A/N: Loosely based on Hisaya Nakajo's manga series Hana-Kimi. I remember writing this story five or so years ago when I was procrastinating on studying for my university finals. I'm honestly not sure where I was going with it, but there were quite a few unfinished chapters in my old files, so I fixed up what I could.

x-x-x-x-x

- I -

"My name is Shawn Hawkins."

The young man had stepped silently in front of the desk, his sudden appearance startling the middle-aged secretary seated at the other side.

She glanced up at him in surprise, her astonished expression immediately shifting to a warm smile as she took in his neatly pressed uniform and clean cut look. "Oh, you're one of our new transfer students, aren't you? Welcome to East Emerald Academy." She reached for several stacks of papers to her right and selected one of each to slide over to him. "This school year is the busiest we've had by far, so unfortunately, we don't have any student council members available to show you around. Here is a map of the campus. You'll want to find your dorm first. From this office, take a left down the hall…"

He nodded as he listened closely to her directions, his eyes following her manicured fingernail move over the detailed map until it stopped at the junior dorm hall at the west side of campus.

"If you get lost or have any questions, just ask one of the students running around with gold nametags on the front of their blazers. Those are the student council members," she said, the corners of her eyes crinkling as she smiled at him again.

He returned her smile politely as he gathered the papers in his hands and adjusted the single strap of his backpack over his right shoulder. "Thank you very much."

"Also, don't forget that you have a hall meeting this afternoon at two o'clock, and you will meet your R.A.—resident assistant—there."

"Yes, ma'am. I'll be there." With one more grin, he turned and exited the office, shutting the door behind him.

The main lobby of the registrar was in complete chaos. Faculty members rushed back and forth from office to office, exchanging various papers and files in a panicked attempt at organizing class attendance rosters and lesson plans. Telephones rang in fixed intervals as fax machines coughed out a steady stream of documents and occasionally jammed up, sending the nearest stressing staff member to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Down one hall, above the noise, an extremely disgruntled male voice could be heard threatening physical violence to the coffeemaker.

The single student hovering in front of the secretary's doorway was ignored as the adults continued their whirlwind of new school year pandemonium. Spotting the exit of the building, he strode forward toward the double glass doors, dodging a hysterical biology teacher zooming by with a cart of preserved fetal pigs along the way.

Once he had pushed his way outside, he breathed a sigh of relief as he paused at the top of the registrar's outdoor staircase. Momentarily lowering his confident charade, his gaze traveled over the beautiful green campus of his new school, and he gave a silent nervous laugh as he imagined what the secretary's reaction would have been had he given his true identity.

My real name is Shana Hawkins. And I'm actually a girl.

x-x-x-x-x

"Are you crazy?" exclaimed Mason Valentine in utter disbelief. His blue eyes were nearly popping out of their sockets as he gaped at the girl leaning toward the full length mirror.

Shana hesitated in her position, her left hand gripping a chunk of her long brown hair and her right hand bearing the scissors poised for the attack. She glared at her best friend's reflection in the mirror, irked that he was unhelpful toward her already wavering willpower.

"You know, Mason, after fifteen years of friendship, I would think that you'd be more supportive of my schemes by now," she said somewhat resentfully.

The blond boy glared back at her from his seat on her bed. "That's because in the past your schemes involved you being a girl." He picked up the lacy white bra lying next to him and waved it in the air for emphasis. "Now you're talking about dressing up as a guy and enrolling in an all-boys school, just to meet some Beethoven-wannabe who was raised in a snooty, prissy lifestyle. What the hell are you thinking?"

She returned her focus to her do-it-herself haircut, ignoring the nagging voice in the back of her head that was only growing louder with the aid of Mason's protests. "Mason, you're the only single, straight, guy I know who is comfortable with twirling a girl's bra around to prove his point."

He rolled his eyes and tossed the lingerie back on the bed. "Your intimate apparel is the only one I can handle without remorse because to me, you don't count as a girl."

"Well, there you have it. Apparently, I'm not even a girl in the first place, so what's the problem?"

"That's not what I said!" Mason huffed in frustration. He ran a hand over his face wearily as he attempted to explain his lack of acknowledgement for her status as female. "It's just that we've been friends for so long that gender doesn't even play a part in our relationship anymore. I mean, what we have has nothing to do with being a girl or a guy… the fact that we're each other's favorite human beings is the only thing that counts," he said, his cheeks darkening as he considered the sheer cheesiness of the statement.

"You really need to get a girlfriend," Shana declared absently, still focused on cutting the strands evenly.

Mason shot to his feet, his hands balled into fists. "Damn it, Shana! Here I am, trying to tell you how much you mean to me, and you just heartlessly make some callous comment on my being a bachelor, which, by the way, I happen to enjoy—GAH!" He choked on his words as a loud snip cut through the air and the first strands of Shana's hair fluttered to the floor.

She grinned as she continued her ruthless assassination of her beautiful locks, quickly making progress with each clip of the scissors. More and more hair joined the growing pile around her feet and within minutes, she was sporting a hairstyle that still came down to the nape of her neck, but was unmistakably masculine. A tendril of hair fell over her left eye as she brushed the rest back to drown it in hairspray.

Mason all the while had been staring at her in shock. "Shana…" he croaked out, sounding as forlorn as the once vibrant tresses that were now lying dead on the floor.

She turned to face him, smiling widely at her accomplishment. "How do I look?"

He snapped out of his astonished reverie and frowned at her, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "You still look like a girl," he said gruffly, gesturing toward her pink T-shirt and low rider hipster jeans. "I should tell you now that it'll be a red flag for most guys to see a 'boy' who has soft curves, a pretty face, and wears female clothing. Oh, and you might want to tuck in that thong, too."

Her smile fading, she exhaled in annoyance. "I meant my hair, genius. I'll get to the other aspects soon enough," she snapped, although she reached behind her to shove her peeking underwear back down into her pants.

He scrutinized her hair again. "Fine, you look like one of those guys who have been on the runway," he admitted grudgingly, hating every little bit of encouragement he was giving her to go through with this.

She instantly lit back up, her happiness causing her to glow with a radiance that enhanced her beauty and could only be described as feminine.

"Whoa, hold up there. If you're going to be parading around as a guy, there's no way you're going to be believable when you smile like that everywhere you go," Mason told her, coming forward to poke her nose.

She wiggled her face away from his reach and gazed up at him hopefully. "So does this mean you'll teach me how to be a guy? Will you help me?"

He realized his error as soon as those expectant wide doe eyes glanced up and pierced him with an earnest stare. One downfall of being her best friend for this long was that he could never deny the painfully cordial gaze she was currently bestowing on him, and he found himself losing his resolve as she continued to silently manipulate his heart into doing her bidding.

"This is so unfair, Shana," he groaned, his arms falling to his sides limply as he gave in against his will. "You know I can never say no to you when you look at me like that."

She gasped joyfully and flung her arms around his massive form, squeezing tightly. "I love you, Mason! Thank you!"

"I know, I know," he sighed in defeat, allowing her to have one of her last moments of femininity. "This Aldridge guy had better be damned worth all the trouble I'll be going through for the next week."

x-x-x-x-x

Except, it wouldn't only be for that week, Shana thought as she recalled how she had sheepishly asked him to cover for her… for the rest of high school. He had exploded in fury accordingly.

Once she'd given him time to calm down, however, he had reluctantly agreed to keep her father from finding out that the tuition money he'd given her for West Emerald Academy, the all-girls counterpart to East Emerald Academy, was going to her cross-dressing antics for the remainder of her high school career.

"You'd better call me once you get settled in, and you'd better keep in touch every week. If you don't, I will hunt you down and drag your little cross-dressing ass back to Pensacola," Mason had threatened.

She shuddered at the warning. Mason always held true to his threats like an overprotective big-little brother.

He couldn't possibly understand, though, her overwhelming need to do this.

Shana had been raised from birth to be a musician. She had been able to play simple melodies on a keyboard before she could walk. By the time she had finished middle school, she could play an assortment of instruments efficiently, including the flute, violin, snare and bass drums, acoustic and electric guitars, harp, and most prominently, the piano.

Her father was the former lead guitar of a hard rock band that had experienced immense success in the early '80s, and her mother was a retired violinist of the Encino Grand Symphony Orchestra in California. Music was in her blood. Although her parents had divorced when she was a toddler, they both still actively promoted music as her prospective career field in the future. Her selection of the piano as her favorite instrument was supported enthusiastically by both her father, Brian, and her mother, Nina, and they had engulfed her in piano lessons during her elementary and middle school years.

But as she grew older, her interest in music began to wane.

Countless times she had been caught staring longingly at the tryout schedules for girls' sports on the main bulletin board of her middle school's lobby. Volleyball and basketball were two of the sports she had wanted to pursue so badly, but her parents had both forbidden it. Every year she asked permission to play for just one season, and every year her mother denied her request. Her father was no help, either, whenever she called him on the phone to ask him to persuade Nina to relent; he was intent for his daughter to become a famous pianist someday, and playing sports would only hinder her developing talent. In time, Shana began to resent the piano.

During her first two years of high school she underwent an extreme period of rebellion. She refused to touch the grand piano in the living room and snuck out of the house during her scheduled piano lessons. She'd thrown every single CD she possessed into a box and heaved it upstairs into the attic, vowing never to touch them again. Her posters of Beethoven and Mozart suffered the same fate.

Nina had been in a constant panic, phoning Brian every day to inform him of their daughter's wayward behavior. They teamed up from two different states, alternately attempting to convince Shana that music was her future, and she was squandering it by going through an immature bout of adolescent mutiny. Their efforts ultimately alienated her even more.

Finally, after Nina decided that she was completely exhausted of Shana's anti-music episodes, she conspired with Brian to send Shana to him in Pensacola, Florida. The sixteen-year-old had not been happy to find all her clothes packed, a plane ticket sitting on top of the suitcases after she'd completed her sophomore year. She was used to visiting her father every summer, but the knowledge that she was expected to finish high school over in Pensacola was not welcome news. The only reason she agreed to go along with it was that her lifelong best friend, Mason Valentine, was located in Gulf Breeze, about a half hour from Pensacola. Reasoning that his company would help comfort her from her current troubles, she had boarded the plane without a fight.

The plane ride had been ghastly, and several times she entertained the notion that perhaps her parents had paid the airline to play nonstop classical music during the entire flight from Encino to Pensacola. The flight attendant had claimed technical difficulties when she'd demanded that they change the station. Conceding, Shana closed her eyes and ignored both the background music and the cries of several babies as she attempted to sleep through her airborne entrapment so cleverly devised by her parents.

Suddenly, an unfamiliar song began to play from the speakers. Shana's eyes opened again as she listened to the eerie beauty of the haunting melody. There was a peculiar sadness to the notes, the tone wistful as the pianist's fingers glided over the piano keys in gentle expertise. As she continued to take in the song, she felt her own emotions matching that of the music. Every heartache, every ounce of pain that the pianist had poured into the notes… she could feel it. Before she knew it, she found tears streaming down her face.

The woman seated next to her sympathetically offered her a tissue. Her cheeks reddening, Shana accepted it gratefully.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" the woman asked when the song came to an end. "That was written and performed by a young man named Callum Aldridge. He's a child prodigy in the classical music world, probably about your age now. I cried, too, the first time I heard that particular composition. You know a piece of music is truly wonderful when it can invoke such strong emotions in the listener."

Shana was inclined to agree. She mulled over the name Callum Aldridge for the remainder of the flight, developing a slight change of heart for her own involvement in music.

Once she arrived in Pensacola, the first thing she did once she finished unpacking in Brian's house was hop on the sadly outdated computer on her desk, strumming her fingertips on the wood impatiently as she waited for the agonizingly slow dial-up service to connect her to the internet. Eventually she was scrolling through search engines, gathering information on Callum Aldridge.

He was indeed a child prodigy, having already composed six successful pieces of music. He had won countless numbers of awards for his work and placed top in several competitions both nationally and out of the country. Before he'd started high school, he had toured Europe and part of Asia, performing and earning even more money for his already wealthy family. Shana also looked up his biography and stumbled across a recent picture of him. His looks were striking, and she silently wondered how anyone had the right to be both so gifted and attractive.

She listened to his other five pieces, learning that the first one she'd heard was titled "Symphony for the Wilted Rose." Each song moved her and progressively rekindled her desire to play the piano once more. That night she snuck downstairs to the simple piano in the dining room and, for the first time in two years, she belted out Beethoven's symphonies with her remembering fingers. Her father had listened from his room and was practically sniffling in happiness. He was on the phone with Nina first thing in the morning, sharing with her their daughter's miraculous return to the piano.

It turned out that Callum was a few months younger than her, but in the same grade. In fact, to Shana's absolute shock, he was actually from the Emerald Coast area and was currently attending East Emerald Academy, the esteemed all-boys school located in the tourist town Destin, an hour and a half from Pensacola.

And so, in the throes of her rebellious teenage mentality, she decided to attend the same school as him. Because really, that wasn't creepy or stalkerish or anything…

So now here she was, assuming the alias "Shawn Hawkins," fooling her parents into thinking that she was in the music program of West Emerald Academy. And poor Mason had been dragged in as her co-conspirator as well. Did her shame know no bounds?

Nope, she thought to herself, adjusting her backpack again and heading for the junior dorm hall. I'm going to look back on this whole thing and laugh… maybe. If I'm not in juvie.

She found the junior dorm, Odyssey Hall, with no problem, as she was adequate at reading maps and remembering verbal directions. An ongoing flow of students was piling in and out of the dorm, and she quickly joined the entering line in excitement. Only when one elbow bumped against her bound breasts did she remember that she was a female masquerading as a male in an all-male environment. Thankfully, her binding job was done well, and the boy to whom the elbow belonged remained oblivious of the fact that the person he'd just bumped in the chest behind him would have slapped him in outrage under normal circumstances.

The interior of the dorm was clean, well-maintained, and reeked of wealth and luxury. Shana gawked at the massive common area and at the tapestries and other decorations that seemed like they were imported straight from Europe. The furniture looked foreign, as well, with expensive-looking material and trimmings. She vaguely wondered how her parents, both middle class people, had been able to afford to send her to a private school.

Four halls branched off from the other side of the common area and two elevators were located in the middle. Shana stepped off to the side of the stream of boys, biting her lip as she gazed down at one of the sheets in her hand to look at her room assignment again.

Odyssey Hall, Room 245.

She glanced back up and frowned at the crowd hogging the elevators and the traffic of students attempting to navigate up the staircases next to them. Her room was most likely on the second floor, but how would she go about reaching it?

"Hey, need some help?" a friendly voice asked from behind her.

She turned around and found herself looking up at a six-foot-three walking bulk of muscle. Shana was accustomed to staring up while conversing most of the time thanks to her Norse-descended best friend, but in contrast to Mason's lankier form, the black-haired young man who was grinning at her from the R.A. office was built like a body builder. He wasn't wearing the maroon uniform blazer or tie, instead simply donned in the white collared shirt and maroon slacks of the dress code. Shana's eyes instinctively zeroed in on the huge biceps and pectorals nearly bursting out of the dress shirt.

"You look a little lost," he said, grinning good-naturedly and either not noticing or ignoring her blatant fixation on his impressive body.

"Oh, uh…" Shana started, clearing her throat and willing her longer vocal cords to grant her the sound of a deeper voice. "I'm kind of having trouble getting up to my room…"

"What's your room assignment?"

"Room 245," she replied, her gaze automatically settling back on his arms. Holy crap… sorry, Mason, but if you two were to duke it out, I think this guy could pummel you to a pulp.

So much for your supposed everlasting faith in me, you traitor, Mason's voice said sarcastically in her head.

"Hey, that's actually my hall. I'm Jace, your R.A. for this year." He stuck out a large hand for her to shake.

She took it and hid a cringe as his grip nearly crushed hers. "I'm Shawn." Please don't break my hand… it's kind of essential for playing the piano…

Fortunately, he released her before her bones could crack, and he began to lead the way toward the congested staircases. "Here, just follow me. Since you're one of my charges, I'll personally take you to your room."

"Thank you," she told him gratefully, trailing him as he quite literally charged through the mass of bodies standing in the way.

"Excuse me. Sorry. Excuse me. Whoops, didn't see you down there." Jace spoke above the other residents, who quickly learned to haul themselves out of his path.

They even flattened themselves against the sides of the stairs to give him room once he reached the foot of the staircase, and he tromped up the stairs like a giant as Shana struggled to keep up with his enormous strides. The second floor was a bit less crowded than the first floor, especially since most of the students were busy setting up in their rooms while some were becoming acquainted with their roommates. Jace strode down Hall C and stopped in front of the room labeled "245."

He stared at the door in what appeared to be amusement for a minute, but then turned to Shana as she reached the destination, out of breath.

"Well, here it is. If you have any more issues, my room is the last one down this hall on the right. If I'm not there, I'll probably be at the R.A. office downstairs. You good to go?" Jace asked.

Shana nodded, smiling up at him. "Thanks. I owe you one," she said in her deceptive boyish voice.

"No problem. I'll see you at the hall meeting at two on the dot, out in the second floor lobby." With that, Jace grinned again and turned to walk back toward the staircase.

"All right. Later," Shana called back, reaching out a hand to try the door handle. To her surprise, it was unlocked.

Roommate's pretty early, she mused as she opened the door.

There was not one thing in the entire world that could have prepared her for the next scene. Just as she stepped inside, her eyes adjusting to the afternoon light pouring in from the open blinds, the door to the bathroom opened simultaneously, and a figure emerged enveloped in steam.

His dark hair was still dripping wet from his shower, and he gripped a towel precariously low on his waist as he swiped at the water running down his face. It took a few seconds for him to notice his dumbstruck roommate gaping at him from the door, and he cast a pair of piercing hazel eyes toward her direction.

Shana was standing before the half-naked form of Callum Aldridge.

x-x-x-x-x

A/N: Thank you for reading this… piece of work. The plot for the first few chapters is pretty cookie-cutter regarding the gender-bending trope, so please feel free to critique away. I'd like to think my writing has gotten better in recent years, and it's nice to look back and see what my brain managed to come up with between cramming for college exams.