Bright morning sun flitted playfully through the drawn drapes, finding it's way to a sleepy Fakir. He stretched slowly, yawning a few times before escaping from the intoxicatingly warm, plush blankets and shivered. The lodge seems peculiarly cold this morning, Fakir thought. Perhaps there was a draft somewhere...
Fakir dressed with the meticulous and rhythmic motion of a soldier and found his thoughts wandering to Duck. Would she be up yet? Would she feel any better today?
As he perused about in his half dreamwalker state down the hallway, surprise mixed with unease grabbed hold of him as he noticed how cold it seemed to be on the other side of Duck's door. "Duck?" he called out with uncertainty, wondering why it would be so cold in her room. Fakir paused, and then after a few moments pushed her door open with the palm of his hand. His eyes widened in shock at what he found. The window was wide open, and Duck was no where to be found!
Fakir started backwards, tripping over his own feet and falling to the floor. Duck was gone! But to where? She was still pretty badly injured, and it was getting colder by the day. Too cold for a migratory bird.
Fakir jumped into action, springing to his feet and sprinting out the door-barely stopping to grab his coat and boots. If anything happened to her...but no, he wouldn't think like that. He mustn't. He would find her! He had to...
Duck waddled slowly on the road through town, thinking. What had Drosselmeyer said? Retrace your steps? Duck stopped, looking around reflectively. Where to begin...well, since she wanted to become a human girl again to make Fakir happy, she should look in the places where she and Fakir spent time together. And what better place to start with than the school! Filled with resolve, Duck raced as fast as she could with her injuries to the arts school. Since a random duck infiltrating the school would make a scene, Duck was forced to sneak around so she wouldn't be discovered. Painstakingly thorough, she hunted the grounds for clues-searching anywhere she thought would conceal some sort of sign. The ballet studio, the gardens, the locker room, the fountain...even Fakir and Muyto's old dorm room. No clues. But Duck wouldn't give up! Determined, she journeyed on.
Fakir slumped down on a park bench, tired and out of breath. Where could she be? He had run all over town, but there was no sign of a little injured yellow duck. What if she was trapped somewhere? What if she was in trouble? Suddenly, a familiar musical tune drifted through Fakir's mind. That sounded like...Miss Edel?
Duck was worn out, and very cold. She was sprawled out face down in a bush, eyes closed. She'd looked all around the town. Drosselmeyer's grave, Carron's smithy...still nothing. Duck sighed, thinking hard. Drosselmeyer had said to retrace her steps, right? And that was exactly what she had done. Let's see, she thought. Steps...well, that could mean dancing. And retracing something involves memories, and time.
Suddenly Duck jumped out from under the bush as an idea struck her. Drosselmeyer had said that dreams were important-what if her dream yesterday was a sort of clue itself? Duck scrambled off, certain that this time she had the answer. She was off to the Lake.
Meanwhile, Fakir had chased the familiar tune that reminded him of Edel to a place he'd visited before with Duck. It was the entrance to the underground stage lake Kraehe had taken Muyto to. It seemed so long ago...Fakir studied the stone puppet face intently, being reminded once more of Edel, and Uzura. "I wish you could tell me I'm on the right track," he confessed, kneeling down.
Just then, a glint below the stone puppet's face caught Fakir's eye. Miss Edel's jewel was still there! But much to his surprise, Fakir found that it was not the green stone he remembered but a crimson red one that looked just like...
Grasping it tightly, Fakir struggled to pull it free from the wall-but once it was loose he was surprised to hear Edel's voice in his head. "Fakir. Please, take this gift to Duck. You both have been wishing with all your hearts to make each other happy, only different circumstances have been keeping you from saying your true feelings. This jewel is called 'Happiness'." Fakir gazed into the red pendant, certain that this stone and the one Duck had used to change into a girl and then Tutu were the same. "It is not a heart shard." Fakir started, thinking that Edel had somehow read his mind. "That pendant used to belong to Muyto, but now it glows for Fakir. It was able to reappear because of Duck's wish to make you happy. Do you understand?"
Fakir gazed silently at the pendent, pensive and focused. Edel continued on. "That pendent in your hands is an embodiment of Duck's soul, free of Muyto's heart shard." "So Duck was possessed by one of Muyto's heart shards when she was Tutu...and this pendent still holds magical qualities because it was formed by Duck's will?" "Yes," Edel answered.
Fakir frowned a little before adding, "But why give it to her now? Duck is really a duck, and I'm okay with that. I love her for who she is." The air shimmered with light, and a transparent Edel materialized before Fakir's eyes. "Duck knows this, but Duck wouldn't be Duck if she didn't worry. And right now she's worried about being a burden to you." "Idiot!" Fakir whispered angrily, and a little sadly. "She could never 'burden' me. It's she who-" Fakir cut off, remembering all too well the duck who cried for him and made him show her his smile. A moment passed in silence before he added: "But I do want to be there for her in ways I can't right now. I want her to talk to me-to tell me how she feels. I miss that." Edel smiled. "She does too."
Before Edel vanished away once more, she told Fakir: "Go now. he i waiting for you."
Duck gazed sadly into her reflection on the lake. She thought she had understood what her dream had meant. She thought it meant that if she stopped worrying about making Fakir happy, he would be happy. But she was still only making trouble for him. The lodge had been empty, and Duck was certain Fakir was out in the cold looking for her. And it was all her fault.
Duck hunkered down from the cold wind lashing at her, tears trickling sadly and slowly down her beak. "Duck!" That's right, she thought. I'm just a duck. "Duck!" I know I'm a duck, but that's okay. Somehow I'll make this all right. I will make Fakir smile. "Duck!" I said I know-
Fakir? Duck looked up abruptly, eyes of water blue searching for her knight. And there he was, running towards her from the other end of the lake. Unable to contain her happiness, Duck stretched her small battered wings and flew into Fakir's arms. The two held each other close, quiet for a long time.
Finally, Fakir said: "Edel left something for you. But then again, it's always been yours, hasn't it?" From his pocket Fakir produced the red pendent, made into a necklace by a delicate bronze string. Duck eyes went wide with joy as Fakir slipped it around her tiny head, smiling warmly at her.
Then, before he could stop her, Duck had slipped from his arms and into the lake water. Turning red as a beet, Fakir whipped around, but a split second after he had turned his back he felt Duck wrap her arms around him and he turned an even more vibrant shade of crimson. "Fakir!" Duck said, snuggling into his back, happy tears streaming down her face. "Fakir there's so much I've been wanting to tell you! About your stories and my time with you and everything! I'm so sorry for causing you so much trouble and worry all the time, but I just wanted to find a way to make you happy! Remember the night we danced the pas de deux? Well, about what you said...I-I want to stay beside you forever, too. Because well, the truth is...Fakir-I love you."
Fakir turned slowly, happy tears now threatening to wash down his cheeks as well. "Idiot," he murmured, pulling Duck even closer to him. "You must know by now how much I love you back."
Peering into Duck's eyes, he caressed her face with his hand and pulled her in gently for a sweet and tender kiss. Then, realizing he just kissed a naked girl in the cold, blushed instantaneously and wiggled out of his jacket and boots, handing them to Duck. Once dressed, it was Duck's turn to plant a light gentle kiss on Fakir's lips, the two smiling at each other with blushed faces. Taking her hand and giving it a light squeeze, Fakir said: "Let's go home."