It had been two weeks since Regina had been visited by the Liquidator; since she had realized that she was in love with him. She felt scared to tell him, as she had very little luck with having any long-lasting relationships, let alone finding someone who'd truly love her. She busied herself to keep out of these thoughts, tending to her plants, but listening to them when they insisted on resting-even the parasite-infested bush.
As Regina was taking a rest, while petting her pet pitcher plant Abbey, she felt something drip on her beak. It was water coming from the ceiling. The drops came faster and faster, until she realized what was going on.
“Are you trying to attempt Chinese water torture, Liquidator?” She called, glancing up.
“Even more torturous for today's mutant-plant duck customer!” Liquidator's voice chortled from above as he dropped from the ceiling, taking Regina's cue of relaxation that she wanted him to splash over her. Abbey, however, made a run for it, jumping away from the tree that she and her mistress were leaning against. After the light collision, Liquidator re-collected himself and grinned down at the strangely willing plant duck. “Sources say you chastise me for doing that.” He said, rubbing his chin.
“I was ready this time.” Regina smiled, standing up and nearly bumping her beak against his chest. “Ah, an informed customer!” Liquidator grinned.
“I just received news that one of your old schoolmates has gone villainess. That's why I came.” He said as Regina began tending to her infected bush, putting treatment at its roots.
“Camille? I heard about that. I told you she was my best friend until we graduated. I knew about her obsession with chameleons, but I didn't think she'd take it that far.” She said.
“And what's more, she's dating Steelbeak!” Liquidator laughed.
“History says that none of his relationships have worked well in the past. Broke up with Ammonia Pine three times, and several of his fellow agents far more than that!” He said.
“What do you expect from a rooster?” Regina grinned snidely. Liquidator nodded in agreement.
“So, do you have any of your old schoolbooks with you?” He asked, not hiding his curiosity.
“I never look at them.” Regina said after a pause.
“Like Camille was, I wasn't popular. At least she was pretty.” She tenderly rubbed the bush's branches.
“There, you'll be better in no time,” She temporarily changed thoughts.
“Now, what makes you say that? I imagine you were a lovely little lady!” Liquidator crossed his arms and tilted his head. Regina's eyes narrowed.
“I had female hair loss.” She hissed.
“Oh.” Liquidator sounded surprised.
“Do you want a visual?” Regina asked with the same deadpan tone.
“It would certainly help.” Liquidator nodded, seeming to be putting the facts together.
“Come over here.” Regina sighed and an ivy vine opened up a cabinet beside the area that Regina slept in. After a bit of searching, Regina pulled out a royal blue yearbook. “St. Canard High.” She sighed, flipping through the yearbook.
“This was my Senior year.” She finally found the page she was looking for. Liquidator leaned over her shoulder and looked at the picture she was pointing to.
It showed the teenage Regina having thin, mousey-brown hair with an almost gaping hairline that the flower clip she wore could not hide. Her blue eyes were covered by large black glasses, and her posture clearly stated that she did not want her picture to be taken.
“I see,” Liquidator sighed as Regina shut the book and put it back.
“You can say I was the ugly nerdy girl that nobody could ever love.” She hung her head glumly.
“Oh, you're just a little ugly duckling,” Liquidator teased.
“A rosebush in winter. You look like a briar to everyone who doesn't know what you truly are.”
Regina grimaced slightly.
“Oh, please.” She grumbled. Liquidator took that as a cue that he wasn't helping the matter at all.
“Do you still have your glasses?” Liquidator asked, changing tactics. Regina looked at the glasses case in the cabinet and pulled it out.
“I have them here.”
Liquidator took the glasses out of their case and set them on her bill. He smiled broadly.
“I wish I had a camera.” He chortled.
“Why?” Regina asked.
“Because you're simply adorable! But of course, you were even without the glasses.” Liquidator clasped a hand on her back, and tickled the underside of her bill. Regina managed a small smile.
“Do you think so?” She asked, her voice still monotonous, but traces of a smile were showing on her beak.
“Absolutely. You're so used to people thinking your not that you believe it.” He tussled her hair.
“But when you hear the contrary...” He whispered, smiling slyly.
A smile slowly graced her beak, but she turned away, putting her glasses back in the cabinet rubbing her eyes.
“Sorry, I've got something--” Her voice shook.
“I know.” Liquidator slid his hands to her shoulders, knowing that the 'something' was tears.
“You're the first person in a very long time to think I'm...” She looked around at him, tears glistening in her eyes.
“And so much more!” Liquidator exclaimed, his voice echoing throughout the greenhouse. He lifted himself above her.
“My studies show there is so much to admire in you. You're clever and intelligent; you've got more bravery in you than you think! And most of all, you are the most determined person I've ever met...besides Darkwing Duck. But your persistence is attractive; now matter how many times you are kicked down by the Terror who Blabs in the night, you jump right back on your roots! No matter how many times you are denied love, you strive to get it back!” He came back down and stroked her petals. “And that's what makes you a fine woman. At least to me.” His smile was so familiar; he had looked at her that way the day he had helped her when she overworked herself. That look of wanting something.
Regina lifted her hand to his, which had slid onto her cheek.
“Oh, Liqui, I...” She rubbed her eyes and smiled up at him.
“I don't know how I can beat that for you.” She made a small laugh. She looked up at Liquidator, who had his arms crossed and looking as if he were trying to decide on something. At last, he came close, sliding his hand against her face.
“You seem a bit dry.” He mused.
“But I watered myself this morning.” Regina said, tilting her head with confusion, but wondering what he as up to.
“I apologize for this in advance.” Liquidator slid his hand under her bill and leaned toward her.
“What are you-” She gave a squeak when his mouth pressed around her beak and a gush of water shot into her mouth. She strove to swallow it as quickly as it was delivered, but she coughed, causing her to feel like some of it had gone straight up into what should have been sinuses.
“What are you doing!?” She gasped, breaking away to cough.
“Giving you a drink.” Liquidator replied, tilting his head slightly with a soft expression.
“More like trying to drown me!” Regina replied hoarsely. She blushed.
“Mind going a bit slower?”
“Alright then,” Liquidator shrugged, and held the back of her head a bit more tenderly. He allowed Regina to prepare herself for the second, more prospective, round.
As soon as their mouths connected, Regina threw her arms around his neck and held him tightly, in spite of her relaxation and ease. In fact, when Liquidator opened his eyes to look at her, he was amused to see that she was slightly esthetic! He hated to end it; he'd never seen her so eager for anything. However, he was also surprised that she reluctantly pulled off.
“There, now. Was that better?” He asked, tilting his head.
Regina nodded with a smile, wiping her bill.
“Yes,” She cleared her throat and gave him a glance of thanks.
“I really appreciated it.”
Liquidator beamed. “I always enjoy feedback.” He exclaimed.
“Just don't be so sudden next time,” Regina crossed her arms.
“I'll give you my word, or your money back.” Liquidator crossed his chest where his heart should have been.
“Uh...in fact...” Regina leaned forward and stood on her toes, wrapping her viny arms around his neck again.
“Is the consumer returning for more? I always like customers with that in mind. ” Liquidator teased, lifting his ears and grinning.
Regina leaned in and closed her bill around his mouth, and held him close with passion. Unsurprised, Liquidator held her waist and once again, gave her a drink as she kissed him.
“Nothing like a good wet kiss to perk you up, hmm?” He asked, nuzzling the end of her bill once they broke off.
“I suppose this means that you feel the same way about me...as I...” Liquidator pressed his finger to her bill.
“I haven't been giving you drinks as a general courtesy,” He smiled.
“We're both mutants, all alone without a single soul-mate to take us into their arms. But wait! Don't act so fast!” He gave her a squeeze.
“It seems fate had a different idea in mind! Is it any coincidence for the two of us to have powers that blend so perfectly, and a natural dependance upon one another? Certainly not! It's no accident that we not only have powers that work together, but minds and desires.”
Regina smiled and leaned close into his neck, closing her eyes blissfully.
“Desires?” She asked, almost mumbling.
“Yes! You want someone to love you, I want someone who will LET me love her. You need someone to depend on, I need someone that can depend on me...and that I can depend on as well.” He nuzzled her beak.
“My dream girl was a lady with an unstoppable will to get what she wanted, equal to mine; a lady who would be the only one I would willingly share my fortunes with-besides potential offspring, of course-a lady who wouldn't refuse to give or take affection.” He chuckled.
“Of course, Francoise was the only covered the first turn-on.” He stroked her petals, nuzzling her forehead.
“So, what about you?” He asked.
“What is your dream Prince Charming-Knight in Shining Armor like?”
Regina pouted slightly. She had never given her ideal lover an incredible amount of thought.
“Well, like you said, someone who won't refuse to give me love or take it. He'd be aware of my boundaries and help me when it hurts...someone who would do everything you've done for me.” Her head fell farther against his shoulder and she nuzzled even closer.
“So, how about it? Shall we take our partnership to greater depths?” Liquidator asked, linking his arm around hers and leading her over to the glass panels.
“What reasons do I have to say no?” Regina asked, raising a brow to indicate sarcasm.
“Well then, my tender tulip, does this mean I can get you something shiny and elegant to make 'us' more official?” Liquidator grinned, tussling the side of her petal hair.
“A new washer for the leaking sprinkler?” Regina joked. “Of course, that wouldn't exactly be elegant.”
Liquidator laughed at her quip.
“I've got a solid gold bracelet from one of our heists. Would that be an appropriate engagement gift?” He asked. Regina smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder, feeling happier than she ever had before, even as the plants around them sang little teasing, but harmless, songs around them.
“Ah, why not?”