Disclaimer: zzzzzzzzzz…..Oh, what? Oh yeah, Don't own, never will. I hope you thoroughly enjoy this story and constructive criticism (Not Flames!) is welcomed!
Tanya leaned against the wall of her bunk in a Teri-cloth robe, listening to the washing machine try to get orange soda out of her good purple jeans. She blew a stubborn lock of hair out of her face and shifted position. The night hadn't been entirely bad. Duke had taken her to a wonderful Mexican restaurant, and although conversation had been a little tight, it had been a pleasurable experience.
The movie theater was where things took a turn for the worse. Now, you expect a theater at night to be fairly crowded, but this was ridiculous. For a PG-13 film, there had been an awful lot of kids, throwing showers of popcorn in the air and squealing. It was a miracle to find two seats together, but they'd managed. Resigning themselves to getting a few popcorn pieces in their hair, the cou…. pair of ducks had seated themselves and sat quietly as the movie started.
Tanya mentally slapped herself. Even in her thoughts, she refused to be labeled a couple. Just yet.
About halfway through the film, the rather large man sitting next to Duke got up to use the restroom. The man accidentally hit him in the side as he got up. At that same moment Duke had been taking a gulp of his soda and jerked forward in reflex. And the soda, well…Tanya's pants paid the price. Duke franticly searched for napkins, mumbling embarrassed apologies, but to his relief, Tanya just started laughing.
" Wearing purple and orange is a, um, very bold fashion statement." She joked.
The washing machine beeped, bringing Tanya's thoughts back to the present. She held up the soggy pair of jeans and seeing that the stain was still there, tossed them back in for another cycle.
" No." Was the unanimous response that greeted Phil as he entered the Cafeteria the next morning. Their manager narrowed his eyes. " You don't even know what I was going to say!"
" Yeah, we do." Nosedive smirked.
This only got Phil more frustrated. " If you would listen before saying no, I was going to tell you that you've all been invited to the Governor's ball this weekend. Other celebrities and all sorts of entertainers. It's going to be huge!"
Wildwing looked unconvinced. Then Phil played his card. " C'mon Wing, it's for charity!" Nosedive sunk further into his chair. There was that word again, charity. Wildwing would agree to go on celebrity death match if it were for charity.
" This bird likes being a duck more than a penguin." He muttered sourly. Wildwing whapped his brother on the head with the sports section.
"We'll do it, Phil." You can imagine the grin on Phil's face.
" Great! The Governor will be so pleased! And Tanya, " he added, turning towards her. "Please wear a dress this time.."
Tanya put her hands on her hips. " And exactly what is the matter with my power suit?" She replied, mentioning the suit she had worn to the ducks last formal appearance.
" It's just not…" Phil seemed at a loss for words. " 'feminine' enough "
" So you're saying just because my outfit doesn't fit the outdated thought patterns of the male populace, it's not feminine enough!?"(O.0eheh)
He cowered slightly " Um, no, uh ...uh...uh.."
"Well, for your information, I don't even own a dress!" She realized her mistake too late when, much to her chagrin, Mallory piped up behind her.
" Hey, now I finally have a reason to take you shopping!" Tanya put a hand over her face and let out an exasperated sigh.
"Out of the fryin' pan an in to the fire, eh, Tanya?" Duke said, then hurried out of the kitchen before either female could exact vengeance for the remark.
" Come on, Tanya! There has to be something here that you'll wear!" Tanya shook her head. " Nuh uh. Nothing in here would cover even half of me. "
Mallory pulled another outfit off of the rack. " What about this one?" Tanya raised an eyebrow at the short-shorts and baby T-shirt. " You're shopping for yourself again aren't you?" Mallory threw a hanger in Tanya's general direction.
" And you're impossible!" After a few minutes of digging, Mallory produced another outfit.
" What about this one?" No reply. "Tanya?" Mallory turned around to see Tanya holding up a plain black velvet dress to her self in front of a mirror. Mallory smiled. She may get this woman to buy something yet.
"Like it?" Mallory asked, coming up behind her friend. Tanya grinned a little and swayed back and forth with the dress, feeling the soft material with her fingers.
" Yeah, I guess."
"So try it on!"
" Oh, no, I cou-c-, um, "
"Oh, go on you know you want to!" Mallory gently shoved Tanya in a dressing room. A few minutes later the blonde duck came out and Mallory's eyes bugged. The dress clung tightly to Tanya's frame, revealing her hourglass figure and accentuating her natural curves.
" Taunny! Why didn't you tell me you were an hourglass? That would have made shopping for you sooooo much easier!"
Tanya flushed a bit. " Well, I didn't uh, really kinda, know -ya know and -- " Her sentence was interrupted as a loud wolf whistle pierced the air. (An equally audible 'Smack!' followed, given by the man's wife!) This time it was Tanya's eyes that went wide and she hurried back into the changing area, leaving Mallory tearing with laughter.
A night that came too early for some ducks. Duke tugged wearily at the bow tie that was bound and determined to strangle him. Diner had already been served and eaten, and now it was time for the dance.
Wildwing shyly wandered over to Mallory and asked her if she cared to. Mallory eagerly accepted and the pair happily walked over to the dance floor. Duke watched them now, slowly shuffling across the floor, Mallory's head on Wildwing's chest, eyes closed. The older duck had to smile. They made a cute couple, those two. His eyes then wandered to the current object of his affection.
She was so beautiful, it was amazing. Her blonde hair was down for once, held back only by a violet-colored orchid over one ear. Tanya sat cross-legged, morosely staring at the carpet. She glanced up momentarily and snared Duke's eyes in a brief gaze. Neither looked away for a moment, until Tanya turned her head, blushing slightly. Ok, that was it. Duke would not sit here and wallow in self-pity and fear. He would go up and ask Tanya to dance.
Or at least, he would have, had not someone beaten him too it. Just as Duke was getting up, a very handsome man (at least by human standards) came up to Tanya and asked her the same question. Tanya hesitantly accepted and he escorted her to the dance. Duke glowered at him as he back down, sulking. Though he would never admit it, Duke felt that little green-eyed monster tugging at him.
'Why did I let myself get talked in this?' Tanya wondered. Her dance partner (Who had introduced himself as 'Mike') simply smiled at her. "Lovely night for a dance, huh? But then again, a beautiful night for a beautiful lady, right?" Tanya reddened, slightly embarrassed by the compliment. Mike held her closer as one of his hands slid farther down her waist. Tanya shifted uncomfortably in his grasp but he only held her closer.
Duke watched the scene with growing mix of envy and anger.
Mike leaned into Tanya. " Would it bother you if I, say, stole a kiss?" He closed his eyes and strained his neck. Try as she might, the female duck could not escape. So, she simply closed her eyes…and felt a wave of satisfaction as the heel of her shoe made contact with his foot. Mike leapt back, holding his foot and cursing. " You ungrateful little hussy!" He raised his hand as if to slap her. Duke had had enough. The strike never made contact. Indeed, it was Mike who was on the receiving end of a blow as Duke gave him a black eye.
"That is no way for a gentleman to treat a lady," Duke growled menacingly, standing protectively in front of Tanya. A small circle of people quickly formed around the two, like dogs in a dogfight. Mike easily righted himself, no sign of the blow he had taken on his face. "Well then, It's a good thing I'm not a gentleman." He said, calmly removing the face cover, to reveal the machine underneath. (Seen Terminator 2? Think of the scene where the terminator removes the outer layer of his arm, except not as bloody.)
Gasps rang out from the crowd. " Dr. Droid's..?" Duke wondered aloud. Tanya nodded. "Most likely."
By now, the rest of the ducks had quick-changed and surrounded the mechanical creature, weapons drawn. The robot shook in what would be fear, if machines could exhibit emotions. "Master, help me, please, help me!" Mike cried out. Wildwing laughed quietly.
" You think he's actually going to rescue you, you puny pile of bolts? " He spoke too soon.
"Coming, son!" A voice called from the roof. A bright circle of red appeared in the ceiling, slicing threw it, and Wildwing had to dodge out of the way to avoid being hit by the huge chunk of falling shrapnel. What looked to be a half spider robot/half human climbed nimbly threw the hole and landed daintily beside the other robot.
At this point the crowd had started screaming and running around in wild panic. "Nosedive, Grin, get those people out of here!" Mallory ordered.
Nosedive mock saluted her " Yes, ma'am!"
Grin bowed to the wall before punching his fist through it, making a large enough gap for the humans to escape through.
Dr.Droid noticed Tanya staring at his body, and twirled in a small circle to show off.
" Like it? I combined the better of my two bodies and have added freeze resistant metal. With this body, I will rule all of machine kind!"
"New body, same old lines!" Nosedive said, before dodging the laser beam that came his way.
"Silence, pathetic avian! Where was I again? Oh, yes, I was about to introduce my son!" Dr. Droid pushed the robot forward, for all to see. " Meet my son, the Mechanical Intelligence Kind of Evil robot, or 'Mike' for short. " The robot waved shyly, as a young child would on the first day of school. " When I control the earth, he shall be my 2nd in command!"
" Command this!" Wildwing cried, firing the first puck. The puck sailed through the air, only to bounce off of Droid's abdomen with a hollow ring. The mechanical genius laughed heartily.
"The battle begins!" And sent a shower of laser fire around the room, forcing them all to dive for cover. Mike tackled Tanya as she took shelter behind an over turned table.
He flashed her a mechanical grin. " I still think you're pretty cute." Tanya narrowed her eyes and drew her legs up as far as she could. "And I think you're a creep!" She said, straightening her legs out completely, sending the robot flying into a nearby wall. Duke dove for cover behind the same table and waited for a pause in the laser fire. It came a few moments later, and Duke hurriedly helped Tanya to her feet.
" Wildwing placed some puck bombs around da' room" He explained. " This place is gonna go any second! Let's get outta' here!"
"Uh, Right, right!" She cried, following him out the hole Grin had created. As they were running for the police line, they were pushed forward into the dirt by the force of the explosion, both ducks covering their heads as pieces of wood and shrapnel fell around them. The smoke eventually cleared and the two ducks looked up at the smolder pile of glass and timber that used to be the dance hall. Tanya's eyes were wide eyed.
" Do you think he..?"
"I don't know. An' frankly I don't care."
It was late that evening or even probably early Sunday morning, but sometime that night the team made it safely back to the Pond and wearily into their bunks. And yet, as tired as he was, Duke could not go to sleep. He'd counted sheep so many times, he was surprised they hadn't keeled over from exhaustion. Coming to the unhappy realization that sleep would continue to allude him, Duke groggily wandered into the Mess Hall.
Tanya looked up from her cup of hot tea in surprise as Duke entered. " You couldn't sleep either, huh?" Duke too, was a bit taken aback by the other ducks presence, but nodded. "I think I'm too tired to sleep."
" Same here." An awkward silence followed, as Duke poured himself a cup of tea also and sat across the table from her. Tanya eventually broke the silence by saying " I..I want to thank you, for ya know, back there."
A tiny smile lighted Dukes face. " No problem. I couldn't let some jerk do that to my gir .er.. good friend..My good friend. 'Cause that's what you are…" Duke hurriedly shut his beak when he noticed his babble. 'He's so cute when he babbles!' Tanya thought to herself. But she remained a bit apprehensive.
That uneasy silence quiet descended once again, and Duke noticed Tanya's slight nervousness.
' What's that phrase I've heard on this planet? Two steps forward, one step back? Too true.' Duke took a long breath in and decided to bite the bullet. " Tanya, I think you and I need to clear the air," referring to that event nearly a month ago. Tanya laughed dryly.
"Interesting choice of words." Duke frowned. "I'm serious." " So am I. You think I would joke about being trapped in an airtight vault for three hours?!"
"I, I didn't think you guys would be in any danger." He said lamely. " I thought you two could handle yourselves." Tanya sighed.
"Well, lucky for you, we could. But you know what hurts me the most?" She asked, her voice cracking and Duke could see the sadness in her eyes. " What hurts the most is that, that you didn't trust me. Nosedive and I probably wouldn't, or couldn't, have stopped you, it just would have been nice to know about beforehand. When you took off in that scout ship with Falcone…" She paused and lowered her head.
"I didn't know if I would ever see you again."
Duke shook his head in remorse. Reaching across the table, he gently put a hand under her chin and lifted her head to his eye level.
" Tanya, I am so sorry. " He spoke softly. " I didn't mean to hurt you. I wasn't thinking at the time, I was so focused on one-upping Falcone. Please forgive me." Tanya smiled.
" Only if you forgive me. I guess I have been a little over-sensitive about the whole thing. We got out of it safe enough and I shouldn't have held it against you for so long. "
Duke nodded in understanding and the two ducks smiled shyly at each other. A tiny light bulb went on inside Duke's head and he rose from his seat to turn on the radio.
" We never got that dance I was going to ask you about." He extended his hand to Tanya. The female duck barely suppressed a yawn and looked at the clock.
" Aw, Duke it's almost 2 am."
"That's the fun in it!" he said, pulling Tanya out of her chair and wrapping his arms around her. The song lyrics filled the room.
I am the man, who will fight for your honor
I'll be the hero, you're dreaming of…
Duke unwrapped one arm long enough to gently brush back a lock of blonde hair that covered Tanya's face. " You truly are beautiful," he whispered. Tanya simply stared into Duke's dark brown eyes and when he leaned forward to kiss her, she didn't put up a token of resistance.
For the glory of love…