Roses Grow

by sharnii

This is a Revolutionary Girl Utena fanfic, set post-series and told from Utena's POV. Utena & Anthy are the major characters/pairing focused on (but we see a lot of Akio and a fair amount of other duelists). The genre is a wicked combo of drama/romance/angst/humor/symbolic-wtf.

This is novel length and continues in the sequel Thorns Wither. Warnings for eventual yuri, yaoi insinuated, violence, limited swearing, and very adult themes. Just like the series…

Complete author's notes are included at the end, and I reply to reviews in the review section. Comments and constructive criticism are very welcome. Additionally there is now delicious fan art for this story, courtesy of talented artists scribblepop and Arthkael.

Front cover by scribblepop – theotaku dot com/fanart/view/289400/roses_grow_fanfiction_promo

Apartment illustration for Chapter 3: A Time to Leave by scribblepop - theotaku dot com/fanart/view/289944/utena_in_anthys_apartment_from_roses_grow_fanfiction

Bedroom scene for Chapter 19: For Friendship by Arthkael – img199 dot imageshack dot us/img199/3868/arthkael dot jpg

Chapter 1: The Way Home

My first solid memory after the last duel is of Anthy. I heard a voice, her familiar voice calling my name as I rose up through jagged points of darkness.

"Utena-sama? Utena-sama, can you hear me?"

I opened my eyes. My vision was blurry at first but as I stared up I found myself staring into her deep green eyes. Long purple hair swirled like fire about her head (I said my eyes were blurry!) as she leaned over my bed. One small hand was pressed to my breastbone in that most familiar place.

"Utena-sama," she whispered. "Can you hear me?"

"Himemiya?" I gasped.

Her smile was like the rising sun.

"Utena," she said and her eyes filled with tears.

Anthy took me home from the hospital in her little green car. I remember looking up at a rickety apartment building with some surprise.

"I thought you'd be rich," I joked.

Anthy laughed primly behind her hand. She was wearing a pale blue skirt-suit made of some kind of soft material - I'm not really good with clothes' names. I knew it was soft because I'd reached out to touch her arm for reassurance during the drive. I was wearing jeans and a soft blue t-shirt that both fit surprisingly well, considering I was seeing them for the first time today. I wondered how she'd known my clothing size. Then I sighed. She had been the rose bride after all.

"Can you walk?" Anthy asked.

"Hey Himemiya, what do you mean?! Of course I can walk! I'm a champion athlete. You know that!" I vaulted over the passenger door to prove my point, and promptly crumpled on the pavement. I was still sitting there in shock when Anthy calmly walked around to bend over me.

"Let me help you," she said softly.

Still aghast over my own weakness, I accepted her pulling my right arm over her shoulder quite docilely. Together we made our way into the building and up its steep and winding stairway. I tried to walk mostly by myself but found my knees were liquid, and I kept stumbling over my own feet. I was leaning with practically my whole weight on Anthy's narrow shoulders but it didn't seem to bother her. Somehow, she felt as steady as a rock. She seemed to have no trouble half-dragging me along.

"You're, uh, a lot stronger then you look," I commented.

Her response was thoughtful. "Things aren't often what they seem."

By the time we finally arrived at Anthy's unit (naturally it had to be at the very top of the building) I was covered in sweat and breathing hard. Anthy by contrast seemed as fresh as the proverbial daisy. I felt unusually weak and dizzy as I watched her gracefully retrieve her keys and open the door, all with me draped over her like some dead-weight. My helplessness was embarrassing and inside I boiled with frustration.

"Sit over here," she suggested, all but carrying me over to the centerpiece of her lounge room, an antique-looking russet couch.

"What's wrong with me?" I groaned. I sank onto the couch with utter relief. Putting my arms over its back I arched my torso into a stretch.

"Better," I sighed. "Uhhh."

Dimly I noticed Anthy was leaning over me again, her fingers rifling through my bangs unsticking them from my sweaty forehead.

"You need tea," she decided.

I couldn't help but roll my eyes. That was always her solution to everything.

"I don't like tea," I lied grumpily but she was already disappearing into the kitchenette I could see to my right.

"Figures," I sighed. She sure could move fast when she wanted to.

Taking the time to look around myself I thought that perhaps Anthy was rich after all! The outside of the building might not be much, but the insides of this unit were extravagant. I looked in wonder at hanging wall-length tapestries and well-stocked intricately carved bookshelves. Squinting I tried to make out a few titles.

"The Rose of Versailles", I read aloud. "Legend of the White Snake, The Cask of Amontillado, Grimoire for the Green Witch."

I blinked. What lousy taste. Where were the trashy manga I liked to read so much? These books looked so serious!

"The Kingdom of Slender Swords, Enheduanna Priestess of Inanna, The Kama Sutra."

I couldn't help but yawn. Anthy's book collection looked very boring to me, not my taste at all. And these were only the Japanese versions! The grand majority of the books had titles in foreign script...just how many languages did Anthy know anyway?

Bored with the books I looked around some more. The general color scheme consisted of deep reds and greens with furniture of old dark wood. Very Anthy. I then noticed the coffee table in front of me resembled a giant chessboard without any pieces, with a vase of blood-red roses at its centre.

I suppressed a shudder without really knowing why. Anthy picked that moment to glide back in, bearing a silver tea-tray holding a rose-china set. She sat next to me and poured my tea while I admired her delicate gestures.

"Did you decorate this place?" I asked.

"Yes," she smiled, "it was fun."

"It's very you."

She looked around her. "You think so, Utena-sama?"

"It couldn't be more so," My tone was dry. I thought about reminding her to call me just Utena, but I was so tired it just seemed like too much effort.

"Chuuuuu!" A familiar funny-looking monkey-rat-thing leapt onto my lap from out of nowhere, brandishing a cookie.

"ChuChu!" I exclaimed. "Where've you been? Is that cookie for me?"

"Chuuuu!" he squeaked, and promptly started stuffing the cookie down his greedy little gullet.

"Well that's disappointing," I said, glaring down at him.

"You want a cookie?" Immediately Anthy's soft hand pressed a cookie into mine. I shivered at her touch.

Like so many things between us it was fraught with meaning, while simultaneously meaning nothing at all. I think it was just the tiredness but I grew reflective.

I don't understand her, I thought while looking down and munching on the cookie. I never have. Maybe I never will.

But somehow it didn't matter on that sleepy afternoon, as her thigh pressed up against mine on the couch.

My breathing slowed, the cookie crumbled pleasantly in my mouth, the tea was sweet.

ChuChu bounced on my knees, and Anthy drank her tea while staring at my face with luminous green eyes.

I gazed back and felt happy.

TBC in Chapter 2: What Not to Talk About