Disclaimer: I do not own Princess Tutu. Other companies such as Hal Filmmaker do. This is
a non-profit fanwork written with love.
Pas de Deux
by Fushigi Kismet
"Mukashi mukashi . . ."
Once upon a time there lived a prince and a princess.
Their fates were inextricably intertwined. Their love faced many
obstacles, but after all, the prince must end up with the princess
and live happily ever after. That is the way these stories are
supposed to go.
And once their tale was complete, they danced away into song and
Once upon a time there was a duck.
And there was a knight too - mustn't forget the knight now.
They were but part of the story for the length of a dream. And the
duck was not a duck but a girl and the girl was not a girl but a
princess and the boy-reborn-knight found some use after all in the
pages of that self-same story. For the length of a dream and the
breadth of a song and then they faded from the pages of the story and
as that long and winding tale came to its conclusion they were left
behind like velveteen rabbits or well-used marionettes to sit
silently on the edge of the stage.
The duck was dangling her feet in the water. At the moment she was a
girl and at the moment she was content because she had just witnessed
something rare and beautiful - two people dancing across the surface
of a lake like blissful gliding swans and a prince's heartfelt smile.
Though her heart ached a little, she was serene in her happiness and
in her sadness and regret.
"Didn't they look beautiful?"
The boy snorted in reply, tilting his head upwards to rest against
the tree behind him, his sword resting across his knees.
"They were beautiful," the girl repeated stubbornly to herself,
turning her head away from him and looking at her rippling reflection
in the water.
"So they were beautiful," the boy said caustically with the air of
someone condescending to undertake a distasteful task.
"I'm happy," she said brightly, "that the Prince is finally happy."
The boy shut his eyes upon hearing her. Somehow he knew that tears
were welling in those wide blue eyes despite - or perhaps because of
the decided cheer in her voice. He felt very tired suddenly, and
though he was now free of a great weight and had undertaken and seen
a great task to its conclusion he felt no sense of glory or
accomplishment but merely the weary emptiness of a dancer after the
final curtain has fallen on his failed career.
'But I didn't fail,' he thought angrily to himself.
And yet the thought lingered that after all his tasks were finished,
perhaps he too was finished along with them.
But what is a knight without a quest? What is a princess without a
prince? What need for characters when the story has ended?
"Smile," the boy said abruptly and the girl was startled like a bird
from a bush and turned to look at him with still-damp eyes.
"Shush," he murmured, clapping a hand over her mouth and glaring
fiercely into those blue eyes. "You were just thinking, "I want to
dance as beautifully as the prince and the princess, weren't you?""
She gingerly pushed his hand away, staring at him in bewilderment.
"So let's dance," he said, standing and pulling her from the water
and to her feet on the grassy bank, his sword falling forgotten to
the ground. He clucked chidingly at her bare feet. "And where are
your dancing shoes?"
"I don't know."
"It doesn't matter," he murmured, and she could sense that he was
Then, all of a sudden the toeshoes were there resting on the ground
between them as though they realized that they too could not escape
from this enchantment. He slid them onto her feet and laced them
tightly before she had time to think of it at all.
She felt strange as though she were once again part of a story and
all of it seemed very familiar - from the donning of her slippers to
the dancing - as though they were a part of something she ought to
She knelt and found his sword among the grass. Lifting it, she
offered it to him with a surprisingly graceful curtsy. He glanced at
her bent head and took the sword from her, sliding it into its sheath
at his side. She straightened and smiled happily. His eyes did not
leave her or grow less stern but his lips quirked for an instant in
that rarest of expressions for him and he asked her quite correctly,
"Shall we dance?"
The girl nodded.
A waltz was most appropriate to her mind for it seemed she recalled
such a dance had taken place at such a point in some long ago story,
but they did not waltz - after all, their dance was the ballet and
that was a story element that could not be changed no matter the
circumstances. The creator of the story had deemed it so.
And so they danced, from the grass by the water to the surface of the
lake itself - dancing upon it as though it were glass or ice, even as
the prince and the princess had done but an hour before and just as
gracefully - just as beautifully. Their motion and form were fluid
and sure as though they embodied the wind, wings stretched to fly.
The duck found it wondrous, as did the boy, as they danced together
in perfect time with each other's movements and hearts. He could not
believe that the girl dancing was the same as the klutz and the
nuisance, but somehow knew that this was true - that even ducks could
learn to dance and turn to swans.
Slowly, softly, as they danced, their forms shifted and changed until
their reflections in the water were that of a graceful princess
framed in white feathers and a gallant knight trailing his cloak
But seeing the reflection the knight's face grew dark and he reached
out and pulled the shining princess into his embrace. His hands
cupped her face and his lips met hers and she could do no more than
respond as needed, for this was madness. Did there exist such a
story? Ah, but it was madness much-needed.
When he pulled away and released her from his arms, already the
enchantment had nearly faded, and she was merely a girl again, white
feathers fading into mist, and he merely a boy, cloak fading into
nothingness. Both their faces were bright red and she began to
sputter, eyes wide and countenance flustered, "Fa-Fa-Faki-"
"There," he said, and once more he smiled gently, and she stilled,
finding his expression as wondrous as that of the prince.
"This is how it should be," he said, reaching out and taking her hand
She understood him - that enchantments were false and could not be
forever sustained, that the past at some point must also be laid to
rest. "But I'm still not really a girl! I'm just a - just a duck!"
She could feel the quick, determined beats of her heart.
"And I," he said, looking firmly at her, "am just a person in a
story. It'll all work out somehow. This is," and his smile broke
through again to her growing delight, "after all, the beginning of a
new story. Now then, shall we finish our dance?"
She nodded, smiling, and they danced from the old pages of that story
into the new pages of their own.