AN: at this point I think I should point out that from this point on it will be spoiler city for anyone who has not watched the whole series. I don't want to ruin such a wonderful plot for anyone, which is why I put out this warning.

BTW, the second scene of this chapter is taken directly from the anime (ep 20), so just saying "I don't own the dialogue for that part".

Once again, please R&R.

Chapter 3: A Part Fit for Minor Characters

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

Side characters, Drosselmeyer thought while rocking back in his chair, add nothing more than that little extra spark, necessary to truly bring a story to life.

Generally undeveloped and relatively two-dimensional. However, it is this 'left unsaid' quality that makes them truly interesting. They come and go as they please, flitting in and out of the story.

Sometimes they spur the lead into action. Other times they throw caution into the wind. Some are only there for minor comic relief.

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

Even so, that does not make them unimportant. Heavens no!

The part they play is minor, but it is a small part of the big picture.

* * *

"Geez, Ahiru…" sighed Pique, "Can't you stop having to stay and clean after class?"

Lillie giggled, "Of course she can't!"

"Sorry." Ahiru grumbled, looking at her feet. Once again, Ahiru had angered Neko-Sensei almost to the point of marriage, and wound up with a detention. That poor, poor girl.

The three friends were on their way to get ice cream. No doubt it was another 'Encourage-Ahiru-to-Confess' scheme Pique and Lillie were cooking up.

"Really, you're—gah!" Pique stopped halfway through her sentence as she caught sight of something most unbelievable. Lillie followed her gaze and gasped. Both wore an expression of utter disbelief.

"No way!" Lillie choked out.

"Huh?" asked Ahiru, noticing her two amigos had stopped walking, "What?"

She followed their awestruck gaze, only to have Lillie rapidly recover and jump in front of her view. "Ahiru!" she cried, "Don't look over there!"

She accented the last word by sharply twisting Ahiru's neck away from whatever it is she deemed unfit for her dear friend's eyes. This action was accompanied by a sickening crunch rendering Ahiru temporarily motionless. With that her two friends carried her off to hide behind the nearest conveniently placed potted plant.

The two girls peered out from behind the foliage.

"Shock!" gasped Pique, a look of concern crossing her features.

"That must be…" Lillie wondered, her eyes wide, but her mind calculating.

"What is going on…?" mumbled Ahiru, as she recovered, rubbing her neck. She turned to look, only to have Lillie once again cling to her, this time covering her eyes with her hands.

"There's something that you shouldn't see…" she explained, using a voice of mock panic, as she turned Ahiru in the direction of this most shocking scene, "right over there!" She instantly switched to a cheerful tone as she removed her hands from her friend's eyes.

Ahiru blinked a few times before recognizing what it was she was supposed to 'not' be looking at.

Fakia. Shopping. With an older woman.

…And smiling.


Lillie grinned. No doubt this horrific sight would shake her dear, already heartbroken Ahiru to the very core. She would love to sit back, and watch this little bit of misfortune unfold; but, of course, she had to act the part of a loving and compassionate friend. She whipped out her handkerchief—whose only purpose was to enhance the drama as well as cover the fact that she was secretly enjoying every bit of this—and started to cry into it.

"All of your charms are going to waste now!" Pique panicked.

"Now you'll have to be all sulky about it!" she wailed.

"Who could that woman be to make Fakia show his feelings like that?" Pique demanded while whispering, sounding a tad pissed off. She was, after all, a member of 'Team Fakia'.

"Eh?" gasped Ahiru, slightly behind in the conversation.

"The appearance of an older girlfriend!" she announced dramatically. Now Ahiru had competition! What a wonderful dramatic twist that would do well in any romantic tragedy!

They picked up Ahiru by the arms.

"We're still not sure that she's his girlfriend." Pique admitted, mostly to console herself.

"You're right," agreed Lillie, "You should still be hopeful!" So that you will heart will be broken even more when he chooses her over you, she added to herself.

They lifted a very confused Ahiru over the potted plants.

"You need to find out!" encouraged Pique.

"Be brave!" added Lillie.

Clearly these two were on the same wave-length—no doubt due to their large amounts of practice, what with pulling stunts like these everyday—because at the exact same time they both shoved her forward into the street. Ahiru fell on her face. She recovered quickly, most likely due to the fact that she was extremely used to her friend's crazy hi-jinks (even if they still managed to catch her off-guard every time, her recovery time had indeed improved greatly over the course of their friendship). Ahiru scrambled to her feet and immediately tried to return to their hiding spot, only to find her friends shoving her back out into the open.

These rather loud antics, of course, caught the attention of the two they were supposed to be spying on. Oh yes! Lillie thought, Ahiru's in a pinch!

"Oi," Fakia called to her.

"Ah, Fakia! Umm…" Ahiru's expression was a mixture of embarrassment and shock.

"Are you a friend of Fakia's?" the older, rather curvy woman asked, clinging to Fakia's arm.

"Eeh!?" she squeaked.

"She's calling her a friend already!" whispered Pique from her hiding spot behind the potted plant, one hand clenched in a fist, "Just as expected, an adult's composure."

Lillie was unable to hide her expression of pure glee. "Aah~!" she exclaimed, "Ahiru's crying face is floating up into my mind!" She clutched her smiling face. As expected, real love dramas were much more exciting than those written on paper. "I can't stay here like this!"

Meanwhile, out in the spotlight, Ahiru was panicking, not being the sort of person who does well under pressure. She gave a nervous laugh, "We were all on our way to have ice cream together." She turned to where her friends were hiding. "Right?" she added, only to find that they were no longer hiding there.

Pique and Lillie scurried away at high speed leaving Ahiru to fend for herself.

* * *

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

Drosselmeyer chuckled to himself as he watched the scene unfold. Exactly as planned.

"Ah!" he exclaimed, "Minor characters! What useful pawns they could be!"

That Lillie was an interesting pawn to say the least. She seemed thoroughly content in her role of minor character. Such a versatile girl. Capable of both encouraging and discouraging the beloved female lead, while also providing the necessary comic relief. What's more is that she seemed to do it willingly, and without much prompting from the writer, or, that is to say, Drosselmeyer.

Yes. A perfect minor character.

Much better than his somewhat uncooperative leads.

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

Of course, that was not to say she required no prompting whatsoever. Of course not! How would the story progress as he envisioned if he did not exert some control? It simply would not! It needed him to conduct the events. After all, how do you think the minor characters seemed to always know helpful hints? Simple! It was because he planted them in the minor characters' minds.

The restaurant in the woods? The ghost knight rumor? Do you really think they could come up with those ideas all by themselves? Nonsense!

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

…Still, he had to hand it to the girl. Lillie had proven far more useful than he had first imagined. Even today, causing Ahiru to run into Rachael. It was an event that would lead to a devastating twist for our young heroine. Yes, it would lead to the unveiling of Fakia's heritage and tragic past. Most excellent. Most excellent. Perhaps a bit earlier than he had originally planned, yes, but an excellent twist none-the-less. Bombarding our heroine with more problems she can handle, with her dear Prince slowly succumbing to the raven's blood inside him, and our young knight caught up with memories of the past, she will undoubtedly be torn between helping the two.

He chuckled. Splendid, absolutely splendid. And she did so without even knowing!

He was suddenly struck with a thought.

Think of what she could do if she only knew.

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

if she only knew…

The gears continued turning.

* * *

Lillie and Pique sat in the ice cream parlour together, having effectively ditched Ahiru.

"Ah~!" exclaimed Lillie looking enthralled, "The original plan was to convince her to confess again, but this turned out much, much better!"

Pique spooned ice cream into looking thoughtful. "Who would have thought that Fakia was into older women?"

"I know!" gushed Lillie, "Big shock! Anyway~, we should probably make preparations for Ahiru's Big Heartbreak Party! After all, Fakia is such a lady-killer!"

Pique sighed, "You really enjoy other's misfortune don't you?" It was more of a statement than a question. She already knew the answer, having been friends with Lillie for a long time. If anyone knew Lillie it was her.

"Of course!" she replied happily, "But Ahiru's misfortune is the best!"

Pique smiled knowingly. That was just the way Lillie was. You could almost say it was her charm point.

* * *

Lillie walked down an empty side-street on her way back to the dorms. Her arms were laden with bags of various party items such as streamers and fake moustaches. Dusk was approaching. Her favourite time of day. Why? Because it could be both creepy and romantic.

She was waling along, when all of a sudden she noticed a piece of paper in the middle of the road. Curious, she bent over to pick it up, which proved rather challenging due to all of the things she was carrying. When she managed to get upright, she realized that it was a letter.

A letter addressed to her.

The envelope seemed normal enough and would have looked common and every-day if not for the beautiful script that addressed it to her. Flowing cursive letters in emerald ink.

With moderate difficulty, she opened it and began to read.

"Come to the graveyard tonight if you wish to learn of a true tragedy."