Disclaimer: I do not own Princess Tutu. Other companies such as Hal Filmmaker do. This is a non-profit fanwork written with love.

Pas de Deux
by Fushigi Kismet

"Mukashi mukashi . . ."

Once upon a time there lived a prince and a princess.

Their fates were inextricably intertwined. Their love faced many obstacles, but after all, the prince must end up with the princess and live happily ever after. That is the way these stories are supposed to go.

And once their tale was complete, they danced away into song and story.


Once upon a time there was a duck.

And there was a knight too - mustn't forget the knight now.

They were but part of the story for the length of a dream. And the duck was not a duck but a girl and the girl was not a girl but a princess and the boy-reborn-knight found some use after all in the pages of that self-same story. For the length of a dream and the breadth of a song and then they faded from the pages of the story and as that long and winding tale came to its conclusion they were left behind like velveteen rabbits or well-used marionettes to sit silently on the edge of the stage.

The duck was dangling her feet in the water. At the moment she was a girl and at the moment she was content because she had just witnessed something rare and beautiful - two people dancing across the surface of a lake like blissful gliding swans and a prince's heartfelt smile. Though her heart ached a little, she was serene in her happiness and in her sadness and regret.

"Didn't they look beautiful?"

The boy snorted in reply, tilting his head upwards to rest against the tree behind him, his sword resting across his knees.

"They were beautiful," the girl repeated stubbornly to herself, turning her head away from him and looking at her rippling reflection in the water.

"So they were beautiful," the boy said caustically with the air of someone condescending to undertake a distasteful task.

"I'm happy," she said brightly, "that the Prince is finally happy."

The boy shut his eyes upon hearing her. Somehow he knew that tears were welling in those wide blue eyes despite - or perhaps because of the decided cheer in her voice. He felt very tired suddenly, and though he was now free of a great weight and had undertaken and seen a great task to its conclusion he felt no sense of glory or accomplishment but merely the weary emptiness of a dancer after the final curtain has fallen on his failed career.

'But I didn't fail,' he thought angrily to himself.

And yet the thought lingered that after all his tasks were finished, perhaps he too was finished along with them.

'What nonsense.'

But what is a knight without a quest? What is a princess without a prince? What need for characters when the story has ended?

"Smile," the boy said abruptly and the girl was startled like a bird from a bush and turned to look at him with still-damp eyes.


"Shush," he murmured, clapping a hand over her mouth and glaring fiercely into those blue eyes. "You were just thinking, "I want to dance as beautifully as the prince and the princess, weren't you?""

She gingerly pushed his hand away, staring at him in bewilderment. "I-"

"So let's dance," he said, standing and pulling her from the water and to her feet on the grassy bank, his sword falling forgotten to the ground. He clucked chidingly at her bare feet. "And where are your dancing shoes?"

"I don't know."

"It doesn't matter," he murmured, and she could sense that he was waiting.

Then, all of a sudden the toeshoes were there resting on the ground between them as though they realized that they too could not escape from this enchantment. He slid them onto her feet and laced them tightly before she had time to think of it at all.

She felt strange as though she were once again part of a story and all of it seemed very familiar - from the donning of her slippers to the dancing - as though they were a part of something she ought to remember.

She knelt and found his sword among the grass. Lifting it, she offered it to him with a surprisingly graceful curtsy. He glanced at her bent head and took the sword from her, sliding it into its sheath at his side. She straightened and smiled happily. His eyes did not leave her or grow less stern but his lips quirked for an instant in that rarest of expressions for him and he asked her quite correctly, "Shall we dance?"

The girl nodded.

A waltz was most appropriate to her mind for it seemed she recalled such a dance had taken place at such a point in some long ago story, but they did not waltz - after all, their dance was the ballet and that was a story element that could not be changed no matter the circumstances. The creator of the story had deemed it so.

And so they danced, from the grass by the water to the surface of the lake itself - dancing upon it as though it were glass or ice, even as the prince and the princess had done but an hour before and just as gracefully - just as beautifully. Their motion and form were fluid and sure as though they embodied the wind, wings stretched to fly.

The duck found it wondrous, as did the boy, as they danced together in perfect time with each other's movements and hearts. He could not believe that the girl dancing was the same as the klutz and the nuisance, but somehow knew that this was true - that even ducks could learn to dance and turn to swans.

Slowly, softly, as they danced, their forms shifted and changed until their reflections in the water were that of a graceful princess framed in white feathers and a gallant knight trailing his cloak behind him.

But seeing the reflection the knight's face grew dark and he reached out and pulled the shining princess into his embrace. His hands cupped her face and his lips met hers and she could do no more than respond as needed, for this was madness. Did there exist such a story? Ah, but it was madness much-needed.


When he pulled away and released her from his arms, already the enchantment had nearly faded, and she was merely a girl again, white feathers fading into mist, and he merely a boy, cloak fading into nothingness. Both their faces were bright red and she began to sputter, eyes wide and countenance flustered, "Fa-Fa-Faki-"

"There," he said, and once more he smiled gently, and she stilled, finding his expression as wondrous as that of the prince.

"This is how it should be," he said, reaching out and taking her hand into his.

She understood him - that enchantments were false and could not be forever sustained, that the past at some point must also be laid to rest. "But I'm still not really a girl! I'm just a - just a duck!" She could feel the quick, determined beats of her heart.

"And I," he said, looking firmly at her, "am just a person in a story. It'll all work out somehow. This is," and his smile broke through again to her growing delight, "after all, the beginning of a new story. Now then, shall we finish our dance?"

She nodded, smiling, and they danced from the old pages of that story into the new pages of their own.