9-27-2002

Title: Opaline (2/?)
Fandom/Genre: Gundam Wing & Revolutionary Girl Utena crossover.
Author: Persephone_Elysian
Email: Persephone_Elysian@yahoo.com
Archive: http://www.angelfire.com/id2/avalon
http://www.kikotei.net.

Rating/Warnings: PG-13/R-ish. Language, adult content, yaoi and yuri content. Occasionally shifts into first person POV. The rating may/will probably change as this story progresses.

Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing--it belongs to Sunrise, Bandai, and other such nice people. Likewise, Utena is also not mine. It is the property of Be-Papas, Chiho Saito, etc.

Pairings: implied/seeming R+1, 2+1 (leading to eventual 1x2/2x1). Past references to Utena + Anthy (and Utena + Akio).

Spoiler Warnings: Major spoilers for episode 39 of Utena. This takes place after Endless Waltz in the Gundam Wing 'verse.

Author's Notes:

Well, this is totally random. That's really almost all I can say about this ficlet set. I started it while I was off in Boston with no real idea of where it was going or if it was even going anywhere. Because of that the plotline in this one is going to be a tad more flexible. Translation: this one is for fun and I have a vague idea of where it's going (unlike some of my more meticulously plotted epics such as Walk this World and Le Jour des Morts). It *does* have a plot though... I promise! Mostly I'm just posting this one in response to the almost deadening silence on all my Gundam Wing lists at the moment. Just think of it as filler while all your favorite authors work on their stuff. ^_^

Feedback: Always welcome, always responded to, and properly adored.

***

Opaline
A 'Gundam Wing/Revolutionary Girl Utena' crossover
Persephone_Elysian

 

Part Two: Rescue

 

He was heavy in her arms as she kicked towards the surface, grateful for the mobility of slacks. A skirt would have tangled, dragging them both down further and her time was almost up as it was.

She couldn’t believe that no one else had seen. True, the others were busy, set in a flurry of motion due to the unexpected arrival of so many prestigious personages onboard but a body going over the side wasn't something one could just ignore. Or so she thought in those disjointed seconds it had taken her to realize what had happened, slipping out of her weighty coat and over the side of the ship.

Anthy would laugh, she acknowledged. Laugh and claim that she was playing the prince again in spite of all her protestations to the contrary. And maybe she was. She had clung to her ideals for so long that even Akio’s machinations had not completely obliterated the deep-seated need in her to be more than she was, to be worthy. There was, she had come to realize, a difference between worth and attempted nobility. One could be earned and the other was a given. Worth implied some care and thought had been given—any prince could be noble and yet most unworthy. The difference, some might argue, was a thin one but that sliver was a canyon’s span. And if nothing else, she owed Anthy for paying the price of her ideals, for playing a princess and enduring the agony that fantasy had cost her.

It was a price she was determined that no one else would pay. Not for her. Not ever again.

The water crackled above them, shattering like liquid glass as her head broke through, pale bangs nearly blinding her. She was careful not to breathe in too deeply, to take each breath with a maddening slowness. Such things led to oxygen poisoning or worse, the bursting of lungs under the newfound pressure. Holding the boy’s head above the water, she began treading back, gratified to find crew members already lining the deck, lowering a lifeboat. A good thing because she was pretty sure he wasn’t breathing and for all her skills, she wasn’t certain that even she could manage CPR in the water.

She met the boat halfway, muttering curse after curse as she struggled to maintain some sort of grip on her charge. Her teeth chattered, the result of a brief exposure to the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, gone unnoticed until now, until the air hit her with enough force to remind her. They had to get out of this water and possibly their clothes soon before hypothermia set in. The boy in her grasp was already the color of chalk and becoming grayer by the second.

“We’ll take him, Miss,” one of the sailors chirruped, leaning towards her with open arms. It was hard but she gritted her teeth, forcing her numbed limbs to push him towards the sailor, his hair flopping in her face as she did so. She grimaced and spat bedraggled strands free of her lips, resigned to the fact she’d taste chestnut locks for the next week after this.

When she herself had been pulled over the side, she brushed away any attempts to dry her off, instead accepting a blanket and hovering close to the prone body splayed across the floor of the ship. The men worked fast, two rowing while the other two turned the boy over, pushing at his lower back until water gushed out of his half-open blue lips. Then he was righted again, his mouth opened and breathed into as competent hands pushed against his ribs. She found her eyes falling into rhythm with those hands, hearing with each muttered count her own thoughts, each of which seemed to repeat over and over again, ‘Live. Come on, you stupid … Wake up…’

The moment lingered, an eternity of wondering suspended in almost crystalline agony. Then the body coughed, sucking in air with almost an audible pop as amethyst eyes fluttered, pained but alive. Alive and very, very confused.

She felt his gaze flutter on her, his eyes glazed enough that he probably wasn’t seeing much of anything before they closed again. Releasing a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding, Tenjou Utena slumped back against the whitewashed walls of the boat.

***

The image is always behind my eyes. A wreathing wall of swords turning and turning before that instant of achieved stillness, a quietude that heralds louder than any storm more to come. Shining, malicious weapons of perfection, crafted with loving hands for war, for blood and death. Weapons containing all the seething rage of mankind… This is their moment, I feel it in my blood, a call of drums that I loathe and long for. But this is no war, there is no army, there is only a lamb and the sacrifice.

And the lamb always stares with empty, tired green eyes.

Already she is pinned, a sword through both arms. I can't see blood but I know there must be something. She's naked, hair loose and tumbling in restless curls down her taunt body, suspended and pinioned by thousands of invisible cords. Naked and defenseless and alone. She has no shield, no knight, nothing to protect her. Her altar is the sky; held together by the magic of this place, the perceived illusion of enchantment turned fatal. My nerves burn, and I know that I am bleeding, both mortally and emotionally, dealt with a blow from my own personal Judas.

She kissed me. My shoulder still tingles with that phantom sensation and then with that same kiss, she drew me closer and stabbed me. But far worse than that were her words.

'You can't be my prince. You're just a girl.'

The metallic buzzing of a thousand wasps fill my ears as the swords shoot forward, my screams mingling with the sound of flesh tearing. She's so small, so thin and fragile, there should be nothing left to cut through after the first dozen but still they come, hundreds upon hundreds of them. They come until I can see nothing but a hint of green, tormented eyes, devoid of hope or desire. She is nothing but a doll -- his doll, taking the pain so that he might play his childish games.

I have to save her.

I am not a prince. I know that now. I was wrong to believe so but I have to save her. And that desire leads me to beg, my voice gone hoarse with tears unshed as I beg her brother, pleading with him to save her. All he cares for is the sword she took from me, slashing against gilded doors grown over with ivy. He cannot open those doors, cannot bring revolution and the sword breaks.

I feel something in my heart go with it. Some piece of me, dear and carefully kept, disintegrating, as I understand fully the depths of his treachery. None of us matter. Not me, or the Council, or even Anthy. We're just his pawns, breakable and flawed. When he tires of us, he will discard us or perhaps change the game. Nothing here is real, nothing in this place. I came to find my prince and so I have-- a prince of lies, a child playing forever in his ivory tower.

But I am not a child. And there is something more important than the pain or my infantile desire to be something I'm not.

Anthy.

I have to save Anthy. That alone is enough to make me rise though each step costs me. Akio is saying something to me now, something about lying still and to his credit, he catches me before I can totter off my feet. He tries to coax me out of my task as Herculean as it now seems and I stop listening, bracing myself by shoving my hand in his face, and thrusting forward. Any other time and I might have derived a great deal of pleasure from that but it doesn't matter now. He's beyond me, beneath me, and I despise him. The door looms before, the remains of my sword broken against its seal. Sweat drips down my face as I struggle against it. I can open it… If I can open, I can save her. I know it. I can do this…Just this one time, I can be the prince. I can be heroic.

The thought calls me up short. It's a thought worthy of Akio, worthy of manipulation. It's the thought of a child, interested only in glamour and the excitement. I want to save Anthy for her own sake, not to fulfill my twisted need to be something greater than myself. I want to save her, as I was never able to save my parents.

My parents. The rose-filled coffin. And green eyes, always-sad green eyes.

Tears drip down my face and I let them fall, unashamed, frustrated by my own inadequacy. I am just a girl, just a stupid girl. It's true. But just this once, just this once, please let me be something more, let me save her.

'Himemiya...you don't know... how happy I was...just being with you...'

A tear curves off the surface of my ring and there's a sound, a soft plop and the feeling of a lock turning. The door gives and I'm blinded…not by dark, but by something dark. Cold, leaden metal lies beneath my hands and I know without really seeing what it is.

A coffin.

I shudder, my childhood horror rising up thick in my throat. Had it not been for Anthy, I might have turned away, curled in on myself and given up but I couldn't fail her now. I'd already failed her in so many other ways. I had been so stupid, so prideful and thoughtless. I have never understood her, never understood what she suffered.

I would have hated me, too.

Akio is screaming behind me, his smooth demeanor shaken, the sweet tenor of his voice deep with fear. I ignore him, concentrate on my task with every fiber of my wounded body. I'm dying and that's all right now. It doesn't matter if I die so long as Himemiya lives.

The coffin lid gives way, cracking just enough so that I can peek inward. 'Himemiya, Himemiya…' my cries are urgent, afraid of an answer, afraid of no answer.

She's wrapped around herself, naked as before and just as defenseless. Hiding. Hiding from me, from the world. That's wrong. It's wrong that someone as beautiful as Anthy should have to hide, should have to be ashamed of who she is.

'Himemiya.'

Her head lifts, eyes are luminous with disbelief as she focuses on me for the first time. 'Utena?'

'Himemiya… We finally meet.' Everything I feel, my heart rises with those words and I give her a watery smile, reaching for her. 'Take my hand.'

There's nothing dead in her expression now, terror overtaking voice and features. 'You mustn't… The swords…'

I ignore the warning, straining further to reach across the infinite space between us. 'Take my hand…'

'You don't understand… I beg you…'

'Hurry! Hurry up and take my hand!'

She hesitates, then reaches for me, slow…so slow that I want to scream but don't. I know her fear, the worry that I, too, will prove false, will abandon her. There's no time to tell her that will never happen, that no matter what happens in the next few minutes, my feelings for her will survive. Not even a sword through the heart, wielded by her own hand, could change that.

Our hands graze and I strain to reach, to deepen that touch, to feel her fingers twine in mine. Nothing else matters, not Akio or the collapse of this fairytale gone awry, just her. My voice goes tremulous. 'Some day the two of us…'

I want to go on, to say the words on my mind since learning the truth of this place, since her suicide attempt. The words I was too cowardly to say ---

And now will never have a chance to utter as the shaking beneath my feet grows worse. My ears fill with the frustrated groan of steel and stone but they're no worse than the shrill of her scream as she tries to lunge forward and cannot… because the platform has fallen away, leaving me to half hang over the ledge, still reaching. Her screams echo in my ears as I stare into the abyss, despair rising up and crushing me. I let my head rest against the fractured stone work, uncaring that this place is about to fall away, too. All I can feel is my failure, how I failed her again. Whether I meant it or no, I have abandoned her. She's gone, beyond my reach and I will never regain the time lost.

Before, before… I was always afraid of dying; wanting to be something greater than myself so that in someway part of me would survive. No longer. I'm tired and the monster at the door no longer seems quite so harsh.

'I'm sorry, Himemiya. Sorry I turned out just to be a make-believe prince…'

My eyes close as I catch sight of the swords, frenzied as they seek a new target, a new sacrifice for their hatred. Me.

***

Utena jerked awake, unaware that she had passed out in the first place. Only the lingering dread and regret of her memories gave evidence to event. Her chest hurt, thick and aching with no hope of respite. 'Anthy,' she pulled herself upright, the sting of her chest greater than the blow dealt her there, a scar the only truth to her tale. 'Anthy.'

She was in an infirmary much akin to the one she'd awoken in just after… she'd been found. Her memories of that time were confused. Somehow she'd been found far from the school, wandering and injured, nearly run over by the man who found her. They could find no evidence for her wounds and when they tried to confirm her story by contacting Ohtori Academy…

The school had no records on her. No record that she had ever gone to school there, that she had ever met Anthy or dueled with the Student Council. There wasn't even a mention of an Akio or Himemiya Anthy listed in the student roster. Perhaps whatever magic spirited her away had done the same for the two of them. Either way, Anthy was lost to her, be it dead or Akio's prisoner. She had only the memory of spring colored eyes now, seemingly gentle behind thick glasses, of how soft her hand felt, the scent of roses clinging to mocha-colored skin. Memory and the realization of feelings she had never truly voiced until the end, too much of a coward to admit that she had fallen in love with her best friend. 'No,' she corrected herself, hand clenched against her chest, 'not just my best friend--another woman.' Her thickheaded stupidity had deprived her of her happiness, caused her to chase after an illusion that proved more harmful than the truth.

Her gaze shifted to the boy in the cot next to hers. As he was now, expression one of unguarded distress, unmoving and clad in an unearthly pallor, he was as vulnerable as Anthy had been. Her eyes stung, glimpsing in her mind another body, its feminine curves hunched over, hidden by a curtain of violet hair. She couldn't be sure but it had seemed to her that if he hadn't thrown himself voluntarily into the water, he sure as hell hadn't tried to save himself either. The telltale badges and olive green of his uniform proclaimed him a Preventer even if the rope of hair hanging limply off the bed seemed at odds with that clean-cut image. Didn't they put their officers through psychological testing? If so, then someone had missed the boat big time with this kid. Or hadn't anyone cared enough to find out? With all media on board, the top brass was probably already having bitch kittens trying to downplay the incident. It would mean mountains of paper work, discreet handling of those reporters probably frothing to get in here and throw some damning water the handling of the mission in general. God knows what they'd do to the boy. Possible suspension for psychiatric testing? A reprimand for being clumsy? Or would his ass be busted all the way back down to the bottom for both?

She didn't envy him, having to wake right into this nest of possible vipers. Maybe it was because she saved him or maybe she was just too soft for her own good, but the possibilities unfurling in her mind about his fate were really starting to piss her off. 'Mama she-bear,' she heard Kozue's voice mocking her, protective and busybody when she'd been better off minding her own business.

Ignoring the nurse suddenly hovering at her shoulder, she turned, swinging her legs over the side and cringing as her feet touched damp linoleum. 'Poor baby,' she mocked herself. 'You can jump off a ship without thought and then wimp out at the thought of getting your feet cold on the wet floor.' Of course, she glared at the gritty surface beneath her splayed feet. The ocean had been a good bit cleaner.

"Miss, you should lie down--" Utena yanked her arm out of the solicitous death grip trying to pull her back. The nurse blanched, fingers flexing against her upper arm but didn't remove them. Impressed, she stared at the woman, then her fingers with the subliminal suggestion of moving them or losing them imprinted in her glare. Maybe it would have worked too, had not both their attentions been arrested by the near growl wafting in from outside the infirmary door. The hairs on the back of her neck rose, the room degrees and degrees colder without explanation, her fingers gripping the sides of the cot so hard she felt them go numb. She half-listened to the conversation taking place, within hearing range as she shook her head, needing to clear the rush buzzing up her neck and brain, almost dizzying as every nerve in her head began tingling.

"I want to see him. Now."

"Now, Heero--"

"I didn't ask you to come along--"

"Vice Foreign Minister--"

'What is this,' Utena managed to pull her arm free of the gaping nurse's grasp, taking care not to let her see the pants breaking through her patient's body as she struggled for control, 'who's who in Earth Sphere?' She recognized the blond girl behind the intense blue eyed man glaring over the doctors--how could she not? Relena Peacecraft was more than the single most important politician in the Earth Sphere--she was also the living symbol of peace and of the new regime. The boy in Preventer uniform… Well, she recognized him as well. Heero Yuy, former Gundam pilot (currently the only known one besides Chang Wufei) and current head of security for the former Queen of the World. She'd been briefed about him and from the way his cheek was twitching, it was altogether likely she might get to see just how much damage he could cause on his own. She was fairly certain he wasn't trying to get into see her. Utena's eyes flickered over to the boy unconscious beside her. 'Who are you then, to earn the attention of so many important people? And what in hell made you give up so completely?'

***End Part Two