Author's Note: The ideas are mide. The characters belong to JK...
Cedrella and Lycoris were having a great time. Lycoris always had a great time trying on Cedrella's dresses. They had started doing that the previous summer. It had been Cedrella's suggestion. He had resisted at first, but before they knew it, Lycoris was the one who was asking for them to do it again.
At some point, they heard footsteps on the staircase outside. Lycoris' heart sank. If his aunt or uncle walked in on him dressed like a girl, there would be problems. He was terrified anyone would find out and tell his parents. Fortunately however, nobody walked in. It took a while for his heart to start beating at a normal pace again.
Lycoris let his body fall in his cousin's bed. Cedrella lay down next to him. They were both flat on their backs, staring at the ceiling. Neither of them spoke. Actually, Lycoris was working up the courage to say something. They were quiet for a very long time, until Lycoris finally broke the silence.
"I think I am actually a girl."
Cedrella was a little stunned at first. She did not know how to react but she could see how much Lycoris was struggling with what he had just said. They were lying on her bed, next to each other. His entire body seemed tense. He lay flat on his back, staring at something up in the ceiling, his arms crossed in front of his chest, as if he was deliberately trying not to look at her. As if he was afraid of the way she might react.
Cedrella chose her next words very carefully.
"What do you mean?"
Her voice was low and gentle when she asked that question. Cedrella hoped her tone conveyed that there was no judgement and no mockery in her thoughts. She could see Lycoris was having a difficult time telling her whatever it was that he was trying to tell her. She had not understood his words, but she wanted to.
It took him a moment to answer though.
"I don't know," he said finally "I just. I feel like I am a girl."
They were both quiet for a few minutes. Cedrella and Lycoris were the same age. Their fathers were brothers. They had known each other all their lives. It seemed like what Lycoris had said should have been surprising. After all, Cedrella had always known her cousin as a boy. Ever since they were little, people treated them differently. When they were five years old, Lycoris got a toy broomstick for his birthday; Cedrella got a dress. Lycoris dressed in trousers and shorts; Cedrella had to wear skirts. She was told to be quiet and obedient; he was never yelled at for being too agitated or for speaking his mind. Those things were, they said, normal for a boy.
When they got older, the differences became more apparent. Their bodies started to change. One day Cedrella realized her chest was not as flat as it once had been. When she was fourteen years old she started bleeding, something she was told would never happen to a boy like Lycoris. He grew taller. His shoulders got broader. His voice got deeper. The usual things that happen to boys when they are around that age.
Cedrella had always thought of her cousin as a boy, so the things he had just told her should have come as surprise, but somehow they did not.
Lycoris had never been like his brothers, Arcturus and Regulus. His mother never ceased to remind him of that. He was quieter, thinner, and shyer than the other two. He had never been inclined to play sports, or to any other traditionally male activities. He preferred being around Cedrella, his best friend. Actually, now that she was thinking about it, she had always been comfortable talking to Lycoris about everything. Even the things that were supposed to be uncomfortable to talk about to a boy. She had always thought it was because their friendship was different. Deeper. But perhaps that was not all.
Come to think of it, Lycoris even had a certain androgynous quality to his looks. He had always been skinny. He had never really grown any facial hair. His face seemed delicate. Almost fragile. When he wore her clothes, like right now, he actually looked a lot like a girl.
She was still looking at him when he spoke again.
"I'm not like Arcturus or Regulus, I think differently than they do, I mean, the way they talk about things, most of the time I think they are disgusting! I am not at all interested in the things that are interesting to them. I know I am not the same. I've always felt like,… Like something was wrong… Like I didn't fit with the things people expected of me. No—It's not just that, I don't know how to explain it. Because I know you don't feel like you fit in either, Ella, but this is different. You don't fit in, but you are still girl. You are different and special and the best girl I've ever met, but you are a girl. It's not like that for me… I – I think the wrong thoughts… It's like I am somebody else inside. Like I am uncomfortable in my own skin… I feel… I feel like I am a girl inside."
"Is that why you like to wear dresses?"
"I think so… I mean. I like the way the fabric feels against my skin. It's so soft… I know I could use a spell to make my own clothes feel the same but it's not just that. I like the way my body looks when I am wearing it. I like the way the dress adds a little volume around my hips. I like the way the skirt flows about where there's a waft of wind from the window… I wish I could dress like this every day."
Cedrella was quiet. Lycoris continued:
"There's more… I worry about things… I worry about how my hair looks, in a way that Arcturus and Regulus just don't. I a way no other boys do. And I think it's because I feel like this inside… I feel like I am a girl. But I know I don't look like a girl, so I keep seizing every little thing that brings me closer to that… That's why I learned all those potions that are supposed to make your hair look great. It's not because it's a "woman's thing" to "worry about my hair", that would be shallow, it's just something I do in an effort to bring me closer to what I know I am inside. Every morning I look in the mirror and I am terrified to think that I may have a beard one day. I wish… I wish my body was like yours. I wish I had breasts. I wish I was a girl on the outside."
When Lycoris said that, a single tear rolled down to the pillow.
"Have you ever told anyone else?" Cedrella asked quietly.
Can you imagine what the family would think? Lycoris didn't have to ask the question. Cedrella was thinking the same thing. The Blacks were an ancient and honourable line. They had strict ideas about what it meant to be a Black. She had no idea how they would react to what Lycoris was going through. To her at least, it did not matter. Lycoris was her best friend. She would stand by her best friend through anything. She wanted to say that, but she didn't find the words.
She reached out and took Lycoris' hand in her own, intertwining their fingers.
Lycoris looked at her for the first time since the conversation had started.
Cedrella used her other hand to dry the tears in her cousin's face.
"I hate when you cry."
"It's difficult—I hate when people talk to me like I am boy. I hate when they say things like: 'he's too shy', or 'he's nothing like his father',… I wish I could tell them I am not a 'he'. But I can never tell the family. They would cast me out."
"We don't know that."
"Don't we? Is that not what they do to uncle Phineas?"
"That's different, Lyc, uncle Phineas supported muggle rights. Your situation is entirely different."
"I am a freak. Have you ever heard of anyone one like me? Anyone who was born in the wrong body?"
"No. Don't say that," Cedrella gave her cousin's hand a little squeeze, "It is because we have never heard of something like this that we don't know how the family will react. Perhaps they will be fine with it."
"I don't know."
"Well," Cedrella continued, "you don't have to tell them today, Lyc. We can go slow, as slow as you need it to be. And—I will treat you like a girl, if you want me to."
"Really," she said, "I kinda do already, do I not? And we can experiment more. We can go to places where nobody knows us. You can wear my clothes. I'll help you with your make up. Then everybody will treat you like a girl!"
"Do you think?"
"Yes! It will be fun. Don't you think?"
"I don't know… I would be scared."
"There's nothing to be scared about! I will be with you all the way. Through everything."
Cedrella kissed her cousin's forehead.
"You know," Cedrella started looking at Lycoris in her dress, "this dress really does look better on you than it does on me."
There was silence for a couple of seconds, then the two girls started laughing.
And just like that, Lycoris started crying again.
"I'm sorry, it's just… I was terrified of telling you this. You're my- did not want to lose you."
"I love you, you silly."
"I didn't think you would understand."
"I am not sure I do, Lyc. But I want to understand. And until then, I really don't have to. Because I believe you. I know this is true for you. And it's true for me too. And that's all I need to know."
"Thank you," Lycoris whispered.
"Don't mention it."
The girls stayed like that for a while, holding each other's hands and listening to each other's breaths until Cedrella broke the silence again.
"Do you want me to call you by another name? Like… Liv? Or… Lily?"
"No… It's okay,… I think Lycoris works for a girl, don't you?"
"But if we go out, I mean… When I am looking like this… And if you talk to someone else about me…"
"I will tell people everything about my cousin, and how she is the best person I have ever met," Cedrella said.
Lycoris was filled with a kind of happiness she had never experienced before when she heard her cousin talking about her like that. Calling her a 'she'. She never knew something so simple could make such a difference.
Cedrella opened her mouth to speak but then she reconsidered and closed it again. Lycoris picked up on that though.
"Ella, I hope you feel you can ask me any questions you want."
"Okay, hmm… I was wondering… Does this means you like boys?"
"I don't know. I have never really liked anybody. But this… I mean… The way I feel inside doesn't really have anything to do with being attracted to boys or girls… It's a separate thing, you know?"
"Yeah, I think I get it…" Cedrella said, "If you it turns out to be boys though, I won't be able to give you any advice. I am less than zero when it comes to that."
"No you're not!"
"I have never had a boyfriend, Lyc! I am the only one in my year that has never had a boyfriend!"
"I know but—"
"It's not easy being a girl, you know? I mean… Your brothers can chose whatever they want to do in life. I wish I had those kinds of options. My life has pretty much been decided for me from the moment I was born. My parents have arranged for me to be married to that Malfoy boy ever since I was five years old. I am supposed to get married and have babies. That's all the world expects from me… It's so…"
"Unfair," Lycoris said.
"You do know I am going to help you, don't you Ella? I am going to help you do whatever you want to. And I am never going to let that Malfoy lay a single finger on you, if you don't want to. I have been practicing my Bat-Bogey Hex, you know?"
"I know," Cedrella smiled, "I'm sorry Lyc… This doesn't have anything to do with you, it's just… I guess I don't have a lot of advice about being a girl. I am not very good at it."
"Well," Lycoris started again, "then I'll just have to help you, won't I?"
The girls burst into laughter again.
Author's note: Written for Season 7 of the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition. I am the seeker for Pride of Portree. This round's challenge was to write about a transgender character. I wish I had had more time to polish this story, but timing is key to this competition... The theme caught me by surprise, I hope I did a good job, please review and let me know what you think.