Raising Pain

Raising Pain

The sun was setting, the street lamps were beginning to flicker to life, and the Sitting Duck National Bank was near to closing time. There were still a few customers inside, although some of the tellers had their windows closed so they could count their cash drawers.

Four men casually strolled in through the front doors, which would have looked a lot less suspicious if they hadn't all been wearing matching brown trench coats, and rolling balaclavas down over their faces. It left their eyes completely visible, but it did make it harder to tell who had a beak and who had a muzzle. What was much easier to tell was that one of them had a shotgun and another one had an automatic pistol.

One of the customers screamed, because she was new to St. Canard. The others, as well as the tellers, just looked resigned to their situation. It didn't prevent one from surreptitiously hitting the silent alarm, however.

"Yeah, you know the drill," said the guy with the shotgun, his voice slightly muffled by his mask. They did know the drill. All but one teller knelt down with their hands in the air, and the customers got on the floor. The woman who had been screaming was now whimpering and hiding behind the check writing stand.

One of the unarmed robbers set a bag down at the teller's window. She was starting to throw stacks of bills in when the power went out. There were a few gasps, but enough of the sunset's red light was filtering in through the windows to allow everyone to see.

"The hell is this?" snapped Shotgun, clearly annoyed at this new obstacle, turning as he looked around to make sure none of the customers were trying to sneak away.

Behind him, a figure dropped down onto the check writing stand, landing lightly with his cape billowing around him. Quietly, he answered, "Your nightmare." Then he leaped forward and spun in mid air, kicking Shotgun in the head so hard that the criminal went crashing to the floor, his eponymous weapon clattering and spinning away.

The thug with the pistol was staring. Was that Darkwing Duck? Guy had a mask and cape. And that big beak. No hat, though. Maybe it was that other one, that... what was his name, Arrow Guy? That guy with the arrows. This one wasn't using any arrows, though. Also, he was running right at him.

Pistol Thug exclaimed, "Aigh!" and shot the masked mallard, double tap, hitting him with two near-perfect cardiac shots. That stopped the drake's charge as he took a staggering step sideways, but he didn't fall. His eyes glimmered with anger and he leaped at the gun-wielding robber like a mountain lion, snarling in a manner that was, also, like a mountain lion.

Unarmed as they were, the other two bank robbers decided they were no longer interested in completing their transactions and ran to the front doors, only to find that they were locked in. The fact that one of their companions was now screaming in fear and pain only concentrated their effort to find a way out, so they barged their way behind the teller counter.

If they paid closer attention to the sudden cessation of screaming, they might have been prepared when the mystery mallard landed boots-first on the head of the robber carrying the slightly filled cash bag. At that point, it would have gone badly for the remaining thief but the drake's attention was drawn to something else. He was looking at some of the personal items at one of the teller stations. There was a framed picture of a blonde duckette and a redheaded duckling with their hair done up in elaborate braids, both of them smiling at the camera. Arrow Guy, or Quiverwing Duck as he was usually called, was expressionless. He stared at the photograph as he straightened up, still standing on the head of the unconscious criminal.



He had driven away from the Audubon Bay Bridge, his black car slicing through the rain. He had felt numb from standing in the cold, and from watching Ariana walk away from him. And, when he had seen a couple of ruffians breaking into a small storefront, he had put the Knighthawk into a sideways skid that sent up an arcing sheet of water.

That fight was over in only a few minutes, no warning given, and no chance offered to surrender. Quiverwing granted them some mercy, in the form of giving the police an anonymous call so the thieves wouldn't have to lay around in the chilly rain for too long. As the night went on, the rain abated and the fog returned. Quiverwing had scythed through the city, cutting down any crime he came across with ruthless efficiency. He didn't feel cold anymore, or sad, or angry. He didn't feel anything.

By dawn, he was in his headquarters, sitting in the garage area. His bow was resting on his open palms, and he gazed down at it blankly, unmoving. Finally rising, he took the weapon to a rack that contained a few other bows and left it there. Then, he removed the Q-shaped badge that adorned the chest strap of his quiver, and stared at it. He carefully set it on a work table and left his headquarters. Had to go home. He still had his other daughter to look after.

He went to his daytime office only long enough to put a sign on the door noting he was not taking any new cases. He suited up again, but not in the tunic and feathered cap. He wore the practical and close fitting black and charcoal grey ensemble he used whenever he needed to do questionably legal infiltration work. He kept the green mask and cape, though. Those were still useful.

That's how it had gone for the past few days, continuous crime fighting for almost every hour he was awake. A grim phantom that struck from the shadows, brutal, efficient.

Too efficient. Too quiet. He didn't want idle time, when his mind might wander. So he had tuned in to the police band, and then he had tapped into private security system notifications. That had given him fresh targets.



Quiverwing turned his head, watching the fourth robber flee. He reached for a holster hidden under his cape and drew one of his old gas guns, firing it at the last man just before he could reach the back door. The canister burst by the crook's head, surrounding it with a faint blue gas, and he was unconscious before he collapsed to the floor.

When the power returned a moment later, the masked mallard was nowhere to be seen. The tellers and customers were blinking in the light, gazing around at the unconscious thieves. The high wail of a siren could be heard in the distance.

    • Darkwing Duck
      Darkwing Duck

      "I am the terror that FLAPS in the night!" a voice boomed suddenly as a cloud of blue smoke appeared in the center of the lobby, just above one of the unconscious robbers.  "I am the tide that destroys your crime wave!  I am...Darkwing Duck!"  The purple-clad vigilante posed as he was revealed, then glanced around curiously.

      He was about to make an observation when the other criminal lying not too far from him screamed.  "AHH!  He came back!"  Abruptly the man passed out from fear, and Darkwing scratched his head under his fedora.  Came back?  But he just got...

      Sirens whined and stopped, and police streamed in to secure the area.  News crews soon followed, and since both tellers and criminals claimed it had been Darkwing Duck who had stopped the robbery, who was the hero to argue?  He gladly accepted an interview with Dan Gander.

      A string of similar events happened over the next couple of nights, with Darkwing appearing soon after a crime had already been thwarted and then receiving the credit for the takedown.  It was the perfect scenario except...who was stopping these crooks?

      If they were claiming it had been him, then there could only be one explanation...  He'd have to talk to Quiverwing about muscling in on his territory.

      • Quiverwing Duck
        Quiverwing Duck

        The problem, however, was that Quiverwing Duck had been laying low. Or, at least, his costume had been laying low. He was always rather elusive, but there had been nary a glimpse of that big hat plume nor of any purple boxing glove arrows. There were just criminal actions, abruptly thwarted. But he had been responding to security alarms with growing frequency.

        When a break-in had occurred at the Lavalier Luxe jewelry shop in one of the nicer areas of St. Canard, the trio of would be robbers didn't even have the opportunity to fondle the merchandise before their leader went crashing to the floor. Crouching on the groaning man's back, the masked mallard leaped up again before his cape even had time to settle. He did a spinning scissor split-kick that violently planted a boot sole into the faces of the two remaining and astonished (and then unconscious) crooks, a move that made the sales associate hiding behind the counter clap her hands to her cheeks.

        Quiverwing took an extra moment to make sure the thieves were unconscious and disarmed, and then without a word to the few staff and customers who were starting to peek out from their hiding spots, he turned and walked out through the front door. No collateral damage. Nice.

        • Darkwing Duck
          Darkwing Duck

          Darkwing happened to be nearby when the alert came through the police scanners about the jewelry store break-in.  He hadn't actually had to clobber any crooks for a few days and he was feeling itchy to do so.  Maybe Mr. Mysterioso wouldn't already be at the - hmph.

          His train of thought derailed when he pulled up in front of the store, double-parking next to a gaudy truck with oversized tires, and spied a familiar cape and mask exiting.

          "Hey!" he shouted, getting off of the bike and running toward his double.  He peered in through the store's windows first to ensure that everything had been dealt with, then resumed his confrontation with not-Quiverwing.  "What do you think you're doing, pal?" he inquired disdainfully.  "We had an unspoken agreement that you wouldn't encroach on my crimes and I wouldn't bother with your petty thefts and pickpockets."

          • Quiverwing Duck
            Quiverwing Duck

            In the time it took Darkwing to glance into the boutique, Quiverwing had scaled up the wall like a goth spider monkey. He was peering down at the annoyed mallard, clinging to the corner of the building where he had taken refuge in a shadow. His cape was streaming away from him like a lazy flag, and his eyes looked like narrow white crescents.

            "All crime falls within my purview." Quiverwing's voice was quiet and calm as a stone. Slowly drawing further back into the dark sanctuary of the narrow alley, he said, "Take the credit, if that's what bothers you."

            • Darkwing Duck
              Darkwing Duck

              Darkwing scowled.  "Not anymore, you bow-wielding bozo!  From now on I -"

              Despite the clear differences in their costumes, the customers and staff had emerged to thank Darkwing profusely and praise his skill and efficiency, thereby cutting off his rant.  Well...maybe this wouldn't be so bad as long as Quiverwing left him some crimes.  He still felt antsy to kick some criminal keister.

              Oh good, there was Bay Nine News.  Darkwing brushed off his cape and straightened his fedora for another interview or two while the police took care of the clobbered crooks.

              • DarkwingPsycho
                DarkwingPsycho

                The next morning found St. Canard bustling with commuters, and although there was a chill breeze, it was clear and sunny, giving the changing leaves a beautiful glimmer.  Although spring was her favorite, Ariana adored autumn, but she could hardly enjoy herself this morning as she made her way slowly through the park looking weary.  Next to her walked a sharply dressed pelican with brunette hair that swept back over his shoulders.  He was smiling kindly at her and talking while she listened, nodding, her blue sundress a sharp contrast to the dark color of his.

                Briefly, Ariana put her hand to her face and had to pause, and the tall, well-built man stopped with her and offered her his arm.  She stared at it for a few moments, then furtively took it.  He leaned in and said something, and for the first time in days, Ariana laughed.  Arm-in-arm, they strode over a bridge that was lined with chrysanthemums.  He reached out and plucked one, and was just about to offer it to her when there was a knife at his back.

                "Give me your wallet and that fancy watch."  Then his beady eyes were on Ariana.  "Scream and I'll cut out those pretty eyes of yours."

                Instantly her arm disentangled itself from her companion's just as a second mugger came up behind her and wrapped one arm around her waist while the other grabbed her necklace.  "Ooo, this is nice."  She struggled against him, but stopped when she felt him smelling her hair.  "She's nice, too."

                "Okay, all right, you can have whatever you want, just don't hurt us," the man said as calmly as he could, wresting off his watch.  He was just reaching into a pocket when a third crook showed up.  This one had a gun.

                "Don't get any ideas - hands in the air, pretty boy!"

                • Quiverwing Duck
                  Quiverwing Duck

                  It was a bold move, assaulting victims in broad daylight. A way to avoid any terrors lurking in the night, especially when working together in small groups. Safety in numbers! Unfortunately for the trio, it hadn't worked.

                  A shadow flickered over the five figures. A split second after that, the knife-wielding man screamed in pain and staggered back a step, away from the pelican gentleman. His weapon holding arm was bending unnaturally, and the knife was slipping from his fingers as they went numb. That was when it became apparent that someone was behind him, a black gloved hand gripping his wrist, and then grabbing the falling blade.

                  The mugger was starting to sag forward, clutching his injured arm against his chest, and a figure was suddenly standing on his shoulders, his green cape fluttering up like demonic wings. The masked mallard's own arm was outstretched, pointed towards the gunman, who was also screaming in agony because the knife had gone right through his forearm, lodged between the bones just below his wrist. The gun had fallen with a clatter, skittering aside.

                  The man who had been holding Ariana was staring in horror, and his arms had gone limp. He watched as one of his companions started a slow collapse, and the devil perched there leaped gracefully away, flipping over what they had judged to be easy targets, and hit the gunless gunman feet-first to the chest. The gun...

                  Quiverwing was crouched like a panther on his still screaming prey when his head turned crisply to regard the last criminal standing. The guy had scrabbled for the gun and was raising it, making the terrible mistake of letting the mugging victims be in his line of fire.

                  Until that moment, the mysterious masked mallard had been silent. Now, he snarled and launched himself at the terrified man, so close to the couple that his cape lightly brushed against them both. The gunshot popped, although nothing seemed to get hit, and then the mugger screamed as his arm was broken at the elbow.

                  From the first scream to the last, everything had happened in the span of a few heartbeats. The third mugger was falling to his knees, the masked mallard had seized the gun and was not only rapidly unloading it, he seemed to be taking it apart as well. He turned, glancing back over his shoulder at the couple to ensure they had come through the ordeal unscathed.

                  He froze, then, the only movement being the light breeze that stirred his cape and his tousled hair. The sinister look in his eyes abated when he looked at Ariana, and his stony expression started to become one of confusion and hurt.

                  • DarkwingPsycho
                    DarkwingPsycho

                    Neither Ariana nor her companion had time to really react as everything happened so quickly.  There was so much screaming...  She blinked out of the fear-fueled daze she'd been in and stared at the knife sticking out of the burglar's wrist, feeling a mixture of relief and horror.  It wasn't until the other mugger loosened his hold on her and he went for the gun that she cried out, "Quiverwing!"

                    It...it was him, right...?  The brush of his cape, the way it moved, the color of it...it had to be him.  The pain-filled shriek of her would-be assailant filled her ears, and she felt cold dread overtake her usual swell of gratitude.  That wasn't like the vigilante she knew...and loved...  Sure she had witnessed him harming people, but only once they had refused to listen to reason, and never this violent.

                    The brown-haired pelican moved next to her, putting an arm around her shoulders.  "Miss McCawber?  Are you all right?"

                    She couldn't tear her eyes off of Quiverwing.  She was overcome with shock and uncertainty and even a little fear...then the rest surged back into being and she steeled her gaze, although she still somehow managed to make even that appear melancholy.  Pain took her breath away.

                    "Quiverwing…" she managed quietly, taking a step toward him.  Was he hurt?

                    • Quiverwing Duck
                      Quiverwing Duck

                      The tension in his stance, a subtle crouch with his weight on his toes, gave the impression that Quiverwing was a wary animal. It was a far cry from the sort of chest proud, square shouldered posture he usually had. He did look hurt, although nothing in the way he carried himself suggested physical injury. It was something in his eyes.

                      Then, there was something else in his expression as well; it was a flash of fear. When Ariana took a step towards him,  the haunted look in his eyes was visible for a split second before he vanished as if he had been nothing more than a phantom. Like a spooked cat, he had fled, and it had been so immediate that there was barely time to even register a flick of his cape.

                      • DarkwingPsycho
                        DarkwingPsycho

                        Instinctively she held out her hand after him as if to stop him even though he had been several feet away and was now long gone.  Her eyes filled with tears and narrowed.  Choking down the rising sob, she moved to a bench on the other side of the bridge beneath a willow tree while her friend called authorities.  Her vision blurred, and it wasn't long before she was hunched forward with her hands over her face, letting her tears flow freely despite the attention the entire scene had drawn.

                        • Quiverwing Duck
                          Quiverwing Duck

                          Well away from the park and taking refuge on a rooftop, Quiverwing had his cape pulled tightly around himself as he sat huddled by the stairway access enclosure. His legs were drawn up and his forehead was resting on his knees. He remained in that curled up pose, still and silent, for a long time.

                          When he finally unfolded, his expression was on the chilly side of neutral. Lightly dusting himself off and straightening his cape and mask, Quiverwing took a few brisk steps and leaped across the alley gap to the next building, ready to continue his work.



                          Over the next few days, the crime crushing continued, with a heavy emphasis on the 'crushing'. Criminals were confounded when confronted by the sudden attacks, sometimes seeing little more than the swish of a cape obscuring their vision, or a fleeting glimpse of a particularly distinctive beak.

                          Thieves and assailants were suffering from a variety of injuries, ranging from contusions to broken bones. The latter was becoming increasingly frequent. One mugger turned himself in after having fled the scene of his crime, because he had been 'stalked and chased, like some kinda mouse what is bein played with by some kinda cat, except the cat I think was Darkwing Duck. Or some kinda devil. Is Darkwing Duck a devil? Because I think he might be a devil'. It had been too much for his nerves, and he felt safer once he was behind bars.

                          The vigilante efforts were effective, and the police did have to acknowledge that it was already having a positive impact on the city crime rate, but the increasing brutality was so noticeable that even they were starting to have misgivings.



                          As unassuming as the warehouse looked, it was still clean and in a nice location, insofar as areas with warehouses could be 'nice'. This one contained ducky statuettes with thick gold plate, carefully boxed up for storage. What were they for? The dozen thieves there to take them didn't really care about the answer to that question, the only important thing was that the statuettes were valuable. The gang had carefully disabled the security devices in and around the warehouse, all but one carelessly overlooked silent alarm.

                          There was a quiet 'thunk' and then an electric hum sighed into silence as the dim lights died. Over half of the gang had flashlights with them, and they immediately aimed the beams around trying to figure out what happened, occasionally blinding each other by accident. Then, a quiet and sinister chuckle wound through the air around them, strangely omnidirectional.

                          "It's him," snapped one, and this was followed by the clanks and clicks of weapons being readied. This group was prepared. Except, there wasn't a target to attack. Nothing but an increasingly awkward silence.

                          One of the thieves near the middle of the group suddenly shrieked and several flashlights turned his way, just in time to catch sight of his legs as he was apparently whisked straight up into the darkness, where his scream abruptly stopped.

                          Another had his flashlight beam pointed straight up in a vain attempt to find their colleague, and managed to say, "Wh--" when his flashlight tumbled to the floor, because he had vanished.

                          At this point, the others were starting to lose their cool. Shooting into the darkness held the chance of hitting a colleague, but on the other hand, it might hit him. A few gunshots rang out as the remaining ten--no, somehow there were only eight of them now--backed up to cluster together.

                          "He can't take all of us at once," said one, in a hushed voice, trying to draw a little closer into the center of their defensive group.

                          "Keep telling yourself that," someone whispered with malevolent amusement, right by his ear.

                          During the beat down that ensued, which contained a lot of gunshots, screams, and what sounded a lot like a sledgehammer hitting a side of beef, one of the more sensible thieves slipped away and ran, hiding behind a stack of crates. He had dropped both his weapon and his flashlight and was trying to remember where the exit was located. The horrible sounds were starting to die down, so he picked a direction and sneaked as quickly and quietly as he could.

                          There was the back door, he could just make it out in the near pitch darkness. He took a single step towards it and a figure dropped down before him, with a billowing cape or wings malforming its silhouette. The head lifted and there was a glint in what were probably its eyes.

                          Right. Yes. Forget that. The thief turned and fled the other way, the direction the front door had to be in. The quiet laughter followed him, sometimes behind him and sometimes right in front of him, and he didn't understand why that thing wouldn't just attack him. Would he get to the front door, only to have his hope crushed at the last second? And now he heard screaming again, coming from--oh. It was coming from himself.

                          The thief was screaming by the time he burst through the warehouse's front door, not daring to look back, which was just as well. Quiverwing was perched on top of the open door, the streetlamps making his eyes seem to glow, grinning with sinister amusement.

                          • Darkwing Duck
                            Darkwing Duck

                            A burst of blue smoke appeared in front of the criminal, and Darkwing poked the thief hard enough in the chest to force him backward.  "Going somewhere?" he inquired.

                            The thief somehow managed to scream even louder, pointing behind him and then in front of him.  "But you - I - and - and - and - !"  He passed out from sheer fright.

                            Darkwing raised a brow and looked up at Quiverwing.  "Getting sloppy, Bowboy, this one almost got away."

                            • Quiverwing Duck
                              Quiverwing Duck

                              Quiverwing's eyes narrowed, his grin having vanished, leaving him with a mildly displeased expression. "I wanted to let him get within a step or two of reaching the street before I pulled him back in." Well, apparently that was what passed for fun times with the grim archer. Although he didn't seem to actually have any archery related things with him. No bow, no quiver.

                              He stood up, balanced on the narrow door top as if he were standing on the ground. "Anyway. The rest are inside. Don't miss the one I hung from the rafters. Wouldn't want him to get lonely when you turn in the rest of his friends." Quiverwing turned, jumped, and quickly scaled his way up to the top of the warehouse roof, clearly intent on leaving.

                              • Darkwing Duck
                                Darkwing Duck

                                "What's with the emo-getup?" Darkwing asked critically.  "Wait, I don't want to know.  Hey!"  He frowned and shot a grappling hook at the roof's edge so that he could follow.  "I'm not done talking to you!"

                                The winch inside of the gas gun pulled him upward until he could climb up after his double.  "Look, this boogeyman act is great and all, but do you mind toning down the brutality a bit?  I've got a reputation to uphold here, and while I can appreciate scare tactics as well as the next vigilante, it isn't exactly building trust with the populace.  Most of them scream and run when I try to hand them signed glossies...more than usual, anyway."

                                 

                                • Quiverwing Duck
                                  Quiverwing Duck

                                  Although Quiverwing glanced back over his shoulder, he kept walking, at least until Darkwing mentioned 'trust.' The archer--or whatever he was, now--paused, then turned and gave Darkwing a quizzical look.

                                  "I am toning down the brutality," he said, his voice crisp and quiet. "I'm not killing anyone." Quiverwing tilted his head slightly, looking towards the tall buildings at the city's heart. "You think they'll ever really trust you?"

                                  He suddenly took a step that brought him in so close to Darkwing that their beaks almost clacked together like two swords in a theatrical fencing match. Barely above a whisper but with a distinct growling edge he said, "They will never trust us, Drake. You can make them love you, or you can make them fear you. And it's so much easier to make them fear you."

                                  • Darkwing Duck
                                    Darkwing Duck

                                    Darkwing might have paled at the killing comment, but he assumed Quiverwing was just being his sarcastic, difficult self.  He folded his arms.  "Well of course they will once they -"

                                    He had stopped talking because the other mallard had gotten unsettlingly close.  The brief disquiet in his eyes steeled into his general stubbornness, and he pulled his head back haughtily.  "Speak for yourself, Quiv, I have a fan club, and I was making some progress with the SCPD until someone started hanging crooks upside down and using them as punching bags."  He hadn't made any such progress, but he certainly liked to think he did.  "Why would I want them to fear me?  The idea is to scare criminals, not citizens, or have you forgotten that?"

                                    • Quiverwing Duck
                                      Quiverwing Duck

                                      "How could I ever forget that?" Quiverwing gave a slight, single laugh, as if he had heard a vaguely amusing joke. "Yes. Yes, of course the citizens get afraid, too. It doesn't matter that they aren't the targets. These people," he flung his arm out to gesture towards the city center. He felt something surge within him, something that he thought had died when--that he thought had died well over a year ago. The swell of arrogance curled his beak with a sneer. "These citizens are stupid, and every single one of them holds guilt in their heart. They're afraid we will see it, that's why they fear us. And that's why they don't respect us... they don't respect you, even though you work constantly to save their ungrateful lives!"

                                      Quiverwing was pointing at Darkwing, but his expression was slowly changing from haughty to horrified. Those old feelings of resentment had boiled up within him, and it had felt like poison. The worst part was that he still thought what he had said was true, even if he was now feeling ashamed for how he had said it.

                                      He ran both of his hands back through his hair and turned away, taking in a slow breath. Walls. Get the walls back up. Focus.

                                      • Darkwing Duck
                                        Darkwing Duck

                                        Darkwing furrowed his brow.  This didn't sound at all like the annoying pantyhose-wearing archer he'd come to know and irritate.  Nothing that he was saying sat very well with the vigilante at all.  His eyes passed over the cityscape - his cityscape - and he felt none of the irrational contempt Quiverwing was emanating.

                                        "They may not give me the recognition I so rightfully deserve," he said slowly, "but they're not bad people."  He cocked his head to the side.  "If that's how you feel, then what are you doing here?  What about citizens like Gosalyn and Launchpad and the - " he had to swallow and managed to finish, " - the Muddlefoots?  This city may not always do the right thing, but I will.  Or I'll do my best to.  I may not get all the honor and glory and fame, but I keep doing this because I want them to be safe.  Then I can at least make sure less and less families have to go through what mine did.

                                        "So if this is the kind of 'help' you're providing, pal, thanks but no thanks."

                                        • Quiverwing Duck
                                          Quiverwing Duck

                                          Shut him out. Shut him up. Insult him. Leave. Wall everything up.

                                          Quiverwing's stance faltered slightly, then his shoulders hunched, his gloved hands clutching at his head so that his palms covered his eyes and his fingers hooked into his hair.

                                          "You're right." His voice was barely above a whisper, with a slight, tremulous quality. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm always mean to you. It isn't fair to you. All I want, all I ever wanted was to keep everyone safe. I can't do it. I can't get good enough. All I had was my city."

                                          He didn't know if he was making sense anymore. Quiverwing sank into a crouch, his hands moving to clasp at the back of his head, keeping his bill tucked down so that he was curled in a protective ball.

                                          "I w... I wanted..." he trailed off. He rocked slightly, then softly said, "I'm sorry, Drake."

                                          • Darkwing Duck
                                            Darkwing Duck

                                            At the other mallard's sudden change in attitude, Darkwing unfurled his arms and moved toward him.  Was that...an apology?  "Well," he said with resignation, standing just to one side of Quiverwing.  "You're stuck here now."  He stared down at the other caped duck, not really knowing what to say.  He'd never been great at this whole empathy thing.

                                            "C'mon, get up.  You're creeping me out.  Besides, there isn't much else to do here, thanks to you."

                                            He looked back out toward the bay, grunted as if he knew he'd regret it, then said, "Come back to the Tower with me.  I could use a second set of eyes."

                                            • Quiverwing Duck
                                              Quiverwing Duck

                                              Quiverwing took in a slow, deep breath, and stood up. It seemed as if he must have been crying, but there were none of the obvious physical signs. Mostly, he just seemed a little deflated. He was behaving more like his usual self, or at least, his usual self when he was around anyone other than Darkwing.

                                              "I've always been kinda jealous of you," Quiverwing said, his voice soft and honest. That, too, was fairly typical of him which meant that it was nothing he had ever exhibited towards Darkwing. "Um." He glanced aside and downwards, as if he could see through the roof. "There's eleven guys in there who ... will probably require ambulances. And um. Possibly some therapy."

                                              He fell silent, still gazing at the rooftop beneath his feet. When he glanced up at Darkwing, he quietly said, "Okay. Thank you."

                                              • Darkwing Duck
                                                Darkwing Duck

                                                Darkwing swelled faintly with hauteur.  "Well of course you were!"  He wasn't about to admit that he had been jealous of Quiverwing in certain areas, too.

                                                ***

                                                Launchpad was in Duckburg visiting friends, Gosalyn was sleeping over at the Muddlefoots, so the Tower was empty save for the two near-identical mallards traipsing in through the secret entrance in the north wall.

                                                "What do you mean you've never played a video game?" Darkwing exclaimed, tossing his fedora on a hatrack and then his cape into a laundry basket designated specifically for his costumes.  "Seriously, Quiv, you need to get out more."

                                                He led his double up the familiar platform to the super-supercomputer.

                                                • Quiverwing Duck
                                                  Quiverwing Duck

                                                  "I didn't understand the utility of playing them. The ones that involve combat, well... it seems it'd be far more practical for me to practice actual sparring or shooting instead. The ones that don't involve combat are simply impossible to relate to." Quiverwing spread his hands in a little shrug.

                                                  "I know how to code and how to customize hardware, that's... close, isn't it? It's related. Because the games are made of code and you have a mechanical interface," he suggested, perking up slightly, because now his mind was on how to devise something that might be really interesting, such as a game interface that required you to punch things in reality in order to punch things inside a game.

                                                  • Darkwing Duck
                                                    Darkwing Duck

                                                    Darkwing grimaced.  "Er...sure, I guess..."  He motioned to a chair Quiverwing could pull up for himself if he wanted, then relaxed into the giant office chair.  Once the program was opened up, gothic font filled the screen.  Jack the Tripper.

                                                    Cracking his knuckles, Darkwing glanced toward Quiverwing with a slightly superior smirk that he didn't even realize he was giving.  "See, in this game you're super sleuth Basil of Baker Street, going after the notorious villain, Jack the Tripper!  The idea isn't so much combat, but intrigue, and there's a time limit."  Which he hadn't yet been able to beat.  "As the detective, you solve riddles and put clues together to get to where you need to go to stop Jack from striking again.  Sound familiar?"

                                                    • Quiverwing Duck
                                                      Quiverwing Duck

                                                      Quiverwing sat down in the indicated chair. He had not removed his cape when they arrived, but it he swept it aside in a graceful movement and it settled just after he did. He looked up at the screen, then at Darkwing, then around at the lair, and finally back at the screen.

                                                      He seemed to be giving serious thought to what Darkwing had said. Looking over at Darkwing again, he politely said, "But you are a detective that goes after notorious villains." He was trying to understand. Why play the game, when you could go out and do it?

                                                      Slowly, he hazarded, "So it's selecting a form of leisure that has a commonality with something you already enjoy doing." Oh. Yeah. That made sense. "I get it. It's like how I solve cold cases."