A Romantic Dinner For Four

Nosedive grinned slyly as he watched Duke and Mallory walk into the classy restaurant. He nudged the female squatting next to him. She gave a small smile, and nodded.

"I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mal so dolled up!" Nosedive exclaimed, peeping over the park seat. His blond hair flopped into his eyes, and he shoved it back.

"You know, if we were human, we’d have ears to stop our hair falling in our faces." Jadestar commented.

"But I’d never be able to wear a battle strip on my nose with out it looking like Zinc!" her brother joked back. They forgot their present business, and giggled, their identical faces split with smiles.

"Oh man!" Nosedive sat back up. "We were meant to be following the love birds!"

They snuck across the street, and peeped in the window.

"They’ll kill us if they find out." Jadestar frowned as they watched Duke pull out Mallory’s chair so she could sit down.

"Yeah," Nosedive shrugged. "but they’re not going too." He stressed the ‘going’.

"Why don’t we just go home?" Jadestar couldn’t see the point in disturbing Duke and Mallory’s privacy. Ahile! Lay off!"

"You aren’t doing something silly, are you?"

"Me? No way!" Nosedive gave his most innocent look. Wildwing didn’t seem convinced. Nosedive sighed. "Wildwing, if I was gonna be stupid I wouldn’t have brought Star."

"I guess."

"No, you know I’d never get her in danger." Nosedive suddenly reviewed their day to day lives. "Well, without a puckblaster at my side, anyway."

"Just look after her."

Jadestar shoved Nosedive’s head out of the picture. "Brother dears, I’m quite capable of looking after myself!"

Both brothers gave her their but-you’re-our-only-sister- look, and she sighed, turning back to watch the older ducks dining. Nosedive got rid of Wildwing, and joined her.


Duke’s good eye roved up and down the menu. "So, Mal, what do you want?"

"I’d know if I could understand what this menu said! Do you think they have an English version anywhere?"

"Probably not. I guess this means that I’m banned from picking restaurants?"

"It’s still a great place. Nice atmosphere." the red head smiled, taking in the candle-light and classy waiters.

"Nothing but the best for my firefly!" Duke grinned in his most charming manner. Mallory patted her hair in self-conscience, but smiled all the same.

A waiter with a black handle-bar moustache came over. "Is the lady and gent ready to order?"

"Uh, yeah." Duke looked for the most expensive food, figuring it must have been the best. "We’ll both have that." He pointed to it.

The waiter shifted uncomfortably. "I don’t think you’ll like that."

"I’ll try anything once." Mallory commented.


"If she says she wants the, er, braten ente, then that’s what she wants!" Duke waved the waiter away.


"Dive, this bites!" Jadestar was sick of watching through the glass, and sick of the stares that always accompanied alien hockey-playing, crime-fighting ducks. "We can’t even tell what they’re saying."

"Problem solved, girly girl. Follow the Dive." He started moving towards the door.

"Oh no. No." Jadestar protested.

"See you inside." he grinned, and went in. Jadestar groaned, and followed.


Nosedive and Jadestar slunk past the waiters easily, putting their lessons in camouflage from Duke to use. They concealed themselves behind a clump of fake plants close to the table where the two older ducks were sitting. They were talking softly, Duke’s hands on Mallory’s.

Nosedive pretended to throw up. "This is so gross."

"For 17, you sure are immature."

"Yeah, so? There’s no point in liking this stuff. There’s only you, Mallory and Tanya. You’re my sister, Mallory’s with Duke, and Tanya…? I don’t think so."

"I think Wildwing likes Tanya."

"That’s worse than Duke and Mal."

"You’re hopeless."

"You know it!" Nosedive grinned cheekily, and turned back to his observations.


Duke looked up as the waiter appeared again, carrying two plates. He placed them down gently and stood back, watching nervously. Mallory eyes Duke, and took a bite.

"This is pretty good. Tastes like chicken." she enthused, taking another forkful.

"Hey, what exactly is this anyway?" Duke asked the waiter, picking up his cutlery.

"Un, ‘braten ente’ means ‘roast duck’ in German." he quavered.

Mallory froze. Duke calmly put down his knife and fork.

"Excuse me." Mallory gasped, and walked as fast as she could in the direction of the toilets.

"I’m sorry…" the waiter whined pathetically.

"You tried to tell us," Duke looked at his plate, and began to understand Mallory’s sudden dash for the bathroom. "Just take it away, please."

"Would you like to order again?" the man asked as he collected the plates again.

"I’ll tell you when my date gets back."

"Sorry again sir." the waiter backed away and left.

"No problem," Duke muttered as he pulled out a small felt-covered box. "It’s not like tonight was important."


Both the twins were having coughing and choking fits as they spied what was in the ring box.

"He wants to *marry* her?!" Nosedive squeaked just a little louder than he’d meant to. Duke spun around, and both the teens sat back behind the plant pots, with their backs to Duke.

Duke’s angry, up-side down face was suddenly at the end of the twins beaks. Nosedive gave Duke a small wave. Duke frowned (though from their perspective it looked more like a smile gone wrong) and grabbed the collars of their shirts.

As Nosedive was begin pulled to his feet he muttered sarcastically "Oh, this was an un-foreseen plot twist."

"Let’s just remember whose idea this was." Jadestar retorted.

Duke’s good eye flashed angrily, and the chip in his beak looked sharper than ever. "What the puck do you two think you’re doing?" he growled, voice low and dangerous.

Nosedive tried to laugh, nervously. "It’s a funny story actually. You see, professional hockey doesn’t pay much, so they’re employing us to…"

Duke swiftly grabbed his beak and held it closed. Nosedive immediately slapped his hand away, and stepped back. Jadestar watched the ungain.

"We have nothing better to do. I’ve read the comics we got this morning."

"You could try reading a novel."

"No way! I don’t want to end up like Tanya!"

"No chance." his sister muttered.

Nosedive’s com suddenly beeped, and he flicked it open. "Dive, at your service." he grinned at his older brother and leader Wildwing.

"Is Jade with you? I can’t get her on her com."

"Yeah, she’s with me. You can’t get her because she’s not wearing it."

"Why not?" Wildwing had been worried, a com not working usually meant that the com’s owner was in trouble. Worrying was Wildwing’s main vice, and when it involved his little sister he worried double-time.

"You know she hates it."

Jadestar pushed so her face was visible by Wildwing. Nosedive obligingly moved his wrist. "It looks dumb when out of battle gear!"

"So change."

"Wing! We get stared at enough as it is!"

"Stared at? You aren’t in the Pond?"

"Uh…" Jadestar gave the floor to her twin, as Nosedive was an excellent liar.

"Nice going, girly girl." Nosedive muttered. "Bro, we’re just out." he told Wildwing.

"At 7:30? Did it ever occur to you to ask?"

"Oh man, 17’s old enough to just go out for awfolding scene with a sense of guilt and fascination.

Duke’s box was nowhere to be seen as he rubbed his forehead. "OK, whose idea this time?"

Both the twins raised a hand.

"In that case I’ll assume the regular culprit. Nosedive, I’ve had it! Don’t you think me and Mal deserve a little time alone?"

"Well, yeah." Nosedive shifted uneasily.

"So why do you always have to follow and spy on us?!"

"Hey, Jade’s here too!"

"Only because you talked her into it! She’d follow you into anything!"

"I would not!" Jadestar protested.

"Quiet!" Duke snapped, raising a fist. The sudden fear that sprang into the female’s green eyes alerted the former thief that his old temper had flared. He was Nosedive reaching instinctively for his chest so he could morph into his battle gear. How much has that kid changed in three years? Duke asked himself. "Look, kiddo, I’m sorry," he apologised to Jadestar. "But can’t you see why I’m upset?"

She opened her mouth to answer when Duke’s eye widened, and he pushed them in the general direction of the entrance. "Mal’ll be coming any second," he told their puzzled looks. "I don’t want to see either of you for the rest of the night."

"Are you going to tell Wing or Mal?" Nosedive asked.

Duke sighed, anger having died down. It’s not like getting them into trouble will help much. He grinned suddenly, further confusing the objects of his thoughts. I’ll just make their lives worth puck for the next few weeks.

Nosedive and Jadestar hurried down the street towards the Pond. Duke watched them go with mixed feelings. For him, and probably Mallory too, the atmosphere had been ruined.

"Duke," a voice from behind him said tiredly. "I think it’s time to go." Mallory was a vast contrast to the happy figure she had formally cut. Her hair drooped into her eyes.

Duke took her hand. "Sure thing princess."


The next day, the twins kept out of the grey duck’s way, and he did not seek them out. Breakfast had been a strained affair, much to the bewilderment of the other three, and conversation was left up to Wildwing, Tanya and Grin. With Grin being his ever-silent self, and Tanya pre-occupied with thoughts of Drake One’s latest complaint, Wildwing was left to speak to the air.

Mallory had not come to breakfast, and Duke headed off to find her. The twins excused themselves (a rare event in Nosedive’s case) and took off on their Duckcycles to the welcoming glass doors of Captain Comics.


Duke exited Mallory’s room, and walked down the corridor to Wildwing’s. It was well past 5pm, Mallory had been feeling ill and Duke had stayed to keep her company. Now though, came a more challenging task.

"Hey Wildwing? You seen the kids?"

Wildwing looked up from his latest hockey magazine. "Not since breakfast. I think they’ve gone to the Mall."

"Thanks." Duke left to go to the hanger. Wildwing shrugged and continued reading.


By the time Duke spotted the two Duckcycles, it was getting dark. He jumped off his own, and waited. Sure enough, within 5 minutes the 17 years olds appeared.

"Oh, hi Duke." Jadestar chirped.

"Hey. I thought you might like to know, I’ve decided to keep last night between us. It was pretty well ruined before you two showed up, so I can’t blame much on you anyway."

Nosedive exhaled with relief. Mallory’s temper became banshee-like at times, and being on the receiving end was all too common for him. And last night’s little stunt WOULD have set her off, big time. "Thanks." But the air was still think and uncomfortable.

Duke pointed down the street and hopped on his bike. "That man over there, running. Think that’s his purse?"

Jadestar knew from Duke’s tone that her brother and herself had been fully forgiven, and she grinned at the possibility of action. "Doubtful." she smiled as she grabbed her own cycle.

Nosedive gunned his engine and twinkled at the others. "Race ya."


Thirty minutes later there was one more inmate in the Anaheim jail, one irate Klegghorn for being shown up again, one happy young lady, one blushing teenage duck embarrassed at the kiss he’s received, one sister finding the whole thing the funniest occurrence since sliced salami (‘you the duck, Dive, you the duck!’) and one middle-aged drake who’d seen it all and smiled.


What the…? Duke thought as someone tapped on his door at midnight. "Who’s that? What’s the matter?" he said grumpily.

"It’s Jadestar. Are you awake?"

Duke sat up with a sigh of resignation. "Kiddo, that’s a stupid question. It’s too late at night for stupid questions. You got something to say, come in and say it."

The door slid open, and Jadestar in her pyjamas walked in, and stood at the end of the bed. "I was just lying awake when I realised that we…I never apologised. I thought I’d better do it now, cause I’d have forgotten later. So, sorry. I really mean it too."

"That all?" Duke asked. Jadestar nodded. "Well then, accepted and all. Now, get outta here and get some sleep. I’ve got a hockey game tomorrow, and you’ve got to thrill the pants off them humans with some fancy skating, huh?"

She smiled. "Yeah, 'kay. ‘Night Duke." she headed for the door.

"Good night sweetheart." He lay back down.

Jadestar turned as she reached the door. "I wont tell Mallory what you had planned. I’ll make sure Dive doesn’t either."

"Appreciated." Duke grunted, before falling asleep immediately.

Duke, Nosedive, Mallory, Wildwing, Grin and Tanya are all Copyright Disney, and are used without permission. But the story and Jadestar are mine, and are Copyright Rachel Baker '98. Disney can have the waiter as a goodwill present. Disney, you can sue me, but I’m broke. So there.