Summer nights, Fakir decided, staring up at his ceiling, were the worst times to try to fall asleep. Resignedly, he rose and dressed, thinking that a walk might help him clear his mind of the tempest of thoughts that plagued him. It was not hard, accustomed as he was to being quiet, then, to slip past Ahiru's room across the hall with only a slight glance backwards. Her door was closed, offering him no peek at her still form, asleep and at peace.

Not that it would have helped anyway, he thought bitterly as he silently padded down the stairs and around to the back door, carefully turning the handle and slipping outside without being noticed by any of the sleepers in the house.

No. Fakir's thoughts were always haunted by the girl who slept only across the hall. He was enchanted by her. She was beautiful, if only she would see it, and if her friends didn't keep telling her she couldn't, he knew she could rise quickly to the advanced class, where he might even be partnered with her… NO! None of that!

Fakir took a deep breath of the warm night air and tensed his muscles, frustrated with himself for thinking that way. He started walking purposefully, attempting to keep his thoughts away from her and his eyes focused on the path ahead of him.

But inevitably his thoughts strayed once again, and he had to face for what felt like the hundredth time, the fact that she had always been in love with Mytho. Never him. And she never would be. He was her friend. She talked freely with him even when he met her with silence. She understood it was no longer angry silence, and she appreciated it, knowing it was meant simply to listen to her better. Not often her words, but she didn't expect that anyway. Just her voice, her emotions so easy to read through the delicate manipulations of her vocal chords.

She trusted him, and somehow she knew without him ever having to tell her that he trusted her and enjoyed her company. Still, there was nothing more than the friendship and trust between them, no matter how often Fakir wished that there could be. She trusted him, and he had resolved long ago not to betray that trust.

Fakir stopped walking suddenly and looked up, not at all surprised to find himself by the lake—her lake, but unsure what had roused him from his circular reverie.

Then a splash and a flash of movement caught his eyes and ears, and he turned, expecting to see a duck, or a swan, on the lake, just like him unable to sleep.

Well, it was both, really. Ahiru, bathed in moonlight that made her look ethereal and more like a goddess, or a swan maiden, than Princess Tutu had ever looked to Fakir, and in that moment, all the more desirable, danced in the water, her eyes gently closed, as if she were in the midst of a dream.

She stumbled, of course. She was Ahiru. But her dance was so overflowing with her that it didn't matter. As Fakir watched, she danced, and Fakir, after a moment, realized how melancholy she looked. He frowned, noticing the wrongness of that. She, more than anyone, deserved a happy ending, in his opinion at least, which he would be the first to admit, if only to himself, was biased. Shortly after, he also realized that she was naked, and even though she had no idea he was there he blushed, knowing that he should turn away but standing transfixed.

As he watched, longing more and more to approach her and starting to wonder if his wall of chivalry had finally crumbled, he recognized something else about her dance.

It was a pas de deux she danced, and that settled the matter in Fakir's heart, though his mind gave a weak protest, the only logical part still functioning crying out that this was ridiculous, and he was an idiot to even think of it.

Slowly, wondering at himself with strange detachment, he stripped off his shirt, wincing slightly at the soft splash it made as it fell to the ground. But Ahiru had not heard.

So before he could regain any semblance of rational thought and talk himself out of it, he stepped out of his pants, then his boxers, and walked softly to the edge of the water.

It was surprisingly only cool. Refreshing enough on this stifling summer night, yet warm enough not to shock the body upon entering.

He found the familiar shallows and waded out, submerging himself deeper and deeper, all the while watching Ahiru for any sign she might have heard him. She did not. She made more noise than he with her dancing, sending showers of diamonds where water might have sprayed in a different light, so Fakir quickly found himself in a position to touch her, lead her into a true pas de deux. Yet he waited, recognizing the familiar steps and waiting for her to jump. Surely she would. She could have no fear with this forgiving water to support her.

Yes, here it came, and Fakir slid smoothly and nearly silently in to catch her, gently lowering her body through several more positions as she slowly opened her eyes, until he held her like the princess she was in his arms and she looked straight into his eyes as recognition dawned and she blushed a deep crimson.

"Fakir…" she whispered, and if it was an obvious plea to be let down, it was even more obviously a half-hearted one, and Fakir half-smiled, "I… I didn't realize you… were… What are you doing?"

Fakir, ignoring her embarrassment, had started leading her through the next steps of the dance. "I'm dancing with you," he said, much more tenderly than she had ever heard him, and without the usual epithet he had given her at the end of the explanation.

"Oh," Ahiru blushed a little deeper. This is what I wanted, wasn't it? Never mind that he hasn't noticed I'm… But… but he is, too!

Ahiru, newly confused and embarrassed, stumbled slightly and looked up at Fakir, almost checking to see if he, the real, substantial Fakir, was there. Fakir, for his part, acted like he hadn't noticed, just helped her regain her balance and lifted her up to complete the dance, and before Ahiru could think of something to say, or even really think at all, he just as smoothly transitioned them into a new pas de deux, one she knew the steps to, but though she racked her brain, could not name. It's one I haven't done before, she thought, but I know Mr. Cat taught us the steps. Where is it from? What is Fakir doing?

She knew she would fall if she tried to think much farther ahead in the dance, so she tried to relax, and found herself smiling and melting into the dance, feeling and loving the unfamiliar and wonderfully strong and gentle hands guiding her through the steps, almost, she could imagine, caressing her.

This dance started with a lot of running, jumping, and pirouetting apart from each other, then a touch of his hand to her cheek, before both floated off again and his jumping grew higher and the pirouettes faster.

Ahiru watched, trying to place who he was, if not the pas de deux, but she was distracted once again when he opened his arms to her and spun her neatly around, making her feel weightless, like she were flying. They went through several dips and lifts, Ahiru losing any and all desire to think of anything but the moment they were in, dancing together.

Fakir smiled secretly to himself, knowing that she didn't recognize the Romeo and Juliet Balcony pas de deux. He had chosen it because of that, and knowing that he could be near her for most of it, lifting her nearly weightless form and feeling her muscles tighten against his. And it ended in a kiss, but he preferred to think that that was merely coincidental and had not factored into his original thinking.

As he swung her down, breathing in her scent as she slid down his body, from a time upon his shoulders, he saw that her eyes were dancing with laughter and happiness. Nothing about this dance was melancholy anymore. Perhaps then… perhaps he might be the one she had been waiting for.

Fakir swung Ahiru effortlessly around at a dizzying pace, next, and Ahiru was finally able to place the dance. The balcony pas de deux, she thought, unable to recall why she had found the identity of the dance so interesting when it was Fakir she was dancing with.

She glided away in ecstasy, closing her eyes for a moment and feeling her heart flutter as Fakir caught her hand and swung her back to him, a little harder than was necessary so she came crashing into his chest as he swung her up and around, the feel of her hip-bone at his shoulder exciting his nerves more than it should have, prompting him to add an extra flourish to keep her close to him as he slid her down his body again, this time waiting a beat and looking into her eyes, wide with exertion and excitement, yet still managing to be deep as the sky.

Fakir trailed his hands down her arms, but she had no dress to kiss. Instead he took her hands, prompting a slight pinkness in her cheeks. So she had finally recognized it, and was starting to anticipate his actions. Yet she was still going along with it… so what could be the harm?

Fakir solemnly kissed her hands, lingering, they both noticed, a little longer than was necessary, and making her small spin away a little more timid, and adding a touch of fear to her eyes as they looked at each other again, before Fakir rushed after her and caught her thigh and her waist, lifting her yet again, and all Ahiru's doubts were buried for a moment as she melted again into his touch. She felt like all she wanted to do was wrap herself around him, though she knew he wanted them to stick to the choreography for now. Perhaps when this dance was over… but… she didn't even know why he had come, yet…

Fakir realized with strange detachment that it was becoming harder to let her extend away from him as the dance demanded, and he had to force his hands to let her go once more, though she stopped in her flight only a foot away from him and turned back.

Fakir extended a hand to her, and she wrapped her arm around his to grasp it, drawing herself up against him and gasping softly as he lifted her and buried his face in her chest, kissing her stomach lightly, thinking rather shamefully that he had an excuse – it was what the dance called for. But as his kisses became more feverish and less suppressed, Ahiru drew away with very real fear and disbelief, her breath fluttering and shallow, as Juliet's, though, just as Juliet, she stopped and looked back, a very real question in her eyes, to which Fakir solemnly nodded, almost imperceptibly, and placed his hands in the mime of love, for the first time deviating from the choreography.

Ahiru came bounding back eagerly, beaming and for once not faltering as he lifted her high into the air, both hands at her waist, above his head until she slowly and carefully lowered her arms, coming to meet with his shoulders, before sliding down his body again and away from him, dancing with more confidence and happiness than she ever had before, miming love when she turned back to him and ran to reach him.

This time it was his turn to arch into her touch, and he did, letting his muscles do what they would for once, if only for a moment, before they supported her in an arabesque and she spun away again, prompting him to turn to keep her in sight. She danced around him for a while, her circles tighter and tighter until he lifted her again, this time really only to support her back while she arched away from him, her breasts taut and at Fakir's eye level for a moment, almost driving him mad, until Ahiru arabesqued again, and the procedure was repeated twice more. Then they backed away from each other, still keeping their eyes locked, and Fakir opened his arms again, to spin Ahiru around in the air a final time, and finally slide her back down and catch her hand as she moved away again.

For a moment they stared at each other, both breathing heavily and wondering if they were going to go through with the next part as they reluctantly dropped each other's hand and continued to stare, until, as if as one, they moved closer, not touching at all, but keeping eye contact religiously.

Fakir's lips met Ahiru's almost before either of them expected, but neither of them pulled away, though Ahiru arched slightly back as Fakir's arms wrapped around her, but this was more out of surprise at the kiss than anything, for a moment later her arms wrapped around his neck, sealing their entanglement and assuring him that she was not going to run off back to her balcony any time soon.

But inevitably, they broke apart, more for air than anything else, and stayed inches apart, chests heaving against each other.

"Fakir," Ahiru whispered breathlessly, the first time she had spoken since Fakir had started dancing with her.

"Yes, Angel?" Ahiru blushed but beamed at Fakir's wording, prompting an answering smile from him as he pulled her even closer, until her entire body was pressed against his and her eyes started to haze over, almost losing her words en route to her mouth.

"I… I love you."

Fakir fairly beamed, making her heart melt and jump as he lifted her once again, slightly less artistically, prompting her to wrap her legs around his waist as he slid his hands over her hips and down to grasp her upper thighs, pressing her up and against him.

"And I love you, Ahiru. More than anything else in the world."

He moved to kiss her again, but she put a finger to his lips, blushing at her own boldness, and said, "I wanted to tell you… in the lake of despair… I was so afraid of losing you… I… that's why I didn't… want the story to end… I never knew why until then, but you always made everything right. When I was around you, things didn't seem hopeless...I didn't want to lose that… You… you mean more to me than anything else…"

Fakir nodded tenderly and Ahiru relaxed into his kiss, everything in her world right for once.

She had no inhibitions when his kisses trailed down her jawline, though she gasped, feeling tremors through her body from where his lips touched her skin, and a slight chill which, upon opening her eyes, she realized was because Fakir was carrying her out of the water.

Sure enough, a moment later, he set her gently down on the grass and knelt over her, trailing his hands over her body, making her shiver.

Fakir drank in the sight of Ahiru, stretched out below him, breathless and starry-eyed. Her eyes darted, then, to his erection, and back up to his face, blushing a deep ruby red as he leaned down to kiss her again, running his hands down from her shoulders to her breasts, then tracing light circles with his thumb around her nipples.

"Shh," he whispered in between short, sensual kisses, "You are the source of my desire."

She gasped for air gratefully when his lips left hers, the unsteady rhythm of her breathing lifting her chest closer to him, and after a moment, he slicked his tongue around her right nipple, in the same circle his fingers had been travelling moments before, and she cried out breathily as her chest jerked up, neatly depositing her nipple in his mouth.

Ahiru cried out at the unfamiliar feeling, "You… I… want… need to... Ah! Fakir!"

Fakir sucked on her nipple for a moment, his tongue sliding over and around the nub. He felt an urgent pulsing grow which, without thinking, he conformed to, his right hand tracing circles around her left nipple, his rhythmic sucking on her other, even her breathing, he noticed, were following and countering the central rhythm their bodies had created, and even simply the syncopation of her breathing further aroused his desire for her.

Fakir released her breasts from his ministrations, then, and slid both his hands down to her hips.

Her sapphire eyes opened, desperately trying to adjust to this new level of feeling, even as her senses went wild with his touch. Ahiru watched, almost before the idea crossed her mind, as her hands reached up to slick across his chest, making Fakir gasp and grasp her hips sharply as his hands contracted when her fingers passed feather-light over his nipples.

Fakir gritted his teeth, unable to suppress a moan when Ahiru continued to slide her hands down his chest, gazing with undisguised hunger, if still a light pink tinge to her cheeks, at his muscles, hard and well-defined against her fingers and slick with a mixture of sweat and water.

Fakir lowered himself closer over her, only partly to stop her probing fingers and allow himself to regain control, and he caught her lips again with his, closing his eyes moments after her sapphire irises disappeared again. This time her hands, desperate for some reliable hold, slid around his shoulders to interlock, unconsciously spreading her legs and coming into contact with his hardened member and causing him to moan into her kiss as her lower body jerked up and she broke their liplock to gasp for air.

Ahiru was panting heavily, and her eyes had opened again. She was looking straight into Fakir's, emotions and rational thought conflicting in a turmoil that made her eyes look like a tornado over bright, moonlit water.

Fakir positioned himself at her entrance, and looked into her eyes, a last question as he trailed his hands around her body, memorizing her curves by touch.

Ahiru gave a jerking nod, her womb already tightening and her legs opening to receive him.

As Fakir thrust into her the first time, he swallowed a scream from her lips with a kiss, and thrust himself into her again, creating a slow rhythm that was about half-time what the throbbing in his body pounded. He waited for her to get used to it, and for the pain to stop, firmly denying his own impulse and waiting for her.

Ahiru tried to scream as white spots filled her vision and a stabbing pain rushed through her entire body, but Fakir kissed her, and moments later, her vision returned, and the pain had receded to a dull ache that she realized grew worse every time Fakir withdrew from her.

She opened her mouth to try to speak, though she had no idea what she wanted to say. All that came out was a strangled, "Faki-ah-ah-AH!" Her voice rose as he thrust into her again and his name became a cry.

Fakir seemed to understand her anyway, and sped up the tempo of his thrusts, flying higher and higher until Ahiru voiced a cry that spoke for both of them. They reached climax moments apart and collapsed, both panting and looking at each other as their minds caught up with their bodies.

"Fakir," Ahiru whispered, her breathy voice betraying her exhaustion and her eyes already sleepy.

Fakir smiled at her, sliding her against him and curling an arm around her, pillowing his head on the soft, grass-covered root of the tree they were under.

Ahiru sighed contentedly and closed her eyes, already halfway to the fields of dreams, with Fakir not far behind.

Fakir was awake first, opening his eyes and blinking in the hot summer sun, already high in the sky.

Ahiru opened her eyes a moment later, also blinking sleepily and sitting up, stretching as she stared out across the lake.

Fakir chuckled a bit when her movement abruptly stopped. She looked back at him, still as naked as she was, and blushed a deep rose. Before she could say anything, though, Fakir sat up to meet her and kissed her.

She touched her lips when they separated. "It wasn't a dream," she whispered almost to herself, half in awe, "Why… why did you come out here, last night?"

"I couldn't sleep," Fakir explained, and couldn't resist teasing her a bit, "But you seem to have taken care of that."

She blushed again, but smiled.

"Why were you out here?" he asked after a moment, twirling a finger in her long, unbound hair.

"I couldn't sleep either. I thought I'd go to the lake to sort out my thoughts."

"And are they sorted?"

"Yes," she answered immediately, leaning timidly forward to kiss Fakir again.

Fakir surprised her by pulling her down on top of him, though she grinned when she regained her orientation, and her grin was mirrored on Fakir's face.

"I love you," Fakir said, tasting the words in his mouth and liking the way they formed readily on his tongue.

"I love you, too," Ahiru replied, marveling at the body below her. She propped herself up on Fakir's chest and for a while, they simply lay like this, watching each other.

"We should," Ahiru whispered quietly, easing them out of their silence, "We should get dressed. Charon is probably wondering where we are."

Fakir nodded reluctantly and sat up, Ahiru sliding easily off his chest and bounding around the other side of the tree and out of sight for the moment. Fakir sat for a moment, allowing himself a momentary dreamy smile before he wandered over to the pile of his clothes and tugged them on.

He had just shaken his shirt out and was about to pull it over his head when Ahiru lightly touched his bare right shoulder, causing him to pause in his dressing and turn.

Her eyes were wide again as she came around to his front and trailed her fingers over his birthmark, down to where it disappeared into his pants at the opposite hip. He caught her hand there and entwined his fingers with hers, his other hand reaching to her chin to lift her eyes to his.

She opened her mouth, her eyes looking apologetic and sad, but Fakir brought her closer and wrapped his arms around her waist. Her arms, after a moment, wrapped around his neck and she leaned against him, surrendering and desperately wanting comfort, but not daring to ask for it aloud. Her breath shuddered.

"Shh," he said, "It's not your fault. If you hadn't started the story, someone else would have… In the end, I'm glad it was you."

In answer, Ahiru gave him a short squeeze and an equally short kiss, satisfied and sufficiently cheered. Her cheeks still turned slightly pink when she kissed him, he noticed with light amusement.

A moment later, they disentangled themselves and Ahiru jumped a bit ahead, grinning and a bundle of energy, just as she usually was.

Fakir took a moment to look at her. She wore a flowy white dress, hardly the worse for wear for having sat on the ground all night. She was beautiful. And she was his.

Ahiru noticed him watching, and found herself feeling beautiful, knowing he thought she was. She held out a hand for him, and he grasped it. In this way, holding hands, they made their way leisurely back to Charon's house.


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