Genres: Real Life Problems, Yuri, Female Empowerment, Trans Man, Yaoi, Male Rape, Surreal Symbolism
Timeline: 10 years post Revolution, few weeks post Fate Train Transfer
Notable Chars: Trans Utena, shadow boys "K-taro" and "S-taro" (do you really need to ask who they are?)
Notable "Mysteries" Covered: Nemuro Hall, Child Broiler, Million Swords, Fate Train, Shadow Girls, Invisible People
Summary (or rather, Excerpt): “The revolution succeeded; it crumbled afterwards only because those whose lives got revolutionized did not follow up on the revolutionary success,” said the Bride, her words setting their closed hearts aflame. “This time, will you help us help you?”
After what seems like an eternity of non-fic writing, I have again written something in tribute of this timeless shoujo anime classic. This is a work dedicated to the passionate, wonderful people at In the Rose Garden (the thread for my fic here), which even now remains the coolest place for Utena fans to hang out online.
The fanfiction.net link is http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8086621/1/Seinen_Kakumei_Utena
My blogspot: http://gorgeousshutin.blogspot.ca/
Please C&C if you like this~
The roar impacted Kozue like a gunshot, freezing her less than a feet away from the stunned Juri before she was to slump to the floor, slacked. It took Juri a moment before she realized that Miki was the one to have generated that harsh sound.
“Miki-kun . . .”
“I’m sorry, Juri-sempai,” muttered the agitated young man as he rushed forward to try dragging his twin up and off the floor. “I thought I had cleared her of all recreational substances before we came here last night. She must’ve managed to slip something past me to get high with after all.” He then whispered to his sister, now clawing at the floor as if under demonic possession. “Kozue, get up on your own feet please! You’re embarrassing yourself-” A vicious claw swipe to his face cut his sentence short.
“Fuck you!” Kozue snarled up at her brother like a wild animal cornered. “You never fucking cared about what kinda shit I got into on my own! It’s only when your elite friends are watching that I become an embarrassment to you! You fucking hypocrite closet case fag! You think I don’t know what you’ve been up to with that chicken-hawk family lawyer? Telling the court I’m unfit to manage my share of the inheritance . . . you money gulping cocksuck! You would’ve kicked me out already, but daddy had my name and only my name on the property, so there!”
Face twisted from savage rage as Juri had never seen on him, Miki pulled back his hand as if to strike the now hysterical Kozue. To her continued shock, it was Saionji who stepped up and sleekly grabbed onto Miki’s slim wrist.
“Miki, if beating your sister up will get her to kick the habit, I’d beat her for you,” said the much bigger man, as Miki started to tremble at what he almost did in front of everyone. “But it won’t. I know addicts: beatings will only drive her even further down the addicted path. And I know you; you’d only end up hurting yourself even worse than you’d ever hurt her.” Letting go of Miki, Saionji picked up his now subdued twin like she weighted nothing to him, and sat her back down on her chair. Kozue remained glassy-eyed throughout her being moved about.
Juri, for her part, moved hesitantly up to the young man she once knew. “Miki . . . ”
Teary face scrunched up, Miki cried with the despair of a boy at the end of his world. “She won’t quit, sempai, not after having been hooked on the stuff for ten years. Father actually knew about this back when he was alive, but he bribed the school to turn a blind eye to Kozue’s habit. Since then, she’s been spending money like water just to keep shooting up. And now that our parents had both passed away, I’m the only one who takes care of her, and I don’t even how to go on-” Juri had since drew her old friend into her embrace, hushing him and patting his heaving back in a manner so familiar, she startled herself.
“Shhh, Miki, it’s alright now . . . let’s get back to the table. We’re about to have a breakfast meeting, right? Let’s all eat first, then worry about stuff later.” She ushered Miki towards the long dinning table, with Shiori following from right beside her.
“Words of wisdom from the plus-size model,” muttered Nanami, idly toying with her chopsticks. While not herself offended, Juri noticed the pointed glare Shiori was directing at the blonde, and kicked her lover’s heel lightly as they got themselves seated. Shiori composed herself, and turned pensive.
“Ten years ago . . . that was around the time when we got kicked out of Ohtori, Juri.”
Juri nodded grimly, still gently patting a shaky Miki on his back. “The period immediately following Revolution, when we had to quickly put the whole thing behind us, because our lives abruptly got swarmed by problems.” Her voice went heavy with regret. “We did not went after Utena, because she took a backseat to our own survival.” She glanced all around at the rest of the group. “Was it like this for everyone else? I’m asking because if we all got saddled with problems that kept us from finding Utena at the same time, then we can be certain that Ohtori Akio was the one who disrupted our lives, again, to prevent us from finding the Victor.”
Wakaba was the first to answer her. “I wasn’t having any special problems at the time; just that my Dad got transferred overseas, and our whole family moved with him out of the country. I did wrote back to Tatsuya asking him if he heard anything about Utena’s whereabouts, but after a few month even we stopped writing each other and drifted apart. I would have completely put my Ohtori days behind me by now, if not for Anthy approaching me asking me to come help Utena. She’s offering to give me whatever I name as prize, but I’d come regardless since this is Utena-sama!” She ended her words with a cutesy beam – one that Juri felt was a little too exuberant even for her.
“But for Akio-san to have caused something like that, he needed to have at least partial control of an international company’s overseas branch.” Tsuwabuki scratched his chin, obviously trying to look older and wiser but failing (albeit cutely). “Is it even possible for a high school Acting Chairman to have this kind of far-reaching influence?”
“Is it still too early for your brain in the morning?” Nanami snapped at her former errand boy, who cowered like the child he once was. “The thing that calls himself the Ends of the World is not even human! His influence might reach every corner of the globe for all we know!”
Tsuwabuki rubbed the back of his head self-consciously. “Umm . . . anyway, I forgot about Utena-sempai pretty soon after she was gone. I mean, nobody even told me much about the Revolution, and I guessed I just stop thinking about it on my own. I was just some brat then.” He shrugged helplessly. “Oh, and I came here with Miki-sempai and Kozue-sempai, cause Himemiya-sempai said she’d help . . . us get through our problems if we help her.” Beside him, the Kaoru twins remained unmoving as woodcrafts as they stared down into their empty plates in silence. Watching them from across the table, Saionji let out a heavy, punctuated sighed.
“I suppose it’s our turn to provide convenient exposition.” He glanced sideways at Nanami – the one seated beside him. “What’d you say? Can I tell them?” Nanami, who had been defensively antagonistic for all this time, bit down on her lower lip and nodded grudgingly. Saionji turned back towards the rest of them. “I don’t know if you guys remember, but Touga always did have the tendency to breakdown emotionally when things get rough.” He received blank looks from everyone (except Nanami). “Oh C’mon, since we all remember Mikage now, some of you should remember how Touga was skipping school and hiding in his room for like the entire time we got hounded by the Black Rose Duelists – all just because he got defeated dueling Tenjou.”
Juri frowned. Now that Saionji mentioned it, she did recall something like that: Touga going catatonic after using all the dirty tricks up his sleeve and still getting defeated by Utena, Nanami’s subsequent role as Proxy-President of the Student Council in support of her Onii-sama, and the entire deal forgotten along with all memories related to the Black Rose Duelists – until now. In hindsight, it was cold of her and Miki to just let the elder Kiryuu rot in his room without caring; while not friends, they were acquaintances after all, and cunning as he was, Touga was really only a seventeen year old boy who could be (and was in fact) badly hurt. Apathetic; that was how all the Student Council members really were, be they coolly rational as herself, or sweet mannered as Miki. Was that why none of them could defeat a swordplay novice like Utena during the duels? Because what mattered upon the arena in the sky was neither skill nor power, but the character and the heart? Utena, the Victor to the very end, was the only one among them with the capacity to care about other people . . .
Was apathy the reason why none of them had gone after Utena immediately after the Revolution? There were days, weeks even, between Utena’s disappearance and her own expulsion from Ohtori; had she gone after the Victor using the intelligence network she still had before her own downfall, could she have changed history for the better? Could she have then saved Utena, saved Shiori and herself, saved everyone?
“Anyway,” Saionji went on, “the Kiryuus and myself did indeed find our lives in turmoil soon after Revolution – about a week or so after you girls got kicked out. I won’t go into details of what had happened, but believe me it was bad. Touga . . . he got damaged the worst, and hasn’t really been the same since.” Something about the way Saionji use the word “damaged” reminded Juri of how Anthy had described Utena's current situation. But before she could prompt Saionji to elaborate further on Touga’s plight, Tsuwabuki had eagerly cut in.
“Touga-sempai was skipping school a lot that year. Nanami-sama was unhappy all the time, but she wouldn’t tell me what was wrong no matter how I asked her.” He gulped at seeing Nanami’s baleful glare. “T-that’s about the time when we drifted apart, and Miki-sempai had been my closest older friend since.”
“All three of us left Ohtori right after the school year ended,” Saionji’s lids were closed as if weary. “Like with Arisugawa and Takatsuki, everyone from Ohtori took a backseat to our problems as we struggled to stay afloat.”
“Stay afloat?” blinked Wakaba, confused. “But you were all special kids coming from old money-”
“We were kids,” Nanami spat out the last word with much agitation. “It took a long, uphill battle before we got the money that should’ve been ours in the first place. And by that time, Onii-sama was already-”
Turning at the sound, everyone did a double take at seeing what appeared to be two apron-wearing blue penguins carrying a long sashimi boat through the high arc doorway. Setting it clumsily down the long dinning table (with Shiori and Tsuwabuki quickly helping to avoid a spill-over), the penguins then bowed servant-like at them, before turning to leave upon webbed feet. Juri noticed the numbers “2” and “3” being written on the two creatures’ respective backs as they exited the doorway.
Kozue broke out into giggles. “Raw fish served by penguins for breakfast, now that’s living in style.”
Tsuwabuki tentatively picked up a slice of tuna toro via the “public” chopsticks, tried it on his own plate, and “ooh-ed”. “Wow, this is really fresh and sweet!”
“Don’t touch the fugu,” warned Nanami, poking suspiciously at the colorful, lushly arranged sashimi pieces. “The penguins might’ve been the ones to cut the fishes for all we know.”
“Well, if those penguins are good enough chefs to make these intricate floral formations with the puffer fish, I gather they’re good enough to avoid cutting the liver.” Mouth full, Saionji picked up a label off the boat-platter, and swallowed before he read off it. “Licensed Usuki non-toxic fugu: safe to consume.” At his words, multiple pairs of chopsticks shot forward to pick off the pieces like ravenous bird beaks.
“The animal accomplices just prove it,” flitted Shiori, nervously picking up a slice of farmed salmon herself. “Chida-san really is like Himemiya-san, whatever that is.”
Bride. Witch. Flower blossoming at the Ends of the World. Back in the day, there had been scattered pieces of rumors floating around Ohtori regarding Himemiya Anthy, and Juri herself had utilized her eyes and eyes trying to dig deeper into the girl’s background; but none of the information she got could really define what the Rose Bride really was, at least not by rational understanding.
“And that . . . car, is that really Mikage?”
Shiori seemed to be worrying endlessly over the human/car issue, and Juri (who got handed salmon roe seaweed salad by her weight-conscious lover) could not say she blamed her, not after the overwhelming car ride into the Light of the World, not after seeing the soul sword turning into a car key . . .
“Those women said it is,” the word “women” came out of Nanami’s still chewing mouth laced with distaste. “Uttered some gibberish about how he could only function as a mechanical being after getting ‘graduated’ by Akio.”
“Anthy basically said it was some guilt/shame combo that made Mikage unable to function in the real world as a human being.” Saionji clucked his teeth. “Akio apparently screwed the poor guy over real bad.”
“Chida-san said Mikage can still appear as an autistic human, and had asked us not to get scared should we see him around this house,” supplied Miki while helping his shaky-fingered, high-strung twin fill her dish. “I haven’t seen it . . . him yet, though, so I don’t really know the extend of the damage.”
There was the word again. Damage. This time, Juri decided to speak up before the direction of the conversation was to stray off again.
“Has anyone seen Utena?” she asked. “From what Himemiya told us, she too is suffering from some kind of damage.”
“Anthy said Utena will be joining us this morning,” said Wakaba between mouthfuls of onion-wrapped urchins. “We’re still waiting for them.”
“Truth be told I was also looking forward to seeing what became of Tenjou,” said Saionji between sips of his rose green tea. “She really was the best among us, in spite of her sheer stupidity. No wonder she can draw people towards her like fire draws moths.” Juri could taste very diluted levels of bitterness in his tone directed at Utena, even in this here and now.
“Pardon me, but where is Kiryuu-sempai?” asked Shiori. “It sounds to me like he should be here.”
“They told us Onii-sama is here, that’s how they got us to come,” snarled Nanami while struggling to pry the meat off an oyster she picked.
“Touga went missing a while ago,” explained Saionji. “Himemiya approached us saying she had found him, and that he had chosen to stay with Tenjou and help.”
“But help with what?” Nanami tore the oyster’s flesh apart with much violence. “We’ve been here since the middle of the night and I still haven’t been allowed to see my Onii-sama, let alone Utena. Those women are acting all secretive; why can’t they just give us some straight answers? I mean they obviously need our help-”
“We do need and appreciate your help, Nanami-san; pardon us if we made you feel otherwise.”
All turned towards Anthy’s voice. The apron wearing (former?) Rose Bride was standing beyond the high arch doorway with a food service cart carrying miso soup, desserts, and more green tea. While her left hand was on the cart’s handle, her right hand was pulled to the side – it was clasped onto a slightly bigger, much paler hand belonging to someone off view from the dinning room’s occupants. As if only now noticing how her companion was hiding off to the side, Anthy tugged at the hand.
“Come on out,” she said to that person; gently, pleadingly. “There is no need to feel awkward around them. These are all old friends who know and understand you; they are here to help, Utena.”
Everyone waited with bated breath as Utena was slowly but surely dragged out by the latter’s deceptively delicate-looking hand and into plain sight.
What followed was a moment of utter, eternal-seeming silence, before it was shattered by Nanami’s and Wakaba’s high-pitched screaming. Juri thought she heard Kozue’s strained moaning, but was not entirely sure as her focus stayed mainly upon Miki and his fleeing the room with a hand to his mouth (with Tsuwabuki quickly following him). Shiori and Saionji both managed to remain silent, but the stunned looks on their faces might prove even more hurtful than any sound they could have made; Juri dreaded to know what kind of expression she herself was currently betrayed by.
Tenjou Utena, the Victor of the Duels, the one who liberated their troubled youth, whom they had not seen since, now stood before them looking big-shouldered, thick-necked, flat-chested, broad-waisted, and hipless in unisex casual wear; the long pink hair was now cropped into a pageboy cut, framing a handsome face that sported a small goatee.
The girl who wanted to be a prince had now become a man.
End Part Two