Disclaimer: I don't own the characters from any anime series found within this Ranma 1/2 – Utena crossover. Ranma and Utena both are licensed by Viz Media in America and are copyright their respective owners.
AN: I've gotten a lot of flak since the last chapter about Ranma being permanently female, I'll take this time to inform you that this is not the case and that he'll be getting nookie relatively frequently in both forms in later chapters. To those of you who swore never to read this fic anymore because of the latest plot development, give it a second chance. I know that I hate fics where he's permanently female and try never to write one where he's even locked but this one seemed to scream for such a development.
By Dr. Suekeiichi Kaiton
Utena crossed the darkened and shadowed corridors between the middle and high schools with the gait of one pressed into an action they were not entirely sure about, like a man pointed towards a ravenous tiger with an olive fork. Why she had to do this was beyond her, she simply didn't understand why her old life needed so much closure – she didn't feel gypped or cheated, she just wanted to stay out of things and live her own life. It seemed, however, that Anthy would never let her have that peace.
Students milled about on the broad green lawns outside the junior high under the weighty shadow of the campus spire, the lofty peak from which Akio looked down at the insects inhabiting his personal farm. The whole idea disgusted her, the idea that Akio was still doing the same fiendish things all over again in a foolish attempt to covet something long since lost. No one said anything to her as she strode purposefully towards the Chairman's residence.
The entrance was as bare as it always had been that year since past, a loft lobby with nothing in it save a wrought-iron enclosed elevator. An enormous Rose Seal mosaic glistened in the dim light causing bile to rise in her throat. Her scars itched and she was just a little warm in a long-sleeve shirt and slacks. Scratching her shoulder as she waited for the elevator she didn't hear the click of hard leather soles on the pristine marble of the floor until a slim finger touched her arm.
"So you did come back, Tenjou-san." Miki Kaoru folded his arm around the leather valise in his left hand and offered his right. Utena found no reason not to shake his hand and so she did, feeling his grip grind against the soft cartilage of her knuckles. Miki grew up in the past year…well, perhaps that was a bit much. No, he hadn't grown any taller, nor had his voice cracked, there was just something vacant in his expression, as if he lacked the animating spark she'd gotten used to seeing behind his eyes. He smiled thinly as they broke off and pointed to the elevator. "Are you visiting Touga?"
"No. No, why would you think that?"
Miki lowered his head and shook it from side to side exaggeratedly. "The Chairman, then? You don't waste any time, do you?" He stepped beside her and waiting for her to turn back towards the elevator cage.
She didn't like this new Miki's attitude. He was different, bitter, just what the hell had happened in a single year to make them all act so strange. "Just what do you mean by that?"
"Word around campus was you were kicked out for having an illicit relationship with the then-acting Chairman." He looked up at the indicator. The lift was falling at an astonishing rate. "Of course we both know better."
"You'd better know better; you know what happened, don't you?" Utena waited until the metal platform finished settling before throwing aside the iron lattice and stepping inside. She pushed the penthouse button and waiting for Miki to board and select the Student Council chambers.
"I don't know the details but I think I have a fair idea what when on…not that I really know what you went through, that I can only guess." The doors closed and the elevator began to rise, the clear blue sky filtering in through the glass panel peeking out of the shaft. "You fought and lost the duel named Revolution, that was what End of the World told us in the letters the next day. They simply stated that the duelist Utena Tenjou failed to bring about the World Revolution and that the duels would resume in a month's time."
"Did they?" She didn't think it was possible without Himemiya but Akio did have some tricks up his sleeves for such occasions. Anthy had left before the duels began again, hadn't she? But then why would it have taken her a year to find her again? Tokyo wasn't so far away from here; did she just visit every two-bit town up and down the coast?
"No. Himemiya left the very next day and End of the World declared that another would become the Bride. We dueled for a little while but it proved to be a mistake." There was something unsaid in Miki's statement, a little hesitation Utena caught but wasn't sure if it was a normal pause or deliberate. "Kozue…was injured in a duel to become the Bride."
"I'm sorry, Miki, was she hurt badly?" It figured there wasn't anyone who had enough power to become the Bride except Anthy and maybe Dios, but that wasn't certain since no one had been able to free Dios since the beginning of time.
"Her pride was hurt more than she was…she was trying so hard as well but End of the World declared the duel void and we lost it all. After that there were no more duels, we didn't even receive any letters until yesterday." Miki flipped open the tongue on his valise and handed her a small cream-colored envelope stinking with the cloying sweetness of Roses. Utena didn't take it from him. He seemed to understand and replaced the valise by his side. "They didn't say much, the letters, only that you and Himemiya would be returning today with a University student and that the duels would resume soon."
Utena looked up and realized that they were just reaching the Student Council room. She held her tongue until they arrived and the doors opened. Miki stepped out and looked back expectantly. "I won't be dueling this time. You and the others can have the power to revolutionize the World…for what good it'll do you."
"Is that a hint of bitterness I detect in your voice, Tenjou-san? One of us will revolutionize the World this year, of that I can assure you."
Utena rolled her eyes and wondered if Miki had always been like this and she hadn't noticed, or if this was a new thing. It was tiresome in any case. "You can try, Miki, but I'll warn you just this once: think twice before you duel. The Power to Revolutionize the World is not everything you think it is…at least not for us." With that the doors slowly slid shut on Miki's defiant face with the muted click of well-greased gears. Now, onward and upward to the showdown...
Miki watched the elevator continue up the shaft and shook his head. She really didn't have any idea why any of them dueled, did she? He knew that none of them were truly fighting for the world revolution; they were all just fighting to see their own petty dreams come true. Even Tsuwabuki was getting wrapped into the insane mess that was the Dueling Game. The idea of young Tsuwabuki fighting against Touga or Juri chilled his blood. He could do it to if the occasion called for it, any duelist could summon the power to defeat even an opponent of superior strength once – the trick was to win consistently and thus far only Utena Tenjou had succeeded.
Nanami was sitting primly beside her brother at the table on the prow, gazing with adoring eyes as Touga silently read a book of Showa-era erotica. How someone could be so devoted to another was beyond him…sure he felt strongly for Kozue's wellbeing but he didn't follow her around like a puppy dog, he trusted that no matter how bad her decisions that she could handle the consequences.
"Was that Utena Tenjou you were riding up with? She's really returned?" Touga lowered the brown leather-bound booklet of Seventies smut below his eyes and pierced Miki with a glance.
"Yes. I believe she was going to visit the Chairman." He knew how the President felt about Tenjou and watched his impassive face for any clue to betray those feelings. To his dismay, but not surprise, the redhead gave no sign of any care either way. Instead he raised his book once again and leaned backward to block the errant rays of the sun. Beside him, Nanami was stretched in an impossible position trying to watch his face. Miki sat across from the Student Council President and opened his valise. "Tenjou-san did not receive a letter from End of the World and expressed no interest at all in dueling. Do you think she will really give up?"
"Failure does not sit well with some people. Perhaps she thinks that she will never win the final duel and so does not pursue a dead-end? No, she's not that kind of girl." Touga shut the book and tossed it lightly on the wrought-iron tabletop.
"Ni-sama, please tell me you're not going to pursue that tart again?" Nanami poured him a cup of tea from the pot in the centre of the table and took hold of his arm. "You remember what she did to you last time? Please promise me you won't try to press that awful girl!" Crocodile tears began to dribble down the puffy, rounded hemispheres of her cheeks and Miki fought not to gag at the disgusting display.
Touga crossed his legs and reclined with his right elbow on the back of his chair, his left taking the teacup and saucer from Nanami's hands gently. "I must do what my heart tells me, Nanami, you must know how that feels, don't you?"
"Of course, Ni-sama, but you don't need to chase after that harlot like a common boy, surely you can find a girl of similar social standing and class."
Touga sipped his tea and looked her directly in the eyes. "You mean someone like you?"
Miki clicked his stopwatch and jotted down the numbers in his ledger. He wasn't going to get involved with the Kiryu family debacle. Nanami had turned absolutely white and froze in place with the teapot in her hand. He could tell the shock of Touga's words had temporarily stopped her brain.
"Just kidding." Touga finished his tea and set the saucer down beside his book with nary a glance at Nanami's frozen expression of shock and embarrassment. "I have to go now, Miki, tell Juri to call me on my cell phone when she finally arrives. I can't be here forever you know, important Student Council business…"
"Kaori said that she had an emergency swim team practice and she wouldn't be able to make your rendezvous." Miki folded the note from Kaori Sugiyama, one of Touga's many girls, and reminded himself to throw it out on his way out. "She wants to know if you're free tomorrow."
Touga's face fell and he reclined back into his seat, the wry, aloof smile plastered over his face once again. "Ah well, I suppose I can spend a little more time waiting for Juri. Tomorrow's pretty full, I think I do have time on Friday, though, let her know will you?"
Miki resented being treated as a gofer for Touga but was powerless to do anything about it given Touga's position. It wasn't like he wanted to scream and rant at Touga but the irritation was steadily mounting. "Sure. I'll stop by her room on the way home today."
"Excellent. So tell me how Tenjou was doing…"