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When Utena comes home, there is an oddly-shaped thing on the table. It's big, maybe four feet tall, and rounded at the top, covered with a pink blanket.

There's a cake, too, with little pink and white roses, and teacups. She can hear Anthy humming tunelessly in the kitchen and the sound of the kettle boiling.

She's just about to touch the object when Anthy trills "Happy birthday, Utena-sama!" right in her ear, and she jerks away.

"Ah... How did you know it was my birthday?"

Anthy places the tea tray down and clasps her hands in front of her. "It is part of the Rose Bride's duties to the winner of the duel."

"You really shouldn't have..." She keeps glancing back at the gift. Occasionally she thinks she hears the sound of soft bells.

"It is my duty to please you in all ways, Utena-sama."

"Well... can I open it?"

"As you wish."

Utena whisks off the blanket and is surprised to see it's a cage underneath. The bird inside has a pink hood covering its eyes, with little bells attached to each leg. Red leather strips attach it to its perch, and a sturdy black leather glove is tucked away at the bottom of the cage.

"She's a red-tailed hawk," Anthy supplies helpfully.

"It's gorgeous," Utena says.

"Put the glove on," Anthy says, when Utena reaches to open the cage, "Utena-sama."

After a little wrangling and some help from Anthy, Utena has the bird perched carefully on her wrist. "She's beautiful. But... why a bird?"

"Oh," says Anthy. "She's no ordinary bird. She's quite young now, but with proper care she will be able to kill large prey - much larger than herself." The reflection on her glasses hides her expression.

"Anthy...?"

"That's enough excitement for today, I think," Anthy says, gently putting the bird back in her cage and covering it up. "Tea, Utena-sama?"

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