The Forgotten (MA)

((OOC: As of right now this is reserved for Piper/ Jade and Jacob. If anyone else wants in, message me. Keep in mind that at times this will be MA themed, and I think I will have it marked so that people can avoid it if they choose.))

---

It started small.... barely noticeable at first. 

A homeless person was missing. 

Okay, so perhaps they were vagrant and had simply moved on? It wasn't unheard of. Easily dismissed and not taken as a top priority. Then a few more happened... And then several more. 

Before long, it was not just the homeless that were coming up missing. Piper was sitting on her futon, pouring over a college course selection book, highlighter balancing precariously on the end of her bill as she scanned her choices. Her thoughts, admittedly, were not on the weak and vulnerable of St. Canard. Rather, on which classes she would start at St. Canard University. 

She was just about to draw a neon mark over "Biochemistry" when the news report blaring from her TV caught her ear. 

Reporter: "Good afternoon folks, Guy Everyman here with a special bulletin from St. Canard P.D. Officials would like to ask the general public to keep on the look out for one Prissy Puffington, of St. Canard's upper north side. She went missing around 2 PM last night, and her parents are offering a fifty thousand dollar reward for anyone who can offer a tip to lead to her safe return." A picture of a small Puffin in what was clearly a designer dress flashed across screen. " She is 20 years old, stands three foot, four inches and has black and white feathering. If you have seen her, or know her location, please contact the number below."

The screen flashed back to the reporter. "Miss Puffington's disappearance is one of several that have been sweeping the city in the past few months, and with the growing number of reports, rumors of a trafficking ring have began to circulate. St. Canard P.D. has not confirmed this, but urgently reminds everyone to be aware of their surroundings. Now back to your regularly sch--"

Remote in hand, Piper turned off her television. She'd heard rumors of some goings on, but to be frank... she'd kept a low profile. Malicia's work kept her busy, and because it was such a lucrative venue, she did not wish to risk exposure through her more petty pass times. 

But this one bugged her. Perhaps because she was the same age as the girl who had gone missing. After a few silent moments, lost in though... she stood up and pulled out her cell phone. Her finger hovered for a moment... wondering if this was something she could really turn to Jacob about. In her mind, she knew what she was planning to do... and he had asked that she keep him in the loop about anything she was attempting. 

She bit her lip. Piper had no idea if this would work or not. If nothing more, she could discuss it with someone who had a lot more experience than her. Pressing her contact, she quickly texted Jacob, not wanting to bother him if he wasn't free. 

"I am plotting."

    • DarkwingPsycho
      DarkwingPsycho

      Drake didn't have to finish, and Jacob felt a slight stab of guilt.  His son had been the same age Drake had when he had disappeared.

      Jacob placed the decanter down on the small table next to the chair Drake was sitting in, and placed a hand on the younger man's shoulder.  "And...what keeps you going?" he asked quietly, his dark eyes unreadable.  "After everything you've been through, why continue at all?"

      • Quiverwing Duck
        Quiverwing Duck

        The touch caused Drake to tense for a moment, his eyes opening, but he relaxed again just as quickly. "Uhm."

        He did not look up, he fixed his focus on his glass, turning it in his fingers with a little nervous energy. "At first, it was because I was asked to." He cleared his throat lightly. "One of the last things my daughter said to me, was for me to um, keep going, and I promised I would."

        His free hand spread slightly in a kind of shrug. "It's not the only reason anymore but ... sometimes its what keeps me around when things get really bad."

        • DarkwingPsycho
          DarkwingPsycho

          He could feel Drake briefly tense under his hand, but he didn't remove it.  Not right away.  He studied his pseudo-son quietly as Drake answered.  It wasn't until the mention of the promise that Jacob lightly squeezed his shoulder, then released it and moved back to his chair.

          From his seated position Jacob nodded.  He'd never been one to even consider suicide, but there had been a brief time in his life when it had crossed his mind.  A desperate, hopeless moment in a world of chaos and evil.

          "Good boy," he said quietly.  He didn't offer up any of his own reflections, didn't say what kept him going.  Drake would already know that.

          But then there was Piper...and the Drakes, and Matthew...Gladstone and Lilly...his granddaughter...  His life had become entirely too complicated in the past year.  He felt almost trapped by it.  Yet he would not do anything to change it except - perhaps - give in to it.

          He was tired.  So very tired...

          After a long moment, he cleared his throat and stood up, his glass still in his hand, half-filled with liquor.  "Let's have a look at that patch, shall we?"

          • Quiverwing Duck
            Quiverwing Duck

            Drake did not speak or even look up until Jacob mentioned the patch. As with his earlier admission about how he treated his fiancee, confessing to that kind of suicidal ideation made him simmer with shame. A primary reason he normally never discussed those topics.

            He took a deep drink from his glass and stood up, nodding to the older Mallard. "Going into this, I hadn't considered they might be using a transdermal method. Piper didn't have that on for very long, either, and it still had a significant effect on her."

            • DarkwingPsycho
              DarkwingPsycho

              Jacob nodded.  "Which is why it is so imperative to ascertain exactly what it is."

              Drake wouldn't exactly get a grand tour, but he did manage to see some parts of the elaborate home.  Jacob led him through was seemed like a maze of rooms until they came to a chemical lab.  Jacob had always held an interest in biochemistry, as it was one of his majors in college, and he generally used his lab to either develop his own compounds or study others.

              It didn't take them long to decide that it was ketamine.  A more concentrated form, and the fact that it was transdermal was even more troubling.  The news would show yet another young woman that was abducted that evening.  Presumably the perpetrators had moved on to new ground.  More would follow if something wasn't done.

              It was a few hours until sunrise, and they decided to call it a night and at least attempt sleep.  Drake was offered one of several guest rooms on the second story, while Jacob went to check on Piper...only to freeze in panic when she wasn't where he had placed her.

              He moved quickly into the room, turning on the light.  Her boots were still there, and the bed looked like she had climbed out of it rather than being forced out.  No other possible signs of a struggle...  He set down the glass of bourbon that was still in his hand and wondered if, perhaps, it was as simple an explanation as she'd gone to use the restroom.

              He turned off the light and moved toward the master.  The bathroom on the way was dark, the door ajar.  He frowned and continued.  Maybe she hadn't seen that one, given her state, and had headed for the largest room with an adjoining bath.  Not that she would have known where it was, but he knew she was both intelligent and inquisitive.

              As soon as he entered the dark bedroom, he could make out an amorphous shape beneath his bedspread and sheets, even with the minimal light from the hallway.  He didn't have all the facts yet, but he could surmise what happened.  Or at least the gist.

              He half-smiled and moved farther in, noticing the pile of her clothes on the floor mixed with his that she had knocked off.  He loosened and removed his tie, then his shirt, then his pants until he was only in his boxers.  Then he lifted the comforter and saw her small sleeping figure, looking so natural in his bed.  He wouldn't mind this view every night...

              Careful not to wake her, he slid in beneath the sheets and gathered her into his arms, holding her against him and smiling lovingly into her hair when he realized she'd put on the clean shirt he'd set out.  She was adorable.

              • Piper/ Jade
                Piper/ Jade

                She was breathing, but there was no other responses. Her body was processing the drug, and she was out of the woods of any real danger.

                Morning... or rather, the afternoon came rudely. Piper was groaning long before she opened her eyes. Her head was killing her, and the pain was so intense she felt nauseous.

                Her small form shook under the sheets and she could feel dampness on her skin... she had never been drunk to the point of a hangover before... but she surmised this had to be what it was like.

                When her eyes opened, she winced and closed them again, her hands coming up to cover them. "I want to die..."

                Then it clicked... painfully she looked again... why was she in Jacob's room? "What... happened?" She wasn't sure if she was asking someone or not-- the pain was making it hard to concentrate.

                • DarkwingPsycho
                  DarkwingPsycho

                  From his position next to her, arms still around her, he lifted a hand to gently move the hair away from her face.  "You're safe, little duck..." he murmured.  He'd never been through a ketamine hangover, but he could guess how it felt.  Especially as she started to shake and sweat.  Her groaning had woken him, and he'd just held her quietly, watching her to make sure nothing was notably wrong, until she'd woken up.

                  "You were drugged...Drake had to pull you out; it fell apart."

                  He kissed the side of her head, then got up to get her a glass of water and some Tylenol.

                  • Piper/ Jade
                    Piper/ Jade

                    "I failed then..." she said, her voice strained and small.

                    God that felt awful... she wasn't use to failing at things. And this was kind of important. "I can't remember anything..."

                    She wanted his arms back around her-- wanted his reassurance, but the childish side of her refused to allow herself any comfort. Instead she wallowed for a moment.

                    Squinting, she tried to look at him. "We... knew I'd get drugged... possibly. How did it fall apart...?" Hadn't that all been part of the plan? But she couldn't recall-- maybe something else had happened.

                    • DarkwingPsycho
                      DarkwingPsycho

                      Her soft statement made him pause, but he kept going.  It was more imperative to get her feeling better physically first.  Then he could help with the rest.

                      He came around to her bedside, standing between her and the light filtering in between the curtains, and held out the pills and water.  "Come on, baby," he said gently.  "First take these."

                      Once she did, he sat down on the edge of the bed near her and gently rubbed her back through his shirt.  "You didn't fail.  Far from it.  We've got a name and a face...two faces, possibly.  We've narrowed down what drug they're using, the areas they're targeting..."  He moved to stroke her hair.  "They were going to give you another dose from the sounds of it," he added.  "It would've killed you."

                      • Piper/ Jade
                        Piper/ Jade

                        "I do try to avoid death. I hope Drake is okay too." She grumbled, and forced herself to relax at his affection. She liked it when he called her baby, but she wouldn't admit it. He was doing an excellent job of distracting her from her headache. The rubbing in her hair was especially nice.

                        Letting out a breath and stared at the bedding for a moment. "It's weird... I lost time. I remember waking up and getting ready to go but after that... it's just feelings. Like waking up from a dream I can't remember." She shifted and moved to grab the water again. She was ridiculously thirsty. "If it is a strong lead, then that is all that matters. I don't remember their faces though. But I hate that someone else out there is going through the same thing."

                        Once she had finished her drink, she put the empty glass down. "Next question... where are my clothes? Why am I in your shirt? I'm not complaining but..." again, she couldn't remember.

                        • DarkwingPsycho
                          DarkwingPsycho

                          "He's fine," he reassured her.  "He's in one of the guest rooms."  He continued to smooth her hair and rub his thumb gently along her face and cheek.

                          "They used ketamine," he informed her.  Then he had to chuckle.  "I was hoping you could tell me, but I guess not.  I found you in here, like this, after I'd put you down the hall..."  He grinned and kissed her forehead carefully.  "What am I going to do with you...?"

                          • Piper/ Jade
                            Piper/ Jade

                            “Well. I am pretty sure I have a list of things you can do with me, but I left it at home.” Haha, so witty.

                            Piper let out a breath, trying to relax and let the Tylenol work. “isn’t that some drug they use in veterinarian medicine” she could have sworn she heard of it before. Nuzzling his hand lightly, she opened her eyes to look at him for a minute. 

                            “I am sorry I dragged you into this, especially considering how badly it went.” Or must have gone if Drake felt the need to pull her out. She looked away, feeling a bit ashamed at her gung-ho-ness.

                            • DarkwingPsycho
                              DarkwingPsycho

                              "Yes," he said, keeping his voice low so as to upset her head.  "They've found a way to use it to their ends, it seems.  It was in that patch."

                              He looked down into her green eyes and listened, then he shifted so that he could cup both of her cheeks in his hands.  "No," he said firmly.  "Don't be sorry.  You were right, and you did very well.  In fact you might've done better without our interference.  It is I who should be apologizing to you."

                              • Piper/ Jade
                                Piper/ Jade

                                “without your interference?” She blinked lightly. He’d said they pulled her out for good reason... “what interference?”

                                She really wanted to know what had happened. Maybe Drake was the better one to ask. But Jacob was apologizing so he must have had a part in it? Frowning slightly, she tried to read him... but quickly let out a breath and closed her eyes again. She felt awful and she didn’t have the energy to respond to anything. Instead she buried her face in the sheets. She’d deal with it all later. 

                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                  Oh.  She didn't seem to recall their talk in the van prior to her beginning the mission.  He sighed.  "I find myself having difficulty letting you loose, little duck.  Purposely putting you in danger...it was difficult to hear you like that.  Harder than I'd anticipated.  Drake followed you, perhaps a bit too intimately, but he was able to prevent you from being drugged again."

                                  There was a long pause, as if he were mulling over something, then decided against it.  "We can talk more when you're feeling up to it."  His hand was back to stroking her hair a couple of times before he bent down and kissed her cheek.  "Sleep more if you need to...come down when you're ready."

                                  • Piper/ Jade
                                    Piper/ Jade

                                    She sat up a bit to look at him. She hadn't expected that kind of honesty. Or had she? He was usually pretty honest with her, maybe it was his openly saying he'd had a hard time with it. Jacob rarely aired his struggles.

                                    But she couldn't remember what she'd said... she could only imagine at that point. Had she faltered? She shoved those thoughts aside, she didn't want to focus on that right now. It was better to move forward anyway, and figure out how to make things right.

                                    Yet he still looked like he had something to say... but wasn't. Her state wasn't the best, so she didn't push him to keep on with it. 

                                    "I am fine... food might help... the sun isn't." Was it always thisnbright during the day? "At the very least I am dying of thirst." Which was weird considering she knew she was well hydrated. Itnwas probably her body trying to flush the ketamine out for good. 

                                    "But... I need to change before Drake asks questions." Which meant she had to find her clothes. She pushed the sheet and comfortor off her and started to get up.

                                    • DarkwingPsycho
                                      DarkwingPsycho

                                      He took the empty glass from the nightstand and went to get her more water as she got up.  "Well, I presumed you would," he chuckled.  "You left your clothes there."  He pointed to a pile on the floor as he passed.  He filled up the glass in the tap and set it on the dresser so that she could drink as she wanted while she changed.

                                      "I'll start making breakfast.  I'm sure Drake is hungry, too."

                                      He glanced back at her once, then picked up his robe from off of a hook near the door.  He slid it on and left the room, heading for the kitchen.

                                      • Quiverwing Duck
                                        Quiverwing Duck

                                        By contrast, Drake had enjoyed a pretty good night. Despite the kind of emotional turmoil he had been in and having imbibed a little more bourbon than he probably should have, it was over all a win for him.

                                        First off, the climate control worked properly so he wasn't freezing. Secondly, he got to sleep on an actual bed rather than the floor. Thirdly, and perhaps most luxuriantly, he got to use a bathroom that had a private shower in it rather than the locker room style open area with rows of crappy shower heads. And there was enough hot water.

                                        He was used to waking up early in order to get Gosalyn off to school and himself to his office on time, and was unable to allow himself to sleep in although he had wanted to. So, with nothing else to do, he went through his katas, stood on his head to meditate for a while, then showered and got dressed. After that he was a little bored, so he left the guest room to pace around downstairs.

                                        This was what he was up to when Jacob arrived, so he stopped his restless wandering and said, "Good morning, sir."

                                        • DarkwingPsycho
                                          DarkwingPsycho

                                          Jacob smiled broadly.  "Ah, so you're up!  Good.  I hope you're hungry, I'm a decent pancake flipper."

                                          He started moving easily through the kitchen, gathering what he would need.  "And if you're not a pancake man, I've also got bacon and eggs.  Oh - and the coffee pot's right there if you'd like to make some."

                                          He, too, seemed in a good mood despite the conversation the previous evening.  Avoidance?

                                          He mixed up the ingredients for the batter and glanced toward the other mallard.  "Sleep well?"

                                          • Quiverwing Duck
                                            Quiverwing Duck

                                            Drake looked uncertain how to react to the idea of breakfast. Generally it was something he helped arrange for Gosalyn, but did not himself partake in it. "Oh, it's all right, sir. You don't have to worry about doing any of that for me, normally I don't eat breakfast. I just have coffee. But, thank you."

                                            His attention moved to the coffee pot, then, and it looked a little different from what he was used to. However, while he might be a failure in a culinary sense, he at least knew how to make coffee.

                                            Moving in to figure out the coffee situation, he cheerfully said, "I did sleep well, thank you." Minus the usual nightmares, of course. But he did seem far better rested than usual. "How is Miss Lee?"

                                            • DarkwingPsycho
                                              DarkwingPsycho

                                              "I insist," Jacob said firmly, though he was still smiling.  Making pancakes tended to do that, as it brought back memories of doing so with his children long ago.  "I don't want any leftovers."

                                              "She's understandably not feeling well, but she's awake and talking.  I told her to take her time, and she could join us when she's ready."

                                              He nodded toward a lower cabinet.  "Get me a pan from down there, won't you?"  It seemed so easy, having Drake there with him, as if they'd been doing this for years.

                                              • Quiverwing Duck
                                                Quiverwing Duck

                                                Drake was standing there staring at the coffee maker with bewilderment. Not because he could not figure out how to use it; once he'd had a look, it had been a little more obvious how to get it to function. It was because vague memories were stirring, from a time in his life that he tried to avoid thinking about. That time had been good, but dwelling on it made him forlorn, so he left it alone.

                                                "I... uh, I-I normally just eat once a day," he said, faintly. Blinking a few times, he ran his hand back through his headfeathers, then moved to get the requested utensil. Drake was hopeless in the kitchen, but still knew the appropriate pan to grab from the cabinet.

                                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                                  "Once a day?" Jacob echoed.  "You sound as bad as me.  But this isn't going to be your only meal today, right?"  He passed an appraising look toward Drake, almost daring him to argue.

                                                  "Thank you."  He took the pan and set it on the gas stove.  "The vegetable oil's in there," he nodded toward the pantry.  "And if you'd put the stove on medium, that would be a big help."

                                                  He stirred and stirred the batter.  "Would you like blueberry or chocolate chip?" he asked.

                                                  • Quiverwing Duck
                                                    Quiverwing Duck

                                                    Drake had meant to say, "Well, yes," when Jacob asked if this would be his only meal. Obviously. One meal a day was sufficient, it kept him trim (possibly too trim) while allowing him to continue training. Usually it was one he had late in the afternoon, although he pushed it further into early evening these days so he could have dinner with Gosalyn.

                                                    Catching Jacob's look from the corners of his eyes, Drake instead said, "...n...o?"

                                                    It was starting to feel surreal for him, a mix of foreign and familiar, although there shouldn't be any familiar in there. It was, technically, entirely foreign. Drake stared into the pantry, took the bottle of oil, then turned on the stove as if he actually knew what he was doing.

                                                    Some oil went into the pan, which went onto the stove. He did that without being told. At Jacob's question as to his pancake preference, he said, "Why not both?"

                                                    • DarkwingPsycho
                                                      DarkwingPsycho

                                                      Jacob chuckled.  "Good man."  He separated the batter and half got blueberries while the other half got chocolate chips.  He poured some expertly into the pan, making about three inside of it.  "Now we'll need plates.  Second cabinet from the sink on the left.  That's right."

                                                      It didn't take long before the smell of the baking batter filled the air, and Jacob flipped the pancakes before they browned too much.

                                                      Once Drake had retrieved plates, Jacob glanced over at him.  "Start the bacon, would you son?  It's in the fridge, bottom drawer."

                                                      He slid three pancakes onto one of the plates Drake brought, seeming to slip easily into the role of breakfast maker.  And slipping Drake easily into the role of sous chef.

                                                      Three more pancakes went into the pan.