'If you ask me you two look like a married couple, why don't you two just marry?' What Rue had said was still in Ahiru's thoughts. It was not exactly a remark that bothered her, but it didn't make her feel comfortable either. She wished it wasn't just a remark. How long had she been living with Fakir? Four years! It would be nice for Uzura too. She thought. To be part of a real family. Having a married couple as adoptive parents is much more normal than living with parents who are living with each other because of an old promise.
These thoughts kept Ahiru busy the whole day, the thing she didn't realize was that she wrote the word 'marriage' everywhere: On the window when she was cleaning them; on the table, written in dust, while she was cleaning furniture and when she helped with cooking, she formed the word with vegetables.
Fakir saw the word every time and was wondering if Rue had something to do with it. But every time he tried to talk to Ahiru, she began to make duck-like sounds, waved wildly with her arms and fled afterwards. This had made Fakir curious and he tried to ask her again and again, but without success.
In the evening Fakir went, together with Mytho, to Autor's house to search for the strangers' hideout. His curiosity of Ahiru's' strange behavior still didn't leave Fakir alone. He didn't really get the things that happened around him. The word itself didn't matter. Realized Fakir. It was especially her reaction. That nervous had she always been when she was with Mytho in the past or when she didn't know how to react to an event. He respected those reaction of hers with his whole heart, it was just like her. That character and her way of thinking had changed him and stolen his heart.
"Fakir, do you even listen?" Autor interfered Fakirs thoughts. "Listen when I ask you a question, we do this for you and Ahiru, you know?"
"Ah yeah, sorry, what was your question again?"
Autor sighed irritated. "I asked what kind of relation Ahiru and you have with that stranger." Fakir didn't answered directly, he turned away with his head and said bitter: "He didn't really introduced himself or talked to us much." He turned his head back to Autor. Autor seemed surprised by this answer. "At the Fire Festival." Fakir continued. "We saw him for the first time, he forced Ahiru to dance with him and disappeared again, after that he started to wander around our house."
"How do you mean: 'He forced,' Fakir?" Asked Mytho interested.
Fakir feared Mytho would ask that question. Although he didn't like it, he answered. "He asked me if he could 'borrow' her and without waiting for my answer, he pulled Ahiru with him and made her dance with him."
"But what, may I ask, did he exactly do wrong to you?" Asked Autor on.
"Not to me, but he does scare Ahiru to death and now he tries to kidnap Uzura, to use her as bait." Fakir felt the anger and hate become worse in his chest.
"But he has something against you, I heard him insulting you in my shop." Pushed Autor on.
"Of course he has something against me!" Screamed Fakir furiously, he was angry at the stranger and at the same time he was frustrated because of the slow understandings from Autor and Mytho. "I'm the only one who gets in his way. Thanks to me he hasn't got Uzura nor Ahiru."
"But, don't you think Ahiru can take care that on her own Fakir?" Asked Mytho again. "She doesn't really need your help, does she?"
Fakir fell down on his chair and thought deeply. Could Ahiru really do it on her own? Did he overdo it? "Maybe." Replied Fakir slowly. He was silent for a moment, but then he said softly: "But, I promised her to be by her side and I have promised myself to protect her. I want her to live a happy live with me and I'm not going to let some creep take her away from-" Fakir remained silent, he had already said too much.
"Me?" Completed Autor Fakirs' sentence. "We understand Fakir, you just don't want to lose Ahiru. I get the feeling that it doesn't matter if that guy is really a villain or not."
"It isn't selfish Fakir." Said Mytho. "It's only natural to feel that way."
"But maybe she doesn't want to stay with me and am I not better than that bastard." Fakir buried his face in his hands.
"Pull yourself together Fakir! Said Autor irritated. I may not know Ahiru well, but I noticed great sympathy for you from her side. She is very resolute and honest when it comes to you, if she wanted to leave you, then she had done it already. She is really in to you, Fakir." Autor cleared his throat, he realized he didn't need to yell.
"Do you honestly think so? " But only in a amiable way. Thought Fakir. Mytho seemed to notice Fakir's doubt, because he said: "Try to be open for the way Ahiru treats you, I'm sure you will notice her true feelings for you. Don't you have any touching moments together?"
Fakir could think of three moments what Mytho could mean, but were they real? "What if I imagined those moments, Mytho? She started this whole thing for you, she can't possibly chose me above you, even though you're married and she doesn't feel anything for you anymore!" It remained silent, no one could deny this problem.
"Don't forget that Drosselmayer has no longer control over our emotions." Said Autor suddenly and Fakir and Mytho looked up surprised. "What?" Asked Autor insulted. Only because the other villagers have forgotten about Drosselmayer's control, it does not mean that you four are the only ones who are still able to remember it. I am his descendent after all! The 'bookmen' are also still aware of it."
Fakir felt a shiver over his spine after remembering the time that the bookmen had tried to get rid of his hands. "So, they also know that I am writing the story of the town now?" Asked Fakir bitter.
"I believe so."Replied Autor. "Don't worry, if they wanted to stop you from writing, they already would have done it."
"Hm, maybe." Fakir replied not entirely convinced, he wanted to forget those executioners as quickly as possible.
"But, what I really try to say is." Followed Autor. "Because Drosselmayer has no longer control over the emotions of Ahiru and yourself, is Ahiru released from her written admiration for Mytho."
"I know that."Replied Fakir softly. "She told me that, but Mytho and I are completely different. It's just impossible that she would love me more than she ever loved Mytho." Mytho walked to him and hit Fakir with his hand on the shoulder.
"If I were you." He said. "I would try to see the hints that Ahiru properly is trying to give me. If I know Ahiru well enough, then she is afraid to confess her feelings and if you don't see these hints of hers, you two will never come far." Mytho was right again. When Fakir returned home, he thought for a long time about it. He did want to be open for hints, but that would only work if she stopped running away from him. Was this running also a hint? Had that word 'marriage' something to do with him after all? Was that the reason she won't talk to him? A grimace appeared on Fakirs face. "Idiot." He whispered. "What's your problem?"
Ahiru kept avoiding Fakir and writing down the word 'marriage' until the evening. Fakir had given up on trying to talk to her and went to his room to write. He had just started with writing when Ahiru suddenly came in. When Fakir turned to see her face, he saw a mixture of determination and shame. Most likely, Fakir's surprised expression made it even worse. She was blushing even more and started to wave with her arms again. Fakir gave her an amused smile. In her way, she tried at least to talk to him again. His smile made Ahiru calmer. While she was still blushing, she tried to talk.
"I-I'm s-sorry, F-fakir, but, eh, you know…" Every time, she cut off her sentence and tried it again. "I disturb you. Do I disturb you? Y-yeah, I disturb you, b-because. Well, y-you see... I wanted to say, n-no I wanted t-to ask..." Fakir stood up from his chair and walked to her.
"Yes, Ahiru?" Ahiru looked at him for a second, but then she looked at the ground. Her head was almost glowing from shame when she finally cried out her question. " Do you want to go out with me?!"
Fakir stepped backward in surprise. That was not exactly what he had expected. He was now as red as Ahiru. "Please." Ahiru finished almost inaudible. It was quiet for a moment. Fakir didn't know how to react. He wanted to call her an idiot, to tell her that it was a stupid question, but then she would think that he didn't like her at all. He didn't want that.
"Where to?" Was the only thing he could say.
Ahiru looked at him with a surprised gaze. "What?" She blinked a few times with her eyes.
"Where do you like to go, idiot?" Cried Fakir still red on his usual tone.
"Oh, eh, t-to the restaurant from Mrs. Ebine." Replied Ahiru afoul. Fakir gave her a worried gaze. Did he say something wrong again. "Is everything alright Ahiru?" He asked.
"Yeah." Answered she quickly and wanted to run away.
"Wait!" Fakir took quickly her hand. "Did I make you angry? I'm sorry, if I did. I'm glad you're not running away from me anymore."
Ahiru turned her head to him. She looked surprised.
"Did I do that?" She asked. Fakir nodded and looked at her lovingly. She didn't even know it herself. He thought. Only Ahiru can be that inconceivable. They looked at each other for a moment, until Fakir carefully let go of her hand.
AN: Please review!