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"You can't sing? You can't sing? Hah! That's the childish thing I've ever heard of!" 

Joshua stared up at Mrs. Kjellberg, his new teacher, who had a scary, and loud voice. He stood on a little snowy hill not too far away from his previous classroom with his parents standing not too far behind him. To make it worst, he was the only one that Mrs. Kjellberg was teaching. Mrs. Kjellberg was one of the greatest singers in the kingdom, and decided that instead of teaching like the other teachers, she would help penguins who couldn't find their Heartsongs.

Josh wasn't too sure how he had gotten in this situation. Just a few minutes ago, he had been standing outside Ms. Lily's classroom before her next lesson started. His parents, John and Miranda, were talking to Ms. Lily about Joshua's terrible singing yesterday while he was shuffling away, clearing away all the snow beneath him until a little patch of ice replaced the snow. Then, his parents told him that he was going to see Mrs. Kjellberg, and he followed them without question, but he was upset that he wouldn't be in the same classroom as Katie. 

Now, he stood straight up as Mrs. Kjellberg continued to lecture him. "Every penguin has a song. Even you have a song somewhere in there. You just need to feel something so strong that you need to let it out by letting the whole world hear you! Now, what is your favorite feeling?"

Josh didn't have to think about it. "Happiness," he answered, trying to contain himself from dancing.

Mrs. Kjellberg nodded in approval. "Good. Now, let that feeling fill up inside you until you can no longer contain it. Let it out, and be spectacular!" Mrs. Kjellberg called out with her loud voice, throwing her head back, and raising her flippers into the air.

Josh smiled as he felt happiness run through him, and almost without trying, he let out his happiness the only way he knew how: dancing. Within seconds, the air was filled with the noise of his little feet clicking, and tapping against the ground.

Mrs. Kjellberg turned around, a look of disgust on her face. "What? What are you doing?" she asked.

Joshua looked up at her, still dancing. "I'm being spectac-you-lar!" he replied happily, unaware of the look of disapproval on his father's face. Mrs. Kjellberg sighed, and shook her head. Seeing that he was upsetting his teacher, Joshua stopped.

"Now," Mrs. Kjellberg said, "you want to meet a beautiful girl?"

Joshua nodded.

"You want to have an egg, and a child?"

"Mm hm." Josh nodded again.

"Then, sing!" Mrs. Kjellberg exclaimed angrily. "And do not move at all. No moving!"

Scared by her powerful voice, Joshua stood straight up, his flippers pressed against his sides. Closing his eyes, he felt the happiness envelope him once more, and though he longed to dance, he began to put the words of his Heartsong together. 

"She wound the thread around the pieceees of my broken heaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrt!"

Joshua's head flung back as the squawk erupted from his beak, and his throat began to hurt as he strained it, trying desperately to sing. 

"Stop!" Mrs. Kjellberg demanded. "Okay, back to the top! Remember what I said about feeling happiness fill up inside you?" 

Joshua nodded. 

"Feel that feeling. Feel it until you feel as if your whole body is going to explode all over the place, and the only way to prevent that is to let that feeling out in the most powerful song you can muster! Now," Mrs. Kjellberg stood behind Joshua, and placed the tips of her flippers on his shoulders, "throw your head back. Puff out your chest. That's it! There you go. Now, let it out. Now. Now. Nooooooooooooowwwwwwww!" Mrs. Kjellberg sang out.

Joshua stood there with his beak wide open, his head flung back, his chest puffed out as far as it could go, and his little flippers raised into the air. He could feel the happiness flooding through him, filling up his body. He could feel his little heart beating as if it yearned to release the song within. Josh could feel it. He could feel it! He took a deep breath...

T-t-t-tap, t-t-tap. T-t-t-tap, t-t-tap, tap. Josh felt his heartbeat in rhythm with the beat his little feet were creating. He continued to create the beat, throwing in an extra tap or a click every now, and then. As he danced, he could hear his voice singing the his Heartsong in his head.

"She wound the thread around the pieces of my broken heart, and left me to believe

 That girls don't wanna, girls don't wanna leave.

 A starry night

 Without a fear of heights...

 I can't recall,

 'Cause I learned after all

 That girls don't wanna, girls don't wanna fall.

 As you doze of tonight,

 I'll toss, and turn!

 As your sweet dreams take flight,

 I'll crash, and burn!

 While your heart flutters free,

 I still can't breathe!

 As you stir in your sleep,

 I hope you think of me!"

As the song echoed through his mind, Josh wished desperately that he could let the world hear it, and yearned for the first time that he could sing, but the best that the little penguin could do was to dance the beat that was inside him, and enjoy it.

 "I miss the way she whispered in my ear before she left.

 Had me so convinced that girls don't wanna, girls don't wanna leave.

 And Juliet's romantic balcony

 Wears out the wall,

 But I learned, after all,

 That girls don't wanna, girls don't wanna fall.

As you doze off tonight,

 I'll toss, and turn!

As your sweet dreams take flight,

 I'll crash, and burn!

 While your heart flutters free,

 I still can't breathe!

 As you stir in your sleep,

 I hope you think of me!

 When you're alone,

 I hope my ghost

 Never leaves.

 'Cause when I'm home,

 Your painful memory

 Is always haunting me. 

Joshua felt happiness close completely over him as he danced down the snowy little slope where Mrs. Kjellberg, and his parents were still standing, completely oblivious to their shocked faced, and the fact that he was dancing further, and further away from them. He just felt ready to erupt, and felt that he would never be able to rid of this feeling even if he danced forever.

"As you doze off tonight,

 I'll toss, and turn!

 As your sweet dreams take flight,

 I'll crash, and burn!

 While your heart flutters free,

 I still can't breath!

 As you stir in your sleep...

 The thought is killing me!

 When I see you around,

 My eyes go wide!

 When you race through my mind,

 I die inside!

 While your heart flutters free,

 I still can't breathe!

 As you stir in your sleep,

 I hope you think of me!

 Da da da da, da da daaaa.

 I hope you think of me!

 Da da da da, da da daaaa.

 I hope you think of me!

 Da da da da, da da daaaa.

 I hope you think of me!

 Da da da da, da da daaaa."

Slowly, Josh came to a stop, suddenly feeling all the energy wash away from him almost as quickly as it came. Finally coming out of his hippoty-hoppity trance, he realized that Mrs. Kjellberg was yelling in devestation from the top of the slope.

"No, no! I failed! How could I? How could I?"

Josh glanced at his parents, and shyed away from the hard glare that his father gave him, and waited while John and Miranda made their way down to him, leaving Mrs. Kjellberg to beat herself up... literally. All the feelings of happiness, and the feeling of being loved left Joshua as his father approached him, smacked him lightly on the back of the head, and gruffly said, "Come on." Sulking, Joshua followed, shuffling his feet in sadness.

After a few moments, John spoke again. "Son, what did I tell you about doing that?" he snapped.

"Don't be too hard on him, John. He just hasn't grown out of it yet," Miranda defended her son.

"But he can't just do that whenever he feels like it!" John raised his voice, almost yelling.

An idea dawned upon Joshua. "Hey, maybe since I can't go to school, I could go to work with you guys. It'll be the three of us!" he exclaimed.

His parents stopped, bringing him to a halt. "No. You're staying in school. You're going to get those singing muscles big, and strong. You understand that?"

Josh nodded sulkily. "Yes, Dad," he replied.

"Good, because no son of mine is going to stand around, flippin' his feet instead of singing." John finished his sentence with a huff before turning around, announcing, "I'm going fishing," and waddling away.

Josh stood beside his mother, and flicked his tail in anger. Why couldn't his father see that dancing made him happy? So what if he was different? Josh thought that being different was awesome.

Miranda sighed, and shook her head. "Oh, Joshua..." she whispered as if she was about to say something, but her voice trailed off. After a moment, she looked down at him, her eyes sad. "Go on back to Ms. Lily's class." Without waiting to see if her son went or not, she waddled slowly after John.

Joshua stood there for a moment, his heart filled with sadness, and pity for his mother. She seemed to understand him, but John was too stubborn to have a son who was different from the other penguins. Sighing, he turned around, and made his way back to Ms. Lily's class. When he got there, he stood at the back of the class again, and awkwardly met Ms. Lily's, and several of his classmates' gazes. Did they hear me, or see me earlier? Josh wondered, knowing that the snowy hill that was Mrs. Kjellberg's wasn't too far away. He could still hear her wailing about her failure with Joshua. 

Joshua didn't pay attention to anything in class, knowing that he couldn't participate in anything. Instead, he just stood there, and listened to his classmates sing together, although a little smile spread across his face when he heard Katie's voice rising above the rest, and did everything in his power not to give her a beat to sing to.

 "Look in these eyes.

 We know each other like

 Our own skin, and bones.

 We know the scars,

 How they got where they are 

 In places no one else knows. 

 If you call this love,

 Then show me some feeling.

 And if it all goes numb,

 Just keep on breathing.

I'll watch you falling from me.

 When you hit the ground, maybe you'll see

 The only way to fall is down. 

 And I'll be up in the stars.

 I'll be anywhere you are.

 Just say you need me, and I'll come down."

As the class turned in a slow circle in unison while they sang, Joshua caught a glimpse of Katie's pure white fluff at the front of the class, and his heart nearly skipped a beat when her eyes met his, and she looked at him with pity. At least somebody as empathy for me, Josh thought. Turning around, he gazed up at the blue sky above his head, and let himself get lost in daydreams.



Several days have passed since Joshua's meeting with Mrs. Kjellberg. He hasn't danced since, scared that his father would see him, and smack him again. Today, though, it was a free day. No one had to go to school, and his parents had gone fishing with some friends. So, Josh had found a trail that led up to the top of the icy cliffs that surrounded the valley that was the Emperor Kingdom. No one came up here. No one. It was perfect.

Josh stood on the cliff now, looking over the hundreds upon hundreds, maybe even thousands of penguins below him. No one had bothered him when he passed by them to find the path, and no one was looking for him. Josh backed away from the cliff until he was sure that he was out of sight, and turned his back on the valley. Then, he took a deep breath, and slowly felt the happiness that was unique to him flood through him, the energy rushing down to his feet. 

Slowly, he lifted up his foot, and tapped it on the ground, creating a satisfying click. Taking the other foot, he shuffled it through the snow, ending with his heel tapping against the ground. Feeling his heart begin to beat faster, Joshua lifted the other foot. T-tap, click. For the first time in days, Joshua felt genuinely happy, and he felt a smile spread across his beak. Shshshshsh tap, t-t-tap click, shshsh click. Tap tap tap, click. C-c-c-click tap. Josh shuffled, clicked, and tapped his feet through the snow, and on the ice, his heart racing in unison with his feet. He had never felt happier to be alone. Shhhh, tap tap, shhhh tap tap. Tap t-tap t-tap, t-tap tap click c-click. T-tap tap click, t-tap tap click, t-tap tap shh. T-t-tap tap tap, c-c-c-c-click sh tap. T-t-t-tap, t-t-tap shsh click. Tap shshsh click c-click tap t-tap-

"Whatcha doing?"

A sudden voice brought Joshua to an abrupt halt, and embarrassment flooded over him, embarrassed because he recognized the familiar, quiet voice. Slowly, Josh turned around, and sure enough, Katie was standing a few paces away, her blue eyes alight with amusement, and curiosity, and a slight smile on her face.

Joshua shrugged. "Nothin'," he replied, unsure of what else to say.

Katie blinked. "It sure doesn't look like nothing," she pointed out. 

Joshua felt his skin flush hot beneath his fluff, and was glad that Katie couldn't see him blushing. Katie glanced at Joshua's feet. "How do you do that?" she asked politely.

"Do what?" Josh wasn't sure if he should show Katie. She's never said anything about his dancing before, but didn't complain about it either, unlike the others. "This?" Slowly, he lifted his foot, and played a beat with his feet. T-t-tap tap, t-t-tap tap, t-t-tap tap click.

Katie tilted her head a bit, and lifted her foot slowly with a nervous look on her face, and created a rather uneven beat. Tap. Click t-tap. Tap.

Josh felt a flicker of friendliness for the first time in a long time, and was enthusiastic that Katie seemed to want to dance with him. "Here, copy me," he said. He lifted his foot, and slammed it on the ground with a loud tap. Katie copied. Josh lifted his foot again. T-tap. 

T-tap came the response. 

Josh smiled at her, and clicked his feet once more. Tap c-click.

Tap c-click.

Tap c-c-click.

 Tap c-c-click.

Joshua looked at Katie, almost surprised to see a smile on her face as she danced along with him. Deciding to do something a big more difficult, Joshua shuffled his feet through the snow. Tap shshsh, tap tap c-c-c-c-click. He froze, and waited for Katie to copy him. Slowly, she lifted her foot, giving Josh a challenging look. And then... Tap shshsh tap tap c-c-c-c-click.

Josh met her challenging, playful glare, and retaliated with an even longer dance. Shsh tap t-t-tap, tap t-t-tap, tap t-t-tap tap. C-c-click shshshshsh. Tap tap t-tap tap tap tap. Surprise flooded through Josh when Katie suddenly picked up the beat midway through, and copied it exactly as he did.

T-t-tap tap. C-c-click shshshshsh. Tap tap t-tap tap tap. Katie slammed her foot triumphantly on the ground, a smile spread across her face, and her eyes bright, and alive. As he began to dance again, Katie began to follow his movements exactly as he was, and before he knew it, they were synchronize dancing together. Tap tap click c-c-click. Click click shshshsh tap tap tap t-t-tap. Tap tap c-click tap. Tap tap t-tap c-click tap. Sh tap tap t-tap. After what felt like a year, Josh decided to give Katie a real challenge, a challenge that he knew she wouldn't be able to keep up with. Steadily, he began flailing his feet in the snow furiously until it was a storm of clicks, and taps.

C-c-c-t-c-c-t-t-t-t-c-c-t-t-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-c-t-t-t- Unbelievable! Katie was actually matching every one of Joshua's moves, click for click, and tap for tap! Josh watched as Katie danced along with him, looking as if she was having the time of her life. T-t-t-t-t-c-c-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-c-c-c-c-t-t-t-c-c-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-c-c-t-t-c-c-c-c-t-t-t-t-c-c-c-c-c-c-t-t-t-t-t-c-c-c-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-tap.

Together, the two little penguins slammed their feet on the ice, creating one loud, tap! They stood there for a moment, facing each other with smiles on their faces, and panting, almost exhausted from their furious dancing. 

Katie stood there, her chest rapidly rising, and lowering as she panted. She expected to feel tired, but no, she felt more alive than she's ever had! Her heart was racing as if it was ready to jump out of her chest, and start dancing on its own. She never imagined that dancing like this would be so... astounding! Thrilling! Fascinating! The list goes on, and on, and on. Katie stood there, just a few paces from Josh, and meeting his soft brown eyes, and he stared back. The smile on his face was the biggest Katie had seen in a long time, and she realized that she too was smiling after what seemed like forever. 

After a moment of catching breath, Josh suddeny began to dance once more. T-t-t-t-tap tap, t-t-t-tap tap tap. He froze, as if waiting for something. Realizing he was waiting for her to copy him, she did. T-t-t-t-tap tap, t-t-t-tap tap tap. They stood there for a moment again, just smiling. After another music-less moment, Josh began to dance the same beat again, but added more to it. T-t-t-t-tap tap, t-t-t-tap tap tap. T-t-tap tap, T-t-tap tap. Click tap tap tap, t-t-tap tap tap.

As the catchy beat came from Joshua's little feet, Katie felt pure happiness flood through her as if the world was suddenly brighter, and warmer. She found herself taking a deep breath, and before she knew it, she was adding music to Joshua's, dancing, and suddenly singing.

"I do my best to find some kind of glow.

 I'm givin' it some heart, and soul now

 From the darkest greys.

 The sun bursts! Clouds break!

 Yeah, we see that fire from the streets of Babylon

 To the road that we've been on now.

 The kaleidoscope claims another.

 Oh-oh-oh-ohhhh!

 Well, this is life in color!

 Today feels like no other!

 And the darkest grays...

 The sun bursts! Clouds break!

 Whoaa-oh-oh-ohhhh!

 Well, this is life in motion!

 And just when I could run this race no more,

 The sun bursts! Clouds break!

 This is life in color.

They were no longer standing still. Instead, Katie and Josh were dancing in circles, moving to the phenomenal music they have created with their feet, and Katie's voice.

You've seen my worst. Yet, you see some hope in me. 

 The black, and white set us free

 Like the queen to the rook.

 You're decision is a sure thing,

 Honey, yeah, a sure thing.

 No wonder I feel like I'm missing a heavy load.

 But no matter what daylight brings to us, 

 We all know...

 Whoaa-oh-oh-ohhhh!

 This is life in color!

 Today feels like no other!

 And the darkest grays...

 The sun bursts! Clouds break!

 Whoaa-oh-oh-ohhhh!

 Well, this is life in motion!

 And just when I couldn't run this race anymore,

 The sun bursts! Clouds break!

 This is life in color!

 This is life in color! 

As Katie sang, the beat created with her feet matched with the beat coming from Joshua's, and it was perfect for the song she was singing. As they spun, twisted, and tapped their feet, Katie could see a new light in Joshua's eyes, a light she had never seen before, and wondered if her eyes were as bright as his.

This is life in color.

 Today feels like no other.

 And the darkest grays...

 The sun bursts. Clouds break.

 Whoaa-oh-oh-ohhhh!

 Well, this is life in motion!

And just when I couldn't run this race anymore,

 The sun bursts! Clouds break!

 This is life in color!

 This is life in color!

Katie's beautiful voice sang out above the ice, yet no one could hear her except for Josh, who danced along side her as they shuffled through the snow together. Never before in their short lives had they ever felt happier. 

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