Utena, Revolutionary Girl Fan Fiction ❯ Withered Roses Don't Always Die ❯ The Guqin ( Chapter 6 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
BlackRoseVixen05: Welcome! You are now entering the SIXTH chapter of my newest fanfic! I really didn't think it would go this far. Thank you for all your reviews!! <3-<3 But anyway, on with the fic!!
Disclaimer: I do not own Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Saionji sighed once more as Utena thanked him, “Come on,” he said with slight annoyance as he started walking.
“Uh, where are we going? Aren't we going to have tea?” Utena asked as she followed.
“Just be quiet.” Saionji replied as he brought her to an area near the rear wall of the room. What she thought was just shoji walls, was actually another Japanese-style sliding door. It was a hidden room. It was a traditional Japanese room with shoji screen doors, tatami mat floors, and toconoma alcove with a ikebana flower arrangement and scroll. There was no source of light inside, other than a few unlit candles sitting around the space. The light was coming from a window in the corner, as well as through the sliding screen doors. There was a pink cherry tree outside the window. Its petals were brushing against the closed window.
In the center of the room as a small wooden coffee table with two seating cushions on either side of it. On the coffee table was a small maple bonsai tree, less than a foot tall, and a tiny toy figure of a katana. Saionji went into the room and lit a scented stick, before he began to prepare the tea. He glanced at Utena who still remained outside the room, looking around in awe.
“If you're going to just stand there, then leave.” Saionji said.
Utena was brought back to reality and stepped into the room, slowly sliding the door to a close behind her. She came over and sat down on one of the cushioned seating mats. “This room is beautiful, Saionji. I never knew it was here.” Utena said, still in awe.
“Most people don't know about it,” the Green Rose replied as he made the tea. He poured two cups, one for Utena and one for himself. Before serving it, he went over to the window and opened it slightly. He picked a few of the cherry blossom petals from the tree outside and closed the glass again.
Utena blinked as she saw Saionji drop a couple of the petals into their tea, “What's that for?” she asked, curiously.
“It adds decoration to the tea,” Saionji said as he placed the small cup in front of her. “It's also supposed to bring luck, or so I'm told…” he added as he took a seat across from the pink-haired girl.
“I see,” Utena said before taking a sip of her tea. It was delicious! She could almost taste the sweetness from the cheery blossom petals. “This is great…” she murmured absent-mindedly.
“Mm,” was all Saionji said in reply, taking a sip of his own tea. When he lowered the cup from his lips, he looked down at the floating petals. “My grandmother used to make this tea for me every morning...” he recalled, seeming to be lost in thought.
This caught Utena's attention quickly. “Saionji…I noticed that you never go home on the weekends, or when we have school breaks. I can't go home because…because I don't have any parents, but why don't you?” she asked softly.
Cold plum eyes glanced at her. She gasped lightly. He didn't even have to speak for her to understand. “S-Saionji… Are your parents…?”
“Dead?” he finished for her, “Yes,” he added, taking another sip of his tea.
“Oh…” Utena whispered, looking down. She felt bad for him, but didn't offer any words of pity. She knew it would only make him angry. “H-How did it happen?”
“A plane crash… eight years ago,” he answered, not even knowing why he was telling her this. “After that I went to live with my grandmother.”
“Then why don't you go and visit her? I bet she'd enjoy it…unless…” Utena trailed off, watching him carefully.
“All I could do now is visit her grave. She passed away two years ago, and I don't have any other family…” Saionji said, looking down at his tea.
Utena's eyes trembled and she felt like crying. She had figured out quite a lot about Saionji in this mere chat. `Is that why you're so angry, Saionji? Your staggering anger and attitude is just a ruse…to hide how lonely you are… You're so lonely… You push people away because you don't want to get close to them, so you won't feel lonely when they're gone. That's it, isn't it? '
Saionji looked up at Utena when he realized how quiet it had gotten. His eyebrow arched, seeing that the girl was staring at him and appearing to be close to bursting into tears. “What?” he asked bluntly after a moment, starting to feel uncomfortable.
Utena blinked back her tears and took another sip of her tea, trying to compose herself. “I-Is that when you met Touga? You two were good friends, right? When you were younger?”
Saionji gave a light shrug, “I guess…” he said. Utena knew that actually meant, “Yes”. She wanted to know what happened to break them apart, but she decided not to pry too much in one sitting. She was amazed that he'd told her this much about his life. It was almost as if he'd been wanting to tell someone…
Utena's eyes soon settled on two pictures sitting on another small table, which was located in the left rear corner of the room. There was a woman and a man in the first picture. The woman was beautiful and had hair identical to Saionji's. The man was tall and handsome, with dark hair and dressed in a business suit. Utena smiled softly. She knew who those people were without having to ask.
The second picture was obvious as well. It was a young Touga and Saionji, both dressed in their Kendo uniforms and smiling happily for the camera. The image captured in that photo was the first true smile she'd ever seen on the Green Rose's face.
An annoyed sound from Saionji caught her attention, “What in the world are you spacing out about, you stupid girl? It's creepy,” he said, glaring.
Utena could only smile at him. “It's nothing.”
After about an hour, Saionji stated that he was about ready to go and start practice. Utena smiled softly and nodded, deciding that she hadhered him enough for one day, but she wondered if it was a bother…
Just as she was about to stand, Utena noticed something else in the room that she hadn't seen before. It was near the back of the room, leaning against the wall. It looked to be an instrument of some sort. “What's that, Saionji?” she asked.
Saionji glanced at the object in question. “It's called a Guqin. It's a seven-stringed Chinese silk instrument. It's said to be from ancient times,” he answered.
“Wow…” Utena murmured, “You really take your culture seriously, huh? Wait…Chinese? Aren't you Japanese, Saionji?” she asked, a bit confused.
“I am,” Saionji said, “But I always enjoyed the sound of the Guqin, so I learned to play it.”
Utena smiled, “Really? Would you play some for me?”
“If I do, then will you go?” Saionji asked blandly.
“Yes,” Utena said, chuckling.
Sighing, the Green Rose stood up and went to get the instrument. He brought it over and sat back down, the Guqin laying across his lap.
“It looks kind of like a mix between a harp and flat guitar,” Utena said as Saionji turned the metal pegs to tune the instrument.
“Hm,” Saionji murmured in reply.
“You said that the Guqin was a silk instrument. What does that mean?” Utena asked curiously.
“Traditional Chinese instruments comprise a wide range of string, wind, and percussion instruments. They were classified according to the materials used in their construction. There are eight categories, and they're called the Eight Sounds,” Saionji said, plum eyes focused on the Guqin.
Utena listened intently, impressed with how much he knew about it. “So silk is one of the categories, then? What are the other seven?” she asked.
“All together there is, silk, bamboo, wood, stone, metal, clay, gourd, and hide,” Saionji said as he slightly rubbed his slender fingers over the strings of the Guqin. “Silk instruments are mostly string instruments. Since the very beginning, the Chinese used silk to make the strings. Though today, metal or nylon are more frequently used.”
“I see…” Utena whispered, “You really do know a lot, Saionji…”
The Green Roses silently ignored her comment. Utena smiled a bit. `You're not used to genuine compliments, are you?'
After a moment, Saionji stopped fiddling with the metal pegs on the side of the Guqin, and gently plucked one of the strings. “Sounds ready,” he murmured. Utena smiled and became quiet, waiting for the start of his play.
Saionji situated the instrument on his lap and then began to play. The music he made was truly beautiful. The Kendo captain's fingers plucked the strings with expert skill. It seemed his hands were talented in more than just holding a sword.
Utena smiled softly as she watched him play. The calm and soothing music made her feel relaxed and comforted. It was amazing that the ever-angry Kyouichi Saionji could make such gentle and pleasing music. Utena had truly known nothing about him. Though she still didn't know everything, she now knew enough to know who Saionji really was.
`You're not dueling because of Anthy at all, are you? You wanted to bring the Revolution so that you wouldn't be alone anymore…'
Utena held back a giggle as she saw Saionji's eyes close. The Green Rose continued to play even without sight. His music did not falter. In fact, it seemed to become even more lovely. `What are you imagining?' she thought quietly. Though she wondered, she had a pretty good idea.
Saionji's song lasted about five or six minutes before he stopped playing and opened his eyes again. “Happy?” he asked in his usual irritated tone.
“Very,” Utena answered with a smile as she stood up, “I'll go now so you can get to practicing. I really enjoyed our tea, Kyoichi. I hope we can do this again soon.”
Saionji frowned, “What did you call me?! How dare you speak to me in such a familiar manner!” he said, sounding offended.
Utena jumped as he raised his voice, “I-I'm sorry…” she said, giving a bow. She hadn't meant to upset him. Why did she call him that anyway?
“Hmph,” Saionji huffed as he sat the Guqin aside, the Green Rose standing up as well.
“I don't want things to end on a bad note,” Utena stated honestly, “I'm sorry.”
Saionji sighed and turned away, “Whatever,” he said as he began to put away the teacups and teapot they had used.
Utena smiled. `You're not used to people apologizing either…' she thought.
“You know, Saionji, you should get out more. You're always cooped up in this Kendo hall. You're never at any school plays, dances, or trips. You never even come to any of Nanami's parties. You really should become more social…” Utena said, standing near the door.
“What are you, my life counselor? I'll have you know that I enjoy being by myself,” Saionji spat, his back turned to the pink-haired girl.
Utena chuckled and shook her head, “Are you sure about that?” she asked, letting the question remain as she made her exit. “See you later.”
Saionji turned around after she was gone and stared at her back as she crossed the Kendo room, soon going out into the hall and disappearing. The Green Rose lowered his eyes to the photo of Touga and himself.
`”Are you sure about that?”' he thought, Utena's words lingering in his mind. The Kendoist gave a small sigh as he exited. He'd postponed his training long enough.
End Chapter Six
BlackRoseVixen05: And so, this chapter comes to an end. Hope you all enjoyed it. Poor Sai-kun. He's so sad. ((pets him)) I had to do a lot of searching to write about the Guqin, but I found the info I needed on Wikipedia. Thank you, wiki-chan! Be sure to tune in for the next chapter! Please review!!