You know what? I hate html.I wish I was doing almost anything else.Like getting laid. I could be having sex right now, but noooo.I watched Utena lose her virginity again this weekend.That scene is so hot.The fine line between obsession and madness is... what was I saying?GIRL ON GIRL ACTION!!!I want that outfit. I like red and black. What a surprise.This layout took forever to get just right. But that was because I took so many breaks.I never ate glue in kindergarten. Hard to tell, huh?Gio keeps talking about food. What a bitch.LEGS.See, I'm being productive. Now if only I could do this at work, where productive is just a dream...GODDAMMIT STOP TALKING ABOUT FOODYou know, those are the only important things in life. Food, sex, and sleep.Everything else is just window dressing.I have to clean my house still. That sucks.I hate cleaning. I should buy maids.I want to go to a museum, but I don't want to get out of my jammies.I suck at being energetic.Funny, you don't look Druish.


The Twilight of Our Discontent


Part I: Discontentment

Kaoru Kozue rapped her nails sharply against the desk and narrowed her eyes on the young girl's face. "You lost him?" Her voice was a low and dangerous hiss.

The young girl blinked her wide eyes and stammered in fear. "We-we didn't lose him, as such, but--"

"But you don't know where he is."

The girl at the desk dropped her eyes toward the phone. "Let me just, uh, call the doctor. I'll just call the doctor."

Kozue stormed back toward her husband and lit a cigarette. Instinct told her to snarl "call the lawyer", but after the mess of her second divorce she'd seen it prudent to simply marry a lawyer. "I can't believe this," she muttered instead, exhaling a cloud of smoke into the waiting room. "This isn't some fucking state-run rat hole--we pay good money to see that he's well taken care of!"

"I know, dear, I know." His arm still felt foreign around her back and she had a feeling that this new arrangement wouldn't last long.

Whether out of love or a simple sense of duty, she'd been to see Miki-kun every other Sunday since that day seven years ago, the day a man from the hospital called to say her brother had had an accident, and could she please meet the doctors there to discuss it? It had taken three people to restrain him, fighting the compact strength of a fencer to force him onto the gurney and pull him screaming into the sunlight. A seizure, they'd called it, his nerves responding to things that weren't there, but she knew better. From the hall she could hear him, frantically screaming about castles and eternity and shining things, and with shaking hands she signed the paper allowing him to be medicated.

That had been only a few short years, but it felt like ages to Kozue; ages of Sundays, finding him writing math formulas that looked like Greek to her, or playing their tired old song on the small piano tucked away almost as though by accident in a back room of the asylum. He would spend hours, the nurses said, playing the same lovely song in a tiny room sandwiched between a chemical closet and empty beds.

Yes, that was Miki, she'd muttered with a sigh.

The nurses there loved him--always patient and quiet, more like a boy than a man, and never resisting the medication that kept the delusions at bay. He'd never quite accepted reality again after that day in the library, but he was peaceful in his world of piano and math and reading the books Kozue brought him.

But the desk girl was back, drawing Kozue out of her memories. All they had found in his room, the little girl said, wringing her hands, was a torn envelope with a red wax seal on the back. A rose seal, like that odd silver ring he had.

Kozue cried out suddenly and made as though to strike the girl, held back only by her husband. How could these nurses, these doctors who were relieved to find so easy a patient, just let him slip through their fingers?


The light clicked on and Arisugawa Juri caught her reflection in the hall mirror. She had earned that self-satisfied smile, even if her eyes didn't hold it. She'd killed that expert on cross, caught him in his own mistake and dragged him through it, making him out as a fool to the jury. Nothing else the prosecutor could bring up would replace that image to them; this case of robbery now revolved around a broken chain of custody and an officer with a grudge.

The trial was as good as hers.

Juri was good at what she did--she was good at getting behind lies and around the technicalities and poorly done investigations, good at convincing twelve intelligent people to suspend their preconceived notions and understand that her client was innocent, no matter what that moron from the district attorney's office said.

She was going to have to move to a new jurisdiction, she realized. James Cheviot made it too easy for her to best him.

She'd been the first woman to make partner at her firm, and the young redheaded secretary who worked under her called her "Prince" with stars in her eyes. And it was true--to replace that girl, she was playing the prince for the firm, complete with pro-bono representation and charity under an assumed name.

She slipped the burgundy coat off her shoulders with a small sigh. This was what you wanted, she told herself, this is the success you were promised at that prestigious academy, and when you graduated at the top of your class. Her clothes were rich and soft, and she pampered her body to pass the time. She would wink and flirt with the girl who called her prince, and she could stand proudly before the court in her tall boots and her feminine sport coats, flipping the curls out of her eyes and tossing a well-timed question at a witness. She'd fought hard to get here, to earn her place at the top of a brutal ladder.

So why, exactly wasn't she happy?

She sighed again, a deep ragged sound like a death rattle, and started running the bath. Her apartment was massive and sparsely furnished, full of the bleak discomfort of solid, drab colors and smart modular furniture.

She'd left the bath to fill and went back to the main hall for her mail. She sifted quickly through a newsletter from her alma mater, something from the firm and a letter to someone else that had found its way into her stack, nothing worth keeping--


This seal, this bit of wax pressed in a familiar shape...with a quick swipe of her letter opener the envelope fell to the floor and her shaking fingers slowly unfolded the slip of paper in her hand. The apartment was silent but for the rush of water in the bathroom and her heavy breathing.

Ten minutes later she was out the door, water still running in the tub.


The house felt empty without Himemiya.

Utena dropped her keys on the table and set about fixing a snack, wiping the sweat off her forehead with her arm. The birds chirped outside in the small stretch of woods behind their home, drawn by the sweet smell of Anthy's roses and looking for the bread and seeds she would throw to them from time to time.

Anthy still grew roses, but she had finally stopped calling her love "Miss Utena". She'd taken to wearing ankle-length Bohemian skirts and chunky thrift-store jewelry; she left her hair down and made up her eyes on special occasions.

Utena had recently become a lady's gym teacher at a local high school, and it wasn't uncommon to find her students in the back room of Anthy's tea shop, having their palm read or sharing their troubles over steaming cups. See Miss Himemiya, Utena would hear the girls whisper in the locker room. If he dumped you, see the Rose Witch. She can help.

They were right, though; somehow, just telling Anthy your troubles made them seem better. The world was brighter when you left the tea shop, and your problems seemed to sort themselves out with time.

Utena grabbed her water bottle from the fridge and took a long drink. Yes, Himemiya the Rose Witch, finally using her powers for good. She felt a lonely stab of love for her, that girl with the simple smile who shared her home and her bed and made her feel complete. They'd made each other happy out here, on the edge of this small town, but they were somewhat lonely. No one wanted to deal with them unless they needed some of Anthy's magic.

The note was still tacked on the refrigerator door--"Utena, my love...I'm going to heal an old but sore wound. I shall see you later. Adoringly, your Anthy." Utena read it over again and then went back to the stove to turn off her noodles.

The telephone rang and she ran to it, hoping for news on whether she would have a job next year. But the dark, soft voice on the other end muttered something that made long dead memories resurface, and her eyes flashed suddenly with shock as she dropped the phone.


He was like a lovely nightmare, a vision of beautiful terror dressed in green and bathed in the moonlight.

He prided himself on the fact that his lovely violet eyes were the last thing some people would ever see.

Saionji Kyouichi was the best in the business. He was neutral in the games and territorial disputes of the underworld of city crime, but if someone simply needed to be gotten rid of he was there. You could find him in a small flat over a noodle shop, practicing relentlessly to keep his skills sharp or having a simple meal of rice and tea.

His was a life filled only with a romantic sense of discipline, the strength and control of someone who was controlled by their art. Generally, he enjoyed the dark solitude, and the sense of fear from those who came to seek his services.

But sometimes, in the dark of night, he couldn't help but wonder what it all was for. These were the nights when he locked his door and sat at the small table, back straight, glass bottle and tumbler before him. On these nights, he had already done all the practicing he could usefully perform that day, and already sifted absently through the books stacked neatly in one corner. He could drink steadily and usually held his liquor with the self-control he had over all other facets of his life, but these nights would usually find him slightly drunken, curled on his sleeping pallet with tears in his eyes and a desperate desire to end it all.

A girl, he would remember, a beautiful girl with knowing emerald eyes he couldn't look away from. On these nights there was nothing but her eyes, and the soft touch of her skin and smell of her hair was smothering him.

Ironic, that in those fatal moments he felt that last thing he would ever see where those eyes, the compliment to the last sight of so many who had crossed the underworld crime lords. He would look to his sword, sitting in the center of the room, suddenly a revered and hated figure looming over his life, and when he finally decided to reach for it his eyes would close and release him into oblivion.

It had been a particularly volatile night of remembering for him, he realized. The light stung slightly in his eyes and he winced at the sudden vertigo which gripped him. When the dizziness passed he noticed a small square of white in the usual shadows of the chamber. The morning light was illuminating it in a way most picturesque, and as he stepped towards it his heart was in his throat. He paused for a moment, curious about the sensation gathering itself in the pit of his stomach.

Anticipation? Excitement? It'd been very long since he'd had any use for these feelings; a slightly sinister calm had gripped most of his life, so slowly that he hadn't even realize how much a welcome change anything new and exciting could be.

Exciting? Oh yes. But the small sealed envelope contained nothing new.


Being Kiryuu Touga was like running in a circle--it got you nowhere, but it felt like you were doing something important.

Touga had been enjoying the local political circuit for a year, having more control over the state of affairs than he should have at his age. It was like life back at that school, that prestigious high school, where the power of the Student Council was beyond anything it should have been. But he didn't question it--he liked the power, he liked the control, and he especially like the interesting opportunities it allowed him with certain ladies.

But every so often, one must stop running, letting their exhaustion catch up with them as they realize the futility of their actions.

Tonight, cigarette pressed between his lips, was one of those nights. That girl--yes, what's-her-name, that cute blonde--was dressing in the corner and muttering something about her boyfriend. Touga ignored her and watched the smoke drift towards the ceiling. He'd spent the last year in dark places like this, running circles and getting nowhere, seeing nothing but the next petty goal. He was knee-deep in the council's corruption, watching their excesses with disgust. He'd always been pretty good about ignoring his moral scruples, drowning any sense of right and wrong in women and the cheerful exploits of the rich and bored, but sometimes it could catch up with him, and he felt like he was the one drowning, pulled under a current he helped create.

He sat up, letting the sheet slide down his toned chest as the girl left. He wished desperately that he'd picked up the world-weary divorcee, someone who could have understood the deep sense of disillusionment overtaking him. It surprised him, because he'd never been an idealist, but sometimes he could almost feel that maybe there was meant to be something more to life, and that happiness wasn't measured by the dollar or the number of people under your thumb.

But there was nothing for it. He stubbed out his cigarette and shook his head.

Wait, was there? He opened the nightstand and pulled out a small envelope, an envelope sealed in red. It'd been so long since he'd seen this sort of letter, and for the life of him he couldn't remember what was supposed to be in it. Slowly he tore it open, pulling out a folded piece of white paper and opening it gently.

Ah yes, that was it. A small, creeping sense--idealism, could it be?--snuck its way into the back of his mind.