The Challenger
an Utena fanfiction
by Jaelle


These characters do not belong to me. If they did, do you really think I'd share them? He's mine! Mine I tell you! No infringement on the actual copyright holders is intended. :-)


Juri Arisugawa surveyed her team. The fencing club were having their first meeting of the new term, and she was expecting some excitement ahead... after all, everyone knew how good the newcomer was. Juri herself had gone up against them blade to blade in the challenge ring, and she knew the quality of her opponent.

There was a stir, the club parted like the red sea to give Juri an unobstructed view of the door. A figure stood just inside it, dressed in fencing gear, with the mask already on. It raised its' poniard in salute to Juri and advanced.

"So," murmured Juri, "you decided to join up after all hmmm?" A smile played on her lips. "Let's see how you do OUT of the challenge arena."

She put on her mask and moved to the centre of the floor.

"En garde!" she cried.

With a brief exchange of salutes, there was a loud crash as the blades met.

Juri gasped in delight as they battled. At last, a REAL opponent! She grinned and bared her teeth as she battered back a strong advance, parrying and thrusting in as her opponent fell back. Although she couldn't see the other, she knew that underneath their mask deep blue eyes were gleaming with the light of the challenge.

Engrossed in envisaging those sparkling eyes, Juri almost failed to notice that her guard was being drawn out, leaving a weak spot in her defences.

Almost.

Her opponent cut and lunged all of a sudden, striking swiftly and surely for her heart. Juri blocked the strike, stepped to one side and targeted her opponent as they overbalanced.

"HA!" she cried. The fencing club burst into wild applause.

Under cover of the noise, Juri faced her opponent as they removed their mask and murmured, "Now, if you'd only fought like that in the arena..."

Miki Kaoru smiled back at her shyly. "I was _trying_, honestly! I just don't like fighting with no good reason and Saionji got me when I wasn't looking."

Juri sighed, "And now we have to put up with him doing his 'Me big man, defeat student council, win bride' thing."

Miki laughed. "If you really want to dent his pride why don't YOU challenge him then?"

"Some other time perhaps," murmured Juri. "I have to admit, I was doubtful at first. But now I see why Touga wanted you on the student council. Welcome aboard." She looked him over. "I _trust_ you're going to join the fencing club," she emphasised.

"If you'll have me," Miki replied with a bow.

"Oh... I think we can find a place for you," said Juri with a smile. She put an arm around the boy. "I think you'll do just fine here Miki.

Just fine indeed."

***

The End

This fanfic is set before Utena arrives on the scene. It's based on the idea that the rest of the student council tested him before they let him. The rest should be obvious.

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