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Fuer Dich, Akt 5 (Princess Tutu)

Fandom: Princess Tutu
Title: Fuer Dich, Akt the Fifth
Author/Artist: Lucky_Ladybug/insaneladybug
Theme(s): #32 - Cellphone/Computer
Characters: Autor, Pike, Fakir, important mentions of Ahiru
Rating: T/PG-13
Warnings: Grieving
Disclaimer/claimer (if needed): The characters are not mine and the story is!
Summary (if needed): Autor meets Pike one more time.

Cross-posted to: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6399986/5/

Notes: And with this chapter I wonder if I will have to dodge flying cookware, because … well, look at the prompt. So I drop another note that I set my Tutu fics in the modern day, not just because that’s how I like it but because there’s some things in canon that just don’t jibe with an old setting. Thanks to Moon Shadow Magic for inspiration for the first half!

Akt the Fifth
Prompt: #32 – Cellphone/Computer

Autor was certain the new day was going to turn out terrible when, as he walked out of the main school building following morning classes, he saw the pink-haired girl purposely coming towards him. He braced himself, clenching his teeth behind his closed lips.

“I would ask what you want,” he said, “but I don’t have the time, nor am I in the mood, for another of your lectures.”

She stopped in front of him, clutching one hand with her other.

“I’ve been under a lot of stress lately,” she said. Her eyes darted about for a moment in her uneasiness, then focused on him once more. “I didn’t mean to take it out on you. I mean, I guess I honestly have wondered if you really cared, but I wasn’t going to confront you about it. Then we ran into each other, and I couldn’t help thinking of it again, and you noticed and asked me what I wanted. I didn’t have any self-control to stop myself then.” She looked down, clearly wanting this talk to end.

Autor was not impressed. “It couldn’t have taken long for news to get back to the heads of the dormitories,” he said. “Do you actually feel badly for what you said, or are you just worried that you’ll get in trouble with your dorm mother?”

The pink-haired girl flinched. “I . . . I guess it’s kind of both,” she admitted, unable to meet his gaze. “Or maybe . . .” She frowned, her eyes again flitting from side to side as she tried to think how to phrase what she wanted to say. “Maybe the real truth is that I’ve been kind of jealous of you.”

Autor was stunned. “What on earth for?” he said in disbelief. This was something he had definitely not expected to hear.

She gripped her books. “Because Ahiru used to always be with me and Lilie,” she said at last, finally looking up at him. “We were inseparable; Lilie even called us the Three Musketeers. But then . . . then she started getting in close with the wonderful Fakir and you. She started drifting away from us. By the time you were killed a while back, she was hardly ever with us at all.” She looked down at her books. “And I really missed her. So when she died and you just acted like you were carrying on like normal, it made me upset. I was thinking this out after we met before and I realized I wanted to tell you. Maybe that’s why I’m here now.”

Autor pondered on that. “Maybe,” he said, not unkindly, “you should consider that the reason Ahiru began to gravitate away from you and your friend is mainly because of your friend’s behavior.”

She started, her eyes widening. “Ahiru always stuck it out before,” she said. “She said she knew Lilie has good points too.”

“Everyone has a breaking point,” Autor said. “If you must know, the way your friend acted about my death is what pushed Ahiru over the edge.”

She stared at him. “Ahiru told you that?” she exclaimed.

“She didn’t tell me,” Autor said. “Even with her heart absolutely shattered, she didn’t want to speak ill of this Lilie girl to anyone. But I saw her during that time. I could tell from her behavior how she began to change after that.”

The pink-haired girl frowned and looked down, clearly not having expected the conversation to take this turn. Autor sighed, pushing up his glasses.

“Maybe you’re unaware of how the other students try, by and large, to avoid the two of you,” he said. “It’s mainly because of your friend. People don’t like how unsociable I am because they consider me uncaring. But they also dislike people who act uncaring in other ways. Your friend may be very sociable, yet she comes across as a selfish sadist.”

Her head shot up, and she looked about to retort, but then her shoulders slumped and she sighed. “I guess she does,” she said. “I’ve been with her a long time, so I’ve learned how to deal with her. But people who don’t know her wouldn’t see her like that.”

“Ahiru saw something in me that most people do not,” Autor said. “And if I can help it, they won’t. It’s none of their business. However, your and your friend’s comments were still uncalled for.”

She looked down. “I know,” she said. “And I am sorry.”

Maybe she actually was. She seemed to have a conscience, unlike her friend. But Autor merely nodded. He did not want to deal with her any longer than necessary. From the way her gaze kept wandering, she felt the same about him.

“I won’t let it happen again,” she said now as she started to walk away.

“I hope not,” Autor responded.

He frowned as he thought on the revelation that she was jealous of him. Maybe he was expected to offer remorse for that, but he did not think he needed to apologize. It was not his fault that Ahiru had at last seen the light where Lilie was concerned. Well, perhaps he was inadvertently responsible, but as the pink-haired girl had pointed out, Ahiru had started to drift away before his death had even happened.

He turned, walking in the opposite direction.

He was in the library when Fakir found him later that day.

“What are you doing?” Fakir grunted, leaning on the edge of the wooden cubicle with his forearm.

“What does it look like I’m doing?” Autor sniffed in response. “I’m testing out the computer the school sent for.” He grabbed the mouse, minimizing the Internet browser. “It’s incredible, isn’t it?” he said, hoping to change the subject.

Even though some modern things had trickled into Kinkan while they had been in Drosselmeyer’s bubble, computers had not made it. And while the town was still old-fashioned, some places had determined that now that they were free it was time to move into the modern age. Kinkan Academy had been among the first to make the decision.

Autor had been intrigued and excited. Of course, so had most of the students, to a certain degree. Once the computer had arrived, Autor had begun spending a lot of time figuring out its intricacies and looking up information—whenever he had the chance to wiggle his way in from among the other ogling students.

Ahiru would have been fascinated by it. He could just imagine her exclamations of awe and her exploration of every key on the keyboard and each application on the computer. Her short attention span would have made a dizzying show for any bystander. It might have even been dizzying for the poor computer.

Perhaps that was why Fakir had not wanted to get her one of those pocket phones.

Fakir did not look impressed at the moment. If Ahiru’s reactions had occurred to him, he said nothing.

“Yeah sure,” he said instead. “But what were you looking at? You were in a hurry to get it out of my sight.”

“You know I can’t stand it when someone reads over my shoulder,” Autor retorted.

“You’re just using that as an excuse,” Fakir said. He came around to the front, crossing his arms as he frowned at the screen. On the task bar, the browser window’s bar read Kinkan Daily News.

“That isn’t today’s news, is it,” he said.

“No, it isn’t,” Autor conceded at last. “It’s the article they put out after Ahiru’s death.”

Fakir’s lip curled. The reporters had followed both him and Autor around after it had happened, wanting to get an insider’s scoop on the story. The same thing had occurred with him and Ahiru after Autor’s death.

“What do you want to look at that for?” he said. “I’d just as soon forget it.”

“And yet you can’t,” Autor said. “It would be impossible for either of us to do that.”

He sighed, leaning back and removing his glasses to rub at his eyes. “I actually didn’t intend to look at it,” he said tiredly. “When I sat down, I discovered that the previous student had been looking at the newspaper’s website and hadn’t closed it. Then I noticed the option to search back issues. Since this technology is new in Kinkan, I wondered how far back the online editions went.”

“And so you looked up the date of that article,” Fakir finished.

“Yes.” Autor replaced his glasses. “It’s all there, including the picture of Ahiru they printed. Although this online version features the picture in color.”

Fakir placed a hand on the back of the chair, leaning forward. “How does it look?” he asked.

“Good,” Autor said. “It’s captured quite exactly.”

“Let me see it,” Fakir said.

“If that’s what you want.” Autor clicked the browser’s bar, bringing the window up again. Behind him, he could feel Fakir stiffen as the photograph came into view.

In it, Ahiru was turning to smile cheerfully at the camera. Her long braid whipped out, in motion from the sudden whirl.

Fakir gripped the back of the chair, his knuckles going white. “She had no idea something was going to go wrong,” he said at last.

“Nor did we,” Autor said.

Fakir swore, straightening with a jerk. “We should have known,” he said. “We should have been able to get to her in time. Instead we just let ourselves be thrown across the room while she was falling to her death!”

Autor flinched. “I can’t speak for you, Fakir, but I didn’t let myself be helplessly flung into senselessness,” he said, an edge slipping into his tone. “And I’m not sure the fall is what killed her.”

Fakir frowned. “What, then?”

“I think both she and the sorcerer were caught in the crossfire of the magic,” Autor said. “If so, it wouldn’t have mattered if we had caught her. She would have likely been dead before striking the floor.”

“And yet we were thrown clear,” Fakir said. “Why? Where’s the logic in that?!”

Autor clenched his teeth. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t explain it.”

“You should be able to,” Fakir growled. “You have an answer for everything else.”

Autor fell silent, looking back to the picture on the computer screen. “I have an answer for everything,” he said finally, staring into Ahiru’s bright blue eyes, “except what matters most.”