Revolutionary Girl Utena is largely about growing up, right? So if and when the characters have children of their own, how will their be influenced by the lessons they learned at Ohtori? Or perhaps the lessons they failed to learn? I'll start us off.
Title: Ode to a Grecian Fairy Tale
Characters: Utena, Anthy, OC
Word Count: 798
"…and they lived happily ever after."
She had found it in a box of assorted items sent to her by Aunt Yuriko. "This was my favorite," she'd murmured, blowing the dust from the cover and tentatively flipping through the pages. "I'd almost forgotten about it. My mother used to read it to me, so I couldn't stand to look at it after the accident."
"You should share it with Ri-chan," Anthy had told her, smiling up from her needlework.
"Do you really think so?" she'd asked uneasily. "I mean, I liked it when I was a kid, but now that I'm older…"
"Ri-chan is a child still."
"But it's all lies. Is it really right to read our daughter lies?"
"Utena, childhood isn't something that can be skipped over. What good would it do to teach her the world isn't the way people say it is if she's never heard what people say?"
"But it will hurt her, when she finds out the truth."
"That isn't a pain you can protect her from. And when it does come, we'll be there to guide her through it. That's more of an advantage than we ever had."
She'd been right, of course, as Anthy almost always was. The dreamy smile on Ri-chan's face and the shine in her eyes were not things Utena could bring herself to regret.
"Still," the little girl said, "it's sad that the princess lost her mother, back in the beginning."
"Yes," Utena agreed. "It's very sad. But she has a new family now, and life goes on."
"Well, Mommy and Mother aren't allowed to die," she stated imperiously. "Not even when I get married."
"Don't worry, we plan to stick around for a good long while." She made a show of flexing her arm. "That's why this old man spends so much time working out."
"No!" Ri-chan pouted. "You aren't allowed to die ever!"
"Ri-chan, it's going to happen someday."
This, Utena realized, was a problem. Since Ri-chan had come along, she had spent a lot of time preparing for all sorts of questions. "Where do babies come from?" "Why do I have two moms instead of a mom and a dad?" "What happened to my first mom?" "Why are you two so much older than the other girls' parents?" "How did you and Mother meet?" Somehow, despite the trauma of her own childhood, this one had slipped her mind entirely. Was this a common thing? Were many parents so anxious about the prospect of explaining sex that they never thought to worry about having to explain death?
"Ri-chan," she said, carefully, slowly, "everyone dies eventually. Everyone."
"That's a lie!" The little girl kicked against the air and pounded her fists on the bed.
"Stop that! Mommy never lies to you, remember?"
"Am I going to die?"
"Not for a very long time. Not until you've gotten everything out of life that you possibly can."
"Are the prince and princess in the book going to die? Even though it says they live happily forever?"
"The prince and princess are characters in a story." Anthy had slipped into the room without either of them noticing. "As long as people keep telling that story, they can never die."
"Then I want to be a character in a story too!"
"Do you?" Anthy asked calmly. "Think about it, Ri-chan. The book ends just when the prince and princess have conquered all their problems and are about to begin their life together. Their 'happily ever after' lasts for one sentence. Then the next time someone begins the story, they have to suffer through their trials all over again. I don't think that's a very good way to live. Do you?"
Utena stared at Anthy in amazement. The years the older woman never talked about, all those years in Ohtori before she had come onto the scene… Perhaps this was the secret behind them?
Ri-chan pulled her covers over her as though suddenly chilled. "No," she admitted. "I guess not. And that's why everyone has to die?"
"I don't think there's really a reason," Anthy said. "But it's how things are, and it's better than some of the alternatives."
"Okay," said the little girl, and closed her eyes to go to sleep. "I guess that makes sense. Good night, Mommy. Good night, Mother. I love you."
She's over it already?! Utena thought incredulously. But then, she hadn't ever truly been under it, had she? Hadn't felt its full, crushing weight. Someday she would, and when that day came Utena, if she was still around, would hold her hand and resist the urge to try to pull her forcibly from the abyss. Climbing out on her own would make her stronger — and anyhow, that never worked.
"Sweet dreams, Ri-chan."