mikogalatea: Shiori from Revolutionary Girl Utena, waiting behind a tree. Icon text: "It's always raining in my head" (Shiori; downcast)
[personal profile] mikogalatea posting in [community profile] flybycontact
It's my first decent-length fanfic in over four years!

Title: Silent Regrets
Fandom: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Characters/Pairing: Shiori/Juri, from Shiori's point of view; also has mentions of Ruka and past Ruka/Shiori.
Rating: PG-13 (for a brief mention of past sex as well as Shiori generally being the self-deprecating bundle of issues that she is)
Summary: Set at the end of episode 29. While quietly following Juri, Shiori reflects on recent events and begins to sort through the true feelings she's been carrying in her heart all along.

Disclaimer: I don't own Revolutionary Girl Utena or any of its characters, nor do I make any money out of this fanwork.

-

You haven't noticed me following you, have you, Juri-san? You didn't pause when I ran up behind you, nor have you looked back towards me at all.

I'm fine with that, actually; in fact, I think it's for the best. It's strange, because I hated it when you kept ignoring me after I'd just come back to this school; but things feel so much more peaceful now that we're quietly walking back towards the dorms like this, with our shadows side-by-side as if we could finally be equals. It's so pleasant, not being in your shadow like I always was before.

All the trees are bare along this path; it really must be autumn now. Has that much time already passed since I transferred back? No, it hasn't actually been very long at all, has it? I can't believe so much has happened in such a short time...

I've heard the news about Tsuchiya-senpai. You must think I'm heartbroken over the fact that he's gone now, but to be honest, I'm not as sad about it as I thought I would be. I'm a terrible person, aren't I?

No, I don't think it's just that. I finally feel like I can come to terms with the fact that he used me – that he never really loved me the way I thought he did, and that we were never going to make up no matter what I did or said. He only pretended to be kind to me so he could play me for an utter fool; I can finally accept that. It's not that I'm glad he's dead, but now I don't have any reason to keep pining after him anymore. At last, I can put this experience behind me and move on.

It was painful for you to see me going out with him, wasn't it? Of course it was; you had to see the girl you love with your old captain, after all. Anyone would be jealous in that situation. Still, I did think the way you told me to stop seeing him was awful. It was the first time you'd bothered to speak to me since I came back, yet it was just because you wanted to coddle me and tell me what to do with my life, as if I'm not allowed to make my own choices, wasn't it? That's what I thought at the time, at least. Surely you must have seen that I was actually happy for once, too; it felt like you were trying to get in the way of that! That's why I said you sucked.

Even so, I was in the wrong there in the end. I was too stubborn, too determined to find fault with the warning you gave me to see that you were genuinely worried about me – that you really did have good intentions in trying to spare me from the heartbreak I was so blindly setting myself up for. I should have listened to you then, and for that, I'm sorry.

I have no regrets about yelling at you the other day, though. Really, I mean it this time. I know you were there watching when Tsuchiya-senpai dumped me in front of everyone; you don't know how much it hurt when you didn't even try to help me there and then, and when you only did so much as knock on my door when it was already too late. You were a lot like that when we were children, too; you always wanted to protect me, and yet most times you only gave me a shoulder to cry on after the fact – not when I was actually in trouble, or when I was actually being picked on. It was as if it's beneath someone like you to be seen comforting a useless crybaby like me! How pathetic!

That's why I'm glad I let you know how I've always felt – how much I hated that attitude of yours. Now I'm not holding that in anymore, it's like a great weight's been lifted off my shoulders.

I still haven't told you all of my feelings, though. You probably wouldn't believe me if I did tell you, would you? Even if you did believe me, even if you did accept them as true, I can barely accept myself for these feelings.

To begin with, I never actually loved that boy from before. Everything I wrote in that letter was nothing more than lies; all I did was convince myself that I loved him, all so I could justify to myself what I did to you. I was only using him to run away, from you and from myself; when I realised that, being with him made me feel worse than ever, and I just couldn't stay with him any longer. He wasn't such a great guy, anyway.

Perhaps it was the same with Tsuchiya-senpai, too, except I really did think I loved him; he was so nice to me in that locker room, even if I didn't deserve it at all, and only one other person has ever treated me with that sort of kindness. I was desperate to keep him for that, but in the end, maybe the only part of him I fell for was his trickery. What an idiot I was.

I was in complete denial over it, though. How could I not be? I'd given him everything I had when we were together. I'd even slept with him, and it had been my first time, too. I couldn't let it end the way it did after I'd gone so far with him, which is why I did and said all I could to try and make him stay with me, no matter how pathetic I must've seemed.

Despite that... when I kept telling him that he was the only one I ever loved, even I thought my words sounded hollow. I knew then that I was trying to convince myself more than I was ever trying to convince him. It was all I could do to keep denying my true feelings.

You were the only one I really wanted, Juri-san.

When I first realised I felt that way about you so long ago, I was disgusted with myself. After all, I shouldn't love another girl that way, should I? I didn't think there was any way you could accept or return my feelings, either, unless something like a miracle happened; so I could never say anything about it. Besides, you were getting along with that boy in the fencing club, while I was just the helpless little girl who always had to be protected by you.

I couldn't stand that. I couldn't stand being so beneath you, feeling like I was being mocked by the only friend I had. I couldn't stand that everything always went well for you, blessed with talent and beauty and money and everyone's adoration as you were, while I was the plain useless kid who used to be bullied all the time and had revolting feelings for another girl hidden in my heart.

That's why I did what I did. I wanted to take something away from you; I knew I could never have the miracle I wanted, so I told you to believe in them so that you couldn't have them either. I thought by doing that, I could change the relationship we had so you wouldn't look down on me anymore.

How stupid of me. All I did was make you hate me and make myself feel even lower than before. I thought I'd rather be hated by you than pitied, but when I came back here and you wouldn't even look at me, it hurt worse than ever. I brought it on myself, though, didn't I?

And after that, I finally found out who was in that locket of yours.

It was the miracle I'd wanted from the start, and yet I just couldn't believe it. What was my picture doing in there? Had you really loved me back all along? If that was the case, why didn't you want to talk to me at all?

You were afraid to tell me how you actually felt, weren't you? Just as I was afraid to tell you how I felt? I never expected you to have anything as pathetic as that in common with me!

Knowing your deepest secret, knowing that I'd had that kind of hold on your heart the whole time, felt like such a victory at first; but the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Why would you be in love with someone like me, anyway? Surely I don't deserve that! And were you really afraid to tell me how you felt, or did you think I wasn't worthy of being told in the first place? Was there something so wrong with me that you couldn't tell me you loved me to my face? How did your locket get in my room to begin with, and why did it have such a crappy picture of me in it?

It felt like you were making fun of me again! Your locket must have been planted in my room as a sick joke! Why else would it have been there after you kept ignoring me?

Those were stupid conclusions to jump to, weren't they? The truth is, I have no idea how it got there or why, and I suppose it doesn't even matter too much now. I don't know where it went afterwards, either. You did get it back somehow, didn't you? That's strange, because I don't recall giving it back to you; in fact, I don't recall seeing you about the locket at all. I can't believe I wouldn't have done so, but no matter how hard I try to think of what I must've done after I saw it, I just can't remember anything. Why do I have this gap in my memory, I wonder? Do you know what happened around that time, Juri-san?

If you do... I'm not sure if I want to know after all. I feel like there's a reason why I can't remember what I did then, and I'm afraid of it. I didn't do something awful again, did I? If so, then I could never even begin to tell you how sorry I am for it.

Why did you love me when I'm such a horrible person? I don't understand it. Was it even me you loved, or just some fake fantasy me who only existed in your head?

And what would you have done if I said I loved you too?

Somehow, I can't believe you would've been happy if I did tell you – or at least that's what I was convinced of at the time. I bet you would've thought I was just trying to trick you again. There's no way I could blame you for that, though, is there?

You wouldn't have wanted me for very long if we did get together, either. That boy from before certainly didn't, so I couldn't see how anyone else would be much different. I'm just too worthless to be anyone's girlfriend, least of all yours.

So I kept you at arm's length, even when I knew how you felt about me. I thought this love would die if we came too close to one another, because then there'd be no way you could deny how ugly I really am; but if we drifted too far apart, the love would have died then anyway.

That's why I decided to go out with Tsuchiya-senpai, even if it wasn't for the fact that he lured me in with his false kindness. I just wanted you to pay attention to me, Juri-san. I just wanted to make sure you actually cared about me, even if you did only want me to be a poor little princess you had to protect. Ironic, isn't it? I hated the thought that you saw me like that, yet I'd much rather have had you worry over me that way than let you keep ignoring me.

I guess my real feelings were staring me in the face the whole time I was with him. If I hadn't so stubbornly ignored them... if I hadn't fooled myself into thinking he was the only one I loved... would that have made any difference to what happened?

Not that it matters now. I got what I deserved for playing such a game with you. By trying to keep your eyes on me again, I fell right into his trap and I paid the price for it. Only then, after he'd crushed me in front of the entire school, did I realise that it must've been the kind of pain I've put you through before.

Perhaps that makes us even now.

I'm so sorry for all that I've done to you, Juri-san. I truly am. I've been meaning to tell you that for a long time, ever since I transferred back here... but you wouldn't believe me if I said it, would you? You wouldn't forgive me, either, not that I have any right to be forgiven in the first place.

Or have I only convinced myself of all that? Am I really so irredeemable?

I should change my way of thinking, shouldn't I? I should stop assuming the worst of you all the time. I should stop using other people as measures of my own worth. I will stop playing stupid mindgames with you. I'm sick of screwing up with everything I do – sick of causing so much pain for the both of us. I need to make myself stronger. I need to raise myself up so I'll never feel any need to tear you down anymore. I need to keep moving on from Tsuchiya-senpai and all my other mistakes. I need to learn to forgive you, forgive everyone around me, forgive even myself, as hard as that's going to be.

If I can do all that, maybe then I can finally truly face you. Maybe then I can let you know all of my true feelings without any regrets, and maybe then you can share your feelings with me without regrets as well, whatever they may be now. After all, we can't rely on miracles to make our feelings known for us; it's something we have to do ourselves. I've finally come to realise that; I wish I'd done so sooner.

Now we've reached the point where we take different paths on the way back to our dorms. Have I really been following you this far? Is the path from the hospital to here really that long? I don't think it is, but it felt a lot further today, somehow. It can't just have been because I was so caught up in my own thoughts, could it?

You never turned back to look at me the whole way. That's fine. I don't need you to look back, even if you surely must've known all along that I was right behind you.

Our shadows are still side-by-side, just as you're about to go. They don't overlap as we silently part ways, either; I'm not in your shadow at any point, nor am I putting you in mine. I'm glad for that.

I don't know if I can ever make up for everything I did to you, but for now, thank you for letting me walk alongside you. I can keep going forward from here.

Fin.

-

As always, comments and constructive criticism are both welcome and appreciated.

Date: 2014-08-24 08:08 pm (UTC)
sarajayechan: &hearts; <lj user="theflamingstumpy">, DO NOT TAKE (Juri/Shiori)
From: [personal profile] sarajayechan
Aaaaaah Shioriiii ;_; This was heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Gala.

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