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Title: Snowball Fight which might get a better title when if I can think of one
Rating: G
Word Count: 3,650
Pairing: Autor/Ahiru (Could be interpreted either as a budding friendship or a budding romance)
Summary: Autor hates winter. Ahiru decides she needs to fix that.
Notes: Late Secret Santa gift for x0whitelily0x! Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy New Year!
Also, I went against my typical "use Duck instead of Ahiru" style since (1) I thought Lily was more used to Ahiru, and (2) ...thanks to RPing recently I found that came more naturally, anyway. ^^; I'm not sure if that means I'll keep using it or not--I might end up flip-flopping back and forth.

Autor sighed deeply, resting his chin on his hand as he stared out the window. Directly outside, snowflakes gently drifted down to earth, sticking to the trees and grass of Kinkan Academy’s grounds. Students bundled head to toe rushed indoors to keep themselves warm, their breath floating in the air like smoke in front of their faces. It was a picturesque winter wonderland—the sort you only see in storybooks. Storybooks, and Kinkan.

Autor despised it. Winter never meant anything for him other than complications. Winter meant that when he was trying to research his family tree in the cemetery, he had to brush away the snow from the graves until his fingers felt numb to see the inscriptions. Winter meant it was that much harder to get up and out of bed to go to school every morning. Winter meant having to watch for ice patches as he walked to school, his nose and ears bright red from the cold.

And worst of all, winter meant the students running into the library when they had free time, instead of out on the grounds or running around town. That’s right-- not their dorms, the library. Something about how it was warmer, all those old books that nobody ever read providing some sort of insulation against the cold. Or so they said. (Autor nearly felt offended on the books’ behalves. Maybe most people didn’t read them, but that was just because the students had bad taste.)
Regardless of the reason, it meant that there was a constant stream of students coming in and out of the library, most of them completely ignoring etiquette to talk as much, and loudly, as they pleased. Autor had demanded silence until his voice had gone hoarse, but all he earned was a few odd stares in his direction or some of the more polite students running off to other areas of the library, where he couldn’t quite see them. But he could still hear their voices, floating around the winding passages of the bookcases like ghosts until they reached his ears. It made research nearly impossible some days, including today—which was why he had decided instead to sulk and stare out the window.

He was distracted enough with his lamentations of his generation’s loss of etiquette that he didn’t even hear the quick, awkward footsteps and duck-like voice of a certain redhead until she stood behind him, tapping him on the shoulder. “Autor!”
He jumped in his seat, accidentally knocking over a book off the top of his stack. “For the love of--warn someone before you do that!”
“S-sorry!” she said quickly, bending down to pick up the book. “I tried calling you a few times, but you didn’t answer.” She held out the book in her hand as she stood, and he took it with a sniff, placing it carefully on the stack so the edges of its cover lined up perfectly with the one below it.
After that was done, he leaned back a little and eyed the girl carefully. If winter clothing was supposed to be dyed with muted colors to match with the dreary landscape, Ahiru must have never learned the rules of human attire. She was dressed head-to-toe in colors more evocative of spring time—a sunshine-yellow coat, earmuffs and boots, complimented with robin’s egg blue scarf, stockings and gloves. He couldn’t see what outfit she was wearing underneath it, but he guessed that it was just as cheery and bright. He had noticed how fond she was of bright colors months ago—about the same time he noticed how her eyes always seemed to shine with a peculiar emotion he was never quite able to place. Something warm and bright was all he’d narrowed it down to.

“I was musing,” he finally responded. “People do that in a library. You can normally expect peace and quiet here.”
“Musing?” She tilted her head.
“Musing. After the Greek goddesses of the arts. …You know, thinking.”
“Oh! Oh, that.” She laughed, rubbing the back of her head. “…You like thinking a lot, huh?”
His glasses shined, echoing the sharp, sarcastic tone of his voice. “It’s a pleasant pastime. You could benefit from trying it sometime, if you could manage it.”
Her cheeks puffed up at that, and she closed her hands into fists, glaring down at him in his seat. “Hey! I think sometimes! Just because I don’t spend as much time in the library doesn’t mean I’m dumber than you or anything!”
“Well, it would probably help. …Why are you here, anyway?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“The only time you ever come in here is when you’re trying to find Fakir, but I haven’t seen him here all day.”
“Oh.” Her huffy expression relaxed into more of a pout, and she leaned back and hopped onto the table, her legs swinging back and forth. Normally Autor would have scolded her for doing so, but he was too curious about her answer to risk ruffling her feathers again. “No, I know where Fakir is. He’s locked up in his room writing. He said he had to finish this story. Something about how the milk maid had been waiting too long for her happy ending, and he’d figured out how to give it to her…or along those lines.”
“Oh. So he’s writing again.”
If Ahiru noticed the jealous tone in his voice, she chose to ignore it—something she’d been doing more and more lately. He couldn’t say he didn’t appreciate it. “I don’t know if he’ll be able to do it. He’s never been good at romances. Although I guess that’s why he has to lock himself up like that.”
He gave a vague, non-committal noise in response, watching her legs swinging from the table. They were swinging to an even, silent rhythm—3/4, perhaps. One, two, three…one, two, three…
He cleared his throat, turning his eyes back to her face. “That tells me why Fakir isn’t here, but it still doesn’t answer why you are.”
“Oh! Um, well…” Her legs stilled as she leaned towards him. “I knew you were normally here, so…”
“If I’m here, it means I’m researching,” he said.
“You’re not researching,” she countered. “You were musing.”
“I could be musing about my research.”
“Were you?”
“…Well, no.” (Blast my honesty, Autor thought to himself.)
“Then what were you musing about?” she asked brightly—seemingly proud of her continued use of the new word. Autor suppressed the urge to roll his eyes at her enthusiasm.
“About how much I dislike winter.”

Ahiru had squawked out so loudly that even some of the less-polite students shushed her. She stared at him in apparent shock. Autor waited wearily for her to recover enough to continue.
“Why…why would you hate winter??” she finally said in a hushed tone when she’d managed to make her mouth work again.
“The reasons are too numerous to go into right now. And besides,” he added, “aren’t you a—you know…? Shouldn’t you be flying or whatever you do to the South by now?”
“I’m not a bir—I’m not that right now. I mean, yeah, I like Spring better, because Spring is when there’s flowers and baby animals and the lake is nice and warm but it’s not too hot and everything is bright and cheery—“
And prone to excite my hay fever, Autor added mentally.
“—But Winter has nice things, too! I can see liking other seasons better, but not outright hating it.”
“Like what?”
She jumped off of the table and closed her fists in front of her. The look in her eyes was unmistakable now—fiery determination to prove herself right. Autor identified with the feeling, although that only made him determined to counter her points before he even heard them.
“Making snowmen!”
“I’m not fond of manual labor. Besides, they just melt if it gets too sunny and then you have nothing to show for it.”
“Okay, maybe, but…how about hot chocolate?”
He grimaced. “I don’t like chocolate.”
This time, Autor managed to place a finger to his lips before she shouted again. “But…but everyone likes chocolate!”
“Not everyone.”
“Fakir loves chocolate!”
“Do I look like Fakir to you?” he said with a scowl.
She paused for a moment. “…I’ve seen Fakir with a look like that before.”
“That’s not what I meant!”
“Then what did you mean?”
“That some people have different tastes, Ahiru.” He sat up from his seat, beginning to pack up his supplies. The arrival of Ahiru settled it—he wouldn’t be getting any research done today. She had the remarkable talent of spoiling a person’s plans for a day. He was just capping up his ink well when she suddenly reached out and grabbed his wrist.
“What is it now?”
“Snowball fights.”
“…What about them?”
“That’s another good thing about winter!”
“You’re kidding. Being hit by snow is a good thing?”
“It is when a friend is the one that throws it!”

Autor gave the girl an exasperated look, then pulled his arm out of her grip so he could place his inkwell into his bag. He’d encountered odd logic from many of his fellow students, but Ahiru’s was the sort that always made his head hurt the worst. The idea that tightly-packed snow hitting your back was alright because of who’s arm had thrown it was ridiculous.
Unless it was Drosselmeyer. Then that might have been okay. But that was probably not going to happen, so again, the idea was ridiculous. Shaking his head, he put in his last notebook into his bag and closed it shut. He was just beginning to sort through the books he’d pulled out so he could put them back in their place when the Ahiru spoke up again.
“Even if you don’t like snowfights now…you must have liked them when you were younger, right?”
“I had more important things to worry about as a child than throwing snow at my unsuspecting neighbors.”
“You…you aren’t saying you’ve never even had one, are you?”
He sighed, placing The Family History of the Reinhardts after Birth records, Kinkan, 1750-1800. “I’ve had snowballs thrown at me.”
“Did you throw any back?”
“There wasn’t much of a point.”
He glanced up at her for a moment, and found her looking at him with a strange, nearly sympathetic look. …What was that about? She was looking at him as if he’d just said he’d never heard Beethoven’s Ode to Joy performed. He studied her for a moment, vaguely noting that she was picking up his bag and swinging the strap onto her shoulder. He was just about to turn back to alphabetizing the books when she grabbed his coat and held it out to him.
“Come on, let’s go out.”
“…I’m going to. I just need to put away these books first.”
“Oh, that’s the job of the library staff, anyway!” She said playfully—but with an oddly stubborn tone underneath it. “Come on, it won’t hurt to leave them here!”
“I’m on good terms with the staff! I’m not going to create more work for them!”
“It’ll be fine! A few books won’t hurt!”
“You’re that worried about walking back to Fakir’s alone?
“No, it’s not that…”
“Then what?”
She chewed on her lip and tilted her head for a moment, her cowlick bobbing along with the movement of her head. “Weeeeeell…it’s sorta a surprise. But I promise you won’t have to wait long for it, okay?”
Autor weighed his options carefully. It came down to whether he wanted to cause trouble for the library staff, or upset Ahiru. The choice was easier to make than he realized—Ahiru was much harder to deal with than the staff. He’d seen her temper tantrums. He didn’t have any wish to go through another one of them on this particular day.
“Oh…fine,” he said with an air of resignation, taking his coat from her and slipping it on. The redhead jumped up and grinned. “GREAT!” she shouted.
“Ahiru! This is a library!” He quickly buttoned up his coat, then pushed his glasses up his nose. “How often do I have to tell you to be qu—urk!”
“Ah, sorry!” she quickly said, loosening the scarf she’d wrapped too tightly around his neck. “I just want to make sure your scarf was on good—“
“If it was any tighter, it’d be a noose! I can put on my own scarf, you know.”
“I’m just trying to help…”
“Then just hand me my hat and gloves. …Please.”
She nodded and held them out to him, then waited impatiently as he took them and put them on. “Okay, ready now?”
“I suppose.”
“Good!” Before he had time to react, the bespectacled boy was grabbed by his hand and dragged out of the library and into the cold winter air.


“Okay, now just…pull back your arm, then throw it at me!”
Autor stared at the ball of snow that Ahiru had placed in his hand…if one could call it a ball. It wasn’t quite…round enough. More like an oval. “…Just throw it at you?”
She nodded enthusiastically from her spot across the lawn. “Yeah, that’s right! Don’t worry, it won’t hurt or anything!”
“I still don’t see any point in this,” he said, even as he was bringing his arm back behind his head.
“It’s fun!”

He frowned over in the girl’s direction. So he was just supposed to…throw this at her? Autor couldn’t say he got along with people easily, and she was certainly a pain when she wanted to be (or else he wouldn’t be doing this in the first place). But he never really considered himself a violent person. So the idea of throwing something at a girl…particularly this one, her smile as cheery as the color of her coat while she waited for him to essentially attack her…he swung out his arm and threw the misshapen snowball halfheartedly. It swooped up into a lazy arc and came back down to earth in front of her, lightly hitting her boot.
She took a moment to blink twice before she put on a hesitant smile. “Well…you got my shoe! Good job! Um…here, I’ll move a little closer.”
“No, that’s not necessary…”
“No, no, it’s really okay! I was too far away!”

…She thinks I can’t throw, he realized as she moved closer. She thinks I’m weak enough that I can’t throw snow. Great.
“Okay, Autor!” she said, seemingly oblivious to Autor’s crumbling ego. “Try it now! You can make your own snowball this time, right?”
“Yes, Ahiru, I can make a snowball.” He scooped the snow into his hands and began to pack it together, his lips pressed together in a line. Couldn’t throw snow—what a ridiculous idea. He wasn’t some flighty first-year student that didn’t even know what a treble clef was. If he could take out an armed man with nothing but his hand and a book — no matter how old he was — he could throw a snowball! He could throw one easily! He could—
“Okay, I think it’s ready now!” Ahiru spread out her arms. “Throw it at me!”

This time, Autor didn’t hesitate. Leaning back, he wound up his arm, then leaned forward and threw the snowball as hard as he could. It whizzed through the air too quickly for him to trace the path it followed — all he saw was the aftermath. It hit the girl squarely it the chest, causing her to tumble backwards and slap her gloved hands over her mouth to muffle a quack.
“Ah! Are…are you alright?”
The girl’s eyes scrunched up, and for a moment Autor had the terrible feeling that she might cry—but instead, she burst out into a laugh, clapping her hands. “That was great! Better than great! You said you’ve never done this before, too!”
“I haven’t,” he said, too busy trying to sort out her reaction to do anything but blink.
“Well, then, I think you’re ready now.”
“Ready for what?”
As an answer another misshapen snowball flew through the air, hitting his arm. “For a real snowball fight! Come on, try to get me!”

The girl grinned and ran a bit away, then bent down to start making another snowball. Her fiery hair and bright clothes stood out against the stark background of snow like a beacon. Didn’t she eve realize how easy of a target she was? Autor put together another snowball and charged, throwing a snowball quickly. She barely had time to react and duck away before she threw one of her own. Soon they were stuck in a back-and-forth battle, snowballs flying as neither was prepared to back down. Autor lost track of how many of his hits connected in relation to hers—they seemed about even. Maybe keeping score wasn’t even supposed to matter.

As he continued his barrage of snowballs at her, Autor couldn’t help but notice the oddly graceful flow to her movements. She was still awkward and bird-like, and she probably always would be—girl or not, her true self was a duck. But as she grew, so did her confidence, and it was beginning to show more and more, both in her dancing and in her everyday life. She really wasn’t a bad dancer when she didn’t let her insecurities get in the way. Looking at the way she dodged some of his hits and kept her balance, she was starting to get used to life in a human body in general—even though her gait still had a duck-like waddle to it as she charged at him with a handful of snow.

“Take…THIS!” With a grin, she threw the snowball at him. This time, Autor didn’t have a chance to dodge—the snow flew higher in the air than she intended and hit him squarely in the face. He yelped as his glasses were knocked off his face and fell into the snow. “Ow! Watch it!”
“Ack! Sorry! That was an accident! Are you okay?”
“I think so.” He brushed the remaining snowflakes off his face, then bent down, beginning to search for his glasses. “Help me, won’t you?”
“R-Right!” She bent down, carefully scanning the snow for the metal frames. They slowly moved around the field, searching for any sign of the glasses. With his head bent, Autor didn’t realize how close he’d wandered to Ahiru until he just barely missed bumping their heads together. “Careful.”
“I’m trying!” Ahiru looked up, apparently about to scold him for always being so bossy before she stopped and stared for a moment.
“…What is it?”
“Nothing. I just don’t see you look like that too often. It’s nice.”
“Not having my glasses on makes that much of a difference?”
She shook her head. “No, not that. When you’re smiling.”

Autor paused for a moment, his hand coming up to his face. Smiling? He was smiling? But he could feel the corners of his mouth slowly resting down into a more neutral expression. He had been smiling, somehow. Perhaps during the course of the game…he dropped his hand and shrugged, trying to come up with a response before he saw the gleam of metal out of the corner of his eye.
“Ah, here they are.” He picked them up and brushed the snow off of them, cleaning off the lenses on his coat the best he could before he slipped them back on. “Well…now that we’re bruised and tired and covered and snow, can we please head back inside?”
“Yeah, sorry.” She walked back to the edge of the field and picked up his bag again. “I guess you have to get back to your research, huh?”
“No, I was done.” He motioned to her to follow him as he began to walk back towards the gates leading out of the school grounds. “I meant to my place, for some tea so we can warm up again…unless you want to get back to Fakir.”
“Oh!” Her expression brightened and she ran to his side, his bag swinging behind her. “Sure! That’d be great! I don’t think he’ll be finished for a while yet, anyway.”

They walked on in silence for a moment, the snowflakes providing a quiet witness as they trudged ahead. After a moment, Ahiru cleared her throat. “Hey…will you be in the library the same time tomorrow?”
“Of course. I can’t take a break in my research just because there’s a little snow on the ground. …Why?”
“I was just thinking I could come to see you tomorrow, too.”
He frowned. “I can’t have a snowball fight with you everyday. I’d never get any work done.”
“Oh! No, that’s not what I meant. I just wanted you to try it once. It doesn’t matter if you really hate it.”
He slowly pulled his coat together to give him a reason not to answer right away as he phrased his response correctly. “I didn’t…hate it. I wouldn’t mind having a snowball fight with you every now and then.”
She grinned. “Well, that’s good, too! But tomorrow, I meant…maybe you could tell me about that research.”
Autor’s cheeks slowly grew red—whether from the cold or something else, he couldn’t say. “…Really? You’d want to hear about it?”
“Sure! I mean…I don’t really understand it, but I know it’s important to you since you’re always working on it. And…I dunno…I think I’d like to learn more about you.”

He stared at her for a moment. There was only one other person that had ever really expressed interest in Autor’s research—and that princess had already left with her prince. “You mean it?”
She pouted a little. “I don’t say anything I don’t mean.”
“Alright, alright. …Then…I’d like to.”
“Good! Then…it’s a deal?”
Hesitantly, he allowed himself to give her another small smile. “It’s a deal.”


Jan. 14th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it <3 I'm hoping I'll be writing consistently for a while.