This is a static copy of In the Rose Garden, which existed as the center of the western Utena fandom for years. Enjoy. :)

#176 | Back to Top07-18-2016 04:44:40 PM

Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1325

Re: [Fanfic][2012]Seinen Kakumei Utena: yes, it's the actual fic itself

Part Thirty-Nine UPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Seinen Kakumei Utena

Utena and Penguindrum characters belong to their various owners.

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.   

Notes: Oh my God, I get so many people to thank for having been able to make it this far.  Please see Endnotes for more.

The Day We Shine Together IV

‘Do you know?  Do you know? Do you know that the story’s ending?’

‘I say it’s not over till its over!’

‘Please.  It’s gonna be over anyway, one way or the other.’

‘Then . . . what’s to become of us after it’s over?’

‘Will it be the fabled happily ever after?’

‘Or . . . will it be . . . ?’

“ . . . it will be our turn to shine together, at last.”

Speaking on her cellphone, Ohtori Hoshimi past the shadows moving upon the wall as she made her way towards the Castle’s main hall at a sinuous, purposeful pace.

“Just wait now, Prince,” she urged, blue eyes bright with seething anxiety as she kicked aside one of the many apples having since fallen off the vines present.   “Your princess -- your one and only -- will save you for sure, this time . . . ”

As she spoke, the woman’s sinuous figure disappeared into the white glow currently engulfing the hall.   Behind her, the kicked apple hit a wall; its subsequent splattering into a puddle of rotted gore incited girlish “oohs” and “ahhhs” from within the darkness of the corridor . . .

‘Do you know?  Do you know? Do you wonder what we know?’

“To think that a determined ghost could exert such influence in the physical realm . . .”

On stage, the group -- minus Wakaba and Tatsuya, both still caught up in their own world -- watched, transfixed, as the Penguinhat-wearing ghost approached Takakura Himari with the casual friendliness of a lively child, before merging with the girl in an explosion of alien symbols that rendered the entire area a sci-fi-ish maboroshi.

“So that’s Oginome Momoka,” murmured Miki, more to himself than to Double H, currently dumbstruck from where they huddled against each other, agape.  “What does she want now--” 

A slip of a sweat-slicked palm, and he lost hold of Saionji.  Like a balloon with its string cut, the now “invisible” swordman drifted nimbly over towards the invisible crowd milling about their surroundings.

“W-Wait--” Giving chase, the agile fencer nonetheless failed to reach Saionji before the latter had since slipped into the masses.  Frantic, he turned towards the others, but quickly realized how none of them could be of help in their current states.  “No . . .” 

Collapsing to his knees, Miki watched with despairing eyes his old schoolmate -- and new friend –- now losing his last chance at retaining individuality as he became part of the Invisible Storm.



“ . . . what happens now?”

Outside the Tokyo Big Egg, Eriko and her group watched in dismay as the stadium’s LED screen, after having displayed static for the past ten minutes, shut down completely.

“The online streaming is still down,” confirmed Yuri, flipping through various websites from her smartphone.  “And I see no more news alerts regarding the concert’s ongoing.”

“There’s no way of knowing what’s going on inside anymore,” muttered Mario, perturbed. “Unless . . .”

“Would Mario Waka-sama like us to break into the Big Egg?” inquired Renjaku, already regarding the personnel stationed around the entrances with narrowed eyes. 

The boy appeared to ponder this for a moment, before shaking his head.  “Let’s leave that as our very last resort.”

“Indeed.” Eriko agreed with the intelligent young heir of the Natsume Clan.  “Best not do anything that might possibly undermine our cause.”
“ . . . Seen . . .  Seen my prince . . . Seen . . .”

Blinking at the persistent outcry droning in the background, Eriko spared a furtive gaze towards the sea of faceless fans currently gathered outside the Big Egg, their shadowy multitudes walling in their small group.  “How it must be like to be Seen,” she wondered aloud, “to be so worshiped . . .”

“He may have his adorning masses, but Seen ain’t got nothing on Momoka when it comes to being worshiped.”

Tabuki’s statement, coming after his earlier shocking confession, had the activists present turning towards him with widened eyes.   The man had his head hung low, with his fiancée holding on to his trembling hand in support.  He muttered on:  “Trust us, Auntie Oginome.  We know.”


“Hey . . . do you know?

“Truth is, my cause . . . my reason for being seen has more to do with me than with you.

“To the nobody I was, the attention of others was necessary for my survival.

“It was not to spite you for dumping me, but rather, for my own continued survival, that I sold my soul to the Devil, and became the idol I am now.

“To think that I’d still need your love, now, even after having earned all that fame and fortune throughout these years . . .

“But now . . . even this too shall pass.”

Eyes on his now rusting flying guillotine, the downcast Tatsuya –- having finally bleding out the last of his stolen penguindrums –- slumped forward and against Wakaba, who struggled to uphold his tall frame.


“Without being ‘Seen’, I shall again become nobody.  Just like before . . . no, even worse than before.”

Even as he spoke, red bruises came to bloom under his fair complexion, decaying his artificial beauty under Wakaba’s horrified eyes.  Tatsuya noted her reaction with a dark, dispairing smirk.

“Yes; now that I’ve let go of the people’s penguindrums, this faux body and life are both going fast.”  His surgically-lengthened legs finally gave out, bringing the both of them to their knees.  “The fickle fans will all abandon me, no doubt.  You, who were unmoved by me even when I was at my best; I wonder . . . will you be similarly unaffected by my worst?  Or . . . ?” A blood-colored piece of penguin-faced something drifted petal-like down and past the two, soon to be followed by more of the same.  “Will you stay with this crippled mess of bruises and swells I’m about to become?”  The crimson drizzle, coming down from the arc of penguindrums now floating above the stage, thickened into a stormy pour.  “Or, will you leave me to rot again, just like--”  He stopped at Wabaka –- having since regained her penguindrum and her strength -– now tightening her arms around him.

“Don’t worry, Tatsuya,” murmured Wakaba, trying to convince him as much as she did herself.  “Don’t worry . . .”


“There is certainly much to worry about.”

Straightening up anew, Tabuki again faced Eriko, a renewed determination visible in his bespectacled eyes.

“When Takakura Kanba is to return, so too will his prior actions from that other reality return to haunt him,” stated the man.  “The policed will be going after him for his having committed those acts of vandalism alongside Kiga’s remnant members.”  He took in a deep breath -- as though steering himself --  prior to continuing.  “I will confess to the authorities about how I had threatened and harmed him -- along with Takakura Himari -- in my misguided attempt to avenge Momoka’s death during that Subway Attack.  I want it on record how, on top of suffering financial duress due to his sister’s medical costs, the boy was provoked into going off the deep end by me, his own teacher.  Hopefully, this will lighten whatever sentence our judicial system might punish Kanba-kun with.”

“Tabuki-kun,” Eriko watched the boy whom she once thought would become Momoka’s husband with a heavy heart.  “You understand that your career as an educator will be shot after such a confession?”

Tabuki grew downcast. “I no longer deserve to work with children after what I did to the Takakura kids.”  His voice hardened as his fists clenched.  “I will accept what punishment that comes my way.  But Kanba-kun is still young, I cannot let this unkind fate take away his future . . .”  He trailed off at Mario, who had been listening to him in silence coming up to him and grabbing his hand.

“Tabuki-san.”  The boy beamed up and at this former foe who now was trying to aid his older brother.  “If you’re okay with working for children, Natsume Corps. can always use a man of your talent and character.”

Biting down upon his lower lip, Tabuki took Mario’s small hand in both of his, saying nothing.

Eriko, for her part, was already blinking back tears.

“Momoka was our savior,” murmured Yuri, as though only to herself.  “We were unloved children who would have been destroyed by the Child Broiler, had she not offered herself up as our reason to live. After the Kiga Subway Attack took her from us, the three of us who got left behind were left to face the ending of our world.  None of us were ever the same since.”

“ ‘Three?’ ” asked Eriko.  Under the young couple’s saddened gazes, the mourning mother came to be petrified as a gradual realization overtook her.  “No . . . how could I . . . . It hasn’t been that long ago, but I had completely forgotten about little Captain-kun . . .”

“ ‘Captain-kun?’ ” asked Mario, blinking at the weird name.

Shaken, Eriko turned away with a palm over her lower profile, unable to answer the inquisitive child. 

Yuri gave the shaken older woman a reassuring pat on the shoulder.  “It’s okay, Auntie.  We’ve forgotten about him too for the longest time.  It was only when Tabuki and I found a picture we had with him from an old photo album that we finally remember him again . . . and along with him, everything from the old reality.”

“Mario-kun.”  Having composed herself, Eriko straightened up to properly face the young Natsume heir.  “Back then, near the end of her short life, my daughter had a fateful encounter with this very special person . . . ”


“How spectacular.”

Flanked by the group occupying the train car, he observed, via LED monitors, the massive egg basking the Castle’s vast hall under its brilliant aura.

“Within that shell simmers the Light of the World,” stated Ruka, blue eyes bright from more than reflected light.  “With that kind of power, anything is possible.”  He pointed at the screen, where cracks could be seen appearing upon the egg’s surface.  “With the Victor still in her shell, now is the perfect time to enact the Princess of the Crystal’s plan, and take from Tenjou Utena the power that should better belong with Takakura Himari, member of Triple H, and--”

“Oginome Momoka’s current avatar.”

All turned towards Nanami (except Tokiko, currently whispering inaudible words through the cab’s door to her dead brother), currently glaring at Ruka from where she stood beside Tsuwabuki and Shouma, both seemingly taken aback by her statement. 

Ruka frowned at the implications behind the blond’s statement.  “Nanami-san . . .”

“From what Himemiya and Juri-sempai had told us, you’ve probably known Oginome Momoka since before you’ve even transferred to Ohtori,” stated Nanami, stepping up and towards the phantom.   “That time, when you returned to Ohtori from your sick leave to partake in the Duels . . . was it this Momoka whose spirit was supporting your ailing body? Back then, Momoka was trying to obtain the Power of Revolution using you, wasn’t she?”  Her finger, pointed accusingly at Ruka’s nose, lowered as feisty Duelist gestured down below.  “And now, she’s trying to do the same using the younger, greener Takakura Himari, who is no doubt easier to control than even you.

“Nanami-sama . . .” breathed Tsuwabuki in admiration, as he stood a step closer to his goddess in solidarity.  “Yes, there’s definitely something wrong with all this.”

“You’ve seen for yourself the difference in levels between Tenjou Utena and Takakura Himari,” said Ruka, now flanked by the otherworldly Kiga members.  “So why’d you persist with this dissent--”

“Because this is stealing!” snapped the blonde. “Tenjou was the only one of us who made it to the Duel called Revolution.  Whether she could use Dios’ Power effectively or not, it belongs to her now, because she earned it!  That, and should your plan succeed, the Power will not really go towards sweet little Himari -- merely a pawn -- but will instead belong to that sinister girl ghost you’ve been working under!” 

Her words had the Children of Fate jolting in shock.

“ . . . so you people really are risking Himari’s future while using her as a pawn for your own agenda,” hissed Kanba, glaring at Ruka and the Kiga ghosts. “Again.”

“Unforgivable!” barked Shouma, characteristic meekness replaced by boiling rage.  “To use our sister not once . . . but twice!  No way would we let you lying adults play us for fools again like the last time!”

Appearing no less outraged, Ringo and Masako had since produced their respective firearms.  They soon got waved back by Nanami, who, along with Tsuwabuki, moved to stand protectively in front of the youngsters while glaring at the ghosts. 

“Tsuchiya-sempai, my little brother and the Natsume boy cannot be held accountable for the Subway Attack, but your mistress still sacrificed them towards her own ends.  Just what kind of spell did this Oginome Momoka put over you, over our parents, that you’re all now trying to have us betray Tenjou Utena for her?!”

Basked under the glow from the LED screens -- still displaying the Castle’s now light-engulfed interior from various camera angles -- Ruka looked Nanami in her fierce eyes, and gave her his answer.


“Back then, Momoka-chan would sometimes disappear for days on end, before eventually showing up again with serious injuries.  Those injuries, usually burns, are signs of backslash from my daughter using the Fate Diary’s magical power to change fate for those in need of intervention.

“One day, soon after one of her worrying disappearances, the scenery of this very city suddenly changed from before.   A giant statue once dominating the city’s skyline got magically transformed into what is now known as the Tokyo Tower –- and it was like Tokyo Tower had been there for years, with most people having no memories of the disappeared statue having ever been there to begin with.  Right afterwards, Momoka-chan turned up at the hospital with the most serious burns she had suffered yet . . .”

“That was Momoka using the Fate Diary to save me from my abusive father,” continued Yuri for Eriko, who had since choked up from the recollection.  “Having erased my father’s existence, so too did she make disappear the statue that was my father’s life work. 

“For enacting such a massive Fate Transfer, Momoka received third-degree burns to over forty percent of her skin surface.  If left in that state, she would have been debilitated, or at least permanently disfigured.  That was why, even though she had warned me about the infernal backslash, I still seized the Diary trying to heal her with it. 

“Upon making my wish, a fire immediately broke out over the Diary.  Petrified, I could not let go of the flaming book, even though the fire was already paining my hands. 
Momoka was still bedridden and could neither stop nor save me, and I was already getting engulfed by the flames.  ‘I’m going to die,’ I thought, ‘I’m wasting the life Momoka had gotten hurt to give me, I cannot save anyone after all . . . not even myself . . .’

“It was then that he came to our rescue.

“A kid around our age suddenly came tearing through the hospital blinds.  Decked in white fencing gear, this boy charged at me and knocked the Diary out of my hands with his bare hand. 

“Not exactly a bare hand, there was a ring with a rose motif on his ring finger, and it was –- for a faction of a moment -- glowing with the brightness of fresh molten.

“And, just like that, the fire ceased.  The Diary laid undamaged upon the floor.   I was unharmed.  And most importantly, Momoka, who had been paralyzed by her injury, could suddenly get off her bed.”

“Later, the doctor would told us that Momoka’s burns had somehow went from third to mild first-degree, with the area it covered also having shrank significantly.

“It was a miracle.

“That little miracle worker, who was at the hospital for a sport-related injury, came to be a close friend of ours.   We found out that he was the captain of his elementary school’s fencing team, with his ring a sign of his being offered admission to the prestigious Ohtori Academy based on his academic excellence.

“To think I was the one who gave him the nickname ‘Captain-kun.’ ” murmured Eriko, now stepping back into her role as storyteller.  “That boy . . . that rose crest ring he wore had some kind of magical power to it, much like Momoka’s Fate Diary.  The fact that both items originated from Ohtori Academy . . . from the godforsaken place where Cousin Tokiko had acquired her witch powers, did alarm me at first.  But little Captain-kun was just so noble for someone his age, and so sweet . . . I really had no reason to keep him from Momoka-chan.  The boy had gotten so close so quickly to my daughter, all during that last month of her short life, that I once teased Tabuki-kun about having a ‘rival’.” 

She looked towards Tabuki, who remained downcast; she glanced away and off to the distance.

“Yes, I remember now . . . he was even on that train with Momoka-chan during the Kiga Subway Attack.  At the funeral, he came up to me and my husband offering not condolences, but rather, an apology; he apologized for having failed to save my daughter even when he was right there with her.  I told him that it was not his fault; that he, even with his power, was only a child after all . . . I did not think I got through to him at all.

“Soon afterwards, Captain-kun’s family sent him off to Houou city to attend Ohtori.  The boy and our tragedy-wrecked family naturally drifted apart.

“Then, about ten years ago, a funeral invitation reached our household.  It turned out that Captain-kun had passed away from a terminal illness.

“My ex-husband mistook the invitation for a mis-mailed item, and actually tried to put it back in the mailbox before I stopped him in time.

“Back then, I thought it was very cold of that man to have forgotten such a close friend of our daughter so quickly.

“Yet . . . just a few more years down the road, and I myself have completely forgotten too . . .” Bloodshot eyes blinking, Eriko pressed her lips together, saying no more.

“Ne . . .”  Mario, who had since grown teary from where he was holding onto Renjaku for comfort, glanced from one grim adult face to the next. “Ne . . . why are we talking about this now?”


“Nanami-san, I was there in that train car when Oginome Momoka, aged ten, battled Watase Sanetoshi as she tried to stop the Kiga Attack.

“Tenjou Utena was likewise present.

“Two girls, both special from birth by way of their outstanding willpowers, yet Momoka was the only one with the guts and insight to fight for those in danger, in need.

“Had Tenjou been even remotely useful back then, maybe none related to that incident would have to suffer such losses.”

“And what were you doing back then?” asked Nanami, dark eyes narrowed from where she sided with the living members amongst the group.

“I was stopping Ohtori Chairman Ohtori Inuoe -- working with Watase -- from performing a sneak attack on Momoka,” replied Ruka, blue eyes hard from where he stood by the ghosts of the dead Kiga members.  “The clash of our powers -- magical and else -- resulted in the both of us being wrecked by the same terminal illness.  That man has survived in the sanctuary of Ohtori to this day, while I died from the illness ten years ago: on that very year when the ‘Champion Duelist’ wasted the opportunity to revolutionize the world that was the Final Duel.” 

He glared down upon Nanami, who almost but did not glace away. 

“So yes, Nanami-san; if you ask me to choose between Oginome Momoka and Tenjou Utena for carrying a power that affects everyone . . . I choose Momoka. 

“She is the only one who has what it takes to bring this world true salvation.”


“Akio-san, I know.”

Her voice drifted across the vast expanse of the ruined hall, where they stood facing each other; he listened as she spoke further:

“Everything you’ve done –- including your marrying me –- is for your sister’s sake.

“You’ve been gathering this massive power from the World’s people only because you want to again become a prince she can believe in.”

“Kanae-san, I . . .” began Akio, and he stopped at a gesture from his Bride -- willowy figure seemingly aflame under the raging lights saturating the hall’s vast space.

“You can stop now.” The society lady’s cultured voice at last cracked with the gravity of her current angst.  “No matter how much you try to help her, it’s no use.  Nothing will come of loving someone who doesn’t love you back. Believe me, Akio-san, I know!

Tears escaped her green eyes then, and Akio would have stepped forth to kiss them away had things not already changed between them.  Judging by her current alliance with her half-siblings, he was no longer in any position to offer her either comfort or hurt. 

“So, just let your sister go already,” muttered Kanae, dabbing at her eyes with an offered Kleenex from Kaoru Kozue, who currently glowered at him.   “Let her and that Utena-san have the Light of the World, if that’s what they want.  Just . . . make a clean break with them, and go on to live a life you can call your own.” She let out a soft, depreciative chuckle then.  “I understand now; in the end, you don’t need to change the entire world to have what you want –- you only need to change yours.”

“Kanae-san . . .”

“These are likely my last words to you before I walk way, so heed them for your own good; please, Akio-san.”

“Are you considering a divorce?” asked Akio, his tone conversational.

Kanae faced him with bloodshot eyes. “The person I married wasn’t a boy younger than me, like you have since become.”

“Kanae-san.”  Akio met her harrowing gaze with unflinching frankness.  “Then and now, I am simply ‘me’.”

Kanae, if anything, looked even older in her current weary, defeated state.  “Akio-san . . . ”

“Thank you for the work you've done.” Gallant smile in place, Akio gave his soon-to-be ex-bride a gallant, perfunctory half-bow.  “I shall guarantee that you and your clan are to prosper in the New World to come after this night.”

And, before she or the others could utter another word, the Ends of the World had since erected a barrier to push back the present Duelists -- all thrown off by his sudden display of power.  Manifesting itself in a form invisible to the human eye, the barrier encompassed the entire area around him, including the glowing globe currently basking the Hall under its glorious aura, along with the head end of the vine-bound Fate Steed –- its appearance alternating between train car and white horse.

“No! He’s keeping us from both Tenjou and the Fate Train!” exclaimed the Kaoru girl, already knocking barehanded against the barrier. 

//“Step aside,”// sounded the Mikagechopper, prior to attacking the barrier with its wide-range of military weaponry, also to null effects.

“Akio-san . . .” Kanae’s voice came airy and brittle.  “What are you . . .?”

Having since turned his back to them all, Akio stepped up towards that large, rotund entity currently containing all that was bright and good that once was and could have been.

And could be, again, should he grasp it in his hand once more. 

“The World’s Egg; the Shell that defined the world as my sister and her consort knows it,” he murmured in revere, all the while noting the fiery cracks now spreading along it’s bright surface like fire upon light.  “Within this shell simmers the Light that had been stolen from the World since ancient times, leaving the land in darkness . . . a darkness that shall end tonight.”  A needy, galloping whine coming from behind signaled his Fate Steed’s hunger for that Light -- a hunger that mirrored his own. “Now is time to reclaim what is rightfully mine.”  With that, he placed a palm over his glowing chest, from where he drew the blade of this spirit –- its glorious, resplendent presence inciting sharp gasps from those beyond the barrier.

“The Sword of Dios?!”

//“Such splendor like I had never seen from it before . . . is it because the Ends of the World has since reclaimed his missing heart-fragment from the Princess?”//

Ignoring the Duelists’ voices -- their words no more meaningful to him than those from the shadows -- Akio raised his sword over the egg-like, pearl-toned entity, poised to bring it down. 

“Stop!” Kanae’s voice now came shrill with desperation.  “You don’t know what will happen!  Akio-san!”

“Don’t go!” urged his sister, forcing him down upon his sickbed as the mob outside raged for his service. “You’ll die!”

“Still trying to keep the prince from risking himself?” murmured Akio, hardened heart rubbed raw by the memory brought forth by the human’s plea.  “Such a meddlesome princess.  You certainly remind me of the sister I once had.”  Even as he spoke to Kanae, his gaze never strayed away from the breaking Shell.  “Thank you for a taste of what you call love . . .  farewell.”

And the Ends of the World sent his princely, demonic sword plunging down at the cracking Egg amidst the Duelists’ outcries--

I will smash my own shell.”

That firm, assured statement -- spoken in unison by two voices -- caught Akio in mid-swing, right before the Egg exploded in a searing, white blaze that had even him thrown back unprepared.  By the time he regained his footing, he found himself facing an armed, armored duo.  One of them was covered from head to toe in black, with the other similarly geared in red.  Distinctively colored long locks – pink and dark purple, respectively – escaped their owners’ helmets, revealing the duo’s identities.   

“Bravo,” saluted Akio, keeping his stance straight and tall.  “At last I meet your ‘born’ selves.”  He swept his gaze from one to the other.  “Tenjou-kun . . . Sister.”

Even with her helmet on, he could tell that his sister -- appearing taller than ever from where she stood by her beloved of this moment – was regarding him with a hard, glaring gaze. 

It was the same hostile glare that his once adoring sister once directed at the Princess of the Crystal and the Hate Mob now was cutting at him. 

“Fret not, Sister,” said Akio, grim smirk donned as he leveled his sword at Tenjou Utena -– she who caused his sibling’s betrayal against him. “I will save you now.”


“All this time we’ve been . . . interacting, and you are really Ringo-chan’s older sister?”

Hovering in space, with her surrealistic presence engulfing Himari’s very world, the childlike ghost offered the bewildered tween a disarming smile.  ‘Please call me Momoka Nee-san.’

Even knowing this strange ghost’s relation to her best friend, Himari refused to let her guard down.  “Then . . . it was you who manipulated my brothers into sacrificing themselves to erase Subway Attack Take Two?”

‘A child like you cannot comprehend the necessity of my actions.’

Himari could feel her rage heating up at those words; Momoka face the girl with a stoic front -- one that soon crumbled into an impish, bittersweet smirk.

‘That was what the Princess of the Crystal would no doubt say to you, should she still exist,’ said the girlish ghost. ‘Yes, loath as she would be to admit it, she was his pupil, after all, and could not help taking after him.’ 

Turning solemn, Momoka gave Himari a ninety-degree bow –- while still on air.

‘Please allow me, Oginome Momoka, to apologize for the harm the Princess have caused you and your family, Takakura Himari-san.’

“A-Acepted,” muttered Himari, more affected by Momoka’s unexpected formality than anything else. “But . . . why are you referring to the Princess in the third person?”

‘Because the two of us are not the same.’  Momoka righted herself.  ‘Long before I reincarnated myself as Oginome Momoka in this current era, I was, in an ancient era, the Princess of the Crystal: a girl who was bestowed magical power by the Rose Prince.’  Her voice lowered with something like mourning.  ‘The two of us are women who experiences life from different eras –- our views and our wants are different.  The part of me that was the Princess of the Crystal has since perished in battle earlier this night.  This leaves only me, Oginome Momoka, to enact on both our behalves our ‘Salvation Strategy’.’

“Salvation . . . Strategy?”

And Momoka reached forth grabbing Himari by both hands.

‘The strategy to bring about a new and better world, where no one would be forced to become nothing no matter what kind of birth Fate has bestowed upon them.  Weakened from the Princess’ demise, I do need your help in order to exert my influence.’

“Birth . . .”  Himari’s voice tightened at remembering her own mother; no, not the loving Takakura Chiemi, but rather her own deadbeat birthmother, who practically left her to get grinded down at the Child Broiler.  That was when Shouma showed up to save her by making her his sister.  That was when everything – the Takakura Family bonds, the shared Fruit of Fate -- began.  “How do I help?”

Beaming at the girl’s resolve,  Momoka reached forth grabbing Himari by both hands.  ‘First, you become my avatar.  Then, we get my trusty Captain-kun out of the way for what we’re about to do . . .’


“So it’s come full-circle, huh?”

The three pre-pubescent children -- one boy, two girls -- lay sprawled out at the bottom, upon nothingness. Vacuous space enveloped them, shell-like, in its infinite shades of blue-tinted gray, keeping its captives from seeing a way out.

“After all these years of fighting against Fate, we’re all again the unchosen children we all started out as,” mused the orange-haired girl, her tone jaded and resigned.

“Rejected by the World, destined to disappear off its scenery,” mumbled the maroon-haired girl holding hands with her.

“But, I’m not sorry that I risked myself for that someone I believe in,” stated the defiant redheaded boy lying by their side, smiling with pride in spite of their current situation. “For that revolution I want happen.”

“Hail, hail,” conceded the orange-haired girl, sharing his smile.

“Then, what’s to become of us now?” asked the maroon-haired girl.  “Now that we’ve died, are we to be stuck in this strange place forever?”

“Having been trial-ed by Fate, you’ll all get to be reborn into adults -- in the truest sense of the word.”

The new voice cutting in had the trio looking up.  Standing above them was a nondescript young maiden, whose plain-seeming dress was adorned with a glowing peach motif –- a motif that the boy found strangely familiar.

“Who . . .” started the redhead, trailing off as two taller figures emerged from behind the slight wisp of a maiden. 

They were a handsome couple: a blue-eyed man and a pink-haired woman.   This time, boy was certain he had seen them somewhere before.

“You are . . . ?”

“Young man.”  The man had since crouched down closing the distance between them. “Back when you crossed paths with our family, had we known of the troubles you and the other boy were suffering under . . . surely we would have intervened, no matter how dangerous an undertaking it would be,” stated the man with a note of apologia.  “Please forgive us for being so unobservant, Touga-kun.”

Touga -- currently the child he imagined himself to be in his heart -- widened his eyes in recognition of these faces from the past.  “. . . Mr. and Mrs. Tenjou?” His words had the girls -- also in child-state -- sitting upright.

“Utena’s parents?” asked Juri, appearing more surprised by the second.  “Sir, you wouldn’t happen be . . . the legendary photographer Tenjou Kenta, whose unique style revolutionized fashion photography for Japan and abroad?” Her gaze went from husband to wife.  “Which means . . .”

“Utena-san’s mother is the Aoki Tyna?” gasped Shiori, starry-eyed (and likely having completely forgotten about her current troubles).  “That international Asian supermodel who opened doors for so many following in her footsteps?!”

“Thank you for being Utena’s friends -- for trying to help her -- though that difficult time.”  Tenjou Kenta beamed at the children with a rugged, down-to-earth gentleness: a quality that Touga had always associated with “real” fathers.  “Don’t worry, now is Utena’s turn to help you all.”

“And Touga-kun, thank you for being a prince for Utena when she needed it,” spoke Aoki Tyna, honeyed voice no less captivating than her striking appearance (which, Touga had to admit, far surpassed even Utena’s in both beauty and charisma). “Though . . . now should be the time for you to graduate from my daughter and go be with your own prince.”

Careful to keep his expression stoic, Touga could nonetheless feel his face heating up amidst the girls’ muffled snort.  “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mrs. Tenjou--” 

The sound of girlish tittering had him turning his attention towards the peach motif maiden now giggling at his plight.  A penguin hat now sat visible atop her brown haired head, and a pink book labeled “Diary” could be seen held in her delicate hands.

“You’re her!” exclaimed the boy, leaping up to his feet. “Oginome Momoka, currently possessing Takakura Himari--”  His eyes widened further at seeing Chu-Chu’s diminutive figure now perched upon her slim shoulder.  “What’re you doing with Himemiya’s familiar?!”

Violet eyes narrowed in a smile, Momoka/Himari voiced a vowel that had Touga’s entire world suddenly ablaze with a bright, white light.  By the time the light had faded off, his surroundings his world his very being had all been changed.