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31_days, Fakir!Fic #3 -- Growing

Title: Growing
Day/Theme: Apr. 11 - On usefulness and the passage of time.
Series: Princess Tutu
Character/Pairing: Fakir, Mytho
Rating: G
For: 31_days, Fakir challenge.

It had been a shock when Fakir had been confronted with the reality of his place in the story. He was fourteen at the time, and starting to train as a swordsman in earnest, whether or not Charon approved. It came to him easily, as if he’d been born to hold a sword in his hands. (He knew, thanks to his birthmark, that this was actually the case.)

Mytho was sitting on the ground nearby, watching with what a casual observer may have mistaken as interest. Fakir knew better, of course. He probably only watched because swordsmanship was one of the few things he still knew.
Fakir paused, wiping some sweat from his brow and turning towards the Prince. “Are you hungry?” he asked, fully knowing what the answer would be.
“I don’t know,” the other boy responded.
“You’re so pathetic.” He walked over and took Mytho’s hand, pulling him off of the ground. “You must be hungry. You hardly had anything for breakfast, and the sun’s already…”

Fakir stared, his voice fading. He couldn’t be. Could he? Surely his eyes were playing tricks on him. He frowned, placing a hand on the top of his head and sliding it out, reaching towards Mytho. “Look at me and stand straight,” he ordered.
The Prince turned away from the bird’s nest he’d been watching and obeyed, so straight and rigid that he reminded Fakir of the tin soldiers he’d had as a kid. He closed the distance between the boy’s head and his hand, his fingers cutting through Mytho’s white hair.
Hm. That was weird. It seemed as though he really was…well, he could have not held his hand steady enough. He took Mytho’s hand without a word and dragged him indoors, heading towards the bathroom. Once there, he moved Mytho around like a mannequin, getting him to stand at the right spot on the floor, and ordered him to stand straight again. He fell into place at Mytho’s side and stood straight as well, then examined their reflections in the mirror.

The first thing that he thought was how they looked like complete opposites. Mytho never tanned; no matter how long he remained in the sun, his skin remained almost unnaturally pale. Fakir, on the other hand, had been born tan, and his skin had become even darker over the summer. Mytho’s hair was as white as snow (as cliché as the phrase was, it was true), whereas Fakir’s hair was a dark, deep green. They looked like pieces on the opposite sides of a chess board.
Fakir frowned, examining their heights more closely. It was hard to tell, but…yes, he was taller than Mytho now. Not by much, surely not more than an inch, but it still seemed more than a little odd. Mytho was taller than him, had always been taller than him. When he was just a brat, it seemed as though Mytho had towered over him, every inch of him a once strong, powerful hero, even without his heart. Now Fakir looked at him, and he seemed…young. Innocent. Even fragile.

He couldn’t be that young, it’d been years since he’d first found him lying unconscious in the road. But, perhaps, before the story had been left unfinished he’d actually been as young as he looked. But how young? The book never said, in fact it rarely went into the Prince’s background at all. He wasn’t a person, he was a figure, a symbol of light and love and hope and all that was good and pure. His age didn’t matter, what mattered was the purity of his heart and his determination in his battle against the Raven.

The Knight, however, had an age. It was assigned to him to help aid in the tragic scene of his death, revealed arbitrarily as an added flourish, to include an additional sting in his death:

And then the Knight who had sworn to protect the Prince, though merely a boy of sixteen, took up his sword and challenged the Raven. The monster’s red eyes glowed with delight in seeing the Knight’s reckless pride, and they charged at each other, the steel of the Lohengrin’s blade shining in the light of the storm--

Fakir flinched, turning away from his reflection and storming out of the bathroom, followed by the Prince who wore on his face the same vague expression of curiosity. Sixteen. Fakir had never even thought about it before, but…if that was the case, that meant he had…two years, if the story was to be played out the same way.

Two years? Was that really all he had?

He suddenly was all too aware of the birthmark that slashed across his chest, of the blisters on his hand from his practice with a sword, of the blade that was carefully locked away by Charon with a promise that it would be his when the time was right. All this time he’d been playing a game of being the Knight, and now the role was starting to seem as less of a game. It was his fate now. A fate that would lead to…

No. He refused. He wouldn’t die. He’d stop the story if he had to—he was not going to die.

Within the week, he had taken some of the money his parents had left him and enrolled both himself and Mytho into the Academy. Charon protested—this was too great of a decision to make so quickly. Hadn’t he wanted to work in the shop? Hadn’t he wanted to be a blacksmith like his father? He didn’t even know how to dance!

That didn’t matter. When you boiled them down to their basic elements, fencing and dancing weren’t that different. Balance was key in both, as was rhythm. He was a fast learner—he’d pick up the basics easily. And Mytho, of course, already knew how to dance—the story often mentioned his love of the art. It was an obvious choice. Many children in their town ended up attending the Academy.

In the back of his mind, Fakir realized that he was running as far away as possible from his fate, although he couldn’t stop his sixteenth birthday from coming and he couldn’t deny his skill as a swordsman or his desire to protect the Prince. But it was better than sitting and waiting for it to come to him. Besides, Mytho would be happy here (or so he told himself when he tried to rationalize the decision). It was best for everyone if the story came to a halt.

What he didn’t realize was that his decision was just the next step in assembling the characters for Drosselmeyer’s great tragedy.

Comments

haleysings
Apr. 13th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Contrast and comparison is always fun. ^_^ Mytho and Fakir seem sort of set up to be compared to each other, so...it's really fun to bounce them off each other, I think.

Thank you! <3