Spoilers: Much of the last episode of the series.
A few words.
A few smoldering looks.
That was all it took. Where was her nobility then? Her ideals had meant less than nothing in the face of Akio's charm ... that smarmy charm that had seduced more people than she cared to count right then. Her brother was right. Utena was no more than 'human', possessing all the faults and false hubris that the word itself entailed.
Anthy observed the duel with the same detached air she'd perfected over the years ... so many years that she'd stopped counting long ago. Utena was different from the others. Different from the seemingly endless parade of Duellists seeking eternity. Their shining thing. Miracles. Their heart's desire. Whatever it was that they foolishly thought would make their lives complete.
And Anthy couldn't help but feel the first stirrings of pity flare in her heart. Pity for this hopelessly naive girl too innocent to see the web of manipulations tightening around her. Too innocent still to recognize the weavers of the web. How could she not though? How could she not after seeing all she'd seen? Anthy didn't know whether to shake her head in wonder or shake her fist in anger at the willing blindness her friend exhibited.
She supposed that was as apt a word at describing them as any other but she doubted most friends would have as unconventional a relationship as the two of them shared. She idly wondered if Utena knew just how long it'd been since anyone had offered her friendship. That genuine bit of kindness almost bought a weak smile to her lips --- a smile that died before it even formed as the unthinkable began to happen, unfolding like a surreal nightmare before her eyes.
Her brother was losing.
Her brother ... was losing?
Of all the duels she'd seen him fight, she'd never seen him backed up as he was at that moment, a look of panic already appearing across his face. She took a few involuntary steps forward, drawn by this unexplicable turn of events and stepped right into her brother's arms. The feel of cold steel was pressed into her hands, surprising her only for a split second before she was being pushed towards Utena.
Utena who thought even then that she needed to be protected. Utena who placed herself between her and Akio in a twisted parody of a dog protecting its master. Utena who not once suspected danger might be standing right behind her.
Why didn't she realize? If she'd only seen through the lies and half truths ...
But then, she wouldn't be Utena.
Anthy wrapped herself around her would be hero, placing a kiss upon the shoulder that asked to accept a burden she didn't understand. A reward --- the least she could give for what she was about to take.
It was what it was. A stab in the back. A cliche if ever there was one brought to vivid, dirty life. Run through with a sword. She felt as much as heard the sharp intake of breath, the sudden tensing of the body still in her arms. She knew the feeling all too well and even as she pushed the blade in deeper, her hands trembled.
Had it always been this hard? She'd always felt a pang of grief for the Victor but it was always in a detached sort of way ... an intellectual sort of way ... the same way you might feel if you forgot to recycle the newspaper. Her heart burned with an emotion which threatened to engulf her as the body she held in a perversely loving way dropped to the ground. The whisper of cloth gave way to ragged breaths as the figure in front of her slumped over.
She closed her eyes briefly in a futile attempt to suppress the feeling of guilt which pierced her heart as effectively as any sharp edged rapier. Trying to deny that this was wrong, trying to deny that she'd made a horrible, horrible mistake, trying the block out the distressed cries of 'Why?', she took a breath and answered in a preternaturally calm voice, "You remind me of the Dios I once loved. But you can't become my prince. Because you're a girl."
In those few simple sentences, she'd given the whole and breadth of herself --- she was a witch, someone to be shunned, someone to be hated. Didn't Utena understand that? Did she hate her now? How could she not? And as she looked to her brother, a sense of loathing coursed through her system, almost taking her back a step with its intensity. She tossed the sword away, not wanting to see the blood which would surely be staining it's sharp perfection.
They were conspirators, the two of them and she hated him for needing to play this game ... she hated herself for allowing him to use her in his game. But still, he was her brother --- flesh of her flesh. In the end, that was the only reason she allowed him to take Utena's soul sword. It was finally time then to take her place --- the willing sacrifice for her sins. But her heart almost stopped when a hand stayed her course.
Why did she still try to save her? Even after everything ...
But it wouldn't matter. History would repeat itself as it had always done before. Maybe this time, her brother would manage to open the door and bring the world revolution. Maybe he wouldn't. It didn't matter. For, in the end, her fate was inescapable. She *was* the Rose Bride. And this time, more than any other, she deserved her fate.