AN: I thought I would make a separate little story to store the fics ideas I had for this particular concept, since it's out of the norm and I imagine there might eventually be quite a few drabbles and fics included in this.

First and foremost, this is definitely an AU situation - basically it has the roles from the story swapped around (namely, Fakir and Rue have switched and Ahiru and Mytho have switched). And I've actually been role-playing this Raven!Fakir, or Nacht, rather, at an LJ RP. Thus this delving into his backstory and such is useful for me in developing his character. So it will focus mainly on Fakir - and always be from his POV. Though Ahiru will also play an important part, since she's a huge part of his character's development.

I apologize if these might be difficult to follow. They're mainly meant to be a reference for me and for his character, and I imagine some of it would be difficult to follow if you're not familiar with the concept and the RP. If you're interested, however, feel free to message me about any questions you might have. I'll do my best to answer them. If you'd like a brief overview of his character, you can check out his profile from the RP: http(colon)(slash slash)www(dot)livejournal(dot)com(slash)users(slash)dustere(underscore)nacht -- and if you do decide to check that out, if there's anything you'd like to see clarified or fleshed out in fic form like this, let me know!

That said, I hope you will enjoy these!

Disclaimer: Princess Tutu and all of its characters do not belong to me.

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Beneath Black Feathers

Excerpt 1: The Beginning

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A young boy with dark hair and green eyes, no older than five, hummed under his breath as he passed a line of trees. In one hand, he waved a stick in the air, rhythm offbeat with the pattern of his footfalls and the dull marching tune reverberating in his throat, and in the other hand were loose pieces of parchment, clutched tightly in his small fingers.

As he reached the bank overlooking the river some three feet above the rushing waters, he came to a halt. The humming ceased and he plopped down to the ground with a sigh, tossing the twig down into the current and watching as the water carried it swiftly under the bridge and out of sight.

" 'Go play outside' they say," the boy mocked with a frown. " 'Don't waste such a nice day by staying indoors.' "

He seized a stone laying next to him and chucked it into the water, where it landed with a 'kerplunk'.

"They must think that I don't notice or understand..." he spoke to himself, throwing a second rock in to the join the first. "But I know the real reason. I'm not stupid."

Another sigh escaped the boy's lips as he flopped onto his back, holding the parchment above him and scanning it with a troubled expression. He knew that this was why his parents were all too persistent in getting him out more. To discourage him from writing - the one thing he loved to do above all else.

And Fakir didn't understand their view. Writing was fun! And it was way better to create amazing adventures on paper than it was to play pretend with sticks and leaves. Yet his parents acted as though his attachment to writing was a problem. And it was always the same excuse! Always that he needed to go out and make friends and get out of the house more. Why couldn't they just let him do what he wanted to? Why couldn't they understand that he didn't want to make friends with the other kids in town? They all thought he was weird, anyway.

If he had his stories... he was happy. Why was that a bad thing? Why did they want him to be unhappy?

He knew there was more to it than they were letting on, too. Sometimes his mom hid his quills, sometimes he found his stories mysteriously missing from where he left them...

The dark-haired boy blinked up at the papers suspended above his face, the light wind rattling the edges against one another. He had hidden this story with a couple others underneath a loose floorboard in his room - a hiding place his mother hadn't discovered. It was about a boy who talked to birds. Every day, he brought them scraps of bread and cheese from his home and in return they taught the boy how to fly.

It was one of his favorites. Many times he had dreamed of flying. There was a freedom in the air that just didn't compare to being stuck with both feet in the ground. And the sky was so big... it would go on forever... and there would be so much to explore...

A little smile curled up the corners of his mouth as he lowered the papers and folded his arms down to hold them securely over his chest - almost like locking them into an embrace. Even if his parents didn't like writing and didn't want to listen to his stories and even if the other kids in Kinkan didn't like his works either, it didn't matter. He had something special - something he valued - even if he only had himself to share it with.

Fakir stared up to the clouds passing overhead and briefly closed his eyes, letting the wind ruffle his hair as he inhaled deeply. Maybe one day soon, he could embark on a real adventure, just like in his stories. And as long as he kept writing until then, he could keep that dream alive. He was certain of it.

Green eyes edged open again, allowing him another look to the brilliant cerulean dome above before he freed one arm and used it to push himself back up into a sitting position.

Was this long enough? Could he go back home and sneak back into his room to finish his newest story?

As if to interrupt that train of thought, a brisk wind suddenly blew by, and took with it the very topmost sheet of the boy's little stack of parchment. With a cry of shock, he leapt to his feet and groped unsuccessfully for the flying page as it floated high above the river. And with his gaze glued to the escaping paper, he completely missed the crumble of rock and earth that gave way beneath his shoes until it was too late to prevent the inevitable. His arms spread, as if hoping he too could fly on the wind, but down he fell - down and into the raging current of the cold river with a splash.

Fakir struggled briefly once he was submerged, his stubby arms and legs wiggling and thrashing in attempt to get back to the surface. But the strong will of the current forced him deeper down into the dark depths, and the final pages of his story broke free from his grip and disappeared with the pull of the water. He opened his mouth to call for help, but the liquid surrounding him quickly dove into the open space and filled his small lungs with water.

Just before he surrendered to the heavy pull of unconsciousness, Fakir thought he saw something that looked like fire streaking through the water.

Then everything faded to black.

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It felt cold.

That was the first thing he noticed when he came to.

Blearily, his green eyes blinked open and he coughed, sending a small splurge of water from his mouth. His vision quickly adapted to the light and he blinked the droplets of liquid from his eyelashes, chest heaving as he rolled his head forward to look up at the sky.

"What just....GAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

The first thing his fully focused eyes were met with were a pair of unfamiliar blue ones that hovered above, staring at him blankly from a face he didn't recognize. Wet red hair framed and clung to the girl's face and dripped down upon him, dotting his already-dampened cheeks.

"You're alive," she said.

For a moment, he was frozen in place as he stared back at her with wide eyes, unsure of whether to be scared or not. Finally regaining control over his limbs, he raised up to his elbows and backed away a little, sputtering a bit more excess water from his mouth.

"W-Who are you?" he croaked, never once tearing his gaze away from the drenched redhead.

She blinked slowly and serenely back at him, not at all unnerved by his reaction. "I don't know."

At that, his eyes narrowed suspiciously, studying the young woman. She was too old to be a kid like him, but a little too young to be an adult. Her hair was a vivid, bright shade of red, and ran all the way down her back to where it curled on the ground beside her legs. Freckles dusted across her nose and her hands lay folded in her lap over what looked almost like a nightdress - which was just as soaked as his clothing was. But perhaps her most alarming feature was her eyes - they were a deep blue that seemed to go on forever - deep and... empty.

Fakir opened his mouth to say she HAD to know who she was and that she was being stupid, but the words never escaped. All at once, he remembered what just happened and realized why the girl was just as wet as he was. He stared at her with a mixture of awe and confusion.

"You... you saved me."

It wasn't a question. He knew it had to be her. The impossible fire underwater that he had seen... it must have been her hair!

And sure enough, the girl gave a small nod to affirm it. "I saw you fall into the river."

"But why did you save me?"

Curiosity urged the question to tumble out before he could prevent it, and Fakir felt his cheeks grow a little warm in embarrassment. He really should've just been thankful that she saved him. She probably wouldn't like all these questions...

But to his surprise, the redhead didn't appear at all affronted by his question - as a matter of fact, she didn't seem to show any emotion on her features at all. "I saw you fall and you didn't come back up. So I went after you."

He stared into her dull blue gaze briefly before he tore his eyes away. There was something not right about her eyes. He couldn't explain it, but it was definitely weird. "I uh... thanks. For saving me."

With his gaze torn away from her, it took him a moment to realize that she was holding something out to him. Turning tentatively back toward the girl, his eyes broadened in surprise when they landed on the object outstretched to him. In her hand, she extended a crisp piece of parchment - one with ink markings he recognized even at a mere glance. "My story!" he burst out in excitement, a smile lighting up his face as he gingerly took the paper from her hand. "You found it!"

"Over there." She pointed her finger across the bank. "The wind took it over there and it got stuck in the tree."

He clutched the paper happily in front of him, and all of his earlier suspicions of the odd girl vanished when he looked up at her again. "You're---you... wow. I dunno what to say. I'm sure anyone else wouldn't have done that, and I'm lucky that you came along when I fell, so I'm really--"

"You tried to fly. Like the boy in the story."

Fakir nearly fumbled the paper she had retrieved upon hearing those words, his mouth dropping open as he met her empty-eyed gaze.

"You spread your arms like a bird," she continued, as though talking about something as mundane as the weather. "Just like the boy did. But you didn't fly like him."

Finally regaining his composure, he scooted closer to the girl and looked rapidly back and forth between her and the story held in his hands. "You read it?"

She nodded.

He shyly lowered his head, voice suddenly small. "And you don't... you don't think it's bad?"

She paused, and then said, "Am I supposed to?"

"No!" Fakir felt his cheeks grow red again. "I didn't mean it like that! I'm just not used to... well... I mean, what did you think of it? You'll tell me it was good, right? 'Cause you're not like the others. I can tell."

"It was good."

A wide grin split his face. "Really? You really think so?"

Her head tilted to the side. "I don't know."

"Wha...?" He frowned, staring back at her with furrowed brows. "But you just said it was good!"

"You wanted me to tell you it was good. So I did."

More heat flooded to his face, making the boy's head appear not unlike a ripened cherry. "B-But! Well! Of course I wanted you to like it! But I thought you'd still tell me what you really thought! You don't have to like it---no one else does!"

She merely stared back at him with blank features, no sign of anger, or guilt, or anything. He hoisted himself to his feet. "Well, that doesn't matter, I guess." Despite his words, the tone was definitely dejected, but he quickly forced another smile at the girl. "I still owe you a lot. And... and I'll find some way to pay you back! But I kinda better get home... mom is probably not gonna be happy that I got my clothes all wet."

The nameless redhead nodded mutely.

Fakir turned his gaze down to the grass and shuffled his feet, looking down at her through a gap in his dark green bangs. "Say, uh... meet me here again tomorrow, if you can."

She blinked her empty blue eyes back at him. "Okay."

"Great!" He flashed another grin. "I'm Fakir, by the way! Maybe we could be friends?"

"If Fakir wants to be."

"Then---I'll see you tomorrow!" He gave her one last smile before he turned on heel and ran back in the direction of his house.

Something inside of him spoke of change - this girl, this close shave with death, this meeting, the story... something important - maybe even life-changing - had just occurred. He could feel it.

And now he would no longer fight his parents' demands to go outside again.

Not that he had any intentions of telling them why.

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And that's it for this little piece - which is, just as the title of it says, the beginning. I'm sure I don't need to clarify who the redhead with blue eyes is, right? Hahaha.

I also realize this has nothing to do yet with Fakir going all raven. That comes eventually - but his experiences before that change and development are very important, because they will later reflect on him, even subconsciously. And I did always want to write the scene of how they first met. So what better thing to start with?

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. Feedback is always welcome and appreciated!

Thank you for reading.