karma_kalisutah (karma_kalisutah) wrote in utenadrabble,


Er, hello, everyone! I've been lurking for a while, gobbling up the stories in the archives, and I finally decided to join.

So. Er. Here's my response to the Ten Years Later challenge. That was a while ago, huh? ^_^;

Title: Castle in the Sky
Author: Karma
Characters: Utena/Anthy, Kanae
Word Count: 445
Rating: G

Castle in the Sky isn't much of a castle. It looks more like a witch's cottage, really. It's not sculpted of pristine marble, but cobbled together from earthen bricks. There are no turrets or spires, only haphazard gables and a dusty attic. The well-tended backyard garden bears up no star-shaped lilies or powder-puff dahlias or exotically curved orchids, no flowers at all except for one bush of perfect white roses. The rest is herbs and vegetables; squashes and tomatoes are the brightest swatches of color to be found.

Still, there's a latent magic to it, something about it that positively shines. Even those who have seen it can't quite put their finger on what, though. Its two permanent residents, the women who maintain it, might know, but they aren't telling.

Castle in the Sky wasn't always what it is now. Once it was simply a home to two women, Miss Himemiya and Miss Tenjou. Then Miss Himemiya started bringing in broken things: rabbits with broken legs, birds with broken wings, fox kits with broken families. She fixed them up as best she could, and when they were whole enough they returned to the surrounding woods. Miss Tenjou watched her in bemused adoration and made no objections.

Then one day a different sort of animal with a different sort of hurt showed up on their doorstep: a canary-haired girl with a broken heart, a songbird with clipped wings. "I know we were never close," she said to Miss Himemiya. "But I have no one else to turn to, and I had to get away. Akio's been acting so strangely, I just can't take it anymore. He… he's started to call me his Rose Bride."

It was Miss Tenjou who told her she could stay; Miss Himemiya smiled cordially and made no objections. They cared for Kanae Ohtori as best they could, and when she was whole enough she returned to the surrounding world.

Others came to take her place, women, girls and sometimes young boys, all broken by fathers, boyfriends, husbands, all drawn to the shining beacon of Castle in the Sky. They never ask much and they seldom stay long. Like the wild animals Miss Himemiya still brings into the house, all they need is a safe place to heal.

And sometimes the younger ones gather in the parlor by the fire — where Miss Himemiya sits with her head on Miss Tenjou's shoulder, bottle-feeding a baby raccoon in her lap, and Miss Tenjou plays with her wild-violet hair and sips from a mug of rosehip tea — to listen as the women weave the strangest fairy tale any of them has ever heard.
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