Prompt #2, Wilby fic for [personal profile] whoisus from [personal profile] malnpudl

Apr. 10th, 2010 07:10 pm
malnpudl: (Default)
[personal profile] malnpudl posting in [community profile] pacifi_cant
Title: Legacy
Fandom: Wilby Wonderful
Pairing: Duck & Buddy (friendship)
Rating: G
Word Count: ~1850
Thanks: To [personal profile] sage for lightning turnaround beta, and most of all for letting me know what wasn't working.
Notes: [personal profile] whoisus asked for Duck/Buddy, which didn't happen; instead my fic brain took me back to their childhood years. Apologies for the sad dearth of porn. Additionally, I suspect this will eventually become part of a larger story spanning many years. I hope that's okay.

~ * ~

Duck was eleven when he and Buddy became friends.

The little clapboard house had belonged to Duck's grandparents. His grandfather had worked for the man who built it, had poured the foundation and raised the framed walls held together with nails he'd pounded. It'd taken him six years to save the down payment, but with the help of a frugal wife he'd done it, and their three babies had been born and raised there.

Duck's uncles had moved to the mainland where there were more jobs, so it was Ruth, the youngest of the three and the only daughter, who'd moved into the house when her father retired and, with her mother, moved to the mainland to be closer to their grandchildren. Duck was born in Wilby Hospital, which was so new that one wing was still under construction at the time, but he'd lived in the McDonald family house since he was four days old.

The park with the ball field was at the other end of town, past the school and the churches and the big houses with the fancy paint jobs and the long, wide porches with swings hanging from heavy chains and white wicker chairs and little tables for your tea or lemonade.

It was far enough that Duck always rode his bike there – though really, if truth be told, he rode it almost everywhere as long as the weather wasn't too awful and the roads weren't slick with ice or deep with snow.

He was rounding the last curve, chugging up the steep stretch that got you warmed up good so you were ready to play as soon as you hit the field, when he almost collided with Buddy walking his own bike down the hill. Duck stomped on the pedal and threw all his weight into braking, sending himself skidding onto the shoulder. He only just managed to throw a foot out in time to keep from ditching.

"Jeez!" His breath came short and fast, like the thumping of his heart in his chest.

"Hey, good save," Buddy said.

Duck didn't have an answer for that, so he just stared at Buddy, except that got uncomfortable really fast, so he looked at Buddy's bike instead.

It was tall and beautiful, with a deep cherry red frame that almost glowed and shiny silver spokes, not even splashed with mud yet, not a spot on it anywhere except for the bit of dust and grit thrown up by Duck's skidding tires. "Wow," he breathed. "Is that a Motobecane?"

Buddy grinned and nodded. "Yep. Just got it for my birthday." He gestured down at the gears; Duck counted six in the rear, two in the front. "Twelve-speed. One for each year, my dad said."

Duck wanted to touch it so bad it made his chest hurt, wanted to take it for a ride and feel it shifting smoothly through the gears at his command as he sailed along Wilby's back roads. He let his own battered one-speed fall onto the leaf-littered shoulder of the road and squatted down for a closer look.

"Huh," he said. "You got a flat." Fortunately it was in the front, so hopefully Buddy had noticed right away and stopped riding before he ruined the wheel rims.

"Yeah," Buddy said. "Found a bit of glass in it when I got here. That's why I was walking it instead of riding."

Duck looked up at him, squinting and raising a hand to block the sun. "How come you don't just patch it?"

Buddy moved to shade Duck's face. He shrugged. "My dad will get somebody to fix it for me."

"That's dumb," Duck said. "You won't be able to ride it until it's fixed. Fix it yourself and you could be riding in ten minutes."

Buddy shrugged again and looked away.

"You don't know how, do you?"

Buddy didn't say anything, just shrugged again. It was hard to see with the sun so bright behind Buddy, but Duck thought he might be blushing.

"C'mon," Duck said. He lifted his own bike onto its wheels and pointed up the hill. "I'll show you. It's not that hard." He wheeled his bike around Buddy's and started walking. He wasn't sure Buddy would follow, and was almost surprised when he heard the twelve-speed's wheels tick-tick-ticking softly close behind him.

There was a tall stand of sugar maples at the top of the hill. Duck dropped his bike onto the shady patch of grass beneath them and turned to Buddy. "Turn it upside down," he said, and gestured awkwardly with his hands.

Buddy looked worried. "My dad will kill me if I scratch it when it's still brand new."

Duck stepped in and leaned over the bike, grabbing the frame on the far side. He flipped the bike over – it felt like it weighed nothing, especially compared to Duck's own aged Huffy – and stood it on its seat and handlebars.

"Okay," Buddy said. "How do you get the tire off?"

"If we're lucky, we might not have to." Duck rummaged in the little case strapped behind his bicycle seat for the things he needed, then fished his pocket knife out of his jeans.

Doing had always been easier than talking for Duck, so he just got down to it. Buddy peered over his shoulder and asking questions every now and then as Duck worked on the wheel, the tire, and the tube. It felt good, doing with ease and confidence what he'd done a dozen times before, working on a bike very different from his own and finding that he still knew just what to do.

"There," he said at last. "Almost done." He looked at Buddy. "Got a dollar?"

"Huh?" Buddy looked puzzled, but he pulled a few crumpled bills out of his pocket. "What for?"

Duck took a dollar and smoothed it over his jeans, getting the wrinkles out, then folded it neatly in half. "Just in case maybe the casing wouldn't hold," he said. "Money's strong. Makes a good emergency patch." He smoothed it between the patched tube and the tire, then gently lay the bike down with the wheel in his lap so he could reseat the tire on the wheel.

Moments later it was done, and he pushed the bike off his lap, brushing away the dirt and grit the tire had left on his pants. While Buddy put his bike back on its wheels, Duck unstrapped the tire pump from the frame of his own bike.

"You need to get one of these," Duck said, handing Buddy the pump. It'd probably make Buddy feel better to pump up his own tire, make him feel less useless. "And a patch kit and a tire lever. The hardware store has them."

While Buddy worked the pump, Duck used the time to stow his tools and patch kit back in their pouch, watching out of the corner of his eye to make sure Buddy didn't over-inflate the tire and blow out the patch.

The patch held – both patches, actually – through a quick test ride, just a couple of small circles, Buddy carefully avoiding a pothole so as not to push his luck.

Buddy braked to a stop in front of Duck just as he finished strapping the tire pump back onto his bike frame. His face broke out into a grin. "Hey, thanks!"

Duck smiled back, inwardly cursing at the blush he could feel climbing his neck and rising up his cheeks. "Sure," he said. "No big deal."

Buddy looked down at his front wheel. "It's a strange thing," he said, "what you can do with a little bit of money." The touring bike's sleek frame glowed rich and red in the sunlight, just that quickly out of Duck's reach again, no matter that he'd had his hands all over it just moments before.

McDonalds didn't own beautiful things like that bike. They fixed them for people like the Frenches, people who drove fancy cars and lived in those big houses at the other end of town and called Duck's dad only when something broke.

Duck had had a lot of practice at trying not to be jealous of rich kids like Buddy, but sometimes it still burned. "Money can do a lot of things," he said as he pushed his own heavy, clunky, old bike out onto the pavement and swung himself up onto the seat. He pedaled toward the ball field and didn't look back.

Duck was alone on the field, throwing overhand pitches with a tennis ball against the side of the dugout and fielding them himself when Buddy pulled his bike up to the rack and parked it. He was surprised; he'd thought Buddy had headed home, or at least somewhere else, once his tire was patched. Back to his own friends, his own part of town.

"Hey," Buddy said. "Want to play catch?"

In answer, Duck threw one to him. Hard. It smacked into Buddy's hands, belly high. Not bad.

Buddy threw it back, and Duck was pleased to see that he had a decent enough arm. "Okay," he said, and jogged out to the pitcher's mound.

Buddy took his place behind home plate, and they threw the ball back and forth a few dozen times, doing their best to bruise each other's hands. Not likely with a tennis ball, sure, but it felt good to try.

Really, Buddy was pretty much okay, Duck decided. He just grinned at himself when he made a bad throw or missed a catch. Nothing made him mad, and he never blamed Duck.

That was pretty cool.

"You know," Duck said, and tried to throw a curve ball over home plate. It was low and outside, but not by too much, and Buddy caught it easily. "If you want to come over some time, I could show you how to take care of your bike. Tune it up and stuff."

Buddy threw to him, a little slow for a fastball but right into his hands. "Yeah? You know how to do lots of stuff, don't you?"

Duck tried another curve ball. It almost ditched in the dirt, but Buddy managed to scoop it up. Duck shrugged, feeling himself flush hot again. "Some. My dad teaches me."

"You're lucky," Buddy said, and threw a wild one that Duck was barely tall enough to grab as it sailed over his head.

Somehow that made Duck feel really good. "Any time," he said. "Got all the tools we need in our garage." He tossed an easy one back to Buddy. "Saturday, maybe?"

"That'd be great," Buddy said, his face breaking out in another of his ready smiles. He lobbed a high, looping throw back to Duck and let out a whoop. "Come on," he called over his shoulder as he trotted off the ball field toward his bike. "Race you into town."

"Hey!" Duck called back. "No fair! Your bike's faster!"

Buddy flashed him a grin as he swung onto his bike and wheeled away. "Winner buys ice cream."

Duck figured he could live with that.

~ fin ~

For: [personal profile] whoisus
Prompt: "It's a strange thing."
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