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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
"Must be the 'Shawn the
Shark' performance." grinned Nosedive.
interrupted a voice they knew all to well. The halls suddenly lit up with an
the team spun around. They faced Dragaunus and his henchmen, with weapons
"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
came to a fork in the hall.
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.
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
"No use in hiding
Ducks." laughed Dragaunus. "We can smell you." The Ducks glanced
around nervously as they heard the Saurians moving about.
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.
fired on him, and The Chameleon immediately jumped aside.
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.
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.
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
"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.
"We've gotta get him out of
here!" said Tanya hurriedly.
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.
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,
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.
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
moaned deeply, the sound echoing and flowing off of the Migrator's internal
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.
was still crouched beside him. Slowly, he stood up.
looked up into his tightly shut eyes and saw a pain that would never fade from
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
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
"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.
overcame herself and called him back.
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.
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."
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.
"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
"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."
suddenly looked up.
"Shhh." Zelda eased.
"Miraculous yes, but your brother is alive."
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
turned back to the rest of the team. "I think we've faced enough action
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
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.
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