My first Princess Tutu fic, and blatantly Ahiru/Fakir, because Ahiru and Fakir is adorable in the extreme. Ja.
Mini-ballet-glossary: The story in the beginning is that of the Firebird (Google is your friend). Développé: to develop. Arabesque: to extend one (straight) leg behind the body. Passé: to place one foot by the other knee (makes a triangle). Pique: to go from a bent leg onto a straight one with whatever leg move, such as a passé. (These are all real. I should know, I take ballet. )
Once upon a time, there was a bird.
This bird was beautiful and rare, but it was trespassing on a king's domain. So the king sent out his sons to capture this beautiful thing, to hold it and keep it from coming near again. Only the last of sons was successful.
When the prince held the bird in his arms, he felt the wild beating of her heart (for it was indeed a girl) as she twisted and turned. Finally, he let the bird free, but not without taking a feather.
They were bound now, bound by fate and stories, though the prince and the bird did not know it.
How old. How sad.
They don't understand each other, at first—which is odd, because they are so very similar, and if you held up a mirror to one, you could almost see the other. But she thinks he is a jerk, and he thinks she's a moron, and they don't understand or even like each other at all.
(Never mind that they smile when they see the other if they aren't looking, because that doesn't count.)
The one time that they work together, they have an understanding (because he needs to make it clear that this is for protecting the prince and only for protecting the prince, not because he likes her or something dumb like that) that this is just the one day, just the once.
But the one day becomes two days, which begets five days, then a week, then a month, and they begin to understand.
Soon enough, he is not that jerk, but friend, and he learns that he can trust her, that she just wants what's best for everyone.
Soon, she realizes that from him, moron really means sweetheart.
It is a beautiful dance that they do.
She is a klutz, as always (because she is a duck, and ducks do not move like girls, and even girls don't always move like ballerinas) and he is stoic, as always (because opening up is not his strong point), so by all rights, they shouldn't be able to even walk in tandem, let alone dance together.
But under the water, she holds herself upright, her feet pointed and her arms a long line, while he places his hands on her waist to steady her. They move together, with elegant arms and long legs, extending backwards into an arabesque, her leg moving into a passé, his hands touching her wrists. Every leap, every pique, every turn is done as if the two of them are but one dancer.
Even their hearts beat in the same rhythm.
The story has ended—the prince has chosen his princess, the duck has done her duty, the knight has protected his charge. It is all over, or at least, it should be.
But not for them. He feels, deep in his chest, that he should do something, because she doesn't deserve to just be a duck, after she's done so much--he wants her to be able to run, to jump, to fall, to dance—and he knows that he feels a responsibility to give her something more.
In the morning, he sits on the jetty that extends into the lake, the sun barely dusting the trees with light. The one hand hurts, the scar throbbing from half-healed wounds, but he still extends it into the water, waiting.
(Drosselmeyer would like this, he thinks, because it's only once in forever that a heart like his breaks and mends and breaks again.)
She swims to him, her eyes as big and blue as they ever were, and she butts his hand with her head.
"Yes," he replies with a nod, "I'll stay."
A month passes—then it's two, then six, and the first year is almost at its end.
He has stayed with her—when it was cold and the lake froze over, he took her into the part of the house that Charon has given him, where Uzura played with her and make her quack in surprise while he made tea—and she always swims near his jetty when the weather is good. Each day, he throws her bread, and she hops up to quack at him before settling on his legs.
The flowers are beginning to bloom again, petals unfolding into bright colors, and sometimes she waddles through them before picking one to bring back to him while he holds his pen, the notepad on his lap.
Every day, he tries and tries again to place the pen to paper, to turn the blot of ink into words, to write. He fails again and again.
Still, she waits, patient, sitting in his lap and tickling him with her feathers, showing him things she finds, or sitting in silence. But she is always content, simply waiting with him.
Someday, he knows, their story will want to be written, someday, it'll come to him—and one day, it does.
The sun is setting, the light fading away near the lake, and yet he cannot put down his pen. There are words straining in his fingers, the splotches of ink twisting from his chicken-scratch penmanship to images and pictures that he sees in front of him as if he could reach out and touch them with his stained fingertips.
When it is very late, he hears a familiar noise as she jumps onto his lap, her feathers brushing his face. She quacks again, nuzzling his arm before scanning the words herself.
"Soon," he tells her, running his hand down her body while continuing his work, "very soon."
It is a beautiful night—the moon hits the water, the reflection rippling—and he can sleep now.
The words had been determined, for they wanted to be set loose, and he had obliged them, writing into the night until his hand ached. (Someone told him once that if there was a story, he would know—because it would just flow, and he wouldn't be able to stop—and they were right, he thinks, staring at his black fingers.) Now all he can do is rest, and so he stands up, walking towards his room.
There is a knock. He turns, barely surprised (those partially conscious are not easily startled), and unlocks the door, pulling it open in one movement.
She is there, and his tired mind recognizes that she looks almost the same—a little older, a little wiser, but still all smiles, still bright and happy and—she says something that he didn't hear.
"Well, I need some clothes because my old ones have disappeared and they wouldn't fit anyways, because I think I'm taller than before, and it's cold out here and—"
He shakes his head, pulling off his shirt and handing it to her. "Moron (sweetheart). We can get some regular clothes for you later."
For a little while, they look at each other. His scar is visible again, and his shirt dwarfs her—he's gotten tall, she could fit under his chin—while she is still short and skinny, with the same red hair and cowlick and big smile.
Then, he lets her in (they drink some hot tea and she says hello to Uzura) and they go to sleep (after an argument, she sleeps in the bed, he on the floor).
They fall asleep holding hands.
(lets stay forever here)
(but only if you're near)
Review the blatant shipping please.