Author's Note: A Very Special Thanks to Dropzone, Pigeon and Audobon, for giving me back my muse!
"Heh, did we luck out or what?"
"Yeah, but I can't help but feel a little sorry for the gang, you know?"
Christina smirked and helped herself to another slice of pizza from the pie she and Wildwing had ordered.
"Wildwing, c'mon, we got outta posin' with gigantic dancin' candy bars. Personally, I'm too thrilled wit' that fact to waste time feelin' sorry for everyone else."
Wildwing chuckled at the mental image she'd conjured, and took a long sip of his soda. "I guess you've got a point. Nice to have a relaxing afternoon without personal appearances. Or Dragaunus, for that matter."
"Yeah. Ol' Lizard Lips had been pretty quiet, lately. Why does that make me nervous?"
"Because..." He took another slice of pizza and took a bite, chewing thoughtfully before finally finishing, "The longer we go between detecting activity from him, the worse his next plan tends to be."
Christina sat back and frowned. "Yeah, that would be it." Wildwing nodded before glancing up at a waitress that was hovering nearby. Neither Duck recognized the girl, who looked to be about sixteen, but they both smiled as she finally drummed up the courage to come up to their table. She wanted to say something, but couldn't quite get her mouth to work. Wildwing helped her out.
"H-Hi!" There was a lengthy silence, and it was obvious that she still wanted to talk, but just couldn't. Wildwing just smiled kindly.
"So, I'm Wildwing..." he extended a hand and the girl managed to return the gesture, though she forgot to let go. He nodded across the table, "And this is Christina. But I'm guessing you already knew that. So, what's your name? You must have just started working here; I don't recognize you."
"Nice to meet you, Marissa. Y'know, I'm gonna need that hand back."
She dropped his hand as if she'd been burned. "Oh! I-I'm sorry, I j-just—I'm sorry."
Wildwing just kept smiling; it wasn't the first fan that had experienced a mental meltdown at the sight of the Ducks. And the girls were the worst, especially when it came to Wildwing. Christina chuckled and withdrew a pen from her vest, then reached across the table and poked Wildwing with it. He took it and nodded at Marissa.
"Would you like an autograph?"
She nodded. "I-I'm a really big fan..." She looked over at Christina, who also reached out and shook the human's hand, grinning.
"Heh, we kinda figured that. Nice to meet you."
"Marissa. How do you spell that?" Wildwing had retrieved a napkin from the dispenser and was busy scrawling out 'To our biggest fan'. Marissa spelled her name for him ("One r, but two s's—everyone gets that backwards.") and he signed his name to it. He handed the pen back to Christina, who likewise jotted her note on a napkin before signing her name with a dramatic flourish.
"Here ya go."
"Thank you! Wow, this is so cool! My friends are never gonna believe this! Thanks!" She scurried off, disappearing into the kitchen with her prizes.
Christina grinned and drained the rest of her soda.
"Y'know, that never gets old."
Wildwing set a 20 bill down with their check and nodded. "Yeah, as long as it's one or two at a time. But that mob mentality can be a little scary sometimes." He rose and started for the door.
"Ch'yeah, I'll say. Nosedive an' I literally got knocked down a couple of weeks ago by this group o' kids on a field trip at th' mall. What kinda school takes kids to a shoppin' mall for a field trip, anyway?"
"Maybe they were learning something about money," he shrugged.
"I never got to go to the mall on a field trip when I was in school."
"Can't say that I did either. But you never—" He was interrupted by a familiar alarm from their coms.
"Figures those lizards would ruin a nice afternoon."
Wildwing couldn't quite contain his own sigh as he took off running for the Pond. "Time for a—"
"I know, I know! Time for a quick change! Sheez!" She flinched as she slapped at her com a bit harder than she meant to, activating her battle gear in mid-step.
Less than five minutes later, they'd powered up the Aerowing and taken to the sky.
"Wing, I still can't raise the guys. They must not be wearing their coms. Damn Phil!"
"It's up to us then. We're almost there."
"The desert. Again. What is with lizards and blistering wastelands?"
Wildwing didn't answer; he was too busy landing the Aerowing. The moment they touched the ground, he was out of his seat and lowering the gangplank. "Let's go!"
"Right behind ya, boss!" She activated her saber and followed him out, only to promptly have a laser singe her ponytail. "Hey! Watch the 'do, Scale-butt!" She managed to deflect a few more shots with her blade, and even batted one of Wraith's own fireballs back at him (much to her delight), before she found Wildwing standing in front of her, shielding her with his armor.
"Em, you see the loose boulders up above the Saurians?"
"Think your grappling hook could pull them down?"
She grinned. "I like the way you think, Wing!" Standing half-behind Wildwing, she took careful aim with her left wrist, and fired. The hook hit home, and she grabbed the line with both arms, pulling as hard as she could. The rocks shifted, but didn't fall.
"Wing, I need your help! I'm not strong enough!" Continuing to fire with his right arm, Wildwing grabbed the line with his left and pulled with all his might. The rocks gave way. Unfortunately, the Saurians noticed in time to hit their transporters – but as Siege disappeared, he yelled out one quick threat.
"In about one second, you're gonna be pâté, Ducks!" He vanished in mid-laugh, just as a boulder the size of a Volkswagen landed where he'd been standing. Christina looked up at Wildwing.
"Uh, whaddya think he meant by tha—"
"Look out!" Wildwing knocked her off her feet, shielding her with his body as the mountain above them came crashing down around them.
It took a good two minutes for the rocks to stop moving. Christina groaned; Wildwing had knocked the wind out of her, and she was still recovering.
"Wing? Y-You all right? ...Yo! Wing! Answer me!"
Wildwing answered with a groan of his own, and she was startled to discover that his beak was right next to her ear. "...Yeah, I'm all right. I think. Ugh, my head... You hurt?"
"Just got the wind knocked outta me. Other than that, I'm fine."
"That was way too close."
"I noticed. Have I told you lately that you're my hero?"
He chuckled. "Thanks. ...Or, you're welcome. ...Or both, I guess."
"So what say we get outta here now?"
"Sounds like a plan." He grunted, bracing his back against the rocks above them and pushing. After a few seconds, he slumped back down, panting from the exertion. Only then did Christina realize exactly what position they were in. She was sprawled on her back, and Wildwing was lying on top of her. Neither one could move more than a few centimeters in the tiny space. Christina squirmed for a moment, but it didn't help. She finally sighed.
"Well. This is awkward."
"Um." He cleared his throat. "Sorry."
"Yeah, well, at least we're alive. But I'm guessin' those rocks ain't movin' anytime soon."
"Half the mountain must have come down on us. I can't move any of it, and even if I did, the shift could crush us."
"Uh, yeah, I think I prefer this. Only one thing, Wing."
"You think you could move your right leg? Your knee armor is startin' to bruise my shin."
"Yeah, well, your belt buckle isn't real comfortable either, just for the record."
"Neither is yours! An' at least your ribcage ain't bein' crushed by somebody's breastplate!"
"Whaddya want me to do about it?"
"I want you to get your heavy-ass forearm offa my shoulder!"
It took her a second to register that Wildwing had started laughing.
" 'Ey, just what isso damn funny?"
"We've been stuck under here for all of three minutes, and we're already arguing."
Christina stared at him for a moment, even though all she could actually see was the glowing red eyes of his mask. Then she started to giggle. "Heh, you're right, this is stupid. We gotta figure a way outta here."
"Listen, you think you can reach my com to deactivate my armor? That should give us a little more room to... well, move."
Christina got the distinct impression that Wildwing was blushing. "Uh, yeah, I'll try." It took several minutes of squirming, struggling and cooperating before she'd managed to get her hand up to his wrist.
They both sighed in relief as Wildwing's bulky armor sparkled into nothingness.
"Geez, that was a lot of work for a such a simple task."
"Yeah, but at least we can breathe now. Look, you're just gonna have to excuse me for the time being, because I can only stay in this half push-up for so long. Besides, I can't reach my com if I'm using my hands to hold myself up."
Christina sighed. "Guess we get to get chummy, eh?" He answered by more-or-less collapsing on top of her.
"We don't have a lot of choice; there's just not enough room. I'll try to contact the team. Maybe they're done shooting by now."
"We can only hope. God you're heavy! What've you been eatin', anyway?"
"Most recently? Half a medium supreme pizza. The other half of which a certain skinny girl I know somehow managed to inhale. Now will you lay still?"
" 'Ey, whaddya want from me? I'm a sixteen-year-old girl with a twenty-year-old drake lyin' on top o' me!"
"Could we not talk about it? Besides, yelling at each other isn't going to help anything."
"You yelled first," Christina pointed out. Red eyes blinked down at her, bewildered.
"What are you, four?"
"Just call the guys already, will ya? Or shall I?"
Wildwing sighed, a heavy, annoyed sound that he didn't even bother to conceal. He fumbled for his communicator – it was much easier with his bare hands than it had been with his battle gloves and armor – and flipped it open.
"C'mon guys... Surely, that photo shoot is over by now... Oh, shit. Ow!"
"Ow!" Christina yelped simultaneously. "...Sorry 'bout that." She had jumped when he'd cursed – Wildwing never swore, so it had to be serious if he'd slipped up in front of her – and their beaks had knocked together, hard. "So, and I may regret askin' this, but... 'Oh shit' what?"
"Something in the rock is blocking the signal. I can't even connect with the other coms, or Drake One. I can't even raise the Aerowing, and it's only a few hundred feet away." He sighed. "Better try yours, just in case."
She did; nothing happened.
"Well, great. Now whaddya we do?"
He sighed. "The only thing we can do. We wait."