AHHHHHHH!!!!! It comes back to haunt me!!!!!!
Well, Ottercub had a point. In the "grand finale" of this fic, I never touched on what was going on through Canard's eyes. That thought didn't sit well with me. Then finally last night I was struck with an idea!!! Heh heh heh…whee…
Only Second Best (it just won't die!!!!)
Wildwing reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a fruit juice. He was really in the mood for a soda, but the Pond didn't have any. Pop wasn't good for professional athletes. He sighed.
Canard entered the room. "Hey Wing," he said.
"Hey man. Can you believe it? All the concession stands, all the pop machines, and there is no soda in this Pond!" Wildwing said with a snicker.
"Dive probably drank it all…" said Canard coolly.
"Hey, enough of that." Canard was surprised. "I'm tried of you two always at each others' throats. Why do you treat him so poorly, anyway?"
Canard got his own drink out of the refrigerator. "He just bugs me."
"All this tension just because he 'bugs' you? I've seen you. There's something else," said Wildwing. Canard sat at the table.
"I mean, he's real wild. He couldn't be serious if his life depended on it. He never does any work, he's so lazy! And the worst part is you let him. You have no control over him!" Canard leaned back. "No offense, Wing, but how come your brother always gets special treatment around here?"
"What special treatment? He's just the same as all of us!"
"Oh come on, Wing. He sleeps in late, is late to practice, joyrides on the Duckcycles, and is always lying around doing who-knows-what. Why…"
Wildwing was starting to get angry. "First off, anyone who wants to use the Duckcycles for whatever reason can. And we aren't expected to be working all the time-the others loaf around, too. And if you sleep late and show up to practice late, we're not going to jump all over you. Nosedive gets to do what everyone else gets to. And if he breaks a rule, he gets what's coming to him. We're all equals here!"
"It's not just that…" said Canard. "He can't take his responsibility seriously! This is a war…we're on a mission here! Not some teeny-bopper vacation…"
"Nosedive pulls his weight!"
"Oh come on, you've seen him! He's always worried about cracking a joke or whatever. Back here, he's always pulling pranks on everyone else. He's always playing those stupid video games or reading those comic books. Why can't he ever be serious?!?"
Wildwing was fuming. "Uh, Wing? You ok?"
"I can't believe you…"
"Canard, you wouldn't believe how good it is to see this care-free Dive."
Canard tried to speak, but was interrupted.
"You didn't have to sleep in the same room with a dangerously-thin five year old who was black and blue from the beatings he received for not doing anything wrong. You didn't have to watch him try to fall asleep, crying because it hurt so much. Crying because he had no idea what he had done. You didn't have to see him broken and bleeding, thinking he was so horrible because no one ever showed him a kind moment. You didn't wake up in the middle of the night when he started screaming because of a nightmare. You didn't see the pale-faced duckling with bags under his eyes because he was scared to fall asleep. You didn't have to see that. You didn't have to hear him cry at night, wishing he was dead. And he was five years old.
"You didn't have to see a starved, deathly-pale, sad-eyed kid who had been worked far past the point of exhaustion and still was expected to work even more. You didn't have the shocking realization that that was your little brother. He was not even sixteen and he had already seen far too many people die in front of your eyes. All of his horrible nightmares had came true. He was so sad. He hardly ever spoke, he never laughed, he barely even smiled.
"So next time you see him crack a joke at the bad guy, next time you see him pull a practical joke on Mallory, think about it. Why does he do it? To make up for all those years of pain and tears. Why do you think he lies around doing absolutely nothing all the time? To make up for those months of endless grueling labor. Why do you think he stuffs his face all the time? To make up for all those times he was starving. Why do you think he sleeps so late? Because for once, he can. His nightmares have subsided, so he can actually sleep now."
Canard didn't say anything.
"I don't want him to be serious. I don't want him to stop being care-free. You don't know how good it is to see him so happy. I've seen him when he's not…believe me, you do not." With that, Wildwing stood up and left.
Canard stared at his drink.
Canard couldn't admit it, but he was jealous. Of Wildwing and Nosedive. He didn't have any brothers or sisters. There was no one to look after, like Wing did. There was no one to look up to, like Nosedive did. He never really understood why Wing and Dive were so close. Wing never really talked about their past. It was far too painful for him.
Canard never hung out with younger kids. He thought them all to be moronic and wild. They didn't seem to know anything about anything. They were never serious, which bugged him. Canard was brought up to be orderly and rigid, unlike Nosedive, who hadn't been brought up at all. Canard had very little patience, especially with those different than him. He couldn't help it, it's just how he was. His family was always organized and strict. Nosedive was just the opposite.
Canard didn't hate Nosedive, he just found it difficult to be civil to him. And Wildwing bringing him to be on a team with seventeen-years-olds when he had barely hit puberty was the last straw. In his mind, Nosedive had no business being with people so many years older than him. He hated it how he and Wing could never hang out like friends are supposed to. Dive was always there, too. He had to follow them around all the time asking annoying questions. Whenever he confronted Wildwing about it, Wing just shrugged it off.
The relationship between Nosedive and Canard only got worse as Dive got older. They would argue a lot more, but only when Wildwing was not around. Nosedive would always provoke him, making everything worse. And Wildwing would just gush about him. Nosedive this, Nosedive that. This angered Canard.
Now they were supposed to live together. How was he ever going to survive? Nosedive still tried to provoke him, and now Wildwing's siding with him. Great. First replaced, then abandoned…he thought to himself. What's next? Exiled?
Canard didn't see how he was ever going to be able to live here with the team on Earth. With the Flashblade brothers on Earth. And I thought the Academy was tough…