rational choice. In fact, it seemed like a horrible one in the grand picture of things.

    This was why Lin Xiaorui never wanted to be transgender.

    Lin Xiaorui resolved himself a long time ago to simply be a man.

    Until one day he woke up and discovered that a tanabata wish[2] that he had frivolously written nine years ago at a shrine unexpectedly came true -- though, not quite exactly in the way that he (she?) expected.

    Lin Xiaorui: "Please let me experience high school as a girl."

    Table of Contents:
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chatper 4

    Author's Notes:
    1. 药娘: In Chinese, this term literally means "medicine girl". It refers to transgender women who take hormonal medications to change their appearance.
    2. : "Lin" in Chinese corresponds to the Japanese last name of "Hayashi".
    3. Tanabata: A Japanese festival that occurs on July 7th. The Japanese version of the festival typically involves writing wishes on pieces of paper that is hung on bamboo shoots.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  2. Estarossa

    Estarossa 《Master of Dessert》《Old Timer》

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    Sounds like a biography
     
  3. kiara8

    kiara8 Lurking

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    I didn’t realize CN have Tanabata as well
     
  4. Jigoku Shounen

    Jigoku Shounen An Envoy From Hell

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  5. Stealth

    Stealth Step Sister for Lewd

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    that long synopsis

    so he only become she during high school?
     
  6. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    It is semi-influenced by experiences of people that I know as well as my own personal experiences. I write more about this kind of stuff in the blog section. Another short story I wrote in the past is actually based on a true story. This new story is 90% fiction, especially since I've never lived in China or anything like that.

    Technically there's no tradition in China for writing wishes on Tanabata. Qixi in China is celebrated a little bit more like US valentine's day.

    So I stretched things a bit and made MC half-Japanese so there's an excuse for doing Japanese customs on the holiday.

    XD It's long because I'm too lazy to write exposition. I think I will jump right into plot.

    And yes, it's kind of time-travel-y.
     
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  7. CoupDeFri

    CoupDeFri My shadow is my best friend.

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    I actually follow this post because i read your blog hahaha
     
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  8. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    Chapter 1: A Wish on Tanabata, 2008

    [​IMG]

    Beepeeep-- Beepeeep-- Beepeeep--!

    The blaring screech of a digital alarm clock woke Lin Xiaorui up from his slumber.

    Xiaorui shot straight up from his chair as if jolted, and nearly fell from his seat.

    The papers and textbooks messily sprawled across his desk rustled as they were disturbed from their places. The scorching sunlight of Hangzhou's [1] mid-summer morning was already brutal despite the early hour, and it filled Xiaorui's bedroom with sharp golden light. The temperature was hot and sweltering, as it always was in the summer months off the shore of Lake Xihu. The red LED light on the desk clock steadily blinked 7:15 AM, flickering as the alarm blared its shrill tone.

    Clearly, Xiaorui had fallen asleep at his desk while pulling another all-nighter studying, just like he often did in high school.

    How nostalgic.

    Groggily, Xiaorui rubbed his eyes as he reflexively silenced his alarm clock. But moments later, he suddenly hesitated.

    Wait a minute.

    Why was he in his old room at his parent's house?

    Lin Xiaorui was age 25, a PhD student in electrical engineering at Harbin Institute of Technology in Shandong province [2]. The last time he had been home to visit his parents was during Chinese New Year's, which was several months ago. Right now, he was supposed to be on campus working on his thesis. In fact, the last thing Lin Xiaorui could remember from yesterday night was passing out at 2:00 am in the break room at his university's lab while toiling over piles of academic papers for an imminent deadline for a poster presentation.

    Xiaorui stood up hesitantly from his chair, deeply confused.

    How had he suddenly teleported to his parent's house in Hangzhou?

    Was this supposed to be an elaborate dream of some kind?

    The smell of freshly boiled soy milk and steamed buns wafted up from downstairs. The odor was both nostalgic and vivid, almost too real to be a dream. Back when Xiaorui was little, his grandmother often used to get up early in the morning to make homemade soymilk, and the odor from stewed soy beans was very distinct. On very special days, such as when Xiaorui had an exam at school or on a birthday, she would go outside to buy fried dough and rice cakes from the street stalls and take them home for breakfast. That had always been his favorite. Sadly, she had passed away several years ago.

    But the fragrance of soy milk...

    Xiaorui glanced down at the papers scattered messily across his desk that he had formerly used during his grade school years.

    Several sheets were crumbled up and slightly damp from where he had drooled on them after a night of sleeping.

    However, Xiaorui could clearly make out that about half of the worksheets were organic chemistry problems, and the other half was scratch paper filled to the brim with famous lines from classical Chinese poetry that had been copied over and over again for rote memorization.

    Xiaorui blinked a few times with a puzzled look at these worksheets.

    How long ago was it since Xiaorui had last looked at an organic chemistry problem? And furthermore brute memorization of classical Chinese poetry? This sounded a whole lot like stuff he had done during high school...

    Was he somehow dreaming about the past? Xiaorui wondered.

    At that moment, a raspy elderly voice called up from downstairs.

    "Rui-Rui [3], are you awake yet? You'll be late for your mock exam if you don't come down soon."

    Xiaorui immediately froze upon hearing that nostalgic-sounding voice.

    It can't be. Was this really a dream?

    + + +​

    "Good morning, Lao-Lao." [4]

    Xiaorui spoke almost hesitantly as he sat down at the kitchen table and pulled a bowl of soy milk towards himself. He also grabbed a piece of vegetable steam bun and slowly began nibbling on it, almost doubtful that the food was even real.

    Meanwhile, his mind raced. By rapidly picking up on cues from around him, Xiaorui had roughly placed the date as sometime in the summer between his first and second year of high school. In other words, sometime in July or August... 2008... during summer vacation... which, well, left a very ambivalent taste in Xiaorui's mouth.

    Out of all years it could possibly be, did it really have to be this year?

    He glanced at the back figure of his beloved grandmother. By the upcoming winter, she would be diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, and her memory would begin progressively declining before finally passing away by 2010. And that was just one small part of the reason why 2008 was such a dreaded year.

    Xiaorui opened and closed his fingers, squeezing the soft white dough between his fingertips as if testing its sponginess, almost in disbelief. His palms were practically sweating.

    Counting the years back, this would make his age... 16?

    "Rui-Rui, you're a growing boy! Eat more! Eat more! Your brain will break down in the middle of the exam if you don't stuff your belly with good food!"

    Lao-Lao chimed as she jumped from one frying pan to the next, oil sizzling and crackling.

    "There's your favorite shengjian buns [5] in the bag. The youbing [6] I'm making will be done in just a few minutes. Since you're not changed yet, hurry and go get changed. I'll pack breakfast for you to go so you can eat it on the bus in the meantime. Hurry! You'll be late otherwise!"

    "Ah, yes," Xiaorui fumbled as he stood up and excused himself, almost spacing out.

    He paused on his way out, and then suddenly felt compelled to turn around to say something he hadn't said in a very very long time.

    "Thank you, Lao-Lao," he spoke hesitantly, "...for always taking care of me."

    "Geez! What is a kid like you even saying at a time like this! Go! Go!"

    Xiaorui's grandmother waved her hand in exasperation without looking back.

    Xiaorui smiled wryly to himself.

    This was a dream right?

    If so, at least he felt glad to be able to share those words to his grandmother again.

    + + +​

    Making his way back to his room, Lin Xiaorui stopped in front of his calendar.

    Today's date was was Friday, August 8th, 2008.

    [Cram school mock exam for the Gaokao [7] at 9:00 AM] was noted on the box.

    Yesterday's date was actually circled in red, labeled brightly as Qixi Festival. [8] In other words, Tanabata, the festival of wishes.

    Huh... how coincidental.

    Xiaorui vaguely remembered being fairly superstitious when he was young. Tanabata was in fact one of his favorite holidays, despite the fact that it was hardly celebrated at all in China. Part of the reason he was so fond of it was because he was half-Japanese, and Xiaorui had some cherished memories from prior summer vacations that he had spent in Japan with his dad. Being as young as he had been, all the colorful paper wishes dangling from trees had left a deep impression on him.

    In fact, growing up, Xiaorui always fondly maintained a potted bamboo plant in his bedroom.

    Xiaorui glanced at the bamboo plant by the window, but he unexpectedly noticed a small slip of paper was caught amidst the bamboo shoots, fluttering in the breeze. It must have been a piece of trash from outdoors that had gotten caught there somehow.

    Xiaorui walked over to the potted plant and picked up the piece of scrap paper, planning to toss it into the waste bin.

    However, it unfolded in his hands, and Xiaorui caught glance of what was written on the paper.

    "Please let me experience high school as a girl."

    It was in his own handwriting.

    Xiaorui's heart stopped beating for a second.

    A flood of memories that he had haphazardly crammed into a deep closet somewhere in the bottom of his soul long long ago suddenly flickered before his eyes.

    It was just a flicker though.

    Xiaorui brought a hand to his forehead as his temple pounded.

    Oh right, there was that.

    After all these years, Xiaorui had nearly forgotten.

    In the real world, after going to university, he had tried really hard to forget about "back then". In fact, being constantly busy with his university work had done a fantastic job at distracting him from the "thoughts" that had used to bother him. Xiaorui had gotten pretty good at it actually -- not thinking about "it", that is.

    If you never thought about "it", it would never bother you.

    If you pretended "it" didn't exist, you could make yourself blind to it.

    And then "it" wouldn't haunt you.

    That had been the philosophy that Xiaorui had lived by for the past five or so years. Thinking about "it" only set him on nasty spirals of total paralysis, brutal self-harming, and relentless self-deprecation. So obviously the only way to escape the cycle was to stop thinking about "it" in the first place, and steer one's brain far far far away from those dangerous pit holes that sucked him in like vortexes. He couldn't afford to step into those murky dark pools with all the responsibilities he had as an adult.

    Xiaorui crumpled that sheet of paper in his fist and immediately threw it into the wastebasket.

    He wanted to pretend he never saw it.

    If he could convince himself that had never seen it, then there would be nothing wrong at all.

    Or so Lin Xiaorui thought, as he walked into the bathroom.

    + + +​

    Standing in front of the toilet to pee, Xiaorui's mind went completely blank.

    Blank. Blank. Blank. Blank.

    Nothing was there.

    As in, literally, nothing was there.

    Somehow he hadn't noticed until now, but it was gone.

    His penis had vanished. It was gone almost like had never been there in the first place.

    + + +​

    Besides promptly sitting down to pee (well, he had to go, you know?), Lin Xiaorui remained dazed for several minutes, his mind too shocked to even think.

    This had to be a bizarre dream, right?

    Or some kind of cruel joke?

    There was... no way...

    Xiaorui felt his bladder empty as he sat on the toilet seat, painfully aware of the fact that every minute detail around him felt so real. Too real, in fact. He had been trying to deny it in his head up to this point, but there was a limit to disbelief.

    The smudge of a stain on the bathroom tiles; small splashes of water on the surface of the sink; the roll of toilet paper that was ragged at the border from being previously torn roughly at a lopsided angle; the sound and distinct smell of urine drizzling into the toilet bowl.

    Was it even possible to have a dream as vivid as this?

    Xiaorui pinched his arm, thinking it might be able to wake him up, but it only left a stinging red mark on his skin.

    He pinched it again, and again, and again, and even dug his nails into his skin, almost desperate to will himself to wake up.

    But the results he got were no different than reality.

    + + +​

    He stepped in front of the mirror, slapped his cheeks a few times, and splashed cold water onto his face.

    Xiaorui hated mirrors. He always had. He still hated mirrors even now, but he forced himself to look.

    Xiaorui didn't quite understand it.

    His face still looked quite the same as before. Of course, it was the younger 16-year-old version of himself, but it wasn't any different from how he remembered from the past.

    His hair was black, thin, sleek, and short. His jaw was thinly angular, his nose was sharp, and his adam's apple was prominent. He even had some slight stubble growing, thanks to the oh-so-wonderful miracle of puberty. Everything about his face screamed masculine, and it was everything about his face that he had hated about himself in the past.

    It occurred to him to strip off his shirt as well.

    After pulling his arms out of his T-shirt and standing stark naked in front of the bathroom mirror, Xiaorui felt his hands clench instinctively into fists.

    He hated this.

    He hated all of this.

    "I hate this," Xiaorui whispered, his voiced choked.

    The pitch of his voice was as deep as it ever was since it first started changing when he was 13.

    In the mirror, Xiaorui grimaced at his wide shoulders, his 175cm tall, slightly muscled, and undeniably masculine torso that couldn't tell lies. He was too tall to pass as a typical asian girl without getting strange looks, no matter what the best surgeries or hormones could accomplish in the world. His upper body was too triangular and too broad for most women's clothes to ever look flattering. Even in the deepest pits of his misery in his teenage past years ago, Xiaorui had never even tried crossdressing for that exact reason.

    He knew he'd look like a creep, and felt too disgusted with himself to even try.

    No matter where Xiaorui's spirit and true feelings stood, from the beginning Xiaorui had always felt deep down that it was never an option to "transition" as transgender women. He would look like a freak if he even took medicine and saw surgeons.

    If... he had simply a body that could let him passed unnoticed... it didn't have been remotely attractive or even pleasing... if he could even have a mediocre body that could actually pass as a woman without raising eyebrows, Xiaorui might have considered the "transgender" route in a heartbeat.

    But instead Xiaorui had a male body that he hated with disgust. No matter how he looked at it, it seemed ugly to him. In his brain, it was if he was a woman with too much body hair or too much muscles.

    Ugly. Ugly. Irrefutably and undeniably ugly.

    He hated every piece so much he wanted to avert his eyes. Why did he have to be born in a male body?

    On this masculine body, overnight the penis had vanished, and in its place was a living and breathing vagina, as if teasing a fact that he would never find happiness living as a woman, no matter how "real" he felt on the inside.

    Was this some kind of sadistic joke?

    The gods twisting wishes in a horribly remorseful way was a far too overused trope in fiction.

    Xiaorui had no idea what was the status of his internal organs, but based on vague intuition, Xiaorui had the sense that he might have actually legitimately transformed into the female sex in the most purely literal yet ironic sense of things overnight: namely, having gained ovaries and a uterus, but only that alone. Devils and gods are notorious for staying true to their words, down to every last letter.

    However, whichever divine god had done this had clearly neglected to reverse the effects of testosterone that had accumulated over the years. Xiaorui knew enough biology doing research on transgender people to know that those effects were irreversible. No matter how much estrogen his body might be flooded with in the future, his bones would never shrink, his fused hips would never widen, and his voice would never lighten. Even if he had functional ovaries and uterus divinely inserted within him, or his Y chromosome changed to an X, the outcome would be no different.

    Such was the fate of female-to-male transgender people who took testosterone shots as well. Testosterone was a more powerful hormone than estrogen, and those exposed to it would never be able to have its effects reversed. Those effects were permanent, and transgender people learned to live with them, forever.

    + + +​

    Standing there naked in front of the mirror, Xiaorui felt the tears welling and fought the urge to cry.

    He... or she...?

    Xiaorui no longer knew what pronoun to use anymore.

    Xiaorui didn't even know how to think of themself.

    It was all too much to be suddenly confronted with, especially after years of self-denial and self-loathing.

    What was gender, even, anyways?

    Xiaorui didn't even have time to let it sink in.

    There was a frenzied knock at the door that shook Xiaorui out of that extended moment of daze.

    "Rui-Rui?! You've been in the bathroom for ages! Did you fall asleep on the toilet, young man?! Hurry up! You'll miss the bus at this rate! Get your silly ass moving!"

    Reality flooded back to Xiaorui.

    Rubbing the moisture away from her eyes, Xiaorui took a deep breath.

    She couldn't stay still. She had to keep moving, keep living, and keep breathing.

    No matter what life threw at him, he had to take in stride, man or woman.

    Whichever it was, anyways.

    + + +​

    Author's Notes:
    1. Hangzhou: A major city in Southern China, near Shanghai. It was historically the capital city of a few major Chinese dynasties. Hangzhou sits on Lake Xihu ("West Lake"), which is an enormous lake in the middle of the city.
    2. Harbin Institute of Technology: One of the top universities in China, part of the C9 League (the equivalent of the Chinese "Ivy League"). The Weihai campus in Shandong province is one of HIT's three campuses.
    3. Rui-Rui: Nicknames in Chinese are often made by repeating a portion of a person's name.
    4. Lao-Lao: Translation: "Grandma." The term used to address a maternal grandmother.
    5. Shengjian Buns: See wikipedia article.
    6. Youbing: Fried dough. The most famous variant are scallion pancakes.
    7. Gaokao: China's standardized university entrance exams.
    8. Qixi Festival: The Chinese version of Tanabata. In China, it is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, which in 2008 placed it on August 7th. In contrast, Tanabata in Japan is celebrated on the Western calendar, so the date remains the same every year.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
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  9. CoupDeFri

    CoupDeFri My shadow is my best friend.

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    Looking forward to the next chapter
     
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  10. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    Chapter 2: A Façade and A Poisonous Snake

    [​IMG]

    + + +​

    180 minutes of examiniation time passed by in a flash, and Lin Xiaorui sat blankly in her chair with her hands almost twitching in cold sweat.

    Never in her life had she ever left so many questions blank on a test, even if it was just a single section on a practice mock exam.

    It left a sour taste in her mouth.

    Technically, this outcome shouldn't have been surprising since Lin Xiaorui hadn't even glanced at any classical Chinese for nearly the past nine years, and obviously couldn't remember any of the mandatory texts back from high school. Organic chemistry was only slightly better, as the general rules were vaguely more predictable, but Xiaorui struggled nonetheless with remembering the various differences amongst the numerous named reactions, Kolbe-Schmidt, Gattermann-Koch, Dieckmann condensation, or whatever.

    Xiaorui felt sick to her stomach when she roughly calculated in her head the score she estimated she would receive -- somewhere between 78 to 83 percent, she figured -- which was an utter and absolute failure by her personal standards. She doubted she would even make it onto the ranking list this time, which would definitely raise eyebrows amongst her peers and teachers.

    When Xiaorui was in high school, she had always been a top student, always placing among the first or second rank among her classmates.

    Xiaorui attended the top preparatory school in the prefecture as well, so naturally it was a given that the coursework at her school was harder and more demanding than the curriculum of similarly aged youth in typical high schools across China. Zhejiang province was furthermore known for its competitive academics, and the cutoff for university admission was several points higher than the score required at other provinces. [1]

    This was also the reason why virtually everyone at Xiaorui's high school attended cram school, even though it was summer vacation.

    Every single one of Xiaorui's hyper-competitive classmates had their eyes set for one of the top universities in China.

    + + +​

    "Yo, Lin Xiaorui, I betchu ripped through that last problem from the morning session like it was a piece of cake, right?"

    Xiaorui looked up from her head buried in her arms.

    This was Wang Jinyun, one her "rival" classmates from high school, who was presently leaning on the side of Xiaorui's desk.

    "Jinyun, I know you've got a total yandere-like obsession with Xiaorui's test scores, but let the dude rest. Can't you see the bags under his eyes?" Another voice called out from the side. This was Zhang Hongwei, another one of his classmates.

    "He probably stayed up memorizing every last line of the textbook even though he would have scored a 97% without even studying in the first place. Seriously, man! Perfectionists!"

    "Hmph! The morning session of the mock exam wasn't even hard this time anyways."

    "Yeah, sure, sure~ I bet you didn't score any better than a 93, Jin, no matter what you say!" Hongwei called out.

    Xiaorui sighed as she slowly straightened herself in her seat.

    God, this was pain. She had almost forgotten about all the self-proclaimed "rivals" and "friends" she had during high school. They were such a headache to even listen to. Xiaorui hardly even remembered how she had managed to deal with such a crowd in the past.

    What was it again?

    Oh right, there was the "mask".

    As long as Xiaorui wore that "mask", everything would be okay.

    Nobody would ask any too many questions and nobody would bother her any more than the bare minimum necessary. With a mask, she deflect the attention away and have peace and quiet to herself.

    Xiaorui felt slightly repugnant, but she forced the plastic mask onto her face nonetheless.

    She initiated the escape sequence with a fabricated smile.

    "Sorry guys, my stomach doesn't feel very good right now," Xiaorui started, and then paused. "I think both of you beat me on this exam this time for sure, since I left about a tenth of the questions blank too, so... please excuse me, I'm going to the bathroom."

    Xiaorui abruptly stood up from his desk at this point.

    A concerned look flashed through Zhang Hongwei's ever-perceptive eyes.

    "Seriously?" He said. "Did you catch a stomach bug? You weren't looking like yourself this morning either. Do you need to go to the nurse's office? Maybe you can talk to the teacher to see if you can go home and maybe retake the exam another day? It's really unlike you to leave part of an exam blank. It's not like anybody doubts that you already know all the coursework by heart already."

    Wang Jinyun cut in at this point, still antagonistic. "There's no way that's going to happen. If Xiaorui gets a retake, I want one too! All I need is to fake a stomach bug, right?"

    Hongwei silenced Jinyun with a glare.

    Xiaorui did not respond immediately, and only shook his head back in forth.

    "Thanks Hongwei, I really appreciate it, but Jinyun is right. There aren't any excuses for doing poorly on an exam."

    + + +​

    Halfway on the route to the bathroom, Xiaorui heard the sound of quick footsteps approaching from behind him in the hallway.

    "Rui!"

    Xiaorui turned around.

    A long-haired freckled girl wearing glasses was standing alone in the corridor with her eyes narrowed darkly.

    A flicker of distaste passed through Xiaorui's pupils transiently, but they quickly reverted to their empty neutral expression in less than a heartbeat. The "mask" was absolutely indispensible in situations like these.

    Especially when it came to dealing with the poisonous snake, Li Fenghua.

    + + +​

    There was a brief moment of silence.

    "I heard what you said in the classroom. Is it really true that you left so many questions in the morning session blank?" The girl asked.

    Lin Xiaorui slowed his footsteps, and then responded ambiguously.

    "I have a lot of stuff going on. All of us have our bad days every once in a while. I just need take some time before I can return to my ordinary self."

    The shadows under Fenghua's eyes darkened.

    "There really is something weird about you today," she murmured, almost too quietly for Xiaorui to hear.

    "I can't have my valedictorian boyfriend failing mock exams!"

    Li Fenghua's tone of voice suddenly took an abrupt turn as she declared this aloud, almost in an exaggerated fashion.

    Xiaorui froze then, realizing at that point that Fenghua had effectively announced her intentions on their figurative imaginary chess board.

    After returning to high school from nine years in the future, he had essentially forgotten how delicately he had maintained his social relationships back in his youth.

    He had gotten careless.

    He had also underestimated the degree that the past could change from his own memories. The fact that Xiaorui had already done so poorly on the mock exam, which could have never possibly happened in Xiaorui's original past, had already completely derailed the course of the future. The takeaway lesson here was that Lin Xiaorui's present reality was clearly an entirely different world from his original one, and he couldn't count on his old memories to reliably predict the events of the future. Things had already changed in ways that were completely unrecognizable.

    A conversation like this had never occurred in Lin Xiaorui's original past.

    "Do we have to talk about this here?" He finally said after choosing his words slowly.

    "Of course, this is an emergency. It requires immediate action." Fenghua said bluntly.

    Xiaorui glanced left and right in the hallway, confirming that they were truly alone.

    "Fenghua, I can't deal with all of your maddening schemes. Not right now. Not anymore. I have more than enough problems to deal with. Both of us know that this fake charade is meaningless." He whispered almost spitefully.

    The freckled girl wordlessly grabbed Xiaorui's arm and silently pulled him into the men's restroom.

    "I still have use for you," she said emotionlessly. "I still have leverage over you, and fully plan on taking advantage of it. You don't realize how inconvenient it would be for me if your academic rank dropped. This is business after all. You should thank me because it's good experience for the real world where the political schemes actually cut-throat, not little innocent fun and childish games like this."

    "..."

    "Right dear? My secretly homosexual fake 'boyfriend'? Your diaries really are the most adorably tragic things. I can share all the sentimental letters you hidden up to this point with your beloved Long Yangsun anytime you like, sweetie."

    "I'm not gay."

    Li Fenghua snorted. "If you're not gay, what are you, an eggplant?"

    "My feelings are my feelings. It has nothing to do with gender, and it's my own private business."

    Lin Xiaorui tightened his fists, trying to resist the emotions that had boiled up from sweeping him away from thinking rationally.

    He wasn't a 16-year-old child anymore. Xiaorui was a 25-year-old who had returned to the past, and he couldn't allow himself to make the same immature mistakes he had fallen into before.

    + + +​

    Li Fenghua was a strange girl. Malicious, precociously intelligent, undeniably selfish, the ultimate black-bellied drama queen, yet also the the single person whom Xiaorui was closest to in the past. He had practically grown up with her since elementary school, after all.

    From an outside perspective, they might have seemed like flowery innocent childhood friends brought together by family circumstances, the ideal perfect children of their respective strict traditional families in the spotlight. However, only the two of them alone knew how truly bitter, poisonous, and toxic the true relationship was between them in private.

    Fenghua's family was involved in local CCP [2] regulatory politics. They were heavily connected with investment in high-speed railways in Zhejiang province, which was inevitably going to lead to the opening of the highly successful Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed railway by 2010. [3]

    This incidentally also pit her family's sponsorship in direct competition with the proposed Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev line [4], a project that Lin Xiaorui's own father was involved with as a Japanese foreign engineer. In the past, both Xiaorui and Fenghua had been highly sensitive to the fact that technically Fenghua's parents held an uncomfortable amount of power over the career prospects of Lin Xiaorui's family, which naturally influenced the relationship dynamics between the two children.

    It should also probably be mentioned that Li Fenghua's father was an especially over-protective helicopter parent, maintaining a strict curfew and closely monitoring everything Fenghua involved herself with. He even had access to the passwords of all of Fenghua's social media, QQ [5], and email accounts, and he regularly checked them to ensure that his daughter hadn't deviated from the "righteous path".

    Being the slippery snake that Fenghua was though, she was inevitably bound to find her own creative ways to escape the confines of strict parental supervision sooner or later.

    This was where Xiaorui's role came in.

    A sequence of events back in middle school led to Fenghua discovering far too much personal information about Xiaorui, which she pragmatically used as ammunition to "politely ask" Xiaorui to become her "study buddy". Naturally her parents approved of it due to Xiaorui's spotlessly shiny academic record and studious reputation. It also helped that their families were close.

    The excuse, "studying with Xiaorui" thus became Fenghua's primary ticket to freedom during middle school, which naturally evolved into a highly elaborate web of complicated lies as the years passed. Deceit was Fenghua's specialty after all, and after a certain point their relationship had evolved to the complicated status of "high school lovers but secretly hiding it from the parents" even though technically Fenghua's parents were tacitly aware of the fact even though they didn't think their daughter realized it, although in actuality Fenghua had masterminded everything from the beginning including the fact that the secret relationship was entirely fake in the first place, on top of the fact that Xiaorui and Fenghua actually hated each other.

    Yes, it was complicated.

    But complicated might as well have been Fenghua's last name.

    She was a treacherous snake that wore the skin of a white rabbit.

    + + +​

    Li Fenghua dragged Xiaorui into a bathroom stall.

    "I have no idea what's going on with you today, nor do I care, but you're going to take these two pills, and this deeply concerned 'girlfriend' will take her beloved 'boyfriend' back home since you were too sick to focus on today's exam properly."

    She pulled out two boxes of pills from her bag and retrieved a single capsule from each.

    "What's that?" Xiaorui asked.

    "Medicine."

    "That's a lie," Xiaorui said flatly.

    "Suit yourself. The first is syrup of ipecac [6], which is an ordinary over-the-counter emetic derived from herbal rhizome. It will cause you to vomit. The second is a high dose of vitamin B3 (niacin) [7], which will cause your face to look flushed. Both are harmless. Take the emetic before the niacin. The nurse will definitely give you an sick note once she sees you. And of course I'll make sure to kick up the appropriate amount of gossip and commotion."

    Xiaorui blinked several times, almost stunned. Somehow Fenghua never failed to amaze, even though in theory Xiaorui supposedly knew the future. A conversation like this never happened in the past that Xiaorui came from.

    Did this girl just happen to carry this kind of stuff around in her bag?

    Why was it that Xiaorui never knew this? Wasn't that slightly frightening in a sense?

    Xiaorui stared at Fenghua for a few long moments.

    "What?" Fenghua spoke up defensively. "If you're thinking that I'd poison you, you should know at this point that if I actually wanted to do that, I would have done it a long time ago already. Besides, I think of you as a kind of business investment. What kind of idiot damages their own investments? How many years have I been with you already?"

    She paused.

    "Also, please don't think that I have an eating disorder or something stupid like that. It's true that ipecac is fairly popular among our fellow bulimic classmates [8] who make themselves to vomit to lose weight, but I'm a perfectly normal person. There's no way that I'm messed up in the head like you are."

    + + +​

    Xiaorui closed her eyes wordlessly and rolled the pills in her fingertips.

    Xiaorui breathed slowly in and out.

    She thought carefully about the advantages and disadvantages, and in a few moments she came to the conclusion that she couldn't afford to burn the bridges with the hateful poisonous snake just yet.

    They both had uses for each other still as of yet, and it was true that it would be inconvenient for Xiaorui if too many people started asking questions about why she had suddenly done so poorly on an exam.

    What Xiaorui needed right now was time.

    She needed to orient himself and find her feet.

    Feigning an illness for a few days was a perfectly placed excuse to stay home to think things over and properly figure herself out.

    Perhaps it would even be good timing to see a doctor. Xiaorui hadn't decided yet whether that was a smart thing to do yet, but it was something she needed to consider. She wanted to do more research on the Internet first though.

    For now, the objectives between the two of them aligned.

    Lin Xiaorui would find a different opportunity to burn bridges another day.

    And thus Xiaorui took a gulp after closing her eyes and swallowed the first pill.

    Moments later, she found herself retching into the toilet bowl.

    + + +​

    Author's Notes:
    1. The primary determinant for a student's likelihood of admission to university is their score on the national standardized exam (the "Gaokao"). University admission in China is partially quota based, which is similar to the "Affirmative Action" of the United States. There are quotas based on geography and ethnicity. What this means is that certain provinces may have higher cutoff scores for university admission since the quota for the province is limited.
    2. CCP: Chinese Communist Party.
    3. Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed railway: See wikipedia article.
    4. Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev line: See wikipedia article.
    5. QQ: One of the major social media applications in China, similar to AIM. Weixin ("Wechat") would later overtake QQ in popularity, but Wechat would not be released until 2011.
    6. Syrup of ipecac: See wikipedia article. A historical emetic originally sold in the United States as an over-the-counter medication to induce vomiting in people who swallowed poisonous substances. Sale of the drug was stopped in the US in 2010 due to frequent abuse of the medication and limited evidence of efficacy in actual poisoning situations.
    7. Niacin: See wikipedia article. Facial flushing is the most common side effect of taking vitamin B3. Typically lasts around 15 to 30 minutes. Flushing can can be prevented by taking aspirin prior to niacin.
    8. Bulimia nervosa: See wikipedia article. An eating disorder related to anorexia, but is primarily characterized by frequent binging and purging after eating. An estimated 2-3% of American women are thought to have experienced the disorder.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
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  11. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    Chapter 3: Fevers, Stains, and Dishonest Answers

    [​IMG]

    + + +​

    Lin Xiaorui felt miserably sick and exhausted.

    She rolled out from under her bed sheets, and the shades in her bedroom were drawn low even though it was still daylight outside. Wincing, Xiaorui placed the back of her palm on her forehead to feel her temperature.

    It felt scorching hot.

    Xiaorui felt sweaty, weak, and her body ached all over.

    Why wasn't it surprising at all that Fenghua's medicine that was supposed to cause "fake sickness" would actually make her develop a real fever?

    That poisonous snake always seemed to mix up counterfeit vs. genuine. When it came to dealing with that bitch, it was never clear which was which. You could never be quite sure what promises were lies and what words were honest. It was also precisely why Xiaorui hated that woman. Every single sentence the snake uttered was a half-truth filled with manipulative ulterior motives.

    Of course it was just like that woman's rotten personality to choose the most ruthlessly effective method available in her arsenal.

    Why trust an "enemy's" acting skills to fake a stomach bug when the far more flawless method was to actually give the real thing?

    Xiaorui laughed bitterly at herself.

    She couldn't believe that she had actually been led to believe Fenghua earlier in the day.

    She felt the nauseous feeling arise in her stomach again and she felt the urge to run to the toilet.

    + + +​

    Several minutes later after dry heaving multiple times, Lin Xiaorui crumbled to her knees on the bathroom floor despite nothing coming out.

    Her abdomen was cramping and she almost wanted to clutch her insides and tear the aching pain out.

    The bathroom tiles felt as cold as ice touching against her feverish flushing skin.

    Xiaorui practically limped as she pulled herself up from the floor, and dropped her lower body onto the toilet seat. She didn't exactly feel an enormous urge to use the bathroom, but Xiaorui almost felt too exhausted to make her way back to the bed. For now, she'd rest here while she caught her breath.

    Xiaorui pulled down her shorts and underwear as she sat down on the toilet seat, sweating and feeling slightly lightheaded from all the effort that she had exerted retching on an empty stomach seconds ago.

    She closed her eyes as she leaned on her elbows, hanging her head as she tried to block out the cramping abdominal pain.

    This really was such a nasty stomach bug.

    When Xiaorui slowly opened her eyes, her gaze caught a certain suspicious smudge on her underwear that definitely wasn't there in the morning.

    It was somewhat like clear-yellowish mucous, kind of slimy and paste-like in texture.

    ......

    What the fuck was that?

    Xiaorui stared blankly at the discharge on her underwear completely lost for words.

    This was clearly not something that Xiaorui was experienced with in the past, especially as the male genitalia she formerly owned did not particularly have the habit of spontaneously producing weird viscous substances.

    Xiaorui had no idea at all what this was.

    Was the uterus that had somehow magically appeared in Xiaorui's body last night defective somehow?

    This wasn't related to the abdominal pain and the fevers, right?

    Xiaorui suddenly felt quite a lot more concerned than before.

    + + +​

    After forcing herself to limp back to the bed, leaving the stained underwear abandoned on the bathroom floor, Lin Xiaorui crawled back under her sheets, halfway shivering.

    All this time, her thoughts raced, rapidly flipping through all the different possibilities she could think of.

    Back in 2008, 16 year old Lin Xiaorui had not yet received a smartphone from her parents. Cellphones, let alone smart phones, were still rather rare among the youth in that day and age, and only especially privileged children were able to flaunt them in front of their friends at school. The infamous Apple iPhone had not been released in China yet, and WeChat [1] had not yet to come into existence. It would still be another five or so years before the fad of smartphones truly kicked off in China.

    There was never a time like now when Xiaorui wished she had her (future) smartphone with her.

    The only computer in the Lin family apartment was in Xiaorui's parent's office, and Xiaorui hardly felt she was anything close to a living state capable of crawling all the way across the apartment to her parent's office. Even though Xiaorui knew that she desperately needed to get onto Baidu [2] to check the Internet, Xiaorui was also hesitant about attracting excessive attention from her family members.

    Xiaorui was still reluctant at this point involve her family in her present dilemma regarding the inexplicable change of her genitalia. In fact, even though she hadn't spent too much time thinking about it, she was absolutely adamant about hiding it for the time being.

    Lin Xiaorui was not oblivious to the fact how traditional Chinese culture strongly valued sons over daughters. While it might be difficult for Westerners to understand, there was a period of time when there were notorious reports of female infanticide while the one-child policy [3] was active -- in extreme cases like those, these were stories of parents murdering their first-born daughters so they had the opportunity to give birth to sons. This is just one example of how the gender of children is no trivial laughing matter to traditional Chinese families, so it was naturally a given that Xiaorui felt that telling her parents about her gender change was completely out of the question.

    Besides, if Xiaorui had magically gained a vagina, perhaps it was possible to have it magically reversed as well.

    Xiaorui still needed more time to figure out what was exactly that she wanted.

    + + +​

    By the way, it did in fact occur to Lin Xiaorui that perhaps all the abdominal cramps was possibly related to the infamous "Great Aunt Flow". [4]

    Xiaorui was no stranger to female MC or gender-bender novels, nor was she an idiot.

    Menstruation was inevitably a key plot feature of many of these kinds of stories.

    However, a key feature of menstruation was bleeding, and unless Lin Xiaorui was somehow blind, there was obviously no sign of any bleeding coming out of any of Xiaorui's lower holes as far as she could tell.

    Could you have a period without bleeding? Was that even possible?

    Xiaorui was quickly coming to the realization that female bodies made preciously little sense. The experiences she was having with the “real thing” was nothing like anything that Xiaorui had read about in the popular stories online.

    Nobody talked about yellowish vaginal discharge or weird sticky fluids staining underwear.

    + + +​

    There was a knock at the bedroom door.

    Lin Xiaorui flinched in bed as a voice transmitted through the wooden door.

    "Rui-Rui, Fenghua is here to see you. She'll be coming up in a moment," Xiaorui's grandmother called.

    Xiaorui went wide-eyed for a moment as he sat up in bed.

    Li Fenghua? The snake? Why was she here?!

    Didn't she already succeed with carrying out her scheme to fruition? Was she just here to gloat or something?

    Xiaorui felt a complex mixture of exasperation and anger. He was about to shout back that he didn't want to see that hateful woman, but another voice spoke up through the door before Xiaorui had a chance to protest.

    "I'm coming in~" Fenghua's sickeningly sweet voice called.

    "Wait! I'm not ready yet!" Xiaorui shouted back as he stumbled his way out of bed with a loud thump, tangled in the sheets, halfway collapsing onto the floor.

    He hadn't put any underwear back on yet, and there was absolutely no chance that he was letting the snake into his room with the current complicated status of... this situation.

    Xiaorui half bounded in lightning speed to the bathroom where he quickly slipped into his shorts where he had abandoned them on the floor, going commando for the time being due to the lack of time.

    As for the stained underwear, he rapidly tossed it into the cabinet under the sink for now.

    "Rui, are you okay? I heard a loud noise."

    The bedroom door opened at this moment, and both Li Fenghua and his grandmother poked their heads in.

    They found Lin Xiaorui panting while soaked in sweat, wobbly and leaning weakly with his arms propped against the entrance to the private bathroom connected to Xiaorui's bedroom.

    Both Fenghua and Xiaorui's grandmother had concerned looks on their faces.

    Li Fenghua gave a glance to Xiaorui's grandmother and spoke. "Lao-Lao, thank you for letting me in. I can take care of him from here. I don't want you to catch a cold from Rui since it would be bad for your body."

    "Are you sure, Fei-Fei? [5] Will you be okay with him?"

    "Yes, I brought some medicine from my mom's place, and I also went to the convenience store."

    "Please let me know if I can get you anything, okay? I'll be making porridge downstairs. Would you like me to make you anything?"

    "Don't worry about me, Lao-Lao. Please focus on Rui and yourself first."

    "You're such a sweet young lady," Xiaorui's grandmother chuckled. "There really shouldn't be any need to be so polite with us. You're practically family to all of us already. I'll make an extra portion for you anyways, so I hope you'll stay for dinner."

    Xiaorui's grandmother soon closed the door behind her as she left, leaving Fenghua alone in the room with Xiaorui.

    Their eyes met again at that moment.

    + + +​

    Xiaorui was about to open his mouth to say something rude, but before anything came out, Fenghua had already walked over and placed a hand on his forehead.

    "You really are burning up," she muttered, and then immediately stuck a thermometer into Lin Xiaorui's mouth.

    This silenced anything Xiaorui was about to say, but his fierce eyes burned nonetheless with accusative anger, his gaze alone capable of conveying everything that he felt.

    Fenghua said nothing as she helped her "boyfriend" back to bed. Then she wordlessly started unpacking various things from the plastic bags that she brought, including several sports drinks, towels, and even a stethoscope.

    Xiaorui still felt incredulous.

    "I know you hate me," Fenghua suddenly said.

    "And I hate you in ways you can't possibly imagine," she continued, her hands still moving and preparing the equipment that she brought.

    "But this wasn't me. It wasn't the pills. I really didn't intend to give you anything to make you like this."

    "I got worried when I heard you actually got a fever and came as quickly as I could. And you really do look horrible right now. Even though you didn't actually look this bad this morning, I guess you really did have some kind of illness this morning, and it was stupid of me to have given you that medicine on top of that. I'm sorry, I was dumb and not thinking clearly."

    Xiaorui remained wide-eyed with a thermometer in his mouth, still doubtful whether to believe anything the poisonous snake said.

    Fenghua brought her piercing gaze to meet Xiaorui's eyes.

    "I can see what you're thinking. I know that you don't fully trust me, which is understandable."

    "However, I'm taking care of you right now, and it doesn't matter what you think. I have my own pride too. You know that I'm studying to go to medical school to become a doctor just like my mom. So for now, just shut up and sit quiet, okay?"

    The thermometer started beeping and Fenghua immediately pulled it out of Xiaorui's mouth.

    "38.8 C [6]" Li Fenghua read aloud, her voice completely emotionless.

    "Open your mouth now," she said with a pen flashlight in her hands.

    Xiaorui did not respond.

    The freckled girl sighed and repeated herself again.

    "Just do it, please. Don't make this any more difficult for either us."

    "..."

    + + +​

    Fifteen minutes passed, and Li Fenghua rattled off one question after another after eventually coaxing Lin Xiaorui to cooperate with her very brief exam.

    "Any diarrhea?"

    "No."

    "Any black or bloody stool?"

    "Not really."

    "Any difficulty breathing?"

    "No."

    "Anyone else around you or in the family sick?"

    "No."

    Fenghua stopped at this moment and looked down at the notes she collected.

    She glanced back up an instant later and gave her frank impression.

    "I don't think you have strep throat, and this also doesn't sound like an allergic reaction either. I don't think it's likely that the fever has anything to do with the medications I gave you. To me it sounds like you might have some kind of gastroenteritis, which is the fancy word for a stomach bug."

    She paused there.

    "Are you sure you don't have any other symptoms?"

    Lin Xiaorui suddenly thought back to the weird discharge that had come out on his underwear and hesitated for a split second.

    However, he quickly shook his head.

    This wasn't something he could share with Li Fenghua. That was just beyond stupid, giving that kind of information to somebody like the poisonous snake who was apt to instantly turn it around and use it as blackmail.

    Fenghua looked carefully at Xiaorui's eyes for a long moment, and then sighed.

    "I don't think they would do anything for you if you went to the hospital anyways," she said. "You're probably dehydrated though. You should drink a lot of water and rest. And take some tylenol. Normally I don't recommend nasty stuff like sports drinks because all that sugar really isn't that great for regular people to drink on a regular basis, but since you vomited quite a bit earlier, the salts in sports drinks are actually somewhat helpful for repleting electrolytes for once."

    She stood up from the ground and began collecting her stuff.

    A short while later, she pulled a chair out from Xiaorui's desk and sat down. Fenghua cleared some space for herself on the cluttered desk and pulled out one of her own textbooks to begin studying.

    "I'm over here if you need anything," Xiaorui heard a distant voice say.

    Some time after that, Lin Xiaorui slowly drifted off to sleep.

    + + +​

    Author's Notes:
    1. WeChat: The largest mobile social media network in China.
    2. Baidu: The equivalent of Google in China.
    3. One-Child Policy: A government policy in China active from 1979 to 2015 restricting each family to have only one child to control over-population. Technically, the only penalty for having more than one child was to pay a fine, so more privileged families were actually capable of having more than one child. There were also numerous exceptions and waivers to the rules, so the majority of mainland Chinese families today actually have one or two children.
    4. Great Aunt Flow: Slang in Chinese used by girls for menstruation.
    5. Fei-Fei (飞飞): Li Fenghua's nickname. Li Fenghua (李凤华) has the meaning of a "phoenix", and it happens to be that her childhood nickname became Fei-Fei ("fly-fly").
    6. 38.8 C: 101.8 F, which is a fever.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
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  12. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    By the way, if anybody has any feedback, I'd love to hear it!

    I don't have too much experience writing long stories, and the plot of this story is mostly unplanned... I just sort of sit down and write without having a concrete idea of where exactly the story is going. Every time I finish a chapter, it makes me feel like I want to go back to re-write a lot of things since there are some inconsistencies in the characters/tone, and certain things didn't come across exactly the way I wanted them to.

    ...however I'm resisting the urge to re-write things as much as possible since I want to get as far as I can first! XD

    One thing I'd like to talk about though is what everyone thinks of the pronoun usage?

    Honestly I couldn't decide how to do the pronouns, and I doubt the MC themselves has a really good idea either, so I kind of just kept switching back and forth however I felt like it. I'm not sure how it comes across though?

    I was trying to highlight the idea of how hard it is for MC to choose a pronoun for him/herself even inside own their head, and how such a simple trivial issue for ordinary people can turn out to be really confusing for transgender people, but I don't know whether it was working or not. I wish there was a better way to demonstrate MC's confusion without being constantly in-your-face about it, but I'm sort of out of ideas.

    In other news, I've kind of been developing a yuri subplot (is it even yuri?? or is it more BG???), definitely not *cough* because it seems like some the readers appear to into yuri~~ :blobpats: ...well, I'll try to introduce the male love interest within the next few chapters too naturally so we can keep the romance diagram as spaghetti-like as possible!

    MC has been a little too passive for my tastes the past couple chapters, so I think I want to try harder to make him/her a little bit more likable as well. I'll try my best on that front too!! :blobparty:
     
  13. LNOnlineOtaku

    LNOnlineOtaku Well-Known Member

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    I like the story so far and there should definitely be a yuri subplot!
     
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  14. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    Chapter 4: A Star That Shines Too Brilliantly (Part 1)
    - Warning: This chapter contains graphic (but NOT erotic) depictions of sexual self-exploration -

    [​IMG]

    + + +​

    When Lin Xiaorui awoke again, it was Saturday August 9th.

    The song of chirping birds and cicadas chorusing in the early morning light could vaguely be heard from outside the bedroom window. The shutters were closed today, just as the curtains were drawn, a testimony to the fact that nobody had opened them again ever since Xiaorui had passed out yesterday afternoon in bed.

    Ordinarily, Xiaorui did not sleep with the curtains down. Part of this was because she liked the natural light in the morning, and often times she preferred to be woken up by the gentle brush of sunlight in her face as opposed to the blaring ugly tone of an electronic clock. Similarly speaking, Xiaorui also was not in the habit of sleeping at night with air conditioning either, even with the sweltering heat of Hangzhou's summers. Part of it was cultural in a sense -- the Lin family was not poor by any means, but frugality was a valued trait that for some reason her family continued to practice despite the career successes of Xiaorui's father that brought them to the upper middle class over a decade ago. This made Xiaorui's home life strikingly ordinary. Like many other middle-class Chinese families of the era, everyone owned an air conditioner in the house, but nobody ever turned it on except in the rare situation there were guests to be entertained.

    That was culture for you, in a sense.

    Lin Xiaorui sat up in bed somewhat groggily, still hugging a pillow between her arms.

    She rubbed her eyes, and remarked silently to herself that at this point she didn't really feel sick anymore.

    She touched her forehead briefly and confirmed that she no had a fever, and then she looked to the right to briefly lay her gaze across her bedroom.

    Unsurprisingly, there was no sign of Li Fenghua, the girl who always seemed to strike like a violent hurricane and disappear the next moment without the slightest trace.

    Honestly, Lin Xiaorui felt that all of yesterday was almost as surreal as a dream.

    Had all of that hectic chaos really happened?

    A brief thought flew across Xiaorui's mind, and moments later she extended a hand down and reached underneath her shorts.

    Yep. She closed her eyes as she confirmed it.

    It's still not there.

    Her fingers changed course, quickly located, and then grazed by the opening of her vagina. A few seconds later, Xiaorui withdrew it from underneath her shorts.

    She looked at the tiny amount of sticky viscous fluid on her fingertips, and squinted her eyes to examine it closely.

    It was mostly clear and kind of egg-white-like, possibly the faintest tinge of yellow if you looked at it very carefully.

    Frankly it was basically the same as the discharge that Xiaorui had found on her underwear yesterday, but this morning it was much thinner and frankly such a tiny volume that it was hardly anything to remark about.

    Lin Xiaorui brought her fingers to her nose and she sniffed the fluid quickly, and it didn't really smell like anything to her. She didn't really feel weird or itchy down in her lower parts either, so was the conclusion that she was supposed to draw was that it was fairly normal for women to have vaginal discharge like this?

    Even so, was yellowish fluid considered normal? How often was it okay to have discharge?

    Part of the reason why it had alarmed her yesterday was because the amount that she had found on her underwear after school was far more than Lin Xiaorui ever imagined as a "man". It was also much thicker and stickier than expected, almost the consistency of creamy lotion. Well yes, she was always aware of the fact that women could get "wet", of course, but being the oblivious kind of person in the past who didn't know any better, Xiaorui had always assumed it would be well... more watery... and probably only be produced if the girl was aroused?

    So that was a myth, then?

    Xiaorui closed her eyes and concentrated on her own feelings.

    Yeah...

    Well nope, she wasn't aroused right now at all.

    Still somewhat curious, and probably against her better judgement, Xiaorui ventured her hand back underneath her shorts and tried pushing her middle finger physically into her vagina, but Lin Xiaorui winced a few short seconds later because it was actually kind of uncomfortable and hurt slightly.

    She withdrew fairly quickly after that and decided immediately on the spot that this was more than enough exploring for one day.

    Maybe she was doing it wrong.

    Or maybe it was kind of stupid to try stuff like this when you weren't even aroused in the first place.

    Lin Xiaorui gave a wry smile to herself as she thought about the hundreds of "genderbender" novels online, the majority of which had a leery perverted MC who always spent chapter 1 groping boobs and masturbating themselves to orgasm within the first 500 words of the story.

    Now that Xiaorui thought about it, it was actually kind of fairly comedic how grossly different imagination was different from reality. Having woken up with a vagina a full day ago, was the experience perhaps somewhat underwhelming? Probably.

    But in all honesty, she wasn't upset about this at all.

    Lin Xiaorui's mood was a little bit brighter on the inside than she dared admit aloud.

    + + +​

    After brushing her teeth, changing, and doing the various necessary toiletries in the morning, Lin Xiaorui eventually made her way downstairs.

    Today, it was Lin Xiaorui's mother sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper with a coffee mug in hand.

    "Rui-Rui, how are you feeling?" She looked up immediately, her voice steady and level.

    "I'm doing well, Mom."

    "Sorry I couldn't be there for you yesterday," she spoke. "I got the call that you were sick at school, but I couldn't leave work quickly enough with all the project deadlines coming."

    Xiaorui shook her head. "It's okay, you don't need to worry about me. You can't control what happens at work. I'm feeling a lot better now too."

    Xiaorui's mother put down the cup of coffee and leaned forward with her elbows on the table.

    "I'm really glad that Fenghua was around," she remarked. "That girl is an absolute treasure. Make sure you take good care of her in the future, okay? I think all of us can rest easy this way."

    Lin Xiaorui's hand froze for a split instant on the refrigerator door, but she quickly recovered her emotionless mask within a heartbeat.

    Wordlessly, Xiaorui continued with what she was previously doing as she reached into refrigerator shelf for one of the the tea leaf eggs [1] that Lao-Lao had prepared several days ago. She also grabbed herself a glass of milk and sat down at the kitchen table.

    A mischievous smile came to her mother's face a few minutes later.

    "So, tell me Xiaorui, how long have you and Fei-Fei actually been dating?" She said.

    Xiaorui almost choked and spat out a mouthful of milk.

    "We're not dating!" Xiaorui adamantly denied it.

    A knowing look flashed across Xiaorui's mother's eyes as she laughed heartily like crisp bells sparkling.

    "Fei-Fei said it exactly in the same way last night," she said.

    "You don't have to hide it from me, you know," she continued, taking another sip from her mug of coffee.

    "The Lin family isn't nearly as a strict as Fenghua's family. I won't say anything to her parents, either. I like that girl. She's very bright, and also much more perceptive and sensitive to her surroundings than most others her age. She cares very deeply about you."

    Xiaorui silently looked down at her glass of milk, having no words to express her actual thoughts.

    Her mother could think what she liked, but she had no idea what Li Fenghua was truly like underneath that deceptively innocent rabbit skin.

    "You know that the Fei-Fei didn't leave until very late last night. She also asked me to record the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics [2] last night for you, since she knew that you'd want to watch it."

    Lin Xiaorui suddenly shot up from her seat.

    "--Wait, what?!"

    Her voice was nearly shouting, a completely shocked look on her face.

    Her mother held a quizzical look.

    "The opening ceremony of the Olympics? Is there something wrong, Rui-Rui?"

    "That was yesterday?" Xiaorui cried aloud, incredulously.

    "Yes? I didn't think you'd forget though? You've been talking almost constantly about it for the past month."

    Lin Xiaorui felt her hands practically trembling as she counted the dates mentally backwards in her head.

    It was true. It really had been last night. But if that was the case, she had preciously little time right now.

    Xiaorui pushed away from the kitchen table, her chair screeching on the ground as it grated roughly on the hardwood floor.

    "I'm sorry Mom! There's something I need to do right now! I'll come back to clean up afterwards!"

    She blurted out, as she dashed out with a clatter from the dining area, leaving her mother behind alone at the kitchen table with an astonished expression on her face.

    + + +​

    ...to be continued in Part 2 of the chapter...

    (I have to go to bed! Happy Monday everyone!)

    Author's Notes:
    1. Chinese Tea Eggs: See wikipedia. Hard-boiled eggs that are boiled in soy sauce and tea leaves until the flavor soaks through.
    2. Beijing Olympics: The 2008 Olympics were held in Beijing. It was a huge deal in China. Blah blah blah. Nobody reads these notes, do they?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
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  15. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    Chapter 4: A Star That Shines Too Brilliantly (Part 2)

    + + +​

    Lin Xiaorui raced into the office room in the Lin family residence, practically diving in front of the computer as she waited for the aged Windows XP machine to turn on.

    She tapped her fingers impatiently as it seemed like forever for the PC to complete its boot up sequence.

    Behind her, there was the sound of the door opening as Xiaorui's mother also found her way into the office.

    "Is Long Yangsun competing today?" She asked, leaning in with her arms folded across her chest.

    Xiaorui glanced back momentarily before quietly nodding.

    "Well," Xiaorui's mother started, and then she paused. "I guess it's true that is kind of a big deal. Come get me when you're done with the computer. I guess I'll probably start my morning working on something else."

    "I'll be as fast as possible." Lin Xiaorui told her mother. "I just need to quickly check QQ and my email, and then I'll be done."

    "Take your time. The computer isn't going to grow legs and run away."

    + + +​

    Long Yangsun.

    Long Yangsun...

    It's somewhat difficult to know where to begin, when talking about Long Yangsun.

    His biographic information is fairly straightforward.

    Age 17. Family name is 龙. Given name is 杨孙. Born and raised in Hangzhou. [1]

    An enormous giant that towered over everybody else at 190 cm tall and 89 kg.

    Most famous probably for being being the local star of the swimming team. He was so talented that he didn't even swim for his high school team or even any of the university teams. Instead, he trained at the provincial team, the famous Zhejiang National Team that sent several athletes to the Olympics every year.

    He was also Lin Xiaorui's closest friend and as intimate as a brother.

    Somebody that Xiaorui treasured so dearly that she would jump off a cliff for him in a heartbeat.

    And yes... the one and only person that Lin Xiaorui had ever developed an unrequited love for.

    + + +​

    The story begins with two young elementary school boys sitting at the edge of a swimming pool.

    Both of them had were being kept in detention for breaking rules at physical education class.

    One had dark short hair, a gloomy expression, and a perpetual emotionless veil drawn over his eyes. Earlier, he had gotten into trouble for pushing people around on the pool deck and starting a fight.

    The other had long lustrous hair, radiant eyes, and an ever-curious inquisitive look on his face. He had gotten into trouble for breaking into the tool shed and running while hollering through the girl's locker room because he reportedly just wanted to know "whether the girls have peeing competitions into the communal shower drains just like the boys did".

    One of the boys knew how to swim, and the other didn't.

    "Lin Xiaorui, I barely know you at all." The boy with lustrous hair said, looking to his left. "Why are you here in detention?"

    "Because people are stupid," the gloomy boy responded and turned his back away. "I hate stupid people."

    The first boy got to his knees and crawled forward on the sun-baked concrete, inching in front of the child who was dreary like a rain cloud.

    "Am I stupid too?" He asked, curious, his hazel eyes inquisitive.

    The short-haired boy paused.

    "It depends," he answered cryptically. "Does taking stupid actions make you stupid?"

    The radiant boy laughed, his voice crystal clear like spring water.

    He spoke. "If that's the case, then I am the stupidest dude alive!"

    Lin Xiaorui looked up at that point with his eyes slightly confused.

    "You don't get upset when people call you stupid or retarded or a fag?"

    Long Yangsun gave a warm, friendly smile and then pushed himself up from the ground with his hands. He walked to the edge of the pool where the deep end was marked and then turned around, spreading his arms out wide.

    "I don't know how to swim," he suddenly said. "If I jumped into the water with no life-guards here, that would be considered stupid, right?"

    Xiaorui looked at him confused, completely lost about what this child was going on about.

    "Yes, that would be considered dumb," Lin Xiaorui responded.

    "Okay, then I'll jump in right away."

    And without another word, Long Yangsun took an enormous leap and plunged into the water.

    + + +​

    10 minutes later, there were two sweaty boys soaked and coughing out water, crawling and hacking on the pool deck like they had only barely managed to extricate themselves from a desperate life-or-death situation.

    Lin Xiaorui was the first to angrily shout, "What the fuck was that for?! You just said you don't know how to swim!"

    The other boy choked up water from his lungs a few more times before he finally responded.

    "I just wanted to make sure that you saw me as stupid." He said with a raspy voice, a grin on his face. "You know, stupid, just like how you say you hate stupid people, kinda like the ones you smacked earlier today in the face."

    "You're an idiot!"

    "Thanks for the compliment. And I just proved that you're a nice person."

    "?!! What the heck does that have to do with anything?!"

    "Well, you did pull me out of the water, right?"

    "Anyone with the slightest conscience would do something like that!"

    "That still makes you a nice person though," Long Yangsun insisted.

    Lin Xiaorui was speechless at this point.

    He was beginning to realize that Long Yangsun was a totally different kind of person than he was. Where Lin Xiaorui was a total pessimist and only saw the worst of people when he interacted with others, Long Yangsun was an optimist who looked disproportionately at people's positive qualities.

    They were almost polar opposites.

    And technically, you couldn't precisely say that one was more correct than the other.

    "You're still an idiot."

    Xiaorui finally managed to squeeze those words out from his mouth, having nothing else to say.

    + + +​

    Back to the present, Lin Xiaorui closed her eyes as she thought about those past memories, sitting in front of the computer.

    That felt like it was from a distant time long long ago.

    She also thought about the future.

    Having time-traveled back to the past from 2017, she thought about the joys and sorrows, all the excitements and the disappointments. It was a very painful yet also very bittersweet time. It made her heart ache remembering it all, many parts of it from a future that had yet to come to pass in 2008.

    Long Yangsun ended up becoming an amazing swimmer, specializing in long distance events like the 400m or 1500m freestyle.

    Lin Xiaorui herself accompanied him side-by-side in the beginning, and later ended up focusing exclusively on the middle school diving team. However, she was never as gifted as him. Although she occasionally qualified for municipal and prefecture-level youth championship meets, she was never talented enough to make it to the provincial level.

    Yangsun, on the other hand, constantly improved like a weed. The faster he got, the more he improved. By the time the two of them reached the last year of middle school, Yangsun was already swimming at a national level. Xiaorui stayed beside him, following him, cheering for him, laughing with him, arguing with him, and making memories with him every step of the way.

    When high school started though, Yangsun was recruited to attend a sports-focused high school [2], and Xiaorui quit diving entirely to focus on her studies. Despite being separated for more than a year by 2008, the two of them were still very close, and Xiaorui was... well... she had developed feelings for him at some point, even though it was unrequited and something that she never dared speak aloud about.

    In 2008, Yangsun qualified for the Beijing Olympics at 17 years of age, which was his first major international event.

    Even though he wasn't expected to make it to finals [3] or anything ridiculous like that, to Lin Xiaorui, it was already an amazing achievement to qualify for the Olympics in the first place.

    ...and well, his swimming career would only get better after that point, but Lin Xiaorui had no intention of remarking any further on that topic. She kind of felt like it would be jinxing it, almost, if she said or thought too much about it, so instead she felt compelled to focus on the present.

    Just one step at a time.

    + + +​

    Xiaorui suddenly felt nervous as she turned on Internet Explorer and navigated her way to the QQ app.

    Her mind felt kind of fuzzy and blank, being somewhat unsure about what to say since her present self was coming from the future.

    Xiaorui shook her head at that moment, trying to clear her mind.

    No, no. This wasn't about her.

    This was Long Yangsun's special moment, and Lin Xiaorui only had a supporting role to play.

    As long as she stuck to the role she had played in the past, it shouldn't change the future too much. This was something that Lin Xiaorui was absolutely dead set on. She wouldn't be able to face herself if she said or did something that caused Yangsun to perform poorly and ruin his athletic career.

    Saturday, August 9th, 2008, the day after the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was the qualifying heats for the 400 meter freestyle, Long Yangsun's primary event. It was potentially his first (and last, if he did poorly) appearance on an international stage.

    Lin Xiaorui remembered it almost as clearly as yesterday.

    The problem was...

    ...the past her had gotten into an argument with Long Yangsun in the weeks just prior to the start of the Beijing Olympics, and they had messaged constantly on QQ before finally making up with each other before Yangsun's turn to swim. This was part of the reason why Xiaorui remembered that sequence of events so clearly.

    The two of them had been in the middle of a fight.

    However, the current issue was that 25-year-old Xiaorui teleported to the past and had completely forgotten about the date the Beijing Olympics started. This also meant that she hadn't been checking QQ, which subsequently meant that she hadn't been messaging Long Yangsun like the former her would have religiously done in the past.

    It was very possible that from Long Yangsun's perspective, it might have appeared that Lin Xiaorui suddenly stopped talking to him and was ignoring him.

    This wouldn't impact his swimming performance, would it?

    It made Lin Xiaorui deeply uncomfortable and anxious.

    She hoped desperately there was still something salvageable about this situation.

    The web page finally loaded, and Xiaorui immediately clicked into her inbox.

    + + +​

    Author's Notes:
    1. Long Yangsun: Definitely not based off of a real-life person... *coughs*
    2. In China, athletics are not a major part of high school. Those that are interested or serious about pursuing athletics will typically attend a sports high school.
    3. Finals: In swimming events at the olympics, there is often first "qualifying" round with multiple heats, a "semi-final" round, and then a "finals" round. This is because an Olympic swimming pool typically has 8 lanes. The "finals" round is in many instances the only one that is televised.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
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  16. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    Chapter 5: Puerile Envy and a Blanket for the Snake

    [​IMG]

    + + +​

    You have 9 unread messages.

    + + +​

    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-07 13:32

    Rui, dude, it's my life. I want to give that girl a chance. I'm not so
    cruel to fuck around with people's feelings when they've seriously put all their heart into it. I mean, yeah, it's true that
    I don't feel anything for her or stuff like that right now, but that's why people date. I might end up discovering I do like her.



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-07 13:57

    I'm serious about this. There's different kinds of people at school.
    some work their asses off really hard but only get shit grades, while others barely study besides
    craming at exams and get a great score, life isn't fair.
    Yang Wenlan is more like the 1st type, so I totally get it where she's coming from.
    It just isn’t fair for you to say that about her. You just don't get it. You haven't even met her.
    Not everyone is like you and Fenghua.



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-07 14:01

    I mean, I expected my folks to be against it, but seriously? Really? You too? I thought we were closer than that.



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-07 14:09

    You can't measure people against rulers. It fucking doesn't work that way, and I wish you'd open your eyes
    a little. The universe isn’t black and white. People aren't either with you or against you. I appreciate it that you're concerned
    that Wenlan might "screw me over", but that just isn't going to happen. Is it really that hard to have a little faith?



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-07 21:48

    Hello?



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-08 13:17

    Rui? Are you upset?



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-08 13:49

    If you have a problem, could you just say it up front? I hate this feeling like my messages are going into empty space.



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-08 23:03

    Never mind. I'm taking a break from QQ for a few days. I need to focus.



    SUBJECT: RE: No subject FROM: Taiyang09 TO: Ryouxlin1 DATE: 2008-08-08 23:05

    If I don't respond, I'm really sorry.




    + + +​

    Lin Xiaorui stared at the screen for a few long minutes, biting her lips as the digital text slowly started to sink in.

    Her hand on the mouse felt almost numb.

    It was... a little painful to look at that conversation.

    There was a stabbing, aching feeling in her chest, gnawing away at the outer layer of her heart. Surprisingly, it wasn't the content of Yangsun's words or even the fact that this was a conversation about the girl who would eventually become Yangsun's first ever significant other that caused the pain. No, Lin Xiaorui had come prepared for that. Her knowledge of the future had made it such that Xiaorui already knew how this exchange would ultimately end.

    Rather, the pain she felt came mostly from re-reading the scathing words her past 16-year-old self had written.

    Coming from nine years into the future... just from one glance... it was undisputable that Long Yangsun was far more mature than her past self had been. This was a somewhat bitter pill to swallow.

    This prolonged dispute on QQ, objectively speaking, shouldn't have been a dispute in the first place.

    From the beginning, it was nowhere within Lin Xiaorui's rights to say who Long Yangsun could and couldn't date.

    If Xiaorui had actually been truly considerate of Yangsun's feelings, she should have supported and encouraged him, at the very least superficially. Of course, it might have been... difficult... since Xiaorui undeniably had conflicting feelings. However, the present 26-year-old Lin Xiaorui felt that it was just frankly wrong to exploit one's position as a close friend for such purposes.

    It instinctively felt unethical. It was like soiling something that should have been sacrosanct with dirt.

    It hurt badly to look at how immature her past self had been.

    In all honesty, Lin Xiaorui had completely forgotten about how selfish she had been in the past. There's a peculiar tendency in human psychology for people to conveniently "forget" about things they do not like to remember. Memories distort with time. Narrators are unreliable. All people are prone to thinking the best of themselves, and everyone wishes to appear the most attractive to others, even when it comes to telling a simple story.

    Xiaorui closed her eyes as took a deep breath.

    It should have been plainly obvious, but until now, she had not really appreciated how the present her was in fact a very different person from her past self.

    From now on, this was her own story, and it was up to her to chart her course into the future.

    + + +​

    So engrossed she was in the computer screen, Lin Xiaorui did not notice a subdued knock on the office door.

    A 158cm tall black-haired girl with freckles slowly pushed open the heavy wooden door as she stepped in. She was carrying a faded dark canvas crossbody bag, which she held tightly against her person. She looked up briefly from her glasses and saw that Lin Xiaorui had not seen her. However, she did not immediately say anything to announce her presence, and instead wordlessly shut the door behind her.

    The girl walked quietly to the back the of the room where there was a wide coffee table beside a sofa. She put down her bag softly and then turned around to face Lin Xiaorui. She was about to open her mouth to make a comment, but she stopped midway through. From this angle, the girl could clearly see the contents of the computer screen.

    Her eyes remained emotionless for the few seconds they stayed fixated on the desktop screen.

    About ten seconds passed before she looked away.

    The expression in her eyes was inscrutable and impossible to read.

    + + +
    "That looks like a mess."

    A flat and completely neutral voice suddenly came from behind Lin Xiaorui, almost as if stating a fact.

    Xiaorui immediately jumped and reflexively minimized the entire browser window. He spun around in his chair like lightening and immediately locked eyes with the most distasteful unwelcome intruder.

    "Li Fenghuan."

    The words almost came out like a growl, and although it was a simple statement, it was seeping to the point of oversaturation with malignance.

    The freckled girl with glasses seemed unfazed.

    "Well, are you going to apologize to him?" She said.

    "Why are you here?" Lin Xiaorui ignored the question and instead focused his fire into a nearly accusatory query.

    Li Fenghuan paused. "I still think you should apologize to him," she said.

    "I never said you could come in! Why didn't you knock first?"

    "If you manage to separate Long Yangsun from that Wenlan girl by force, Yangsun will just end up hating you. You will have absolutely no chance with your unrequited love at that point."

    "I'm not asking for your advice! Can you please leave me alone and let me have some privacy for once?!"

    Fenghuan closed her eyes for a long moment and turned around at that point. She walked back to the round coffee table and knelt down by her bag.

    "You were still sick yesterday," her voice softened in volume. "I only came this morning because apparently I've been unofficially delegated to be your so-called 'official' caretaker."

    She started rummaging through her bag.

    "Have you taken your temperature yet today?" She asked.

    Lin Xiaorui bristled in annoyance. "I'm feeling fine! I'm perfectly capable of managing myself. And you're just in high school! I don't need to be taken care of by you!"

    "I'll take that as a no," Fenghua remarked and stood up, picking her bag up in her hands.

    She walked over to the desk and placed an electronic thermometer on the table. The case made a clicking sound when it touched the surface of the wood. Fenghua then walked over to the entryway of the room, opened the door, slung the strap of her back over she shoulder, and turned her head back.

    "I'll be back in twenty or twenty-five minutes. Please take your temperature in that time."

    + + +​

    After Li Fenghua left, Xiaorui maximized the internet browser again and immediately got back to work to working on her reply to Long Yangsun. Meanwhile, she stuck the thermometer under her tongue as she started typing away.

    Around twenty minutes later, Lin Xiaorui finished composing a response that she was satisfied with, so she clicked on the send button.

    Hopefully that would be enough to defuse the situation.

    Xiaorui closed her eyes as she leaned back on the office chair. She thought back to Fenghua’s rude intrusion this morning.

    She hated to admit it, but everything that Fenghua had said was not wrong. Of course, it hadn't changed anything that she already intended to write in the first place, but it was beginning to bother her that it seemed like everyone around her appeared to be well put together. Had Xiaorui really been such an immature teenager back in high school, compared to everyone else?

    For some reason, Xiaorui didn't recall ever having that kind of self-assessment of herself.

    All that Xiaorui could really remember of high school was mostly a gray fog. His classmates were faceless and the entire world itself seemed miserable. The snake, Li Fenghua, on the other hand was a stifling typhoon of hellish pitch-black misery the density of molasses. Everything was a gray fog except for the few rare moments that Long Yangsun was capable of making him smile and bringing color into him world.

    Lin Xiaorui opened her eyes and returned to sitting forward in the office chair.

    But what about now?

    Was there anything fundamentally different about her present self? Was there some kind of greater purpose or reason why she had been sent back to the past in 2008?

    Xiaorui brought the mouse cursor to opening another instance of Internet Explorer.

    One obvious difference was the the present her was older, at age 25. This gave her more perspective and experience on issues that the past her had been hopelessly confused, lost, and paralyzed about. She was more mature, or at least, she hoped so.

    Another obvious difference was that her penis had been replaced with a vagina.

    However, frankly, as of yet, Lin Xiaorui wasn't sure exactly in what way this made a difference at all. It wasn't like her personality had magically changed overnight. Rather, Xiaorui was absolutely positive that she was still fundamentally the same person as before. In her mind, she still felt like the same man at heart that she had always been. Or wait no? The same woman like she had always been? A mixture of both? Neither? Was it even possible to attach a label to something like this?

    Xiaorui glanced at the door and then at the clock, checking how much time she had left before she should start expecting the return of the poisonous snake.

    Seeing that there was still some time, Xiaorui dedicated some search effort towards learning about vaginal discharge on the Internet. Even though she was feeling much better today, Xiaorui was meticulous enough to make sure her bases were covered. It would be bad if there was some kind of illness that Xiaorui didn't know about, and it was much safer to make the minimum basic effort on a Baidu search. Lin Xiaorui had the common sense for this at least.

    All the meanwhile, Xiaorui kept the corner of her eye plastered to the door, ready at the instant's notice to exit out of the browser tab in case a "certain somebody" decided to show up.

    + + +​

    By the way, the Internet was barely helpful at all.

    Lin Xiaorui quickly realized that there was a lot of inconsistencies between different web pages. Xiaorui checked at least 10 different sites on how to tell whether vaginal discharge was normal or not, and almost all of them said different things.

    For example, the top search result for "yellow vaginal discharge" at a very prominent medical website said:

    "Yellow discharge may or may not indicate an infection."

    Xiaorui had more or less stared at that blankly with her mouth agape.

    How in the world was that supposed to be useful at all?!

    Anyways, after spending a fair amount of time synthesizing data from various sources that said "yellow discharge is abnormal" (paraphrased) and "yellow discharge is totally normal don't worry" (paraphrased), the main conclusion that Xiaorui drew was that the female body is strange and there is a lot of variation between different women. Apparently, there was no need to be concerned about vaginal discharge if it was asymptomatic, there was no recent unprotected sex, and there wasn't too much of a change from baseline. Well, there was a significant variation within the menstrual cycle as well, but that only made things more complicated.

    Honestly, out of all the things that could vary, one of few the takeaway points that all of the websites agreed on was that green discharge was always bad.

    Yep. Green = bad.

    Like brown and pink and yellow can be normal, white and gray can be abnormal, but green is always bad...

    It was honestly a little bit of a headache, but Lin Xiaorui exited out of Internet Explorer at the end of her session feeling possibly a little bit more enlightened than before...

    + + +​

    When Lin Xiaorui looked at the clock again, forty minutes had already passed.

    She furrowed her eyebrows slightly, a little surprised that Li Fenghua had not come back.

    That poisonous snake was not that kind of person who was ever late to appointments. As a matter of fact, it was much more like Fenghua to always be precisely exactly on time. Even when she arrived 5 minutes early or came in running 30 minutes late, Lin Xiaorui had learned after many years of spending time in her company to know that even the imprecision was basically intentional. Xiaorui wasn't exactly sure how that girl managed it, but somehow it seemed to be a passive ability that was part of the poisonous snake's skill set.

    Well, it wasn't like Lin Xiaorui minded.

    If anything, if she wasn't coming back, that was even better.

    Xiaorui stood from the computer and logged off nonetheless. She had promised her mom earlier that she would relinquish the computer when she was done, so Xiaorui intended to fulfill that promise.

    Lin Xiaorui walked out of the office and started walking around the apartment looking for her mother.

    + + +​

    While walking by the living room, Xiaorui happened upon the very unusual sight of a certain black-haired freckled girl curled up on the couch, a medical textbook half open in her lap, fast asleep as soundly as an opossum.

    Amusingly, her mouth was slightly agape and there was drool hanging from her cheeks.

    Lin Xiaorui snorted at the unsightly scene and immediately walked into the guest bedroom where the Lin family kept spare blankets.

    The air conditioning had been turned on (likely the doing of Xiaorui's mother), and it was pure common sense among Chinese people that sleeping without a blanket with air conditioning at full blast was a perfect recipe for a summer cold.

    It was thus more or less instinctive for Xiaorui to go hunting for blankets.

    After fetching a small quilt from the closet, Xiaorui draped it across Li Fenghua's shoulders and moved the medical textbook on her lap to an adjacent table.

    Then, Lin Xiaorui continued on her way to the kitchen without the second thought crossing her mind.

    Now where had her mother gone?

    + + +​

    Author's Notes:
    1. Eh? That's weird? No notes? Did I do something wrong???
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
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  17. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    Heyo! I just wanted to let people still following this story that I'm thinking about scrapping this novel as it currently is... >___<

    But don't get me wrong! It isn't because I don't like the story or don't want to write anymore. There's actually many parts of this story that mean a lot to me, and in fact it's because of that that I kind of want to make sure that this story gets polished more before it gets written in this kind of way.

    Honestly, it was really exciting to be writing posts daily, and I think I kind of got ahead of myself and wrote without planning at all. Having done this, I also feel like I kind of wrote myself into a corner... well, it's not exactly technically as bad as an actual "corner" (like it's not like I have writer's block), but it still feels like I've driven the cart completely off of the highway, and I've lost control of the reins of the horse driving the story.

    Normally, I wouldn't really mind a free-wheeling drive for a fiction novel...

    But a novel kind of like this one is actually deeply personal to me in several more ways than I initially realized.

    There's a lot of messages I want to convey, and I lot of things I want to make sure I express in a way non-LGBT people can understand. This was one of the original motives of the story after all -- to tell a story about a quasi-transgender experience and share with ordinary people about what it vicariously feels like to be in that confusing space amidst confusing relationships. The "feelings" part is key. From its conception, this story was supposed to be more about the "emotional experience" more so than any plot events or gimmicks that might be used to keep chapters rolling.

    There are a lot of scattered feelings that I want to try to put onto paper somehow.

    I know that earlier I said that this story was 90% fiction (which is true, since the plot and setting is completely made up), but at that time I didn't really account for that fact that the emotions and the feelings in this story 100% based in reality. I completely underestimated what it would mean to go back into my personal memories to retrieve those distant memories (many of them related to romance/love) that have long since scabbed over.

    And what complicates the matter is that all of those memories are isolated, distinct, spotted, and spread all over from many different instances, situations, and people from the 24 years of the past of my own life.

    Squishing all of those feelings together and compressing it into a few characters and one plot line is difficult. It comes out looking like spaghetti too, if it take my emotions and the drama from three different actual people who I've liked in the past and project them into a one week span of in-story time.

    I'm sure it comes out as extra dramatic and exciting, but very quickly, inconsistencies spiral out of place too.

    There's a 13 year old version of myself (and the mistakes I made), a 15 year old, 17 year old, 20 year old........ I find myself losing track what is the frame of reference and the context (which absolutely matters) my writing is coming from. This is a side effect of transposing emotions without really thinking carefully about how it ought to be pieced together in a story. In one moment, MC acts like a 9 year old, and another moment s/he acts as old as 50.

    So yeah...

    I'm beginning to realize at this point that this story is going to end up being a total mess if I don't sort out the feelings I want to express in advance.

    At the minimum, it would probably be a good idea if I knew the rough major points about how this story was going to beginning/end. You know, the "broad strokes" of the overall story.

    As it stands right now, the best I can tell you is that I only have a vague idea of what should happen in the very next chapter.

    But the problem with this is that I don't have the free time or energy to write a 1000+ chapter slice-of-life novel. There are major plot points I absolutely have to get to (e.g. the physical changes coming with transgender hormone changes), and those changes happen on the scale of months. This isn't really going to work if it takes me 1-3 chapters to write each day in story time. It wouldn't be until like chapter 30 before MC has her first period, lol, and maybe until chapter 100 when she realizes she's starting to grow boobs.

    And if I do time skips, the pacing will end up strange too.

    So yeah... it's kind of a lot of things to think about. I kind of want to start over and figure out how I can pace things appropriately to fit all the important things within a normal-length novel without losing out on any of the emotional impact.

    Maybe I will sleep on this!

    If y'all have thoughts, let me know! Thank you for reading up until this point though!
     
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  18. LNOnlineOtaku

    LNOnlineOtaku Well-Known Member

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    I support you no matter what! This is a novel I really like and if you want to scrap it. Scrap it! Do what you feel best! GodSpeed!:blobsmilehappy::blob_pompom:
     
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  19. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    [​IMG]

    TITLE

    I didn't actually want to change ♂♀ (re-write)

    DETAILS
    GENRES
    • Contemporary
    • Drama
    • Psychological
    • Romance
    TAGS
    • Gender Bender
    • Reverse Futanari
    • LGBT
    • Transgender
    • Supernatural
    • School Life
    • Love Triangles
    WARNINGS
    • Mature
    • Sexual/Graphic Content
    • Traumatizing Content
    SYNOPSIS
    Lin Jun (林峻) is an accomplished 21-year-old Chinese university student who is the valedictorian of his class, but he doesn't have many talents apart from studying and reading books.

    He has one tightly concealed past secret he doesn't dare tell anyone.

    As a child, he grew up questioning his gender.

    Ever since going to university, Lin Jun shoved all those hated intrusive thoughts into a closet and tried to forget about them. Even though he considered the nauseating possibility that he might be transgender as a teen, as a cynical realist, he believed that "coming out" would only bring a lifetime of suffering. In a conservative country like China, it would be hard to get a job, hard to pay bills, hard to face his family, hard to make friends, and virtually impossible to find acceptance. Despite uncontrollable gender dysphoria that periodically triggered flares of crippling self-hate, every part of his brain screamed that it was rationally a bad idea to "transition" to a public life as other sex.

    Even if it meant wearing a fake mask and sealing away his feelings forever, Lin Jun resolved himself then to forcibly live the rest of his life as a man.

    Until one day he woke up and discovered that a tanabata wish that he had frivolously written over seven years ago as a child unexpectedly came true -- though, not quite exactly in the way that he (she?) expected.

    Lin Jun: "Please let me experience high school as a girl."​

    + + +

    Author's note: This is a reverse-futanari transgender story with realistic themes, which can be potentially triggering or upsetting for some people. However, this story has a happy ending, so for those who are willing to bear with the growing pains, drama, and complicated relationships, there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel!
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
    LNOnlineOtaku likes this.
  20. ohko

    ohko 【LGBTQ+ association】 【ohko is ohko!】

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    (-to be placed after the final chapter, but linked prior to the first-)

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

    To my girlfriend, who is the single loveliest person in the world.

    And also in memory of all my former unrequited loves and dear friends; amazing heartwarming guys who taught me how to be honest to myself, how to love myself, and how to keep looking positively to the future.

    Thank you for treasuring me in my whole entirety even though you couldn't reciprocate my feelings.

    + + +

    DISCLAIMER

    This is a work of fiction, and all characters are imaginary.

    Additionally, I do not consider myself entirely transgender, and the main character's experiences are not based off of my own. None of the stuff depicted in this novel actually happened to me.

    While I tried to be realistic as possible based on the extent of my personal knowledge, it is impossible for me capture something I have not actually experienced myself. Please do not use the characters in this novel as a reference for actual transgender experiences. My own perspective is rather unique, and should not be generalized to other people. I apologize to any transgender or other LGBTQ people who are offended by the content in this novel.

    Although this work is set in China, I have no actual personal experience living in China. The impression of Chinese culture in this novel is fictional/imagined, may be inaccurate, and is formulated substantially on anecdotal accounts. Please do not take this novel as an authoritative reference of Chinese culture, even if it appears to be realistic.