Author's Note: I'm evil, hehe. . . .Ignore that random remark, but at any rate, due to the fact that I had at least one person spaz out after reading my story (you know who you are) I decided that maybe I should write a sequel. Or at least something to tie up loose ends. I also decided to write another MD:TAS story because I actually pulled off that other one rather quickly, and that made me very happy. The ducks are easy characters to grasp, what can I say? Booya!... Okay, I'm just being random now, on to the fanfic! (Which will have a title by the time you read it!)
Another Author's Note: Okay, I lied. I'm just going to explain why I had so much profanity in my last fanfic. =P They were tired and weren't thinking. Usually they wouldn't curse like that, but after a few days of little or no sleep, wouldn't you be disagreeable? (People literally can experience short-term mental illness if they don't sleep enough. . . And their personalities go out of whack, which is why Nosedive freaked out so much. See, there's a method to my madness!) Lol, NOW onto the fanfic!
Author's third note: . . . Okay, so I lied *AGAIN*. I noticed something about the Mighty Ducks, and I felt like I had to share it with you so that you all knew. Wildwing and Nosedive *DO* sleep in the same room. O.O;; Look closely at the episodes "A Traitor Among Us" and "Return of Asteroth" for proof. In the first ep mentioned, Wildwing says Lucretia can use his bunk to sleep and they show the room when she opens the door. In the second mentioned episode, you see Nosedive's room after he goes to read a comic
book and he's contacted by Borg through it. (Spelling's right, I think. . .)
They are the *SAME* room! Therefore, Nosedive and Wildwing sleep in the same room, because it would be so 'uncool' for Nosedive to hang around in Wildwing's room when he has his own. Simple logic, don't you think? . . . Now, onto the fanfic! (FINALLY!)
Author's warning: This fanfic is LOOOONNNNNNNNNNNGGGGG! And it's going to have multiple chapters, yeah! I might also edit chapters once I get further along with this fanfic, maybe add in a scene or two. We'll just have to wait and see.
When I first woke up, before I was fully aware of my surroundings, the fear for my brother's safety assaulted my senses. The last thing I remembered was pushing him out of the way and taking the truck straight on . . .I was afraid that I hadn't gotten to him in time and that he was dead, and I would wake up to only hear that he was gone forever.
But it was then that I heard Duke and Grin arguing about how Nosedive wouldn't be able to survive without me. . . And I knew he was alive. But my elation at that discovery didn't last long, as Duke promptly pointed out that Nosedive needs me and that he would die without me.
Somehow, I shouldn't have been very surprised, but I was. I never really thought about the relationship with my brother in that way, probably because I had never allowed myself to. I wanted to have the knowledge that I could die for my brother and he would live on, to have a safe and happy life.
Now I know it could never be that way, not for many, many years. I wouldn't be able to die for him until he had his own family, his own wife and children and even then, the pain of losing me might still kill him.
What was I supposed to do, though? LET my brother die?? I couldn't, the guilt would've been too much! At least I knew I had some chance of surviving being slammed to the pavement. He didn't -- he's so little. I couldn't let my baby bro' die before he had even truly lived. I mean, he may be late in his teens, but he's still a kid. I'm not. He's got a lot more to live for than I do. I've lived longer, and it just wouldn't feel right if Nosedive left this world before I did -- before we even got back home.
I had to give Nosedive the best chance for survival. We have to protect the future, don't we? He's got a raw talent that can't be replaced, and he's come through for us so many times. . .
. . . No, no, that's not it. The real reason I saved him was for me. I was selfish. I didn't want to watch my brother die and I shoved him out of the way without thinking about how he would handle my death. I didn't care, I just didn't want to have to go through life knowing my baby bro' died because I wanted him to come with me so badly when Canard sprung us out of the camps. It would've been completely my fault and I would have never been able to live with myself. I probably would have killed myself the second we got back to the Pond with Nosedive's body. Does he even know that I need him just as much as he needs me?
The look on his face when he realized that I had made it was priceless; Nosedive had never been happier. The look of relief was complete and genuine. . . I thought that only I could worry like I do, but as they say you learn by example. He probably saw me fretting over him one too many times. Bad habits start early, I guess.
People have always been commenting on how close the two of us are. We're pretty lucky -- It's not always you find a pair of brothers that mutually like to hang out together. It's a shame that brotherhood so extremely close is so hard to find. But I got to admit, I'd rather have it no other way. Hell, I can't even imagine life without Nosedive, and I'm sure he can't imagine life without me.
Nosedive has the uncanny ability to make me laugh, I'm serious. Usually he doesn't do it around the others, and I'm grateful for that, because if I laugh really hard, I snort. . . Something I don't want the others to know. I'd be the butt of their jokes for a week, probably longer. But at least 'Dive has the same weakness, so I don't have to worry about him exposing my secret to the others. Every time I tease him that I might tell the others, he whacks me over the head with a pillow.
Kinda reminds me of the pillow fight we had when he was five. . . It resulted with me accidentally knocking him unconscious. Kinda hard to forget a time where you cried so hard you could barely breathe. God, I thought he was dead! He woke up a few minutes later while I was holding his body to my chest and asked me if I needed a hug. Heh, I think that's one of the only time, if the only time, that I've cried in front of my brother. I bet he doesn't even remember it.
I was told from the beginning that I had to be a good role-model for him. You should've seen how immaculate my room was after I was told that. It literally shined. And I was doing so many chores around the house that I was asked to be a little less helpful, because it's rather scary when a little kid never plays or enjoys himself. Nosedive would never let me hear the end of it if he found out about that entire episode. It still embarrasses me.
Nosedive's grown so much these last few years that it hurts. He doesn't need me half as much as he used to, and he rarely needs to be calmed down from having nightmares anymore. We used to be attached at the hip, with him always following me around like a lost puppy looking for someone to take care of it. He always came to me when he was scared or upset, and he looked up to me with huge, innocent eyes. How could I not love someone that never grew tired of me? He wasn't annoying like most other little brothers like that are, he was nice and quiet, never getting in-between me and my friends. Kinda strange, Nosedive and quiet?Yeah . . . That sure was a long time ago.
Although it's kinda comforting, the thought that he can't live without me, on some basic, selfish level. It helps me get up in the morning knowing that I have to wake up Nosedive so he's ready for practice on time and that he always rants about his days to me. Well, not always, but almost. He doesn't bother me with the bad days unless they're really bad and he's feeling depressed. Which isn't often, thank God, it hurts me to ever see him upset, and even worse when it's because of me. But that doesn't happen very often either, which I'm very thankful for as well.
My little brother's growing up, becoming an adult before my very eyes. He's constantly in life-or-death situations, where one wrong move could have left him cold and dead. We had our share of close calls, Nosedive just barely making it out alive in some cases. But through it all, his good cheer and humor has remained steadfast. Sometimes I think his jokes are a mask to his true feelings, but other times they're the true him. There's more to him than one would see on first glance. . . You would have to look closely to finally see it all. He's very responsible for his age and very brave -- any other kid his age would have ran at the first sign of trouble. But Nosedive . . . He doesn't and I know he never will. It's just that he's that way, that certain unique type of half-boy, half-adult combination with a talent and a will behind him. He knows, when everything's on the line, to be serious, even if his serious is only cracking a joke every few minutes. He knows his place on the team, and what I expect of him, even if he sometimes disobeys orders.
However, something tells me that he doesn't know how important he is to the group, how irreplaceable he is. As hard as it is for me to admit, there's more than one type of person like Canard, many that could lead just as well as him. But there's only a few people like Nosedive, and many of them probably died rebelling against the Saurians. Nosedive probably would have died doing the same thing, but he restrained himself, knowing that it would kill me if he died so pointlessly like that. What could one kid do against an entire empire without any means to fight back, and no experience in the art of fighting? He would have died and I would probably still be fretting over how he was, wondering if he ever made it out of the camps alive. And when I would've gotten the answer, it would've killed me. . . My life would have been build around the hope that he still lived and it would've destroyed me when I found out that my hope had been for naught.
He's really brought this team together, with all of us wanting to protect him and make sure that he's having the best life he possibly can while we're here. And his antics keep us from becoming too gloomy and depressed, making sure that we look to the future with hope. There's so much he brings with his laughter.
The others have become more than a little bit attached to him. Duke basically considers him as a little brother himself, the 'kid' that gets us through the day and sometimes needs to be protected. He's Grin's 'little friend' that keeps his head from becoming lost in the clouds and their arguments over that bear always bring a smile to everyone's face. And Tanya enjoys the fact that Nosedive's a very fast learner and has shown interest in what she does, even helping her in building or repairing inventions of hers. Even Mallory cares for him, despite the fact that she says that she wants to kill him at least four times a day.
It's strange. . . Before when Canard was leader, before he. . . disappeared into that void, we were all just a team, nothing more. Nosedive was too afraid to be himself around that duck, afraid that Canard might kick him off the team and send him back to the camps where he would die. He knew that I can't stand being separated from him in such dire conditions. I think he wanted to be there for me and for himself.
But when I took over, he let his true self show, or at least showed more of who he really was. He tried everything to make us smile, to make us realize that there was more to life than capturing Dragaunus, although that was on our list of top priorities. Somehow, every once in a while I just get this feeling that if he hadn't of come, we would've never learned how to relax and enjoy life again. After all, what is the point of winning a war if you forget how to truly live? Maybe he was a distraction from our objective, but he was necessary. He gave us the last component, the most important component to our team diagram.
Nosedive gave us trust. Without him, Duke and Mallory would be at each other's throats, and I would've been unable to lead the group like Canard wanted me to do. I did it all for my little brother, I just couldn't stand there and let him die because I couldn't lead! I had to grow up, to become the best leader I could be then and there. There was no allowance for self-pity and self-loathing. Nosedive knew I blamed myself about what happened to Canard, and I still do, but he reminds me time and time again that it was probably the best case scenario. We wouldn't have been half as efficient as we are now if Canard was leading, even though I hate to admit it. He was just a leader, nothing more. He was the only tie between everyone, the only link.
The team is much different now. We have ties that bind, that intercross between each and every one of us. Heck, half the time I don't even need to give orders anymore, because the others know what to do and what they're best at. We look out for each other, cover each others' backs. Duke mentioned something about another duck being on the team before me, another duck that had died only a few months after the team was formed. We've been going for around a year and not one of us has died yet. We've come close to loosing ducks sometimes, but we've never lost one yet. It's because we try so hard to protect each other and we believe in each other. Mallory might have a bit of a problem with doubting the others, but that's ten times better than she was a year ago. She's almost civil at times now. Mal just needs to learn how to relax a bit more and she could basically be a civilian. And she'd kill me if she ever knew I thought that.
She won't admit it, ever, but she's fiercely overprotective of Nosedive, which is why she's probably so hard on him -- Mallory just doesn't want him to get hurt because he did something stupid. That, and I think she gets mad at herself for worrying so much when he gives into his impulses during a battle and comes out untouched. I know I worry. She's just not used to being close to people, I guess. In another year, she'll be laughing her tailfeathers off at Nosedive's antics. . . Ehhhhhhhh, probably not, but you never know.
We're not just a team -- we're family. And pretty close one, if you ask me. Sometimes, family doesn't need to be of your blood. There's no other way I can describe the relationship we all share with each other, a sharing of a deep-rooted trust that only few ducks ever discover in their entire lifetimes. We look out for each other and never leave our wounded behind. We laugh together, share our ups and downs together, and train together. We've gotten use to having to share bathrooms and our schedules shift to accommodate for the rest of the ducks. We'd even die for each other without a second thought.
Isn't that the definition of family?
It doesn't really matter, either way. All I really know is that I'm proud to be the team captain of the Mighty Ducks.
A figure quietly sneaked through the lower levels of the Pond, and it knew them well. It crept along a hallway before jumping around the corner, looking warily about. The being knew it would never get what it sought if it was caught, so the being tried its best to remain quiet.
Which was when it tripped over the video controller in front of the huge screen television and fell down noisily.
It looked around quickly, rubbing its head, seeing if anyone had seen it. The coast was clear, seemingly. So the being got up and started walking towards its destination.
The figure passed by Drake One without a second glance and into the kitchen.
A smile spread across its face as it saw its goal: the refrigerator.
It reached for the handle and then. . .
The lights flipped on and it covered its eyes, wincing.
There was an audible click as the creature found itself on the service end of a puckblaster, its owner cocking it threateningly in both hands.
The possessor was the youngest of the Mighty Ducks, a blonde teenager named Nosedive. He shouted at the being, not even registering who it was.
"Put your hands up, jerkfa- . . . Wildwing?!" Nosedive blinked twice and slowly lowered his puckblaster, confused.
Wildwing smiled guiltily. "Uhm. . . Hi baby bro', nice weather we're having, isn't it?"
His younger brother sighed and shook his head, replacing his puckblaster and changing back to his civilian clothes with the button on his comlink before frowning slightly as he place a hand on his hip.
"I thought Tanya confined you to two weeks of bed rest."
"Uhm . . . Well . . . Yeah, she did." Wildwing shrugged, still smiling guiltily.
"Then what are you doing up?" Nosedive asked, eyebrow raised.
"I was kinda hungry and was going to grab a bite to eat. . ." He explained rather lamely, trailing off.
"I thought you were supposed to com me if you needed anything." Nosedive replied, grinning inwardly, having caught his own brother disobeying someone's orders for a change.
Wildwing blushed faintly at that.
"I thought you would be asleep . . ."
His brother sighed and shook his head.
"You know that I stay up late and that we share a room! Wildwing, Wildwing, Wildwing -- What am I going to do with you?"
"Make me a sandwich?" The older duck half-heartedly offered.
Nosedive suddenly had the strange urge to tell Wildwing that he wouldn't before realizing he'd only get up again.
"AFTER we get you back in bed, before Tanya finds out you're not resting and blows a gasket." Nosedive snickered, turning Wildwing around and pushing the duck back towards the dormitories.
"I can't even take a shower?" Wildwing asked, reluctant to go back to bed.
"Nope! Straight off to bed for you, mister!" He punched in the password to their room and proceeded to push his brother inside.
"You sound like me." Wildwing laughed weakly, sliding back into bed while Nosedive watched his every move.
Nosedive blanched, looking horrified. "You mean I'm going to become like you when I grow up?!"
Wildwing chuckled, looking up at his brother while he laid his head on his pillow.
"You make it sound like it's a bad thing. . ."
"It is in my case, but that's not important. What do you want on your sandwich?"
"Ohh . . . Do I HAVE to put on the green olives?" Nosedive asked, making a face.
". . . Dive, I don't *LIKE* green olives." He blinked, confused.
His brother laughed, nodding.
"I know, I know! Just had to make sure you're still in your right mind." Dive grinned and winked, patting Wing on the shoulder before he walked out of the room.
"I'll be back in a minute, just don't starve to death while I'm gone!"
His brother laughed lightly.
"Don't worry, I will!"
Nosedive looked quickly back into the room, winking again.
Wildwing smiled, letting his eyes drift closed. How strange it had all become since he had woken up. Nosedive was taking care of him instead of the other way around, scolding him, waiting after him -- the whole nine yards. . . He wanted to dreadfully get out of bed, even though Tanya said he should rest so he didn't relapse. He never knew how BORING staying in bed all day could be! But . . . it was kind of nice having someone else doing all the worrying for a change.
Soon his thoughts began to drift as he fell back into peaceful dreams.
Nosedive smiled softly as he looked back into the room, fully expecting that Wildwing would have drifted off back to sleep in the exact same fashion he had. His brother was still easily worn out, and was sleeping more than half the day. But it didn't matter. Wildwing was back and that was all that counted.
He found himself smiling wistfully, laughing softly as he shook his head. Really, he was starting to sound like Wildwing, worried to death about him. But at least he had good reason to be worried, afraid that Wildwing might collapse anytime, like he did the first day he came out of the infirmary, on his way to his room. . . No, no. Nosedive refused to think about that, shaking his head quickly to dispel the unpleasant thoughts.
Sighing, he walked into the room and pulled up Wildwing's covers, so that he wouldn't get cold -- something that, even at his age, Wildwing did for his little brother. Either way, it was Nosedive's turn to take care of Wildwing and he had to make sure his brother didn't hurt himself while he was recovering. Not an easy task, mind you. The others would help, of course, but it was going to be mostly up to Nosedive to watch over Wildwing.
Somehow, he didn't really mind watching over his older brother all that much. He would've done it anyways, afraid that Wildwing might hurt himself. Wildwing got bored easily just like his brother did. And it was sorta fun to scold one's big bro'. He enjoyed it, definitely. And it clearly amused the others, especially Duke who also enjoyed play the "older brother" -- until Wildwing threw his pillow at him and Duke laughed, running out of the room before Wildwing decided to throw harder things at him. However, even that didn't stop Duke from having his fun.
Wildwing would always have to do something; he couldn't sit still unless he was doing something worthwhile. Which usually meant doing something with Nosedive, and subsequently, Nosedive found himself having less and less time for. . . Well, himself. They would talk for hours on end until they exhausted every topic or until Wildwing drifted off to sleep, which was often because he was still in recovery. Nosedive had never realized how animated Wildwing could be when he was discussing a subject that he enjoyed immensely.
But Wildwing was quiet now, breathing softly and evenly as he slept. Nosedive sighed, sitting down on the bed next to his brother and cautiously touched Wildwing's cheek with the back of his fingers. The older duck merely mumbled softly in his sleep and stirred slightly, causing Nosedive to pull his hand quickly away from Wildwing's face. Watching the duck intensely for a few moments, the boy relaxed when he was convinced that his brother was still asleep.
How many times had Wildwing sat by his side, like this, at night? Once a month, once a week? More than that? Nosedive knew that he himself was a heavy sleeper, and that Wildwing would have no problem sneaking the few feet in between their bunks to sit at his brother's side. It wouldn't be hard at all.
He had a feeling that Wildwing did it quite often, actually. But Nosedive really didn't mind; his brother needed to watch over him every once in a while. After all that happened to them, after the Saurians attacked their home world, Nosedive could at least allow his brother that. He could allow his brother to watch him sleep without the nightmares that he had experienced in the camps. Nosedive owed Wildwing the knowledge that his brother could now sleep in peace and no longer woke up screaming in the middle of the night, every night. Now, it happened perhaps once a month, if even that much. As long as Wildwing was near him, Nosedive rarely had nightmares. Take Wildwing away and Nosedive's screams would wake up the pond -- The exact reason as to why he and his brother shared a room.
It gave Wildwing a sense of comfort, a sense that he was needed by Nosedive. They slept in different quarters in the camps, divided by ages. Wildwing could never comfort him when he needed him the most. But when Canard busted them out. . . He could be there for Nosedive anytime he was needed, especially after those nightmares. They began to decrease immediately after they were freed, and had completely stopped after the first few months on Earth. They had stopped because Nosedive felt safe with his older brother around. He knew that Wildwing would be there when he cried out for him, and that helped him defeat the nightmares. Nosedive knew that Wildwing would never let any of them come true without a fight.
It wasn't until the time they attacked the Master Tower back on Puckworld that Nosedive realized he was no longer the defenseless little boy he used to be. He realized his own potential and abilities for the first time. He learned how to use the Aerowing in under an hour where it took other ducks years. Nosedive had two ducks to protect him, is what he realized. He had Wildwing. . . and himself.
And when Nosedive no longer had nightmares, Wildwing no longer needed to comfort him all the time. However, since then, the two brothers were closer than they had ever been before. Nosedive still needed Wildwing, they both knew that, but Wildwing was comforted in the fact that his little brother no longer needed to suffer at night. Which is why he stayed up, just watching; he wanted to make sure that all that had happened was not a lie. Nosedive's still form told him that it was all true, and that Puckworld was free from the tyranny of Dragaunus. It told him that his little brother was safe, with him, and still alive and well. Nosedive was happy and healthy, which was what Wildwing had always wanted the most, and why he always had to make sure that his life wasn't a dream. Too many false hopes and dreams had been shattered, and a part of him probably still didn't believe all of this was possible. The presence of his little brother confirmed all of it to be true, and reminded Wildwing of why he was the one leading the team.
It was a startling realization on Nosedive's part, one that left him speechless as he stroked his brother's cheek gently, staring down at the sleeping mallard below him. It was one realization that left him tired, and he found his more coherent thoughts slipping away as sleep started to overcome him once more. He smiled softly at his brother's sleeping form and yawned, walking out of the room and leaving the door open, a thought suddenly occurring to him about how to keep Wildwing from sneaking out at night.
A minute later, Nosedive returned dragging a sleeping bag behind him with one hand, grabbing his pillow off of his bed with the other. He threw them down next to Wildwing, closing and locking the door before he plopped down onto them.
Wildwing had somehow snuck out of the room they shared without Nosedive noticing, numerous times, and he wasn't going to let Wildwing do that again. Obviously, it would be much harder if Wildwing accidentally stepped on him when he got out of bed. There was only so many things that Nosedive could sleep through and being stepped on wasn't one of them. He couldn't help but laugh quietly at that thought, a smile coming to his face. Wildwing wouldn't sneak out if the risk of waking up his brother was too great. Just to make sure, Nosedive dimmed the lights so that Wildwing couldn't see him sleeping on the floor and merely step over him. No, that would ruin the entire point of sleeping on the floor at the side of his brother's bunk.
Staring up at Wildwing, Nosedive merely sat there for a few minutes, his train of thought slowly unravelling as another few brain cells were claimed by sleep. Finally, he found overwhelming and he got into the sleeping bag, zipping himself up and getting comfortable before taking one last look at his brother.
"'Night, 'Wing. . ." Nosedive mumbled quietly just before sleep claimed him entirely, his head falling gently onto the pillow.
A couple hours later, Wildwing was awaken by the rumbling of his stomach. Looking at the clock, he became confused. How could he already be so hungry when Nosedive made him a sandwich?
He then realized that Nosedive never did make him a sandwich. Letting loose a groan, he slapped his forehead. Wildwing should've known that his little brother was planning something when he said that Wildwing should wait for his sandwich in bed. . . Nosedive knew his brother would fall back asleep almost instantly.
However, that theory died the second Wildwing turned to glare at his brother's sleeping form. His narrowed eyes widened as he looked, horrified, at Nosedive's empty bunk.
Thoughts of what horrible things could have happened to his brother raced through his mind, and he didn't even stop to consider that Nosedive might have been just getting a late-night snack.
". . .God, no. . . NOSEDIVE!" Wildwing jumped out of bed, fear clutching at his heart.
He promptly put one of his feet down onto Nosedive's stomach, instantly waking the younger mallard.
Nosedive let out a cry of pain and sat up quickly, causing Wildwing to loose his balance and fall over onto the floor with a shout. Dive winced and looked around wildly before realizing that Wildwing had merely stepped on him. Despite the pain, the boy managed to grin at his confused brother.
"Heh, caught you trying to sneak out." Nosedive laughed weakly, rubbing his stomach. "Thought you could get away without me noticing, eh. . . ?"
Wildwing didn't reply, instead grabbing his brother into a tight hug that nearly choked Nosedive.
"Gah! 'Wing!" He struggled a bit, and then sighed, relaxing. "'Wing, what's wrong?"
Wildwing let go of his little brother, just holding him by his shoulders as a blush came to his cheeks.
"Didn't see you in your bed. . ." Wildwing stated, embarrassed.
"You weren't supposed to realize I wasn't in my bed." Nosedive smiled weakly. "You weren't supposed to freak out like that either. Geez, 'Wing, you must be more tired than we both thought."
"Y-yeah, obviously. . ." Wildwing returned the weak smile. "Sorry about stepping on you. What were you doing there, anyway?"
Nosedive huffed a bit.
"What did it look like? I was making sure you didn't sneak out again without me knowing! Even I can't sleep through someone stepping on me." Nosedive winced a bit. "But next time, can you try to make sure you don't step on me so hard?"
Wildwing laughed and nodded to his brother.
"-Wing, Dive, what's going on?!"
The two ducks squinted their eyes as the lights came on, the other ducks looking worried from the door frame.
"I accidentally stepped on Nosedive." Wildwing grinned, looking guilty.
"Oh." Mallory blushed as the other ducks behind her laughed softly. "We thought you were under attack or something."
". . . Speaking of being under attack, I thought I locked the door. . ." Nosedive mumbled sleepily, rubbing his eyes and shying away from the overhead light.
Duke grinned and waved his electronic lockpicks.
"Oh, that explains it. . ." Nosedive glared at Duke, not liking the light one bit and fully blaming the eldest member of the team for his temporary blindness.
"Eheh. . ." Duke grinned stupidly and shut off the light.
"Thank you!" Nosedive muttered getting up and walking over to his bed, Wildwing letting go of his shoulders. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed. Good NIGHT!"
Wildwing grinned at his brother, watching the other duck get settled into his bed before turning to the others.
"Sorry about that, 'Dive was just trying to make sure I didn't sneak out of my room again-- Erk!" He covered his beak, realizing he just let the fact that he had been out of bed slip.
"Wildwing . . ."
"Yeah, yeah, I know!" Wildwing sighed, then added another comment against his better judgement. "I was hungry!"
"You're not supposed to be moving around!" Tanya countered, hands on her hips. "You're supposed to be resting! I said you were confined to bed rest!"
"But. . . But I was hungry!" He countered again, unable to come up with another argument, and the others snickered.
Tanya let out a long, frustrated sigh.
"We're going to have to strap you down if you keep this up, you know that, right?"
"You wouldn't do that to your team captain, would you?" Wildwing asked hopefully.
From the mischievous grins that crossed Tanya's, Duke's, and Mallory's faces, that answer was a resounding yes.
Wildwing sighed in defeat.
"Alright, Alright! I'm going back to bed."
Tanya smiled happily, knowing she had won the argument.
"Good!" She made sure that he had gotten back into his own bed before they all left, shutting the door behind them.
Wildwing sighed yet again.
". . . I'm still hungry."
"Yeah, baby bro'?" The duck looked over to his brother.
"Go. To. Sleep. PLEASE!"
Sighing, Wildwing closed his eyes and let himself drift off again.
"Ugh, it's impossible to keep Wildwing in bed!" Tanya groaned, slapping herself in the forehead.
She was sitting with the other ducks at the table during breakfast, sans Wildwing and Nosedive.
"Can't really blame him; he's not used to having to sit on one place. He's used to chasing his kid brother around to keep him out of trouble."
Mallory rolled her eyes before nodding to Tanya.
"I'm really starting to think that we might actually have to strap him down."
"Nah. . . Better not do that, Nosedive would taunt him to no end." He added, and Mallory laughed as well.
"And so would you." She added, and Duke smiled innocently.
"I wouldn't do that, would I?"
Tanya shook her head, before addressing the others.
"So what are we going to do about him? We obviously need to do something before he hurts himself again."
"He's bored." Grin stated simply and the others turned to look at him.
Nosedive snorted as he walked into the kitchen and got out a box of sugary cereal, actually coherent in the morning for a change. How could he keep Wildwing out of trouble if he couldn't even pour the milk into his cereal properly?
"I could've told you that."
"Then why didn't you?" Mallory asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Because I was asleep, duh!" He replied, grinning to her before rummaging in the fridge for the milk.
Mallory glared at his back as Tanya and Duke both shook their heads.
"So, how do you propose we keep Wildwing from getting bored?" Duke looked to Nosedive.
"Well, he likes books, but I think he's too bored to be entertained by them. . . I think he wants to do something with another person." Dive replied thoughtfully, thinking hard.
"Like what?" Tanya prompted.
"Well . . . We've played a few videogames together before, and he really likes those two-player quest games."
Mallory laughed at the thought.
"Oh like that's going to work!"
Dive glared at her, pouring his milk.
"I'm serious Mal, he likes those kind of games! Especially when I play with him!"
She looked skeptical.
"Really! He just doesn't like people to know that, 'cause it kinda hurts his image, you know? C'mon, at least we can try it!" Nosedive stated.
A thunk sounded from the hall, followed by a string of curses.
". . . You know, at this point, I'm willing to try anything." Tanya groaned, burying her face in her hands.
"You know, Wildwing, it would've been easier to keep you in bed if you had just broken your foot when you stubbed it." Duke stated with a laugh, helping Nosedive set up the game system the boy had brought into his and Wildwing's room.
"Ha. Ha." Wildwing replied, still a little flustered about the fact he managed to stub his toe on Tanya's toolbox. He was especially flustered since she left in front of his room to purposely trip him up should he try to sneak out again.
"You know, you wouldn't have stubbed your foot in the first place had you stayed in bed." Nosedive added cheerfully, grinning at his not-so-happy brother.
"Wing's only crabby because he doesn't like staying in one place." He continued, grinning wider as he addressed Duke. "He acted just like this after the time he broke his leg back on Puckworld."
Duke looked to him.
"How'd you keep him from getting loose?"
Nosedive grinned evilly.
"We taped him to his bed."
"You did not!" Wildwing frowned and Nosedive laughed.
"We thought about it." He replied with a wink.
". . . What exactly are you two doing, anyways?" The white-feathered duck asked, now curious, sitting up and glancing over the side of his bed to get a better look.
"Setting up the game system." Nosedive replied in a matter of fact tone.
Nosedive's brother crossed his arms and gave him one of those '*AHEM*' looks.
"I thought we agreed that it wasn't going to stay in our room."
He waved a hand.
"Yeah, yeah, we did. This is just temporary. 'Sides, this is for you anyways!"
"Oh?" Wildwing raised an eyebrow at his brother, looking quite sceptical.
"Remember those type of games you like? Those two-player games?" Dive didn't give Wildwing a chance to reply. "Well, we rented a ton of them for the two of us to try out, so you don't get so bored!"
The elder brother raised both of his eyebrows in surprise.
"Yep, really. Even rented Gauntlet Legends! And we hooked up Drake One so it would feed into the TV so we could play Diablo II together as well. It's pretty cool, Tanya was able to rig it up so that we each have a half of the screen for our own character." Nosedive laughed, giving Wildwing a thumbs up before going back to setting up the game console.
"But don't we have to play it over the net, baby bro'? Or at least through an internal connection?"
"Yeah, but you know how powerful Drake One is! It can handle two copies at once, and Tanya and I designed this special little program that acts like the computer has its own Ethernet. Awesome, huh?" Dive ranted on.
Wildwing didn't tell many people, but he was a sucker for two-player fantasy games, especially GOOD two-player fantasy games. Not to mention that Nosedive obviously had gone to a lot of trouble to set up everything so that Wildwing didn't have to leave the room. It was a temptation he couldn't resist. He'd been dying to play Diablo II, something he would NEVER admit to on his life, but he really wasn't all that interested in playing it by himself. . . . But if Nosedive wanted to play. . .
Nosedive blinked and looked at Wildwing, a bit put out that his brother hadn't replied instantly.
"Forget the console, let's just play Diablo."
His brother laughed and stuck his tongue out at Duke.
"Told ya he wouldn't want the game console after he hear that we could play Diablo II together!" He held out his hand as well, expectantly.
Duke muttered and handed over a crisp one-hundred dollar bill.
"You bet on what I would be more interested in?" Wildwing asked, resisting a laugh.
Nosedive nodded, his shoulders shaking with his laughter as he doubled over, unable to stand up anymore.
Duke glared at the boy, watching him as he rolled around on the floor with laughter.
"I swear, kids these days. . . They'll rob you out of house and home!" He threw his hands into the air and walked out as Wildwing joined Nosedive in laughter.
"Duke, it was only one-hundred bucks. How many more do you have in the bank? A million??" Dive called after him, as Wildwing continued to howl.
"Oh hush up!" Duke called back, causing Nosedive to spasm with laughter again.
Mallory buried her face in her hands, groaning, able to hear the two all the way in the recreation room.
"Well, at least we know that Wildwing's feeling better." Tanya sighed, patting Mallory's shoulder sympathetically.
"And I'll be coming down with a headache shortly, I'm sure." Mallory replied with a growl.
The two brothers ended their day with a movie, which they had, after much debate, chosen to be The Secret of NIMH. As the movie began, both of the young ducks had been sitting separately, on Wildwing's bed, but as time had moved on Nosedive had leaned into Wildwing, resting his head on the shoulder of his older brother. And slowly, his eyelids began to droop as he paid more attention to the warmth of Wildwing's shoulder than he did to the going-ons of the movie.
Wildwing smiled as he finally heard the soft sound of snoring next to him. He wrapped an arm around Nosedive's shoulders and pulled his sleeping form closer. The boy snuggled into his brother unconsciously, sighing happily as his body relaxed.
His older brother was more than a bit surprised that Nosedive has succumbed to sleep before he did, knowing the boy was used to staying up late. So why was today any different?
In the end Wildwing decided that he didn't care and was just content to have Nosedive curled up beside him, safe and sound. He nuzzled Nosedive's beak with his own, smiling wider as the boy muttered about food. Typical, but it was one more sign that told him everything would be back to normal soon. And for that, he was glad.
It was as welcome as Nosedive's laughter. For the first few days after Wildwing woke up, Nosedive didn't laugh like he usually would. It was true that he did laugh, but it seemed devoid of the energy that always seemed to surround Nosedive and it never reached his eyes.
"I scared you pretty bad, didn't I, baby bro'? You were so afraid that you were going to lose me, weren't you?" He whispered softly, sighing as he ran his fingers through his brother's hair. "You know I had to try and save you, though. 'Cause you knew I had a possibility of survival while you didn't. You understand don't you, baby bro'? Don't you?"
Wildwing shook his head and hugged Nosedive closer as he gently picked the boy up, swaying as he rose unsteadily to his feet. Slowly he made his way to the other side of the room, silently thanking Tanya that she had made the bunks with adjustable heights, so that Wildwing didn't have to stand on his toes to get Nosedive onto his bunk. Instead, he was able to lower the bunk with a switch so that he could easily lay his brother down.
He smiled again as he placed his brother's head onto the pillow, pulling the up the covers so Nosedive would be warm. Once that he was sure that his brother would not awaken, he let himself sit down beside his brother, just watching him, not knowing that Nosedive had done the exact same thing the night before.
The duck sighed again after a minute of staring at his brother and gently lifted a hand to run it through the boy's hair once more. It was then he remembered that the movie was still playing, so he used the controller to turn it, and the TV, off. He stared at the blank screen, letting his mind wander.
Nosedive muttered indistinctly and stirred a bit before settling down again, causing his brother to glance back at him. Wildwing pulled the covers tighter around his brother's sleeping form, watching him tenderly. He then began to stroke through the boy's hair once more.
"Wildwing?" The door to their room opened with a soft hiss and Mallory cautiously peered inside. "Are you still awake?"
Wildwing looked up at Mallory just in time to see her frown as she took in which bed he was seated on. She placed her hands on her hips, looking so much like a scolding Tanya that it caused Wildwing to briefly wonder if Mallory was actually taking lessons from the other female duck. His bemused thoughts were interrupted when Mallory finally spoke.
"You're supposed to be confined to bed-rest." She sighed, rubbing her temples as she walked over to him and he began to reply, but she interrupted him.
"In your bed." She added before he could say another word and he frowned.
"Dive sleeps better in his own bunk." Wildwing replied, and he looked at the sleeping teenager once again. "And he would've been embarrassed had he woken up in my bed."
"Wildwing. . .!" Mallory let out a moan as she buried her face in the hand that she had used to rub her temples.
"I know, I know!" He sighed, turning to look at her seriously. "I'm not allowed to lift anything above twenty pounds. But what was I supposed to do?"
Mallory lowered her hand into her lap as she sat down next to the male duck, glancing past him to Nosedive. The boy was breathing softly, deep in sleep and was at peace. She let her eyes soften for a few moments before she turned her gaze back to Wildwing as he watched her uneasily. Mallory didn't answer him.
They stayed like that, gaze locked for a few minutes until Wildwing shifted nervously and looked away. Mallory too looked away, studying the air hockey table. After a minute, she sighed and whispered quietly.
"We were all afraid you'd never wake up." Her shaky voice broke through the silence, causing Wildwing to blink and look back at her in surprise.
"This team is nothing without you. Had you died, we would've all followed you." She shook her head, still looking away.
Wildwing's eyes widened and he stared at Mallory's back, feeling increasingly uneasy.
"Mallory. . ." He put a hand on her shoulder. "You know that isn't tr-"
"-But it is!" Mallory interrupted him, her voice rising above a whisper, quickly turning to look at him again. "It is true!"
Nosedive muttered indistinctly in his sleep and shifted around, causing Mallory to wince. They both watched Nosedive settle back down before they risked speaking once more. Mallory sighed and apologized quietly.
Wildwing watched her as he began to wonder why she had come into his and Dive's room so late at night. Mallory normally turned in early, especially before midnight and she would've only stayed up if she thought she had something important to do. Or say. He met her gaze as she tore it away from Nosedive.
"It is the truth, though." She continued. "Remember what happened when you tried to leave the team the first time?"
He winced and nodded slowly, looking away as he let his hand fall from her shoulder. The memory was not very pleasant and always brought unwanted feelings with it. Feelings that Wildwing never wanted to feel again.
"All of you nearly ended up dead because of me. . ." Wildwing closed his eyes and let out a shuddering sigh as his shoulders sagged, guilt written on his face. "Just because I couldn't believe in my abilities as team captain."
Her eyes softened and she touched his arm.
"We all need you; we depend on you. All of us." Mallory whispered, her voice a bit strained, as if it was hard for her to breathe.
"That's what I'm afraid of -- I'm not strong enough to be depended on like that. Canard never would have doubted himself and none of that would have happened. The team wouldn't have nearly died for his stupidity." He stopped to take a deep breath before continuing, his beak angling towards the floor. "I wish I was the one to be taken by the worm."
"D-don't say that. . . You know that's not true!" Mallory whispered so quietly that Wildwing barely heard her, gripping his arm tighter.
"It is true." He replied.
Mallory tried to speak, to say anything that might comfort him, but her mind was blank. What could she say to him? He wasn't listening to her! She became frustrated and that frustration turned into anger. The duck lifted her hand from Wildwing's arm and he looked to her, eyes hurt.
With that same hand, Mallory slapped Wildwing forcibly across the face.
He stared at her in shock with wide eyes, raising a hand to his burning cheek as Mallory glared at him, her eyes brimming with tears.
"Don't ever say that, you're a better leader than Canard ever was!" She stated, eyes narrowed.
"Mal-" He began to reply, his hand still covering his cheek.
"And don't you dare say that I'm wrong! Because I'm not! Okay, so maybe you've made a mistake or two, but so have the rest of us! And Canard made mistakes too! Look how you've brought this team together, Wildwing!" Mallory continued. "Duke and I actually get along now compared to when Canard was leader! And we're all still here, aren't we?? Aren't we?!"
"-No buts! Wildwing, I've served in the military for a good number of years under various leaders, and you're the best team captain that I've ever had. And the best I probably ever will have. You respect your teammates, all of them, and you know us sometimes better than we know ourselves. And you treat us like real living beings! All of my other captains thought of their teammates as tools to reach their goals, not as real, living ducks! That's the difference between you and every other leader I've ever had: you're not just a leader, you're a friend!"
"I don't know. . ." Wildwing sighed.
"Want me to slap you again?" Mallory asked, crossing her arms, giving him a look.
"Not particularly -- You slap rather hard." He smiled weakly at her.
"You're damn right I do." She replied, her anger quickly dissipating, and another few minutes of silence passed.
"You really mean it?" Wildwing asked and Mallory nodded in response.
"All of it. . . You really meant all of it?" He asked her again, and she nodded once more, turning to look at Nosedive.
"Some things just needed to be said before it was too late." She whispered quietly, before abruptly changing the subject. "I couldn't have done what you did. . . I don't have a younger sibling, so I can't even begin to understand how much you care for him."
Wildwing couldn't help but smile, as he too watched the sleeping Nosedive.
"He's the reason I get up in the morning. The only reason, sometimes. I just wish he could've grown up without all. . . all this happening." He lifted a hand to stroke Nosedive's cheek with the back of his fingers, his smile falling. "Nosedive shouldn't have to worry about Saurian's conquering the world or the safety of his teammates. He should be worrying about school and girls. . . With all the pressure he's under, I'm surprised he hasn't broken yet."
"He's stubborn, like you." Mallory commented, earning a raised eyebrow from her teammate.
"You lived through something that would've killed most ducks, didn't you? I call that pretty damn stubborn." She replied, smirking to him.
Wildwing laughed, causing Nosedive to stir slightly and mumble under his breath. His older brother ran his hand through the teenager's hair a few times, and he slowly settled down again, but not before rolling over. Wildwing smiled at Nosedive and turned to look at her again.
Mallory looked down at her watch, cursing softly under her breath, causing Wildwing to blink.
"Mallory, what is it?" He blinked, his eyes full of confusion.
She ran a hand through her hair, sighing in annoyance.
"I got some photo shoot or something early tomorrow morning. . . I really should have been in bed about thirty minutes ago." Standing up, Mallory frowned at her watch as if it was lying. "So much for me being fully coherent for it."
"Oops." Wildwing smiled softly and she rolled her eyes at him.
"Tell me about it." Mallory shook her head. "And that means that you're going to bed too -- no arguments!"
"But-!" Wildwing began, but she interrupted him.
"If you argue, I'll tell Tanya about you carrying Nosedive to his bed, got it? She'll skin you alive." Smiling slyly, Mallory knew she had won even before she heard Wildwing's resigned sigh.
"Oh, all right." The duck frowned slightly as he stood up to go back to his bed.
Mallory put a hand on his chest and shoved him back towards Nosedive's bed, so that he lost his balance and was forced to sit back down. He blinked at her in confusion.
"Ah ah ah. . . No." She smiled sneakily.
It dawned on him then that she was going to make him hold to the 'bed rest' rule. Even if the bed he slept in wasn't his own.
"Mallory, I can't sleep in Nosedive's bed!" Wildwing cried, blushing.
"Oh yes you can." She replied, grinning wickedly. "Doesn't he sleep with you whenever he has really bad nightmares?"
"That's not the point." He sighed and shook his head. "The point is 'Dive'll kill me."
"Only if you wake him up." Mallory commented. "Besides, I don't think he'll mind all that much -- He did nearly lose you."
"I guess. . ." His voice gave away the fact that he was still reluctant.
"Tanya?" She added, another smirk on her face.
"Damn it." Wildwing glared slightly at her, laying down next to Nosedive, but not getting under the covers. "This bed is too small anyways. . ."
"Deal." Mallory walked over to the bed and yanked the covers from under Wildwing, throwing them over the duck as she chuckled.
"Hey, you'll wake 'Dive!" Wildwing frowned, glaring at her.
Mallory snorted at that.
"Nothing short of a meteorite landing on him could wake him up." She rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest. "Besides, he looks like he's getting comfortable."
Wildwing blushed as his brother indeed made himself comfortable, pressing into Wildwing and laying his head on his brother's shoulder. Nosedive smiled in his sleep when Wildwing wrapped an arm around his waist, pulling the boy closer. There was a soft sigh from the sleeping teen as he shifted and draped an arm across his brother's stomach. After a minute, Nosedive settled down and began breathing quietly once more.
"I guess then it's settled where you'll be sleeping tonight?" Mallory asked, her voice tinted with amusement.
"Mmm.. I'm sleeping." Wildwing replied, closing his eyes.
"No, you're not. You're just saying that."
He replied with a soft sigh, and his breath evened out, causing Mallory to blink. She watched him for a minute before she decided he wasn't pretending.
"You must've been more tired than you let on. . ." Smiling, she pulled the covers around them.
As Mallory tucked the two in, her hand accidentally brushed against Nosedive's hair and she paused. She had expected it to be anything but soft. However, the boy took better care of it than she did her own hair. Mallory was surprised he found time to take care of it between saving the world and hockey. She knew she didn't have the time, so where did he find it? Deciding that she would ask his secrets in exchange to not killing him for another one of his pranks, Mallory touched Wildwing's hair to see if it was also soft. <[>"Damn it, must be genetic." She cursed fate and sighed, walking to the door.
It was then that Mallory realized something and she couldn't help but laugh.
Nosedive had slept through it all.
*End of chapter 1*
Author's Endnote: Wildwing does have hair! He does, he does, he does! It's just the same color as his feathers. =P So nyeh. I also could see Wildwing liking those type of games, so sue me. And, yes, this fanfic is going to have multiple chapters -- mainly because I decided that 24+ pages was too much for an one-shot. And that's even *BEFORE* it was done. I'm currently working on the last part of chapter two, which I hope to finish in a day or two. FF.net is probably still down, so I don't know when I'll be able to put this up. But I promise you, I'll try and finish this fanfic! And it helps that I have a plot outline that extends to the end of it, which I don't in any of my others. . .) Please R&R, peeps!