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~
Seinen Kakumei Utena
WARNING: Parts of this work contain depictions of transphobia, controversial shoujo fantasy trans situation that in no way reflects real life trans people, and misogynic magic attack leading to forced masculinization
Utena and its characters belong to its various owners.
Part Four: Prince, Interrupted – Main I
“There was once a prince living among many princesses all enamored of him, and he had a sister who loved him more than all these princesses combined. Dios, the Rose Prince, was hailed as the hope of his world and was loved by all; he lived relied upon by all these princessess to battle the troubles in their lives for them – troubles that ranged from threats as fearsome as dragons to insipid matters like being lonely in the flower of youth; Dios’ sister, on the other hand, was just an ordinary girl: you see, for a girl could only become a princess if the Rose Prince took her as his princess, and the prince would never take his own sister to be his princess-”
“But why not?” asked Tsuwabuki, naively; he was promptly silenced by Nanami’s glare and Miki’s moody expression. Pinching between his brows to will down his uneasy agitation (that with him telling a tale that was to get increasingly personal amidst metallic hisses droning in his head), Tenjou Utena struggled to continue on.
“Anyway, Dios eventually collapsed from over exerting himself – he had taken on so many princessess under his cape that he himself got overwhelmed by their many troubles. He fell ill, bedridden, and was tended to on his bed by his sister. Reliant by nature, the many princesses and their brothers and fathers all gathered at the Rose Prince’s door, all wielding swords,” he stumbled slightly at this part, “demanding that he come out to help them with their problems.” Dry-throated somehow, he took a quick gulp of tea, during which Wakaba timidly made her comment.
“Wielding their swords and . . . sounds like they’re not asking nicely at all.”
Swallowing, Utena closed his stressed eyes, opened them anew, and spoke on. “To protect her brother, Dios’ sister went out to face the masses, telling them that she had hidden the Rose Prince somewhere only she knew, somewhere they could never reach by their power.” He now saw the scene vividly in his mind’s eye: the hordes and hordes of hateful women and men with their weapons drawn, advancing upon Anthy, only a flimsy child then. “The masses were livid with rage; they cursed the sister as a witch who took their Rose Prince from them, and they . . . they . . .” The image of the child Anthy in his mind was now overlapping with the adult Anthy presently facing him from behind the group, and he found himself rendered speechless by their identical expressions of dark, deathly resignation.
“And they . . .?” Shiori timidly prompted Utena to continue after the silence had dragged on too long.
“They pierced her with their swords,” Utena’s voice sounded almost inaudible to own her own ear, so loud were the buzzing, metallic curses now flooding his head, “all one million of them, skewering the Rose Prince’s sister until there was nothing left of the girl that once was, until only her pain and their hatred remained. When her brother, struggling out of his bed and up to the door, saw what the people had done, he . . .”
“He . . .?” Miki whispered the question, almost like he was talking to himself; Utena heard it nonetheless.
“He killed them,” he answered his engrossed listener, “summoned what strength he had left in his weakened body and slaughtered his sister’s murderers – all those girls he once cherished as his princesses, all their brothers he once valued as his friends, all their fathers he once respected as his elders – in cold blood. The moment Dios finished killing the people, he found himself no longer having the nobility that was key to his accessing his vast sum of princely power. Depleted, with a sword-ravaged sister who was a hair’s breadth away from death, the fallen prince did the only thing his no longer noble mind could think of at the moment . . .” Through the hate-filled metallic haze, Utena saw Saionji opening his mouth, and hurried on before being interrupted once more. “He devoured the murdered lives – all one million of them – to empower his own; just like that, the prior illness left him, and he still was immortal; he still was far more powerful than the regular people, although he now was only a pale shadow of his former brilliant self. He then used what power he now could spare to restore his still-immortal sister – not back to the free-willed girl she once was, but to have her remade into a living doll.” Utena’s own voice started gaining a hate-filled edge. “The fallen prince needed his sister to be a living doll with no will of her own, because only then could he made her took those swords that were all really aiming at him-” His sentence ended in a shrill wheeze, as a sharp pain akin to his getting stabbed through the back assailed his nerves. Jolting under the group’s widened eyes, he would have fallen off his chair, if not for the lily-like arms embracing him from behind, as a familiar dark hand gently covered his heated forehead, relieving the pain somewhat.
“Himemiya,” spoke Juri, her voice as concerned as it was cautious, “is Utena not well?”
“Utena has not been well for a very long time,” replied Anthy, resting the back of Utena’s head against her chest. “Not since she took the swords for me during the duel called Revolution. I thought that getting her to finally talk about this would help her release some of the bottled-up pain, but . . .”
“She took . . . the swords . . . for you?”
“It’s because of the prince,” Utena pushed the words out, breathily; his body still slacked against Anthy’s embrace. “In his desperation, he consumed the souls of the murdered mob without properly processing them, which was like eating uncooked, worm-infested meat – that’s the closest analogy I can think of.” Through heavy-lidded eyes, he saw a pallid-faced Nanami looking like she was about to throw up, and thought he could taste his own bile as well. “The man-eating prince did get nourished by the people’s energies, but he also got infected by their hate-filled thoughts that in turn ate at his heart, drilling away till there was nothing left in his chest but unending darkness. The people’s hate-filled thoughts – their hatred - gained life from having consumed the prince’s essence, and manifested into a million swords shining with hate; these hate-filled swords, parasitic and undying, swarmed the prince like thick swarms of flies, slicing and dicing at his tender flesh such that he could take no more, and had to quickly transfer them towards another host . . . ” he hissed from renewed pain wrecking him from the inside, “. . . his own sister, who got turned into the Rose Bride locked in eternal servitude to the Rose Prince, who himself became the Ends of the World – a monster on an eternal quest to regain the lost Power of Dios, sealed behind the Rose Gate that will only open to a noble enough heart. Ohtori Academy and its Rose Code are meant for seeking out someone with nobility enough to open the Rose Gate for the Ends of the World, that’s why we got put through all those things like we did.” Grabbing onto the table with both hands, he leaned forward to face the ex-Duelists, and started glaring at them from one to the next. “All through the duels and the mind games, the Rose Bride had those . . . hateful swords inside her.” Without thinking, he picked Saionji as the first. “When she was getting beat up by you.” The man’s stony expression turned brooding and heavy. “When you bullied her by making her wear a dissolving dress at your party.” Nanami looked away sullenly. “When she played the piano for you.” Miki’s eyes clouded over with old shadows. “When you slapped her for mimicking Shiori-sempai.” Juri’s expression gained a regretful edge. “When you tried killing her to surpass Juri-sempai.” Shiori’s eyes were downcast. “When you tried killing her to become an adult.” Tsuwabuki shook his head shakily in weak denial. “When you tried killing her for wearing the hairclip Saionji made for you.” A single tear escaped Wakaba’s widen, trauma-filled eyes; wearied, Utena closed his own. “And when I played the make-believe prince for myself and said I was doing it for her; all the while, Anthy was getting sliced and diced by the Million Swords of Hate, and we all overlooked her sufferings, thinking only of ourselves while chasing single-mindedly after those phony projections the Ends of the World was baiting us with!” Eyes snapping open, he slammed a fist down upon the table, sending all the plates and cups rattling in front of the petrified group; Anthy’s embrace tightened around him, and he found himself struggling against it in his growing agitation and rage. Anthy’s voice in his ear sounded alarmed
“Shut up!” He snarled, recalling everything with mind-bending clarity now: his (her) being purposely blind to Ohtori Akio being The Ends of the World despite multiples of his trademark convertible being present during those last duels, his (her) underage virginity being taken by the virile (and engaged) seducer in that motel room, his (her) finding out about the animal raping his sister, his (her) subsequent use of feminine wiles to antagonize the raped sister while competing with her for the monster’s affection, his (her) hesitation to fight the devil even unto the final duel, where he (she) then got stuffed into the pink variation of the degrading Rose Bride dress . . . he grinded his bared teeth at the remembered humiliations.
“During the Duel called Revolution,” said Utena, cutting Anthy off and spitefully continuing on with his cruel recollections, “when Himemiya stabbed me through the back so her brother and prince can have my soul sword to materialize the Rose Gate, when the Million Swords of Hate swarmed out to skewer her right in front of my eyes while I was wounded on the ground, when Dios showed up telling me that I have no power and cannot save Himemiya, when Akio broke my soul sword trying to break open the Rose Gate and said I wasn’t good enough, when I stumbled over and opened the Rose Gate with bare hands and see Himemiya coffined inside, when she finally took my hand but fell out of my grasp when our world broke apart, when the Million Swords rushed me . . . I finally realized that everything turned out like this because I. WAS. JUST. A. GIRL!” Standing up with such violence that the table tumbled to plate-flying, cries-inducing effects, Utena then flung Anthy off him like the latter was a rag doll – a rough motion that send her hair pins flying off, her curvaceous frame slamming onto the floor in a splatter of dark, serpentine waves. Everyone else was now standing up, in fear in alarm and in absolute shock. Wakaba, his best friend from that accursed time, was the first who tried to reach him with words.
“U-Utena-sama . . .” Her shaky words trailed off as she, along with the rest of the ex-Duelists, stared at their Victor’s lower front with bulged eyes like crude puppets. Lower his head, Utena too saw the source of their acute horror.
It was a sword’s long, sharp blade, thrusting out point first from his groin like some grotesque symbolization of a virile manhood; this one out of a million had poked out from within the depths of his inner darkness, and was now was giving him its yet deepest cut by dehumanizing him with this obscene display.
None of those so-called old friends laughed at him, of course; not with the sword’s impossible presence upon his body stunning them into imbecility; not with the expression of utter despair he knew he was currently betrayed by.
“This, is the outcome of the Duel called Revolution,” he muttered, gesturing at himself while concluding the macabre tale he was made to tell. “This is what becomes of the stupid girl who thought she could become a prince.”
None of them had anything to say to that, as the silence that marked the beginning of their reunion now returned like a recurring plague. All the people in the dinning room now were still as mannequins; only the shadows remained in motion, gliding by the pristine walls in perhaps a hint too lively a manner, considering the steadiness of the natural lights from the outside . . .
“ . . . so this is what becomes of people who chose to die for love, huh?” murmured Kozue, her hand absently stroking the blue pelt of Number 3, seated on her lap and currently experimenting with the eye-pencil it had picked out of her vest pocket.
“That’s right!” The featureless boy with reddish brown hair nodded vigorously through his mouthful of donut. “These people get the apple as their reward from God!” Some distance beside him, a smug-looking Number 1 was waving a heart-shaped cookie around, with the black penguin – one with a heart-shaped face – skipping excitedly around him.
“Kenji-san was very specific about this,” the one with dark blue hair held up his paperback copy of “Night on the Galactic Railroad” with childlike authority. “It says right here that the apple is the universe itself, a universe that connects the previous world and this one!” From beside him, a bloom-yielding Number 2 was sweeping away the snack crumbs off the white bed sheets and into the “space” beyond.
“That’s why good kids like us get to travel this glorious galaxy forever,” said the brown haired one as he reached over to hi-five him, “yay us!”
“Wicked . . .” Kozue, who had been playing along with these peculiar boys (thus had to stay on their god-awful girly bed all the while), guided the inane conversation back towards her questions. “And you said you don’t really remember much of anything before getting dropped off into this galaxy by this . . . train?”
“Blue Hair” drooped at the question. “ . . . na uh, Nee-chan, not what we were doing, not where we came from.” He gestured at the penguin in her lap. “If it weren’t for Number 3 and that photo she carried, we wouldn’t even remember that we had a sister.”
“But we remember that we loved her,” said “Brown Hair”, “and somehow, we know that us being here means that she’s fine where she is. So it’s all good!”
“Heh . . .” A sharp pain pricked at Kozue’s heart – she knew it to be the very spot once marked by the black rose – at the words of these loving brothers; Miki, who was her twin, had never shown her such consideration; not even from before she stopped playing the piano for him. “You know, I still don’t know what your names are.”
Even featureless, the brothers’ body languages betrayed their confusion. “Names . . .”
“You boys even forgot your own names too?”
“Brown Hair” puffed up his chest in childish defiance. “Anyway . . . ! You can call me K-taro!” From beside him, “Blue Hair” did likewise.
“ . . . very good,” Kozue pressed on, feeling strangely insistent at finding out everything about these strange children, “and what’s you family name? You can just give me the initial . . .”
“Errr . . .”
With that sound, a pink, long-armed robot marked by a black rose motif wheeled its way past “K-taro” and “S-taro”, leading them to chase after the amusing toy and away. They ran past Tokiko, who was carrying a tray of fresh-brewed tea and up towards the coffee table beside the red canopy-draped bed.
“Mikage sure is lively around little boys . . .” muttered Kozue as she took the refilled cup offered by the woman, who remained graciously un-offended as she seated herself beside the younger girl.
“They are most certainly Cursed Children of the Fate Train Transfer.”
Kozue blinked at these terms. “Fate Train . . . Transfer?”
“Yet another cosmic force that has apparently been harnessed by the Ends of the World,” said Tokiko, taking a long sip from her cup before continuing. “The materialization of the Fate Train, along with the Castle in the Sky and the Dueling Arena, were all sub-topics under Ohtori Academy’s research to grasp Eternity from over thirty years ago.”
“Around the time of that picture you had in the dinning room?” guessed Kozue.
“I was working for the Board of Directors at the time, foolishly hoping that Ohtori’s research of Eternity will help buy time for my terminally ill brother.” Tokiko’s gaze was distant, faraway. “Of the one hundred academically strong youths selected into Professor Nerumo’s research team, there was one who got exchanged out of the program with a backup right before the . . . fire.” Kozue now could see a tenseness harshening up the woman’s delicate features. “That boy was known to have the top intellect from among the brilliant group, and there was word that his Fate Train Theorem – supposing that people’s fate are as “trains” upon which they are passengers, and that by ‘transferring trains’ people could supposedly take on another fate while leaving their original destiny behind – was near completion; but because the hundred had pledged their loyalty towards Himemiya Akio –Ohtori Akio now – they kept the actual progress of their work secret from even Nerumo and myself; in retrospect, the Fate Train Tranfer sounded like a too convenient trap with which Akio could ensnare desperate lives too eager to defy fate into serving his purposes. After the research building burned down and rendered all of those young men human fuel to power Ohtori’s mechanisms, that lucky, genius boy went on to marry the young heiress of the Ohtori Clan; he became Ohtori Tsukiichi, the real Chairman of Ohtori Academy unto this very day.”
“The real Chairman,” murmured Kozue, “said to be ill throughout my time at Ohtori . . . I always thought he was the heir, that with his foxy wife staying with him even though they all say he was a bedridden vegetable,” an heiress’ husband, whose own heiress of a daughter was engaged to that monster, now running things in his stead . . . the girl suddenly remembered something. “What happened to your brother in the end? He was the boy in that picture together with you and Mikage, right?”
Putting down her cup, Tokiko closed her eyes as if in dull pain. “Mamiya was dead to our world; but what actually did happen to him, was perhaps very similar to what’s happened to these Cursed Children here.”
Kozue felt like disagreeing with her here. “Hey, you call them Cursed Children . . . but even knowing they’ve lost their memories, these little brats still can move forward with their heads high . . .” . . . if only Miki could be even half as tough . . .
“Kozue-chan, have you ever cared for cut flowers?”
“Er? Well, usually Miki’s the one to handle these kinda things around the house.”
“When freshly cut and immediately put in sugared water, cut flowers will go through a period where they’d blossom even more vibrantly than prior the cut, but they will always wither ahead of the rooted flora in the end.” Tokiko’s eyes opened anew, a sharp glint scorching within their piercing depths as she observed the boys and their penguins all chasing after Mikage-bot. “Back when Mikage and I first picked them up about two weeks ago, these boys were not quite as featureless as they are now; they still can remember what city they’re from, that they had a sister whom they had transferred onto another train prior to coming here . . . not anymore, it seems.” At hearing that, a feeling of cold dread seeped into Kozue’s heart.
“Then, these brothers . . .”
“Without foundations, buildings collapse; without precious memories, people collapse.” Right then, Mikage-bot did an acrobatic spin that sent the boys and their penguins clapping. “At the rate they’re deteriorating, it won’t be long before these children are to become Invisible Souls.”
Kozue’s sucked in air at coming across yet another worryingly ominous term. “And what are Invisible Souls?”
cont in 4b