Remember Not the Hand That Wrote It
Notes: The characters aren't mine and the story is! I originally got this idea when I was rewatching the series last month and was rather upset that Ahiru didn't acknowledge Autor being hurt in episode #21. And since the last we see of him in that episode is him still needing help, it was a perfect opportunity for a hurt/comfort writer like myself. Then there was an Autor monologue idea I had that I decided to combine with it. And to top it off, I wondered if I could work in the prompt White Feathers at the Tutu Contest comm on Livejournal. So, this is my attempt. I hope I brought out the prompt well enough. I know it kind of took a backseat to other things, but I tried to get it in as best as I could.
Ahiru did not remember ever being as panic-stricken as she had been tonight, during Fakir's test in the yard of the museum. Autor's dire warnings had already been unbearably twisting her stomach for the past three days. When the twigs had sprang from Fakir's fingers and he had suddenly become entrapped by the oak tree, she had felt her heart cartwheel and stop.
Now, as she knelt in the grass and held him safe and close, she did not remember ever feeling such relief and joy.
Unless it had been when she and Mytho had escaped the illusionary pool and had found Fakir warm and alive at the surface, when they had thought him dead. That had been such a happy moment, when they had not had to worry about Mytho being poisoned by raven's blood or Fakir writing potentially dangerous stories or creepy oak trees that pulled people in when they failed its test. . . .
". . . What happened to Autor? I thought he'd have something to say about this."
She started back to the present, her eyes widening at Fakir's mumbled words. "I . . . I don't know what happened to him!" she exclaimed as the realization hit her.
Fakir sat up more. "You don't know?!" he repeated, incredulous.
She pouted. "You were acting all weird like you were in a trance!" she said. "And Autor went to touch your shoulder and got blasted by some blue light. You didn't even notice! The oak tree came out of the ground and started pulling you in, so I didn't have any time to think about Autor." She crossed her arms and turned away, glowering at the grass.
A quiet "Eep!" escaped her lips when she caught sight of the other Gold Crown Academy student sprawled several yards away. Fakir, noticing at the same moment, frowned. Struggling to stand, he limped over and then knelt down next to the unconscious teen.
"Hey," he muttered, shaking the limp shoulder. "Wake up."
Autor groaned, but made no other move to revive.
Fakir looked up at Ahiru. "Go get some water or something," he said. Spotting Autor's glasses nearby in the grass, he picked them up before they could have a chance to get broken.
Ahiru nodded, scrambling up and hurrying across the museum grounds. "Water, water," she said to herself. Was there water here? There should at least be a drinking fountain or something.
She scowled as she searched. Autor had never made a good impression on her, with his predictions of death right from the start and his subsequent intense training. Making Fakir stand staring into space for three days . . . what would that accomplish?! And it was his fault about the oak tree. Fakir really could have died!
But is there another way to save Mytho?
She paused, biting her lip. Was there? She had thought Fakir's writing abilities were the last hope. But she had never thought he would have to go through so much just to be able to write. She still did not understand it.
Her shoulders slumped as she heaved a big sigh. Even though she was still really mad at Autor, she did not want anything to happen to him.
She rounded the corner, continuing her quest for water.
He had been chosen. . . .
He had been in awe of Drosselmeyer and his amazing, reality-warping powers ever since first learning of them as a small child. To be able to control the fate of all with ink, paper, and a creative mind. . . . It was incredible, ingenious . . . and highly destructive. If misused, such powers could lead to countless tragedies and heartache.
He had never wanted that. He had wanted the power to do good, to change the world for the better. There was so much he could do, if only he could tap into those abilities. Drosselmeyer's family blood was in his veins.
But it was stronger in him, in Fakir. The oak tree had chosen him. Autor had seen the tree vanish, releasing Fakir from its grasp as he had fallen into the outstretched wings of what had looked like a large white swan. He had passed the test.
Why had Autor decided to help Fakir learn of his powers? He had wanted to be the one chosen. Had he thought that teaching Fakir would help him further awaken his own abilities? Had he thought the oak tree would not choose Fakir, and instead would choose Autor?
Maybe he had just felt proud of his research and his studies on honing one's skills and had wanted to pass along his knowledge to someone else who had the gift, someone else who could surely appreciate it.
. . . Or had he been forced to concede that the level of Fakir's power was greater, since Fakir was more directly descended from Drosselmeyer?
In fact, why did Fakir have that honor, instead of him? Oh, he was grateful to be connected to the Drosselmeyer family in whatever minor way, as he was still trying to prove that he was, but for Drosselmeyer to actually be his many-great-grandfather would be even more incredible.
There was a part of him that wanted to protest Fakir being chosen. He knew the Bookmen had been spying on them. Maybe he could talk to them, to get them to agree that he should be the one. They were not likely to consent, but he was not going to give up his dream so easily.
It should have been him. After all of his meticulous research and his dedication to every detail . . . after he had admired Drosselmeyer and his powers for as long as he could remember . . . it should have been him.
After all . . . what was his purpose here, if it was not to use his powers of spinning stories? What else did he really have to offer the world?
"I've got the water."
"What took you so long?"
"I couldn't find it!"
What was that? He could hear Fakir and his friend talking . . . or almost ready to launch into an argument, it sounded like. He wanted to open his eyes and see what was going on, but he could not grasp the strength.
"Wait a minute. What are you doing?!"
Autor gasped, his eyes flying open as the cold water hit him right in the face. To his side, the empty bucket clanged to the grass. He squinted, trying to see through his blurred vision. It looked like Fakir was standing by, holding a half-toppled Ahiru and strangely, keeping a hand over her mouth. But she quickly came out of her daze, fighting to pry his hand away.
"What did you do that for?!" she exclaimed.
"Can't you guess?!" he returned as he released her. "And you were supposed to wake Autor up, not try to drown him!"
"I was waking him up! How were you going to use the water?!" Ahiru retorted.
"I was going to be more conservative!" Fakir said.
"Excuse me . . ."
Both Fakir and Ahiru froze and turned to look at the drenched Autor, whom they had all but forgotten. Weakly he raised a hand, but then dropped it back to the grass. He was aching all over and his head was throbbing.
"Will you both please be quiet?"
Ahiru looked a bit embarrassed, while Fakir's expression barely changed. "Are you alright?" he asked.
"I should be, if I can have a peaceful rest," Autor said. "And if I don't catch pneumonia in the night air."
Fakir grunted. "We'll help you get home," he said, reaching into his pocket for the protected glasses. "Here."
Autor took them, his hands shaking a bit as he moved to put them on. But then he paused, staring at something ahead of him.
The white swan. . . .
So he had not imagined it. The graceful bird was standing under the moonlight, every pure feather illuminated. But the white swan was a symbol of . . .
"Princess Tutu," he whispered in amazement.
Fakir stiffened. "What did you say?"
Autor slipped on his glasses. Now he was more astonished still; there was no swan at all. He frowned. All there was, was a very bewildered Fakir and that clumsy red-haired girl, staring at him. Embarrassed now, he looked away.
"Nevermind," he said. He pushed his palms against the grass, struggling to sit up.
Fakir stood by, observing, then awkwardly reached to help when the other boy swayed. "You're probably seeing things," he said, somewhat gruffly.
Ahiru nodded. "You got blasted really far," she said.
". . . I suppose," Autor said, feeling uncomfortable.
He got to his feet with Fakir's help, stumbling as he tried to regain his balance. He was not going to be able to walk on his own at the moment, no matter how much he wanted to. Awkward and stiff, Fakir attempted to help him by drawing Autor's left arm draped over his shoulder, and his own arm around Autor's back.
Despite his dizziness, and the sudden urge to just lay down and block out the world, Autor attempted to reclaim the smooth, confident side to his personality.
"By the way, don't think that just because you were chosen means that everything will be easy from here on out," he said with a weak smirk. "If anything, it will get more complex."
Fakir blinked, unable to hide his surprise that Autor knew he had passed the test. "I know that," he said then.
"The oak tree will have many more things to tell you," Autor said. "And you need to constantly hone and improve your abilities. You can never learn enough."
"Will Fakir still be in danger?!" Ahiru exclaimed, walking alongside them.
"There's always danger in being a story-spinner," Autor said. To Fakir he continued, "Some people won't like what you're doing. They'll try to stop you, even with violence."
Ahiru fumed. "Then you shouldn't do it, Fakir!" she said, looking to him with pleading eyes.
But Fakir shook his head. "This is my path now," he said. "I've finally found a way I can help Mytho. I'll never turn back."
Ahiru stopped walking, her wide blue eyes showing a better understanding. "A way to help," she repeated. Yes, that was true. It was what she herself had hoped Fakir would do, but that had been before she had realized the dangers involved. She would never stop worrying about Fakir in this undertaking, yet she could not make him stop. And would she really want to? He needed her support now.
She smiled as she hurried to catch up to them again. "You're right, Fakir," she said. "This is what you can do. And with this power, you'll be able to write a story and save Mytho!"
Fakir looked away, but he was smiling a bit as well. "We'll see," was all he said.
Autor stayed silent. It took too much effort to speak right now, and the further he walked, the more it became an almost mechanical action. The blast had shaken him up quite badly, more than he was willing to admit to anyone.
But he still had to wonder---had he really only imagined the white swan? He knew that someone had taken up the role of Princess Tutu in the story, so it was not impossible that he could have seen her with Fakir at the oak tree and then again a few minutes ago.
Still, the only one around was Ahiru. And . . .
He jumped a mile as she yelped, having nearly tripped over a rock that had been unnoticed in her path. Fakir shook his head, looking both amused and in disbelief.
Autor averted his gaze. No . . . it couldn't be.
It was impossible.
I know people only seem to see the swan when Ahiru is actually in her Princess Tutu form, but for the time when Autor thinks he sees the swan after he fully wakes up, I dunno, I thought maybe I could get away with him seeing it due to his own powers as a story-spinner? I dunno, maybe none of this makes sense.