The puppet could not stop admiring the Dolly.
She was beautiful, yes, but there was something about her that the puppet envied as she watched her Owner place the key in the hole set between the Dolly's shoulders. She heard the key turn, and the ratcheting of gears.
The puppet was fascinated by the sounds of springs being compressed and mechanisms being wound. How the dolly would move, following the Owner's commands, dancing as her gears and cogs drove her about.
One day the Owner caught the puppet watching the Dolly, and saw the longing in her eyes.
"Silly puppet. Do you want to dance with her?"
The puppet could not nod yes, because no one was moving her strings, but she could meet the Owner's eyes.
"Ahhh. But you see, my pretty Puppet, you are not so different."
The owner reached out to stroke her cheek, and lightly tapped the smooth flesh.
"Your face is painted, just like hers." They lifted the puppet's arm. "Your limbs move at my command, like hers."
They took up the Puppet's strings and lead them to where the Dolly was just finishing her dance, and placed the Puppet in her arms.
"You can already dance together. The only real difference is that my Dolly has her strings on the inside."
The Puppet stared into the Doll's eyes with wonder. She had never thought of it that way before.
"You are both so beautiful together - my pretty Dolly and my perfect Puppet," their Owner said proudly.
Owner gently maneuvered the Puppet's head in so they could press their lips together in a gentle kiss, and gave a sigh of happiness.
"Would you like to have your strings like hers, Puppet? Just for today?"
Puppet felt herself nodding, her eyes bright with excitement.
"Very well," their Owner said. "Dolly, would you enjoy playing with Puppet if I made them a doll like you for today?"
With a soft tick of clockworks and a quiet ratcheting of joints, the Dolly nodded back, her own eyes shining as if they had been freshly polished.
"Then I command you to play, my Dollies, and have fun."
The Puppet's eyes went wide as they felt the strings shift, moving inward and forming their own loops of steel and wire. Heard the tick of a clockwork heart begin to beat, the tension of a mainspring being wound.
The Dolly stepped back and curtseyed, and her new playmate found herself doing the same. Their fingers moved in mechanical harmony, settling into linked hands as one Doll put her hands on the other's hip, and the other brought their arm around her back.
Music seemed to start that only they could hear, and with blissful smiles, the Dolls began to dance together while their Owner happily enjoyed the show.