2019-04-06 - TIMELINE X: 1001 Times
|1001 Times That Utena First Fell In Love With Anthy, And Didn't Notice, Even Once|
What it says on the tin.
| OOC - IC Date:|
04-06-2019 - Everywhen
BGM: The Name Of Life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImPM5IDIYPs
Water is water, but spray from the tip of Himemiya's watering can is a million million diamonds, sparkling with the reflected glory of the sun above them and the white walls surrounding them and the slightest hint of the gardener's teeth, in that place where her lips have dared to pull back into something that is almost the memory of a memory of a smile. She waters the roses...
Utena's smiling too, but she hasn't noticed.
Potato chips, cards, and the strewn violet curls, popped sleepily loose from her cap, all of these are strewn across their dorm room table. Himemiya sleeps among them. She and Chu-Chu are snoring in a sort of sympathetic beat, not quite perfectly out of phase but with a subtle asynchronicity. Their exhalations chase each other's, criss-crossing back and forth which one is first.
Utena's brain notices that her heart has been holding her breath hostage for the last ninety seconds. She never notices why she had to cough.
Wakaba is politely aghast at Himemiya's quadruple-layered supermax festival food bento -- and then moreso when the bottom layer is revealed to have been replaced by, or perhaps more accurately contained within, Chu-Chu's massively expanded belly -- but Utena remembers.
She remembers the sound of popping oil and the clatter of pots and pans and the smell, the insidious and marvelous smell of frying things, which wound its way into her sleeping nostrils and woke her up at 3 am and led her down to join the chef in her kitchen, padding through the darkened hallways in her stocking feet. Once she got there, she smelled something else, too, but she couldn't separate it -- it was drowned out by their future lunch.
But when Himemiya mopped her hard-working brow with a dish towel, Utena's eyes softened. She didn't notice that her nostrils flared.
Himemiya is walking along the shore. They don't come here as often as they should, given that they live hardly a mile away from the ocean; it's so easy to forget its presence, to take it for granted as glistening blue far away and far below, but the liminal space that is the border between Southern Cross Island and the rest of the world is very real whether it's remembered or not.
Utena follows behind her. Himemiya is wearing shoes but Utena's barefoot, and even so each of her toe-wriggling steps seems to erase that of her counterpart. The rest of the floor is lava. She walks in her roommate's footsteps alone.
Theirs is a companionable silence, until Utena suddenly jerks her head upwards, stung.
Her fingertips rise to her cheek and pluck off the hairpin that's flown there, before it can escape any further.
Her smile is startled and amused, and as she offers to return Himemiya's parted pin with hand extended, it's something tender, too, but she doesn't notice.
They're in the clouds now, with unfolding mysteries both above and below them. Himemiya -- the Rose Bride, or so her, their self-proclaimed Prince would have her believe -- is kneeling, her skirts pooled around her like a puddle of blood. She takes the tip of the sword -- his sword, her sword, her gut twists to see it used this way -- and guides it to her lips.
Utena assuredly notices her own disgust, and the rage that pounds a steady drumbeat behind her eyes, inside her fingertips, which twitch unhappily on the hilt Juri-senpai's loaned weapon. If you asked her to step outside the moment on a therapist's couch, she might also be able to identify the feeling of grief, filing her veins like toxic black smoke.
But there was something else, too, contained within the horror of it all. Something terribly familiar. It hurts so much because on a primal level Utena recognizes the pain as her own.
She doesn't notice.