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

#26 | Back to Top12-08-2009 05:36:38 AM

Wakaba Wrangler
From: Somewhere in Italy
Registered: 08-09-2009
Posts: 19

Re: [fanfiction] Thorns Wither (Anthy/Utena, sequel to Roses Grow)

Say you're 21 years old and you've lived 1 year of your life thinking you were beautiful and then 20 years being constantly told that you were ugly. By everyone. By yourself. When you're 21 someone comes along and tells you you're gorgeous. Do you believe them?Do you suddenly feel gorgeous?Are you able to act as someone who is gorgeous?I think that's what Utena saving Anthy is like from Anthy's point of view. Like trying to believe that the last 20 years and your whole identity is a lie. But it's the only truth you know, and it involves hundreds/thousands/millions of years rather than 20...

Yes, it makes perfectly sense. It's more clear now. Thank you emot-smile

Ooh what does the sentence 'Domine, non sum digna' mean? I'm sorry I don't know that one... Is it Latin?

Yes it is. It means 'My Lord, I'm unworthy.'



#27 | Back to Top02-03-2010 06:09:35 AM

Pharaoh of Phanstuff
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: 08-10-2008
Posts: 2416

Re: [fanfiction] Thorns Wither (Anthy/Utena, sequel to Roses Grow)

AUTHOR'S NOTE: An absolute nightmare of a chapter to edit, the worst for me in years. It's probably got something to do with having to move past the inactive bit of the story to the more active bit, or to do with setting up stuff for later. For some reason intros and peaks are much easier to write and edit than the stuff in between them. emot-gonk

I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.
~William Shakespeare~

Chapter 6: Once Upon a Time

Within our garden’s many-layered maze was a forest grove, secluded from the outside world. A cherry blossom tree grew at its center. I sat cross-legged leaning against it, Utena lying with her head in my lap. We’d just finished eating a picnic lunch which had been her idea, as had the location.

It was a pleasant day, much calmer than my own mood. The sky was blue; a cooling breeze stirred the leaves. My fingers stirred through Utena’s hair as I watched dappled shadows move over her face.

“It’s almost certain,” she said, rubbing at her eyebrow, “that Chida-san is working with Mikage-san.”

“Yes,” I said, although given what I knew I thought it unlikely. Not if Mikage thought that Utena was Chida Tokiko.

“She was meant to come to a meeting this morning,” said Utena. “But she didn’t show. Miki-kun’s made this big diagram showing the connections between everything that’s happened, and he says that’s probably why.”

“What does Arisugawa-san think?” I was curious in spite of myself. Utena cringed a little and didn’t answer for a moment. She had a troubled look on her face, one that made me want to smooth it away.

“She thinks I should ah…talk to you about it.” She rubbed her eyebrow more fiercely. I stared at her, sure Juri had insinuated far more than that.


“Yeah.” Utena sounded faintly apologetic. “So uh…what do you think? That is…” She took a deep breath and met my eyes for the first time. “Do you know how they could be connected? Chida-san and Mikage-san?”

“Her younger brother is his rose bride,” I said simply. I knew she already had that information, and that she didn’t know I knew it.
“Yeah…” said Utena, and we sat in silence for awhile. I couldn’t shake the feeling she wanted me to say something else, something more. But I had nothing I wanted to say.

“Your hair’s up again today,” she said unexpectedly. “Do you have another headache?”

“Yes,” I said, “but it’s bearable.”

Shots rang out nearby.

Swearing, Utena shot out of my lap, coming to her feet in one smooth motion. She looked around desperately, pink hair flaring as she spun.

The baying of hounds filled the air.

“It’s a hunt,” I said calmly, smoothing my skirt and remaining seated. “Their prey must have run onto our property.”

“This is Japan!” protested Utena.

“I recognize the sounds,” I told her, and I did, intimately. I was certain it was a hunt, improbable as that might be. The baying grew louder. Utena whirled uncertainly while I watched her.

“They’re getting closer,” she muttered.

“Yes,” I agreed. They baying was so loud I thought we might be about to catch a glimpse of them passing.

The undergrowth parted and all of a sudden the pack raced into the clearing itself. There were three black, three brown and one huge mottled monster. Slathering eagerly they leapt toward us, or more precisely, toward me.

My calm dissolved. With a sharp cry I was up and backing into the tree, arms up to protect my face. Utena yelled and threw herself in front of me, somehow managing to shoulder the first beast aside, even as it sprang for my throat.

“Utena!” I gasped out, more terrified for her than I had been for myself. Power blazed around my hands and I reached toward her heart from behind, instinct taking over. With pure blazing thought I drew the sword of Dios, catching her shoulder with my free hand as she fell forward. Amazingly she managed to keep something of her wits about her, simultaneously kicking at the second and third dogs. But she was off-balance. The fourth hound ducked through and bit her shin.

She gave a sharp cry and kicked it away.

I reached around her torso and thrust the sword-hilt into her waiting hand. She was anticipating the pass-off, and effortlessly twirled the sword into a defensive position. The mottled hound recovered itself and re-leapt. Utena swung the sword two-handed and flat side out, batting it back. It sprawled at our feet, then gathered itself on its haunches. Eying me it let out a bloodcurdling snarl.


The command was sharp, proffered by a well-dressed man on a massive black stallion. As we goggled the horse curveted wildly; he reigned it in with considerable skill. Three more horses pulled up around him, their riders glaring in our direction.

The hounds slunk over to their master, growling and drooling.

“What the hell was that?” yelled Utena, pointing her sword at him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

The man ignored her and watched us from beneath his broad-brimmed hat, which had a scarlet feather curving at its side. For some reason he looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him. His features were shadowed, and only his ice-blue eyes (as cold as my brother’s) could be seen.

“Get out of the way,” he ordered expressionlessly.

“What?” growled Utena. She didn’t move. I peered over her shoulder, and the man stared right at me, strange eyes glittering.

“Hello Kitsune,” he said, and now his voice took on a wheedling edge. “Why don’t you come over here and play?”

I stared at him.

“Are you crazy?!” yelled Utena. “She’s just a girl!”

“Even you,” the man told her emotionlessly, “aren’t quite that stupid.” He turned back to me. “We’ve caught you, so you might as well give up.” He actually grinned, displaying prominent canines. “No tricks. We all know what a deceitful creature you are.”

Something niggled at my memory. Another time and place, another forest (not just a grove), running and running, panting and sobbing, sprawling exhausted at the base of a tree (but it hadn’t been a cherry tree…it hadn’t been Japan…). Hearing hounds baying in the distance, racing ever closer. Hearing shots ring out: the horn-blares and shouts of hunters.

And Akio pulling up into the clearing on his princely white charger, pivoting it gracefully to smirk down at me.

“What’s this?” he’d purred while I trembled on hand and knee, practically under his horse’s hooves. “They’ll be here soon. Best run while you still can, little sister.”

I stared at him, begging for mercy with my eyes but not really expecting any. (I’d already known better.)

The hounds’ baying grew louder.

“They’re almost here!” Akio laughed exultantly. “Which hunter will win you this time, I wonder? Personally I’m betting on the Count’s son.”

Wheezing helplessly I pushed myself to my torn feet, and whirled to stumble back into the forest.

“Good girl,” called Akio as I made what retreat I could. “He’ll like you better if he has to catch you.”

Ice-cold with fear I pressed my back against the cherry-tree and gasped at the man on the horse. The Count’s son, and later the Count in his own right. I couldn’t remember his name, only his title. I stared at his three companions and couldn’t remember their names either…but I could remember them. Belonging to them, all at different times. Yet the Count…I had been his the longest. He was the victor who had gotten the furthest in those duels, called hunts, and as was so often the case, gotten the furthest with me.

“That’s a good girl,” purred the Count, seeming to sense his opportunity. His eyes bore into mine hypnotically. “Come here.”

Unthinkingly I took a few uneven steps. With a sharp cry Utena stopped me, one arm an iron bar across my chest. Still wielding the sword with her free hand she tossed me a glance, a volatile mix of horror and appeal.

“Are you crazy?” she hissed. “You want a fight?!” she yelled back at the Count. “Is that it? You’ll have to come through me to make Anthy do anything she doesn’t want!”

“She wants it,” he said ever so reasonably. “She’s been caught according to the rules of the rose hunt and she knows it.” His eerie eyes turned on me. “I said, come here!”

I tried to go to him. Utena’s arm was rigid, catching me across the torso and holding me back. With a cry she dropped her sword, turned, grabbed me by the upper arms.

“Snap out of it!” she yelled in my face. She shook me. “Anthy!”

“Hurry up!” ordered the Count.

I went limp in the face of conflicting messages, bones turning to water. Utena’s hands were the only thing holding me up, even as they had previously held me back. With a sharp cry she caught me and swung me up into her arms, hoisting me protectively in front of her. 

“You can’t fight like that,” the Count told her, still damnably reasonable.

“I don’t gotta,” Utena hissed at him, as angry as I’d ever seen her. “Anthy is already mine.”

I was shocked to hear her actually say that; I think she was past the point of knowing what she said. The Count stared at her. So did his men. So did I. A rifle was slung on the Count’s back…slowly he reached for it. His hounds growled. I shivered. Utena tensed, I could feel her muscles flexing where our bodies made contact.

“What’s going on here?” demanded a new voice, an icily familiar voice. Utena whirled with me in her arms, and the grove whirled around us, flickering for a moment with strange mottled shadows. (If you looked closely you might see figures in them, figures of what used to be girls acting out plays that used to have meaning. I knew better than to look.)

Then Utena fell to her knees and dropped me in front of her. She bent over, gasping for breath. Weakly I rolled onto my side and clutched my knees to my chest.

Juri strode into the grove, staring incredulously.

“What was that?! Those men and horses…where did they go? Utena…what were you doing?”

“I dunno,” wheezed Utena, recovering enough to pull me back toward her. She stroked my cheek anxiously. “They just disappeared. And did you see those huge dogs? They coulda killed us!” She bent over me.

“Anthy, can you hear me? Are you okay? Anthy?”

I put a shaking hand over her hand, but I couldn’t talk yet. Couldn’t really think.

“Is she alright?” Juri again, kneeling next to Utena.

“I dunno.” Utena’s voic