Disclaimer: Wildwing, Nosedive, and everything else related to MD:TAS is © Disney. Used without permission.
Author's Note: This story takes place one month after the cartoon series' ends.
His brother spoke without even turning his head. "You know, there was a reason why I left my communicator back in my room."
Nosedive shrugged as he approached, noting that the roof itself was reflecting a lot of the sun's heat. An image of his boots melting to the hot metal flashed through his mind. "That's why I was the one sent to find you. Nobody else knew where to look." He crouched down beside his brother, sparing a rueful glance at the thick piece of cardboard that Wildwing had had the foresight to bring up with him. "Dinner'll be ready in about an hour."
"I'm not very hungry right now."
Nosedive wasn't all that surprised by this, but he decided to try persuasion anyways. "You sure? Today's Wednesday, so you know that Grin's cooking. And you love Grin's cooking. All those weird vegetables, like leeks and bok choi and other things I can't pronounce properly..." He broke off, grinning suddenly. "On the other hand, Mallory's helping, so you might be better off. He's only got her chopping stuff up, but you never know." The red-headed soldier's inability to figure out machines apparently extended to kitchen appliances. It hadn't taken long for her to be banned from cooking duties.
Wildwing gave his younger brother a wry smile. "I don't think it could be any worse than the last time you cooked."
"Dude, it was just fish."
"It was meat."
"Yeah, so?" At seeing his brother shudder, Nosedive snorted. Like the rest of the team, Wildwing was a vegetarian. Only Nosedive had the boldness, as he put it, to try anything once. "Bunch of scaredy-cats. Learn to live a little."
Wildwing rolled his eyes, but said nothing. For a several moments, the two brothers just looked out towards the city and watched the shadows lengthen. Finally: "I take it Grin's planning a large meal."
"Pretty much. He even had Duke pick up some wine. He thought--and everyone else agreed with him--that we should mark the occasion." Nosedive paused, watching his brother closely. "You know, with it being a whole year and all."
Wildwing's reaction was as expected. He looked away, clenching his fist. "A whole year," he repeated in a broken whisper.
One year since the team had left their home planet in pursuit of Dragaunus. Since they had come to Earth via a dimensional gateway while in the midst of that pursuit. Probably the first of many long years on this strange new world. Only one month prior, Wildwing had managed to banish the Saurian Overlord, his three minions and his ship to the depths of the Pacific. But in doing so, he had destroyed Dragaunus' gateway generator, and consequently, the team's only hope of ever returning back to Puckworld.
Reaching out, Nosedive grasped Wildwing's shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. "Bro, we're not angry at you for what you did," he said bracingly. "It was the only way you could stop the Saurian fleet from destroying this planet. You probably saved our lives in the process, too." At his brother's failure to respond, Nosedive sighed. Turning so he was perpendicular to the other drake, Nosedive carefully sat down on the little bit of cardboard not being used by Wildwing. He spoke again, staring at his boots. "I've talked to the others. They really don't mind having to stay here. This planet's kinda nice. And the natives are friendly. Well, most of them, anyways."
He felt rather than heard the small huff of laughter from his brother. "Thanks, Nosedive. I don't know if they're going to feel the same way another year from now, but that's still good to hear." A pause. "But in all honesty...that wasn't what I was thinking about."
Nosedive looked over at Wildwing, frowning in confusion. What did he mean, he hadn't-- Realization suddenly hit him, and the young drake's eyes widened.
"Bro--" Stricken, Nosedive looked back to stare blindly at his boots. How could he have forgotten? Canard had been Wildwing's best friend for over ten years. While they had been chasing Dragaunus, the Saurian had released an energy worm to attack the Ducks' ship; in order to save the team from certain destruction, Canard had sacrificed his own life. Nosedive had been too busy flying the jet to see what had happened, but had been told that the former captain had jumped out and had been immediately absorbed into the worm.
After a pregnant pause, Nosedive cleared his throat. "Wildwing..." he began hesitantly, "Do you think--"
"No," interrupted his brother quietly.
"But Dragaunus said..."
Wildwing looked over at his brother, a small, bitter smile playing at his beak. "Nosedive, even if Dragaunus had been telling the truth, even if the worm didn't devour him, even if he somehow missed gaining the attention of the entire Saurian fleet, how long do you expect a person to survive without food or water?" He turned back towards the city, grief twisting his features. "There's no way. Canard's gone. He's been gone for a long time. And it's taken up until now for me to realize it."
Nosedive just stared back, struck speechless by his brother's statement. Finally, he looked away once more and mumbled lamely, "Yeah, I suppose."
For the second time, silence reigned while the sun continued its wayward dip towards the horizon. At length, he spoke again. "He shouldn't have died. He should be here, helping us fight Dragaunus. Helping find our way back home."
Wildwing glanced sideways at him. "Nosedive....If he hadn't...done what he did, none of us would be here."
"But that's just it!" Nosedive burst out angrily. "He didn't have to jump out of the stupid Aerowing! Grin was there--he could have just ripped a seat out and thrown that out instead! But stupid Canard had to go and be a stupid hero and go--he just--" he broke off, unable to continue.
He suddenly felt a strong arm wrap around his shoulders and a hand gently leaning his head over to the side so Wildwing could rest his beak atop of Nosedive's in a familiar gesture of comfort. Warm breath fanned the younger drake's cheek as his brother spoke. "Nosedive, you haven't said anything that I haven't already said myself these past few months. But it doesn't change the fact that he's gone."
"That doesn't make it any more fair," Nosedive ground out between clenched teeth. His eyes were stinging.
Wildwing sighed through his nostrils, the air moving the younger drake's hair. "No. No, it doesn't. For a while, I was pretty ticked off at Canard myself. I didn't think it was right for him to just go and dump all of his responsibilities onto me. I didn't have the experience at leading that he did--and all of a sudden there I was, in charge of going after Dragaunus and keeping the team alive at the same time." A pause. "But then I came to realize that by being angry at him, I was sort of...dishonouring his memory. Making his sacrifice worthless. So I had to make a decision. Either keep on being mad at a guy who wasn't around to defend himself, or accept things as they were and do my job as well as I could." The arm around Nosedive tightened slightly. "You're going to have to do the same thing, baby bro. There's not much else you can do."
Nosedive again made no reply, apparently deep in thought. Suddenly he gave a short laugh. "You know," he said, pulling away, "that the whole purpose of me coming up here was to try and cheer you up. How is it that it's now the other way around?"
"Easy. I have more experience doing it."
Before Nosedive could reply, a loud growling sound emerged. Startled, both brothers looked down and Wildwing chuckled. "I guess I'm hungrier than I thought."
Nosedive snorted as he jumped up. "You were up here most of the day. I'm not surprised." Turning around to help his brother, he continued. "Maybe if we're lucky, there'll actually be some left."
"If Grin's cooking, you know there will be. He always ends up making too much." Wildwing picked up his cardboard mat and put his hand on Nosedive's shoulder. "Remind me to have a toast in Canard's honour."
"You know it." Together, the two started walking towards the door. Behind them, the twilight deepened as the sun disappeared beneath the horizon.