This is a small oneshot written in response to rukawagf's request for a fic with Fakir and the theme "Writer's Block". It takes place after the ending of the show. It can be read completely on its own, no other context needed, but there are connections between this fic and my much longer in-progress "Chapter of the Bird" (yes, I'm still working on that fic, I haven't quit it); this takes place before the start of that other fic. I thank Mangaka-chan for looking this over for me.
Fakir gazed out at the lake, where Ahiru was basking in the high morning sun. The wind was gentle, yet cool, so though there was much warmth it mixed with the breezes in a refreshing blend. The water lapped playfully onto the posts of the wooden dock, sometimes seeming to tempt him with a few droplets that strayed into the air.
The lake has a spirit, his inner writer whispered. It has its own spirit and she has a voice. What would that voice sound like?
He wrote of the spirit, a watery being who danced and frisked about the water, who watched over the lake's inhabitants. Not entirely gentle, sometimes teasing or provoking, even temperish at times (as Ahiru and he found out from the times they had to run from a sudden downpour of violent rain). But what warmth and care it harbored, in these moments.
A sudden splashing yanked Fakir's attention back to Ahiru. She had flapped her wings onto the surface, spreading forth sparkling droplets all around. This seemed to be very pleasing to Ahiru, for she continued with this, dashing across the lake, sprinkling everything with movement and points of light.
Former lake of despair, you've known Ahiru for some time now, Fakir's feelings hummed wordlessly as he wrote. What wonderful magic that you have now, whatever you could give to Ahiru, I would treasure from the bottom of my heart always.
He wrote and wrote, the warmth in his mind and heart streaming onto the parchment.
…The duck and the Lake Spirit met one day, a quiet morning filled with light. The spirit of the lake told the duck, "You have been so good to me, and so kind to my inhabitants, that I will reward you with the thing you most desire. Tell me: what is it you want most?" The duck replied…
The well of warm words from his quill had abruptly run dry. His tip quivered on the surface of the paper, forming a growing dark ink blot on the truncated sentence. The duck wished…what?
…To be human?
He cut down that weed of thought coldly, clenching his quill. Ahiru was a duck, and she couldn't – shouldn't – be anything other than that, her own self. The story, where people pretended to be things they weren't. Him, a knight. Yet he couldn't protect those he cared about with his sword. Only by finding his own pen again could he use his power to protect. No, Tutu – whose source was the reason why Ahiru had been human – was only a visage Ahiru put up to try to protect those she cared about, just as he had. It was as a duck she was able to save the town from the Raven's blood…as he gave her his words.
Words…a gift that he has that she possesses no longer. If he had given her words that time, then what words could he give her now…?
He grimaced. This wasn't the first time the thought had cropped up in his mind. Each of those times he had reminded himself how harmful fabrication of reality and oneself could be. However, it didn't stop the periodic, but unrelenting, feeling that something was still amiss. That all was not as it should be.
Fakir's lips tightened as he tangled the feather's strands anxiously through his fingers. Would that have made me wrong? A liar? When I told Ahiru that it was fine to be who she was? No. I was right. The quill's hard spine thudded on the paper as he briskly put it down. That's the way things are. The way things should be. Slowly he loosened his hand from the quill, letting it lie there on the parchment.
He told himself that he had settled the matter, and while his consciousness was restrained silent the lapping waves splattered dissonantly as if to imply otherwise.
Fakir noticed then that the splashing had stopped. He glanced back up and noticed that Ahiru had gone rock still as she realized that she had started frolicking about when the great blue heron of the lake (who had moved in very recently) had been fishing nearby in the shallows. He saw Ahiru shrink sheepishly backward, abashed that she had disturbed the new resident's dining plans. The heron glanced back at Ahiru gently, as if to say it was all right, but then her eyes caught on something and she became dead still for a moment.
Before Ahiru could react, she shot her beak into the water and plucked a fish almost out of nowhere. Immediately after she swallowed it, she shot into the water and caught another, bigger than the previous one. The heron glanced around with seeming surprise, and she looked at Ahiru.
Ahiru blinked. After a moment, her eyes brightened joyfully and with full force she danced out onto the lake with more enthusiasm than ever, and the heron gazed down at the water, with even more amazement than before.
It took Fakir a few moments to puzzle this out, but it seemed that Ahiru's splashing had stirred up the bigger, more cautious fish from the depths, where the heron normally couldn't reach them. The heron must have stood so quietly compared to all the movement that the fish would completely miss that she was standing there.
Ahiru came back that day seeming very proud that she had helped out her new friend so well, albeit serendipitously. The confident vibe she held stayed with her throughout dinner, and even into the night as she slept and, judging from her sleep laps across the bathtub, dreamt as well.
It was one of those small but precious days that would be his warmth during the cold ones. It reminded him that Ahiru was no longer ashamed of being a duck, that she held her own strength that came of being a water bird. It was not a cruel fate. It was her life. A life he wished to always share.
Tomorrow he knew the same questions would sprout back up again. But today, nothing was amiss. Things were as they should be.
Ahiru was happy. And that made him happy, too.