Disclaimer--- Hey, if I owned the Ducks, they'd still be on the air

Disclaimer--- Hey, if I owned the Ducks, they'd still be on the air. But I don't, pleh :P So I'm not makin' any money off of them or this fic either, although hey I would accept donations! J

Author's note--- This story is another chapter in my long-running Dragon Chronicles. Not every story in this series will be listed on FF.net, but all of them are listed in chronological writing order on my webpage. If you'd like to find out more about Zelda or other characters that will appear later in this series, visit my website at http://members.fortunecity.com/zeldathedragon and go to the information page, and the rest of my stories can be found in the fanfiction section.

Rated—PG-13 for some violence, blood, and angst. Enjoy Ducks fans!

One or the Other

Written by Zelda

                Dragaunus stared wrathfully at the screen. Estute and studious, that's what he needed to be. His great Saurian brothers had taught him. Taught him from the very egg. Taught him through their imprisonment. Dragaunus growled. They had muttered the words of conquest and victory to him through the very bars of their dimensional cage, and he had sat and listened to them fade away until they were no more. He pressed a button, revealing another image. He stared, bleary-eyed, at the screen. Another one of the images from the files on the Ducks. Ducks. The very word was enough to make his blood boil. He snarled again, feeling a fiery breath creep up his throat. He pressed the button again. An image of Wildwing and Nosedive came up. Dragaunus stared, thinking hard. He crimped his claws

as he did so, thinking of all the ways he could bring pain to those pitiful little waterfowl. Once he got a chance to get his claws on them, their armor would be tinfoil beneath his strength! Dragaunus leaned back, and reconsidered his thoughts. Maybe force wasn't the way. He looked back at the picture. Yes, maybe he was being a bit too hasty.

                "Siege!" he yelled into the cavernous space behind him.

Siege ran quickly up to him. "Yes my Lord?" he panted.

                "Is the new laser ready yet?" Dragaunus asked intently.

                "Ready to roll!" Siege grinned the affirmative.           

                "Excellent!" sneered the lizard. He leaned back in his throne and stared up at the screen again. "Look at them Siege." he smiled. "In the midst of themselves, they don't see what strength they place in that one." He pointed his claw strait at Wildwing. "Once he falls, the rest of them will topple as well. That's our target." he smiled. "And this laser will render those feathers as good as fried." Dragaunus stood up. He had done enough waiting.

                The Ducks got out of the Migrator, and into the blinding white Anaheim sun.

                "Wally Walrus's Aqua World." Duke squinted, reading a bright purple banner.

                "Phil sent us to an under-budgeted aquarium!?" Nosedive yelled in disbelief.

                "Great. Leave it to Phil to do the publicity stunts." snarled Mallory, looking out at the crowd of people that cheered at the sight of them.

Suddenly, a huge purple costumed whale bounced up to them, trying to keep balance on a measly two hind flippers. "I'm Seymour Splash! Welcome to Wally Walrus's Aqua World!" he announced, more to the crowd than to the Ducks.

                "This will be soooo much fun." Tanya muttered under her breath.

                "Come on, we might as well get this over with." said Wildwing, as he walked into the facility. Slowly, the team followed, trail by a throng of fans.

Grin walked into a corridor, and pressed his hands to the glass of one of the tanks. "Fish have always been said to have a calming effect over their observers." he said.

Suddenly, the hallway became flooded up with fans, shoving paper and pens into his face, each vying for an autograph.

"Evidently, it doesn't seem to be working here." he sighed. The team continued to be shoved around by the fans, going every which way. Finally, the fans drifted off, and the team was left scattered in various places about the building.

                "Team, this is Wildwing. Regroup at the main entrance." Wildwing ordered into his com, and started off, following signs along the blue, cinder block walls to the entrance. When he arrived, he met Nosedive and Tanya.

                "Jeez, the place looks deserted." said Tanya, looking around.

                "Yeah, but it's still only four in the afternoon." said Duke, coming up behind Wildwing. "Why wold everyone just up and leave?"

                "Well, it's definitely making me nervous." started Zelda, riding Grin's shoulder as he, Dive, and Mallory came up to the rest of the team. "I thought I heard screams through the walls."

                "Screams?" asked Wildwing.

                "Must be the 'Shawn the Shark' performance." grinned Nosedive.

                "Not quite." interrupted a voice they knew all to well. The halls suddenly lit up with an orange

phosphoresce, as the team spun around. They faced Dragaunus and his henchmen, with weapons drawn.

                "These Ducks'll be sleeping with the fishes tonight!" laughed Siege, lifting his laser gun.

           The walls suddenly rocked with an explosion. Sparks of fire and pieces of cinder block suddenly came down on Zelda and Grin as the entrance to the building splintered beside them, helped by one of Wraith's fireballs. Grin ducked, and then retreated, leaving Zelda behind. Wildwing immediately lifted his puck launcher and fired a shot at the four, but it glanced off of the walls and bounced away.

                "We have to get out of here!" he yelled. He ran blindly forth, but a huge fist slammed him back.

                "You ain't goin' nowhere!" Siege snarled, picking him up and throwing him at the feet of the rest of the team.

                "My my, we must do something about your English." said Duke, as Tanya and Mallory helped Wing up, and the team retreated further down the corridors.                              

                "We have to get out! We can't fight as well in such a small space. It's a tactical disadvantage!" Mallory argued as they ran.

                "I'm sure they're well aware of that fact." said Wildwing. "But we have to draw them out."

They came to a fork in the hall.

"Left!" ordered Wing.

As the team entered, a hail of lasers blew Mallory and Grin back.

"Right! Right!" yelped Wildwing, as the two hoisted themselves up, and scampered away, firing behind them.

The team entered the darkness of a black room, with the only light filtering in from a huge tank of aqua water. The team entered the room slowly, looking for a place to hide.

"The corners!" Wildwing snarled. The team took positions in the two darkest corners, readying their weapons. They could hear the heavy breathing of the Saurians as they tramped in.

                "No use in hiding Ducks." laughed Dragaunus. "We can smell you." The Ducks glanced around nervously as they heard the Saurians moving about.

Suddenly, The Chameleon appeared in the middle of the room, holding up a lantern. He was dressed like an old sailor, pegleg and all. "Aye matey, I sailed many a sea, but none be as rough as the yonder waters." he giggled, pointing to the tank, as a huge shark swirled past the window.

Grin fired on him, and The Chameleon immediately jumped aside.

"Gotcha!" roared Siege, swiveling around and firing on Grin, Tanya, Nosedive, and Zelda. What ensued was a fight of lasers and pucks that lit up the room with an eerie glow. The shadows leapt and danced across the walls in a deadly horror, but the one who was missing from the clamor was Dragaunus.                  Wildwing noted this, as he fought. He drew his ice shield, the only constant light in the confusion. Suddenly, a bright haze of fireball exploded before him, throwing him back into a corner. He staggered to his feet, shaking off the wave of heat, when he was blinded by a bright green shadow. Dragaunus poked him back further with something, the end clanking dully on his armor.

                "So this ends it, Duck." Dragaunus sneered. Wildwing could see only flashes of him, but it was enough. His eyes were burning red, and wisps of smoke curled from his nostrils. "This laser is powered by the largest fragment of the Raptor's shattered bulerium crystals. It's blast it so powerful that it will shear right through that frivolous armor of yours, and leave you with nothing." Dragaunus pressed Wildwing back further, as he drew his ice shield in front of him. "Nothing." Dragaunus growled sinisterly. "Not even your life." Wildwing heard a soft whirring and could see the ray's glowing fragment of the crystal, as it powered up, preparing to fire. Suddenly, there was a clamor off to his right. He could hear his brother yelling, and Siege shoving him. Dragaunus raised and aimed the ray. There was a loud thud as Nosedive was shoved back into the wall, and right in front of Wildwing. Dragaunus yelped and tried to reaim the ray, but it was too late. The great yellow-orange blast blinded Wildwing for but a moment, and seconds later he saw his brother fall soundlessly. Wildwing retracted his shield and dropped to his knees just in time to catch him.

                "Dive! Dive are you okay?" he yelled into the clamor. He could hear his brother panting in reply. From ahead of him, he heard Zelda roar. She came crashing down onto Dragaunus's crested head, tearing at him. He threw her off, roaring in anger and frustration, and backed into the center of the room.

                "Come on!" he snapped to his henchmen. "We've wreaked enough havoc here for one day." The three henchmen stumbled to the center of the room, and they disappeared, illuminating the team in their shadow.

                "Is everyone okay?" Mallory asked into the returned darkness.

                "Dive's been hit!" came a panicked reply from the corner.

The team crowded around, but got confused in the darkness.

                "Back off! Give him some air!" Zelda snapped, parting through the team. "Tanya, can we have a light?" she asked.

                "Just a second!" Tanya replied, fumbling around with her Omnitool. She raised her hand in the air, a florescent bulb protruding out. She turned on the switch, and the corner was flooded with light.

The entire team gasped to see Wildwing kneeling on the floor, holding up his nearly unconscious brother. The ray had sheared right through his chest armor, creating a huge, still smoking hole in his side, to the right and beneath his heart.

                "Nosedive!" said Mallory, astonished.

                "Come on Bro! Wake up!" Wildwing said, shaking him. He leaned down, hearing Nosedive's breaths coming in thin, shallow gasps. His eyes were squinted shut, and his teeth were locked in a wince of agony. Wildwing was horrified at his brother's injury. He was absolutely horrified.

Zelda whined loudly.

                "We've gotta get him out of here!" said Tanya hurriedly.

Wildwing glanced up, panicking. Slowly, gently, he scooped his brother up and carried him out, through the halls, and into the blinding light. He jogged soundlessly, his brother's head lolling gently against his arm. Wildwing only saw a blur. He only saw the light at the end of the hall. Finally, Wildwing fell to his knees again on the metal floor of the Migrator.

The team regrouped around him. They expected their leader to stand up immediately again, and place Nosedive on the cot Zelda was already standing by.

But Wildwing sat there, staring down at his brother. He was breathing even more unsteadily now, the air shivering and fluttering in and out. Zelda was beside her leader. She and Wildwing glanced up at each other for a second. They both knew, Zelda as a dragon and Wildwing as a brother, that it was too late.

          The rest of the team must have seen it as well. The leaned back now, solemn and quiet as if they were at a funeral.

Wildwing couldn't belive it. This couldn't possibly be happening to him! Wildwing squinted his eyes shut slowly. His baby brother was going to die. It hit him like a freight train. He was just lying in his arms and fading away. A tear rolled down the side of the Mask and spattered on Nosedive's armor. Wildwing couldn't belive it. Time seemed to stop. Wildwing's stomach rose up into his throat. This wasn't supposed to happen. "Come on Dive." he whispered. "Don't leave us like this. Don't leave me." He shook Nosedive softly, almost gently.

Zelda ducked her head. To the stars, she hated this. It was like a scene out of a soap opera, only a TV show didn't make you feel this kind of pain. It wasn't a pain you could stop, it just came on slowly and seeped through you and made you want to rip your heart out for the purpose of not having one to hurt. The team stood still. They all felt the same way. Some of them were crying, some just didn't want to show it. But it was so quiet. The same pain was slowly tearing a rip through all of them. All Zelda could hear was Nosedive's shallow breathing becoming fainter and fainter.

Wildwing was crying too, he let his tears come. He cuddled his brother as if her were a baby duckling. "This wasn't supposed to happen to you." he choked softly. He wanted to scream, but he knew he couldn't. His brother was his responsiblilty. He had failed him. His brother was in more pain he would probably ever be in, he needed him now. Wildwing lowered his head. "I love you Bro." he sighed. "I'm sorry."

           The two stayed like that for but a few seconds, before Wildwing gently laid him down on the cold metal floor. He rolled Dive onto his side, so the rest of the team wouldn't see his frozen wince.

Zelda moaned deeply, the sound echoing and flowing off of the Migrator's internal walls.

The team knew what it meant. The breathing had stopped. Nosedive was dead. It shocked some of them. They stood there like they had been frozen.

Wildwing was still crouched beside him. Slowly, he stood up.

Zelda looked up into his tightly shut eyes and saw a pain that would never fade from him.

He finally opened them, and the Mask made them burn with a blood red light. "Let it be know everywhere." he started, choking on his own tears. "That my brother died today." Grin hugged Tanya close. "And let us all know who is responsible." he continued. "The Saurians are murderers. It was he." Wildwing pointed to the pale form on the floor. "Who gave his life to protect mine. It was either him or me. I would have offered myself up if I could of." Wildwing started to cry again. "But I didn't have the chance. It was either one or the other." His knees wobbled, and Wildwing fell back to the floor again, kneeling over the body of this dead younger brother. It burned a hole into the back of the minds of all present.

                Wildwing didn't look back as the infirmary doors closed with a hiss behind him. Zelda sighed. He didn't need to look. The team had somehow driven back to the Pond, and Wildwing had placed his brother's body on one of the Medicom beds himself, leaving him to Zelda. The rest of the team was off somewhere, mourning, no doubt. For a minute Zelda couldn't bear to turn around and look at Dive either. She was still crying silently. Tears were something that didn't come that often to a dragon, but this was an easy exception. Finally, she turned about and sat down at the bottom of the bed. She couldn't look at him, she just couldn't. Disbelieving, exhausted, overcome with sorrow and a twinge of fear, Zelda laid down on the floor and buried herself in her wings.

                Wildwing sat stone still on the edge of his bunk. The halls everywhere around him were quiet. He thought, long and hard. All the sad things, the memories that his thoughts could offer him had been cried over, and they were all rushing back to him now. But there was a deeper hint of something in them. "Murderers." he muttered to himself. "They killed my best friend, and now my own brother." His eyes burned so hard that it hurt. Wildwing was slowly overcome with deep rage. He knew what he had to do. He got up and stumbled out of the bunks.

                The infirmary door opened slowly. Wildwing stepped forwards. He had to see his brother one last time. He walked as silently as a shadow, seeing Zelda asleep on the ground. He started to cry silently again. He wasn't the only one who was hurting. His brother's body was covered in a white sheet, and Wildwing stepped bravely up to it, peeling it gently away. His brother's face was still locked in that snarl of pain. Wildwing shut his eyes tightly. He couldn't bear it. He felt the red in his Mask burning, but then he realized the pain was coming from within his own eyes. "Why did it have to be you, Bro?" Wildwing choked. He stared at the gaping, charred hole in Nosedive's armor. "You should have let me take that shot. You were too young. You left me all alone Dive..." Wildwing picked his head up and hugged it tightly again. Words couldn't say what he felt at the moment. He was lost in a hostile blackness that would never totally leave his heart. Wildwing stepped back. So this was the last good-bye. He laid Dive back down, and placed his jersey over him. Over his death wound. Number 33. It would never be replaced. His helmet, gloves and skates were placed on pegs along the wall, and finally, Wildwing placed Dive's favorite hockey stick against the side of his bed. That was all he could do. The hate and rage enveloped him like a fog as he stepped further back. Canard and Nosedive were dead. There was only one thing Dragaunus had left for him now. Revenge. Silently, he turned and stormed out of the infirmary.

                The infirmary door suddenly opened, and Zelda jumped up quickly to see the rest of the team, headed by Wildwing, walking through.

                "Stay here Zelda." Wildwing ordered, not turning his head to look.

                "Where are you going?" Zelda asked, getting up. Wildwing turned around. The glare of his eyes made Zelda turn her gaze. She saw such a deep mourning within him that it had boiled into rage.

                "We're going to find the Raptor." he snarled fixedly. The rest of the Ducks stared at him like robots. The tears that still flowed from their eyes made the feathers along their faces wet and ragged. Wildwing turned and headed out through the door.

Zelda overcame herself and called him back.

Wildwing stopped, but didn't turn around.

                "Wildwing listen to my words if nothing else." Zelda pleaded. "Your rage comes in haste, as will your actions. Consider what you do carefully." Wildwing growled. "Please Wing, don't make this day any darker for you and for us." Wildwing nodded sharply, as the doors closed behind him.

                The Aerowing was off like a shot. Tanya watched Wildwing at the controls. He was fretful and distracted. Tanya herself was barely able to keep herself from crying further. She looked at his burning red eyes, and realized they would never be the same again, with or without the Mask.

Grin gripped the back of her seat loosely, trying to keep focused on where they were going. Something deep inside of his soul, in the pit of his heart, couldn't bring himself to accept that Dive was really dead. He knew this to be true death. It was pain he wouldn't bring himself to grapple with for a long time. A pain that would embed itself in him, and in the whole team, forever. He never thought that he would miss Nosedive as much as he did. He never thought he see Duke hiding his eye to prevent the others from seeing him crying. But Grin felt the violent blow created by Nosedive's death deeply. He knew now of the great ring of trust, affection, and siblingly love the team had for each other. Though no one showed it, they all would give their lives for each other. And he had discovered this ring, now that it was shattered, never again to be whole. Grin closed his eyes. The Aerowing suddenly ducked.

                "There it is." Wildwing snarled. "That's the Raptor."

Mallory sat shocked. Were they really going through with this? It was too late to turn back now however, as a jolt to the side of the ship signaled that the Raptor had begun to fire on them.

                Zelda sobbed quietly. The image of Nosedive lying on the ground, in his brother's arms, still burned fiercely in her head. She shook herself, but it was only replaced by more and more memories of the trickster, the great hockey player, the irreplaceable teammate that Nosedive was. Slowly, she lifted the sheet over him, to reveal his face. She finally looked him in the face. Twisted and snarled with pain, Zelda cringed and looked away with more tears in her eyes. Finally, she looked back. Enough pain to kill him. She lay her head down on his armor chest piece and felt the tears trickling off of her scales. Her body shook with crying. She took his gloved hand in her claws and squeezed it hard. She had loved each and every team member like one of her own kind. She had fought beside them, through hockey and battle alike. Through times of victory she had been with them, and through times of loss as well. But this... this was the greatest loss. No one would be the same after this, and the cruel thing was that the next day, the sun would rise, and the people all over the world would get up and go out, no effect. But their world had come to a screeching halt. It would never start regularly again. There would always be an empty bunk here. Empty, like the hollow shell of the lifeless body that lay before her now. She squeezed Dive's hand again, tighter. She was about to pull away from him, when she felt something. Was it just her, or did the hand recoil back? No, a hopeless little dream. She could only wish it was so. It made her cry harder. She brought her snout down and nuzzled the hand gently, feigning a motion of Nosedive petting her. She was shocked, horrified even, to find the fingers coiling ever so slightly around the scales on her snout! Zelda drew away quickly, almost feeling like running away. "Nosedive?" she asked, incredulously. She brushed away the locks of hair from his pale face. She leaned her head down to listen. Slowly, she listened, hearing a light airy fluttering. The noise so soft only a dragon could hear. It frightened her and overjoyed her at the same time. Quickly, she withdrew, taking the sheet and jersey off of him, and started up the Medicom. It whirred with a steady hum, circling around Dive. Zelda anxiously watched the heart monitor. Faintly, a tiny notch, a weak bleep sounded on the screen, followed by another an agonizingly long time afterwards. Zelda's jaw hung open in joyful disbelief. Nosedive had held on! Zelda bounded back to his bedside and licked him roughly on the side of the cheek. Nosedive's head flopped back down faintly. Zelda withdrew herself, snapping herself back to order. Yes, Nosedive lived, but he was fading as she watched. She would not let him die under her eyes. She bounded off to the supply cabinet, and fetched some antiseptic, bandages, and things of a medical sort. She spread them out on a small table beside her. She unhinged the chest armor and spread it open to better see the wound. "Hang on Dive." Zelda urged. "You're going to be okay." Zelda perched beside him, dabbing some liquid on acotton pad. "This may sting a bit..." she muttered, leaning over him. Dabbing the wound, Nosedive winced and crimped up further. "Sorry, sorry!" Zelda snorted. She immediately thought of Wildwing and the team, but she refused to leave Nosedive's side. As she cleaned the wound, the charred and burnt flesh slowly dissolved, and the wound bled freshly. She bandaged it well and covered Nosedive with a thick blanket. "I'll be right back." she eased in his ear. She scampered out into the Ready Room, and opened up a com link. "Guys?" she asked into the speaker.

                "Zelda!?" It was Mallory who replied.

                "Where's Wildwing?" Zelda asked.

                "I don't know!" Mallory yelped back, distressed and blotted out by the crackle of explosions.

                "Find him and get back here now!" Zelda ordered sharply. "I have news. Prevent him from doing anything rash, drag him back if you must! Tell him to do it for his brother!"

                "Affirmative!" Mallory yelled.

                "Good, I'll be right here." Zelda smiled, and closed the link. She paced quickly back to the infirmary and reared up beside Dive. All she could do now was wait.

                An alarm on Drake One interrupted the peaceful silence that pervaded over the room. Zelda ran out. It was an incoming message from the Migrator. She pressed a few buttons, to see a typed message come up in a blazing red on the screen. It read as follows:

                'Zelda, prepare the Medicom for wounded, serious situation.'

                The doors opened with a loud hiss. Zelda leapt up, riding on Grin's shoulder. Wildwing limped through the door, supported by Duke. He hung his head like one that had died.

                "Sit him down, sit him down!" Zelda said. Zelda proceeded to wrap a deep gash in Wildwing's leg quickly. "There there." she eased. "Thank goodness you weren't hurt worse. What happened?"

                "He took on Dragaunus." said Duke.

                "And lost." Wildwing muttered, his eyes still blazing red.

                "It doesn't matter." Zelda sighed. "You have no new blood to avenge."

Wildwing suddenly looked up.                            

                "Shhh." Zelda eased. "Miraculous yes, but your brother is alive."

Wildwing staggered up slowly. Weak with the loss of blood and the stress of battle, he limped up and went over to his brother.  "He is alive." Wildwing muttered, as the rest of the team stood behind him in shock.

Slowly, Nosedive opened his eyes halfway, and stared up at his brother.

The redness faded from his eyes, and Wildwing smiled at him. "I thought you were gone forever. No getting rid of you is there."

Zelda grinned.

Wildwing turned back to the rest of the team. "I think we've faced enough action for today."

The whole team in general breathed a huge sigh of relief.

                That night, the team slept in the infirmary. It wasn't unusual when a situation turned serious, that the team spent a lot of time with the wounded. They just rolled in some extra bunks and slept there. Zelda slept in-between the two beds of Dive and Wing. Dive's heart monitor pulsed softly, still weak, but much more confident. Zelda was not afraid to let him sleep. He knew his brother was with him. Wildwing had explained to the whole group that he was indeed sorry for his actions. It seemed he had engaged Dragaunus alone, and was so hasty in his fight that he was defeated. And, in the act, had received a bone-deep gash down his left leg. Fortunately, nobody else received more than a few bruises. In hindsight, nobody had ever suspected that such a stable pillar of strength that Wildwing was, he could be thrown so violently. Death was no easy matter though, the team understood that. But there was no hint of death in the Pond tonight, and the Ducks were more than thankful. To tie up loose ends, It had been discovered that the crystal used to power the ray had been worn out, and the ray would never be used again. There were no heroic sacrifices, no tear-drowned mourning, no great thirst for revenge that night. There was no want for it either. There would never be any want again.

                Zelda awoke slowly the next morning. Wing's leg was on the road to a quick recovery, and Dive was doing much better. It had been determined that he had gone into a coma a while after he was hit, and had come out of it after the team had returned to the Pond, with Wildwing's injury. The day was like a huge sigh of relief. The team had a nonchalant practice, minus two members of course, who spent the day in the infirmary. The team generally left the two be. They knew they needed their time alone.

                Wildwing sighed as he patted Nosedive gently on the shoulder. "I really thought I had lost you Bro." he sighed, smiling. "First it was Canard, then it was you. It made me crazy. I guess we didn't realize how special we are to each other. All of us." Wildwing stood slowly, limping back to his own bed. Dive needed his rest. They all did. For now.

                                                                                The End

Mighty Ducks-The Animated Series, including all logos and characters (except me) are copyright and property of Disney. You may copy, print, or whatever with this document, so long as it is not altered and I (Zelda) am credited. Thanks!