A Princess Tutu fanfic by Mangaka-chan
This is my first Princess Tutu fanfic and I believe I am not alone in falling in love with this anime after watching it. I got the idea for this story soon after I finished watching the anime but hesitated in putting any words down until I've thought out the plot in more details. Having seen other great continuation fanfics around the net, I hope my story will be able to measure up to the high standards that have been set by fellow Princess Tutu fans.
Here I would like to make some clarifications in case anyone gets confused. The names of the characters are based on those given in the U.S. released DVDs with the exception of Ahiru's name, of whom I will still use the original Japanese name.
Disclaimer: I do not own Princess Tutu or its characters, but I do claim ownership to my original characters.
First Night - "The Girl Who Could Not Speak"
Fakir blinked. The shimmering surface of the lake was the same as ever, except perhaps the sunlight had grown more golden than he last remembered. But the little yellow duck that had been in front of his eyes before was no longer in his sight. Turning his emerald eyes to the left, the bobbing head of the said duck appeared above the water surface, swimming contently in the lake.
The former knight relaxed again and looked back down at the paper sitting on his lap. It had become their habit to come to the lakeside each day whenever the weather permitted. Wearing a simple white shirt, dark brown vest and ink blue pants, Fakir would sometime hold the little duck in his arm or let her waddling by his side as they walked from town to the lake. Afterwards he would sit on the dock and write while his fishing pole hung over the side and the little duck would enjoy herself in the water.
There was a rhythm to their lives now, a predictable steady pace that did not exist when they had been involved in Drosselmeyer's story. Mytho and Rue have their happy ending as well, and even though Fakir had no idea what has happened to them since leaving Kinkan, the dark haired young man had a feeling that he didn't need to worry about the future of those two people anymore.
It would seem then that everyone was living happily, but that was not so. The words on the paper came into focus in Fakir's eyes. His writing had filled only a few pages of parchment, words that had been written down shortly after The Prince and The Raven ended. They were products of a fierce motivation that had consumed Fakir's hand, a feeling that had now all but disappeared.
It was Ahiru, the little duck bobbing by his side, whose story was written on the paper and whom Fakir was worried about. It isn't difficult to say the words "happily ever after" but attaining real happiness wasn't so simple. Ahiru was the one who suffered the most during the struggle to collect Mytho's heart and again when they fought the Raven. Despite all of her suffering she has received nothing, no reward, no glory. It was true that she's a duck, both of them have come to terms with that fact; but even if she was to remain a bird forever Fakir couldn't help but feel she should receive something in return for her all efforts.
Bathed in the warm light of the afternoon sun, Fakir wondered if wanting to write another story about Ahiru was an act of selfishness, that perhaps he wasn't inspired by hope but by guilt. After all, she gave up so many of the things she loved due to his words in the Lake of Despair. Unfortunately, in the beginning he did not think about things that deeply as he was driven by impulse but he had forgotten to take one very important fact into account, and that was not everything he wrote came true. That was the flaw that caused his parents' death. That reminder had stopped his hand from writing for days now as his quill sat, devoid of ink, in the bag he carried to the lake everyday.
When they had joined forces to help Mytho fight the Raven, Fakir had to struggle against Drosselmeyer's power over him and what the deceased Spinner was doing to Ahiru. With Drosselmeyer's influence gone, Fakir knew only his writing will affect Ahiru now and if anything happens to her as a result, he alone would be responsible. And if he wrote something that ended up harming her instead, there was no second force in existence to take part of the blame. This was a gamble, a gamble with himself and a gamble where the risks were great but the probability of winning was unknown. He hoped what he writes will come true in full, but fear and uncertainty held his quill from the paper the pen yearned to touch. This was a dread different from what he experienced when he realized Mytho wanted his heart back. It wasn't a fear for his own safety but for Ahiru's, and although Fakir could not explain it, this fear that harm may come to the little duck ran just as deep, maybe even deeper, than the fear he felt when he thought he was to be torn in two.
The little quack jerked Fakir out of his thoughts. Shifting his gaze from the paper to the water again, Ahiru's bright blue eyes were looking back at him.
"What is it, Ahiru?"
Ahiru looked at him with a duckling's concerned expression. Fakir's spacing out again… She thought to herself. He was writing quite a bit just after the story ended, but I haven't seen him write anything in days. I wonder if something's wrong...
Ahiru knew full well that Fakir wasn't an expressive person, and on the rare occasions when she had a chance to glance into his heart those experiences were brief. Even though it took a long time for them to accept each other's presences and finally to trust one another, by now the two of them have become friends. But even so it was still hard for Ahiru to figure out what Fakir was thinking. Although his expression wasn't as tight as it used to be, a slight scowl seemed to have been etched permanently onto his face. Sometimes when he fell into his sullen mood, Ahiru wished she could still talk and comfort him with words. But as she was now, all she could do is try to understand what he's feeling and reassure him as best as she could.
She tilted her head to show her query. Seeing the concern in her eyes, those blue eyes that remained the same no matter what form she's in, Fakir looked away and stood up. "There's nothing to worry about, idiot." He picked up the fishing pole, collected the papers and put them away, his shoes causing the wood of the dock to creak slightly as he moved.
Ahiru looked at him indignantly and sighed. If she thought returning Mytho's heart was tough, getting Fakir to speak his mind was a hundred times harder.
"But thanks for caring," Fakir said with his back to her. Then he turned around, and Ahiru could see a faint smile hanging at the corner of his mouth. "Come on, let's go back before the sun sets."
Ahiru blinked and she smiled inside. Fakir may be the most poker-faced person she knew but he did have a good heart.
"Quack!" she agreed happily and waddled towards the shore to Fakir who stood waiting for her.
The two lone figures cast long shadows on the small country road leading back to Kinkan Town. Ahiru's feathered tail swayed from side to side as she walked, while beside her, Fakir took small but sure-footed steps so the two of them could travel at the same pace. To any casual onlooker this miniature parade of boy and duck might've seemed odd and perhaps to those inclined to think so, rather cute as well. But to the two characters walking side by side, at the moment all they felt was the comfortable reassurance from each other's presence, and the peace that they had both earned.
Indeed, life unattached to Drosselmeyer's story was calm and serene, an idyllic existence that the Knight now Writer wished could last forever. But was it really possible to preserve peace eternally?
Or is peace simply an illusion foreshadowing more tragedy?
Hmm, I wonder what will be for dinner tonight? Maybe there will be some bread left from breakfast this morning! That was tasty…As Ahiru was enjoying swimming in her own thoughts, a rustle from a nearby bush caught her attention.
Ahiru stopped and looked at the little bush to her right. For a few seconds nothing happened but just as Ahiru was about to move on, the leaves rattled again. Seized by her curiosity, Ahiru came up to the bush and poked her feathered head inside. Sitting behind the bush was a crouched, bundled figure. The sparse light that managed to get through the leaves showed the person to be covered in a worn brown cloak. Ahiru was still quite a few feet away from the figure but due to her small stature, she was able to move through the branches to the other side.
The figure's head rose sharply at the noise Ahiru made and suddenly a startled Ahiru was looking into a pair of clear lavender-colored eyes.
"Ahiru? Ahiru where are you?"
Ahiru heard Fakir's voice calling out to her and within another second, Fakir was standing over her, a clearly displeased look on his face. "What are you doing here? I thought you got left behind-" Just then Fakir noticed the person sitting in front of him and both of them reacted in surprise. At that moment, the sound of shouting voices reached their ears.
Fakir looked up and saw three men running their direction. Before Fakir had a chance to react, the figure suddenly got up and tried to dash out onto the road. However the person's cloak got caught on the bush, and the person stumbled. Fakir reached out and caught the figure before the person fell, but by now the three shouting strangers had caught up to them.
"Don't let her get away!" one of the men yelled. The figure who had fallen into Fakir's arms moved to hide herself behind him. One of the men reached forward and grabbed the girl's arm, trying to pull her forward. But the struggling girl held onto Fakir's shoulder with her free hand while trying to pull her other arm free, so that Fakir found himself in the middle of a fierce tug-of-war.
Meanwhile, Ahiru scurried from the bush to the middle of the road, only to see Fakir surrounded by four arguing strangers. She hurried over, fluttering her wings, trying to stop the commotion.
What's going on?! Everybody stop fighting! Ahiru quacked loudly, adding her unintelligible voice to the throng of voices clamoring above her.
Fakir wasn't having any better luck at getting his voice heard either as he's pulled and pushed in the middle of this human tornado. "What the hell! Who are you people?" he shouted but both parties were too preoccupied to notice him.
Finally Fakir had had enough and shouted at the top of his lungs "Damn it! STOP!"
For the first time in what seemed like a very long minute, the noise fell away and everyone backed off slightly, finally giving Fakir room to breath. The girl hiding behind Fakir retreated into his shadow like it was a safety net and pulled her cloak tightly around her as she looked guardedly at the men who had come after her. Fakir glanced at her and turned his attention to the three men and demanded, "Who are you people and what is this all about?"
One of the men, a middle-aged man with ruddy cheeks, spoke up and explained, "We're merchants from the next town. This girl stole some of my goods when I wasn't looking so I followed her here."
"But why are there three of you chasing her if she only stole from you?" Fakir asked him back.
At his feet, Ahiru nodded. That's right! Three people against one isn't fair!
The merchant pointed at the youngest of his group, a boy who looked no older than twelve years of age and had a messy bunch of brown hair. "He's my apprentice, and as for him," the merchant looked at the third man, a portly person about the merchant's own age who squinted his eyes as he looked on, "he's the one who saw her lift my stuff and told me about it."
Fakir listened silently but narrowed his eyes. "Just to be fair, let's see what's her side of the story." Looking over his shoulder at the girl behind him, he asked, "Did you steal from this man?"
The girl shook her head vehemently but otherwise did not utter a word.
Impatiently, the merchant stepped forward and shouted, "Of course a thief isn't going to admit what she did! Now if you will step out of the way, we need to take this little wench to the authorities!" So saying he reached out to grab the girl again but stopped when he felt the grip of Fakir's hand on his wrist.
"How can you be sure she was the one who stole from you if you didn't see it for yourself? From the way that man's squinting his eyes, he probably has poor vision. It might be possible that you have the wrong person and she really is innocent."
Hearing this, the man hesitated but he then retorted, "Even so, this is none of your business, young man! Don't get unnecessarily involved in this!"
Hearing this, Fakir released the man's hand and the man moved past him towards the girl. She backed away from him, but her foot tripped over a small rock in the road and she fell with a small whimper of pain. Just as the merchant was about to reach down to seize the girl, he suddenly noticed a little duck was standing in his way.
"What the-" the man laughed, "what's a little duck doing here?"
Fakir, who was ready to leave, turned around and saw Ahiru standing in front of the girl. From her defiant expression, he knew instantly what she was planning to do.
When the man saw that the little duck did not budge, he shouted, "What is wrong with this world? Even a stupid bird is trying to get in my way! Shoo!" He lifted his foot, aiming to kick Ahiru. Ahiru snapped her eyes shut and waited for the man's boot to slam into her. But the impact never came. Instead she felt a gust of movement in front of her, a loud snap, followed by a cry of pain.
When she opened her eyes, the man was sitting on the road with a wretched expression on his face and holding his neck with one hand. Ahiru could see the skin underneath his hand had a long red mark on it that resembled a lash mark. Looking up, she saw Fakir standing in front of her. In his right hand was the fishing pole, now pointed to the ground. For some reason the way Fakir was standing and the way he was holding the pole reminded her of the stance he held when using a sword.
"Damn it boy! Are you trying to help that thief?!" the man who had been knocked to the ground demanded angrily.
"Not particularly," Fakir replied with his eyes closed and raised the pole in his hand. When his eyes opened the three men were momentarily stunned by the intensity they saw in this previously unassuming young man. "But if you try to injure her, I will make each of you pay for it!"
"Hmp, you'd best watch what you say kid, or else you'll be the one to pay for your imprudence!" so saying, the portly man with his fists clutched, ran toward at Fakir. With his highly tuned agility and speed, Fakir knelt down, deftly turned the pole around and with a quick trust, jabbed the butt of the pole into the man's lower jaw.
The blow knocked the man over and he landed with a loud thud, and was left with a missing tooth and his head spinning. His companion, the now shocked but furious merchant, stood back up and with his face now red as a prune, came rushing at Fakir.
However, Fakir was ready for him and swung the pole in a wide arch, hitting the man on the right shin. He clutched his leg in pain, halting his progress. By the time he looked up, Fakir was standing over him. With his hand, Fakir delivered a swift but hard chop to the back of the man's head and the once belligerent merchant slumped unconscious onto the dirt road.
With the two large men down for the count, Fakir turned his eyes to the young apprentice. Seeing Fakir looking at him, the younger boy broke into a sweat.
"Leave," Fakir said coldly.
The apprentice nodded his head rapidly and quickly went to rouse his master and the other man. Half carrying and half dragging them, he left the area as fast as he could.
With the pursuers chased off, Fakir finally turned to look back at Ahiru and the girl who remained slumped on the ground.
Good job Fakir! You sure taught them a lesson! Ahiru congratulated the former knight with a series of quacks and flapped her wings.
To her dismay, Fakir bellowed at her "You moron! Were you trying to get yourself hurt back there? Don't do meaningless things like that ever again!"
Ahiru's happy mood towards Fakir instantly turned sour as she quacked back. What do you mean meaningless things?! She was going to get hurt if I didn't stop that man! "Quack, quack, quack. Qua, quack!"
Unfortunately all Fakir heard was a series of unintelligible quacks which only increased his level of frustration.
"Quack! Quack, qua, quack!"
"I don't care whatever it is that you're trying to say, you are still an idiot for pulling a stunt like that!"
The heated but incoherent argument left the two of them tired and panting for breath. Ahiru's feathers were ruffled and Fakir wasn't looking any better.
The girl beside them made a sound and at long last the two remembered her presence.
Her large almond-shaped eyes were looking curiously at them and the two immediately stepped away from each other, both a little flushed from embarrassment. It was also at this time that they finally got a clear look at the girl's appearance. The travel-worn cloak she had wrapped herself in had loosened when she fell and the hood had slipped off her head to reveal a head of long wavy black hair and a blue hair band. A gold necklace hung around her slender neck and her skin was a creamy beige color, giving her an exotic air. Her clothes contributed to that effect for she wore a peacock blue shirt that revealed her midriff and purple organdy sleeves covering her arms. The loose purple pants she wore was held at her waist by a silk belt, and worn on her feet were blue heel-less shoes revealing she must've walked quite a distance in them.
It struck the writer and the duck that it was unusual for a foreigner to be wandering about, much less without any companion. What is she doing here? Fakir found himself wondering. Putting those thoughts aside for the moment, he asked the girl "Are you all right?"
The girl nodded weakly and Fakir reached out a hand to help her up. The girl took his hand but the moment their hands touched both felt a jolt run through their bodies. However the sensation was gone before it had barely registered in their minds. Fakir blinked in confusion but when he looked at the girl she was staring at him with wide-open eyes, her mouth agape. Seeing his bewildered stare, the girl quickly turned her eyes away and allowed herself to be pulled up by Fakir's hand, but once she was standing again Fakir did not let go. He studied the girl closely but she kept her eyes adverted from his.
Ahiru, who was completely oblivious to the strange event that had just taken place, watched as Fakir at last released her hand. Unexpectedly, he then reached down and scooped the yellow duck up in his arm. To the girl he said, "If you follow this road back, you'll come across a forked intersection. Take the one to the right and that should lead you back to the main road. Good luck. " With that said, Fakir turned around and walked away without waiting for a response from the girl.
"Qua?" Ahiru looked at Fakir who was wearing his unreadable expression, then at the girl who was still standing in the middle of the road.
That's odd, Ahiru thought, why didn't Fakir tell her how to get to Kinkan instead? It's closer than any town that can be reached by the main road. Ahiru was about to voice her question to the dark haired youth holding her, but when she saw the wary look in Fakir's eyes, she stopped herself. What's going on? Ahiru frowned but when she looked back again she saw that the girl was following them. Fakir noticed the girl's presence too but said nothing.
And so they walked, with the duck in the boy's arm and the strange girl following in tow. By the time they got back to Kinkan the sun had set and the sky was painted with strokes of fading red and a spreading dark blue. Located at the foot of the city wall, the light from the Schmied antique shop grew brighter as Fakir and Ahiru approached it through the empty street.
The sound of Fakir's shoes and of the girl's shoes were the only noise echoing along the cobble stone path. The rhythm of their steps was suddenly broken when Fakir stopped and faced the startled girl who had been at his heels. "You have been following us this whole time; what is it that you want?" Fakir demanded severely. The purple-eyed girl gulped and took a step back but said nothing.
"Well?" Fakir persisted.
He took a step forward and the girl inched back again but still, she did not utter a sound.
Fakir realized something. He said softly, "You can't talk…can you?"
The girl nodded slowly to confirm his suspicions.
In his arm, Ahiru felt her heart sink. She can't talk? That's so sad…
"Fakir, is that you? I thought I heard your voice. Whom are you talking to?" Karon's face appeared at the door of the shop and his kindly face displayed a look of surprise to find his adopted son standing with a young stranger at the door.
"She followed us back when we were coming back from the lake" Fakir explained. "From the way she's dressed and such, she's not from around here, and…she's mute."
Karon's eyes drifted from Fakir to the girl. He stepped out and took the girl by her hand "Poor child. Let's not have you standing outside when the air is getting cold. If you have no place to go to you are welcome to stay here for the night."
As Karon began to lead the girl in, Fakir objected, "Wait a minute, we don't know anything about her!"
Karon gave his son a light chiding look "Fakir, we can't let a girl spend a night on the streets by herself."
The corner of Fakir's mouth twisted unpleasantly but he did not argue any more with his foster father.
After dinner was served and the washing was done, Karon asked Fakir to give his room to their guest, to which Fakir did so very reluctantly. While Fakir was upstairs cleaning out the small storage room where he would be sleeping, downstairs the girl remain seated at the table while Karon brought her a cup of hot cocoa.
The girl looked curiously at the warm liquid as Karon took a seat across from her. Ahiru sat on the tabletop and watched as the girl brought the mug to her face, took a careful whiff of the drink before taking a sip. An approving expression appeared on her face as she took another sip of the hot drink.
"You've never had hot cocoa before?" Karon asked.
The girl shook her head but gave the older man a small smile. Karon chuckled "If you like it you are welcome to have a second cup."
As the girl put down the mug, she noticed Ahiru and looked at the little duck with a puzzled look. Noticing the direction of her gaze, Karon smiled at the duck "Her name is Ahiru. Fakir brought her home one day a few months ago and she's been with us ever since. People say it's odd for a boy to keep a duck as a pet but to me they seem more like friends than anything else."
"Quack!" Ahiru replied affirmatively.
Karon laughed. "Sometimes I think she can actually understand what we say; maybe that's why Fakir's so close to her. But it's strange," Karon's expression grew pensive "Before, Fakir used to go to the academy here in town but one day he suddenly said he didn't want to go any more, and it was on that same day that he brought Ahiru home. At times I wondered if his decision to quite the academy has something to do with her…"
Hearing Karon say that, Ahiru felt a little guilty. Her presence had dramatically altered Fakir's life and sometimes Ahiru couldn't help but wonder if Fakir missed the things he left behind to stay with her.
Waking from his thoughts, Karon looked up at the girl and perhaps realizing how odd this would sound to a stranger, he instead said, "Speaking of the academy, did you know Fakir is a very good dancer? He used to be one of the best. There was a boy who was his equal…but that's strange, I can't remember what his name is." Karon thought hard for a moment but when nothing registered he shook his head and shrugged off the thought. "Anyway, now he's found a new hobby in writing. He goes to the lake with Ahiru everyday to write now. That's probably the reason he decided to quit school, to have more time devoted to writing."
This seemed to pique the girl's interest and she leaned forward slightly to look inquiringly at Karon. "Do you want to know what he writes?" Karon asked. The girl nodded eagerly. "Well, stories mostly. He used to love to write stories as a child but only recently did he pick up writing again."
While Karon was saying this, Ahiru noticed the girl's eyes widen and the little yellow duck couldn't help but wonder why the girl was reacting so strangely to this seemingly minor piece of information about her host's adopted son.
The door to the dinning-room opened and a disgruntled Fakir walked in. "The room's ready," he said shortly, sparing a brief glance at the girl.
Karon smiled and nodded, "Thank you Fakir." To his young guest he said, "I hope you didn't mind my rambling; you must have had a tiring day. You can take Fakir's room; it's the one upstairs and to the right."
The girl bowed to Karon, who was taken rather aback by the gesture. After a few more words from the old shop owner, the girl made her way upstairs. As the girl went on her way, Ahiru hopped off the table. Seeing the duck leave the room, Fakir said to Ahiru, "Hey, where are you going?"
Ahiru turned and gave him what could've be a duck's version of a smile before flapping her wings and flying up to the top of the stairs. Fakir watched as Ahiru waddled toward the door of the room, and wondered what was it that the duck was trying to do this time.
Once upstairs, Ahiru was pleased to see that the door to Fakir's room wasn't completely closed and she managed to squeeze herself in through the crack without too much difficulty. The lamp on the desk shed a small halo of light into the room. The girl was standing beside the bed with her back half turned to Ahiru. From her low vantage point, Ahiru could see the girl was looking down at something on Fakir's window-side desk. As she watched the girl reached out one hand and to Ahiru's surprise, picked up a piece of paper from the stack Fakir had left on his desk. The paper was blank and yet Ahiru could see she was looking at it intently.
The girl hurriedly put the paper down after Ahiru announced her presence, but when the girl saw it was the little duck from earlier, she relaxed visibly. She sat down on the bed and motioned for Ahiru to join her. Wondering what the girl has in mind, Ahiru made her way onto the bed and sat down by the girl's side.
The girl reached out a hand and gently patted Ahiru's feathery head. Feeling the gentle touch from the girl's hand, Ahiru couldn't help but blush a little. When the girl lifted her hand away, she placed it over her heart, closed her eyes and made a small bow towards the yellow duck. At first Ahiru didn't understand, then she thought, Does she mean to thank me for standing up to those men?"Quack, quack?"
The girl smiled and nodded which surprised Ahiru again. Maybe she can understand what I say! With that hope in mind, Ahiru quacked her question to the girl. But to her disappointment, this time she only gave her a confused look.
Guess not, but maybe she's a really perceptive person. In any case she doesn't seem like a bad person, Ahiru thought positively.
The girl lowered herself onto the bed, face turned away from the lamplight, and curled her body into a sleeping position. Ahiru thought she must be exhausted after all that had happened to her today. She walked a little closer to the girl and studied her face. The first thing Ahiru noticed were her eyes again, which remained half open as she gazed absently into the gloomy recesses of the room. Despite the difference in color, they reminded Ahiru a lot of Mytho's eyes.
But unlike Mytho she can smile and has a heart. Then what is it that's so similar between them? Ahiru looked closer and noticed something that seemed to shadow the otherwise brilliant violet of her eyes.
From the depth of her memory Ahiru remembered other similar eyes. The eyes of Ebine-san who suffered from the loss of her husband, of Paulamoni-san who was overwhelmed with uncertainty, and of the ghost maiden who had been left with a broken heart. This girl's eyes were filled with loneliness, apprehension, and sadness but this time Ahiru was sure the emotions belonged to no one but the girl herself. But there was no way for this girl to express herself to others, for like Ahiru, she didn't have a voice. Ahiru couldn't help but feel like she understand the difficulties this girl must have experienced due to their shared compulsory silence, and wanted to comfort her. But how? As Princess Tutu she was able to comfort people with her dance, as a girl she could comfort people with words; but as a duck, what could she do?
Ahiru walked closer to the girl and sat down beside her. Seeing the little duck settle down by her side, the girl smiled and the loneliness in her eyes lessened a bit. Ahiru smiled back with her eyes and the two of them lay there, side by side, and soon both girl and duck drifted off into sleep.
Sometime late, Fakir looked into the room to check on Ahiru, only to see her sleeping peacefully beside the mute girl. Even after knowing Ahiru for this long, he still didn't understand some of the things she did. Fakir sighed, but for some reason the scene before him gave him a sense of peace and the dark haired young man once again silently marveled at Ahiru's ability to affect the people around her, even when she wasn't a beautiful ballerina. As quietly as he could, Fakir closed the door and walked away, hiding his small smile in the darkness of the hallway.
By the time Ahiru woke up, the sunlight outside had already bathed the drawn curtains of the room in a soft glow. She blinked away the remaining drowsiness and yawned. The door opened and Fakir, dressed in his usual dark blue shirt and black pants, came into the room and saw that Ahiru was awake.
Ahiru quacked back as Fakir went to open the curtains. She then noticed that the girl's cloak had been placed over her and looked back at her human friend.
"Don't look at me, it was probably that girl who put it on you. And if you're wondering where she is, she's downstairs with Karon."
I see…she really is a nice person! Ahiru smiled to herself but then she remembered the sadness and loneliness she had seen in the girl's eyes the night before. Still, I wonder if there's anything I can do to help her…
"Hey," Fakir's voice made Ahiru look up again. He gave her his usual smirk and said, "You need to stop getting lost in your own thoughts all the time. Come on, breakfast is ready."
Ahiru nodded and allowed herself to be carried by Fakir down the stairs. In the dinning room were Karon and the girl. Ahiru found her eyes drawn to the girl again. With her exotic outfit and pretty features, Ahiru thought it must be hard for anyone who saw her to ignore her.
Seeing Fakir come into the room, Karon said, "Ah, you're back Fakir."
Fakir put Ahiru down and set a small plate of her favorite breadcrumbs in front of her before sitting down at the table. "Did she tell you anything about herself?"
Karon frowned "Even though she can understand our language, unfortunately she doesn't know it well enough to use it in writing. But from her various signs and gestures it seems she's from a country far away in the east. I was just about to ask her why she's traveling so far from home." Back to the girl, he said, "You must had a goal in mind for you to have come this far? Are you looking for some place or someone?"
The girl lowered her eyes and shook her head slowly.
Karon leaned back in his chair. "That's odd, then why would you have wandered all the way to Kinkan?"
The girl's eyes looked up but she lowered them again and a pained expression overcame her face.
Seeing this, Karon asked gently, "Is it because you can't return to your home?"
At this the girl nodded. Karon sighed deeply, and the room became silent. Ahiru who had left her breakfast mostly untouched to listen to the conversation, felt another pang of pity for this unhappy girl.
"In that case," Karon suddenly spoke up, "I was thinking, would you be interested in staying here? You could help with some of the chores around the shop and live with us."
Three pairs of eyes opened wide at this suggestion. Fakir immediately objected. "Karon, we still know almost nothing about her! Are you sure about this?"
"Of course I am. Even though she can't speak, she's still able to communicate with us in other ways."
"That's not the problem!" Fakir shouted.
Patiently, Karon said "She has nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Fakir. But right now we have a chance to end her wandering. Everyone needs a place to return to, son. I don't see why we can't give her one here. And besides," the older man laughed "I think Ahiru agrees with me on this issue, seeing how well she and our guest got along together last night."
Fakir looked sharply at the said duck, who stared back at him stubbornly. Karon-san's right; I want her to stay here too!
Fakir shifted his gaze from Ahiru to the black haired girl. Seeing him looking at her, the girl pulled herself a little tighter into her chair but her eyes were gazing out beseechingly at him. Fakir wasn't blind and besides the uncertainty and apprehension, he could clearly see the hopefulness in this strange girl's eyes.
At long last he sighed. "All right, fine! …She can stay," he said with an air of unwilling defeat.
"It's settled then," Karon looked at the girl "You are welcome to stay with us for as long as you wish. But if you desire to return home someday, no one will stop you either. "
The girl's face lit up and she nodded enthusiastically. Karon seemed very pleased as well, but then he seemed to realize something and laughed "My, I must be getting old; all this time and I haven't asked you your name yet!" He thought about the problem for a moment, and then said, "Do you think you can try to write your name out for us?"
The girl considered this suggestion and gave a small nod. Soon paper, quill, and ink were placed before her. With the quill, her hand set to work with printing out the letters. After struggling a bit, she put the pen down and the word "Scheherazade" was written in a rather awkward but elegant hand on the paper.
"Sche-hera-zade," Karon slowly read the name aloud "is that how you say it?"
Scheherazade smiled at him.
"That's a very nice sounding name you have." Karon smiled back. "Well then, welcome to Kinkan, Scheherazade!"
End Note ---
Well, that's it for the first chapter. I hope I didn't make any character too OOC since I've only been in the fandom for a few months, and I had quite a bit of trouble with the dialogues and character POVs.
You might be wondering how is it that Scheherazade, someone who's Arabian/Oriental in origin, can understand the other character's language (which from what the series implies is German) but she can hardly write in German. Well, that has a lot to do with her upbringing but I can't say any more than that to avoid spoilers. Progress wise, I've got most parts of the story plotted out but there are still some major parts missing or in limbo. Currently I'm working on doing some more research to help fill up those gaps. Still, do tell me what you think. (smile)
P.S. I've edited this chapter after some readers have given me suggestions for improvements. Most notably I'd like to thank Tomoyo Ichijouji for all her proofreading work.