A Friend And A New Home

The two eight year olds and the sixteen year old stared up at the house. It looked friendly, but looks had been deceiving before.

Susan tried to cheer them up. "Come on guys, it’s gonna be great this time! I promise."

Wildwing looked at her, emotionless. "We’ve heard that before. Don’t say it again."

"Touchy." Susan mumbled, and rang the doorbell again.

"Hey, I have a right to be," Wildwing pointed a finger at her. "We’ve been treated exactly the same everywhere we’ve been placed, like expendable scum. Let me tell you something, being punched does not do anything for their self image." He moved his finger to the twins, who weren’t paying any attention. "If this place doesn’t work out, we’re going into hiding until I’m old enough to be their legal guardian." Wildwing looked very threatening, but the social worker returned his glare. She was about to answer that with a threat of her own about the law, but the door opened.

A smiling duck held the door open wide. His wife hurried up behind him. "Sorry about that, we were getting the beds organized. But now that you’re here, you can tell us what sleeping arrangements you’d prefer."

"All together." Wildwing said tonelessly, hiding his high emotion on that subject. He wasn’t letting Jadestar sleep on her own again, not after what the last ‘dad’ had attempted …

The woman ushered them all in. "Would anyone like a drink? We have just about everything." She bustled them off to the kitchen.

"Can I have some milk?" Jadestar asked. Wildwing smiled, but erased it quickly.

"What do you say, dear?" the woman prompted. Jadestar looked blank.

"May I have some milk?" she tried again.

"Better, but not quite."

Jadestar was frowning, and Wildwing sighed.

"I’m afraid the two younger ones have not been in the best places to learn common courtesies yet." Susan tried to smile.

"Oh, well then. Of course you can have some milk, sweetheart. Do you like milk a lot?" Jadestar nodded vigorously. "Well then, I’ll try and keep some in the house."

Nosedive, seeing his chance, spoke up. "I like chocolate." He said expectantly.

She laughed. "Well, a bit of that here and there could probably be managed too. But, heavens to hockey, I don’t think anyone knows names here!"

"I’m Matthew, and this is Mary." The man explained. "Matthew and Mary Fiveiron."

"I’m Wildwing Flashblade, and this is Nosedive and Jadestar."

They made small talk for about ten minutes. Susan moved to the door. "I’ll go now. If you need me, Wildwing knows my number."

"Good-bye. Thank you!" Mary called after her.

"Bye-bye!" chorused Nosedive and Jadestar.

Wildwing looked over the place. It looked friendly, just like the exterior. Nosedive and Jadestar were characteristically optimistic. Matthew and Mary looked harmless enough, he could beat them in a fight, if worse came to worse.

"So, what do you three want to do now?" Mary asked. "You can check out your room, go out and play … well, Nosedive and Jadestar can, or just mooch around for awhile."

"Let’s go explore the neighborhood!" Nosedive pulled Jadestar towards the front door. Plenty of time to check out their room after dark.

Matthew turned to Wildwing and Mary. "One of us should really go with them, until they get used to the place."

"I will. I’d like to have a look around too." Wildwing followed the twins down the hall to the door.

"Please be back in two hours, tea will be ready by then. Do you have a watch?" Mary called after them.

"No." Wildwing answered.

Matthew appeared around the corner. He unstrapped his watch and handed it to Wildwing. "Here you are." Wildwing looked at it, bewildered. Matthew patted his arm, and felt Wildwing tense. He immediately withdrew his hand. "Go on, take it."

Wildwing shrugged and hurried to catch up with his siblings, who had already escaped out the door.


Wildwing sighed as he realized that his two charges were already half way down the street. He ran after them, and collided with another duck.

"Whoa, watch it." the duck complained, and took a step back to view Wildwing. "You just moved in with the Fiveirons?"

"Yeah," Wildwing moved around the same-age duck. "I’m sorry, but I gotta catch up with my little brother and sister."

"Those two kids running off?"

"That’s them. Maybe I’ll see you later. Bye." Wildwing started running.

"Sure," the duck called after him. "I live just next door. My name’s Canard. What’s yours?"

"Wildwing." the answer drifted back.

"Wildwing huh? Interesting name." Canard mumbled as he headed into his own house.


Wildwing, Nosedive and Jadestar collapsed into bed. They’d organized it so that Nosedive and Jadestar slept next to each other, opposite the door, and Wildwing next to the entrance. They all ran through the day in their minds.

"You know, maybe this place’ll be OK." Nosedive said. "I mean, Matthew and Mary seem great, and there are lots of kids our age around, huh Jadestar?"

"They’re all boys. Not that that matters. Girls are weird." Jadestar said seriously.

Wildwing laughed. "Jade, I hate to break it to ya, but you’re a girl too."

Jadestar sat up. "Says who?"

"Says your body Jade." Wildwing smiled in the dark.

"Nuh uh! I’m a boy, just like you guys!"

"You are not!" Nosedive complained.

"Well, I want to be!" Jadestar fell back onto her back.

"Why? Girls are great!" Wildwing told her without thinking.

"Ewww! You like *girls*!" Nosedive was disgusted. Jadestar decided it was lucky for her that he did, and kept quiet.

"You like Jade, don’t cha Dive?"

"Yeah, but that’s different."

They lay in quiet for awhile.

"There’s a friend for Wing here." Jadestar pointed out. "So this place must be a good place."

Wildwing almost choked. After all she’d been through, she still accepted a place as good until proven bad.

"He doesn’t need a friend! He has us!" Nosedive said sincerely.

"Everyone needs a friend their own age, Dive," Wildwing told him. "Remember that."

Jadestar rolled onto her stomach. "Why does he have to remember that?"

"You should always remember good advice." Wildwing explained.

Nosedive snorted. "I’m tired. Everyone shut up."

"Please." Wildwing reminded.

"Whatever. They sure are keen on manners here."

"Good-night, Dive. G’night Wing." Jadestar stopped the impending argument.

"Good-night Jade, good-night Wing." Nosedive closed his eyes.

"Night." Wildwing laid awake, watching them till he was sure they were asleep. He liked the Fiveirons, which was unusual. They were kind of old, but they were nice. So far, anyway.


The next day was a Sunday, and Mary was fussing.

"Now now, if you three want to go outside, you’ll have to rug up. Winter IS coming you know." She handed them each a jacket. "I’m glad those new clothes fit, those others were far too small. I wonder that Susan didn’t do something about it." She tried to wrap a scarf around Nosedive’s neck, but he pulled it off, scowling. She beamed down at him. He sighed, and surrendered, deciding to just take them off when she wasn’t watching. The only one who escaped Mary’s mothering was Wildwing, and even he was forced to wear mittens.

Susan stood back to admire her work. "There, you wont get cold now, and you twins look so adorable!"

"Whatever. Can we go yet?" Nosedive’s patience was running thin.

"OK. Be good, and come back in time for lunch." Susan patted Jadestar’s head, and waved them off.


Nosedive and Jadestar threw the extra clothes behind a bush when they got outside. Wildwing knew it was hopeless to protest. They’d found a park yesterday, and the kids had insisted they return. They just wanted to do it with pride. They ran off ahead, and Wildwing followed more slowly. He jumped when he realized someone was walking next to him.

"Hey Wildwing. I’m Canard, in case you didn’t remember."

"No, I remembered. What’s up?"

"Nothing. I’m just bored, so I thought I’d help you with the babysitting."

"I’m not babysitting. I’m just … keeping an eye on them."

"It’s the same thing."

They walked in silence, not altogether uncomfortable though.

"You have any brothers or sisters?" Wildwing asked.

"Nope. Glad of it too. Little kids are a pain."

"That’s not always true. Besides, they make up for it."

Canard looked at him sideways. "You really love them, don’t you?"

Wildwing grunted. "Someone has to."

Canard was sympathetic. "The Fiveirons have had foster kids ever since I was born, and probably before. I know what a lot of you have been through. If you ever want to talk about it …"

Wildwing shook his head. "No thanks."

The grayish duck shrugged. "Your choice. The others all said it helped."

"No thanks." Wildwing repeated.

"So, how old are you, what’re the kids names, how old are they, staying long? Let’s make small talk." Canard grinned, changing the subject.

"OK," Wildwing counted off the questions on his feathers. "I’m 16, the twins are Nosedive and Jadestar, they’re 8, I don’t know how long we’re staying. If things work out, probably till the twins can fend for themselves. I’m fine with small talk. Weather is good."

Canard chuckled. "I’m 17, name’s Canard Thunderbeak."

"We’re the Flashblades."


"So’s Thunderbeak."

They were finally at the park. Wildwing caught sight of the twins playing on a seesaw, and the teenage ducks sat down, Canard wondering how long they’d be there.

"Do you have to take care of them often?" Canard gestured towards the small ones.

Wildwing shrugged. "I guess. I don’t really mind it, I’ve always taken care of them."

"Tough breaks, huh?"

"You could say that."

Canard nudged him. "You can keep going."

"You’re very insistent, you know that?"

"Yeah. So are you gonna tell me what happened to you guys to make you so protective?"

"I’m not _that_ protective."

"You won’t even let them out of your sight without worrying!"

"We couldn’t see them on the way!"

"You were thinking about them."

"Wildwing made a sound of exasperation. "Not here, that’s for sure."

"Aww, come on, it’s only you, me, and the kids," Canard looked at the playing children, and looked harder. "They’re identical! An identical boy and girl?"




"Well, I’ve never even seen identical twins before! They _are_ kinda strange."

"Maybe I’m used to it. I can tell them apart, but everyone else has trouble. You can try if you like. Pick Nosedive."

Nosedive and Jadestar were still on the seesaw, both giggling. Canard stared hard. It was impossible! He made a pure guess. "He’s the one on the left."

Wildwing raised an eyebrow. "That’s right. Very good."

"I have a good eye."

"How on Puckworld did you tell? There’s only one plainly visible difference at the moment, and you’re too far away to see."

Canard blustered. "Uh, the way he was sitting."

Wildwing smiled. "You guessed."

"So what? I guessed right, didn’t I?"

"Yeah … but it doesn’t count."

"So, what’s the difference?"

Wildwing looked at Canard strangely. "Jadestar has a girl’s eyes, of course! Nosedive has boys."

"What color are hers?"

"Green. That’s why she’s called Jadestar."

"Oh. Hey, you still haven’t told him why you’re so protective."

"I never said I was going too!"

"But you will, I can tell." Canard leaned back against the wooden park seat. "Maybe not now, and maybe not tomorrow, but I’d say you will someday."

"Why do you care anyway?" The words came out more bitterly than Wildwing had intended.

Canard smiled slightly for a second. "I like you."

Wildwing was stunned. Canard laughed. "Never had a friend before?" He was surprised when Wildwing shook his head.

"No, not really. I change schools to fast to make any."

"Well, hey, even if you do move, I’ll write to you. How’s that?"

"Incredibly mushy."

"Mission accomplished."

Wildwing raised an eyebrow, and turned to check on the twins. He was shocked to see Jadestar standing on one leg on the seesaw, high in the air, with Nosedive holding his end down. Wildwing sensed impending doom, and got up to run. Jadestar turned to him and waved.

"Look at me Wildwing!"

Nosedive turned to wave too, forgetting that he was meant to be holding his half steady. He struggled to keep his grip. Wildwing started running as fast as he could. Nosedive lost his grip, let go, and tried to grab again, catching it, but wobbling Jadestar off. It was a big seesaw, Jadestar squealed as she fell. Wildwing threw himself to the ground, and caught her, just. She was panting hard, but smiled at him.

"Thanks Wing. You’re the best big brother ever!" She kissed him on the top of his beak.

"Jadestar," Wildwing was feeling the aftermath of his adrenaline burst. "Don’t EVER do that again! Same to you Dive. Do you guys promise?" he asked sternly.

"I promise!" Jadestar smiled sunnily at him, and got off his arms. Wildwing rolled onto his side to look at Nosedive. "Dive?"

Nosedive scowled. "But it’s my turn!"


"Yeah, OK." Nosedive crossed his tail feathers. Wildwing knew he had, but there wasn’t much he could do.

"Go play on the swings." he told them. The obeyed, and ran off. Wildwing lay back on the ground. Two shoes suddenly appeared in front of his beak, followed by a hand.

"You want some help to get up, or you want to lie there till winter?"

"That’s a trick question." Wildwing groaned, but took the offered help.

Once Wildwing was vertical, Canard clapped him on the back, not mentioning Wildwing’s shying away. "Nice save."

"Thanks. I better get the twins home for lunch, I make a point of one heart attack per day."

"Wise choice."

They walked over to the swings. "Time to go guys!" Wildwing called.

"Lunchtime? All right!" Nosedive cheered, and swung off the swings as high as possible. Jadestar stuck her tongue out at him, and got off normally.

"Hi." She looked up at the unfamiliar duck. "Are you Wildwing’s new friend?"

"Something like that," Canard squatted. "My name’s Canard, I’m your neighbor." He offered his hand to her, and she shook it. "What’s your name?"

"I’m Jadestar."

Canard, smiled, and noted the green eyes. He turned to the other duckling. "That makes you Nosedive. Word of advice Nosedive, don’t do that on the seesaw."

Nosedive scowled. "She did it too. And you aren’t Wildwing, you can’t tell me what to do."

"You’re older, she’s your little sister. You have to take care of her."

Canard turned away and stood up. Nosedive made a face at him behind his back.


As they walked home Wildwing whispered to Canard. "That won’t have scored any brownie points with either of them, especially Nosedive."

Canard shrugged. "He has to learn consequences Wildwing."

"He’s only eight…"

"Yeah, and next year he’ll be only nine, then ten, then eleven. Where will you draw the line, Wildwing?"

Wildwing stopped suddenly, and poked a finger into Canard’s ribs. "Let me make one thing clear. Leave my brother and sister to me. Don’t do what you did today again."

Canard held his hands up. "Sure thing. Whatever you say. Oh look, we’re here. Well, see you tomorrow Wildwing."

Wildwing walked down the path to his front door. "Yeah, see you tomorrow."

Story Copyright Rachel Baker ’98. Matthew and Mary Fiveiron, Susan and Jadestar Flashblade all Copyright Rachel Baker. All other characters Copyright Disney, and used without permission.