Withered Roses Don't Always Die
10:24pm, Ohtori Academy
Two days have passed since the Student Council paid a visit to End of the World. The five youths didn’t know what to do with themselves. The Chairman’s words had shaken them to their cores. What he said had shot everything they believed in straight to Hell. In essence, they were lost.
Touga Kiryuu gave a slight sigh as he traveled through Ohtori’s maze-like halls. He was soon venturing out of the building and across the courtyard. His final Duel with Utena Tenjou was to take place the day after tomorrow. Since there was no way to back out of it, he had a few things to take care of before the day arrived.
Touga was now standing outside the mansion of Kyouichi Saionji. The Seitokai president turned the doorknob and went inside. He’d phoned before coming, so the door had been left open for him. Touga closed and locked the door once he was inside, and then headed up the main staircase.
He stopped when he came to his friend’s bedroom. He knew which door it lay behind. Unlike before, he knocked before entering.
“Saionji? I’m coming in,” the red-head called from the hallway.
“Yeah,” was the quiet response from inside.
Touga opened then door and entered the Green Rose’s bedroom. His friend was sitting at his desk, writing. The Japanese teen was dressed casually in a pair of blue jeans and a black T-shirt with a white Kanji symbol on the back. His wavy mass a green hair was tied up into a high ponytail.
“Good evening, Kyo-chan,” Touga said from where he stood.
“Hello, Touga. Don’t call me that,” Saionji said with an annoyed tone.
Touga gave a slightly disappointed chuckle, “You’re so cruel to me,” the red-head stated.
Saionji glared at his friend and tried not to picture him getting hit by a bus. “What do you want?”
“I came to speak with you about—“ Touga began, though he was suddenly distracted by something rubbing against his shins. Looking down, he discovered that something to be a cat. It was an adult cat with black and gray fur and green eyes.
“Mew,” the cat said as it began purring.
The red-head blinked with wonderment, looking over at Saionji, and then down at the cat again. “When did you get a cat?” he asked, bewildered.
“It’s not mine,” Saionji stated plainly.
“Then what is it doing here?” Touga asked, looking down at the kitty, who had made itself comfortable on his foot.
“My guess is that it followed me home from the Kendo Hall yesterday evening,” the Green Rose said.
“Are you going to keep it?” asked the Red Rose.
“It refused to leave,” Saionji answered.
Touga chuckled at his friend’s chosen reply. He picked the cat up and held it. “He seems friendly enough. Did you give him a name?” Touga asked curiously.
“No. I told you it’s not mine,” Saionji droned.
“You should at least name him. Hmm…black and gray…” the red-head murmured, sounding thoughtful as he gazed at the cat. “How about Pepper, or Smokey?”
“Well, how about Cinder?” Touga asked his friend.
Touga gave a laugh, “Mouse? What kind of name is that for a cat?”
“His name is Mouse,” Saionji said simply, still focused on his writing.
Touga smiled and shook his head, “Mouse it is,” he said as he returned the cat to the floor, where it scurried off to go and hide under Saionji’s chair.
“So, what did you want again?” the Green Rose asked.
“I wanted to speak with you on a matter concerning my Duel with Tenjou,” Touga said as he approached his friend.
Saionji’s writing ceased, and he frowned a bit. “I’ll have you know that I want nothing more to do with that girl…”
“Kyouichi, just listen. I’m in need of a favor,” Touga said, his voice a little more demanding now.
“No,” the Green Rose hissed as he stood from his chair and walked away in a hurry. He didn’t get far before he was tackled onto the bed, grunting as he felt Touga’s weight on top of him.
He blushed and growled, starting to struggle as the red-head sat on his stomach, his wrists pinned down by Touga’s hands. “G-Get off me!” Saionji said, frowning deeply.
A small frown came to Touga’s face as well as he felt the Green Rose’s skin began to warm, small fragments of green electricity starting to spark from the boy beneath him. “Stop it, Kyouichi.”
“Then get off of me!” Saionji shouted.
“I will when you listen to what I have to say!” Touga shouted in return.
“Get off!!” Saionji shouted again, managing to free his right hand, which he used to apply a stinging slap to the side of Touga’s face.
Though it felt like his head had left his shoulders, Touga kept enough of his senses to return the action. Saionji was about to strike him aagain, but Touga caught his hand and successfully pinned it once again.
“Damn you…” Saionji hissed, glaring up at Touga as he panted softly.
“Saionji please… just listen,” Touga said, staring down into his friend’s eyes.
Blue bore into purple, a war of wills taking place behind each of their eyes. A sigh finally came from the green-haired boy, “What is it, Touga? Just tell me then get out.”
Touga’s frown faded and he relaxed his grip on the younger teen, trusting that he wouldn’t struggle. He didn’t. “Saionji… I want you to be my Rose Bride…”
Saionji looked at Touga as though he had three heads. “Wh-What?!” he asked, quite surprised. Touga didn’t say anything, but his look told him that he was serious.
Saionji turned his head away. “I thought End of the World said we no longer needed Rose Brides for Duels…” he said.
“I know that, but there’s a theory I’d like to test. Just because he said we didn’t need them, doesn’t mean we can’t use them. I want to see,” Touga answered.
“Do you truly hope to win against Tenjou?” Saionji asked quietly.
“Because I’m afraid of what might happen to her should she move on to her final Duel with End of the World himself,” Touga said, looking down at Saionji.
“So you’d rather save her from an unknown fate and give that bastard what he wants?” Saionji asked, looking up at Touga once more.
“I don’t see what else I can do besides that.”
“Mm…” Saionji murmured, his eyes rather downcast now. “Touga, what do you think will happen to us?”
“You mean, should End of the World acquire that which he seeks?”
The Green Rose nodded.
“I don’t know, Kyouichi. I think all we can do is hope that he’ll no longer have use for us, and that he sets us free…” Touga whispered, gently twining one of Saionji’s evergreen curls around his index finger.
He felt Saionji sigh beneath him, the Green Rose’s eyes now closed.
“Alright, Touga…I’ll do it…”
“Thank you,” was the soft whisper from above.
The next thing Saionji knew, soft lips were pressed against his own. Saionji’s eyes opened a little and he frowned, though he did not pull away. Touga’s own eyes were closed now, taking advantage of Saionji’s stillness and holding the kiss.
‘Bastard…’ Saionji thought to himself. The Green Roses closed his eyes once more and began to slowly respond to the gentle kiss.
After a moment, Touga pulled away and looked down at his friend, who gazed back at him. “We’ll get out of this…somehow,” the red-head whispered.
“Yeah…” Saionji whispered in return, giving a small sigh. Touga left Saionji’s mansion shortly afterwards, bidding the other Duelist goodnight before heading home.
When Saionji returned to his room after showing Touga out, he found Mouse on the bed, curled up on his pillow. He scowled.
“Not only must you invade my home, now you dare to steal my bed? I don’t think so,” the Green Rose said as he picked Mouse up by the scruff of his neck and gently lowered him to the floor.
Saionji got into bed then and sighed deeply as he stared at the ceiling. It had been a while since he and Touga kissed… He blushed as he remembered it, his thoughts only to be interrupted by a quiet “meow”.
Looking to his left, Saionji frowned when he saw the cat in bed with him again. “Look, no bed for you. Get,” he said as he shoved the cat off the bed and onto the floor. It merely hopped right back up, meowing insistently.
Saionji groaned, “Fine! Do what you like!”
Mouse gave a satisfied meow and curled up next to him on the bed, purring.
Glancing down at the cat, Saionji shook his head and relaxed again, mumbling under his breath.
Saionji had kept his word to Touga and been his Rose Bride during the battle with Utena Tenjou. The Green Rose lounged in one of the passing red convertibles as he watched Touga duel with the pink-haired girl. When the final blow was ready to be struck, Saionji leaped from the car and onto motorcycle, summoned to the arena by Touga. Standing in the motorcycle’s sidecar, Saionji leaned low and kept the bike steady as it rolled. As he passed him, Touga jumped on and stood up on the bike’s main seat, readying his Long Sword. Tenjou charged toward them, holding her own sword high.
The next thing Saionji felt was pain as he hit the hard arena floor. He and Touga were both thrown from the motorcycle as it was cut in half by Tenjou, both boys laying on the arena floor as Touga’s red rose petals rained down on the two of them. Alas, they had lost.
“Let’s go. Akio will be waiting for us,” Utena said to Anthy, the quiet girl standing at Utena’s side.
“Wait, please!” Touga shouted, sitting up quickly. Utena paused.
“You are now the one who will bring the revolution! Beware of End of the World! And beware of the Rose Bride!” Touga warned, sounding truly concerned, “That is the only advice I have to offer you, Utena.”
“You just don’t give up…” Utena commented softly, before turning her back. “Farewell, Touga.”
With that, she and Anthy exited the arena. Touga sighed softly and closed his eyes, laying back down on the arena surface.
Saionji had been silent while Touga spoke with Utena, he, himself, having nothing to stay to her. “Touga?” he asked, when he heard the red-head lay down.
“Is it over for us, do you think? Are we finished?” Saionji asked.
“No,” Touga answered. “It won’t be over until we see the very end.”
“I was afraid you were going to say that…” Saionji murmured, gazing at the twinkling Aurora Borealis above.
Things were silent for a moment. Saionji soon gave a heavy sigh. “So now what?” he asked his friend.
“Honestly… I don’t know, but I’m worried for Utena,” Touga said.
Saionji growled and sat up, “Ha! Worried for Tenjou? What about us, Touga? Who knows what the Chairman will do to us! How can you act like it’s no big deal?”
“Because…” Touga began, sitting up as well. “…He needs us. He won’t kill us, because we are his tools… I believe that we are far too valuable to just throw away.”
No reply. Saionji would never admit it, but Touga made a valid point.
“Did you accomplish what you hoped to? Was your theory correct?” Saionji asked then, referring to Touga’s request for him to be his Rose Bride.
“Yes, I did,” Touga answered.
“What was that about, anyway?” The Green Rose asked, dryly.
“Half to see if we still could use Rose Brides, and half to see if you would agree,” the red-head stated simply.
Saionji blinked. He hadn’t seen that coming, but yet, it made sense. Touga turned to look at his friend, smiling as he saw his flustered expression.
Saionji was brought out of his current thoughts of murdering Touga when he noticed the red-head closing in for a kiss. The Green Rose blushed and nearly screamed, quickly throwing his hand up to push against Touga’s chest, holding him back.
“What the hell are you doing?!” Saionji screeched.
Touga smiled. “Why, I’m thanking you for being such a wonderful Rose Bride to me. Though I think you would have looked stunning in a gown.”
Saionji blushed. He was absolutely appalled that Touga would even say such a ridiculousthing, the Green Rose fighting the urge to electrocute him. He wouldn’t die, anyway. So what was the harm?
This being his second lapse in concentration, Touga took the chance to reach for Saionji’s cheek. The Green Rose caught Touga’s wrist with his other hand, stopping him. Touga countered by grabbing Saionji uniform top in the center of his chest, keeping him from getting away.
Saionji glared, annoyed.
Touga smirked, amused.
Both were surprised when white light began to emit from their bodies. It was coming from the area where their hands were placed on each other’s chest.
“Touga…what?” Saionji murmured, not sure what was happening. Touga was just as confused. As the light shown brighter, both Duelists decided to follow the usual procedure.
The Green and Red roses closed their eyes and relaxed, both leaning back as they pulled their hands away slowly, a sword coming forth from the blinding white light.
When the light faded and Touga and Saionji sat upright again to see what exactly had happened, both were shocked to find themselves holding swords, new swords. Not their old ones and not the ones Akio had given them. They were newly designed versions of the weapons the Chairman had bestowed on them.
The handle of Saionji’s katana was re-jeweled in emeralds and diamonds and was shaped like a rising Oriental Dragon, the kanji symbol for Lightning craved into the blade’s hilt.
It was the same for Touga’s Long Sword. The handle of his was coated in and rubies and diamonds and it was in the shape of a Pegasus with a Unicorn horn, the kanji for Fire craved into the hilt.
“What…? How did…?” Touga whispered, gazing at the sword in his hand.
Saionji frowned and stood up. His eyes began to glow and he swung his sword hard, a curved bolt of green lightning flying from the sword’s blade and destroying a nearby pillar. Saionji’s eyes ceased their glow and he stared at the mysterious weapon.
“Where on Earth did these come from?” Touga asked, standing up also. He tested his sword as well, the new blades seeming very powerful.
“My question is: How the hell could I pull my sword…out of you?” Saionji stated, looking at the red-head.
Touga realized his logic, “And vice-versa…” he whispered, neither sure what to make of this strange new development.