Categories > Anime/Manga > Princess Tutu > Princess Tutu and the Secret Six


by paladin313 0 reviews


Category: Princess Tutu - Rating: PG - Genres: Crossover - Published: 2009-05-29 - Updated: 2009-05-30 - 8649 words - Complete



It was now two weeks before the fall festival, and the students involved with the show were now having class in the theatre, ironing out the blocking on the stage, working with the set for the first time, and getting used to doing the show in the auditorium. This was the time of frustration, when fine-tuning and tweaking of the performance was taking place, which also seemed to raise the tempers of everyone involved. One class actually took place on a Friday evening during tech night, when they had full clearance to be out of the dorm. That kept them up until about 2 A.M., and gave everyone the sense of seriousness that accompanied a project as they were doing. No one took anything that was said personally, because they all knew that they were under stress, and knew no one really meant the things that they said. Even Rue and Mytho were on each other, even Billy and Ahiru from time to time. Yet, they were always quick to make up with one another after rehearsals. One thing that helped Rue relieve some stress was through some of the volunteer work that she was doing for extra credit at a local dance studio, as she was helping instruct the young children that went to the studio. These students were ages 6-10, and a few of them were hoping to go to Kinkan when they were old enough. It brought her some joy to see the bright, hopeful faces of children who constantly reminded her of the reason why she danced at all: the sheer joy of it. The brightest student there was one Susan, who was about 10 years old, and working through some hard times. Her mother was a widow, and had to work to keep things together, so she quite often had to wait at the studio for her mother. Rue took it upon herself to wait with her, and do a little extra work with her one on one. In the recent days, a new shop had opened up not two doors down, and it was a store that sold dance clothes, shoes, and other paraphernalia, especially to the young dancers. On the day it opened, it was full of all the young dancers with their moms and dads, looking over all the different things, begging them for one thing or another. The proprietor, one Jim Martin, was more than eager to help everyone find the best selections. He was anxious to make a good first impression on everyone in the town, and even was able to approach the instructors of the studio about some good deals on recital costumes. He was friendly and outgoing, and seemed to have a way with the children that set them at ease, and helped calm an anxious child to aid the parents in helping with the child as they shopped. Since children were to be his biggest clientele, it seemed logical that he would be good with children, especially if he had been in this business for some time.

As the last purchases were being made, Rue was with Susan as she looked around at the clothes. Mr. Martin approached Rue as Sue looked around, and said, "Well, you seem rather young to be her mother."

Rue giggled, and said, "Oh no, I'm not her mother. However, I do somewhat watch her until her mother can come to pick her up from work. It's a hard row to hoe to be a single parent."

"Oh yes," assured Mr. Martin, "I feel for every parent that has to put up with that. I've seen plenty of them in my time."

"So, how long have you been at this?"asked Rue.

"Oh, I'd say about 13 years or so by this point," he said.

"That explains your good hand with the kids," said Rue.

"Well, I just love the dance, and those kids are so much fun at it," said Mr. Martin, "They are so pure: they put so much heart and enthusiasm in what they do, and they don't care how they look, or what people think about it. They just do it, and have a ball. I think we all have something to learn from that."

Rue agreed with this, and added, "Well, they help remind me of the reasons why I stared, and it is so much fun to watch them have so much joy over even the smallest of victories."

Susan ran up to Rue with a couple of outfits and said, "Can I get these?"

"Well, I think your mom needs to see those on you first, and then decide if you can have them at all," said Rue.

"Aw," Sue said, dejectedly, "I know mommy would say, 'Yes,' if you said something."

"I'm sorry, honey," said Rue, "You'll have to wait for your mother, and I don't think she'll have time to see them on you."

At this, Mr. Martin interjected, and said,"Well, there is a way."

Rue looked interested at this, and said,"Really? How so?"

He answered, "Well, I also do promotional photographs for studios like the one here, adult shows, and so forth. What I can do is have her try them on, and take some photos, and then show them to her mother when she has some time, and then she can make the choices."

"Well, I guess that's okay," said Rue, then turning her attention to Susan, saying, "Susie, why don't you try on the first one, and then we can get some pictures."

"Really!" she said with glee, "Yippee!"

As she got changed, they went in the back, and sure enough, there was a photo studio set up, complete with different backdrops, props, and whatnot, ready for anything that needed to be done. "Looks like you're quite the professional at this," said Rue.

"You have to have all the right equipment in order to do promotional work correctly," he answered. At this Rue looked around, and realized, the place also acted as a one-room apartment for him. "You live here?"

"Oh yes, I do," he answered, "It's only until I have enough to afford a proper place, though. You have to do what you have to do."

"If you've been at this for so long, why do you have to do this?" Rue asked.

"Well, I ran onto some hard times, and I'm just trying to pick up the pieces now," he said, a bit saddened. Rue was now a bit sorry she asked, and asked forgiveness for prying. He said it was no problem, and he said everything would be all right. He then began to show her around the studio, and then showed her the computer where he did all his photo shop. "And on this," he said, "I can take the best pictures and spruce them up for the promotion, or have them ready for people like Susan's mother, for example."

At this, Susan entered the room, wearing one of the outfits, and she said, "Okay, I'm ready!"

"Do you have your dance shoes?" he asked,"You have to have those on so mommy can get a better idea of how it will look."

"Oh, okay," she said, as she went into her bag and retrieved the slippers. Mr. Martin then directed her into the center of the photo area, and said, "Okay, let's just get you standing normal, facing me. Okay? Good! Now, from the side...good, now from behind...good. Now let's see you do a few dance steps, excellent."

Rue watched as he snapped several pictures, having her go through one dance step or another. Then he said, "Very good, Susie: now go ahead and put your regular clothes on, and come back."

"What about the other outfits?" she asked.

"Well, that's the neat trick," he said,"Just leave the other outfits here, and I'll show you what I am going to do."

As she went back, Rue now became curious about the whole thing, and said, "Yes, I'm interested in this."

"Ah..." he said, "The art of Photoshop: you shall soon see its power."

Susan soon came back as he was attaching the camera to the computer, and he said, "Okay, kiddo, come over here."

She ran up, and he turned the stool and said, "Take a seat right here," as he slapped his lap quickly a couple of times. Neither thought anything of it as Susan hopped up. He then turned the both of them towards the screen. "Now, here are the pictures that we took," he said as they took a close look, and Rue leaned in as well. "Now, these are the colors that you chose, and what we can do is change the colors on the photos to match what we have here. It saves so much time," he said, as he turned the last comment towards Rue. He then continued, "Now, what colors go well together, do you think?" he said to both of them. Rue interjected her opinions, and they played around with a few schemes, Mr. Martin encouraging her to use the mouse and make the changes herself, making her feel involved. Once they settled on about three different combinations, he said, "Now, when is the next time you think your mother will be in?"

"Tomorrow," said Susan, "She comes early on those days to get me."

"Right then," he declared, "I'll have some samples ready for tomorrow."

They exited the studio to the shop proper just as Susan's mother arrived. Rue and she exchanged a few greetings and pleasantries, and she thanked Rue once again for watching Sue. She then made some nice comments on the shop, and Susan was eager to tell about all that had happened. She then asked Rue if she was there for all of it, and she said yes. She then said that they would come back to see the photos. When they left, Rue commented, "Well, that was a lot of work."

"Hey," he said, "Anything to make asale! Besides, its good promo for the shop."

Rue then thanked him for the time, and then stated that she had to go. She said her good-byes, and went her way. At this, Mr. Martin reached down and made a slight adjustment to his garments, and then said, "I can't wait to see you again, Susan."

The next day, Susan and her mother came back, and saw the quite professional photos. They were so good, that Susan's mother was willing to buy two of the outfits that moment. However, the final week of rehearsals were taking place and Rue had to excuse herself that week in the children's class. Susan's mother had to find some way of watching her, and since Mr. Martin had earned her trust, she just told Susan to wait at the shop. Mr. Martin was more than happy to watch her, and said it would be no bother. At some point, in the middle of the week, Mr. Martin spent some time asking questions of Susan, having her tell him all her dreams and childhood fantasies. Susan then saw a couple of tutus that she liked, and she asked if she could at least try them on. Not only was Mr. Martin more than happy to let her do this, he said that he would also take some more pictures. It was not so much as she wanted to buy the tutus, but he told Susan that it would really help the store if he could put pictures of her, and her friends, in the windows, so people could see all the good things that he sold. She tried on both tutus, and Mr. Martin took plenty of photos. She was still in the second outfit, when he said to her, "Now we need to look at the best of them, and decide what to show people. We can even make a few look a bit better on my computer."

"How do you do that?" she asked.

"Well, let me show you!" he said, laughing. He then scooped her up underneath her thighs, and she screamed gleefully as he carried her over to the computer, making airplane sounds as he did. He sat on the stool as he connected the camera, and set her on his lap. Susan, not feeling she was sitting right, inadvertently straddled her legs around his.

"Now," said Mr. Martin, "Let's take alook, and let's have some fun!"

He showed her how to scroll through the pictures, and she leaned forward to work the mouse. As she did, he put is hands on her shoulders, giving them a little rub. What she did not see was how Mr. Martin tilted his head back, with a contented look on his face. "You like what you see?" he asked her, and she said, "I sure do!"

"So do I," he said, putting his hands upon her knees...

The show kept Rue from going to the school through the week of the festival, and it was quite the show. The Terrible Trio dove into their roles with relish, and Fakir was able to pass off the evil side of Dracula with ease. He was also able to portray the passionate and loving side of the character as well, as he and Mary put on quite ashow. In fact, throughout the rehearsals, the two of them were growing closer and closer, and this came out as they danced. By the time it was done, you almost felt sorry for Dracula, yet, you still ended up walking out of the theatre quite terrified and satisfied. It was quite a passionate, sensual, and yet quite scary show. In the time for the first quarter grades, everyone received high marks, and the six had higher marks than what they would have because of the extra credit. In fact, Mr. Katt included a note for them that mentioned how he quite enjoyed the improvised encore performance, and said that they may even seek to stay in contact after graduation, because they indeed had a great act that just might sell. Now that it was all over, Rue was anxious to return to the studio, and work with the children again. It would be a nice break from all the rehearsals. However, when she did, things were not quite the same.

The first day back, Susan was glad to see Rue, and wanted to have her around as much as possible. Despite this, Susan did not seem herself. She was very silent in many cases, which was not like this happy-go-lucky girl who was quite the extrovert. She danced okay enough, but there was no life in it now. She asked the teacher what the problem was, and she did not know. All she knew was that the last couple of days she had been very quiet and introverted. Whenever she asked Susan to say what was wrong, she kept answering that she really was not allowed to say. When she asked if it was home, Susan said, "No." Her mother was even curious to the change in behavior. She was not eating right, and she wanted to stay in her room. She did not play with her toys or dolls much, but spent most of her time sitting on her bed, leaning against the headboard, looking out the window as she clung to her teddy bear. When the class ended, Rue asked Susan if she wanted to go to the shop to look at some outfits. Susan's eyes went wide, her face went white, and she protested in the strongest of terms that a child could produce. She clearly wanted to stay there. Not just that, but when Rue made this suggestion, she clung quite tightly to her leg. For a moment, Rue was very confused as to why she was acting like this. Then with the sight of growing horror on her face, she was beginning to derive quite a horrific conclusion. Rue looked at Susan, and said to her, "Honey, I want you to go sit by your teacher, and do not move from that spot until I get back."

She was going to the shop and hope that she was wrong. As she went up to the shop, she saw another girl from the class taking a couple of outfits from Mr. Martin, and head towards the dressing room. Mr. Martin was walking towards the door with the intention of turning the sign from "open" to "closed" when Rue entered. "Janet!" she piped up, "Come here, would you? I think I see your mother coming."

She looked at Mr. Martin, then at Rue, and gave back the outfits. She then said,"I'm sorry, Mr. Martin, but maybe I can help you another day."

Mr. Martin smiled and said that he understood, and they left. However, before they did, Rue gave a backwards glance towards Mr. Martin, looking him up and down, and then she looked him in the eye blankly. They then left. Fortunately, both Janet and Susan's mothers came, and took the girls home. Before Susan's mother left, Rue said, "I think I know what is going on with Susan, but I have to find out more. Can we talk tomorrow?"

"Sure," she said, "Susan sure isn't acting like herself. I would love to know what is going on."

After they left, Rue looked around to make sure she was not seen, ducked into an alley, and transformed into Princess Claire. She watched and waited until Martin went into the back, and she transported into the shop. She did not have to worry about alarms, considering that he lived in the shop, and he did not want to set off his own alarms. She went up to the board that would contain the operation licenses, and took some photographs of the certificates and photos of Mr. Martin with the team communicator. She began to hear the floor creak, and she knew Mr. Martin was coming. She quickly transported out and into the back alley. Mr. Martin walked in not moments after she disappeared, and was perplexed as to where the black feather had come from. Meanwhile, out back, she found what she assumed to be his car, for it was the only one back there. She took some pictures of that, the license plate, and the VIN of the vehicle. She then transported back to the school, directly into her room. Poe and Mary were given quite a start, but she was quick to calm them down. "I didn't expect you to come back as Clare," said Mary "Is there a problem?"

"There well may be," she responded, "and if it is what I think it is, I truly think I am going to be physically ill."

"Someone be naughty," said Poe, "Claire fix...make right, yes?"

"Oh yes!" she answered, "And I hope that I can restrain myself for giving this dirt bag just what he deserves if I am right!"

She contacted Billy, and asked him to contact Batman if he could, because she needed some help with investigating something. "What's the problem?" asked Billy.

"It could be a pervert, but I need to be sure," she answered.

There were a few moments of silence. Then Billy said, quite anxiously, "I'm on it! If I can get him, I am going to transfer you to him right away."

About five minutes later, now having returned to being Rue, quickly answered. "Your highness?" asked a gruff, brooding voice. "This is the princess," she answered, "but go ahead and call me Claire, darling, that's okay."

"I understand you have pervert problems,"he stated.

"I may well," she said, "Can I transfer the data on this communicator to you right now?"

"Yes, you can," he said, "I'm in the Batcave now, and the phone is connected to the modem. You can do it now. What am I looking for?"

"I have some business licenses, his face, his car, plates, and VIN," she said, "I need to know if there is anything on this man."

"Go ahead and transmit now," he answered,"This is one of the few nights I have no patrols, and is a night when I get some lab work done. With what you have told me, this takes some priority, so I'll have the information for you as soon as I can."

"Thank you for letting me inconvenience you, darling," she said.

"It's no inconvenience, believe me!" he answered, "If it is what you suspect, I only wish I could be there to watch the bust!"

"Well, I have the communicator," she said,"and should be recorded. I hope you enjoy what I am going to do to this man if what I think is true."

The transmission came through clearly, and Batman, as Bruce Wayne at that moment, started running the face, name, legal information, and the car's information against all levels of law enforcement databases, from the local departments all the way up to Interpol, to see if there was anything on this man. Tim Drake, (Robin,) walked up and saw the computer running the files. "What's up, Bruce?" he asked.

"I got a call from Captain Marvel," Bruce answered, "who patched me through to a member of a super team that he is serving with on the side-one Princess Claire."

Bruce brought up her picture on one of the available screens on the Bat Computer. Tim scratched his head and said, "She doesn't look like much."

"Don't let that fool you," Bruce said,"I've seen some of the films that their JLA communicators have recorded, and she is no one to toy with."

"They're Justice Leaguers?" asked Tim.

"Let's say that we're watching them, to see if they have what it takes," Bruce answered. With that, for Tim's benefit, he punched up some of their adventures. His jaw dropped when he watched them in action. Bruce, to test Tim, asked him, "What fighting style is she using?"

"Certainly looks Japanese," he answered.

"Good eye," Bruce said, "What style?"

After about another minute, he said, "Looks like Aikido."

"Very good," said Bruce, "And more properly, Aikijutsu. Aikido is the sport form, while the other is the pure art. Her parents must have wanted to insure that she could take care of herself. What about the others?"

"It seems very Chinese," said Tim, "though I can't peg it."

Bruce glanced away, looked, and said,"It's Tai Chi. I know Billy learned it from a Chinese fellow while he was living on the street. He must have been teaching them the art."

Tim then seemed concerned with the redhead in white. "How about her: she doesn't seem to want to engage anyone?"

"That's Princess Tutu," said Bruce. Tim gave Bruce an odd look, "What a strange name!" he exclaimed.

"I'm not really sure why she goes by that," Bruce answered, "Maybe, if they ever get the chance to visit the hall, she can tell you."

"She seems so timid," Tim said, concerned about he reluctance to fight, "She's got to be more aggressive, or else she isn't gonna stand a chance."

"She has her ways," said Bruce. Just as he had said that, the one of the most recent encounters came up. Claire was being subdued by some blonde, black cloaked seductress when out of nowhere Tutu came out and defended her. Her actions were quick and precise, and the fight ended quickly. "Whoa!" Tim exclaimed, "She's good with those fans, though!"

"Like I said," Bruce responded, "she has her ways. She will go on the offensive if she has no other choice. Oddly enough, from what I can gather, and from what Princess Diana can observe, Ithink there are powers into which she has not yet tapped. Besides, you saw how quick and precise she was?"

"Sure did!" Tim responded.

"That was the Tai Chi," said Bruce,"Besides; it's good she can show restraint. She has leadership potential that she does not even realize she has. This means that she will keep herself from going overboard in any situation. Claire could learn something from this."

Finally, the results came up, and he started pouring over the information. The licenses were forged, but were so well done that, unless someone knew what he or she was looking for, one could have never told. There was no information on the name "Jim Martin," so that must have been an alias. The car tabs stated that the registration was current, but the plates themselves showed that the car had not been registered for some time, and the VIN also showed this. Thus, tracing him through this route would be hard. Because the tabs showed something current, it did show that this man did have something to hide, and was quite expert at hiding. Thus, at the very least, they knew that this man was on the run from something or someone. "Looks like a washout all around," said Tim.

"Maybe not," said Bruce, "The computer is now trying to match handwriting samples. Unless he is good at signing his aliases differently, this is something that usually is a deathblow to most criminals. Another thing he cannot run from is his face. Plastic surgery, if you're on the lam, is almost impossible to obtain, because doctors are on the lookout for that kind of thing. Unless one has connections with the mob, one does not want to risk black market surgery. If he is what I think, even the mob has enough scruples not to have anything to do with him, so I don't think surgery is in the picture. With today's tech, faces can be pegged to names."

As he was saying this, what he was looking for began to come up. His handwriting seemed to match four other names, and the face came up on four names as well. All the names were the same as the signatures. Bruce then took that information, and cross-referenced that with data on shops that dealt in girls clothing. They all matched. Bruce thumped the table and smirked. "He's not as clever as I thought," he said,"I'm a bit disappointed that I was able to find it so quick."

"What are you looking for specifically?"asked Tim.

"Watch and see," Bruce answered. With that, Bruce looked to see if there were any connections with molestation, and the two oldest cases showed convictions in connection with this man, and the second one shows that the second name was indeed an alias, and that this was his second arrest for child molestation. This marked him as a class III sex offender. He somehow managed to gain a parole, and he was monitored closely. However, he skipped on parole, and disappeared. The third and fourth cases were such that those two men, assumedly the same were both wanted for the same things, and with the same M-O, and both fled before he could be caught. It seemed now that he landed in this village, thinking it was small enough to hide in, yet it also seemed that he could not leave things alone. He seemed to be at it again. Without latent prints in this case, it would be impossible to say for sure. However, with this information, Claire could go to the police there, and advance the case. "It seems we have our man," said Bruce, "and he seems to be scum of the first degree. Moreover, he may have already struck, or else she never would have gone to these lengths to get help, which means we have to act with haste."

With that, he picked up the Bat phone, and called her with the information. He told her to store the data on her phone, which she could extract on any computer. Then she needed to go to the police with the information, and take it from there. Bruce then finished with, "But, whatever you do, don't panic and jump into things. This goes for the police as well, because you don't want the perp to panic as well and skip before you can act. If you need some suggestions as what to do next, call me, and I will help. I wish I could be there, though; I'd love to throttle this scumbag myself!"

"Don't worry, darling," she said, "I'll throw an extra lick in for you!"

Bruce thought, "Oh boy, this guy's going to be hurting if she catches up with him. It would be as bad as if Catwoman were to get a hold of him!"

The next day, Rue ate a quick lunch, and headed for the library. She then attached the phone to the computer, and copied the files to the machine. Once she had opened it, she was stunned at the information. Batman was kind enough to add to this a cover letter explaining what everything was for, and how to present it to the police. She then printed all the information up, kept the main information on the phone, and then deleted the file on the machine. She stashed it away, and then went back to class, anxious for dismissal. It seemed like days had passed instead of the few remaining hours of the day, but when the last bell sounded, she was out of that educational hall like a shot. She dashed out of the campus, turned the corner, hid behind the bend in the wall, and transformed. She then instantly transported herself to the police department, outside, as not to startle the precinct. When she entered, the police were quite welcoming to her, considering that the team now had a good reputation. However, they also knew that if she was coming like this unannounced, there must be some trouble that she was pursuing. Constable Brock came up and said, "Welcome, Princess: is there a problem?"

"It could be a huge one!" she said, "Here is the information on the case I've been working on."

She handed them the makeshift file, and he in turn gave it over to the resident detective. He then began to go over the record, paused, read some more, as a quite serious look on his face formed. "Brock," he said, "We may have a problem here!"

"I have the originals on this phone,"Claire added.

"May I see that, please?" said Brock.

"Certainly, darling," she responded, and handed over the phone with the USB connection. They uploaded the information, and then the detective asked, "What else do you know about this?"

"I'm afraid that one of the girls in the local ballet class may have been accosted," she responded, "although I do not know to what extent."

"Then we have to move cautiously," the detective stated, "because if this man is the same man in all cases, he has quite a rap sheet. Therefore, we do not want to spook him, and cause him to flee before he can be brought to justice. Moreover, depending on the extent of the attack, there may be enough here to put this fool away forever."

"What would you like for me to do?" asked Claire.

"First of all, we have to establish anything happened at all," said the detective, "and then, if so, we need to find out what happened specifically. If you can, you must break it to the girl's mother, and Brock and I will be there to help you. We don't want her to panic and flush out the quail before we can get our guns on target, so to speak. When will she be there?"

"Today is a day when she will be able to pick her up right after ballet class," she said, "We can do it then."

"Then let's do it," said Brock, "because we have not a moment to lose."

"I'll join you at that time," said Claire, and she took her leave.

She reverted to Rue, and went to the class. As expected, Susan was quite introverted and quiet, and no amount of encouragement could help her. When the class ended, Rue said her good-byes, and then changed into Claire. Like clockwork, Constable Brock and the detective arrived in an unmarked car, so as not to cause alarm. They also approached in such a fashion as not to be seen by Mr. Martin so as not to raise suspicion. Susan's mother was confused at the sight, and was more curious when Princess Claire came on the scene. "Hello, ma'am," said Brock as calmly as he could, "How are you today?"

"I'd be doing better if I knew what was going on?" she said, quite disturbed.

The detective spoke here, and said, "Well, I kind of hoped that this would be more of a pleasant conversation, but Princess Claire here has brought us a bit of disturbing news."

"I am a good friend of Rue's," she said,"and she works closely with your daughter."

Susan's mother said blankly, "What happened to my daughter!"

"I'm afraid that your daughter may have been accosted, and we need to go somewhere and talk," said the detective,"Somewhere like the local ice cream shop, because we don't want to rattle Susan any more than what she appears to be."

Now Susan's mother face sank into despair, and she said very sorrowfully, "All right, let's go."

At this, Susan came out, and saw all that was going on, and looked scared at the sight. She was about to panic when Claire came up and scooped her up and said, "Hi kiddo!"

Susan had heard about the Black Swan, but she never thought she'd ever see her. "Uh...hi," was all she could get out. Claire propped her up on her shoulders, and said, "How would you like some ice cream?"

For the first time in days, Susan brightened a bit, and said, "Yeah, sure!"

At the ice cream shop, Claire kept Susan occupied as her mother spoke to the two officers. "So by what you've told us, she is showing all the signs of someone who has been accosted, though we do not know to what extent," said the detective.

"I can't believe this has happened!" she said, "I've tried so hard to protect her! I'm single, and it's so hard! How could I have been so careless?"

"Ma'am," the detective said, "it's not your fault. You could not have known. If this man has been at it as long has he may have, he knows well how to gain trust of both children and their parents. You could never have really known. But now, we have a chance to put this guy away forever, and you can help."

"How do I do this?" she asked, now anxious to do anything to make up for what she felt was her fault.

"Does she take a bath still?"


"Then what you need to do is examine her personal areas, for the lack of a better term, and see if there is scabbing, scaring, evidence of some kind of rupture, and if so, call this number," as he handed her a card, "and we'll set up a doctor's appointment. However, between that, we are going to have our team psychologist come into the ballet class tomorrow, and give a short class about personal space and touching. The way she presents it is designed to provoke a response from a child that has been attacked. That way, we might get a confession out of her, and then we can proceed."

"Why hasn't she said anything to me?" she asked.

"Quite frankly," Brock stated, "That predator may have scared her into silence in one way or another: threatened her, you, her friends, made her feel as if she would get in trouble for telling what happened. The class is designed to have her realize that she did nothing wrong, and that she needs to say something. Can you be there tomorrow?"

"With bells on!" she stated, and all was now set.

The next day, Susan's mother was there, much to Susan's surprise. The instructor then spoke, "Today, we have a special guest! Children, this is Dr. Cranston, and she wants to teach us all about personal space today!"

All the children clapped, and she had awarm, jovial smile as she began. She asked all the children how they were, and they all, (except for Susan,)thundered back that they were fine enthusiastically. "Wow!" she exclaimed, "What a great group Ihave here today!"

After the warm greeting, she began,"Today, I want to talk to all of you about something called personal space. Personal space is an area around you that you imagine that is always a little bit bigger than the furthest away someone standing near could reach out and touch you. You may ask, 'Why is that important?' Well, one thing I want to tell you is that each and every one of you is special. No one here is exactly the same, and each one of you has things about you that make you who you are, that no one else but you could be. That is important to know, because all this is special enough to where each one of you deserve to have people leave that alone. No one has the right to be in that area unless you allow it. This also means that no one is allowed to touch you if you do not want him or her to. This is where I would like to talk to you about good touches and bad touches. Now, what would some of you call a good touch?"

"When daddy pats me on the head for being a good boy!" one piped up.

"When my kitty rubs on my leg," said another.

"When mommy and daddy hug me," said athird.

"When we're playing tag," said a fourth.

"Very good," said Dr. Cranston, "Those are all good examples. Now, can someone tell us what may be a bad touch?"

A moment or two passed before anyone answered, "If somebody hits me," said one.

"Well, I guess you could say that," she said, "Any others?"

"A pinch," said another.

"If I prick my finger," said a third.

"Very good," she said, "But there is something else that I want to deal with. There is a kind of touch that, though it may not have seemed bad at first, can make you feel awkward and icky. In short, a bad touch is one that you know is not being done out of love. Those other touches are okay, because you know that they were not being done to be mean. But these other touches I am talking about are something that make you feel like you want to take a bath right away, that it gave you a feeling like something just was not right. Well, guess what, it is not. I then want to say, if anyone-and that means anyone-touches you in a way you did not want, and it just makes you feel wrong and icky, that person is wrong. They went into your personal space and did something for which you did not ask."

Rue began to look over at Susan. From what her mother told her, there were some injuries that it seemed Susan tried to hide as best she could. That frightened Rue as to just what caused those wounds. Susan's mom was trying her best to keep it together, but Susan was as pale as a sheet. She had her knees drawn up, head on her knees, hugging her legs. Here eyes were as wide as dinner plates, and her mouth sat half agape. "One student asked, "So, what should we do if this happens?"

"You tell a grown up that you know well right away: your mommy, your daddy, your teacher, the principal, someone you know that is not a stranger, that you have known for quite some time, and someone who can do something about it. Now, I will tell you, if someone does this, they may tell you not to say anything, or that it is your 'little secret,' or that people will laugh at you, or that he or she would hurt your mommy or daddy, or get you in trouble as if you did something wrong. Well, let me tell you; do not listen to them in the slightest! Tell, tell, and TELL! You did nothing wrong, and nothing is going to happen to you. You will not get in trouble, and you can make sure that no one else will ever have a bad touch from that person again. Another thing you have to do is to make sure that it was indeed a bad touch, because sometimes, it can be an accident. In that case, even if it is a grown-up you can tell them, without getting into any trouble, 'please don't touch me like that: I don't like that.' If they say that they are sorry, and does not do it again, then that is all right, because it was only an accident. However, if they do not stop, then you just run away from that person as fast as you can, and tell on him. If they won't let go, bite, kick, claw, pull hair..."

"But that's a grown-up: we can't hit grown-ups," reasoned one of the children.

"If they are doing what I have said, and do not stop, then hitting back is allowed. You all have permission from your mommies and daddies, from your teachers, and even from the policeman. No one is allowed to touch you if you do not want him or her to. I know this is sounding a bit scary right now, but when someone touches like this on you, he is not being nice, and may make even worse touches. Therefore, the word for today on what we have been talking about is 'run and tell' when you know it was not an accident. Can everyone do that for me?"

They, except for Susan, all nodded. She then said, "So what do we do-real loud now!"

Except for Susan, they shouted, "RUN AND TELL!"

"Wow," she said, "That was great! What great listeners you are! Now, since I came all this way, I can't go until I see some great dancing. Can you all show me how you dance, and show me how?"

They all screamed their approval, and she said, "Okay, then you will all have a short break, and begin, and then I'll come out a bit later and watch, Okay?"

At this, all the kids broke up into whatever groups they wanted, and started to chat. Susan, on the other hand, was still sitting in her spot, now trembling, and now with a look on her face of fear, rage, and the sensation that she had been violated all coming to her at once. Dr. Cranston walked over to Susan with Rue and Susan's mother, and they all knelt down to talk to her face to face. They all hugged her, and said, "Its okay honey. You did nothing wrong. You're not in trouble, nor will you ever be for what has happened. Is there something you want to tell us?"

Her answer was the beginnings of a crying ball of child. They quietly picked her up, took her to the back where Constable Brock and the detective were waiting, so as not to upset the children, and closed the door. The teacher took the hint and had the piano player start to play as she called the class to attention, to cover up anything they may hear. Constable Brock started the recorder just as they came in. At first, Susan let everything come out at once, so much so, that it did not come out in coherent words. However, they did not stop it, for they knew that she had to release all that pent up sadness and terror before she could be rational enough to talk. Finally, they were able to calm her down, and then the confessions began. Susan's mother had to discreetly step out of the room, and went outside to cry, so as not to upset the kids. Then Dr. Cranston pulled out two dolls that were very much caricatures of a male and female human, but they were nonetheless anatomically correct. She then said, "I know this is going to be hard for you to remember, because I know this hurts so much. But, honey, what I need you to do is take these two dolls, and tell me exactly what he did, step by step."

Rue stood in horror as the story unfolded. Susan was only halfway through when Rue then had to excuse herself to the bathroom, and became violently ill. Then, a sense of rage overcame her, and she could restrain herself no longer. Law or no law: this creep had to go down. For her, there was enough probable cause to act. She needn't have worried, because, at that moment, the detective was already on the horn to get a warrant for this man. Therefore, what she did next would have been absolutely justified.

At this point, Mr. Martin had half of his things already packed into the car in the back, and was looking to make agetaway. He began to grow suspicious when the young, Japanese girl came in and whisked away that girl, and then when he found the lone black feather in the room: none of his outfits had black feathers. Then, business to his shop began to dwindle, and then cease altogether, because word had already began to spread about what may have happened. This was a pattern he was well familiar with, and lack of experience in the past had allowed him to be arrested. Now, time and experience had taught him what to look for, and he was making his move. He was starting on some personal items when he saw a swirl of black feathers and mists appear in on the hood of his car. He was scared stiff, because he had never seen the likes of this before. When that faded, there stood Princess Claire, with a look on her face that said that she was in no mood within which to be trifled. "Going somewhere?" she hissed between her teeth.

He locked up like a deer in headlights. "Surrender now, unless you wish to resist," she said, but then quieted, narrowed her eyes, grinned an evil-looking grin, and said, "and I do hope you resist."

He panicked, threw the pile of clothes in his hands at her, and decided that he was going to leave right then and there. Even though most of his belongings were still in there, he had taken out enough of what would be incriminating evidence to make a clean getaway. Experience had also taught him this. He hopped in the driver's seat, and gunned up the motor. That caught the attention of those in back, who were wrapping things up, and consoling Susan as much as they could. Constable Brock was out the back door in a flash. The car started to pull away quickly, but Claire easily did a flip off the hood, and landed in a pose not too far from the car. Instantly, her hands filled with feathers, and she flung them. About five of them lodged in the sidewalls of two tires, immediately puncturing them to the point where they quickly went flat. Martin was caught, and he knew that he now had to fight his way out of this. Although this was not his strongest suit, he figured that he had some chance. After all, this was some grown up female dog to him, and not like his pretty, young princesses. He jumped out and charged her, but she quickly redirected his inertia into a wooden fence. Though she was enraged, she still knew that she had to act within the law. When he came to his feet, he produced a healthy sized buck knife. He then turned it in his hand, blade along his wrist, and turned the knife side away. This told Claire that he knew what he was doing with that knife. Constable Brock had his pistol out, and was ready to take this man out for producing a weapon, but Claire called him off, saying, "NO! He needs to be made an example out of: let me handle this."

With this, she produced to black Japanese fans. Tutu had taught her about these, and now had a chance to use them. The man had produced a knife, and escalated things to where restraint was no longer a matter. He did not think anything of them, and thought them normal fans. Yet, when he went to swing, the knife deflected off the metal fan, and then he now knew that these to be Japanese fighting fans. Now he was in trouble. She parried the attack, and spun the other fan around so quickly it looked like ablur. Martin's sweater and shirt were sliced open, but his skin was not broken. She did this to demonstrate just who was in control of things. Now he was fighting for his life, and started to panic, yet started to make clumsy attacks. On the next thrust, she pirouetted out of the way doing his sleeve the same way, except this time she nicked him. He then tried to stab backwards, but Claire caught the arm, and said,"Playtime's over!"

In a flash, she had the fans closed, grabbed his wrist with her right hand, and struck at his elbow with all her might with the other. The pops echoed off the walls of the alley, as well as the screams. The children heard this, and wanted to investigate the matter, but the teacher kept them all together, and told them to wait, because their parents would be coming soon. Just as fast as this, she brought her left knee up between his legs as hard as she could. With the doubled strength, you heard acrunching sound, and you saw blood trickle down his pants leg. It hurt so much that he could not even scream before he went unconscious.

After a statement, they were hauling this man off in a stretcher. As it turned out, this was the same man in all cases. However, whatever the outcome, they all knew his molesting days were done, because they told Claire that she had made him quite "eunuch." She left immediately after, but instead appeared in Mytho's room. This was quite a shock to the boys, who, fortunately, were wearing sleep pants and tee shirts at the time. Tears were streaming down her face, and Mytho did not need her to say anything, because he had already sensed the problem. She ran up to Mytho, embraced him, and sobbed, "Hold me!"

She cried and cried for Susan, knowing that, though they had caught the man, and no matter how much counseling Susan receives, though she would get over it, she would forever be scarred. Her innocence was robbed from her, and it would never return. Her life would never be the same, and there was nothing Claire could do about it. All the other two could do was watch. Billy wanted to say something about these kinds of situations, but then thought that it would be better another time. He did say, "Turn it into something else,"for this was all that could be done at that moment. He would talk to her later. For that moment, it was needful for this. She had learned that night that, though you may always bring justice, you cannot protect all people at once. This is the one thing that asuperhero needs to learn to cope with, and Billy knew that she would turn it into something else in time. Superheroes bear many scars.

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