Princess Tutu Fan Fiction ❯ Princess Tutu: the Diamond in the Rough ❯ Music: La Triviata--the Champange Song/On the Beautiful Blue Danube ( Chapter 10 )

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Chapter X
 
Music: La Traviata—the Champagne Song/On the Beautiful Blue Danube
 
A few weeks had passed since warlock number three had been captured, and now there was great worry between Heinrich and Felix. Each time they tried to be cleverer, it always blew up in their faces. At this point, they really could not blame Drosselmyer, because he wasn't causing them to fail. They had to pick their targets more carefully, and be more subtle when they acted. They were at a loss for whom to find, and they hoped that a target would soon present itself. However, Felix was not going to be the first to volunteer, but Heinrich really was not very anxious himself. They finally odd manned, and the lot fell on Heinrich. At the same time, Felix was setting some kind of a plan that would involve Drosselmyer if he were left alone. He would try to use his influence to gain a spectacular victim, and try to finish off this Tutu himself. In the meantime, Heinrich began to search. Then, one evening, he found his chance. He observed a girl in her late teens calling home. It was a call filled with distress, and he could see her face was not all that bright. Listening in, he caught this, “But mother,” she said, “please don't pull me out of school. There has to be a way!”
“Kelsey,” she said, “I know this is important to you, but we just don't have the money anymore. I'm sorry, baby, but you have to come home.”
“Please, mother,” she begged, “There has to be another way!”
“Baby, if there were, you know that I would do it,” her mother said, “You can finish out the semester, and then you have to come home.”
“Yes, momma,” she conceded, very quietly.
“Bye-bye baby,” she said, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Kelsey said in return, and she hung up.
“Ah!” said Heinrich, “depression: I can work with this!”
He knew that she did not have to harm anyone to have anyone die—he could get her to do in herself! He could also slip in, and remain unnoticed, because she would only be depressed. Considering the circumstances, her peers would see this as a normal reaction to things. He could then spiral her out of control, slowly but surely, torturing her in the process and no one would be the wiser to his actions. He just had to wait for the right moment.
 
In the meantime, Fakir and Ahiru were trying to act more like buddies than like boyfriend/girlfriend, trying to ensure that nothing too great built between them, so that, when this was all over, there would be no broken hearts. However, they were not always successful, and had to stop moments of intimacy short, and quickly. It was harder this way than it was just being close, because they had to stifle what they truly felt in their hearts for their own good. Yet, the other four and Uzzura watched their charade, wondering if they could make it happen, or if they were only lying to themselves. In class, they tried to avoid working together on pas de deux, but they were not able. Thus, they had to try to convince themselves that they were just being professional, and that there was nothing going on. However, they had a hard time convincing other people. The two that took the greatest note were Freya and Joe. They both had an idea what was going on, because they saw how they had been, saw what they were trying to be now, and to them, it looked as fake and contrived as anything they had ever seen. They knew what lie at the end, and they felt so sad for the two of them. “Joe,” said Freya, “it pains me just to watch this.”
“They are trying to be brave, and it just isn't working,” said Joe.
“I wish they did not have to do this,” she said.
“I know why they are doing this,” said Joe, “They are doing this for me, because they know it has to go back to what it was before. They don't want to leave me like this.”
“I don't want you to stay like this,” she said, “but I could not stand it if they had to spend the rest of their lives being separate, and yet together, knowing what they had, and then not being able to have it.”
“I think we could understand how it would feel, though,” said Joe, “What if they refused to fix this, and left me like this? What would we do?”
“It would be a little better,” she said, “I mean, we can still talk, and be together, and share ideas.”
“But we could not share each other,” he said, “and it's not like I could not make a sacrifice if need be. Yet, I can't help but believe that, no matter what happens, someone is going to be very hurt.”
Joe then sat silent on the balance bar as she continued to practice, and he began to ponder what he should do when the time comes.
 
One thing everyone noticed was Kelsey. She was not her normal, outgoing self. Frau Von Trapp finally came up to her and asked her what was on her mind. When she disclosed it, she broke into tears. Frau Von Trapp was all sympathetic to her case, but there was not much that she could do. She did tell her that she would be greatly missed, and that she should cherish the time she had, learning as much as she could. Everyone was a little saddened by this, but it was something that happened. You just had to go on. Later on, in the changing room, both Rue and Ahiru sat down beside her and tried to console her. Even Lillie joined in, but with a different attitude than what she had ever had before. “You know, it will sting for a time,” said Rue, “that you won't be with all your friends, having to get used to a new school. Yet, it's not like you have to stop studying ballet.”
“Yeah,” said Ahiru, “I even practiced when I could when I could not be here. It sure paid off.”
“Who knows,” said Lillie, “If it changed for the bad right now, maybe it can turn around, and you can come back one day.”
“Do you think so?” asked Kelsey, “I sure hope so. You can't get out there what you get here.”
It seemed she cheered up, and the others were surprised at how Lillie was dealing with it. She actually was an encouragement. “Hey, enjoy it as much as you can,” said Rue, “and, you have until mid-December: anything can happen between then and now.”
“Yeah,” said Ahiru, “you should never give up hope.”
However, Ahiru was a bit rattled by her own words. She knew that her hope for the future was slimmer than this girl's future, and yet she continued to smile despite it all. She was not sure if she had peace in her heart about things to come, but she knew that Tutu would have kept her chin up, and for Kelsey's sake, she would do the same. Kelsey did feel better some, but there was still an air of sadness about her. Everyone hoped that they could encourage her, and they all decided to do all they could to be with her, and help her smile, to put her mind of her troubles. As they all broke up, Rue said, “I am so proud of you, Duck, (making sure to always use that name, so she could always remind her to remind herself of what she truly was,) you could have been talking about yourself there.”
“Maybe I was,” she said, “and I still don't like the idea. However, I have to keep reminding myself of what I am. It is hard to see that when I look in the mirror right now, so I have to. Yet, I just have to keep smiling. It's all I can do. I guess that's my saving grace: no matter what happens, I have to smile.”
Rue smiled and laughed, saying, “You are one weird duck! I guess that's why we love you!”
 
Kelsey, however, was not doing so well. She was cheered up for a bit, but now, alone with her thoughts; the depression began to hit her again. She eventually pulled out a photo album that held all her pictures that she had collected of school since her middle school years. She saw all the shows, the trips to the lake, goofing around with her friends, the honors she received at the end of the year for a job well done. The more she looked, the more the tears began to flow. Soon, she was crying her eyes out. She just did not want to leave. There was really nothing for her to go back to, save her parents. She just did not know where she would get what she needed to succeed as a ballerina. “My life is over,” she began to mutter, “All my dreams are going away.”
In this state of mind, her heart was becoming open to suggestion, and this is when Heinrich moved in. “You poor thing, whatever will you do?”
“I don't know,” she cried, not even wondering who was speaking to her, “I just don't know.”
“I want to help you,” the voice said, “Let me in, and all will be solved.”
She did not say it, but her yielding state of mind said all that was needed. Heinrich slipped in at that moment. However, instead of becoming active in her thoughts, he decided to lay dormant, only arising when it seemed fit. He was going to be far more subtle than his colleagues had been, and thus, he did not intend to be caught. All he had to do was get the girl into a deep depression, and then cause her to do in herself. It would be sweet.
 
Siegfried later got word that there was going to be a royal ball to entertain a head of state soon, and so he had to be ready. Of course, all his friends would be invited, and he had space for a couple more. Thus, he kept his eyes open for that person. While this was happening, Kelsey seemed to be getting worse. She had no life, and her grades were beginning to slip. Frau Von Trapp had to keep getting her back on track, yet, at the same time; she knew that to get mad at her would be useless. She knew that, if it had been her, she would have been just as depressed. One thing that scared Rue when she heard it was the times when she began to disparage for her life. She kept commenting on wanting to curl up in bed, and then not wanting to get up. When she heard this, Rue told Freya and the Terrible Trio to keep a close eye on her. Uzzura could not help see that Kelsey was sad, and even tried to cheer her up in her own way. It seemed that Uzzura could get her to smile, so they decided to let Uzzura stay with her for a time. It served two purposes: to keep her mind of things, and to have an honest set of eyes watching her. Because of her childlike innocence, they knew that if there were something terribly wrong, Uzzura would be very plain. Rue then suggested to Siegfried that they make Kelsey the extra invite, if only to help her feel better, and to keep a better eye on her. Rue went as far as to invite her to stay in the palace for the weekend of the ball, just as a thrill. It did brighten her a bit, but there still seemed to be this cloud of doom hanging over her. Then it got worse.
 
The girls began to find Kelsey in very risky situations. They found her walking on the wall along the moat, sitting on the roof of the dorm on a dangerous ledge, she was beginning to let her hygiene go a bit, and she was only doing the bare minimums to make it. What no one realized was that she had Heinrich in her, constantly feeding her doom and gloom, filling her head with lies. He had to pat himself on the back, and laugh inwardly. He was being so clever. No one would ever suspect what was wrong. However, there was a set of eyes watching, and she now spoke to Ahiru. “I think you need to take a look at Kelsey,” said Adelheid.
“Why?” asked Ahiru, “she doesn't show signs of one of the five around her.”
“That's true,” said Adelheid, “It does look like normal depression. However, that is precisely the kind of person that they would seek.”
“Well, we all go to the palace tonight,” said Ahiru, “The ball is tomorrow, and I think it might help.”
“Still, you have the diamond shard,” said Adelheid, “If you see her start to do some really desperate things, look through the stone. Then you will know for sure.”
“Why don't I look right now?” asked Ahiru.
“If he is there,” answered Adelheid, “we want him to think that he is still undetected, or unsuspected. We want to catch him at the right moment, because if we don't he may cause her to run, to be more quiet, or act faster than we can solve the situation. At the very least, he will attempt to be more elusive, and we don't need him to turtle up any more than what he may be now. We just don't want to tip him off.”
 
Later on at the palace, Pique and Lillie were both agog about being in the palace. This was the first time either had stayed in something so fancy, and they were going to try to enjoy every minute of it. However, Kelsey did not seem to want to cheer up all that much. Sure, the nice things at the palace did take her mind off things, but it still did not remove the proverbial cloud. When it came time for bed, she just slumped in, and acted as if she never wanted to wake up. Ahiru watched her enter her room, and when she rolled onto her side, she thought that this might be a good time to look at her. She put her hand on her pocket, and then stopped. She thought, “Sure, her back maybe turned, but what if the warlock can still see?”
She then decided to look if it appeared to be a situation where he was too distracted for him to notice someone looking at her.
 
The next day, everyone was in for a surprise. Kelsey was the first up, and the first to breakfast. She seemed very content, and she was actually smiling. Rue said, “Well, well, well—look at who's all bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning!”
“Yeah,” said Kelsey, “I did some thinking last night.”
“Sure looks like you did,” said Ahiru, “something click in there?”
Kelsey looked out for a moment, and then brought her gaze back to everyone and said, “You could say that!”
Everyone gave an internal sigh of relief, figuring that something good may have happened, and all would be well…except for one. Joe looked at her, and thought that she was feeling a little too good. Not only that, but it seemed odd for her to flip-flop in just one night. Once Freya was away from the table, and tending to the royal flower garden, (old habits die hard,) Joe said, “I know things seem okay,” said Joe, “but something still does not seem right.”
“What do you mean, baby?” she asked, a bit confused.
“Well, I think I have seen something like this before,” he answered, “I think it kind of means that she has made a decision about something.”
“How is this bad?” she asked.
“Well, remember,” said Joe, “when one makes a decision, one is choosing an option amongst several, or from at least two.”
Freya stiffened a bit, realizing what the implications might be, asking, “Are you saying that it might not be a good decision?”
“From what I understand,” he answered, “a decision means an inner peace of some kind. Whatever way she chose about things, she has come to terms about it. If it is for something bad, there would be no way of knowing.”
“Then what must we do?” she asked, now very worried.
“Always have someone with her,” he said, “Never let her out of your sight!”
When they were done, she relayed the news to everyone else, and they formed a rotating schedule, so it did not seem that they did not trust her, but that they just wanted to spend time with her.
 
As the day progressed, they were able to insure that she was never alone. However, as the time for the ball drew near, she did seem to become more and more frustrated, especially when they came in at places where it seemed that she was about to do something risky again. That behavior in itself tipped them off that she had not made the right decision. They were more determined now than ever to make sure she was not alone. Eventually, everyone had to get ready for the ball, and it was in the confusion of getting ready that caused everyone to lose track of who was supposed to be on watch. Heinrich was waiting for this moment. He whispered to her, “Now, take the bed sheets and start to tie them end to end.”
Robotically, she began to do just that. He then said, “Now, tie one end to the pillar, and the other around your neck.”
Again, she did as she was told, and he began to get giddy, saying “Yes! Yes, that's it! Soon your pain and worries will be all over.”
“Yes,” she said blankly, “All over.”
Ahiru was standing outside, waiting for the ball to begin, getting some fresh air. It was then that she looked up, and saw Kelsey, in a beautiful flowing gown step into the windowsill, and she appeared to have a white satin scarf around her neck. However, it quickly dawned on Ahiru that it was not a satin scarf, and realized what was about to happen. She pulled out the diamond shard, and saw a warlock all over her. She had to act fast. She put the stone to her head and made the change.
 
Kelsey stood for a moment, getting up a bit more courage. She then said, “Good-bye, mother, I hope you can understand why I did this.”
She closed her eyes, took one step, and did not drop. In fact, she seemed to be standing on something quite solid. She opened her eyes to see a very concerned Princess Tutu staring back at her, as the both stood on a flowery vine stock. “Please, dear Kelsey, this is not the answer,” said Tutu, as a couple of vines came forth and removed the makeshift noose from her neck. The stalk set them in the room, and Tutu said, “Here, let me help to clear your mind.”
She started to reach for the amulet, but a male voice told her, “Not this time! You will not find me that easy!”
With that, she tore out into the hallway, not wanting Tutu to catch up. This surprised the girls, not just because of her running out, but also because of Tutu being in hot pursuit. She tried to go one way, but a vine cage wall blocked her way. “Please don't run, I want to help you,” said Tutu, but Kelsey tore right by. She then came to the edge of the grand staircase overlooking the ballroom, and Heinrich said, `Now! Do it now—head first!”
She started to dive, but Tutu leapt out and caught her before she really had fallen any distance. A large astral swan that seemed to ease them to the floor silhouetted Tutu. Everyone was stunned, as the surroundings took on the normal look that indicated Tutu was present. Some wanted to complain about the disturbance, but they could not find the words to say for the sight. As they descended, Tutu now had her where she could not run. Heinrich said through her, “NO! I was so clever! How could you have caught me?”
Tutu paid it no mind as she reached out with the amulet and touched her heart. Heinrich screamed, and arced out of the palace. As they hit the floor, Tutu spun away in a pirouette, and finished in an arabesque as she held Kelsey's hand. She then let go, took the fifth position, gestured, and extended her hand. The orchestra director, familiar with ballet mime, knew what that meant, and called for the players to start the Champagne Song. As they began the dance, they began to speak, “Thank you, Princess Tutu,” said Kelsey, “I don't know what came over me.”
“It's alright,” she said, “What was tormenting you shall never do so again.”
“I cannot believe what I tried to do,” pondered Kelsey.
“Then you would agree that what is happening to you is nothing over which to kill yourself,” said Tutu.
“That is true,” said Kelsey, “Still, I wish I could change things.”
As the music progressed, everyone was beginning to feel festive, and Rue, Freya, and the other two of the trio could not resist the urge to join the dance. Eventually, Fakir and Siegfried joined in, and they were now doing pas de deux, group work, solos, and generally putting on a show as Kelsey and Tutu spoke. Everyone backed off far enough for the kids to dance. The orchestra then began to play On the Beautiful Blue Danube, not wanting to disturb the sight. Tutu then continued, “Decisions like what your mother had to make are always hard. Believe me, I have one myself that I must make soon, and it will not be easy. However, know that your mother was indeed looking out for your better interests. I'm sure that, if there were another way, she would allow you to go. However, always remember that, even though the door shuts here, a window opens somewhere else. Just keep passing the open windows, knowing the one that you go out of will not be like the one you tried to exit tonight!”
At this, all the kids were dancing their hearts out, having quite a time, and putting on a great show. The visiting head of state knew of both Rue and Siegfried's dancing background, but he did not expect a show from the academy that night. When they were done, that head of state said, “You children were fantastic. That academy must really be top notch!”
“It certainly is,” said the prince, “and I have a grant slated for that school to help needy students with talent that needs to be fostered. However, there is only so much in the budget, and we cannot help everyone.”
“Is that so?” he said, and then said, “Well, it looks like something needs to be done about that.
He then stepped forward for everyone to hear, and said, “When I get back, I am going to talk to my legislature, and we are going to get an appropriation for that school. It is written right into our laws that we should fund useful arts and sciences, and this indeed would not be a waste of the people's money.”
The prince then looked over at Kelsey and winked. Kelsey was ecstatic. She could go to school now, and she would not have to burden her mother any more. She could not wait to tell her! As this joy was spilling out, Tutu took this moment to slip out and change back into Ahiru. When she returned, the ball began to progress as normal, but Rue wanted a word with Ahiru. “Duck, could you come here, please?” asked Rue, who was standing by the concessions.
“What is it?” she quizzed.
“What you said as Tutu tonight was great,” said Rue.
“It seems strange,” said Ahiru, “Even though I and Tutu are the same person, it always seems I can think clearer.”
“That is interesting, but,” said Rue trailing off, and then continuing, “Well…you do remember what you said about decisions, right?”
Ahiru sighed, and her face sank, but just a touch. She then said, “Yes, but, you know, I think that I can take comfort in my own words tonight.”
“How so,” said Rue.
“Even if I must be a duck again,” said Ahiru, “I cannot forget what kept me going even then.”
“What was that?”
“The last heart shard that I gave to Siegfried was `hope.' Even though I was a duck—I am a duck—I never gave up hope that things might change. In that, I had contentment as a duck. As you can see, it happened, even if it were but for a short time. If it happened now, it could happen again, I just cannot give up hope. Yet, thanks to you, you have taught me to love myself, because what is truly me is in here, (pointing to her heart,) not what you see. I will never give up hope as long as there is air in my lungs, and a wind beneath my wings. It's still going to hurt, but I am going to be okay. I didn't give up hope that night, and, in a way, I helped kill the Raven that night. I am sure you saw Tutu emerge from me in an astral form when you came out, right?”
“I remember that.”
“Then I am all three—a duck, Duck, and Tutu—nothing will ever stop that!”
Rue smiled and hugged her, saying, “Now that's the duck I know!”
They then looked at the ball, and Rue asked, “What now?”
“I'm going to ask my good friend Fakir to dance,” said Ahiru, “not caring about what is to come, and…” she then trailed off, and then got a coquettish look on her face, saying, “…and then I'm going to dance with my prince, and declare my love for him!”
Of course, Rue knew she was kidding, and said, “You do, and becoming a speck of light would be better for you than what I would do!”
They both laughed hard, and they made their way out to the dance floor. Rue put her arm around Ahiru, saying, “Keep smiling,—that's your saving grace!”
 
She got to Fakir, and they began to dance. As they did, Fakir said, “Isn't this a bit too intimate?”
“It doesn't matter,” said Ahiru, “I'm going to enjoy these days as much as I can. Even if I must go back, I will never give up hope, because if it happened now, it can happen again. I know you will be there with me, no matter what. That's enough for me.”
They stared at each other for a moment, and then they kissed passionately. Freya looked, worried that things were not going to go well, but Rue said to her, “Don't worry,—I think that it will not matter in the long run. I think they have both accepted things, and yet, they both have set their love on trust and hope. That overcomes anything. It's good this way. It's better than pretending. They'll be okay, because they are two of the strongest people I know.”
 
 
 
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Chapter 9
Chapter 11

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