Hidden Agendas

Part Four: Suspicion and Secrecy

The Pond was pretty quiet when Tanya and Duke arrived back from their outing. Wherever the others were they obviously weren’t about to disturb them as Duke walked with Tanya towards the lab.

“I’ve been meaning to make some repairs on Mallory’s puck launcher,” she stated casually.

“She break another one?” Duke chuckled.

Tanya grinned activating the drill on her Omni Tool, “You two will never lay off each other will you?”

“Not likely.” Duke answered sharply, “That duck’d have me behind bars the instant we got back to Puckworld if she could.”

“Oh c’mon Duke,” Tanya objected, “give Mallory a little more credit. She’s an okay duck, you two just get under each others’ feathers for some reason.”

“The reason is that she has it out for me sweetheart.” Duke insisted. “She’s always bringing up the thievery thing and claiming I can’t be trusted not to steal a stick of gum!”

“Shh…” Tanya cautioned unable to suppress a smile, “she’ll hear you, then we will be in a mess.”

“I wouldn’t mind.” Duke remarked cockily. “Let that military brat bring it on. Even if she is a lady, sometimes I’d wish her precious crush Wildwing would stand up and put her in her place. Ya ever notice how he always seems to take her side? Even when he claims he isn’t?”

Shaking her head Tanya continued her work, “Love makes you do crazy things I guess.”

This comment brought Duke’s mind back to their previous discussion. Sliding his arms between hers and leaning forward against her as she worked by the counter he replied, “Yeah, I guess it does. So…the day’s still young. Got any plans angel?”

“I’ll probably make a quick run by ‘Lectric Land and pick up some components for our gear modifications.” she responded nonchalantly.

Duke’s heart sank. He’d been hoping to spend the day with his girl but ‘Lectric Land? A ‘quick run’ there lasted a good three hours when Tanya was the shopper. It was like the time Mallory drug him and the rest of the guys to The Anaheim Mall for some new summer wear. Their wardrobes hadn’t exactly been equipped for Anaheim’s warm weather…to their sad recognitions.

Groaning Duke recalled how he and the others had wound up carrying stacks of Mallory’s purchases around for half the day. He sincerely hoped Tanya at least knew how to use a shopping cart instead of manual labor.

“Um…” Oh boy. “…mind if I come?” Duke offered reluctantly.

Tanya froze and put away her drill, “What? You mean you actually want to come equipment shopping with me?”

“Y-yes.” Duke forced the answer.

“Why?” Tanya almost burst out laughing at the pained look on his face. Like she was ever gonna be as bad a shopaholic as Mallory!

“I just wanna spend time with my girl, ya know?” Duke spoke with a slight twinge to his usually suave voice.

“Uh huh,” Tanya smirked, “we just got back from a walk together. You don’t have to make yourself come to ‘Lectric Land with me, I know you’re not into that scientific and mechanical stuff Duke.”

“Hey, I’ll have you know that I’m just as mechanically inclined as the next duck.” he insisted, more to preserve his pride than to impress her.

Right,” Tanya laughed, “I remember how mechanically inclined you were when I made ya help me repair the Migrator after your little demolition derby.”

Duke could only give a sheepish grin to this. Somehow he’d managed to put all the wheels on backwards. Tanya’d been caught between having a laugh riot and wanting to wring his neck when she noticed that glaring mistake.

Time to switch subjects, Duke thought to himself. “Uh, listen Tanya, if ya don’t want me to go just say it. I’m a big mallard now, I can handle it if ya wanna be alone and all. It’s okay. I’ve still got ya all night right?”

Though she wondered exactly what he meant by all night Tanya felt a strong urge to stop him as he turned to leave, “Wait a minute Duke,” he turned to face her, “you don’t have to go, I mean, you can come to ‘Lectric Land with me, if ya really want.”

Like putty in my hands. Duke smirked walking back over to her and trapping her in a strong embrace, “It’d be a pleasure.”

Sighing in a mixture of relief and confusion Tanya stared up at her oddly behaving teammate--and, wow--boyfriend. She still felt that this had all happened way too fast. And what was the rush anyway? Just like Duke had said earlier it wasn’t likely that they’d be getting off this planet anytime soon. So why all the prompting and hastening in this relationship? What good could it do to hurry things?

Maybe he’s just a fast paced kind of guy. a rational voice in Tanya’s mind suggested, It’s not like you’ve got other offers on the table. Take it as it comes Tawny. If it’s meant to be what’s the sense in drawing all the formalities out?

Agreeing with this inner voice Tanya laid her head beneath Duke’s bill and let him run his hands along her back in a form of massaging. Glancing over at the counter she noted that she was nearly finished with the minor repairs necessary to get the weapon operational again.

“I’ll be ready to head out in ten minutes or so.” she said as she halfheartedly freed herself from Duke’s secure grip. “We should let the others know we’re stepping out again I guess.”

“Why, so Mal-Mal can give us one of those accusing stares of hers?” Duke sneered.

“Personal prejudices aside,” Tanya remarked tightening the last of the screws on the compartment’s lid, “we’ve still got a Saurian mission to thwart. The team needs to know where we are incase Dragonaus starts one of his dim-witted schemes again.”

Relenting slightly Duke agreed and headed out to find Wildwing or one of the others while Tanya went to Mallory’s room with the repaired weapon.

******

Tapping on the door she waited for Mallory to open up. “Mal, c’mon it’s just me.”

The door slid open and Mallory greeted Tanya happily, especially when she spotted her puck launcher. “You fixed it!”

“Duh, yeah! That’s my job, I’m team tech,” Tanya laughed, “that’s what I do around here.”

“Yeah,” Mallory took the gun then stared at Tanya with green eyes full of concern.

“What?”

“Nothing, it’s just, I’m worried about you.” she admitted.

“Me?” Tanya repeated, “Why?”

“Duke L’Orange, that’s why.” Mallory grimaced as she replied, “Tanya I don’t like the way he’s just suddenly moved in on you like this. It’s very…suspicious.”

“Oh brother not this again.” Tanya mumbled and made a move to exit the room.

Mallory stepped forward and placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder, “Wait Tanya, I’m serious. I think he’s up to something.”

“Like when you thought he was out to steal all those big jewels?” Tanya questioned almost cynically. “And it just so happened that all he was trying to do was stop Falcone.”

“He didn’t go about it in the best way.” Mallory reminded her.

“I’ve let that go,” Tanya stated callously, “and it’s time you did too. We’re all teammates here Mallory. I trust Duke, he’s never let me or any of us down. Why are you so quick to criticize him anyway?”

“I don’t know. There’s just---something about him, you know---it creeps me out. Like he’s hiding something.” Mallory replied hoping she didn’t sound half as paranoid as she dreaded, “You’d think the guy had some hidden agenda for being here.”

“Like what?!” Tanya demanded suddenly jumping to the offensive.

Mallory studied Tanya’s angered features, “Look, I’m not trying to trash your boyfriend here Tawny. I know you wanna trust him. I’ve just got a bad feeling about this. I wouldn’t be a good friend if I kept quiet about it.”

“No, actually you’d be a great friend if you could just manage that!” Tanya snapped, a sudden rage swelling inside her, “Mallory, do me just one little favor okay?”

“What’s that?” Mallory asked wincing.

STAY OUT OF MY BUSINESS!” and with that Tanya spun on her heel and marched out the door.

Shaking her head Mallory sighed, “I hope you’re right about him Tanya, I really do.”

________________________________________________________________________

*Okay, I’ve finally posted another chapter. Thank you late night muse! LOL. Please read and review so I can get a feel for how many are still interested in this fanfiction. Thanks to all who’ve already reviewed. I appreciate it and hope you’ll continue.*

Part 3

Part 5 (Coming Soon)