“Oh, my stars…,” Shay breathed.
Opening her eyes warily, Kallima asked, “What? What is it?”
Shay turned her away with his hand, laughing, and said, “No, no, no, wait. Wait.”
Kallima craned her neck to see around the dozens of laughing teens. Then a girl she did not recognize boarded the wagon in a long white dress. Much like Kallima, her blonde hair was cropped short and spiked out oddly in all directions, and her chest was completely flat. Kallima’s jaw dropped when the newcomer sat down across from her.
“Yes?” the figure in the white dress asked.
“Are you wearing paint?” Shay asked, chuckling.
Ignatius smirked. Mascara, lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow effeminated the boy. A thin, braided necklace with a large, emerald bead completed his transformation.
“If I’m going to dress like a girl,” he said, “I’m going to be the most beautiful girl you could imagine.”
Shay laughed shortly, amused by the assertion.
“I d-d-don’t thi-think you’re more beautiful than- than everyone,” the boy said.
Kallima, too, raised her brow and said, “Prettier than me, even?”
“Sorry, Kali,” Ignatius said, shrugging, “but… You are kind of… Boyish.”
“Aggressive, commanding, sporty-.”
“Violent,” Shay said, horror lighting his eyes at the memory of their first meeting. “Very, very violent.”
“But I’m pretty meek and reserved and… admittedly a bit feminine,” Ignatius said with a slight blush.
“Well, er,” Kallima sighed, “at least it works out?”
“In a weird way.”
“Bah! Gender roles are idiotic,” Ignatius said.
“You can’t just-!” Shay began, but Ignatius cut him off.
“To me, they are. To most people, they are. Now, if your religion dictates that you don’t let girls do certain things or boys do other things? That’s your thing, and it’s not my business,” he said. “I’m okay with being mild-mannered.”