A Princess Tutu fanfic by Klondike Aura
Death, by its very nature, is never what is expected.
The Knight had his hopes, as everyone does. But then death came for him. Lohengrin remembers spending so many years without living, wondering what waits for him beyond the veil. Now that it's happened and the last vestiges of dying had faded, what could be left for the Knight?
Lohengrin puts his hand to his shoulder, the pain of the Raven's claw nothing more than memory while the phantom sensation of touch lingers. He follows it down with his eyes, the red staining across his abdomen.
If someone had asked the Knight years ago what he wanted when he died, he would have answered with his wife without hesitation. But now...
What remains of the Knight's being is overwhelmed at the sight of the Princess as she was moments before her confession. It shouldn't be possible but he feels his vision blur with hot tears. Tutu looks at her friend and Lohengrin watches her expression change as she follows the same path down he saw before.
"Oh Lohengrin, I'm sorry..." she gasps from behind her hand.
"It doesn't hurt anymore," he manages to say, dismissing her concern.
"Then why? Are you... Crying for me?"
"Oh foolish girl," the Knight chokes out. "Did you think me so cold or yourself so unremarkable? Think I wouldn't be affected when you..."
If they could feel, it would be too tight. But Lohengrin wouldn't care unless he heard Tutu voice her discomfort over his sobs. There was so much he wanted to tell her and yet he found himself so tired of words. All words had ever done is take away those he loves. He eventually lets her go and, though he lacks the experience, circles his hands over his head before offering one to her.
"Sorry if I get anything wrong," Lohengrin says, the only words he gives her before they begin to dance.
Tutu laughs, that being the least of what worries are here, and it warms the Knight in a way he never thought he would know again. A step here, a bow there, remembrance, promise, joy. And then...
The Princess takes a step back, her hand flying to her mouth again. "Do you know what that mime means?" she asks.
"Yes," he answers. "And now if only I could turn into a speck of light and vanish."
"Lohengrin, I-" she begins, but stops when he shakes his head.
"It doesn't matter now. And if I realized it earlier, I cared too much about you and Siegfried to hurt you with my selfishness. Even now it feels like some heavy sin to know I loved you as well as Elsa, maybe even more."
The Princess steps forward and takes the Knight's hands, her own ethereally delicate. And now he must say it, say it or it might never be as real as it can be.
"I love you, Tutu."
She smiles and dips her head the way she did right before she spoke to the Prince, though her words this time are, "I wish I could give you the happiness you deserve."
"Foolish girl," he calls her again. "You brought more happiness to me than I thought was possible. I would never ask you to give me your heart, but mine belongs to you."
And the last touch either of them know is his lips brushing against her forehead.
Author's Notes: Another short story from my headcanon for The Prince and the Raven. In it, Princess Tutu initially meets and befriends the Knight while he was mourning his wife's death.