Sorrow of the Rose

By the Writer


Utena Tenjou sat before her bedroom window and sulked.

It had been a long, long day. First, she'd failed her math test. Then she'd been challenged to a duel by Juri. She'd won, naturally, but these constant sword battles were beginning to take their toll. She was-tired.

She sighed and smoothed back her long, pink hair. Tomorrow will be a better day, she told herself. Just go to sleep. Everything will seem better in the morning...

The next day dawned bright and sunny, as days here were wont to do. Utena awoke, yawning and rubbing her eyes. Time to get up, time to face a new day, she mentally prodded herself. I know it will be a good one.

Unfortunately, she was wrong.

KNOCK KNOCK! Someone was pounding on the door. Who on earth would be calling on me this early? she wondered. She climbed down from the top bunk and went over to answer the door, mystified.

It was the Dean. Akio Ohtori stood in her doorway, face tight with worry and... fear? Utena frowned, a cold lump suddenly forming in her chest. If Akio was afraid of something, it couldn't possibly bode well for her...

"Um, what are you doing he-" she started to say.

Akio cut her off with a brusque motion and invited himself into her room. He motioned for her to close the door, which she did-albeit with some trepidation. Utena stood leaning against the door, arms crossed, waiting. What did he want?

Akio, for his part, paced the narrow room like a caged tiger. Utena waited, and finally he turned to face her. His eyes were haunted.

"Have you seen Anthy?" he asked.

Utena blinked, and automatically her eyes went to the lower bunk of the bed. No Anthy. "She-she's gone?" This was a surprise. Anthy almost never left the dorm without Utena or her permission. Where could she have gone?

Utena narrowed her eyes at the Dean. "Wait a minute. How did you know she was gone?"

Akio held out a slip of paper to her. She took it. It was a note, handwritten in Anthy's familiar style.

Forgive me, but I can't take this any more. All the fighting, all the scheming, all the lies. I wanted to be happy, but it seems that happiness has been forbidden to me. I'm so very tired. I'm sorry. Goodbye.


"This sounds like a suicide note!" Utena exclaimed, heart pounding. No, she thought. Please, no...

Akio nodded. "She can't be found anywhere on campus. I had hoped she would be here, but..."

"We have to go look for her," Utena said. She grabbed her school uniform and motioned for Akio to get out. "There's no telling what she may have done..."

They found her in the darkened music room, slumped over the piano. Utena ran to her side. "No! Anthy!"

It was too late. A pool of blood had formed on the floor beneath her seat-droplets of the precious liquid still trickled from the vicious cuts on her wrists. Utena felt her neck for a pulse, praying, praying...

Nothing. Anthy was gone.

Utena dropped to her knees, eyes wide and unseeing. Tears trailed down her cheeks unnoticed. She shook her head in disbelief. "No... Anthy... why...?"

A sound startled her out of her shock. She looked up to see Akio standing next to the piano, next to Anthy, head bowed. It took a moment for Utena to realize that he was crying. Crying for Anthy? Or crying for himself...?

He was holding something in his hands. Utena squinted at it through her tears, but it was too dark to make out. "What--?" Her voice caught in her throat. She cleared it and tried again. "What is that?"

Slowly, Akio held out the object to her. Utena reached for it, and her fingers touched moist, velvety softness. She cupped her hands around it.

It was a rose. A white rose, pale and perfect and in full bloom. One corner of its petals was dark and wet, and Utena realized that they were stained with Anthy's blood. She must have been holding it, Utena thought. Then, when she got too weak to stay conscious, it dropped to the floor. She started to tremble as she peered at the rose, and her eyes filled with fresh tears.

Something was tied to the stem, a slip of paper. A note. Utena wiped at her eyes viciously and squinted to read the blurry handwriting.

You were the only one who made me happy, Miss Utena. Please don't be sad for me. I don't want to make you sad. I love y

It broke off abruptly, as if Anthy had dropped the pen and been too weak to retrieve it. Utena's hands shook so badly that she nearly dropped the delicate flower, and her knuckles turned white with the effort to hang on. The note crumpled in her grip. Everything seemed very distant, far away. Akio didn't even register in her mind now. There was nothing in her sight but the forlorn little rose, pale and perfect and marked with Anthy's blood. There was nothing else. Maybe there had never been.

After a long time, Utena looked up at her friend's still form. Her eyes were dry-she had simply run out of tears. She got stiffly to her feet, rose clutched to her breast, and stepped close to Anthy. She leaned down, as if to whisper-as if Anthy could still hear.

"I love you, too, Anthy. Goodbye-" Her voice gave out, but it didn't matter. There was no more to say. Straightening proudly, Utena Tenjou turned and walked out of the room, white rose held carefully close to her heart.

Akio lingered a moment more. "I will never forgive you," he whispered, but anyone who would have heard him would have said that the words were directed at himself, and not the poor girl at the piano. His lips formed other words, but no sound would come out. Finally, he turned and walked away.

The unspoken words lingered in the lonely darkness, as if waiting for their owner to come back and give them life.

I'm so sorry....