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A Revolutionary Girl Utena story
by Aaron Bergman

I hate showing weakness, and giving up any measure of my hard-won independence is nothing but.

A long time ago (when I was still a child), my father told me, "Son, there are only three kinds of people in the world: takers, fakers, and makers." On that morning, I resolved to fit squarely into the first category, and on the whole I think I've managed to succeed.

The weak are only to be used by the strong, and most of the time I feel surrounded by weakness; which is why I'm so fascinated at times with certain… people… who show but one chink in their rose-colored armor…

But doing this seemed like a betrayal of all that I hold dear.

I pause, about to knock on the door, about to turn away in disgust, when suddenly the choice is taken out of my hands and the door opens, revealing Arisugawa's haughty face framed by her trademark curls. Her eyes widen slightly at the shock of seeing me, but she makes no move to tighten further the bathrobe that seems to be all she's wearing. "Can I help you, Council-President?" she murmurs cautiously.

Despite all my efforts not to, I chuckle slightly. "Yes, that's about what I'm wondering as well…" I notice the sudden look in her eyes, and wonder how in the hell I managed to miss the double-entendre in my last comment. "You needn't worry; I have no designs upon your admittedly fair body."

Now she does tighten her robe a bit, but her comment is light, almost joking. "If you try, I'll skewer you." Well, I DID say almost, right..?

I wave one hand airily. "No, nothing like that at all. I need your help on… a class assignment."

She looks very surprised again, then she laughs. "You know, in the middle of all this craziness, there are times that I even FORGET that we're still in school…"

I frown. "It's too bad that Mitsuhari-sensei doesn't forget as well…"

She winces. "Ouch. Drama assignment?"

"Yes. We're supposed to give a monologue tomorrow, and I was hoping to practice it on you before going in front of a class and embarrassing myself."

At this, Arisugawa raises one finely shaped eyebrow. "Why don't you get one of your horde of fangirls to practice on?"

"Because I need your acid tongue and razor wit to find any flaws before they become bad marks on a report card."

At this, she shrugs and nods, accepting the description without a word of complaint. "Come on in."

It surprises me how… well… feminine her room is. It doesn't seem to match her fire, her inner being; it would be as shocking to find that Tenjou is a skilled chef…

I motion for her to sit in one of the overstuffed easy-chairs, and she complies with a slight grin. I clear my throat, force down the nervousness that always threatens you on the stage whether you're in front of your family or a thousand strangers, and begin.

"When I was a young man, and very well thought of,
I couldn't ask aught that the ladies denied.
I nibbled their hearts like a handful of raisins,
And I never spoke love, but I knew that I lied.

"But I said to myself, 'Ah, they none of them know
The secret I shelter and savor and save.
I wait for the one who will see through my seeming,
and I'll know when I love by the way I behave.'"

At this, Arisugawa looks at me quite strangely at first, then nods slowly and smiles.

"The years drifted over like clouds on the heavens,
The ladies went by me like snow on the wind.
I charmed and I cheated, deceived and dissembled,
And I sinned, and I sinned, and I sinned, and I sinned.

"But I said to myself, "Ah, they none of them see
There's part of me pure as the whisk of a wave.
My lady is late, but she'll find I've been faithful,
And I'll know when I love by the way I behave.'"

I suddenly slow down and say in my most solemn, serious tones,

"At last came a lady, both knowing and tender,
saying, 'You're not quite all they take you to be…'"

I lower my head for a moment in silence, then raise it and say in the jauntiest way possible,

"I betrayed her before she quite finished speaking,
and she swallowed cold poison and jumped in the sea.

"And I say to myself (when there's time for a word),
As I gracefully grow more debauched and depraved,
'Ah! Love may be strong… but a habit is stronger,
And I knew when I loved by the way I behaved.'"

For a moment, I watch Arisugawa's face switch from extreme to extreme, then she says softly, "I don't know whether to admire you for knowing yourself so well or be sick all over my rug."

I said, bowing, "That good, you think?"


Authorís notes: Against the protests of a prereader of mine, I'm standing by my OOC-ness of Juri in this; after all, what's fanfic without some?

Credits: Shoujo Kakumei Utena belongs to the Be-papas and Chiho Saito. The poem is from The Last Unicorn and belongs to Peter S. Beagle.

What do you think?

Aaron Bergman

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