Notes and disclaimer at end.

Summer Afternoon

The titian- haired child was disappointed, but not devastated. Today was a leotard- and- tights day, not a tutu- day, but that wasn't a cause for a tantrum, not in front of the Master, much less Mommy and Daddy.

Stretching, then basics. Today her parents had time to practice with her class, and that was always nice, if not exactly fun the way class was with all her friends and only Master and the assistants watching. They couldn't watch everyone at once, after all. But Daddy was the King and Mommy was the Queen, so she had to behave. Mommy especially could watch everyone all at once somehow.

Master took his job even more seriously when they were there. It wasn't just anyone who could order a King or a Queen around or tell them they were doing it wrong. What was a little scary was that Mommy never got mad about what Master said to her. She just asked a question or so and did it right the next time. Daddy just never really got mad, at least while she was around and especially when he danced, but he never seemed to do much wrong either.

Eventually the morning practice wound down, at least for her, and Master left first, as he always did when the three of them stayed longer than all the other students. Before they sent her off with Nurse, though, the girl with dark red hair asked Daddy to dance with her, as always.

Mommy sat down to watch, smiling. Saint- Saens had seldom been so mangled, the Queen was sure. Still, she wanted to remember all of this. She and Mytho must have looked something like this when he had danced with her, as a girl of five or six. Except for the besotted smile.

Uzura had shown up again. Rue was never really comfortable around her, harmless as she was. She came and went as she pleased; supposing she lured Anna away? How would they know where to begin searching? Mytho was a bit more complacent. He had answered the question in all seriousness, saying that Goldkrone would be the first place, then wherever it was that Drosselmeyer had gone, but for that they might need Fakir's help anyway.

She hadn't been quite this protective of the boys, but then they hadn't been so interested in following Uzura around as they had been in avoiding her.

But today both girls were just sitting in the shade, legs splayed out in front, backs to the cool stone wall. They were an odd sight, the gaudy animate puppet and the Princess in grubby play- clothes in the private garden. Rue sighed a little. She herself was dark- haired and fair- skinned, easily burning red as a lobster before tanning, just as badly as Mytho did. Their children were fair of complexion as well, but only this one had turned out red- haired. Anna's thick mop had never been anything like Duck's painfully bright burning- bush shade; it was darker and would probably turn brown sometime when she was older.

She envied her daughter at the moment, looking ahead to nothing but a long and sunny afternoon. She and Mytho had never given up ballet, and all three of the children had kept their interest in it as well, so far. But the price would be a long afternoon and evening today with the Court and Council. All those years ago in school Rue had never questioned how the upper classes they read about could leave child- rearing to nursemaids and tutors; what young parent wouldn't welcome that freedom?

The reality was quite different. She was very glad of the nursemaids and the tutors, of course, but wished she could have more time for her offspring. So, she knew, did Mytho. But long before they had known she was carrying young Sigmund, they had committed themselves to ruling a Kingdom and then founding the arts school. At least things had been easier since Mytho had been crowned King. His time had since been consumed mostly by making sure things would run smoothly under the government, without his direct intervention; not at all like the first few years as Prince when there had been rivals for the Crown and the government could be a hindrance.

She didn't turn as she heard him behind her, knowing he would put his arms around her. He did. In a moment they were both laughing at something Rue said about the morning's lesson, not much caring that the children were listening, and then they had to take their leave of the girls and go to work.

Computers and electronics were the way to go, thought the old man. Mechanical devices were so clumsy and inelegant by comparison, and noisy. Soft buzzes and whines, and the other noises one put in on purpose, not the squealing or rumbling or incessant thumping–

*Tap tap tap tap tap*

Not again. Why didn't she stay in the Story, or in Goldkrone? She liked both modes of existence. How could she travel between them and here so freely anyway, not even knowing how to read? And why, oh why, did she come here so frequently, useless distraction that she was?

The taps became bang bang bang, bang bangity- bangs. Uzura had recently discovered different rhythms. Naturally that improved nothing.

"I went to see the King and Queen and the Princess, zura!"

"That's nice. You could have stayed longer, you know."

"Rue said something zura, and we couldn't figure out what it meant zura, so I came."

Drosselmeyer sighed. "Oh, all right. What was it?"

"Queen Rue told King Siegfried that he was wrapped around Princess Anna's little finger, but he wasn't and he's too big, zura."

I would rather have done this as art, but I don't have enough background in dance to put what's in my head on paper. But now I can post it here.

It's not polished the way I'd prefer, but nonetheless I hope to amuse. Please enjoy.

Disclaimer: Princess Tutu and all related characters and elements are the property, copyright and trademark of HAL– GANSIS/TUTU and Ikukoh Itoh and no ownership or claim on said property, copyright or trademark is made or implied by their use in the work(s) of fan fiction presented here. This fan fiction constitutes a personal comment on the aforesaid properties pursuant to doctrines of fair use and fair comment. This fan fiction is non-commercial, not for sale or profit, and may not be sold or reproduced for commercial purposes.