Title: Dance de Caractère

Genre: Romance/Drama

Rating: K+

Summary: Ahiru tries to understand her feelings as they change from the prince to the knight.

Disclaimer: No, honey, if I owned Princess Tutu, I would have at least given Ahiru and Fakir a kiss scene before the anime producer-guys ended the series.

Notes: Short drabble for you all. Have fun.

Ahiru isn't quite sure when her feelings slowly descended from the pure-hearted, kind, gentle, beautiful prince to his cold-hearted, brusque, rough, beautiful knight. There is such a huge difference between the two that she wonders how it is possible for her heart to be given to another so easily.

She thinks on it.

She thinks when she is twirling her long braid.

She thinks when she is dancing and trying to get her feet to a clean point like Rue's.

She thinks when she finds herself staring at either Mytho or Fakir.

Slowly, she comes to understand why.

Mytho is very similar to Rue. Both are constantly being chased and consumed by darkness. Both are constantly peering wistfully into their pasts and looking just as wistfully into the future. Both are looking for a savior from the claws of the Raven in their hearts. Both are honest to themselves in a painfully pure way.

It hurts, but she understands. Mytho and Rue are meant to be.

(And she can only watch from the sidelines, in a lonely lake with other birds.

An ugly duckling, if you will.)

And she and Fakir are also so very alike. Both being laden with the burden of the savior. Both wanting to help others from the growing darkness. Both do not wish to be what they truly are, but are cursed to return to it eventually. Both are afraid of failing but are even more afraid to not try to succeed.

Perhaps that is why, even as Fakir approaches the lakeside with a customary scowl on his face, she swims eagerly towards him. She has found a kindred spirit in him, someone who is just as broken and lonely as she is.

(A smile would cross his face, just for a second.

Then his expression would turn grave as his eyes focused on the story he is writing.)

She thinks of Rue and how she seemed so happy, so joyful, as she and Mytho went away to their fairy-tale ending. And she wonders if that sort of happy ending will really last, and if she could have ever had one for herself. Could she have once found a prince and fallen in love like that as well?

She doubts it, yet she wonders.

(Fakir never lets her see the story, no matter how much she quacks indignantly.

There is a strange look on his face as he writes, almost as if he is—)

Sometimes, she feels almost uncomfortable around Fakir. He has devoted his life to staying by her side. What kind of boy, still in his youth, would pledge such a thing? And to a girl doomed to remain in her true form?

One of the many reasons Fakir is a better person than her, she sighs, is that he holds hope in his hands.

(She asks him, through her shining eyes, when the story will be finished.

He says back, "Maybe it never will. Maybe it'll just stay this way forever.")

Fakir curses under his breath when he spills some ink onto the pier he has pulled his chair onto. Muttering under his breath, he wipes his ink-stained hands, lays aside the quill, and bends to clean the mess with a spare sheet of paper he has. Ahiru watches this all with lazy blue eyes and sweeps a wing through the water, creating ripples.

("Would that really be so bad?" he asks.

"If we stayed like this, forever.")

She finally understands that even though Mytho is her first love, Fakir is the one who will stay with her in the end, when she will be forced to give up her last hope for humanity.

(Slowly, she comes to accept her fate.

That's okay, as long as Fakir is there.)