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Arisugawa Juri [userpic]
by Arisugawa Juri (cagedpanther)
at April 3rd, 2006 (02:42 pm)

Juri ran her hand over the smooth surface of the high-backed chair before sitting down in it. As she freed her auburn hair from between her and the chair, she chuckled. A few of he students glanced over at her as her eyes tracked the various pairs engaged in clashing blades, but she really didn’t notice. After she’d left Ohtori, Juri figured the throne she used to sit upon as she went through practice to quickly disappear; it simply wasn’t Miki’s style. Being the best next to her, the boy was sure to follow in her footsteps as captain of the team once she graduated.

“What do you think of Hikaru’s form?” Juri’s question was directed to the right and after a long moment of silence, she received a reply.

“Well, her strikes are a little off-center,” came the hesitant reply.

Juri looked over and tilted her head upon seeing it wasn’t Miki that had answered her. Internally, she sighed at her mistake; she’d gotten caught up in the memories from her time sitting exactly where she was with her kohai and friend at her side. She missed Miki terribly, especially now that Shiori had left, probably for good this time. After graduation, Juri had kept regular correspondence with him until this last year when once again Shiori had consumed any energy Juri had toward other endeavors. By all rights, Miki should be a senior this year, though the boy was smart enough he could very well have graduated early. Seeing as he wasn’t there at fencing, Juri assumed the latter.

“Yes, but do you see why she is veering to the left slightly each time she moved in?” Juri took her eyes off the boy, one of the seniors that remembered her from before, and once more watched the girl she was speaking of.

After a bit more hesitation that annoyed Juri (she wished the ones that remembered her would stop being afraid), the boy pointed out how the girl seemed to be favoring her front foot. She was happy the boy noticed it, though he did miss why she appeared to be doing so. After a few more minutes of analyzing the girl’s form, Juri called a halt to the sparring and corrected the girl’s form. From that point on, she moved about the rest of the team and worked with each pair individually. She was still direct and commanding as she had been years ago in the fencing hall, this still was her domain, but she was much better at delivering her criticism than in the past.

Oddly enough, when one of the youngest girls broke down and cried because she simply couldn’t follow Juri’s instructions to any benefit (the girl was woefully untalented), Juri gently calmed her down while firmly reminding her this was the first practice and, with everything else, the more one practices, the better one gets. As the students left to shower and head off to their dorms or someplace to eat, Juri took her time cleaning up the equipment as she thought over how practice had gone.

“My, my, Arisugawa… How odd that you would enjoy actually teaching instead of dominating,” Juri mused as she locked up the equipment cabinet. She chuckled and checked her appearance in the bathroom before heading back to her office, You really have matured, haven’t you? The thought struck Juri as funny, even more as she looked at the larger scope of her life. Model turned teacher – how amusing.

She reached her office and stepped on a small pile of envelopes shoved under her door. Looking down at them Juri sighed, picked them up and deposited them in the trash. “Much more mature, indeed,” she said as she rolled her eyes. She never did understand the point of love letters. Perhaps that was because she never felt the urge to write one.

Setting her keys on her desk, her eyes were drawn to her windowsill. There upon the edge of her partially opened window was a vase with a single orange rose within and an envelope beneath it. As the wind through the window brought the scent of that rose to her, she stalked across the room to stare down at it. Her eyes were narrowed, facial expression unreadable, and she watched the wind blow a few of the petals off the rose.

There was no question where the rose had come from, no mistaking who that envelope was from. Juri had seen enough of them in her time at Ohtori to never forget the look of the envelopes End of the World left for his Duelists.

For a very long moment, Juri stood there looking down at the letter. As much as she hated to admit it, she was curious what it would say. She’d known the chairman would eventually contact her, though she would have though he’d figured out by now the right way to do it and also wait a day or so. Pity that the broken and deceitful prince never changed his ways. Perhaps that was his fatal flaw and Juri tucked it away for later use.

Slipping the envelope out from beneath the vase, Juri turned the letter over once in her hand to take in the rose crest pressed into the sealing wax on the back. A moment later, she ripped the letter neatly in half, her expression quite calm and serene. Setting both halves on the windowsill, she took the orange flower from the vase and brought it to her nose. The scent of that rose, that particular type of rose, invoked a stir of emotions she was surprisingly prepared for.

She cupped the rose in her palm, squeezed just enough and then reopened her hand outside the window. The wind pulled the orange petals from her palm where they drifted on the air currents across campus. This time would be different.

“I will not play your game,” she said as she picked up the ripped letter and deposited it on top of the other unwanted love letters.