Withered Roses Don't Always Die
Silence washed over the entire tower as a blinding white light beamed from inside the Rose Gate. Though it seemed like minutes, the quiet only lasted mere seconds. Then, the noisy crumbling of the tower resumed.
The student council uncovered their eyes and looked around in wonderment.
“Wha…What happened?” asked Nanami, her pointed ears giving a curious swivel.
“I don’t know…” Touga said, as he trotted over to the other animals. He’d risen only moments ago to help Juri fight.
The flaming Pegasus gazed over at the injured emerald dragon. Their outside forms appeared to only be staring, but on the inside, their human selves smiled to one another.
It was then that Saionji remembered something important.
“Wait…!” the Green Rose growled, jumping to his feet again. “Where’s the Chairman?”
Heads practically spun as the five beasts scanned the area for the winged wolf. There was no sign of him. Both Saionji and Juri frowned; they didn’t trust Akio’s disappearance.
There was another loud “explosion” then, and the tower began to shake even more. It also felt like…it was leaning? True enough, the platform was starting to collapse underneath them, pieces starting to fall into the water below.
“Everyone!” called the voice of Utena at that moment. All attention snapped towards the Rose Gate. The gate looked more like a door filled with light now. Utena was standing outside the door, leaning on its frame. “Everyone, hurry! This way! The tower is going to fall!”
No objections were made. The five animals made their way to the gate as speedily as they could. Because he wouldn’t have fit, Miki returned to his human form and hitched a ride on Juri’s back. They were the first to enter the gate, disappearing inside.
Touga trotted alongside Saionji, who managed to keep up with him. Though it was obvious the dragon was in pain. Nanami ran along in front of them. Soon, they were all inside. Utena was about to enter as well, when a squeal of panic reached her ears.
“Huh…?” Utena murmured, turning around to see the source of the squeal. Low and behold, there was Chu-Chu, Anthy’s little marmoset friend. The tiny purple monkey was currently riding on the back of what looked like a black and gray cat. The two looked quite terrified.
“What in the…! Chu-Chu!” Utena called, worry lacing her voice. Utena was scared that the animals wouldn’t be able to make it to the gate if the platform continued to fall. The pink-haired girl jumped and held onto the door’s frame when a long green blur flew past her, the figure leaving the safety of the door.
“S-Saionji!” Utena called when she realized who the blur had been.
The green dragon ignored her calls as he flew to the aid of the two small creatures. Saionji’s flight was rather awkward and uncoordinated because of the holes in his wings, but he managed to reach them in time. He picked the two animals up with his front claws and then made a b-line for the gate once again.
When he was in, Touga and Juri helped Utena shut the door, sealing away the destruction and ruin taking place outside.
Within the Rose Gate
From the outside, the door showed only light, but inside, the only source of light was the large circular platform on which everyone stood. Saionji panted as he sat Chu-Chu, and the kitty cat down. Touga recognized the cat immediately. It was Mouse.
Needless to say, the group, minus Utena, was shocked to see Anthy there inside the gate. The purple-haired girl was dressed in a long red sari, and seemed quite pleased to see them. The others gazed at her suspiciously as she hugged Chu-Chu.
“Utena…?” Touga asked the girl, silently questioning the odd situation.
Utena gave a small smile. “It’s a long story…” she said.
“Indeed, but I believe I can explain it…” said the voice of a young man then. A figure stepped out of the darkness then. The boy looked like a younger and less evil version of Akio.
The boy smiled kindly to them all, “I am Dios,” he said simply.
“What…?” Juri murmured in disbelief.
“Dios as in…the Sword of Dios?” Miki asked, finally sliding down from the Gryphon’s back.
“Yes,” Dios said, before going to stand next to Anthy. He gently took hold of her hand and the two bowed to the group.
“First things first…We owe each and every one of you a debt of gratitude,” Dios said softly. “We apologize.”
“All of you have suffered greatly, because of me…” said Anthy, sounding truly sorry. For once, her voice held emotion. “Forgive me.”
No one knew quite what to say. Juri broke the silence.
“So…the two of you…” the Orange Rose murmured, seeming to be piecing things together. “You’re saying that story… the Tale of the Rose, is actually true?” she asked.
Dios nodded. “Yes, it is,” he said, before approaching Utena. He kneeled before her and smiled warmly. “You’ve done well, little one…” he whispered, before gently touching her forehead.
A soft white glow spread from his fingers to the girl’s body. Slowly, Utena straightened, looking down at herself in awe. She was completely healed. She no longer felt pain anywhere.
When Dios was finished with her, he approached Saionji. Since the dragon had become mortal again, his wounds had not healed like Touga’s.
The emerald dragon gave a warning hiss as Dios drew nearer, wary of the young man. Dios stopped several feet in front of Saionji. “Don’t worry… I promise I mean you no harm…” Dios spoke honestly.
Saionji didn’t look convinced. The dragon gave a tiny gasp as Mouse darted away from him and padded over to Dios. The kitty looked up at him curiously before starting to rub against his shins, purring. Dios chuckled and kneeled to pet the friendly cat.
Saionji sighed, “Fine…” he murmured, letting his guard drop. Dios only smiled and came closer to Saionji. He placed his hand on the dragon’s long neck and began to heal him. When Dios was finished, Mouse padded over to Saionji again and made himself comfortable on the dragon’s front claws.
Saionji couldn’t help groaning at the cat’s actions. He blinked when he noticed Dios staring at him. The Green Rose frowned. “What?” he asked.
“You’re wondering how you survived,” the young man stated plainly. “It’s bothering you a lot, isn’t it?”
Saionji didn’t answer. Dios smiled again and then looked off into the distance. The others followed his gaze. Before them appeared the crystal coffins which held each student council member.
“What are you showing us these for?” Saionji asked, before catching a glimpse of his coffin.
The dragon statue guarding the casket was severely cracked and beaten. It looked as though it could fall to pieces at any moment. Touga came over to stand next to Saionji.
“What does it mean?” the Pegasus asked, his question directed at Dios.
“The dragon was protecting him. If Saionji’s soul had been destroyed, the dragon would have broken, and his body would have expired,” Dios said, before looking over at the green dragon. “It’s a good thing your friends came to help when they did.”
The dragon’s eyes lowered to the floor, before gazing over at Juri, who’d stepped in first. He stared at her for a moment, and then looked away again.
The Gryphon chuckled. “I know it’s too hard for you too say out loud. I can tell what you’re think though, and you’re welcome,” the Orange Rose said, before turning to her human body.
“Dios?” Utena questioned softly, the pink-haired girl standing next to Anthy. “What…What happens now?” she asked, seeming almost afraid to know.
Dios approached her slowly. “Whatever you want, Utena. You’ve brought the revolution. You can now shape the world any way you like,” he said.
Utena looked down at the floor. “What happened to Akio? And the…other Anthy?” she asked then.
Dios’ warm smile became a somber one. He lifted his hand towards the blackness of a seemingly random area. Another coffin appeared. This one was crystal also and shined purple light. Inside the coffin, curled up like lovers, were Akio Ohtori and the other Anthy. The two lay naked, surrounded by purple and white roses. They looked almost peaceful.
“These two will remain here, between the borders of this world, and your world, Utena. It is their sentence. I’m afraid it is the best that can be done for them…” Dios said regretfully.
Utena slowly left Anthy’s side to approach the coffin, which held the man she’d thought she loved. Utena reached out and slowly placed her hand on the cold crystal. “I understand… though, I still feel sorry for them,” she whispered.
“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Dios comforted.
The student council watched quietly, each wondering what exactly was going to happen next. Saionji’s fin-like ears twitched when he noticed Anthy coming toward him. He looked at her skeptically. The girl then held up Chu-Chu, who stood in the palm of her left hand.
“He wants to say thank you for rescuing him,” Anthy said with a small giggle.
Saionji was confused. Chu-Chu gave a delighted squeal and hopped onto Saionji’s face. The purple monkey turned red and its tail became the shape of a heart, the tiny animal happily hugging the dragon’s muzzle. Saionji groaned and then shook the marmoset off his nose. This new affection was obviously one-sided.
Dios chuckled at the scene, before looking to Utena once more. “Everything is left up to you now. What kind of world will you rule?” he asked the pink-haired girl.
Utena looked at him and shook her head, smiling faintly. “I’m not going to rule anything. I’m going to make a world where everyone is free to do what they want… A world where a person is perfectly able to vote, pray, eat, think, and live the way they please…” she said, before gazing at the student council. “Dios, what will happen to them?” she asked.
“Don’t worry. They’ll be fine, Utena. The others will be made whole again now that they are free from Akio’s grasp. They’ll be normal people again,” Dios said, smiling. “You’ll see them soon.”
Utena smiled and nodded. “Everyone, thank you so much for all your help… I couldn’t have made it this far without you guys,” the pink-haired girl stated, blinking back tears.
“As he said, Miss Tenjou, you’ll see us again soon,” Touga said, his beast form melting away as he returned to his human body. Saionji and Nanami did the same. Utena smiled and went to give each of her new friends a hug. The girl paused when she came to Saionji last, the kendo-ka not seeming the least bit interested in a hug as he stood with his hands in his pockets.
The Green and Pink Roses stared at each other for a moment, before Utena smile kindly and held out her hand. “Thanks…for everything, Kyouichi,” she said, well aware that she used his given name.
Saionji twitched, but didn’t snap at her this time. Sighing, the Japanese teen grasped Utena’s hand and shook it, the tiniest of smiles appearing on his face as he looked down at the girl.
“I look forward to having tea with you again…” Utena added, smiling.
The Green Rose was quiet for a couple of seconds.
“I… I suppose I look forward to it too…” Saionji said, his voice just above a whisper.
Utena smiled brightly and then returned to her place next to Anthy and Dios. “Goodbye, everyone,” she said to the Seitokai members.
“Just for now, Miss Tenjou,” said Miki, smiling.
“We’ll be seeing each other soon enough,” Juri added, giving her famous “half smile”.
“Hopefully you’ll recognize us,” giggled Nanami.
“Goodbye,” Touga said, smiling to the pink-haired girl.
Saionji only gave a silent nod of his head, the Green Rose picking up Mouse, who snuggled into his arms.
“Farewell,” Anthy said to the five teens as she and Dios gave another small bow to them.
Utena watched in bittersweet silence as her friend’s bodies began to glow the color of their rose. After a moment, each council member closed their eyes and their bodies instantly dissolved into a flurry of rose petals. The brightly colored red, green, yellow, orange, and blue petals flew off into the air and combined, forming a spiraling rainbow that soon vanished into the darkness.
“See you soon…” Utena whispered as she watched them go, a few tears rolling down her cheeks.
Dios smiled and gently took hold of Utena’s left hand, Anthy taking hold on her right. “Are you ready, Utena?” Anthy asked hopefully, gazing at her savior.
Utena sniffled softly and smiled a confident smile, “Yes, I’m ready,” she whispered in return.
The pink-haired girl felt so happy.
She’d finally become a Prince.
“Oh, man! I’m gonna be late!” panted a young woman with straight strawberry-blonde hair. “Anthy’s going to kill me!” she groaned as she jogged across the massive Ohorti Academy campus.
“Hey there, Utena here. Yes, it’s me…and, that’s me too. Seems like I’m going to be narrating this chapter for you guys. I thought some things would be easier to understand if I gave some insight. I’m on my way to Miki’s mansion. We’re having a party this evening. Okay, maybe I should back up a little bit. It’s been six months since I brought the Revolution. It is now March and tomorrow is the first day of Spring Break. So, in honor of that, Anthy and I decided to throw a party. Miki agreed to let us use his mansion as the setting. It’s really nothing elaborate, just a small gathering of friends.
One thing I will point out right now is that we’re all okay, and we’re all still in school here at Ohtori. The school is now being supervised by Kanae’s father once again. Neither of them has any memory of Akio. I thought it was for the best. Kanae’s father has begun teaching his daughter the ropes of being a Dean so she can succeed him someday. Kanae currently has no plans of getting married.”
“Ohhh…” Anthy sighed as she stood in the main hallway of Miki’s mansion. “Where in the world is she?” the dark-skinned girl murmured, tapping her foot.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be along shortly,” said a young man as he came to stand next to Anthy, offering the girl a smile.
Anthy sighed. “I suppose so. Did you guys need some more help in there, Ios?” she asked the young man as he entered the lounge.
“Nope, we just finished,” Ios said as he and Miki had made the last couple of finishing touches on the large room. They’d rearranged some of the furniture so that everyone could sit near each other, as well as be close to the long coffee table.
“I know some of you are wondering who “Ios” is. Ios is the name Dios adopted when he became apart of the world I created. He told he me that he desired to live a normal life as well. He and Anthy are still brother and sister, but he is only a mere year older than her now. It amazes me sometimes…how different the “real” Anthy is. She’s a very sweet and caring girl, though rather bossy and impatient at times. (chuckle) You may have noticed that she doesn’t call me “miss” anymore."
“All set, Anthy. Are you ready to start making the snacks?” Miki asked as he came out of the lounge.
“I’m ready, but Utena hasn’t arrived with the things I need yet,” Anthy sighed, leaning back against the wall.
“Miki has changed as well. Not only in attitude, but in appearance, too. All the student council members have changed, actually… Instead of blue, Miki now has brown hair and warm honey eyes. He’s so adorable at times. He’s still rather timid and soft-spoken, but a little more prone to striving for the things he wants. One of those things would be Anthy. That’s right, the two of them are dating. Happily I might add. I’m glad for them.”
“I made it! Sorry I’m late!” Utena called as she burst through the front door, panting heavily. The blonde girl was wearing some dark purple pants and a pink off-the-shoulder sweater. She loved this particular outfit.
“It’s about time!” Anthy whined, coming over and taking the two white plastic grocery bags from Utena’s hands. “Everyone will be here soon!” she added as she darted off to Miki’s kitchen.
“Wait up, Anthy! I’ll give you a hand!” Miki called, before following after the Indian girl.
“Whew…” Utena sighed, catching her breath.
“Here, have some punch. Freshly mixed,” Ios said to Utena, holding out a glass of red juice.
“Thanks,” Utena breathed as she took the glass, getting a sip. “Ah, perfect... Just what I needed.”
“Have you heard from the others?” Ios asked then, glancing at the clock on the wall.
“Yup, everyone should be here around seven,” Utena replied with a smile.
Later That Evening, 6:48pm
Utena and the others had just finished laying out the snacks when the doorbell rang. Utena blinked and checked her watch. “Someone’s early, but at least we’re ready,” Utena said as she went to answer the door.
Standing on the other side was no other than Nanami. Dark brown hair worn in her usual style, Nanami stepped into the house. She wore a short yellow sundress with black leggings underneath it and white shoes.
“Good evening, everyone,” the pompous girl greeted as Utena showed her to the lounge.
“Hello, Nanami,” Anthy said, smiling.
“Hi, Nanami. Why so early?” Miki asked politely.
“I just wanted to scope things out in case I decided to call my brother and tell him don’t bother coming,” Nanami stated bluntly as she sat down on the long couch. Everyone in the room held back a sigh.
“Boy, if anyone has changed the least, it’s Nanami. She doesn’t cling to Touga as much anymore, but still…Yeesh.”
“I’ll take a glass of whatever you’re serving please,” Nanami said, sitting on the couch with her arms folded.
Utena only shook her head and then headed off to fetch Nanami some punch.
The doorbell rang again and Miki answered it. This time it was Juri, along with Ruka Tsuchiya. Juri was still a redhead, and the girl was dressed in a gray pantsuit with a white blouse underneath and a gold necklace.
Ruka, who now had light brown hair instead of blue, wore black pants, a burgundy V-neck sweater, and a black fedora.
“Hey there, Miki. Are we fashionably late enough?” Juri asked with a chuckle.
“Perfect,” Miki said with a laugh, “Come on in, you guys. Head to the lounge and I’ll get some punch for you.”
“While I was, well, changing the world…I saw into the lives of everyone important to me. I felt what they felt, and I realized things that I’d never known. That’s when… That’s when I decided to restore some of the lives that Akio had taken to fuel his plans. Ruka Tsuchiya was revived, and all traces of his disease vanished. I neatly fixed it so that no one even remembered he was ill. Juri deserved to have someone special, and I’m happy that the two of them patched things up.”
Juri and Ruka made their way into the lounge and took seats on the couch as well, having greeted the others on their way in.
“So, Nanami, how’d you managed to come without Misturu?” Juri asked teasingly.
Nanami closed her eyes. “Not that it’s any of your business, but Misturu had a play date. One of his friends was having a birthday party this evening, and I persuaded him to attend that instead. That girl named Mari, I think,” the former Yellow Rose said, sounding a bit jealous.
“Are you sure you persuaded him?” Juri asked as she took a sip of her punch.
Nanami only glared.
A little while later, the doorbell sounded for a third time. “I’ll get it!” Utena called to the others as she jogged out of the lounge. She opened the door and smiled warmly at the two tall figures outside it.
“Hey Touga, Kyouichi,” Utena said happily as she nodded to both of them.
“Good evening, Utena,” Touga said, smiling in return. “Sorry we took so long getting here.”
“You should be sorry. It was your fault,” spat Saionji, cutting his eyes at the other boy.
Touga’s hair was no longer the bright crimson. The straight tresses were now dark brown like Nanami’s, though it was decorated with a blood red streak near the front. Touga had done that himself. Touga was wearing dark blue jeans, a black shirt, and a brown blazer.
Saionji’s hair had changed also. His wavy hair was now black, having an almost dark gray hue in certain light. Saionji wore his hair in a loose ponytail, which draped over his right shoulder. The Japanese teen was wearing black slacks, a white short-sleeved, cotton button-up, a long black tie with a white cross on the end of it, and black wrist bands.
Utena chuckled before stepping aside. “Come on in. Everyone’s in the lounge.”
Utena looked down to see Mouse follow Touga and Saionji into the house. The cat stopped for a moment to rub against her legs.
“Hope you don’t mind, Miki. He refused to stay at home,” Saionji said to the younger boy, who stood at the lounge’s doorway.
“Not at all! Now Chu-Chu will have a guest,” Miki said, smiling.
The taller teen gave a nod and then entered the lounge after Touga.
“Wow, Touga and Saionji… They’ve become some of my closest friends now. Over time, I began to see their changes as well. Saionji wasn’t constantly angry anymore. Though he still had a rather short fuse, he wasn’t afraid to smile or laugh. And, to my knowledge, he’s never struck anyone out of anger since the ordeal. Also, he doesn’t seem to mind that I call him by his first name now either. On top of all that, he and I have tea in the Kendo room almost every Monday. I enjoy it.
Then there’s Touga. He’s still the student council President, just as Saionji’s still the Vice-President, Juri the Secretary, and Miki the Treasurer. Touga takes his job more seriously now and actually shows passion in it. I’m also happy to say he cut down on his womanizing. He’s still a bit of a flirt in public, but…according to my own reliable sources, the only person he, or Nanami allows to get near his bedroom is…Heheheheh, well, I suppose that’s not my business to tell.”
The group sat together in the lounge and chatted socially about the past weeks.
“Oh! I forgot to ask earlier. Wakaba couldn’t make it, Utena?” Anthy asked the girl sitting next to her.
“Sadly, no. She and the rest of the volleyball team had an away game tonight. I had to talk to her three times before I convinced her not to leave the game early so she could be here,” Utena stated fondly, giggling.
“Seems you’ll have to make it up to her,” Saionji said calmly, taking a sip of tea, which he’d requested instead of punch.
“I don’t mind,” Utena told him, smiling.
“Miki, Juri told me that you went for an interview with Professor Mikage. I bet that was interesting. How did it go?” Ruka asked then.
“What? Again?” Touga said before Miki could answer.
The younger boy nodded. “Yes, and it went very well. I agreed to be the Professor’s new assistant. He told me that his previous one had moved to another city with his older sister. I’m really grateful for the job,” the brown-haired boy explained.
“Well, then, congratulations, Miki,” Utena said, clapping her hands.
“Just when were you going to tell us about it?” Anthy asked, sounding a tad upset.
Miki blushed and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “Sorry… I got so wrapped up in this evening that it slipped my mind,” he said.
“We’ll forgive you this time, right, Anthy?” Ios said to his sister, who nodded, pouting.
“You should try and think of yourself more, Miki,” Nanami stated, nodding.
“By the way, Miki, where’s Kouze?” Juri asked the boy after a moment.
“Like Wakaba, she’s off with the volleyball team. She wanted me to tell all of you “hello”,” Miki said, before getting a cookie from the snack tray.
“And Shiori couldn’t make it either?” Utena asked Juri.
The former Orange Rose shook her head. “Afraid not. She left yesterday to go and tour another Academy. Shiori’s thinking of transferring.”
“Oh, that’s too bad…” Anthy said, a look of sympathy on her face.
Juri shrugged. “She said that Ohtori isn’t what she was looking for after all,” she said.
“Well, let’s hope she finds what she’s looking for,” Ruka said, giving Juri a smile. The red-headed girl nodded.
“Okay, guys! Let’s play some games. We’ve been just sitting and talking this entire time,” Utena said, going to search through a stack of game boxes.
“I vote for Scrabble,” Ruka said, smiling. “I’m quite good at that.”
“I think Monopoly would be fun. Being the best at math, I vote for Saionji being the bank,” Touga stated. Saionji didn’t object.
A grin came to Utena’s face as she found the perfect game. “Twister!” she exclaimed, holding up the rather thick box.
“Are you kidding me? Twister? What are we, twelve-year-olds?” Saionji grumbled, frowning at the game.
Utena smiled, “Aww, come on! I think it’ll be fun,” she said. “All in favor of Twister, raise your hand!” she added before anything else could be said.
All raised their hands except for Saionji, Ruka, and Nanami.
“Ha! We win! Twister it is,” Anthy said, getting up to help Utena spread out the jumbo game mat.
“I can’t believe you voted for that…” Saionji hissed to Touga, almost pouting. The student council President only grinned. Why did that make Saionji uncomfortable?
“Alright. Let’s have a couples-battle. We’ll have three teams. Team one will be Touga and Kyouichi, team two will be Juri and Ruka, and Anthy and I will be team three,” Utena stated after the game was set up.
Saionji groaned, but Ruka accepted his fate quietly. Touga removed his jacket, and Ruka took off his hat, before the first two teams made their way onto the massive playing mat.
“Um, I’m going to sit this one out, Utena,” Anthy said, giggling nervously.
“Huh? But why?” Utena asked, not understanding.
“Heehee, my skirt,” Anthy said, blushing a bit. The Indian girl was wearing a blue jean mini-skirt and a white blouse with pink flowers on it.
Utena understood and sighed, “Oh, well. I suppose I’ll sit this one out as well.”
“I’ll be your partner, Utena,” Ios said then.
Utena’s eyes lit up and she nodded. “Alright, let’s go!” she said, going out onto the mat with the others. “Miki, you instruct us, okay?”
“Got’cha,” Miki said, picking up a sheet of paper from inside the box. “Alright, um, first team to loose their balance and fall onto the playing mat is out. Last team standing wins,” the boy said. “Ready?”
“Yup!” Utena said happily.
“No…” Saionji groaned.
“Yes, we’re ready, Miki,” Juri said, smiling.
Miki began the game after that, instructing each team what color they needed to touch with a certain body part without falling. The game went smoothly for say…the first ten minutes.
It wasn’t long before Saionji found himself in a rather odd position on the mat with Touga. Groaning, the former Green Rose’s eyebrow twitched as the Seitokai President grinned, hovering inches above him.
“I’m liking this game more and more by the second,” Touga purred, looking down at his friend.
“I’m glad one of us is…” Saionji murmured, glaring.
“Touga, left hand blue,” Miki said, standing next to the mat.
Following his orders, Touga was now fully straddling Saionji. “You see? This keeps getting better…” Touga whispered to Saionji as Miki gave orders to Juri and Ruka next.
“You do something stupid and I swear I will bite your nose off,” Saionji stated venomously.
Touga ignored him. “Pity I can’t touch you with my hands though…” he whispered, nuzzling the Vice-President’s collarbone.
“Okay,” Saionji hissed, “That’s it!”
With that, Saionji pretended to loose his balance and then fell onto the mat. “Whoops, looks like we’re out,” he said, and was off the mat before anyone could protest.
“That wasn’t fair, Kyo-chan,” Touga pouted as he returned to his seat next to Saionji, sticking out his lower lip. Saionji didn’t reply, sitting stoically on the couch with his arms crossed.
The game continued on and soon Juri and Ruka were the winners. While they were being congratulated, something outside the big picture window caught Ruka’s eye. He gasped softly. “Look, everyone!” he said, an excited smile spreading on his face.
All eyes turned to gaze out the window. “Oh, wow! Look!” Utena laughed.
Outside, a beautiful star shower was taking place, the dark sky light up with silver shooting stars. “Come on, let’s go outside and see!” Touga said, before hurrying out of the lounge. Saionji picked up Mouse and followed, as did the others.
Running out into the front yard, the group stood in amazement as they watched the stars streak through the black sky. It was breathtaking.
The star shower soon ceased, leaving Utena and the others speechless.
Utena finally broke the silence. “Wow… That was gorgeous, you guys…” she whispered, standing next to Anthy and Ios.
“Truly,” Touga said, smiling at the now still sky.
“And a good way to end a night,” Saionji said then, looking over at Touga. “Ready to get going?”
“What? You guys are leaving already?” Utena asked, checking her watch again. “But it’s only a little after ten.”
“True, but Touga and I have an early day tomorrow,” Saionji said, looking at Utena.
“Oh?” asked Utena.
Touga nodded. “Indeed. We’re flying out for Japan in the morning,” he said.
A few of the others gave light gasps at the news. “Wow! Japan? Why?” Miki asked curiously.
“My parents insisted,” Saionji said with a shrug, still holding Mouse. “They haven’t seen me in a while, so I agreed to come for a visit during spring break. Touga and Mouse are just tagging along."
“After all he did for me at the Rose Gate, this was the least I could do for Saionji. I know it’s rather cheesy, but there’s this one part in a song that reminds me of him.
‘Holy lightning, strikes all that’s evil, teaching us to live for goodness sake. Hear the music, all the love eternal, teaching us to love for goodness sake.’
Saionji longed for his family, and now he has it again. Touga was there when Saionji got his first call from his parents after everything was over. Touga told me that, once he got off the phone, Saionji began to cry, unable to hold back. We never told him that I know that. (giggle)”
“Well, I hope the two of you have a good time. Please give your family my regards, Kyouichi,” Utena said with a smile. “I’m a little disappointed though. I hoped we could all go to the beach together before our break was over.”
“Don’t sweat it. We’re only going to be gone for six days. That leaves us a whole four days to get down to the beach,” Saionji said, smiling a bit.
“I can’t wait,” Utena said, beaming. “Have a good night, you two.”
“Likewise. See ya,” Saionji replied, before he and Touga headed off together.
“Bye!!” Anthy called, waving to the two boys.
“Have a good trip,” Juri said, smiling.
Still standing with the others, Nanami shouted, “Make sure you bring all of us something!”
Once they were out of sight, Touga grabbed Saionji and pulled him close. The kendo-ka sighed, though didn’t try to get away. “What now, Touga?” he asked.
Touga purred and playfully nipped his neck. “When we get back, I want to show you my version of Twister,” the President said.
Saionji chuckled. “Game on,” he replied.
“So, as you can see, life looks pretty good for us. I can’t say what will happen in the future, but I think we’ll be ready for it. Wish us luck, won’t you? Goodnight. See you next time.”