Author's FF.Net Note: The rating was really for this chapter, since this has a lot more angst and PG-13 violence. . . So if you were wondering about it, that's why it was like that. And I really should thank Taiora Daikari, because she was the one that gave me the idea for a sequel in the first place. Actually, this chapter is more like a sequel and a prequel at the same time! O.o You'll understand what I mean once you read it. And thank you to Angelfire for being the first to review this fanfic! Thank you all that reviewed my first story and the first chapter of this one, many thanks! And Lily C, how on *EARTH* did you figure out what I was planning?? Grrr. . . Rofl.

Author's other Note: There's a reason why I won't have a million author notes in the front of the later chapters. I had originally intended this to be a one-shot, but Noooo, the fanfic decided to be long. So that's why there were all those author notes on the first one. =P Because I kept on thinking of stuff to add to the list of comments. And excuse all spelling and grammar errors in the POV, 'cause I was tired and didn't feel like checking it over.

Author's random Note: This chapter is evil! Wee! More Nosedive mental torture! XD Wahoo! (Yes, this is why the story was marked angst before. . .) And now, onto the fanfic! (Crap, still had a ton of notes, rofl. ..)

The Aftermath

By Icelightning

Chapter 2: Nightmares and Memories

It's amazing how quickly things can change in a year, a minute, a second. One's life can suddenly be forever altered by one moment. There's really two instances I remember in which this happened -- when I joined the Brotherhood of the Blade, and when Wildwing became leader of the Mighty Ducks. We weren't called the Mighty Ducks back then, but that's not the point. The point is it changed my life.

Even now my experiences as a member, and late the leader, of the Brotherhood of the Blade reflect on my life. They reflect on how I fight, how I walk, how I think and act. . . They even reflect on which orders Wildwing gives me and my responsibilities as a member of the team.

It's the same as when Wildwing became leader. He treated me differently than Canard, treated me more like a real duck than just a tool to save the world. Wildwing wanted to earn my trust, wanted to be my friend, and that made all the difference. It's strange, because he's so many years younger than I am, but in another way he's older than me. Maybe it's because it took so long for me to be able to fully trust the others, while he trusted us almost right off the bat, almost blindingly so, or maybe it's something else. Maybe it's because he can handle himself so well with so little training that it's almost humbling. I don't know. I don't really need to know. For one reason or another, I respect him. I didn't respect Canard, although I never let it show.

One of the things that I had been told time and time again in the Brotherhood of the Blade was that emotions were useless. I was told they got in the way of the heist and distracted you from your goal. And in a way, the elders were both right and wrong. In a battle, in a heist, you can't let yourself get distracted or you'll get killed. But without emotions, what is there to fight for? Why would you fight if you didn't care about anyone and only about yourself? That's where they're wrong.

I care about the others more than anything in the world, especially Wildwing and Nosedive. After nearly a year, I'm still not sure how I proved myself to either of them, but whatever it was, I'm glad I did. They're like brothers to me, real, genuine brothers. Nosedive would definitely be the little brother, I call him 'kid' all the time, don't I? Wildwing. . . Well, Wildwing is really like both my younger and older brother at the same time. I probably feel that way because we both manipulate each other, like Nosedive manipulates Wildwing. I manipulated him into helping the people of earth and he manipulates me into doing photo-shoots. Not to mention he taught me how to fly the Aerowing.

Actually, that was a lot of fun -- I scared the shit out of him, even if he did have the mask on. Boy, did I ever enjoy that! Not many people can say that they were able to scare our 'fearless' leader, but I can't either since he made me swear I would never tell anyone. Sometimes I'm afraid that Nosedive is right, that his brother is never any fun. Of course, that fear is always dispelled whenever those two are yelling and screaming when they're having their weekly pillow fight every Friday. Don't ask me why it's every Friday -- it just is. I accidentally walked in on them in the middle of one a few weeks ago and. . . Got massacred. Both turned on me instantly and whacked me until I ran away and grabbed my own pillow from my room before coming back. I lost track on how many times the three of us switched sides, changing the person that we were after. Eventually we collapsed into a tired heap, but still, it proves how close the three of us are.

I really can't think of much else to say. I mean, we're just close, and there's really no explanation I can think of to explain it.

Wildwing's probably the only one on the team that I don't call 'kid' at one moment or another. Actually, he is the only one I don't call 'kid' on the team. I respect all of my team members, but I guess I respect him the most. He's a civilian, yet he's able to do what generals could, and better.

Strange, I was never big on giving out my trust until Wildwing became leader of this team. Now we're all like a family, with Nosedive being the baby. Oh God, he'd kill me if he ever knew I thought that, or at least he'd play so many tricks on me that I would go insane. Either way, I'd rather keep him on my side.

Never did I think I would be a part of such a family like the Mighty Ducks. But I have no regrets, nor will I ever, about being a member of this team. There's more to life now than the thrill of getting away clean, the sense of superiority after you get paid for a good heist. . . There's a lot more than that now.

If I had a choice between my life in the Brotherhood of the Blade, or my life right now with the Mighty Ducks, I'd choose the life I have now. Life doesn't get better than this.


The blazing Anaheim sun glowered down on the city, and the streets usually full of people were bare of the masses that crowded them. Few people dared venture out in the record-breaking heat, and most didn't even want to drive their cars. The only people out were insane or extremely resistant to heat.

Nosedive was neither of them, or at least not the latter. However, even he was beginning to question his sanity. Why the hell was he walking around town while it was besieged by Hades? And why hadn't Wildwing forcibly dragged him into a shop with air-conditioning yet? Maybe the heat was finally getting to his brother's head, as well. Or maybe Drake DuCaine's mask had air conditioning. Yeah, that was probably it. Wildwing would have killed him by now, otherwise. Then again, he could just be too incapacitated to form coherent thoughts.

In the end, the teenage Puckworlder lost his train of thought, sighing and giving up. Glancing back at his brother for a quick second, he was slightly relieved that Wildwing looked as hot as he felt. Good, he wasn't suffering by himself. Misery loves company, after all. And Nosedive was sure as hell pretty miserable.

Wiping the sweat off of his forehead, Nosedive sighed and turned to look back at his brother again. Wildwing was sure trying to act like he was fine, but Nosedive could tell all too easily that Wildwing was enjoying it even less than he was. Sighing, the teenager looked around for a quick escape from the heat.

He saw relief in the form of an ice cream shop across the street and a smile crossed his face. Grabbing Wildwing's arm to get his brother's attention, Nosedive pointed at it. His brother smiled in agreement. There was no need for words in-between them. Then both wanted to get out of the heat, fast.

"The next time I suggest walking to the Mall, hit me over the head with a hockey stick, okay bro'?" Nosedive muttered, earning a laugh from Wildwing, who ruffled the teenager's hair. "Hands off the hair!"

"I'll do that, baby bro'. . . Although I'm sure it won't be this bad again." He replied, walking towards the intersection, Nosedive at his side.

"Damnit!" Nosedive cursed, and Wildwing turned to look at Nosedive in shock, the boy giving him a hard glare. "You've just cursed us to a hundred years of feather-wilting heat!"

They stared at each other for a moment, one set of eyes glaring and the other set blinking in confusion. Neither knew who started first, but both brothers were quickly laughing, Nosedive failing miserably at trying to duplicate Mallory's piercing glare of death as he burst out into laughter. People stared at them in shock, confused by their behavior. Why were they laughing? Didn't they come from a planet covered in ice?

Nosedive grinned and grabbed Wildwing by the arm once more, dragging his brother behind him as they weaved through the non-existent crowd and headed towards the cross-walk. Wildwing found himself barely able to keep up with his younger brother, his mind in a bit of a daze from the heat. But somehow he managed, mostly because his brother was dragging him so he only had to do half the work, and soon they were waiting at the edge of the sidewalk, an annoyed look on Nosedive's face.

"Aw man, you know that this light won't change for a hour now, right?" The teenager stated, frowning as he let go of Wildwing and folding his arms across his chest.

Wildwing smiled at his pouting brother.

"I'm sure you're exaggerating. It can't be that bad." He stated and Nosedive snorted in response.

"Oh yes it can. Watch and weep, 'Wing. Watch and weep."

And so they did, patiently waiting for the light to change colors so they could cross. Well, they waited patiently for the first thirty seconds before they started to fidget. Nosedive pressed the button on the side of the pedestrian sign repeatedly, but it didn't help change the light. He even tried banging the thing a few times, but it still didn't do any good. Wildwing didn't even raise his voice at his brother, all too eager to get out of the heat himself. The only reason he could stand the heat had to do with the fact that the ice cream shop was across the street. But after two or three minutes, Wildwing began to loose his patience as well.

Another minute and Nosedive gave up, throwing his hands up in the air as if silently saying 'Oh, what the hell,' and he began to cross. Wildwing grabbed his brother's wrist, holding the teenager back.

"We can't cross yet. . ." Wildwing sighed, annoyed his brother had the guts to cross while he didn't. "You could get arrested!"

Fed up with having to wait, Nosedive laughed and rolled his eyes, pulling his arm from Wildwing's gentle grip.

"We haven't seen a single car for blocks! What's the chance one's going to come by anytime soon?" He replied, poking his brother in the chest, his other hand on his hip. "You're just being paranoid again!"

"I am not! We're aliens here, and we have to obey their customs!" Wildwing stated hotly, and Nosedive cracked up.

"'Customs'?! That's a new one! HA!" Nosedive grinned at his brother, trying to ignore the ominous feeling that suddenly began to grow in his chest. "C'mon, you know the light isn't going to change for another fifteen minutes, let's just go already!"

"I don't think we should-" Wildwing began, but the teen cut him off.

"See, they're jay-walking, and look-!" He pointed at a small group of tourists walking over the crosswalk parallel to theirs before letting out a sarcastic gasp and bringing his hands to his face. "- They're not road-patties! They're alive! It's a miracle!"

Wildwing sighed and rubbed his temples, ignoring Nosedive as he pretended to pray in reverence.

"Oh, all right. . . But just this once! From now on we either drive to the mall, or we wait patiently for the light!"

"Fine by me!" Nosedive grinned, knowing he had manipulated his brother yet again.

Wildwing rolled his eyes as Nosedive let out a whoop of joy and started to quickly walk across the street, not going to tempt Wildwing's anger by running across.

"Nosedive, look both ways before you cross!" Wildwing shouted after his brother, earning a dismissive wave from Nosedive, and he sighed in annoyance. "Nosedive!"

"You're too paranoid, 'Wing! WAAYYYY too paranoid!" Nosedive laughed, turning around half-way there to look at his brother and stopping. "I'm not going to get hit or anything!"

"Nosedive!" Wildwing called again, annoyance seeping into his voice. "Look both ways!"

"Oh, c'mon! You're crazy AND paranoid!" The teen put his hand on his hips, watching Wildwing with amusement.

But the feeling was growing, and his smile faltered as the hair on the back of his neck stood up.

"NOSEDIVE!" Wildwing suddenly screamed his brother's name, his voice full of fear, his eyes wide.

"Wha?" Nosedive blinked in surprise as his brother began running towards him. What had gotten into him?

The screeching of tires to one side made Nosedive's blood run cold. He turned and found himself facing the front fender of an oncoming semi-trailer. The feeling in his chest grew beyond anything he had felt during his entire time on earth and he found his feet firmly rooted to the ground, despite the fact that his mind was screaming for him to run.

Time seemed to slow and Nosedive swore that he saw his entire life flash past his eyes as they widened in mute horror. He couldn't move, he couldn't breath, he couldn't think. And he was about ready to die.

He suddenly felt a force slam into him and he found himself twisting around, falling away from the truck, the entire world still in slow-motion.

The truck missed hitting Nosedive.

But it didn't miss hitting Wildwing.

The next few moments were the worst of Nosedive's entire life. He could only watch, still falling, as the truck slammed into his brother's body.

Eyes that were full of so many emotions, both named and nameless, became full of only one. Pain.

And then there was the scream, the scream made the sight before Nosedive's eyes pale in comparison. A scream so horrible and frightening that it stole away Nosedive's breath.

A blood-curdling scream.

A death scream.

It was then that time resumed its normal pace.

Nosedive suddenly found breath, and he too screamed. Screamed as if his very life had been torn away from him. And in a way, it had.

One second Wildwing was in front of him and the next second.. .

The next second he was gone.


Nosedive screamed loudly, shooting up, his body drenched in sweat. His heart was hammering against his chest and his breaths came in short, ragged gasps that brought air to his aching lungs. He took in breath after breath, ignoring his raw throat as it screamed for the pain to stop. Adrenaline pumped through his veins, and his eyes, although wide, were unseeing. The images he so desperately wanted to free himself from had trapped him, encircled him, and Nosedive found himself screaming again.

"No! G-get out of my head, get out! GET OUT!" The duck cried, grabbing his head and shutting his eyes so tightly that he saw lines and spots dance in the darkness.

His brother's scream was still echoing in his head, terrifying the teenage boy even more because it sounded so real. Too real. Nosedive froze, his body stiffening and his breath caught in his throat. He slowly drew his hands away from his head, turning his gaze slowly across the room.

Nosedive feared what he would see. He feared that his brother would be dead. The boy was relieved when he didn't see Wildwing's dead body laying there.

Then his heart stopped. His brother was gone!

It only took a few seconds for him to react and he started screaming with renewed horror.

"Wildwing! No, WILDWIIIIIINNG!" Nosedive shouted his denial, his screams choking up with sobs until they were fully overtaken. "No, no, NO!"

His brother was dead, gone! It was all a dream! Wildwing never woke up, Wildwing never got better! He died! He was gone, GONE!

All of it was a dream! How?? Why?!

Someone was pulling him into their arms. No, no! He wanted Wildwing, no one else!

He struggled against their hold, trying desperately to break free. This person wasn't Wildwing!

His brother was dead. And nobody, nobody could replace him! No one, ever!

But no matter how hard he kicked and shrieked, the person holding him wouldn't let go. Didn't they understand they couldn't do anything for him, now that his brother was gone??

Didn't they, didn't they??

Nosedive fought against them as they began to slowly rock the teenager in their arms. Slowly he realized that it was a futile effort and he gave in, his body going slack as he took in deep breaths.

The teenager began to cry, slowly at first, but he quickly dissolved into tears a few moments later. His vision blurring, Nosedive didn't struggle as the person ran their hands through his hair, whispering soft reassurances as they pulled him close to their chest.

And Nosedive found himself swearing that the person was Wildwing, but they couldn't be. His brother would never comfort him again. He was dead.

"Shh, it's alright, I'm okay. . ." The voice, that could not be Wildwing's, told him, having a slightly begging tone.

But the person wasn't Wildwing.

Even then, his sobs began to slowly quiet and a few minutes later all he could hair was his breath and the gentle reassurances which were being said by someone other than Wildwing.

Nosedive felt a beak gently nuzzling his own, and the teen's eyes flew open. He looked to the duck holding him in shock, hurt flashing across his gaze. Only Wildwing was allowed to do that!

His heart skipped another beat as he watched Wildwing sigh sadly and run a hand through his hair.

"Bad nightmare, baby bro'?" Wildwing asked, his voice full of worry and his eyes sympathetic.

When he didn't get an immediate response, Wildwing blinked down at his little brother, confusion written across his face.

"Bro', you feeling okay?" He felt the boy's forehead, smiling gently at him. "Guess so, no fever. . ."

Nosedive let out a small sob, half-jumping into Wildwing and wrapping his arms around his older brother's neck. Wildwing nearly fell over, eyes widening in surprise as his brother sniffled in his arms. The boy rested his head on the duck's shoulder, letting out a small sigh of relief as Wildwing embraced him tenderly.

They stayed that way for a while, just holding each other close, Nosedive taking comfort in his brother's warm presence. Wildwing just quietly stroked through his brother's hair, neither of them saying a word. Nosedive wished that moment would have lasted for all eternity, but it didn't.

"Was the dream about something happening to me?" Eventually Wildwing broke the silence, his voice soft and worried.

Nosedive merely nodded, not trusting his voice.

"About me. . ." Wildwing paused, choosing his words carefully. "About me being hit by the truck?"

His brother flinched visibly and nodded, a small sob escaping from his tight throat.

Wildwing pulled him closer, rubbing his back.

"I w-was so afraid I would loose you! The dream, it was so real! I thought you really had died! I thought that you waking up was a dream!" The teenager sobbed and Wildwing could clearly see how much fear was still in his little brother's heart.

How could he tell this wasn't a dream?

"God, 'Dive. . ." The older sibling held his brother all the tighter. "You know I'd never leave you like that."

"It seemed so real. . ." Nosedive whispered, looking up to lock eyes with his older brother, trying to make Wildwing understand how awful it had been. "I-I could hear your scream in my head!"

Wildwing began to say something comforting when Nosedive's com-link beeped. Nosedive looked at it blearily, but didn't bother to answer it. Instead, his brother was the one to pick it up off of the dresser next to his bed and activate it.

"Wildwing here."

"Is the kid okay?" The concerned face on it was that of Duke. "We heard him screaming and we thought something happened to you guys."

"Everything's okay, 'Dive just had a bad dream." Wildwing replied, patting his brother's back as he addressed Duke and the other ducks that were looking over the gray duck's shoulder. "I got 'im, don't worry. Go back to bed, everyone."

Duke smiled, relieved.

"Right. Wildwing, tell that kid that he's got some lungs -- I think some of Grin's meditation crystals might've broke."

"Hey!" Nosedive replied indignantly, frowning. "My scream wasn't *THAT* high-pitched!"

Wildwing snorted and Duke laughed, along with the others behind the eldest duck of the team. Tanya knew that Wildwing had gotten out of bed, but considering the fact that Nosedive's scream had woken up the entire Pond, she decided to let this time slide. Grin looked concerned, bending down so he could be seen in the communicator over Duke's shoulder.

"Sleep well, little friend."

Nosedive rolled his eyes.

"You know me, I'll sleep like a log."

"And then some." Mallory added and Nosedive stuck his tongue out at her.

"Don't make me have to die your hair blue." He grinned.

"Don't make me have to kidnap you, tie you up, and take you to the North Pole so I can stick your head in a snow drift." She smiled sweetly, the others chuckling.

"Don't make me have to sic Wildwing on you! He bites really hard!" Nosedive replied without missing a beat and Wildwing raised an eyebrow at him.

"What?" Nosedive asked, grinning as he looked up at Wildwing. "You do bite hard!"

"I don't even want to know where that came from!" Mallory stated, shutting off Duke's com, as he was laughing too hard to do it himself.

Nosedive started to laugh as Wildwing playfully punched him in his shoulder.

"Very funny, baby bro', very funny." He tried his best to seem annoyed, but the amusement in his voice gave him away.

"Hey, it's my job!" Nosedive laughed, smiling.

Wildwing rolled his eyes and sighed.

"Yeah, no one can come up with as lame of jokes as you can."

"Duke's the one that comes up with really lame jokes." Nosedive replied, matter-of-factly. "I'm the one that comes up with the funny ones."

That earned a ruffling of his hair and he laughed, smiling up at his brother.

Wildwing didn't return the smile though, suddenly lost in thought. Nosedive's smile faded and he looked up at his brother uncertainly. Why wasn't Wildwing smiling? Fear clutched at his heart, and he afraid Wildwing might suddenly vanish.

"What happened, you know, after-" Wildwing paused, for a moment, taking a deep breath and locking eyes with his brother. "-After I got hit?"

Nosedive winced and looked away, his voice barely a whisper, a different sort of fear and pain in his eyes than before.

"The others didn't tell you?" He asked quietly, closing his eyes.

"No, they said you never told them what happened." Wildwing sighed.

"Do you really want to know? I-" Nosedive winced. "- don't like remembering it, you were so still a-and I thought you were dead!"

"Nosedive-" Wildwing began, but was cut off by his brother.

"You were just lying there, Wildwing! Just lying there! God, it was so awful. . ." The teenager sobbed, pressing closer to his brother.

But Nosedive found that he had to tell someone, and, before he knew it, the words were spilling out of his mouth.


"WILDWING!" Nosedive screamed as the truck came to a screeching halt. "Wildwing, Wildwing!!"

The duck was thrown from the front of the semi-truck by his momentum, skidding and rolling across the asphalt, leaving a streak of blood in his wake. He came to a stop and was still. Very still. Unnaturally still.

"No, Wildwing!!" Nosedive let out a scream and ran to his brother's side, falling down on his knees next to Wildwing's still form.

He shook his brother's lifeless body, but there was no response.

"N-No, you gotta wake up! Y-You're okay, get up, get up!" He yelled, tears blurring his vision. "I-I'm sorry about not listening to you, okay?! J-Just get up!"

Wildwing didn't move.

"Please, please! D-don't die. . ." Nosedive's throat tightened, as tears began to trail down his cheeks. "D-don't die! Don't leave me by myself! Please! PLEASE!"

The blood was beginning to pool around Wildwing's body, and the sick wetness started to soak through Nosedive's jeans. Looking down, the younger brother let out a cry of shock, realizing his brother was going to bleed to death. Nosedive froze, staring at Wildwing in horror.

Suddenly there was someone beside him, someone he didn't know. She was kneeling beside him, telling him to call his team for help. The woman had some sort of metal box with her, and was pulling bandages and other materials from it. He didn't hear what she was saying, his mind and world a blur as he sobbed over his brother's body. Nosedive didn't even remember pressing himself into Wildwing, but suddenly he was pulled away from his brother.

"If you want him to live, you'd best let me do my work!" The woman stated, and when Nosedive didn't resist being pulled away, she busied herself with Wildwing.

He just watched in shock as she bandaged his brother, racing against time and all odds, but he did nothing. Nosedive couldn't move, even though he wanted to help her. The young duck dimly noticed her silver hair, maybe she was someone's grandmother?

But Nosedive didn't care at the moment. All he cared about then was his brother and nothing mattered more, not even his own life. His brother was the one surrounded in a pool of his own blood, slowly drifting from life.

Wildwing let out an unconscious cry of pain and Nosedive jerked his head to look at his brother's face. Even with the Mask on, the boy could tell that the other duck was in pain. His brother was in pain. Wildwing was in pain. And Nosedive didn't know what to do!

He wanted to remove the Mask so he could see his brother's face again, before he died, but he couldn't bring his hands up to remove it. Something was telling Nosedive to not take it off, to let it stay there. Nosedive felt that Wildwing would have no chance of survival if he removed it. And so it stayed.

Nosedive came out of his thoughts to notice that Wildwing's eyes were tiny slits, the pupils big and dilated. He was looking straight at his brother, but there was no recognition in his eyes.

"W-Wildwing. . ." Nosedive whispered, stroking his brother's cheek gently and getting no response to the touch. "Don't you recognize me? C-C'mon, this isn't funny, say something, anything! W-Wildwing!"

There was no reply, and Nosedive took a closer look at Wildwing's eyes and froze, his own eyes widening in horror. Wildwing's eyes were glazed over, void of all life.

They weren't eyes of a living being.

They were the eyes of one that was dead.

And they closed for what Nosedive had thought would be the last time, Wildwing letting out a shuddering sigh, as if his soul had left his body.


"You can't remember what she looks like?" Wildwing asked, slightly surprised, interrupting Nosedive.

"It didn't really matter what she looked like. She saved you, and that's all that matters." Nosedive laughed sadly. "If it wasn't for her, you would've died. . . Whoever she is, she kept you from leaving me."

Wildwing rubbed his brother's back, listening intently.

"To tell the truth, I can't even remember what she said her name was, I was so far in shock. Hell, I that way until. . ." He trailed off, eyes distant.

"Until what?" Wildwing prompted, his voice gentle and soft, reassuring Nosedive.

"Until they decided to come out and see what they hit with their truck."


Everything was quickly becoming a blur to Nosedive, his tears cascading down his cheeks and falling to the harsh pavement. Wildwing wasn't supposed to go like this, not like this! He was supposed to come back with Nosedive to Puckworld and die in his sleep!

Wildwing wasn't supposed to be in pain like this! His death was supposed to be quiet and peace, not roaring and violent! And not now, not now! He was supposed to be dying at home and surrounded by family, not in the middle of some unforgiving road, with only Nosedive by his side!

Nosedive began to sob, his quick breaths choked with tears. His body began to ache and the pain from the scraps and bruises he had gotten in his fall magnified until it became almost unbearable. He shook violently with unrestrained cries, shutting his eyes tight. His entire world was suddenly unravelling at the seams. Nosedive was unable to stop the tears from falling, nor did he want to ever stop crying. And so he wept.

There was nothing he could do to save his brother, nothing. His brother was now dying because of his stupidity -- had he only listened, Wildwing wouldn't have been hurt in the first place! It was all his fault!

The woman bandaging his brother gave a cry of warning, but Nosedive barely heard her. It felt as if he was in another world, another time and space. He felt detached from his body and the scene around him. All Nosedive wanted to do was to wake up and find that he was just having a nightmare, but he knew that it wasn't a figment of his imagination. It was real. Wildwing was really dying.

Again, the woman let out another cry of warning, something about a gun, but he still couldn't digest the information. Nosedive couldn't even remember what a gun was. The young duck was still separated from the rest of time, and he never wanted to have to experience it again, wishing he would drop dead next to his brother, then and there.

But then a searing pain shot through his arm and he let out a cry of shock as he was thrust back into the torrent of reality. The bullet had only truthfully nicked his upper arm, however, it had been enough to bring him back. Wincing as he grabbed his bleeding arm, Nosedive looked behind him to see who had shot him.

The man holding the gun could only be described as punk gangster. The leather outfit, the smirk on his face, the coldness in his eyes -- it all spoke that he only valued his own life. He laughed coldly, cocking his gun once more.

"That other freak's still alive, isn't he?" The man asked and Nosedive's eyes narrowed. "A shame, really. It would've been easier for 'im if he had died when he impacted my bumper! Now I gotta shoot him to death, too!"

Something inside of Nosedive snapped and he let out a cry of outrage, changing into his armor. The man smirked and aimed at Nosedive. Then there was the sound of a projectile hitting soft flesh and breaking bones.

Without even a groan, the man fell backwards to the pavement, a rivet of blood slowly forming between his eyes. Nosedive's grip had been firm on his puckblaster, but then his heart stopped in shock. The grip he had on his puckblaster loosened and he nearly dropped it. He had shot the guy and he didn't even remember pulling out his puckblaster in the first place! But that wasn't what shocked him the most. What surprised him the most was that he had aimed to kill. Not to disable, as he had been taught to do by his brother, but to kill. Had he used anything other than a puckblaster, he would've killed.

There was a shout of surprise from the man riding shotgun in the truck, and Nosedive finally realized that he was there.

"Hey, that duck just iced Joey!" He cried and there were yells of anger as doors on the semi slammed open. "Get him!"

The shock was gone and replaced by the cold fury that had taken a hold of him before. All thoughts of moderation were gone, all sense of morality and ethnics thrown out the window. Nosedive knew that if he held back at all, he and his brother might die, and he wasn't going to allow that to happen. The only thing that Nosedive could do for his brother now was to protect him, and he was going to do exactly that -- No matter the cost.

No matter the cost, Nosedive was going to make sure that his brother survived. And to do that, he had to get rid of the gangsters. His grip once again tight around his puckblaster, Nosedive raised it and aimed.

Then, he fired. And he fired again. And again. And again . . .


"I-I don't want to remember anymore-!" Nosedive suddenly interrupted his narrative, a small sob escaping from his throat. "I don't want to remember, I don't want to remember!"

Wildwing pulled his brother close again and rocked him back and forth once more, whispering words of comfort. He felt Nosedive tense up in his arms before he relaxed and pressed closer to him. Looking down at his brother, Wildwing's eyes softened.

"You, you were so still. . . You weren't moving, or-or anything! You were just-" Nosedive took a shaky breath before continuing. "-lying there."

Wildwing nuzzled his brother's hair gently and Nosedive sighed, laying his cheek down onto Wildwing's shoulder. He didn't say anything, other than mummer a few more quiet reassurances, so Nosedive took it as a sign that he should go on.

"I-I couldn't let them take you away, though -- I mean, after all we've been through, I couldn't let some stupid thugs kill you! A-And I didn't want to lose you. . ." The teenager spoke softly, and Wildwing smiled sadly.

"You probably handled yourself better than I would've had it been you lying there." Wildwing stated and Nosedive looked up in shock as he continued, albeit frowning slightly. "I would've outright killed them."


"-You know I would have, 'Dive. You know how important you are to me, don't you?" Wildwing replied, and Nosedive nodded in response.

"Y-Yeah, I know. I'm just as important to you as you are to me." Nosedive grinned weakly and nuzzled his brother with his beak like Wildwing had all those times, causing the elder brother to smile.

"And you know that you get your temper from me, too." Wildwing added.

"Don't I know it." Nosedive laughed, much happier than he had been a few minutes ago -- talking to his brother had that effect on him. "But you should be happy you don't get your temper from Mal-Mal."

"Nosedive?" Wildwing finally replied after a minute of silence.

"Yeah?" Nosedive grinned back at Wildwing.

"If I got my temper from Mallory, we'd all be dead. Or Phil, anyways." Wildwing joked and Nosedive snorted.

"Phil being dead wouldn't be such a bad thing, would it? I mean, no more photo shoots, no more signing autographs, no more destruction of what few shreds of dignity we have left. . ." The boy began to list the advantages of Phil being six feet under and Wildwing ruffled his hair.

"If Phil was dead, then I'd make you do the taxes." Wildwing grinned evilly and Nosedive made a face.

"And here I thought that Dragaunus was evil!" Nosedive mock-shuddered, and a thought occured to him. "Hey, why do we have to pay taxes, anyways? We aren't even citizens!"

"It's a deal we have with the government. If we pay taxes, they don't deport us for not having a green card. And they can't dissect us, either." Wildwing shrugged.

"You mean there's other people than that crazy bum, Doctor Praetorius, that want to dissect us and look at our brain folds?! Ugh!" Nosedive looked disgusted, and Wildwing sighed.

"There's bad eggs in every species, 'Dive. Remember Lucretia?"

"Don't remind me -- as pretty as she was, she was a cold-hearted bitch." Nosedive spat and Wildwing blinked in surprise. "Hell, she nearly got us all killed!"

"Nosedive?" This side of his brother was something Wildwing rarely saw.

"You nearly died because of her!" Nosedive stated hotly. "And on top of that, I was flirting with her! Had I known what she was planning to do, I would've-"

Wildwing put a hand over Nosedive's beak, clamping it shut, effectively ending his brother's tirade.

"Shh, baby bro', calm down." Wildwing smiled softly as Nosedive's cheeks took on a tinge of pink.

"S-sorry, got cared away. . ." Nosedive apologized sheepishly after Wildwing took his hand off of his beak.

"Don't worry, it happens to the best of us." Laughing lightly, Wildwing smiled down at his brother.

"Does this mean you're not going to ground me for cursing?" Nosedive grinned.

"Is that going to stop you from cursing?" Wildwing asked.

"Uhm, well, no." Nosedive replied, smiling guiltily.

"Then I shouldn't bother." Wildwing stated dryly.

Nosedive yawned just then, and laid back down.

"Well, if I'm not in trouble, then I'm going back to sleep." The boy grinned at his brother as Wildwing laid down next to him.

"Wait!" Nosedive blinked at Wildwing's urgent whisper.

"What, big bro'?" He asked, looking to his brother in confusion.

"What happened after -- after the fight?" Wildwing asked, his voice suddenly shaky.

Nosedive turned to look at his brother, tears quickly forming in the corners of his eyes, and he sat up so he could breathe. He had hoped that he wouldn't have to tell Wildwing the rest, but his brother insisted. Wildwing had a right to know, however, and he couldn't refuse him. . . But he wished so much that he didn't have to remember. . .

Wildwing, seeing the hurt in his brother's eyes at the memory, sat up and wrapped his arm around Nosedive's waist, pulling him close. The boy took comfort in Wildwing's presence and found that he again had the strength to talk. It was as if he had to get it out of him, to tell someone about everything that happened. Despite that, Nosedive's reply was quiet and frightened, and Wildwing had to strain his ears to hear it.

"What else do . . . do you think happened? I-I called for help."


There was a moment's shock at what he had done, but a small groan from Wildwing reminded Nosedive that time was against them. But how could he help his brother? How could he save his life? Was there even anything he could do?!

Nosedive ran over to his brother, falling next to him once more, his thoughts frantic as he tried to think of anyway he could do to help. No matter how hard he tried, however, his mind turned up nothing. All he could think about was the fact that his brother was lying on the road, limp and bleeding . . .

"We need to get him medical attention!" The woman tending to Wildwing shouted at Nosedive, and he looked at her in shock. "Is there anyway you can call an ambulance?"

He blinked and shook his head weakly, his face draining of color.

"N-No, Oh God. . ." If Tanya was there, she'd know what to do.

Tanya, he could call Tanya!

Flipping open his comlink, Nosedive screamed Tanya's name, hoping that she'd be the one to answer.

"T-Tanya, answer, damn it, answer!!" He yelled, frantic again, his panic returning.

"Wha -- Ow, ow! Not so loud!" Tanya winced on the other side of the connection, but all thoughts of chastising the boy fell away as she took in his appearance. "N-Nosedive, what -- what happened??"

"W-Wildwing! W-Wildwing, he w-was . . . was. . ." Nosedive suddenly couldn't speak past the lump in his throat and he let out a small sob.

"W-Was what?" Tanya asked, her faced paling before she realized what he was trying to say. "H-He's hurt?!"

Nosedive could only manage a mute nod, barely withholding his sobs.

"Oh no. . . Oh no! Is he okay, is he bleeding?!" Tanya freaked, eyes wide in horror.

"S-Some woman's tending to him, I-I don't know her name, even-"

"Cassie, it's Cassie." The human interrupted, smiling sadly. "He doesn't have any broken bones, amazingly, but he has a good number of cuts and bruises as well as a bad concussion, and he might need life support if it hurt him badly enough! Hurry, I don't know how to do CPR on a duck!"

Tanya looked for the person who spoke, but Cassie was off-screen and Tanya couldn't see her. Realizing that, Tanya nodded to Nosedive, her voice still weak, but slightly stronger than it had been a second ago.

"W-We'll be right there, just h-hold on!" Tanya stated, and she turned to yell something behind her shoulder, probably at the others. "We'll be there in the M-Migrator in five minutes, just keep your comlink o-on so we can t-track you!"

The boy nodded, again not trusting his voice, and Tanya's face disappeared from the screen. He shivered, his eyes trailing back to his brother's limp body. What had Wildwing done to deserve this? Why did this have to happen to Wildwing, out of all people? Why him?

Sirens interrupted his thoughts and he looked up as four or five police cars thundered onto the scene, screeching to a halt about twenty feet away. As the police came out, armed and ready for a fight, Nosedive found only one that he could recognize. He, including the other cops, looked upon the scene in shock -- their work had already been done for them.

Captain Klegghorn's eyes fell onto Nosedive's kneeled form and he slowly walked over towards the boy as his men set out to handcuff the stirring criminals. He had a million things he wanted to say, a million angry remarks about not contacting the proper authorities, but those all died away as he finally saw past Cassie and the human froze.

Nosedive had turned his attention back to his brother, and was sobbing, quietly begging for his brother to wake up. Wildwing had multiple cuts and bruises, and his clothes were bloodied even though he had been bandaged. Looking quickly to the semi-truck, Klegghorn saw that the dent in it was about the size of Wildwing, and he realized what it meant. The smoking puckblaster told the second half of the story. His brother had only been protecting him, keeping Wildwing safe while the woman bandaged him.

He instead found himself kneeling next to the alien teenager, letting Cassie fill him in on what happened and holding silent vigil with the duck and the woman.


"I didn't have any broken bones?" Wildwing asked in surprise as Nosedive lapsed into silence.

His brother smiled grimly in response.

"Tanya still has no idea how that happened -- I mean, the force behind that truck and the way it hit you. . . Y-You should've . . . should've-" Nosedive couldn't bear to say it.

"Died?" Wildwing's voice was barely a whisper, but Nosedive heard it and nodded in reply, flinching. "Then how-?"

"-Tanya said she doesn't know, a-and I have no clue -- it was as if something was protecting you, you know? I mean, it's the only explanation we got. You-" Nosedive cut himself off as Wildwing pulled him into another close embrace, brushing the boy's bangs away from his eyes.

"You're shaking . . ." Wildwing muttered and Nosedive grinned weakly at him, shivering.

"I-I am, a-aren't I?" He laughed nervously, and Wildwing ran a cool hand through his hair, causing the teenager to smile a little brighter.

He was safe, he reminded himself. He was safe, he was in his room, and his brother was beside him. Everything was okay now, so why did the memories scare him so much? His brother was alive and well, wasn't he? Wasn't he?

"Just take a couple of deep breaths, baby bro', and you'll be okay. . ." Wildwing stated, talking in a soothing voice.

Nosedive nodded slightly, taking in deep breaths as told, and felt the fear drain away, bit by bit. He still shook and Wildwing took notice, worry evident on his face.

"Nosedive?" Wildwing spoke his brother's name and the teenager looked up at him.

"I love you." He whispered, smiling softly, and Nosedive broke into a wide grin.

"I love you, too, Wildwing!" Nosedive laughed, hugging his brother close.

Pausing, he thought for a moment and then his gaze grew accusing.

"You said that so I would stop shaking, didn't you?" He asked slyly and Wildwing grinned back at him.

"What do you think?" Wildwing replied, poking his brother's side.

"I think that you're more devious than you look. Behind those innocent eyes-" his brother snorted at this, "- is a schemer!"

"Oh really?" Wildwing raised an eyebrow, voice amused. "And what do I scheme about?"

"You scheme about. . . about . . ." Nosedive was quickly running out of ideas and stated the first one that came to mind ". . .Potatoes!"

"Potatoes?" Wildwing bit back a laugh.

"Yes, potatoes! You play to raise an entire potato army to eat all the McDonald's french fries in the world!" Nosedive snickered, trying hard not to burst out laughing himself.

Wildwing took his cue.

"Oh! How could you have figured out my plan so soon?" He let out a mock-gasp. "And just to think, I only began it a minute ago!"

"You're losing your touch." Nosedive replied, and Wildwing ruffled his hair. "Hey, watch the 'do!"

"I am watching it! I'm just messing it up, too." Wildwing stated.

"Ha ha ha." Nosedive mock-glared, trying to fix his hair.

"Why are you bothering to fix you hair at three in the morning?" Wildwing asked, and Nosedive blinked, before blushing.

"U-Uhm, 'cause I wasn't thinking?" Nosedive grinned.

"Thought so." Wildwing smirked.

"Hey!" Nosedive frowned indignantly.

Wildwing laughed and ruffled Nosedive's hair once again. Nosedive tried to get away, but failed and let out a squawk. He smiled up to his brother, but his smile faded suddenly, leaving Wildwing confused.

". . . Nosedive?" Wildwing whispered, pushing a lock of hair out of Nosedive's eyes. "What's wrong?"

"Y-You want to know the rest of it -- the rest of what happened -- d-don't you?" Nosedive asked, his voice shaky.

Wildwing nodded softly, sighing.


Nosedive pressed closer to his brother, taking comfort in his presence. He rested against his brother for a few minutes, gathering his strength. Then, he continued his story once more.


The waiting was the worst. Before -- when they were under attack -- Nosedive knew he could do something to help his brother. But, now that all of that was over . . . He could do nothing but wait. He couldn't do a thing for his brother. All he could was watch his brother's still body, and that killed him. Nosedive wanted to be able to help his brother, not just be with him!

He continued to sob, harsh tears trailing down his cheeks. He couldn't help his brother. There was nothing he could do! If Wildwing died, he couldn't save him. . . Nosedive could only watch him die!

This wasn't happening, this couldn't be happening. It was impossible! Wildwing couldn't die, could he? It had to be an awful nightmare, it just had to be! He couldn't be dying. . .

Captain Klegghorn frowned, watching Nosedive's breathing come harsher and harsher, as the boy grew more panicked. He wouldn't admit it, but he was worried about the alien boy. Nosedive was freaking out, that much was obvious, and he might hyperventilate if he continued to worsen.

Sighing softly, Klegghorn placed a hand on Nosedive's shoulder, and the boy looked at him in shock.

"You have to calm down." The human stated, and Nosedive shook his head furiously.

"I-I can't!" Nosedive sobbed, his entire body shivering.

"You have to!" Klegghorn stated more firmly.

"N-No!" Nosedive cried.

Captain Klegghorn got fed up with him then and there. Glaring at him, he gripped Nosedive's chin and turned the boy's head so they were eye-to-eye. Nosedive was too upset and shocked to resist.

"Crying won't heal your brother! You can cry later, but right now you need to be able to think!" He shouted, and the boy froze, before nodding slightly in agreement and falling silent, albeit the occasional sniffle. "Okay?"

"O-Okay. . ." Nosedive whispered weakly, getting his sobs under control.

The others chose to arrive just then, the Migrator coming to a halt past the police cars. Seconds after the vehicle came to a stop, the ramp was coming down with Tanya, Mallory, and Grin rushing out before it had even touched the ground. Duke was a few seconds behind, presumably the one that was at the wheel. Grin was carrying a stretcher and Tanya a first aid kit, despite the fact that she knew that Cassie had already bandaged Wildwing.

"W-Wildwing. . ." Nosedive whimpered as Tanya and Grin carefully put Wildwing on the stretcher.

Duke kneeled beside Nosedive, wrapping an arm around Nosedive's shoulders.

"C'mon, kid, let's get you and your brother inside the Migrator." He whispered, his voice soft and soothing. "We're going to take care of Wildwing now, don't worry. . ."

"H-He's going to be okay, r-right?" Nosedive asked Duke, his voice quiet and afraid.

"Wildwing got hit by a truck and only got a concussion, of c-course he's going to be okay!" Duke's slight stutter spoke differently, but Nosedive was too upset to notice it as Duke helped him stand up.

Nosedive let out an inaudible gasp as his world began to spin, and he clutched to Duke, unable to keep his balance. Everything became blurry and darkened, his vision narrowing at an alarming rate. Duke shouted something at him, but he sounded so far away . . .

He felt as if he was made of air, as if he was drifting away. . . The ground was suddenly rushing up to meet him as he lost his grip on Duke, but his vision faded before he met the ground. Darkness took him away from the world, and he didn't feel himself hit the ground, and the shouts around him sounded like the buzzing of bees.
Everything was so quiet and comforting and peaceful. For a second, he felt as if someone was shaking him, that his head was rolling uselessly, but the feeling past, and he felt nothing.

When the darkness came to him, took him fully from the world, he welcomed it.


"Tanya said afterwards that I lost a good deal of blood. That, combined with the shock of you being hurt and the energy wasted by the fight, caused me to lose consciousness." Nosedive sighed in relief, glad that he had nothing more to really remember. "I woke up in the infirmary a day later, and, well, you can guess the rest."

Wildwing nodded, and sighed.

"Did anything else happen when I was in the infirmary?" Wildwing asked and Nosedive nodded slightly, wincing.

"Y-Your heart stopped a couple of times a-and I thought you had died!" Nosedive cried, and Wildwing blinked in surprise, going pale.

"It. . . It did?" Wildwing whispered, and Nosedive again nodded, pressing into Wildwing.

"Y-yeah, and the others had to tie me down whenever that happened. . ." Nosedive laughed weakly, and Wildwing grew alarmed.

"What, why?" His eyes widened and he looked at his brother in surprise.

Nosedive laughed weakly again.

"'Cause then I'd get in their way. . . And I probably would've torn you apart." Nosedive admitted, shuddering. "I was so freaked out that I was hardly sane."

"God, I'm sorry-" Wildwing began to apologize.

"-Don't be. We both survived, didn't we?" Nosedive stated, smiling softly.

"I guess. . ." Wildwing sighed, voice tired.

"I think we should go to bed, now." Nosedive laughed, noticing his brother's eyes slowly closing, and Wildwing nodded mutely. "Before you crash and end up snoring on the floor."

"Hey!" Wildwing protested, but any else he said was lost in a yawn.

Nosedive chuckled softly, forcing his brother to lie back down before curling up against him. Wildwing wrapped an arm around his brother's shoulders and yawned again. This caused Nosedive to laugh again and Wildwing gave him a half-hearted glare.

"Oh hush." Wildwing muttered, and Nosedive stuck his tongue out at him.

"Now where's the fun in that?" Nosedive smirked.

"Don't make me kill you because of lack of sleep." Wildwing replied with a yawn.

"How could you be sleepy? I'm not, I'm completely a-" The rest of Nosedive's sentence was cut short by a yawn of his own.

Wildwing snickered.

"You were saying?"

"Shut up. It's your fault, you're making me yawn!" Nosedive stated, then promptly yawned again.

"Goodnight, baby bro'." Wildwing chuckled, closing his eyes.

Nosedive sighed and closed his eyes as well.

"Goodnight, 'Wing."

They were both asleep a minute later, both unaware of the world around them, their dreams peaceful. Their dreams, however, would have not been as peaceful, had they known what was in store for them in the next couple of weeks.

*End of Chapter 2*

Author's end-note: *Evil cackle* I'm falling in love with this fanfic, it's so much fun to write. XD More evilness to come in the next chapter, which will have an actual plot! And, of course, it having an actual plot means that something's going to happen! Yea! But how did Wildwing survive getting hit without receiving any broken bones? That's a mystery that'll be solved in either later chapters or a later story. XD Give me your theories, through e-mail, of course, so you don't spoil the plot for everyone else if you don't guess it right. And no, Wildwing doesn't have magic! That's not actually in the plan. ::Evil cackle, knowing she's now stumped half of the people that read her fanfic.:: Uhm. . . And don't forget to R&R, please!

Author's second end-note: Rofl, Return of the Author Notes. . . Better than Attack of the Cloned Author Notes, I suppose. I'm afraid I might not get out chapter three for a while, since I was 3/4th's done with the second chapter when I realized the fanfic was too long to be a one-shot, so I split them. =P That's why this chapter came out so soon after the other one. Although I'll be more inclined to work faster on it if more people review my story, rofl. Pweasy? It inspires me!

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