Naruto fell over laughing once he gained sight of me, Choji not too far behind him. Shikamaru appeared genuinely confused for a moment after seeing me, and Kiba. Well, Kiba had this sort of expression I could not read no matter how hard I tried.
“Keep laughing and I will rip out your spines.” I snarled at the two who only calmed down for a moment before laughing harder.
“I can’t take you serious.” Naruto got out between laughs.
“What are you even wearing?” Choji giggled.
I felt my face heat up. Kiba and I had gotten together almost a month ago, he had given me a new found confidence to be girly like I kinda wanted to. So I had gone out with my mother a couple days prior to this and bought a pretty purple and black, plaid, pleated skirt which I was wearing with fish nets underneath and a normal t-shirt. I had thought my friends would be supportive, but this was not at all the reaction I was hoping for.
“Look, I’m all for you wanting to try out new looks and get comfortable as a woman, Kohaku,” Shikamaru started, “But are going to turn into one of those girls who’s obsessed with her appearance and boys and all that jazz?”
I shook my head furiously.
“Hell no.” I snarled and crossed my arms over my chest, “I just wanted to try something new, and I guess it’s clearly not getting any good reviews.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” Kiba finally said, “But are you doing this because you want to?” He said that in a teasing manner.
I glared at him, “Of course. Why, do you think I would go through the trouble of something like this for your?”
“Only a little.” He then began to chuckle.
I was at the end of my nerves and punched in the jaw sending him back a few feet and onto his ass.
“You’re supposed to be supportive of me.” I hissed at him, before turning my attention to the two who were still on the ground but not longer laughing, “And do I really look so different that you two couldn’t help yourselves from busting a gut laughing at me, without any regard for how I feel?!”
They were both silent as they looked down.
“It was hard enough for me to even ask my mom to go shopping with me for something like this, let alone work up the courage to wear it outside. And all you two have done is made me not want to do something like this again, when, if I recall, it was you two a few days ago who were complaining that since I’m dating Kiba I should actually start to try to act like a girl.” I huffed, feeling good that I finally got that off of my chest.
“Sorry Kohaku.” Choji started.
“Yeah, sorry.” Naruto added.
“We just weren’t really expecting it. And after so long of seeing you as a boy, it was just a little funny.” Choji told me, “I’m not saying that should excuse us, but it’s our reasoning.”
“And why did you get violent with me!?” Kiba finally snapped.
I turned and glared at him, “I was hoping that when I did this your eyes would light up and you smile and say something like ‘it looks good on you’ or ‘I like it’. You know, some sort of positive reinforcement to help me feel a little less awkward.”
Kiba sighed, “Sorry, okay. I just don’t want you to feel like you have to do this for me, or because one of the guys says to.”
“I wouldn’t do it because of that.” I told him, no longer angry, “I’ve actually been thinking of doing something like this for a while. But I never had the nerve to do it until we got together. I figured I actually had a reason now.”
We all stood there awkwardly for a minute or two before someone broke the silence.
“Well, you do look good like that.” Kiba finally said.
“Thank you.” I said with a smile.
“Good, now that that’s all cleared up.” Choji interjected, “We’re going to get BBQ, right?”
We all sorta chuckled.
“Yes, Choji.” I said with a sigh.
So we all started on our way into town in towards a frequented restaurant.
“Hey, Shikamaru, Choji!”
I inwardly cringed hearing that voice.
“Naruto and Kiba too.”
I sighed a little to myself waiting for shit to hit the fan.
“Hey! Sakura! Ino!” Naruto called to the two girls approaching us.
“What are guys up to?” Sakura asked.
“Heading to get some BBQ, you guys wanna come with?” Naruto offered.
“Kahaku?” Ino questioned leaning towards me.
“Hi.” I said shortly.
“What the hell are you wearing?” She all but snarled at me.
“What does it look like?” I said completely unamused.
“Boys don’t wear skirts though!” She exclaimed.
“Ino that’s very inconsiderate of you.” Sakura snarled, “If Kohaku wants to wear a skirt what’s stopping him other than people like you who hold genderstition like that.”
“Well, actually, Sakura,” Naruto started, only to be cut off by a blonde.
“Oh yeah billboard brow!? Then tell me you don’t find it weird.” Ino snarled, “You can act all high and mighty, but when it comes down to it, it’s unnatural for a boy to wear skirts.”
“Ino pig, that’s like saying it’s unnatural for a girl to wear pants. And yes, I do find it a little weird just because there aren’t a lot of boys who do wear skirts like this. But if it makes him happy then why criticize.” Sakura snarled back.
“How about you’re both wrong.” Shikamaru cut in gaining both girls attention, “Troublesome.” He muttered before continuing, “Even you two can’t be that dense, Kohaku is a unisexual name. Kahaku is a girl.”
“But…” Both girls trailed off at the same time.
“Yeah I know.” I said and rolled my eyes, “But you trying to be a kunoichi with a dad like mine.”
“Oh…” They both trailed off again.
“Sorry.” They then both said in unison.
I shrugged again, about to say something before getting cut off.
“Well I’ll be damned.”
I couldn’t contain my groan at the sound of his voice. I felt like I was about to explode knowing what was going to come.
“Kohaku.” My father started as he approached the group.
“Hi dad.” I said trying to muster up a smile, but failed, “Training finished early today?”
“I never thought my son of all people would reject his gender and go and wear a skirt. Not that I have anything wrong with it.” He started, trying to look cool, “The fact you are exploring things like this is a true testament to your youth. But it does come as a surprise to your old man considering the fact you had so much going for you as a shinobi. However, as a proud parent if this is the path my beloved son has chosen to go down I will do nothing but support him.”
My mouth was all but on the ground hearing what he had to say.
“You know I’m a girl right!?” I all but yelled at him.
“If that’s what you want me to call you from now on-
“No!” I shouted gaining the attention of passerby’s, “I was born a girl, dad! I was always a girl.”
“Then why had you never accepted it in your youth unless you had felt otherwise?” My father logiced.
“Because as far back as I can remember, you wanted a boy. You wanted someone who you could pass down your beliefs, jutsus, passion and name to. Mom only wanted 1 child, and that was me. Meaning you were stuck with a daughter and full of disappointment with me. You didn’t want me to be a girl. And while mom didn’t care, you did. And every single day I felt and continue to feel the strain your unsaid disappointment puts on me. So yes, I became a boy so you would finally be happy with me. And I’m at that age now, where I don’t know if I want your approval anymore in lieu of what I want. Because I have news for you, and myself even, dad. I’m a girl. I’ve never not been a girl. And you know what, I’m fucking tired of hiding what the hell I am because you want something I could never be. So I’m going to be what I want to be, you have Lee that can take your place as a son instead of me. But never think, for a second that I went through the grueling process to become a shinobi just for you. I did it for myself first and foremost and I’ll continue to be one until the day I die.”
The look on my father’s face was one of pure shock. I turned around to storm off, everyone else was in shock, even Kiba. He had understood that I was under pressure to become a boy but he didn’t understand to what extent.
I sat high up in a tree, looking down at the village. I couldn’t bring myself to go home after what I had said to my father. It would result in a long talk among the three of us, which I wasn’t ready for yet. I couldn’t face my friends after that, they would feel even worse for what had happened this morning at that field. And I most certainly couldn’t face Kiba at the moment.
Not only was he my best friend, he was the only one I had told about why I had become a boy. I had made it vague to be fair, but he was still the only one I had told about it.
The sun was just beginning to set, but I was not ready to see anyone. I was probably going to spend the night out here, maybe talk to them all in the morning.
“There you are!”
I looked down to see Kiba and Akimaru standing at the base of the tree looking up at me.
“Go away.” I snarled, only to sigh when both of them made it to a branch next to me.
“What?” I hissed.
“I never knew that’s what happened.” Kiba said awkwardly.
I shrugged and looked away, “It doesn’t matter.”
“No, it does.” Kiba growled, “And we need to talk about it.”
“What’s there to talk about?” I snapped whipping my head around to face him.
“A lot.” Was all he spat at me before grabbing my wrist and my waist and jumping down the tree, he took off towards the village with me in his arms and I was thrashing and wiggling the entire way.
“Fucking, let me go!” I screamed for the millionth time to Kiba as he threw open a door and threw me inside. Before I had time to register what was going on he was pushing me down the hallway to the living room of my apartment. My mother and father were both sitting on the couch waiting for us.
“Kohaku.” My mother said and stood up, she rushed over hopping for a hug. I wasn’t ready for this kind of thing so I shyed away. She stopped looking completely hurt.
“You want me to talk to my parents about this, right now?” I asked Kiba.
“No.” He said plainly, “I want you to talk to us about what’s been going on so we can figure it all out.”
I crossed my arms over my chest and looked away.
Kiba sighed and pushed me onto the couch opposite my parents and sat next to me. Akimaru jumped up onto my lap to comfort me.
I sighed and pet the puppy’s head gently.
“Is that really how you’ve felt?” My father asked hesitantly, “What you said to me earlier.”
“Not all of it.” I said after a moment of hesitation.
“We’re here to listen to you.” Kiba encouraged.
I sighed, “What am I?” I asked, “Who am I? What am I doing? I’s asked myself these a million times, but I haven’t been about to give myself a proper answer. I am a shinobi. But, am I your daughter? Am I your son? Are you two going to be upset one way or another? Do I want to be a boy or a girl? Am I acting like a boy because I want to or because I want dad to be proud of me like grandpa was of him? And I’ll be honest I don’t know. I want you to be proud of me, and happy to call me your daughter. But I feel like I can’t do that because you’ll be upset I’m not your son. And, I will also admit that there are times when I’m jealous of Lee because he get’s so much praise and encouragement and guidance from you and I end up with non. Or at least that’s how I feel. And I know that’s bad because at the end of the day you are my dad and my mom and you’re mine, but I feel like I don’t actually have you guys as parents because you’re so focused with dad’s team that I feel like I’m almost an after thought.” I took a shaky breath and blinked a few times, I didn’t want to cry now, before continuing, “And now I realize, that, you know, I want to be a girl. Or at least enough that if I’m walking down the street someone’ll glance at me and not have to second guess themselves my gender. But I feel like if I do that then I’m letting you down.”
“Kohaku,” My father started softly, “I am very proud of you, you’ve done so much to improve yourself and get to the point you are now. Personally I did want a son, but you have, through your hard work and dedication, proven to me that girl can be just as strong as a boy and that I was wrong for rejecting you. I suppose I had projected my desire for a son onto Lee causing you to slip. But I love you, Kohaku, and if you will give me another chance I will never let myself do that to you again. It must have hurt for so long.”
“After what you said to me on the street earlier?” I asked almost in disbelief.
Dad sighed before continuing, “You were so young when you rejected being a girl, I thought it was because you though of yourself as a boy and there for took up everything having to do with being one. When I saw you earlier I thought you had come to a realization that you wanted to go back to being a girl and taking up everything having to do with being a girl. I didn’t mean it to offend you, I thought it would have been my way to encourage you in your new ventures, whatever they may be.”
“Kohaku,” My mother started, “Your father and I love you very much. Whatever you are, whatever you want to be, whatever you do. We love you, we will stand behind you and we will support you. That is what parents are supposed to do. So forget about what we want, what do you want?”
I thought about it for a second, but in my heart I knew exactly what I wanted.
“I want to be your child.” I said to them, “I want to date you.” I turned to Kiba and said that, “I don’t want me being or not being something to affect that. Because I don’t know if I want to be a boy or a girl or something in between right now. So I don’t want my gender to be a part of it at all. I want to be a family, I want a boyfriend, and I don’t want to care what others have to say or think about any of it.”
“Then do that.” Kiba told me softly stroking my hair, “We’re here because we love you, be whatever you want but at the very least remember that.”
“Well, at the very least we don’t have to worry about your love life.” My mother giggled.
“For now.” My father warned Kiba.
I felt a tear fall out of my eye. It was okay. I was okay. Thing’ll sort themselves out eventually. With these people who care about me, I can focus on being what I want to be. Whatever that may be.