This Princess Tutu series continuation plot bunny has been gnawing at my ankles for the past couple weeks. I finally decided to tend to it, though it's been difficult to develop. I hope you can bear with me.
Set a few months after the end of the series. Fakir is faithfully writing the tales for Kinkan's inhabitants, Ahiru residing with him in duck form on the lake outside his secluded cabin. Mytho and Rue's whereabouts are unknown, for the time being. Memories of what happened with Drosselmeyer's story were completely erased from the memories of the townsfolk, sparing only Aotoa of that knowledge.
Notes: This may be considered OOC for Fakir in a way, at first glance, but hopefully sufficient reasoning will be provided. Also please keep in mind that this is a developing continuation, and not yet completely mapped out.
Thank you for your patience and I hope you enjoy the story. Please leave a review if you can spare the time and have any feedback at all. I would really appreciate it.
Summary: The Knight was fated to be torn in two, but defied his own destiny and went against all odds to overcome the tale's binds. However, when Fate is thwarted, does it really throw in the towel? ...Fakir finds himself no longer at war with a story, but at war with himself.
Disclaimer: Princess Tutu and all of its characters are not mine.
Chapter One: Two Sides of the Same Coin
A balmy, unbearably hot, and humid summer day.
Fakir really disliked this kind of weather. Writing was difficult in the heat and required taking more breaks to cool down or fetch a refreshment to replenish lost water supply. During those interruptions, he would often lose some piece of what he was writing. And that lost part could range from the whole train of thought, to an event, and even simply the next line he'd been sure he planned beforehand. Something would be missing due to that muddled moment the distraction had created. Or worse yet, his mind would work overtime and spit out the thoughts in a jumbled splash of ink and onto the paper, a completely incoherent mass of words.
But he had to keep writing. Kinkan's inhabitants needed his power to keep their lives free tragic incidents, or worse, perhaps getting unknowingly sucked into another spinner's twisted story (he did not doubt there were more out there, somewhere). The ex-knight and writer did not want to leave any openings, any cracks in the doorway that unpleasant things could crawl through. He did not want things to go astray.
Most of all, Fakir did not want things to change.
Change brought complications. And he, Ahiru, Mytho, and Rue had dealt with plenty of those already.
'If it weren't for change, you would still be nothing more than a caretaker,' his mind challenged him. 'Ever fearing the inevitable "tomorrow". Secluded, locked away.' The voice in his head further scoffed, 'You're not even that much different now, are you? You're still afraid. You still can't protect. Tomorrow will always bring uncertainty.'
The dark-haired writer abruptly stood, the chair's legs being forced back to create a rather unpleasant sound.
They were safe this way, he assured himself. He could protect them with his own hand, armed not with a sword, but a quill.
Well, perhaps Mytho and Rue were not under his wing of protection, for their story had ended (and happily), but a certain white-feathered duck was. And he would make sure he stayed by her side, just as he promised. Nothing would interfere in her life again.
The former knight took a moment to gaze out the open window, emerald eyes focusing on the lakeside.
Unlike him, Ahiru seemed to adore this type of weather. Even now, he could see her fluttering her wings and paddling contently near the dock, basking in the rays of the evening sunlight. She looked happy.
She is happy, he corrected himself.
This is the way things were supposed to be. Meant to be. Had to be.
'Is she really happy? Are you happy?'
Fakir hastily reached for his water glass and downed the last of it. His dark eyes spared a glance at parchment on the desk, blank as it had been for the entire day, thus far. The start of a story was usually the easiest, but today for some reason, he couldn't do it.
Green eyes found their way to the window again.
Perhaps he would pay her a visit. She had the uncanny ability of shaking his muse out of its stupor, even on days like this.
Resolved, he grabbed a bit of spare bread from the table, and proceeded out the door, exiting the cabin, and closing the door soundly behind him. His long strides brought him down to the crystalline lake, its surface now shining with the bright reds and oranges of the dying sun.
The duck waddled right up to the shore upon seeing him, tripping over her webbed feet and lacking grace as usual. Her feathered tail was wagging in a fashion similar to that of a dog.
"Hello, Ahiru," he greeted with a small smile, breaking the bread into smaller pieces and offering the bakery in his open hand. "Would you like some?"
She quacked in what he assumed was the affirmative response. It was difficult to understand her now, through what little communication was even possible between them. However, she came closer immediately, gingerly taking the bread from his waiting hand and munching quietly.
Fakir dropped the rest of the bread crumbs to the ground before her, and reached out with the same hand to stroke her feathered head. His brows drew together uncertainly, a frown across his lips. "You're happy, aren't you, Ahiru?"
She looked up from her pecking, gazing at him with those clear blue eyes. "Quack?"
"The way things are," he clarified, still stroking her. "You're happy this way?"
She quacked in an almost affectionate manner, rubbing her head against his fingers.
He nearly breathed a sigh of relief. Of course she was content. Life was simple now. There were no more images of Princes dancing on the lake for her to wish to make smile, no more disturbing story-spinners to drag her into tales set for tragedy, and most importantly, she was free.
This was the way it should be.
He gave her head one more thorough pat and stood, brushing off the bread crumbs that clung to his pants. "Now don't go getting into any trouble, alright?"
She simply stared at him.
Fakir blinked. "What? That's all the bread I brought with me." He motioned to the many bits still laying on the ground around her. "There's still plenty there. Don't be a pig."
He turned on heel to head back up to his cabin and abandoned writing, but a soft sound halted his footsteps. That small quack had sounded less than content, almost...melancholy somehow.
Whirling around again, Fakir gazed back at her. Ahiru had ignored the bread crumbs completely, passing right by them, and followed after him. Even without words, he could tell what she was feeling.
'Does she look happy to you?'
His expression showed remorse. "I'll come back again tomorrow."
She made no move, no sound. The azure eyes began to shine at the base of the large irises.
"You'd be bored stiff just sitting around in the cabin while I write," he argued, his voice pleading. Somehow he could not stand to see that look on her face and quickly shifted his emerald gaze away from her small form.
'You know the real reason you won't bring her back with you.'
"First thing tomorrow morning, Ahiru. I promise."
'You know the urge becomes unbearable when she and that waiting blank paper are so near, so close...If you lose that distance, you know you'll give in. You're scared.'
"SHUT UP!" he shouted into the twilight, hands clamping around the sides of his head.
"Quack!" came the startled noise from the bird, flaring her wings in fright of his yell.
Fakir turned and ran for the cabin without looking back. He couldn't look back. He just had to get away. Away from her, away from himself.
The door slammed roughly behind him, his breathing pattern erratic and rough as it blew from his parted lips.
Immediately he went to his writing desk and lowered into the chair, dipping the quill into the ink and poising it above the blank page that had plagued him with its bareness all day.
If he could just start a story then he could escape, at least for a little while.
He would go and see her at dawn, just as he promised. Things would stay the same.
There would be no change. He wouldn't let things change. Never.
The dark-haired writer took a deep breath, steadying himself, and the quilltip hit the paper, brushing in a long and shaky stroke. He relaxed, letting it flow. Already, the tension was beginning to lift from his heavy shoulders.
But the trailing of the first word stopped his hand in its tracks, invoking a sharp intake of breath. There was no mistaking what the strokes had formed in their curving black lines.
"No!" he protested immediately, digging the quill harshly into the parchment and crossing the name out over and over until the paper caught upon the pen and tore.
'How much longer can you deny it?'
Hastily he ripped the damaged page out, clamping his hands around it and crushing it together with unnecessary force.
'You can't deny what you're thinking. What you're feeling. You can't deny me, because I'm part of you.'
He threw the scrunched-up page across the room.
'She's not happy. You can see it. You won't help relieve her of that pain because you're afraid. You're weak. You fear what you can't see, what's lurking in the shadows just beyond your view.'
He would not be pushed around by his own mind. The ex-knight was certain things were better this way. How could any part of him dare to oppose that?
Dark eyebrows drew together, pen raising to the fresh page.
'Admit that you're bitter. You carry resent for the Prince, and for the whole ending to that story. You don't believe that Ahiru deserves the ending she received, while the one she loved and put herself through hell for rode off into the sky to have his happily ever after with someone else. In the end, she was only a duck. Only used in the story, and carelessly tossed aside when it was finished.'
"Stop it," he whispered through gritted teeth. "I don't think like this. I can't. I won't."
'And in your desire to see things remain unchanged and controllable, you refuse to grant her what you truly believe she deserves. You claim it's for her safety, the way things are meant to be. Can you really accept that she was meant to be miserable this way? To carry all those memories and all of those hardships within her little duck body? Do you think she can forget? Can you forget?'
"I can protect her," he argued aloud. "I can stay by her side and ensure that things will be alright."
'Then it was your selfish desire to have something you were capable of protecting?'
"No!" he denied vehemently.
'She could be attacked by another animal in the middle of the night and you'd never know. You're so full of guilt and so afraid of yourself that you won't even shelter her here in your own home. You're not protecting anything, you coward.'
His hand shot out sharply, hitting the empty glass on the side of his desk. The fragile item flew off the wood surface and down to the floor below, where it shattered into countless pieces.
'You leave me no choice.'
Quill to ink. Ink to paper. Fluid, quick strokes.
His wide eyes were transfixed, dancing over the words as they glided onto the clean page.
Once upon a time, there was a Knight. A failed knight, who found his true power in the form of writing, instead of the sword. He had the feared power that allowed story to become reality. And he brought forth the beginnings and the conclusions to many tales, making certain that each ended happily. It was his promise to a town freed from the restraints of a tragedy-obsessed spinner, the boy's very own great-grandfather, and a promise he worked very hard to keep.
Fakir could not stop his own hand from writing. These were his words, of that much he was sure. And yet, to part of him, they seemed alien. Dangerous. Wrong.
The story-spinner had a companion. A duck, who became a girl, who became a central figure in an unfolding tragedy when she took the role of Princess Tutu. Her power of hope and the Knight's power to connect story and reality combined to bring that tragic piece of Drosselmeyer's writing to a happy ending. However, after the conclusion to "The Prince and the Raven", she had reverted to nothing more than a mere duck. The ex-Knight vowed to stay by her side and protect her. And together, they were forgotten.
Things were safe this way, or so he fooled himself into believing. It was apparent that his friend was unhappy. He stayed by her side, just as promised, but he could see that lonely look in her wide blue eyes when he turned to go home without her. He knew that his desire to see things remain unchanging would waver when she came close to the temptation of ink and paper. And thus, he pushed her away.
Part of him was furious with himself for this choice of action. Fear, doubt, and guilt were not fit to cast a never-ending shadow upon him, or the one he claimed to wish to protect. It would be simple to set her free and give her what he knew she wanted. And what he knew deep down somewhere...he had wanted as well.
That part of himself could no longer bear his weakness, his stubborn helplessness. Pen to paper, her story formed. Quick and precise. She who gave everything for another's happiness would now be granted her own, and returned to human form. Ahiru would once again be able to speak and most importantly, be able to dance as freely and openly as her heart wished.
"No..." he rasped. "No."
other half of himself was overwhelmed with guilt, with fear. He could
not believe he allowed himself to think that way. How could he so
stand by and watch himself do what he swore he would never do? To
deny all the words he had spoken to Ahiru during their bittersweet last
dance in the depths of despair, to turn himself into such a bitter
hypocrite...to open the doors he struggled to keep closed.
'Then we shall part,' his other end decided. 'Your weakness is not something I wish to carry within me any longer. Your guilt, your fear, your fake smiles, your mask...all of it. I want to be free from you. You're nothing but my miserable shadow.'
At the moment he denied himself, his Fate returned with a wicked smile, as though called right through the loophole, the new story it had been waiting for.
...And with a blood-curdling scream, Fakir was torn in two.
Many minutes had passed.
She could only stare in disbelief at herself.
Featherless, naked, and shivering in the shallow pool of water. A long red braid trailing down her back and into the water, pale skin growing in the fresh streams of moonlight...
Ahiru was human again.
Had Fakir seen the tears in her eyes? Had he forced himself to write something for her because of it? She bit her lip, the urge to cry becoming overwhelming as the tears spilled silently down her cheeks. She should have pretended to be happy with what she had. At the very least, to prevent him from worrying about her or causing him suffering.
How could she be so selfish?
And she might have wallowed further in her guilt, if it weren't for horribly painful and strained scream that erupted in the near distance.
She knew the voice immediately and her blood ran cold.
"Fakir!" she cried in alarm, stumbling from the water to the shore and racing for his cabin.
What could he have possibly done to himself? Was it because of the story he'd written for her?
Fear gripped her heart tighter, squeezing painfully.
Passing by his hanging laundry, she snagged a long sheet from the line, wrapping it haphazardly around her small frame as she dashed straight for his front door.
'Please don't be hurt,' she pleaded inwardly.
The desperate redhead came to the waiting entrance and threw the wooden barrier open. "FAKIR! ARE YOU-"
Her words died, pupils dilating in her broad blue eyes.
Standing just beyond the doorway, in the midst of broken glass and splattered ink was not one, but two identical versions of Fakir.
Her mouth worked soundlessly, opening and closing. No words would come out.
This wasn't possible. She was seeing things.
Blue eyes blinked.
Twin Fakirs remained.
A sudden wave of dizziness struck her, and Ahiru's vision faded to black as she fell to the floor.
That concludes the first chapter of this bizarre beginning. And if this particular spin has been done already, please enlighten me. The plot bunny came and I just had to try it. It's complicated and messy, but I think I'm going to have fun with it.
And I apologize again for any OOC-ness. The Fakirs will definitely be quite different, which I'm sure you can get any idea of from this chapter alone.
As to how this story progresses...you'll just have to wait and see.
If you can spare the time to review, I would be immensely grateful. Even if you completely abhor and wish to flame this idea into oblivion. Any feedback is loved.
And thank you for taking the time to read this.