Greylag bent over Dot's bullet-ridden body. "That blasted cat," he muttered. He searched for the mangey devil, intent on flaying her despite his bloodied wings, only to find an opened parachute billowing on a tree branch. Hollowness carved away at him and what little emotion he had.
Barnacles and Pinkfoot, badly injured but breathing steadily, wobbled up to him.
"Snowy," Pinkfoot choked, but Greylag didn't even glance over.
"Company, fall in," he commanded. His voice was loud, but made of paper. As they marched forward, part of his soul remained bleeding next to Dot.
Drake stared across the pond, dejected and lonely. Ever since Ida had left him to live with that swan, he had realized how much he really did enjoy her company. Although he hadn't really been in love with her since he was a young drake, it had been nice to have someone to come home to in the nest at the end of the day. Now, it was just him.
The ducklings had all moved on to their own nests and lives. Downy was living next door to Maureen and Henrietta, and helping them out with their campaign to legalize bird same-sex marriage. Billy had married one of the chicks Grace had had with her new husband, Barnacles. Beaky was training to be a doctor at the Farmyard University, headed by the turkey. And Fluff... Fluff had gone out to the churchyard last spring to "find herself," and texted Drake every few months. In short, he was alone. Completely alone.
"He needs to get over Ida," he heard Maureen whisper to Grace in the duckyard one day. "Just accept that she was far too awesome for him to begin with, and find a new wife."
"If anyone will have him, of course, after...well...you know." Henrietta's head bobbed nervously as she entered the conversation, and Drake ducked (HEHEHEHEH I MADE A PUN) his head in shame, knowing full well what they were talking about. The real reason Ida had left him, which wasn't just because of his less-than-stunning personality or the fact that she liked that swan. It was because he had cheated on her with Greylag.
But now, he hadn't spoken to Greylag in over a year, and he was afraid it was too late to rekindle their relationship, which had begun and ended so quickly-in the span of a few weeks, they had fallen in love during hours stolen away from their wives. Drake had been so happy-so happy. Until the day when Greylag had shown up in their usual clearing with a determined and sad expression on their face. "I can't do this to Dot anymore," he'd said. "It's not honourable, what," and Drake had nodded.
"Of course," he said, and tried to act like he understood. This was just a fling, he thought. I'll go home to Ida, and pretend this never happened.
Until he got back to the nest and found out that Greylag had told Ida everything. With a murderous expression on her face, all she had said was, "You've gone too far this time, Drake," and she had moved out the next day.
Now, Drake hurried past the two hens and retired duck, pretending he hadn't heard their conversation, and tried to put the past behind him. Tried to act like he couldn't see their glances, disgusted (Henrietta and Maureen) and pitying (Grace). He waddled past them in as dignified a manner as he could, and headed down to the pond. At least there, he would be free from the memories of the past for just a few minutes.
A few weeks after Barnacles and Pinkfoot deserted, Greylag was starving and exhausted, but not a bit lonely. He was alone, yes, but he was alone and free!
And then one day, that changed.
You see, he had thought that it had been any old duck pond. He was dreadfully thirsty, and maybe there were a few possible recruits lurking in the rushes.
But that's not who he saw through the rushes. Suddenly, a dam burst, and all the tears and loneliness poured through. For the first time in forever, HE WAS NOTICED BY SOMEONE. Someone he was sure he'd never see again.
"Drake," he coughed. It was meant to be as confident and sure as he'd been when he'd last seen the mallard, but the past few months had taken their toll.
"Greylag." Drake couldn't believe his eyes. What was his old flame doing here? Greylag had sworn he would never return to this pond again-that he would never seek out Drake again. But the goose seemed just as surprised to see Drake as the duck was to see him. Surely he hadn't...gotten lost? Greylag didn't get lost.
The goose made a sound like a cough only it was a goose sound so it sounded different. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…"
"No, it's all right," Drake said, probably too quickly. His lingering affection for Greylag was likely writ in script across his every feature, but he couldn't bring himself to care. All he could see was Greylag's beautiful goosey body, the body he'd thought he would never see again. Every feather of each wing was just as gloriously attractive as he remembered. He ran his eyes over the other over and over. After a moment, he noticed the little changes that hadn't been immediately obvious-the new lines on Greylag's face, and the tired way he was holding his wings. "Are you...all right?" Drake asked quietly.
The goose shook his head. "Look, I'm really tired. Can I just get some food and rest and talk about things later?"
"Of course," Drake said, and led Greylag back to his nest.
He had fantasized about this encounter many times. It always involved retelling his stories of battle. Fighting the seagull for a sandwich. Escaping the people when he and the geese accidentally wandered into a Wal-Mart. But Dot had been with him all those missions, and it felt like a betrayal using them to impress Drake. Especially now.
Drake began to talk about the events of the previous spring- Ida had laid some egg and the kid was hideous and ran away- but he couldn't get through the story. Greylag was glad. It sounded too close to that grayish bird that had indirectly sent Dot to her death. Maybe he should have asked about Ida, but if Drake had the good grace to leave his hard topics alone, it was the least he could do to reciprocate.
Silence fell, but it was heavy as snow. Wet snow that numbed your fingers and froze your lungs. Greylag set down his croissant and stood up. "Let's go for a walk."
A/N: Is it good?! Give me reviews and I'll write more! Next chapter gets to the really sexah stuff ;)