by Iryl
Rated PG till the second part when it goes a little PG13 with small not-nice words and a few slight sexual innuendos.
Summary: Fuu in a Cinderella story. Need I say more?
Disclaimer: I do not own MKR or anything else within.

Part 1:
"FUU!" Umi screamed and stamped her foot. After a moment, a delicate girl appeared in the doorway.

"Yes, sister dear?" she stood with her broom, soot covering her face and clothes since she had to clean the chimney every morning. For some odd reason, her stepmother Alcyone liked the chimney very clean, and so Fuu obliged.
"Get this horrible /marshmallow/ out of here before I kill it!" she pointed dramatically to a round white creature with rabbit ears that looked curiously back. As she did, a fiery whirlwind came flushing in, demanding her sister leave Mokona alone, and was soon followed by a /very/ happy Alcyone.
"Girls!!" the three young females turned to their adopted mother as she held up a paper proudly. "We have been invited to a royal ball tonight where Prince Ferio will choose a bride!" Umi got stars in her eyes with images of herself as a princess, Hikaru wondered what he was like, bouncing excitedly at the prospect of a party, but Fuu only smiled softly, going quickly over how annoying and stuffy such an event would be, and politely declined going.
"But Fuu," Hikaru started, and was interrupted by Alcyone.
"We couldn't have you anyway, you're too dirty," the scantily-clad woman turned and left a distraught Fuu, calling Hikaru and Umi behind her.
"You're not dirty," Hikaru whispered and hugged the other girl before following. Umi offered a sympathetic smile as she left.
After a pot-scrubbing, a floor-sweeping, and some table-dancing, the girls came down for Fuu to inspect. Umi had on a stylish sapphire silk Chinese-cut dress, molding lightly to her stately form. Hikaru had a sunset-fire gown, fitting to her upper torso and flowing down, making her seem her actual age, rather than the eleven she looked like. Fuu blushed in her brown work dress and soot, and nodded approval at each gown.
"AAAH!" they heard Alcyone scream. Umi ran up and came back down laughing.
"She has to redo her makeup, it still isn't right."
"That'll take hours," Hikaru commented thoughtfully. Then she grinned and grabbed Fuu's arm, hauling her up the stairs. "Come on, Fuu-chan!" She stripped the startled sister and told her to get into the bath that the two other girls had used, which was still warm. She jerked off the dust-rag that perpetually adorned Fuu's head and poured some violet-smelling concoction onto Fuu's hair, telling her to scrub ruthlessly. Fuu followed all orders, and was soon left with one of Umi's dresses that the tall girl never wore because she liked blue better than green (and Hikaru's were all too small) while the girls answered Alcyone's call to go.
"I'll ask Presea to come and get you," Hikaru said before she left, handing her some strappy jade shoes as she landed a kiss on Fuu's smooth (clean!) cheek and headed to join the other two. "Make sure you have fun!"
Fuu had just put on the dress when Presea arrived, and only had time to glance in a mirror. "Oh, God," she muttered, cringing, but only sighed and dashed down, moving with ease in the shoes because of years of fence-walking on her way to the store every week.
"You look lovely!" Presea exclaimed appreciatively. "But . . . you don't have a mask?" Fuu looked at her oddly. "It's a masquerade ball, and you certainly can't let anyone who knows Alcyone recognize you."
"Oh," Fuu said softly, and Presea looked at the color of her dress. "I think my sister has a mask that would do perfectly for that." They drove to Presea's home and she ran in, coming out with a shimmering sea-green mask. Fuu fingered the delicate velvet thing and Presea helped her put it on so that her brilliant emerald eyes shone brightly through.
"You can't wear your glasses though," Presea said.
Fuu smiled. "That's all right, I only really need them for reading and such things."
"Go on in, I have to park the car, just remember they're going home at midnight, so be back by then." Presea let Fuu out at the front of the impressive castle front entrance, lanterns hung about the front walkabout and steps, casting warm glows on the pillars. Fuu looked down at herself and edged away from the glowing doors hesitantly before she reached them, deciding to just look around outside a little. She made her way over to the side of the building, where the walk widened and became a balcony overlooking gardens. There were a few people outside, talking, and Fuu smiled as the cool wind hit her face. It was lovely out here, and she felt very refreshed, glad that she had come.
"Excuse me," a voice said behind her, and Fuu turned to face a handsome emerald-haired, golden-eyed young man.
She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Her skin was creamy and her legs long. The soft pale green silk dress showed quite a bit of those legs, and fit her loosely, skimming over her form like water. The soft hair, curling to her shoulders, was chestnut brown and the kind that he would kill to weave his fingers through. She was slender, soft, and he wished he could see her face. He knew it would be as lovely as the rest of her was, and if it was, he would only be too happy to die with pleasure after seeing it.
The girl's lips parted reflexively in surprise. He was not wearing a mask and he wondered if she recognized him, but he knew he would have certainly remembered such a graceful gazelle as this had he met her before.
"I'm sorry," he smiled, "did I frighten you?" She shook her head mutely, but he could see the tension that had flooded her. He cursed in his mind, this wasn't what he wanted. Thinking a moment, he took her hand. "Would you like to dance?" she shot a nervous glance toward the lighted interior of the ballroom and he looked towards it distastefully. "Not there, I know a lovely spot where you can hear the music just fine and there aren't that many people." She nodded hesitantly, and he took her arm before she could change her mind and led her gently down off the balcony to a spot right below it where they could hear the music playing softly. No one else was there, and it was if they were secluded in a little world of their own, some lanterns burning nearby. "May I have this dance, my lady?" He bowed, eyes on her face, and Fuu felt herself blush as she nodded, happy that the mask hid her warm cheeks as the young man took her in his arms. Dancing in the night air with the fragrant lanterns their only company, Fuu felt very feminine and beautiful in this young man's arms. As for himself, Ferio was enjoying the girl's company immensely, her demure softness a stark contrast from the chattering, useless peacocks in the court. Their beauty was in their faces, clothes, and makeup, and yet this girl surpassed all of them with so much less effort. Her soul was a shimmering mass of gentle wind, shining through her skin, her eyes brilliant green gems, and her loose hair soft and touchable, so unlike the styled mounds that most other women wore, so that he was afraid to touch it lest it fall apart as an expensive vase might. Following these thoughts, Ferio reached up to stroke her hair, finding it as silky as he had thought it would be, flowing under his fingers. The beautiful girl closed her eyes at his touch, and he took the edge of her mask gently, slipping it off as he found no reprove, and looked at her so intently that she flushed and turned away.
"You do not like what you see," she said softly, looking at a rosebush nearby, and he stared at her, startled, then chuckled. The girl turned to him, surprised, and he met her eyes, still smiling.
Fuu gasped as he stroked her cheek tenderly and drew her forward. "I like what I see almost too much to stand." She was right in front of him, their lips a hair's-breadth away, and Ferio was just about to kiss her when . . .
"Ouch!" Fuu bent as the heel on her left shoe snapped and she fell into Ferio, who caught her and helped her get the shoe off. "A–Arigato." She leaned on his shoulder as she worked the other shoe off, and Ferio smiled down at the girl as she set them with her mask. Fuu sighed and he asked what was wrong. Looking up with troubled eyes, she replied, "Those are my sister's shoes. She was so sweet to help me come tonight, and I ruined her shoes . . ." she looked down, upset, and Ferio put his arm around her, bothered that she was unhappy.
"I'm sure she'll understand," he told her, and she looked up at him, an appreciative smile blooming on her face . . . so sweet and gentle . . .
"I haven't even SEEN the prince yet!" an annoyed voice floated down from the balcony above. Fuu recognized it as Alcyone and wondered what time it was. She turned and picked up her mask and shoes, deciding it was time to go, and looked at Ferio who seemed rather distraught at her apparent intent.
"Wait," he reached out for her and she looked at him, "what's your name?"
Fuu opened her mouth to answer, but Alcyone's voice came again, more annoyed, "Fifteen more minutes and we're /gone/." Without a word and only adrenaline coursing through her, Fuu turned and fled.
"Wait! Please!" she heard Ferio yell behind her, and she ran faster, tears coming to her eyes. /Gomen/, she thought to the nameless boy silently as she got into Presea's car and let the older woman drive her home.
"Fuu!" Hikaru exclaimed as they met the other girl at her spot by the fireplace. Her cheeks and clothes were once again smudged with soot, and she glanced around for Alcyone who had gone upstairs in a rage. "What's wrong, Fuu? Didn't you go?" Fuu nodded, and pulled out the broken shoe sadly.
"I broke it, and lost the other one. I'm sorry Hikaru." Hikaru smiled gently and hugged her.
"That's okay, I never wear them. But did you have a good time? I didn't see you anywhere!"
Fuu blushed, remembering the boy, "I was there . . ." Umi sat next to her excitedly.
"So, tell us what happened! Did you dance with anyone?" Her grin widened as Fuu's blush deepened and she nodded. "Who?"
"I . . . don't know his name," she replied regretfully. "But he was very kind, and took me to dance under the balcony where we were all alone." She smiled, glowing with sweetness, "It was lovely, but I heard Alcyone's voice and ran . . ." Fuu was troubled again, but her sisters hugged her.
"We'll find him for you! We'll take you to the costume party next week! He's sure to show up!" Hikaru grinned and Umi got a delighted – devilish – spark in her eye that rather frightened poor Fuu.
Her blush remained past the fire's dying embers.
"Now remember to have my bed turned down when I get home," Alcyone ordered before she and the other two girls left. "I expect to be very tired after dancing with the prince again." Alcyone had insisted that she had danced with Prince Ferio all night, even though both the girls said he had not shown up for a while, and then had only danced with various people absent-mindedly.
Umi was dressed as a gypsy, and Hikaru was a beautiful warrior in red and pink. Fuu wished she could be as beautiful as her adopted sisters, but knew she would never be so.
Fuu also knew they were hoping to see the young men they had met at the last ball. Hikaru had met a tall young man with dark hair and a rather brooding aura, and Umi had met both an older man with pale hair and a mysterious air, and a young man her own age with longish brown hair that covered his eyes.
"Presea will be here soon," Hikaru whispered before she followed the other two out. And sure enough, Presea pulled up after they had left and hurriedly took Fuu to her house, where a beautiful, pink-haired woman was waiting to clean and fix the ginger-haired servant girl. They pushed and dressed and made up pretty Fuu in a whopping half-an-hour, and Fuu finally found herself looking at a Priestess of Wind in the full length mirror in Presea's room. Her gown was simple and silky, flowing to full skirt with one slit up her right leg so that she could dance easily, wrapped in airy green gauze that seemed to float and sparkle around her. A simple golden coronet adorned her hair, with one shining emerald in the center, and an almost-transparent jade veil covered her nose and mouth.
She liked it.
Ferio was bored out of his mind. He was dressed as a simple wanderer, with a really big sword that he liked, sitting beside his sister in the grand ballroom watching all the swirling colors and thinking of the girl he had met at the last ball, wishing she were here. He glanced over at Emeraude as she blushingly accepted the hand extended by Zagato, the court's advisor. He watched the angel and grim reaper walk onto the floor, the crowds pausing and band slowing so that their princess could start the next dance . . . and so he saw Emeraude pause and look toward one of the balcony doors curiously.
As their princess looked, so did the entire room, and groups parted as suddenly all attention was upon a new girl arriving at the ball, green gauze floating about her oddly familiar slender form. Ferio stood and moved down beside the thrones to make his way to the girl, smiling as he reached her and took her unwitting hand to join his sister on the floor, just the two pairs. Smiling and nodding to Emeraude, they all began to dance and soon new couples moved in to join them, and they were surrounded.
"You never told me your name," Ferio murmured in the girl's ear after a moment.
She looked at him and replied simply, "Fuu."
After several dances, Fuu became tired and begged that he let her sit down. Ferio obliged, going to get them something to drink, and soon was accosted by one of the most persistent women of the party: Alcyone.
"My prince!" she exclaimed happily, and Ferio grimaced. "It's so good to see you, sire!" She moved close to him, emphasizing how little of a costume she wore, and Ferio wished desperately that the old hag would just leave so that he could get back to the girl in green. Unfortunately, etiquette was not that kind, and he plastered a charming smile on his face as the woman rattled on. He scanned the room vaguely, searching for the girl where he had left her, and remembered that he still had to give her shoe back, when she had dropped it last week. Not finding the girl, he frowned and excused himself as politely as he could from the woman's attentions.
"Where . . . ?" he questioned Emeraude, who was standing nearby.
She looked at him with wide blue eyes. "Did you tell her who you were, Ferio?" she asked, and he sighed, already realizing what must have happened. He shook his head no, and Emeraude looked displeased. "Well, I mentioned it, and she looked very upset and left." Ferio groaned and slumped into a nearby chair. Just great. /Now/ how would he find her?!
Fuu touched her dirty hair-rag as she walked along the fence-rail, holding perfect balance despite the precarious position and empty basket in her hands. How long had it been since she had gone to the party and heard so many murmurs of how beautiful and mysterious she was?
"Three weeks," she murmured aloud, answering her own question. She remembered both nights perfectly . . . and the shock of finding out who her mysterious young man was. Fuu closed her eyes in pain at the memory, her heart contracting with rough embarrassment and fear.
"Fuu-chan!" a loud voice shouted, and she glanced behind her to see a boy trotting over. "Ohayo!"
"Ohayo, Arawa-kun," Fuu replied with a smile. Arawa had been her friend since she had arrived under the guardianship of Alcyone, and he often found her walking to market and talked with her. He was the servant boy to a blacksmith, and his face was often black with smoke and soot, worse even than Fuu's perpetually smudged cheeks.
"Fuu-chan," Arawa walked aside her and looked seriously at the ground. "Could you come down and let me talk to you?" Fuu paused, wondering what he could want, and hopped down from the fence.
"Yes, Arawa-kun?"
"Well," he scuffed one shoe in the dirt, and glanced up at her before looking quickly back down, "we're both servants, and basically in the same state of life . . ." she nodded, and he continued, "but I was thinking that maybe, someday when I have my own shop," he scuffed harder, face flushing, "we might get married or something . . ." this last was almost a mumble, but Fuu understood it, and felt her face turning pink.
"Arawa . . ."
"I know you don't love me," he begged, taking her hands, "but I really care about you and I think this would be good for both of us."
Fuu looked away. But I'm in love with someone else, she told him silently.
A prince, her mind answered her. Someone who will forget you as easily as he wooed you.
Take the offer, her logic whispered.
So, Fuu opened her mouth.
"I can't," she told him, tears filling her eyes, and she turned and fled, pain filling her chest. His eyes, that pain, was that a broken heart? Or only disappointment?
Oh, God, what had she done to her friend?!
Unconsciously, Fuu went the long way so that she would be able to avoid the large crowds, and entered the bread shop from the back. The baker's wife was inside, and recognized the slender soot-smudged girl. She nodded to Fuu and they went to the front so she could be served. Fuu put four coppers on the counter and took four small loaves of bread, nodding her thanks to the woman, and left through the front door, thinking about all recent events.
"Hououji-kun! Yo!" Fuu stiffened, hearing the familiar malicious voices. "Wanna come over here, Cinder-girl?!" one boy asked lewdly, and Fuu ducked her head and quickened her pace, attempting to hurry away and lose them as some horses trotted by. But as soon as they had passed, the street was clear, and pebbles came raining across the street onto her, with a few bigger rocks mixed in.
Fuu whimpered and broke into a run, but a rock the size of her fist flew and hit her arm painfully, making her cry out and fall to her knees, dropping the basket. She curled into herself to shield from any more, and heard as one of the horsemen dismounted and scattered the boys. Another came over and asked if she was all right, touching her shoulder gently.
"Fine," Fuu swiped at her cheeks before looking for her basket, ignoring the young man crouched behind her. "No," she groaned, more tears streaking through the dirt on her face as she picked up the broken, ruined bread from the dirt. "Noooo." Alcyone would certainly give her a beating for this and make her go without any food for the day.
This on top of everything else . . . Fuu struggled to stop the tears and failed.
"I'm sorry," the young man behind her said, sounding sincere, "I'll buy you more if you like."
"I don't take charity," she said acidly, stuffing what she could save of the loaves into her basket. She would eat the insides later, if Alcyone didn't throw them away. Her voice became quietly impassioned. "I'll take my beating like a good girl."
The young man took her shoulder, trying to comfort her. "No one will beat you."
She turned to give him a weary glance, speaking dispiritedly, "You don't know my guardian." Then stood and strode quickly away, heart pounding. She had seen in that one glance . . .
It had been /him/. Turning a corner, she broke into a run and fled until she found herself in her favorite spot, a small field overlooking a rocky crevice. Sunsets were beautiful here, and it was the perfect place to escape after a day of intense work . . . or to run away from the man you love, her mind added bitingly, and she winced. But after a moment, she heard a sound, a crying, and leaned over the edge to look down into the crevice, spotting a small figure after a moment of searching.
"Are you okay?" she called down, and was greeted with a loud, echoing cry.
Making up her mind in an instant, she let herself over the edge and used her hair-kerchief to keep the rocks from cutting her hands. The crevice wall was slightly sloped and if she was careful, she could find good hand and foot holds to climb down. When she was halfway there, she heard a shout from above, and glanced up to see three figures in the light, one tall and dark, one short and soot-stained, and one with a princely head of jade. She could just hear their echoing calls for her to come back, but her face set as she continued her descent.
When the sun was a little higher, she reached the child, and had the young boy climb onto her back, where he held tightly, and Fuu struggled up with the extra weight on her. She grimaced and strained her muscles almost to exhaustion, but finally reached the point where the taller man could reach down and take the young burden from her back. The prince reached down for her as the child was lifted up, but the youngster suddenly kicked and broke the handhold of Fuu's left hand, sending her sliding down two feet before she grabbed another rock and held herself, Ferio's terrified cry echoing in her ears.
The added pain of the bruise that had finally shown up on her arm made her whole body throb, and she looked upwards, meeting frightened golden eyes in her exhaustion, breathing heavily. Suddenly, those golden orbs steadied with determination, and the prince swung himself over before anyone could stop him, carefully working his way to the tired girl. Fuu concentrated on keeping herself on, and soon found a strong, warm body beside her, the prince's arm clasping her waist as he pushed her up, helping her climb up the few feet between them and safety, where she vaguely noted the gathered crowd as unimportant.
Collapsing onto the grass, Fuu lay out and let the coolness soak into and rest her limp body. Ferio moved up beside her and touched her face, wiping away the tear-and-sweat-streaked soot, and asked breathlessly if she was okay, gathering her limp form into his arms, her neck arched back across his arm and eyes closed in complete and utter fatigue. Fuu barely managed a murmur, and opened her eyes tiredly.
"Sorry," she panted softly, and he leaned in to hear her, "I . . . was . . . rude."
Ferio smiled, tears coming to his eyes, and touched his forehead to hers, whispering, "Don't worry about it, I love you and it doesn't matter." A light entered her eyes that made him wonder happily, and she exerted the briefest strength to press her lips to his for a moment, before falling back and allowing him to call over a doctor.
As Clef, the doctor who tended to the royal family itself, took care of Fuu, Ferio spoke to his tall dark friend, and a few disruptive voices broke through the crowd.
"I don't care! That girl is coming home, /now/!" Alcyone stormed up, followed by a protesting Hikaru and Umi, as Clef tied the last bandage around her arm, having already doctored her feet and hands. Fuu looked up to see them coming, but was told to stay down when she struggled to get up, which was probably best since she could not move anyway.
"Alcyone!" Hikaru grabbed her cloak pleadingly, and was promptly received with a sharp cuff to her face. Fuu noticed that Ferio's tall dark friend's eyes narrowed and he stepped forward, but stopped as Umi reached the smaller red-haired girl.
"Don't hit Hikaru!" Umi yelled angrily, holding her sister in protective arms. Alcyone whirled on the girl and bent to grab a hand full of Fuu's hair, standing up vengefully.
"I will hit /whichever/ of you girls I PLEASE!" she screamed, and Fuu cried out in pain as she was shaken.
"Yamata!" Ferio came forward angrily, but Alcyone was too far gone.
"You spiteful thing," she hissed into Fuu's face. "I should throw you down there right now!" She jerked Fuu toward the crevice, and struck out as Ferio grabbed her arm. This time, his dark friend /did/ come forward, and twisted Alcyone's arms behind her, making her drop Fuu as he did, and Ferio reached down to cradle the girl, who clung to him in turn.
"For attacking your lord and prince, you shall be taken to the castle dungeons," he stated, holding her firmly. Alcyone looked shocked for a moment, then saw Ferio holding Fuu tenderly by the edge of the crevice, a sickeningly sweet scene under the shade of nearby trees.
"No," he got up tiredly, Fuu propped against the tree. "Let her go, she will no longer harm these girls. They are now under my protection as I am the prince of this kingdom. They will live at the castle with us." With that, the tall dark man dispersed the crowds, taking Alcyone to the road and releasing her, and Ferio picked up Fuu and carried her to his horse. "I love you," he whispered to the girl who was in front of him on the animal, only to realize that she had fallen asleep against him.
Ferio smiled and signaled his tall dark friend, Lantis, to follow, who rode with Hikaru beside another horse that Clef had lent them for Umi.
"Let's go home, my angel," he whispered to the sleeping girl in front of him, kissing her cheek tenderly. "Let's go home."