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Juri finished checking the foils in the storeroom and came out, locking it behind her. Turning around, the tawny-haired fencing captain was confronted by Utena Tenjou. She was standing in the middle of the practice hall, her hands behind her back and a worried expression on her face
Juri smiled at Utena. "Hello," she said. "I heard that you regained your place as the champion of the duels."
Utena swallowed. "Uh... yes." she said.
Juri frowned slightly. Utena didn't appear to be thrilled about her victory, but then again, Juri thought, as the Champion Utena got stuck with the vacant Anthy Himemiya - enough to make anyone miserable.
Utena swallowed again. "I... uh... wanted to thank you for your help."
Juri smiled again. "No problem," she said. "I was _glad_ to lend you my sword and thereby help knock some sense into Touga Kiryu's arrogant head." her smile turned a little vicious. "He deserved it, trying to turn people into something they're not!"
"Mmmm..." Utena fidgeted, her hands still clasped behind her. "About your sword... was it... er... important to you?"
Juri blinked. "Well, yes - it's a family heirloom, one of a kind." she told Utena.
Utena went white. "One... of... a... kind??" she whispered hoarsely.
"Yes," Juri nodded. "The value of that sword is... well, around several million yen I believe."
"Oh... my... God." Utena gulped. "Oh, Juri... I'm SORRY!!!" she wailed. "B-but it got broken!!!"
Juri stared at her. "What?" she asked in the manner of one trying to deny what she'd heard.
Tears filled Utena's eyes. "Touga... he used the power of the sword of Dios - some flashy light and... and... it BROKE THE SWORD!!!!" she howled as she brought her hands to her front and revealed what she was clutching.
"MY SWORD!!!!" shrieked Juri as she stared at what was left of it - the hilt and part of the blade.
Utena sniffed. "I'm so sorry!" she said bowing and handing the broken sword to the stupified Juri. "B-but I couldn't do anything!"
"My sword..." whispered Juri. "Passed down through the Arisugawa family for generations. It's survived flood, fire and earthquake until... oh, I can't believe it..." her eyes rolled up and she collapsed on the floor in a dead faint.
"JURI!!" cried Utena in horror.
"What's going on... oh no, sempai!" Miki Kaoru came in and knelt beside Juri. His eyes fell on the sword. "Is that...?" he looked up at Utena.
"It's Juri's sword!" Utena cried. "She lent it to me and... and I broke it!"
Miki bit his lip. "A National Treasure... broken!" his tone was gloomy.
"A WHAT??!!" Utena burst into tears and fled.
Miki waited until he couldn't hear her and then poked Juri's shoulder.
"All clear, you can get up now." he said.
Juri's eyes opened and she sat up. "Ow! I think I bruised myself, falling like that." she smiled at Miki. "So, do you think she fell for it?"
Miki grinned. "Hook, line and sinker!" he said helping Juri to her feet.
Juri turned the broken sword over in her hand and laughed softly. "Poor Utena." she said.
Miki followed Juri into the small room that served as her "office" and watched as she opened the doors of the large cabinet on the wall. He shook his head.
"What do you need _fourteen_ identical swords for?" he asked.
Juri gazed at her collection in rapture. "I like my swords." she cooed.
Miki shook his head. "You're _weird_." he said.
Juri turned around and gave him a level look. "So speaks the boy who walks around timing God-knows-what with a stopwatch!"
There was a short silence. Miki cleared his throat.
"*Achem* So... why don't we tell Utena that we knew about the sword all along and put her mind at rest?"
Juri's mouth twitched slightly but she nodded. "Why not." she said and closed the cabinet.
Miki stood aside as Juri swept past him. He put his hand in his pocket and discreetly drew out his stopwatch.
Authors note: After seeing Utena's second duel with Touga I wondered how Utena was going to explain to Juri how her sword had been broken! Since Miki is my other favourite character in the series I decided to give him a part and further develop the relationship between him and Juri.
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