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 - 9090 words - Complete



About one hour into their flight, Ahiru's communicator went off, which she found unusual. "Now, how am I going to respond to something now?" she thought. However, when she fished it out, it was Billy on the other end. "Billy, I can't talk on this during the flight," she snapped.

"Hey, it's okay," he quickly answered,"It's a JLA frequency: it won't interfere with the cockpit."

"Couldn't stand to be without me for even an hour?" she joked. Rue overheard the talking, and said, "Who is that?"

"It's Billy," she said.

"Oh, for crying out loud!" she said, "That boy is infatuated with you!"

"I heard that!" Billy shouted, hoping that Rue heard it. She had to stifle alaugh. A stewardess came by, and the covered the phone, knowing that she would not be able to tell the difference between her device and an actual cell phone. Once she had gone by, Ahiru said, "So, why are you calling," and then she whispered, "and make it quick: the attendants are going to get suspicious."

"Sorry," he said, "I'll make it quick. One, I forgot to ask you what day would be good to visit, and two, I have an invite I received from the JLA for the Christmas party, and all of the six are invited."

"One, I'll get back to you, because I have to prepare daddy for you. Remember: he's a colonel in the Army, so he is going to be suspicious of any boy talking to'his little girl.' Two, what day is the party?"

"It's on the 23rd, at the main JLA headquarters. There is no organized gift giving, but you can bring them for whomever you want. Oh, and bring your instruments: there's going to be caroling. Mary is telling Fakir right now. We have to come as our alter egos, by the way. Now you'll get to meet the league."

"Good," said Ahiru, "I'll tell Rue, and I'll call you with when to come. Kiss, kiss."

"Love ya, Baby Duck," and with that, he hung up.

"What was that all about?" asked Rue.

"It seems that our alter egos have been invited to a Christmas party at JLA main headquarters," she answered, "There's no organized gift giving, but you can bring them if you want for whomever, and it's on the 23rd."

"It sounds good," said Rue, "However, Ihave to see if that is clear, and then we have to find some kind of cover for it."

"Well, we'll figure it out," answered Ahiru, "Oh, and bring your concertina, because there is going to be caroling. I guess they need music."

"It sounds like fun," she said, "I just hope that we can make it."

Being experienced overseas travelers, they made sure to go to sleep at about the time that they would normally, so that when they land, they would be rested, and be able to beat jet lag. They would actually be getting back a whole day, in a sense, so this would be awkward, but they were used to it. They closed the shade, and curled up. Before Ahiru did, however, she pulled out the plush toy duck, and curled up with it as she did. She tried to conceal this from Rue, but she could not. Rue smiled, and said teasingly,"Aren't you a little old for that?"

Ahiru blushed, but said, "It makes me think of Billy."

Rue had to ask, "So, what do you think is going to happen with that?"

"I don't know," she said, "He's the first real boyfriend I've ever had. It seems I'm the first real girlfriend he's ever had!"

"Well, you know," pondered Rue, "from what I understand, sometimes, the best relationships have come from something like this."

"What do you mean?" Ahiru asked.

Rue put her arm around her, pulled her to her side, and said, "Well, the two of you seem to have something special."

"I guess," said Ahiru.

"Trust me," Rue interjected, "you do have something special. You two have many things that you both love that bind you together, as well as your 'alter egos.' You two have been through some hard times already as heroes, and you have even survived his bad side, and even helped him overcome it. I know that you two are young, but you two are also good friends as well as what you are, and friendship in a relationship helps overcome a lot of bumps. Because you are friends like this, as well as boyfriend/girlfriend, this can grow into something sweet. You wouldn't need to date anyone else; because I think that, they would pale in comparison to what you have now. I guess the bottom line is that you have akeeper on your line: don't let him go!"

Ahiru was listening, but was growing drowsier by the minute. She let out abig yawn, and acknowledged all that Rue had said, and caused Rue to yawn herself, as she was becoming drowsy as well. She kept mumbling on about relationships, but more incoherently now, which would not have mattered anyway, because Ahiru had already fallen asleep on her breast. This was something that she had not noticed, because she soon drifted off herself. Later on, without even realizing it, they were asleep, hugging each other, with the duck wedged between them, both with contented smiles on their faces, each dreaming about their respective beaus.

Rue was the first to wake up when the announcement was made for people to return to their seats and prepare for the approach and landing sequence. It was then she first noticed the postures of the two of them. She smiled at the sight, realizing now just how much she loved her "kid sister." Rue stroked her hair and gently awoke her to tell her that they were almost there. Ahiru slowly stirred, and then suddenly realized where she was. She started to go into one of her rants, but not having enough energy to spring away. However, Rue put a finger on her lips and said, "Shh, its okay. I don't mind. But you do need to sit up and buckle in."

Ahiru, more alert now, decided to get cute by putting a forefinger in between her teeth, putting the 'innocent little girl' face and saying, "Okay, mommy."

Rue grinned, but furrowed her brow as Ahiru sat up, and lightly slugged her arm as she said, "Alright, knock it aleck!"

The plane landed, and both of the girls'parents had come to greet them. They recognized Rue as she came off the plane, but the Arimas almost did not even recognize their own daughter as she emerged behind Rue. Ahiru saw Col. Arima, and shouted, "Daddy!"as she ran up and leapt into his arms. "Whoa," he said, quite surprised, "Is this young woman my own daughter?"

"Of course, papa!" she said, reflecting the Italian heritage that she held.

"Oh, but my little bambino has grown," he said, looking affectionately into her eyes. Ahiru then hugged her mother in a big bear hug, and said, "I missed you."

"Our little duck is becoming quite the swan," said her mother. This shook Ahiru for a brief second and she thought, "If she only knew!"

Rue and her parents were going through asimilar thing-Japanese style-but not as huggy. She was so close to being an adult now that it was more of a mature greeting, in a sense. "Konichiua, Ahiru-san," said Mr. Kuroah.

"Ohio Konichiua, Kuroha-sempi," said Ahiru, and she bowed deeply.

"Ah, it is good to see that you have not forgotten good manners while away," he complimented, to which Ahiru said, "Domo Origato," and she bowed again. (Because she was raised in Japan, she knew the culture well, and spoke the language fluently, as well as spoke Italian, thanks to her father.) "Any jet lag?" asked Col. Arima.

"No, papa," she said, "but we are hungry!"

"Then that's something we shall fix, Baby Duck," said her mother. At that, she turned red. Her mother was confused at this, considering that this had been a pet name for Ahiru for years. "Why are you blushing," she asked.

Ahiru looked at the duck, now realizing that she had still been holding it for the first time. She answered, "Well, there's someone at school that calls me that."

"Oh really?" her mother said brightly, and in a teasing manner, "Anyone special?"

"Oh, mama," she said, embarrassed, "Can Itell you while we eat?"

Her mother laughed, and said, "Of course: let's eat!"

As they ate, Ahiru's mother wanted to know more about this "special" person, and about what she was holding. "So, who is this person?" she asked.

"I thought I mentioned him in my letters,"Ahiru answered.

"Well, you haven't said much," Said Col. Arima, "and that's what worries me."

"Nothing is going on," said Rue, "Don't worry, Arima-sempi, I've been keeping an eye on her."

"Like a mother hen!" Ahiru retorted.

"And she has been doing exactly what we've asked of her," said Col. Arima.

"Daddy!" Ahiru protested.

"It's okay, honey," said Mrs. Arima, "I thought it was a parent's job to worry!"

"I guess," Ahiru sulked.

"I see the duck there," said Mr. Kuroha,"Where did you get that."

"That boy," she answered, "Billy Batson."

"Well, that was sweet of him," said her mother,"What was the occasion?"

"He thought he'd been acting the wrong way around me, and gave me this to say that he was sorry," Ahiru answered, "amongst other things."

"What other things," her father asked, almost accusatively.

"I don't think that would be an issue,"said Mr. Kuroha, "considering that he sounds like he has much in the way of honor: treats her kindly, apologizes for doing wrong, gets her gifts without asking anything in return."

Col. Arima had to admit to himself that he did not seem like a bad boy, but he was concerned about his daughter being only 13 years old, (although her birthday came the next month.) "Well," he said, "just remember that he is still a boy, and you have to be careful. Be sure that he isn't trying to use you for his own ends, and that he doesn't take from you for his own purposes, in that he doesn't try to lord over you, generally, that he does not take advantage of you..."

"Daddy, he's rich," she interrupted.

"...and you have my permission to marry him," he finished. This brought a huge laugh from the table. However, Mr. Kuroha wanted to know more. "What do you mean by 'rich'?" he asked.

"Well, I just said he got me other things," she answered, "Well, not only did he practically get me a whole new wardrobe; he even broke me of my old dressing habits."

"Is that why you are wearing that beautiful dress," her mother asked.

"I have to admit," She said, "I never really wore dresses, (except for the school uniform,) because I never thought about it. However...well...I don't know: Iguess he thought I'd look good in them."

"And that's what made the difference,"asked Mrs. Arima.

"Well, that," she answered, "and Rue, Mai,Yuma, and Mary all...what did you guys call it...dolled me up right before our first dance."

"Dolled you up," asked her father, "What do you mean?"

"We set up a makeshift spa in her room,"said Rue, "We got her some bath salts, worked on her hair, other 'girl"things.'"

"I recognize the other names," said Mrs. Arima, "but who is Mary?"

"Ah, I forgot," said Rue, "She's been hanging around us so long; I forgot she was a stranger to you. Mary Batson is Billy's brother. It was her idea. She's been giving, well, lessons, I guess you could call it, to Billy on being a gentleman, and to Mai about being more ladylike."

"She sounds like a nice girl," said Mrs. Arima.

"Yeah," said Ahiru, "and she only found her brother this year."

"Only this year?" she asked, "What is that all about?"

"Okay," said Ahiru, "I didn't want to go into a long explanation, but here it goes."

With that, she told the whole story up to that point from beginning to end, (with obvious omissions,) and now the table was silent. "Sounds like you have had quite a semester," said her father.

"Not only that," she added, "but the six of us have formed a team of performers: the Pas De Six."

"I hope it hasn't been interfering with your studies," her father exhorted.

"Not at all," said Rue, "In fact, Mr. Katt has been helping us greatly."

"Who's that?" they asked.

"He's the main instructor at Kinkan," said Rue.

"I don't get it," asked Col. Arima, "Would not he be concerned about making sure that you have time for your studies?"

"Well, I think there is something you do not understand about art schools, Arima-sempi," Rue said, "In an art school, one does what one can to enhance their art. If one can get to the point where they make the advanced placement class, they do not have to spend as much time in the dance room as the others, although the lessons intensify to match. This leaves more time for pursuing other kinds of art if one wishes, because, the more one can do, the better chance one has in the business. When something like what we have forms, this enhances the chance to hone our skills, and quicker, because we are able to spend more time on it in our spare time, which will help us advance faster. The school has no problem with us wanting to advance as long as it does not interfere with the rest of school. Since Mr. Katt has been helping us, he has been making sure that this balance takes place. Moreover, they also encourage this, because, they have no problem if a student has the ability to make it into the business while still in school. If that were to happen, then advance classes, or advanced placement is not far away. Besides, if one can get ones foot in the door before graduation, then so much the better. Mr. Katt likes what he sees, and thinks we have a chance."

Ahiru added, "And Billy has much to do with this."

"How so?" asked her father.

"He taught us to sing, play at least one instrument, he's done a lot," said Ahiru.

"Like what?" asked her mother.

"Well, he taught all that," she answered,"and he taught me to have more confidence in myself, to believe in myself, that I can be beautiful, helped cut down on my duck-like rants, taught me Tai Chi..."

"He taught you that?" said Mr. Kuroha.

"He felt that a girl needs to know how to defend herself against creeps," she answered.

"Ah, now I know the boy has honor," said Mr. Kuroha, "because he has had every opportunity to take advantage of you, did not take it, and even taught you something that, if he had bad intentions, he never would have shown you! Col. Arima, you have nothing about which to worry. If they were both Japanese, I would have betrothed them by now!"

This set him at ease, because he knew that Rue's father had a good head on his shoulder, and he had a keen eye for people. "Well, since all this has been going on," said Col. Arima, "There is something I was going to tell you, but now I have to rethink it."

"What's that?" asked Ahiru.

"Well, we were thinking," said Mrs. Arima,"that you have been so far away from us that we have found and considered an art school here in Tokyo."

"What!" exclaimed Ahiru.

"Hold on," her father said calmingly,"that is not yet final. Besides, after what you have told me, I don't know now if that would be the right thing."

"You see, honey," continued her mother,"we miss you so, and we would rather our daughter be close to us, close to home. However, it seems that we just might be stepping on your dreams, and shattering them. This makes a decision like this difficult. Thus, it is not final. We have to talk it over."

That put Ahiru at ease, to some extent, but that did not stop her from worrying. She did say, "Please reconsider, mama, papa, there is more than just Billy at stake here. If you could only meet him."

Rue then nudged her, and said, "Ah, Ithink you need to mention know..."

Ahiru brightened, and said, "Yeah, that's right! Billy may actually make it here for a visit!"

"Wait a minute!" said her father, "How is he going to do that?"

Rue jumped in with a saving comment, and said, "Remember: he has money. He can get here."

"What about his uncle: would not he have asay?" said Mrs. Arima.

"Believe me, his uncle would have no problem,"assured Rue.

"Which reminds me," added Ahiru, "what would be the best day for a visit?"

Col. Arima pulled out his day timer, and said, "It looks like the 22nd looks good."

"Great," she said, "Because me and Rue, in relation to that, have plans on that day."

"All three of you?" asked Mrs. Arima.

"It's a little get together for the team,"Rue said, "at least, the ones that can be there."

"Well, I guess it's alright," said Mrs. Arima, "considering he's coming all this way. Boy, he must really like you, honey."

"You don't know that half of it," Ahiru said knowingly.

Another thing that was motivating this was the fact that, if they did decide not to send her back, then this would be agreat farewell gift, although quite bittersweet. It would be hard on her, but she would find other boys. She was young, after all, and she had time. However, Mrs. Arima also knew that boys like Billy were hard to find, and could she ever find another like him?

Later that evening, Ahiru waited until the right time to call Billy and tell him all that had happened. She also mentioned what her parents had been considering. He said, "No problem: I can fix that. In fact, I even had put on DVD our performances and shows. We can watch our variety show acts, and give them the two ballets as a gift to watch later. Not only will they know that all is well, you can use them as bargaining tools: they can look at you anytime they want because they have all your shows."

"I hope so," said Ahiru, "I don't want to lose you...I mean this...I mean...well, you know what I mean...I think you do...I hope you do...I mean..."

Billy curled up his thumb and forefinger together while forming a horn with the rest of his fingers, and put that to his mouth, while cupping his other hand over that, making duck calls. "...well, I'm the only mind reader here...well, that is when I can contact...ugh! I hate when you do that," she said, catching the clue he was giving.

"I'm gonna break you of that," he said,"just give me time!"

She sighed, and said, "Just know that this, and the Christmas party, is in the bag."

"I'll try to time everything so that it will all time out. The party is set to start a Greenwich Mean Time, considering where the party will be held. This means that we may have to cut out early."

"How early?" she asked.

"I'd say about 10 hours early," he answered.

"What!" she exclaimed.

"Don't worry," he said, "We'll leave that afternoon. I'll just come and get you at your window, as you know who. Just catch a nap on the transport, because it will take a few to get there, and you'll be okay."

"That reminds me," she said, "you haven't told me where it is yet."

"I told you," said Billy, "It's a surprise!"

"Call me before you come," she said,"Bye-bye, and quack, quack."

They both laughed, and went their ways. The next morning, she got up at 6:30, and put on what Billy told her was how he pictured Princess Tutu if she were wearing training clothes. She brought out the CD that Billy gave her for practicing, and she commenced to do that day's Tai Chi training. After about a half hour of that, she switched to practicing at least the basics, as Mr. Katt had taught, to make sure that she did not become rusty while away. She placed all her efforts on her dance, and did all she could to channel the White Swan in her dance. What she did not realize was that her mother had been watching her the whole time. She had already been up, fixing breakfast for her husband, and heard this going on in the living room, so she went to investigate. She was mesmerized by the dance that she saw. The last time she saw her dance was when she was warming up like this before she left, and she was still a bit awkward and clumsy. She knew her daughter had tried hard to improve over the summer, but she was not sure that she had succeeded. In fact, she had not seemed like she had advanced at all. This was one factor in why the pulling out of the school had come up at all: her parents were not even sure if she would ever have what it took to become the prima she always wanted to be. They were even considering telling her that she may want to try something else in the arts, or pursue another career. They were going to sit her down, and try to explain lovingly the realities of things as best they could. However, seeing this, all that went right out the window. She was wearing toe shoes, had a joyous look on her face, and yet a concentrated one at that, holding perfect form in her stretching, drills, and basic maneuvers. Her poise and flexibility were quite good, and had increased greatly since the last time they were together. It even made her look more mature than her years. Even what she was wearing put her mother in awe. She never wore the pinks and whites like this before, much less the silk skirt. It made her look more like a woman than ever before. On the one hand, she felt that she was missing watching her daughter grow up, (which was another motivating factor in why they considered the move,) on the other, it almost seemed that she was not missing anything at all. Her daughter finished her last repetition, bringing her right leg down perfectly straight, coming to her points, and coming down in the fifth position. She curtsied, as if she was performing, and came up, taking a deep breath, and then letting it out contently, as she grinned. She had been so engrossed in her dancing, (as she always had,) that she had no idea that she indeed had an audience of sorts. When she finished, she had the sense that someone had been watching her, and looked over to see her mother, leaning against the doorjamb, with her right arm stretched out straight above her head against the jamb, her head leaning on her arm, her left arm across her chest, touching the jamb. She was smiling contentedly, wiping away a tear or two. "Mom," she said, "why are you crying?"

"Honey, you are so beautiful!" she answered.

Ahiru smiled, trying not to break out in tears herself, and ran up to her mother, catching her in a big bear hug. "Ready for breakfast," her mother asked.

"I'm starving," she giggled.

"It almost seemed like you were not yourself," said her mother.

"What do you mean?" Ahiru asked.

"While you did your things," she said, "it almost seemed like you were listening to someone speak, and actually help you from one move to another. Who were you channeling?"

"Um..." said Ahiru, not knowing what to answer, "Well, there is this one woman I think about when I dance."

"Oh?" mother asked, "Who is that?"

Now she was stuck. She had to say something, but what? She then thought about how Billy dealt with Captain Marvel. He always acted as if Marvel was a separate entity, so she figured she would give that a try. She said, "Well...there super heroine-yeah-that lives in Kinkantown, and she's also a prima ballerina. She's real good!"

"What's her name?" her mother asked, going about her business, not even looking up.

"Well, they call her the White Swan, but Ibelieve her actual name is Princess Tutu," she answered.

"That sounds fitting for a ballerina," her mother answered, "What is she like?"

This was getting bad. She was getting the third degree about her alter ego, and she was not very good at thinking on her feet when she was not her. Ahiru kept trying to roll with the punches. She said, "Let's see...she's graceful, kind, strong and swift, agile, very, very wise, she can control plants, she can make mind links in order to counsel, she's a great counselor,(she'd rather fight than counsel,) but she can fight if she is pushed."

"Do you know her?" her mother asked, as if this question was not out of the ordinary.

"Um...she's given me counsel before," said Ahiru, not knowing what else to say, and then said, "and she really inspired-well, still inspires-me."

"Well, it looks like she left a bit of her in you," her mother said. Ahiru almost choked on her juice, and said, "You could say that."

"Oh, by the way, Rue and Mrs. Kuroha are coming over soon," said her mother, "We're hitting the market for a bit of Christmas shopping, and to hear the Korean Children's Choir sing. Maybe you can get your Billy something while we're there."

"Sounds good to me," said Ahiru, as she finished her last bites of breakfast. Her mother then said, "So, I'd hit the shower as soon as you can, so we can be ready to go."

"Okay: I'm on it," she said, and excused herself. "Whew," she thought, "That was close!"

Another thing she was chewing on was their trying to decide on her fate. It seemed that they were not going to pull her out, but the fact that they were still considering it at all hung over her head like the sword of Damocles. Moreover, what was she going to get her Rubber Duckie? What do you get for the boy who has everything?

The festivities in the market certainly helped to get Ahiru's mind off things. It was amazing how Japan got into Christmas, considering that they had no clue about Christmas until the west introduced it to them. They adopted it for their own, and the Japanese typically know December 25 as Santa Day. The concept of a day where charity and giving gifts for no other reason than that one cares for another, as well as a day when being with friends and family sat as the special focus of things sat well with the Japanese, and they adopted it for their own. Not only do they do this, but also in typical Japanese fashion, they throw their whole heart and effort into the holiday. The music, the smells, and festive mood were enough to bring a smile to any Scrooge who dared to step into that realm. The three of them went about their shopping, girl talk, and giggling like little school girls. Ahiru almost felt like Mai and Yuma were there with her. Suddenly, Ahiru remembered that there was a day that Billy saw the three of them walking together as he walked with Fakir and Mytho, and he suddenly started singing in a chipmunk falsetto, "Three little maids from school are we; filled to the brim with girlish glee..." from The Mikado. It did not help that the other two started to join him. Then Mytho looked at them and said, "Hello Suki, Yaki, and Yum-Yum."

"All right," said Ahiru, "cut the comedy,"but they all had to giggle. Then Yuma, not to be out done, said, "Yes, gentlemen, that song and operetta is from England, you know, I know it, and all three of you are off key!"

Fakir then joked, "I would cinch that nose down some before you drown the next time it rains."

She hit him with her book bag, but he just laughed it off, which caused Yuma then to laugh, and they all went their ways. Ahiru was now inspired, and started to sing, "Four little maids from school are we..." to which Rue joined in, and sang, "...filled to the brim with girlish glee..." to which the two mothers began to join in, and then they all got a great big belly laugh. Ahiru then came to a record store, and saw some CD's of Virgil Fox, and two CD's that had Bach's "greatest hits." She knew about his love for these things, she got those, as well as a full set of the Brandenburg Concertos as done by the Academy at St. Martin's in the Fields. Rue also suggested that they look at some nice sports jackets and ties, considering that she never really saw Billy wearing much in the way of formal or semi-formal wear. Ahiru was a bit worried about the price, but Rue said she would help with that. Then she saw something she just had to get for him. She found an Ernie who was wearing a bathrobe, with a towel over his shoulder, a back brush in the left hand, and a rubber duck in the right hand. On the hand with the duck, she saw a patch that said, "Press here."

She did, and it began to sing the Rubber Ducky song. That sold it: she just had to get this. When her mother asked why, she explained, and both mothers laughed, and said that it would be the sweetest thing, considering that they recalled their own youth, and how that they would have done the same thing. They asked why she called him Rubber Duckie, and she explained. She also said that there should be no shame in being associated with a duck. Mrs. Kuroha asked, "And why would that be?"

"He told me that the duck is really anoble bird," she answered, "Have you ever seen a flock of ducks fly in formation? They are so smart about how they do it, and they are very organized about it. Also, they stick up for each other when one is in trouble."

"Is that all?" said her mother.

"Well, there is something that he said his father had once told him," she answered, "and that is we all need to learn an example from the duck. Watch how a duck swims: we need to stay cool, calm, and collected on top, while paddling like the Devil underneath!"

They all laughed at this, and then went to go see the choir.

However, when they arrived at the stage, there was a big commotion going on. When they asked what the matter was, it was explained that the entire choir had been kidnapped. A ransom note was left behind, and all the indications were that a group that was essentially the Japanese Mafia-the Yakuzai-had done the job, and demanded money: 30,000,000 yen. There would be more instructions to follow. Rue asked how long ago this had happened, and she was told about 10 minutes prior. This meant that, somehow, they slipped in unnoticed, hustled all the children off, and vanished before anyone realized what had happened. The question of the day was this: how did they get in and out in broad daylight, and not be noticed? Rue pulled Ahiru aside and said, "This is our territory: its time to act!"

"How do we slip out?" asked Ahiru.

"Just leave that to me," she answered. She then told their mothers,"There was something else that she and I wanted to check out. We'll see you back at Ahiru's place."

"Really, I think we need to go," said Mrs. Arima, "I'm not sure it would be safe for the two of you to be alone."

"It's okay," she answered, "It will be somewhere on the post. We'll be okay."

"Well, it's against our better judgment, but don't stay out too long," said Mrs. Arima, knowing that Rue was a big girl, and she could take care of herself. However, the girls slipped off to an alley, and transformed. The first thing they needed to do was to get some clues. They snuck their way back to the tent where the children were supposed to be getting ready, and where they were to wait until they were to sing. The police were shocked to see two ballerinas show up in the area, and immediately tried to usher them out of the investigation zone. "It's okay," Claire told them, "we're on Justice League duty."

"Justice League?" asked the detective,"You mean the Justice League of America? What are you doing here?"

"We're on holiday, darling," she said,"and we heard there was a problem. We wanted to see if we could help. What have you discovered?"

The detective scratched his head, and said, "However they did it, they were very clever about it."

Tutu asked, "What do you recall seeing come in and out within the last fifteen minutes?"

He thought for a moment or two, and then said, "The only thing we recalled seeing was some catering vans that were supposed to be here."

Before she could respond, a few catering vans showed up, and Claire said, "Vans like those?"

Vans pulled up that looked exactly like those that had been there earlier. "I think you have your answer," said Tutu. The detective then said, "But how did they manage to get the children out so quickly, and without one of them making a sound?"

However, as he was asking this, Claire was already talking to the choir director, and getting some answers. "What happened," asked Claire.

The director was still teary-eyed, and finding it hard to speak. "I can't believe this happened," she said, "All the men said was that they needed the tent cleared so they could set up, so I ushered the children out, and that is the last I saw them."

"It had to be then," said Claire, "They must have had many people to grab and gag enough of the children before they could scream. This is the only explanation, and this also means that we are dealing with something big."

Meanwhile, Tutu was asking if they had heard from the kidnappers, and they said that, since there was no other way of knowing where they had gone, they would have to wait. Claire and Tutu shared their information with each other. While this happened, word did get through to them about the demands. The kidnappers stated that they wanted 30,000,000 yen in the next two hours. If this did not happen, then every hour on the hour after that, a child would be killed until the demand was met, or all the children were all dead-it was their choice. They also warned not to trifle with them, because if they cared about these children, they would be swift to respond. Tutu started running some numbers in her head, and asked Claire, "Where could they have gotten in the past 25 minutes?"

"They could have melted anywhere into the city," said Claire, "There is no way of knowing."

"We have to get in somehow," said Tutu. Claire was already in sync with her soul sister, and asked the detective how it was the kidnappers wanted the money delivered. "They said that they wanted two people to deliver the money, each one with a briefcase, and they need to be two people that either could not or would not fight back. There was to be no police anywhere nearby."

Tutu thought for a moment, and asked,"What kind of people are these: how do they think?"

The detective said, "They see themselves as the reincarnation of the samurai, and operate with that mindset."
"Thus, they are steeped in their traditions," Claire said.

Tutu thought again, and then said,"Geisha: we can send geisha."

"I don't follow," said the detective.

"You said that they follow tradition, right?" Tutu asked, "Then, if we send geisha, then they would accept that: who better than to do a job like that, and how unassuming can one be?"

"You are not suggesting that we risk the lives of any of the geisha, are you?" asked the detective.

"I think I follow White Swan's intent,"said Claire, "They have no idea who we are, or that two superheroes are on their tails. If we go disguised as two geisha, then we may be able to do something to track them: we can follow the vehicles, put on a tracking device on the vans, something."

"And if they try anything, like, say, take us prisoner as a bargaining chip..." said Tutu, but the detective interrupted, catching onto the point, "...they would not expect you two to be in the mix..."

"...and we would be able to act from within, as you close in from without," continued Tutu.

"Then, what are we waiting for?" asked the detective, and he was on the horn immediately to the closes geisha house, explaining the situation, and telling them the plan. After that, the swans were taken right away to the house.

While at the house, Claire suggested that they be dressed as two geisha novices, because what they were to do would be something more along the lines of what a novice would do. They also asked to be dressed in such afashion that would allow them free movement, but would not look like it initially, considering that geisha normally wore dresses that would only allow them to shuffle along. Since they knew no one would know who they really were, taking off their masks before them would be no problem. They still wore their tights on underneath, and they wore the same kind of house shoes, in white, that Billy wore when he danced underneath the sandals that were typical of geisha. This way, if the had to act; they could kick off the sandals, and then be able to act. Once done, the police called the contact number that they had been given, and explained how it was all to happen. The kidnappers said, (using a voice synthesizer to insure they were not detected in this fashion,) where to meet them, and demanded no funny stuff. The kidnappers were told what kind of a vehicle would meet them, how many would be in the vehicle, and who would be delivering the brief cases. The kidnappers were delighted that they had obeyed, and were amused at how creative the police had become by the use of geisha. All was set.

Within an hour, all was readied. They met in the park, prepared for whatever happened. The Swans also made sure they had what they needed, including their fans folded and tucked into their belts. They stood underneath a certain cherry tree as they were told, and waited. However, the kidnappers came from behind, put a hand on each mouth, and swept them away quickly. The police in the car saw this, and were about to act, but the Swans were gone before anything could be done. Yet, the Swans anticipated this move, and were ready for it. They both could have easily tossed aside their assailants, but they played along with it, knowing that it would actually help bring an end to things. They were pulled inside a large windowless van, the doors were closed, and they tore off. As they did, however, the kidnappers immediately opened the briefcases, and, sure enough, the money was there. However, they began to rifle though the cases, and then found what they were looking for. "We thought so," said one of them, "How could they be so foolish to think that we would not know they would try this."

They laughed, and crushed the devices. They then demanded, "Did you know about this?"

They both got onto their knees, and bowed before them denying knowledge of this. The driver said, "Be sure that this is it. Search them."

They then began to pat the Swans down, and sickly enough, took a moment or two to grope one spot or another "just to be sure." Tutu shuttered, and began to feel a bit of anger and anxiety as to what was going to happen next. Claire, on the other hand, had all she could do to keep from ripping their arms out of their sockets. However, they would have to patient: they would get their chance. Yet, one of them began to get that look in his eyes, and began to move in on Tutu. Claire was about to move on this, but the driver said, "No! Not yet, anyway: the shogun may want the first crack at them, and he would have our heads if we did anything before him."

At that, he smiled at her, and said, "Do not worry, dear little geisha, we shall be together in time," and he backed off. Tutu was not the one for rage, however, at this; she was on the edge of it. She never wanted to hurt someone more than she did at that moment. She did not like it when she got like this, because it was so out of character for her. Claire seemed to detect this in her face, and whispered to her in English, "It's okay to be mad," she said, "They have already as much as violated you: you do not have to take that! Just relax: you'll get your chance."

They were brought to the docks, and were driven into one of the large warehouses. They were forcibly taken from the van, and presented to the boss. As they were, they doffed their sandals, because they knew that they would be going into action soon. The room had about 25 men inside, and they all were eying the girls with an evil look. They were taken into the office, and then taken into the back office, where the boss sat. Claire actually recognized the face as the head of one of the top crime families in Japan, and knew that on this day, there was the great chance to put an end to them once and for all. The two men that "escorted"the girls were conversing with the boss as they presented the brief cases. "Were you followed?" he asked.

"No, sensei," one of them answered, "They tried to put tracking devices in the briefcases, but we knew to look for them, and destroy them. I cannot believe they would be so sloppy."

"Who are these two?" he asked.

"They were the ones to present the cases,"the other said, "We took them as an extra bargaining chip."

The boss smiled, and said, "Very good: now leave us. Everyone will have his chance. Don't damage them; the crew on the ship will love them as well. You know how lonely sailors get."

As the two men left, Tutu said, "On ship: What do you mean?"

Ignoring her, he continued, "And, as geisha, they will be able to take care of the brats until we can get them to Singapore. They will fetch us a lot of money on the slave market. So will they,"pointing to the girls. "So, you had no intent on letting them go," asked Claire.

"Of course not," he laughed, "We would have just sold them normally. However, if we can fetch more of a profit out of this, then so much the better!"

He then turned and smiled at the girls, and said, "And now, it is time to show me your skills, starting with the taller one," referring to Claire. Tutu watched Claire to see what move she would make, and she saw the look on her face. It was a look of complete rage and disgust. She hoped this would not turn ugly, but if it were in her, she might just do what it looked like what Claire was contemplating. Yet, at this point, Claire was not contemplating. At this point, she knew that the group she was dealing with was so reprobate that there was no need to await the courts to see justice done: she could do it, and be fully justified. She waited until he was close enough, and with one swift move, had his throat slit before he knew what had hit him. He gagged loudly, and looked at her in a state of complete shock. He staggered for the door instinctively, because rational thought hat completely left him. Tutu could not believe what she had just seen, but before she could say anything, Claire said,"There is no telling whether or not he would have let us live anyway. I've looked it up: this would have been called justifiable homicide. Our lives were threatened-case closed. Now, get ready, it's about to get hot."

He fell through the door, looked at his men, extended a hand, and fell to the floor dead. Both men quickly had their guns out, but they quickly found themselves riddled with feather darts. The men outside heard a commotion in the office, and turned to see what was going on. Quickly, the two guards flew through the picture window, and hit the ground, screaming in pain. Before they could react, a rain of feather darts followed, followed by that with two fan-wielding geisha, leaping a distance that would make any long jumper envious. They were too busy contending with the feathers when the Swans descended upon them. Claire was striking and slashing indiscriminately, not caring about the fate of whom she attacked. Tutu, on the other hand, was being quite effective, striking hard, but being careful not to strike a fatal blow. Despite the threat to her life, she still did not know if she had it in her to take another life. Not all the men were in there, however, because some of them returned to their posts. One of them had a radio, and he was giving command for the ship to take off immediately. The Swans heard this, and Claire told Tutu, "Deal with that, I have this!"

Claire then commenced to pirouette quite fast, creating a vortex that knocked all the remaining men to their backs, giving Tutu the cover she needed to get to the ship. Claire then went outside to see if there was anyone else to deal with. When she got outside, she saw that Tutu had managed to slip past before the remaining 12 or so men closed in. She stood now, with her back to the gate of the dock, and the men closing in, all of them pulling out one kind of firearm or another. She hoped that the reinforcements were coming, or this swan's goose was cooked. It was at that precise moment when she heard from behind, "Ohjima, (the Japanese word for "princess,") hit the ground."

The moment she did, automatic gunfire flew over her head. None of her attackers remained on their feet. Swiftly, the SWAT team made their way in, moving quickly to mop up any leftovers. "Ohjima, are you alright?"

"I'm fine, thank you," she said, "There are more in the warehouse, either unconscious, or worse."

"Good thing the tracking devices in your wigs were working. There is no telling what would have happened if they had found them," said the sergeant.

"It is a good thing that they found the decoys," said Claire.

"Where is your sister?" he asked.

"The children are on that boat, and she's going after them," said Claire, but the boat had already pulled away from the dock, further than the average person could jump. However, just as this thought was passing through their heads, they saw someone perform a grande jette off the dock, and easily clear the distance to the deck. It was Tutu. It was a fishing boat with a hold just big enough to hold the children, and she went to work on the six crewmembers that were on board. She took out three quickly, and saw the other three approaching just as quickly. First, she had to stop the boat. She then began to turn in a series of grande fouettes. The water began to bubble, and then seaweed and sea grass began to rise up, entangle the screw, and then begin to creep over the edge of the boat. When she stopped, the men were almost on top of her, but the boat was made fast by athick green coat of sea plants. Two of the men leveled rifles at her, but then the seaweed reached out and entangled them. She then wheeled around to see the remaining crewman go to the hold, lift the lid, and then pull out agrenade. "NOOOOOOO!!!!" she screamed, and took the position of refusal. However, as she did, a white aura began to glow around her. It silhouetted her body, and extended out, taking the form of a swan. Tutu then swung her arms forward, and the swan flew forward, blasting right through him, knocking him right off the deck. It did not kill him, but it sure hurt. She, in this stressful moment, had discovered a new attack. When she returned to her heels, she staggered and came to a kneeling position, feeling dizzy. If this was something that she could do, she knew that it was only in adesperate situation, because it knocked her for a loop! The man that fell off landed right in front of a port authority boat that came to aid her. They came on deck, and helped Tutu and the children back to shore.

In the aftermath, one of the most notorious crime families in Japanhad indeed been shut down. All of them were certain to get convicted, and face severe fates. The boss, however, had already faced his justice. After a bit of questioning, they allowed Claire to walk, indeed calling her act a justifiable homicide. There was no question about that. Meanwhile, Tutu was getting a bit of nourishment to help regain her strength. "What happened?" asked Claire.

"I discovered a new attack," she said, "I think I released too much energy, if that is what you could call what happened."

Tutu then went on to state just what had happened, and then said, "If I can control it, it may not be so bad, and it could be quite effective."

"How are you doing now," Claire asked.

"Much better," she answered, "It did not take much to recover. How are you doing?"

"What do you mean?" Claire asked.

"I mean, let's face it: you killed someone today," said Tutu.

"At the moment," she answered solemnly,"It was the only thing that I think could be done. I didn't think about it then, but believe me, when one does something like that, it hits you later, like it is right now."

"So it does bother you?" said Tutu.

"Taking a life is not something one takes lightly," Claire answered, "because life is precious. If you have no choice, however-when it becomes his life or yours-you cannot think about it. You cannot be remorseful. I just wanted to be sure that you and I were going to be able to go home today."

The two of them just sat silently, not knowing what to say next, and then Tutu said, "Let's go home."

As they walked back as their normal selves, Ahiru asked, "Do you think we'll make the news?"

"Oh, come on," said Rue, "What do you think."

"Sorry," she said, "I just wonder how our folks are going to think about this."

"How could they know who it was?" Rue asked.

"Well, I didn't tell them know,"Ahiru answered, "but I did mention Tutu in general-just in passing conversation...I mean I didn't say anything...well I did speak...well, you know what I mean..."

She stopped herself, took a deep breath, released it slowly, and said, "They don't know."

They walked on in the quiet a bit further, and then Rue felt she needed to ask, "I know this seems odd to ask at this time but, I've always wanted to know: why do you dance with people when you counsel them?"

"It puts them at ease," she answered, "I mean, when you dance, you are more expressive with your feelings, and you open your heart more to me. It then makes it easier to give someone what he or she need when his or her hearts are open to it. Does that make sense?"

"I guess so," Rue said, as she put her arm around Ahiru, "I guess I never thought about it. Yet, now, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense."

"What a story we have to tell the rest of the team, though," Ahiru said, "Can you imagine what we are going to tell them when they ask what we did over break? Oh, hi gang: we just celebrated Christmas, had a party, and busted a mob family - nothing interesting."

They both laughed hard, and made their ways home. Later on, in the AFN news report, images of the Swan Sisters bringing down the kidnappers were shown, along with a report on how everything had happened. "So, this was that Princess Tutu that you were telling me about earlier?" asked Mrs. Arima.

"That's the very one," she answered.

"She's very beautiful," her mother said,"Why would a nice girl like her want to get involved with that kind of alife? It seems very dangerous to me."

"Believe me, mother," she answered, "she can handle it."

"What was she doing here?" asked her mother.

"She's a super heroine," answered Ahiru, "She gets around."

She was so thankful for learning from Billy how to deflect questions that might accidentally cause her to reveal her identity. If her parents knew what she really had become, they would never let her out of their sight! One day, she would tell day.

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