Author’s Note- This was a request from a friend, but I have to say I enjoyed writing it quite a bit. It contains song lyrics by Tori Amos, from her album “From the Choirgirl Hotel.” Warning- there’s canonical yuri within, meaning that Juri, like in the show, has her thing for Shiori. Also, there’s implied sex. Duh. It’s Utena.
Summary- Three moments throughout Utena showcasing the complicated, understated non-relationship between Juri and Touga. (Note- this is not a romantic one.)
1. Pandora’s Aquarium
I am not asking you
To believe in me
Boy I think you’re confused
I’m not Persephone
She’s in New York somewhere
Checking her accounts
The Lord of the Flies
Was diagnosed as sound-
Touga and Juri were rarely alone together. Although neither of them may have consciously understood it, they were dangerous to one another.
Touga was dangerous to Juri because he knew her secret. He knew what hung under her uniform, whose picture was hidden under a layer of golden designs and an flower not yet blossomed. He knew what she was thinking of when she touched her chest and sighed, green eyes turning glazed and bright. There was knowledge in his voice, an undisguised sort of honey contempt there when he inquired if she might have some kind of heart condition. She touched her chest so much, see. Since it was only in front of Miki that he said such things, she couldn’t reply back. A heart condition, huh? Maybe.
If Juri had truly understood the game Touga played, though, she would have realized she was a risk to him, too. Her eyes were open when it came to him. She knew Touga wasn’t a prince. His good looks and charisma had no effect on her, did not blind her at all.
The incurable playboy had long since given up on trying to hit on Juri. She was out of reach. Once you knew her, the idea of doing anything of the sort was inconceivable. If it had been anyone else, winning her may have become a mission, a challenge, like it had with another prince, but this was Juri.
It was in that way that neither of them meant particularly much to one another. Neither of them could give the other what they wanted. Touga simply wanted everything, and someone like Juri was only just barely a part of that. Juri’s universe consisted of Shiori. Still, student council meetings without Miki, as few as they were, were interesting affairs. This was such a one.
“Why can’t you just let it go?”
Juri shut her locket hurriedly. Every time someone saw her locket, she felt exposed and weak. It was the one feeling she couldn’t stand above anything else.
“Why do you even care?” she asked.
Touga shrugged. Between him and Juri, there was less pretenses than there was with other people. “I don’t understand you.” There was a pause.
“That’s because you don’t know what it’s like to love anyone,” Juri said back sharply.
“What is it like?” Touga asked. His voice was hard to read. The balloons that drifted above them were all a blushing, whimsical shade of pink.
Juri tilted her head back, staring up into the wispy clouds and the pale sky. “Love? It’s like- like bleeding to death.”
“Bleeding?” Touga asked. He fingered his hair, running his fingers through its long, blood-colored strands, then laughed. “I should talk to you more. You always say the most interesting things.” He stretched and caught one of the pink balloons, offering it to her. “A princess for a prince,” he announced.
Juri flicked out a finger, calloused from fencing, and used a perfectly manicured fingernail to pop the balloon without blinking an eye.
The elevator doors slid open, and a red, puffing Kaoru Miki ran in. “Sorry I’m late! Sorry! Sorry! My sister, she-”
“It’s okay, Mi-ki,” Touga smiled. “No need to explain. Let’s just get to work, shall we? I received a letter from End of the World.” He pulled out an envelope. Juri’s eyes narrowed, and Touga almost smirked. “Guess whose turn to duel it is?”
He raised a white rose from where it had laid on his lap, the color of his challenge, and inhaled its sweet fragrance. It looked pure and beautiful against his skin, virtually untouched. If was love was blood was red, white and red made pink.
2. Liquid Diamonds
I guess I’m an underwater thing so
I guess I can’t take it personally
I guess I’m an underwater thing
I’m liquid running, oh
There’s a sea secret in me-
it’s plain to see it is rising
But I must be flowing, liquid diamonds, liquid-
I go I go inside her shell I see it so
And you’re doing oh so well these days
You’re doing oh so well-
“How are you doing these days, Touga?” He had to be doing better than he had been if he’d let Nanami drag him to a crowded party like this. It cut a sharp contrast with the exile inside the Kiryuu mansion that the former president had imposed upon himself.
Touga gave Juri a smile that was disconcertingly pure Touga, the boy she had known before his defeat coming back for a second. “How are you doing, Juri? Takatsuki’s come back to Ohtori, you know.”
Her hand unconsciously curled around her chest, but not for the same reason it had before, not because of the locket. She remembered Touga’s words: a heart condition. She wondered if anyone had ever pulled a sword out of his heart.
“I can’t complain. But I did ask first.”
“My classical music collection is quite fascinating.”
“Saionji’s returned to school,” Juri pushed, looking for some kind of reaction. She didn’t know if Touga knew.
“Fascinating,” Touga said dryly, seemingly tiring of her. Even now, there was little he was unaware of. “If you’ll excuse me.” He walked over to Tenjou and Himemiya. Juri watched him make his way there, assessing him calculatingly. No one noticed Sonoda Keiko, clad in a ridiculously frilly dress, peering into the window longingly. Juri certainly didn’t.
“I gave Tenjou the sword she defeated you with,” Juri said when Touga returned. Such a conversation with Touga was like playing poker. You kept your cards close, your face blank, and you didn’t betray your hand until you absolutely had to, and then the game was over.
“I know. I recognized it,” Touga said. Something dark passed across his face for a moment. “You once fought me with that sword.” He looked Juri in the eye, blue gaze challenging hers. “It’s a good sword. Do you intend to tell Takatsuki how you feel?”
Shiori was somewhere in the party, talking to an acne-encrusted little boy. She danced self-consciously, off-balance, her face stained a little with chocolate. She threw back a cup of water like a jug of beer, like a sacred chalice. Saionji wasn’t at the party.
Juri did the closest thing she came to snorting. “Touga, you haven’t changed at all.”
“You think,” Touga half-asked, idly. “Arisugawa? The two of us are a bit similar, aren’t we?”
Her nose wrinkled. “I’m nothing like you,” she said flatly. She had her pride.
“Would you like me to return to the student council?” he asked lightly, dropping the topic. In some ways, it was like he was a shadow of himself.
“Anyone would be better than your little sister,” Juri said. She didn’t like Nanami, and in front of Touga, she was honest.
Miki and the said Nanami, upon inspection, were talking together, standing right at the center of the party. Nanami was giving some sort of dramatic speech, waving her arms around haphazardly. Miki looked startled and put off, itching to make his escape from her.
“I don’t think I will, though,” Touga said. “Good day, Juri. I’m going in. Give Tenjou my regards.” He slipped away unnoticed, just like Nanami’s henchwoman had. They both knew she wouldn’t.
Juri left the party late, walking alongside Miki and chatting about fencing. It had started to rain, droplets trickling down from a starkly white sky. She’d brought an umbrella, having seen the weather forecast beforehand, but she’d noticed that Shiori had forgotten hers, so she had left her orange one for the other girl. She refused Miki’s offer to share his blue umbrella with her. She didn’t mind walking in the rain. The drops flowed over her skin, clouding her eyes. She had always loved water.
A few days later, Touga got caught in the rain, just as she had. Sonoda Keiko offered to share her umbrella with him, and he stepped under it without speaking, accepting a simple kindness.
A few days later, Keiko pulled a sword out of Touga’s heart, and Juri’s hand jerked, the pencil she had been using in class breaking. Her chest hurt.
3. Raspberry Swirl
If you want inside her well
Boy you better make her raspberry swirl-
Things are getting desperate
When all the boys can’t be men
Everybody knows I’m her friend
Everybody knows I’m her man...
“Care for a sparring match?”
Juri looked up from her fencing. Touga stood there at the door. He could only have just arrived; she would have noticed his presence the moment he stepped in the door.
“What do you want? Are you going to try to make me duel?”
“Where did you get that idea?” Touga asked, looking genuinely puzzled. He was a good actor.
“Miki told me a little about what his motivations for dueling were,” Juri snapped. She stepped forward, her foil not relaxing in her hand. Underneath her uniform, her locket swung with her.
Touga shrugged gracefully, then pulled a tape recorder out of his pocket and pressed the play button. A haunting melody began to echo throughout the fencing hall. It was a painful, nostalgic song, bittersweet, as if someone was wishing for what had come before, wishing for something very much like a miracle. It was impossible to go back, though.There was something about it that said all this wasn’t over, either, not by a long shot. There was much more to come.
Juri pushed the stop button on the tape player. The music, which had sounded like something Miki had written, stopped abruptly. “What do you want with me, Touga?”
“I already told you,” he said, “A sparring match.” She’d need practice for what was coming.
“No,” Juri said, unhesitating.
“Afraid I might beat you?”
“No. I just don’t like fighting you.”
“You know, things may not turn out the way you think they will, Arisugawa. With me, with the duels, with you. You think you’re next in the sequence, but you may see a surprise coming your way.”
“Go away, Touga, I’m busy. You’re weaker than you used to be.”
“Arisugawa, what do you think a miracle is, really?”
Seeing no response, he left, leaving the tape player where he’d been.
Juri pulled out the tape from it and stared at the label.
Prelude to First Movement, it read. The first movement’s name was Whispering in the Dark.
Juri changed out of her fencing uniform and looked out the window of the locker room. It wasn’t dark yet. It was still sunset.
Two shadows in off time stood, conversing. For once they wore no disguises.
“I’m bored. Nothing’s going on,” one complained.
“It’s all for the best. I can’t think of any creative things to say, anyway,” the second one pointed out.
“You’re boring, you. I, I, I have plenty of ideas.”
They often mock-fought like this, gently taunting. They were comfortable enough with one another to.
“But when I come up with an idea, it’s much better than any of yours.”
“Does it matter?” A strange bitterness crept into her tone. “Nobody hears it but the two of us, anyway.”
“I think Utena-sama hears us.” They always ended up talking about Utena-sama. “We do know what’s to come, after all. She’d listen.”
“Ever heard of Cassandra, from Greek myths?”
A-ko always ended up quoting from Greek myths, because although it was a little-known fact, she loved them. B-ko never let her put them in the shadow plays, though. This wasn’t suppoed to be repeating what had come before, this going to be something new.
“Heh, good point. We could come up with a good play about her, you know.”
A-ko was struck by B-ko’s sudden change of heart for a second, then she quickly spoke, making the best of the chance. “The trouble is, Arisugawa Juri has nothing to do with an oracle no one believed.”
“Yeah,” B-ko said. “She’s silent anyway.”
“What about the new one, then? The new duelist?”
“I don’t know. How about his Rose Bride?”
“You know, I think Greek myths are too serious for us after all,” A-ko said. “How does something about fishing sound?”
The Shadow Play Girls went fishing, unsuccessfully. They came up with a kettle, then a tire, not exactly the sustenance they’d been looking for. There would be no dinner for them tonight.
Across campus, Tenjou Utena triumphed over Tsuchiya Ruka. His rose bride, Takatsuki Shiori, screamed, her car coming to a halt. The next day, Ruka broke up with her in front of the entire school.
Touga watched as Akio’s car drove away with Juri in it. Something in him felt strangely regretful. Ah, it was probably just from seeing Tsuchiya in his place. That wouldn’t last for long, though. Maybe after all this was over, he’d take Arisugawa to visit Tsuchiya’s grave. Yeah, right.
The duel happened as was inevitable. Arisugawa’s rose fell. It didn’t end that simply, though. Something had changed, for Takatsuki ran after Arisugawa, and Arisugawa didn’t even slow down for her. Arisugawa had pulled the rose off on her own.
“Juri!” he called. The orange-haired girl turned. There was something different about her now: a miracle. Touga smiled and clapped. “Congratulations.”
She didn’t even know what he meant.
Takatsuki was crying into Touga’s shoulder. “And she won’t even notice me now!” the girl finished, snot dribbling out of her nose repulsively. “God, I love her so much! Why won’t she see me!”
“She’s too good for you,” Touga said. “For anyone, really. But I’m willing to take a dip in the mud every once in a while, Takatsuki. Want me to make you forget Arisugawa Juri ever existed?”
There was a reason they all ignored Cassandra, you know.