AN: A look at the darker side of Dr Bushroot, whom LiveJournal user showvillain requested a ficlet about. Spoilers for "Beauty and the Beet," and other episodes that imply Bushroot's ability to regenerate himself make him largely immortal. I own nothing. All feedback, including constructive criticism, welcome and appreciated. Enjoy.

Dr Reginald Bushroot had not killed since taking due revenge on the good doctors Gary and Larson. Despite what anyone else might think, though, he did not withhold lethal force out of any kind of regret for his actions. As a nigh-indestructible blend of flora and fauna, he never felt compelled to wantonly kill, unlike some of his overly aggressive compatriots in the Fearsome Five (coughNegaduckcough) when a good solid thrashing would serve his purposes just as well.

After all, corpses were incapable of respect, and in the end, that was all Bushroot really wanted. Gary and Larson had denied his brilliance, and his demonstration of their folly had been enough to convince others to treat him with the deference he deserved, even if the best manifestation they could come up with was to run away in a screaming, bladder-emptying panic whenever he made the scene. Actually, he rather liked that. Negaduck, for all his blustering and death threats, also recognized Reginald's talents, otherwise why would the self-proclaimed Public Enemy Number One continue to seek his aid?

But most of all, Bushroot savored the particular respect he received from St Canard's self-appointed protector, the ever garrulous, far more skilled than people gave him credit for Darkwing Duck. It was subtle and difficult to catch, but Reginald was a scientist, and scientists, after all, live and die on their ability to see details and understand their significance.

Negaduck had murdered scores, so it was understandable that Darkwing fought him not only with a singular vigor, but a degree of carefulness and planning absent from his dealing with most of the rest of St Canard's (admittedly often inept) criminal elite. But Bushroot had only ever taken two lives, and yet when they met in battle the Masked Mallard regarded him with the same close, wary gaze, all sharp eyes and harsh frown and body coiled to react at the slightest sign of provocation. Perhaps the vigilante tried to hide all this with his blustering and his admittedly clever alliterative monologues, but it was always there.

Darkwing respected his accomplishments, and more importantly, his potential, enough to treat him with the respect he deserved, and he hadn't had to go around splattering blood all over walls and ravaging women and children to make it that way. If Bushroot tried to kill the Masked Mallard from time to time it was only because Darkwing's skill and effort deserved no less than his best response. When the crime fighter captured him (and he always did, because he was quite capable when it came down to the wire, everything else aside) he always made a point to voice his displeasure, but it never really bothered him too terribly much. Darkwing was, after all, a worthy adversary, and Bushroot returned his respect in kind. There was always their next meeting to look forward to.

Dr Reginald Bushroot had never felt compelled to wantonly kill, even as he looked at the small, red headed duckling in the purple jersey dangling off the vine Spike, his ever loyal Venus flytrap, had shot over the edge of the building at his command. She screamed and thrashed and slung her pigtailed head around, and he figured she had realized just how close she had come to becoming a greasy, quite dead smear on the concrete five stories below. He still, after all this time, wasn't sure what the girl's tie to the Masked Mallard was, but he did have a working hypothesis, especially given how much care Darkwing seemed to take with most children and his spectacular lack of success keeping this one from following him into danger. Stubbornness must be a shared trait of theirs.

Negaduck would have let her fall, if not just to spite Darkwing, but because it would amuse the twisted psychopath to no end. But her death would serve no purpose, and if Bushroot were right in his suspicions, might actually drive Darkwing to become even more dangerous. "Pull her up, Spike."

By the time Spike pushed her into his hands, he had a clear view of her wide, terrified eyes, but had to admit she was braver than he thought. He imagined most other children would have evacuated their bladders by now. "Perhaps," he mused as she stared at him and made gasping whispers that sounded a lot like "dud, dud," and did a lot to further confirm his hypothesis as to her identity, "you should listen more closely to Darkwing's instructions, little one. I am quite sure doing do would have kept you from your current predicament. Do be so kind as to tell him I wasn't the one that pushed you over the edge, if you would. Quackerjack is ever so clumsy."

Where that idiot had run off too after he sent their would-be hostage tumbling to the edge of the roof, Bushroot had no idea, and didn't really care, as Reginald had been the one holding the money they had just procured. If the jester were going to be so clumsy as to potentially kill someone Darkwing cared deeply about by accident, he simply wasn't safe to work with. She just stared blankly at him with wide, glassy eyes, keening softly. She did nod a little though, which was better than nothing. Behind him, and from the sound of it growing closer at a rapid clip, Bushroot could hear Darkwing screaming "Gosalyn!" at the top of his lungs as he bounded from rooftop to rooftop.

Ah, yes. This little one's name. From the timbre of his voice, Darkwing was just as furious as he was frightened, perhaps more so, and the night would not end well for Bushroot if the former botanist stayed around to fight him, he was sure. "Well, my dear, I must take my leave of you. Do have a pleasant evening." Fetching a pod from a pouch on his waist, he crushed it in front of the girl's face and set her on the blacktop, turning and leaping over the edge of the roof before she had even begun to sputter and cough. The pollen was of course harmless, but thick enough that it would keep her from telling Darkwing where he had run off to.

Bushroot wasn't terribly surprised when Darkwing stopped following him after reaching Gosalyn, but knew better than to prematurely call tonight's pilfering a complete success. It was a long time until dawn, and even then after Quackerjack's little stunt he would be lucky if the vigilante stopped pursuing him once the sun came up, his usual nocturnal preferences be damned.

Still, a part of Bushroot wondered if he had instilled any sort of respect into young Gosalyn tonight, and how that might affect their future encounters. As much as she had in common with Darkwing, he was sure she would be facing him in cape and mask before too many more years. He hoped she would fight with the same careful gaze and focused mind as her mentor. Darkwing was his best match, but he was mortal, just like everyone else except Reggie himself, and would part the field eventually. But if his sapling was as skilled as he, and shared the proper respect, well…

Bushroot smiled. With any luck he would have a worthy, respectful adversary for decades to come.