Author's Note: A friend and I both did all of these prompts for our favorite pairings (read "Fifteen Royai Prompts" by maryh1000 to see hers). All of these are Fakiru in some way, but they are not all meant to fit together-some specifically contradict others. Anyway, enjoy!
Duck fluttered happily down the stairs as Fakir pushed open the door.
"I'm home," he said with a smile.
He tossed his schoolbooks on the table as he bent to pick up the little yellow bird. With Duck securely in his arms, he went up to their room to write, as always.
"I didn't realize how much work this would be," Fakir admitted as he set Duck down on a cushion on his desk. She looked at him in distress, and he laughed. "Don't worry, I only have a couple of hours' worth of work today. We'll still have time for a swim later."
Maybe it was impossible for most ducks to smile, but Duck managed it anyway. Fakir smiled back at her. True love wasn't always an epic romance, and they had decided long ago that that was just fine with them.
Fakir would never forgive Duck for making him fall in love with her. It didn't matter that she hadn't done it on purpose, or that she had never really known that she'd done it at all. It didn't matter that it had been his own fault for being idiot enough to fall in love with a girl who lived, literally, for his best friend. It didn't matter that she was now a duck who could no longer understand him, let alone talk to him.
But the reason Fakir would never forgive Duck for making him fall in love with her was that he would never regret falling in love with her.
As Fakir and Duck sat in their dressing room removing their makeup after the show, they heard a frantic pounding at the door. Fakir looked at Duck and raised one eyebrow.
"I don't know who it is," Duck protested.
"It's the first of the fans, of course," Fakir sighed. "They were bound to get crazier when they found out this was our last performance."
"So... you're not going to let them in?" Duck asked sadly.
Fakir opened his mouth, then closed it again and smiled lopsidedly. The banging on the door had grown louder. "Well... I suppose we could just talk to the first one, if you really want to..."
Duck leaped up, kissed him, and went to throw the door open.
A young woman stood in the doorway, holding a pad of paper and a pen and wearing a determined expression.
"Hello," Duck said cheerfully. "You're in luck. Fakir was feeling nice today."
Fakir rolled his eyes. "So, what can we do for you?"
The young woman straightened her shoulders and adjusted her glasses. "I'm a reporter," she said. "I want to be the first one to interview you two about your retirement."
Fakir looked over at Duck. "You just had to pick the reporter, didn't you?" He turned back to the journalist. "You can ask us one question. Then we're going home."
The woman's face fell, but she seemed unwilling to test the limits of Fakir's 'niceness.' She flipped through her notebook, looking for the perfect question to ask. "Oh! Here it is!" She smiled and looked up at the two stars. "What is your favorite pas de deux to dance together?"
"Hm..." Duck thought for a few moments, then said, "I guess mine is the one from Swan Lake."
The reporter nodded as she wrote down the answer, then turned expectantly to Fakir.
"Sleeping Beauty," he said, without a trace of hesitation. Then his severe expression softened into a smile as he put his arm around Duck. "Because that's the first pas de deux I ever danced with you."
"Mama, Papa, they're here, they're here!" Biene squealed happily. Duck smiled and hoisted her youngest daughter up on her hip to give her a better view. She couldn't blame the girl for being so excited—Siegfried and Rue and their children were only able to visit a few times each year. She smiled indulgently as Effie, Colas, Nikiya, and Marie rushed over to the window, watching eagerly as the swan-drawn carriage drew closer to their little house.
"Fakir!" she called. "They're here, darling!" She smiled as Fakir came down the stairs with deliberate slowness—she knew that he was just as excited as the children to see their friends. Her smile turned to a grin as Rue waved from the carriage. She was just as excited, too.
Fakir gasped and sat up with a start. Duck stirred sleepily next to him. "Fakir? What's wrong?" she murmured, raising herself on one elbow and rubbing her eyes.
"It's... It was just another nightmare. Sorry to wake you," he said, stroking her hair with one still-shaking hand. Then he stopped. "Can I hold you?" he asked softly.
Duck responded by snuggling into his arms. He sighed with relief as he pulled her close. "I'm just... After all these years, I'm still so afraid of losing you."
"Don't be." Duck tilted her head back to kiss him. "We promised, remember? No matter what happens, I'll stay by your side forever."
"Could you leave your writing and come to dinner on time for once?" Duck fumed.
Fakir started and dropped his pen. "I'm... sorry?" He screwed the lid back onto his inkpot. "I'm coming now," he said placatingly.
She turned away so fast that her braid smacked him in the face. "Well, come on, then! The food's getting cold!"
Fakir rubbed his forehead in confusion. Why was Duck so irritated all of a... His mind ran back over the past few weeks, then he shouted and ran after Duck. Halfway down the stairs, he lifted her up and kissed her enthusiastically.
She pulled away, frowning. "Fakir, what are you—?"
He just grinned. "Duck, I think our family is about to get a little bit bigger."
Most of the time, Fakir didn't mind that Duck had gone back to being... well, a duck. They were happy together, contented with the simple life that they shared. And in some ways it was easier to love a duck than it had been to love a girl. There was much less to worry about. Anyway, not everyone was lucky enough to find the person they loved, and keep them safe, and stay with them. That was what really mattered.
During the day, Fakir did not regret that she was a duck again... but she was always human in his dreams.
"So, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday?" Duck asked.
Fakir hesitated for a moment, then said, "I like the lemon cake they have at the bakery..."
Duck's face fell. "You don't like my cakes?"
"Uh... they're my second favorite," Fakir said hopefully.
She sighed. "It's all right. I just... wanted to do it myself, since it's your birthday. But there's no reason you shouldn't get your favorite cake on your own birthday." She stood up and reached for her handbag.
"Duck?" Fakir said. She turned back to face him.
He tugged on her braid to bring her closer and then kissed her. When she pulled away, he said, "Your cakes may not be my favorite, but you are."
Fakir watched wistfully as Duck swam around the pond. It was obvious that she was happy. "And I'm glad you're happy," he said, more to himself than to her. He and Siegfried and Rue all remembered Kinkan town's time in the story, but apparently a duck's memory could not resist the spell that had erased it from everyone else's.
"Duck," he called. She turned at the sound of his voice and swam over to the shore. He stroked the soft yellow feathers on her head. "You're a hero, did you know that?" he asked her. She began busily poking around in his pockets for breadcrumbs, and he laughed. "Still as hungry as ever." His voice was so cheerful that the little duck didn't notice the tears sliding silently down his cheeks.
Fakir was arrested by the sound of Duck's laughter from the living room. She wasn't just laughing; she was beginning to squeak. She hadn't laughed that hard in a while... well, a few days, anyway.
He went to the doorway to investigate. "Duck, what—" He couldn't help but laugh at the sight of three-year-old Franz showing off his new "hat"—a spangled tutu—to his red-faced mother.
When he managed to get his breath back, he turned to Duck. "I think it looks better on him," he told her with a smile.
Duck mock-scowled and shook her head helplessly, still unable to speak.
Franz, however, turned wide-eyed to his father. "Really?"
It was late when Fakir finally got home. He managed not to wake up his children as he came up the stairs, but his wife was another matter.
She sat up in bed as soon as he pushed open the door. "Fakir!" she exclaimed in a whisper. "You're home a day early!"
"Well, that depends on how you define a day." Fakir began to pull off his shirt, then suddenly he stopped, glancing from himself to Duck and back again. "Are you... wearing one of my shirts?"
She blushed in the darkness. "Maybe." She slipped out of the bed to hug and kiss him hello. "I missed you, okay?"
"Papa?" Hannah came into Fakir's study, using both hands to hold a heavy leatherbound book of fairy tales.
"What is it?" he asked, turning in his chair to look at her. She walked over to him and put the book in his lap, opening it to the page she had been keeping with one hand.
"I don't understand this sentence," she said, pointing to the middle of the page. It read:
And so the knight, determined to carry out his duty, decided to rescue the princess.
"Papa, what does 'duty' mean?" Hannah asked.
Fakir sat silent for several moments. He traced the words idly with one finger as he thought. Finally he said, "Duty is doing what you have to do. Duty is doing what's right—even when it's hard. Even when you don't want to." Duty is the reason I couldn't marry the love of my life.
It was so small. Such a minor mistake. It shouldn't have made any difference.
And so the duck who had been a girl received a human body once again.
It should have worked. It shouldn't have mattered. Duck should have been written back exactly the way she had been.
As he sat on the bed with his head in his hands, Duck walked—if it could be called walking—over to him and nuzzled him with her head. He smiled sadly as he stroked her hair. "I'm so sorry," he whispered. She stared uncomprehendingly back at him, lips parted in unhappy confusion because he seemed unhappy.
"What have I done to you?"
Duck's surprised quacks turned to squeals of agony. Ow. OW! Why—what's happen—"Aaaaaaaah!" It felt like she was on fire from her feet to the feather on top of her head. Fakir? Where was he? She couldn't see anything—just bright sparks in the blackness. The fire turned to ice and then to spears of stone, growing from her heart outwards, growing and growing until her body couldn't hold them anymore. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Was she dying? She shivered all over, once, twice—and then suddenly the pain stopped. She saw Fakir standing in front of her with a look of amazement on his face.
"Fakir?" she asked weakly. "What just—" Her hand (hand!) flew to her mouth (she had lips again!) as she realized that his eyes were only a few inches above her own eye level. "You... you..."
"It worked," he breathed.
And then she was in his arms, which was where she had wanted to be all along.
Suddenly the crows turned to shining blades, streaking down toward him as the wave thrust him upwards. Damn! He should have known that never stood a chance against the so-called Crow Princess. He gasped with pain as the first blades sank into his chest. Damn!
He managed to turn his face down towards the shore of the subterranean lake. Princess Tutu... She was so helpless—what would happen to her now? So I can't protect the Prince or the Princess? Damn that crow! Tutu's... Duck's... her eyes, already large, were huge with terror as she watched his fall. Was she... Don't cry, he thought, and then another thought struck him.
I love her.