It was a beautiful memory. The warm silence at the bottom of the lake of despair was comforting to dance to. Her large blue eyes were what struck Fakir the most, as they had been the most somber he had seen them. In that moment, he vowed himself to protect those eyes, to ensure that they’d never know that emotion again.
One night, he had re-lived the moment in a dream. Fakir awoke and sat upright in bed. The moonlight had seeped through his cottage window and illuminated the room. Cautiously, he peeked at his side to find the usual pile of bright yellow feathers gently rising and falling. Ahiru was sound asleep.
It had been five months since the Prince Siegfried and Rue had vanished into their fairytale happily ever after. Fakir had taken the duck under his wing, so to speak, and they lived a quiet life in the countryside. His stories having garnered widespread popularity, they were never without a steady income.
Often, he would find himself filled with nostalgia for the days where he could hear Ahiru’s friendly voice. Although, part of him knew that she was always a duck on the inside, he couldn’t help but miss her human company.
In a moment of tenderness, he gently stroked the soft feathers on the top of her head, then drifted back into sleep.
“Quack quack quack!” Ahiru’s chirps woke Fakir up with a start. He yawned sleepily and rubbed his face with both hands.
“Okay, okay, I’m up.”
Ahiru fluttered off the bed, and flew out the open window, leaving Fakir alone to complete his morning routine. He sighed after she left, then blushed in embarrassment when he remembered the dream. It irked him to think that after all this time he still yearned to dance with her again.
Shaking off the realization, he got up to make breakfast.
Ahiru could barely keep her composure. She swam in vigorous circles in the pond outside her and Fakir’s home, quacking all the while.
She hadn’t intended on waking him up. However, when she heard him whisper her name ever so gently in his sleep, she couldn’t help but to react violently.
Wh-what should I do? He-he’s never spoken in his sleep before, and why did he say my name!? Ahhh!!! The frantic duck thought to herself. Ahiru’s heart was overcome with a mixture of shock, curiosity, and…joy. Pure unbridled joy at possibly hearing proof of his love for her.
The thought made her orange bill deepen in color, and she swam to the bottom of the pond to cool her frazzled nerves.
Unbeknownst to her, a curious pair of eyes were fixated on the scene in front of them. "Ahiru-zura" the stranger whispered, lightly tapping their drum excitedly.