Glomgold grumbled under his breath, to which Scrooge responded with a low, angry grunt. Their eyes were locked together, their determination to win blocking most aspects of the world around them.
It had been almost an hour since the last server employed at the Duckburg’s Billionaire Club had went home. After many attempts to warn the old misers of a blizzard closing in (only to be told to “hush” in a much harsher way), they had given up. Not even the strong blows of wind pounding against the walls of the building were able to break the two billionaire’s trances from one another.
It wasn’t until the power was knocked by another blast of icy wind that the two finally snapped out of their little world.
Glomgold leaped up, frightened by the sudden change. “WHAT IN THE BLAZES!?”
Scrooge laughed triumphantly at his competitor. Once again, he had won the Staring Battle of Wills.
Though it was much darker than before, there was still enough light being cast through the windows to see that he had been victorious.
“NO!!” Glomgold quickly brought his attention back to Scrooge, stomping his feet angrily. “CUTTING THE POWER IS A CHEAP TRICK, MCDUCK!! EVEN FOR YOU!!”
“Oh, quit your howlin’, Flinty! How do you suppose I cut the power if I was sitting here the whole time!?”
“IF I KNEW HOW, I WOULD HAVE DONE IT!” Glomgold spat out furiously.
Scrooge rolled his eyes before blinking several times to soothe them. He began to observe his surroundings, noticing the frost that decorated the windows from the outside.
“Bah! The snow outside must’ve done it.”
“LIKELY STORY, MCDUCK!!” Glomgold crossed his arms, suddenly starting to feel rather cold.
Scrooge looked back at his nemesis, taking note of the cloud of vapor that formed from his beak as he spoke.
“Well, as fun as beating you once again has been, I really should be going. My family’ll most likely have some delicious cocoa prepared with my name on it!” He smiled and began walking to the exit, not willing to wait for Glomgold’s response. He too had begun feeling cold once the stare from Flintheart’s hatred stopped keeping him warm.
“YOU AREN’T THE ONLY ONE WITH DELICIOUS COCOA, MCDUCK!!” Glomgold quickly shoved Scrooge out of the way, determined to exit first so he could be the first to enjoy a hot drink.
Upon opening the door, a strong gust of wind followed by a mass of snow flooded the Billionaire’s Club entry hallway. Glomgold was knocked over and tumbled backwards, pummeled by the snow. Scrooge immediately leaped forward to attempt to close the door.
“C’MERE AND HELP ME!!” Scrooge demanded as he slammed his shoulder repeatedly against the door. The snow kept it from budging.
“OF COURSE YOU’D NEED THE HELP OF THE STRONGEST—“
Scrooge gave a final blow to the door, causing it to slam shut and interrupt Glomgold’s bizarre, unearned gloating. More snow was sent flying across the wooden floor.
“Where is everyone!?” Scrooge shouted out, the cold knocking the final bit of sense in to him.
Glomgold shrugged. “Probably left because you smell.”
Scrooge shook the bit of snow clinging to his jacket off and began to look around, ignoring Glomgold’s comment.
“Hello!?” He called out as he searched around the entry desk. “I can’t believe they just upped and left us here!”
Glomgold laughed obnoxiously. “Well, it looks like you just aren’t as important as you would’ve hoped, Scroogie!”
“THEY LEFT YOU HERE TOO, YE NUMPTY!” Scrooge snapped.
“Probably by accident! They DEFINITELY left you here on PURPOSE!!”
Scrooge groaned at his rival’s logic and began walking back to the exclusive part of the club that he had designed. “Curse me kilts, I am freezing! You can sit here in whatever denial land ye’re in Flinty, I’m going to find a way to keep warm while I wait this storm out!”
Glomgold once again shoved Scrooge to the side as he ran past him.
“I’LL KEEP WARMER THAN YOU, SCROOGIE!”
Scrooge simply just groaned, too cold to care.
As he entered, he noticed Glomgold curled up in a corner on his side of the room. He was shivering and soaked from the snow that had knocked him over. Scrooge couldn’t help but to find this humorous.
“Oh yes, you’ll definitely be able to keep warmer than me in those drenched clothes.” Scrooge said sarcastically as he lifted one of his storage crates.
“I ALREADY AM!!” Glomgold shouted.
“I’m sure.” Scrooge responded as he began digging through the crate.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”
“Oh, just keeping warmer than you.” Scrooge pulled a blanket from the crate and wrapped himself in it before taking a seat in the corner across from Glomgold. He wasn’t quite sure why they were both sitting on the floor, but he wanted to make sure his rival saw his blanket.
“HA! Of course you’d give in to the cold and indulge yourself with man-made luxuries! I WILL NOT GIVE IN, MCDUCK!!”
Scrooge rolled his eyes and very noticeably snuggled more in to the blanket. “You don’t have one here, do you?”
Glomgold scoffed. “AS IF I’D WANT ONE!”
Scrooge chuckled and snuggled his cheek against the blanket. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was more than what Flintheart had, so it was more than satisfactory.
With an envious glare, Glomgold attempted to look just as happy in his wet clothes, but to no avail. He couldn’t stop shivering or clattering teeth.
Scrooge turned his attention back to the window. The frost made it difficult to see what was happening outside. He frowned.
“I hope my family is alright.” He said, mostly to himself.
“I’m sure they’re doin’ just fine without you, McDuck!”
Scrooge rolled his eyes and turned away from Flintheart, gripping the blanket tighter.
Glomgold felt the anger that was building up inside him begin to burst at Scrooge’s response. He hated being ignored.
He stood up and quickly walked over to Scrooge, the cold in the air making him slower than he’d wish to be.
“Give me that blanket, Scroogie! It’s my turn!” Glomgold spat out, every other word being prefaced with a loud chattering of his teeth. The club was getting colder with every passing minute.
Scrooge didn’t bother turning to face him, and only huddled deeper in to his blanket. The cold was running his patience thin.
Glomgold snapped at being ignored once again.
“GIVE IT TO ME!” He lunged towards the blanket and ripped it off Scrooge.
“OI!! GIVE IT BACK, YE NO-GOOD THIEF!!” Scrooge shouted back bitterly as he latched his fingers to the opposing corner of the blanket.
“IT’S MINE NOW!!” Glomgold grunted loudly as he pulled harder. Unfortunately, the cold was making him much weaker than usual. It was easy for Scrooge to pull the blanket back, once again sending Glomgold tumbling backwards.
At this point, Glomgold could barely feel the tips of his fingers and toes. Instead of leaping back up and returning to the blanket battle as he normally would, he stayed where he landed and curled up, shivering rapidly.
“C-CURSE YOU, MCDUCK!!” He managed to yell out, still stuttering from his trembling jaw.
Scrooge looked at the pitiful old duck. A part of him felt sorry, though he told himself it was because the cold was making him numb. He initially attempted to ignore the feeling of pity, but the sound of Glomgold’s chattering teeth made it impossible.
He cursed himself silently as he stood up and walked towards his rival.
“Hold this, I’ll see if I can get a fire started.” Scrooge carefully pulled the blanket over Flintheart.
Glomgold quickly held the blanket close to him. Scrooge’s warmth lingered on it, much to Flintheart’s delight. He didn’t respond though, and only watched as Scrooge began to tear apart one of his crates for spare chunks of wood.
After creating a pile that was satisfactory, Scrooge began filing two thin pieces of wood together. His numb finger tips made this usually easy task rather difficult.
“H-Hurry it up, McDuck!” Glomgold said bitterly.
“Oh, quit your yammerin’! I’m working on it!”
“CLEARLY NOT HARD ENOUGH!”
Just as the shout left Glomgold’s beak, Scrooge managed to create a spark that soon led to a tiny fire. He’d make his rival pay any damage that would be done to the club.
Glomgold grumbled under his breath and quickly shuffled himself closer to the small fire.
“A bit small, Scroogie. I expected more from you.”
“Do you want to burn the place down, ye daft dobber?” Scrooge said as he carefully blew in to the fire, allowing the flames to grow.
Glomgold once again grumbled in response as Scrooge took a seat beside him. He instinctively clutched the blanket tighter.
Scrooge looked over at his rival, taking note at the slight bluish hue on his finger tips. For some reason he didn’t know, he felt concern.
“Are you alright there, Flinty?”
“Couldn’t be better!” Glomgold quickly said in response.
Scrooge ignored the obvious lie and stared in to the small fire. Glomgold was showing early signs of hypothermia, most likely due to his wet clothes making him more victim to the cold.
“Your cheeks are turning blue.” Scrooge stated flatly without breaking eye contact with the fire.
“How observant of you, Scroogie! You aren’t looking too hot yourself!” Glomgold defensively spat back.
Scrooge looked at Flintheart. Flintheart looked back. Both of them were a sickly pale, the tips of their feathers frosted.
For several long moments, the two said nothing. The only sound was that of the howling wind outside and the chattering of their teeth.
A warm, familiar feeling began to grow in Scrooge’s chest. A wonderful, dreadful feeling.
Glomgold noticed the subtle change in Scrooge’s face. After so many years, he found it easy to note whenever the slightest feature of his face changed from its usual grimace.
However, this new expression was unfamiliar. His harsh eyes were tremendously softer, though his jaw remained clenched. Glomgold rose an eyebrow.
“Cold gettin’ to ya, Scroogie?”
Scrooge immediately looked away, smashing his face in to the palm of his hand with a dreaded groan. He really had to stop staring at his enemies for hours on end in freezing temperatures.
“Seriously? Him?” Scrooge muttered quietly, silently cursing himself for these unwanted feelings. His mind began to wander to past escapades with his nemesis in an attempt to to try to calculate when his hatred for Glomgold began to turn in to... Something else. He couldn’t believe himself.
Glomgold awkwardly watched Scrooge mumble angrily to himself, unsure of how to respond.
Scrooge ignored him, continuing his train of thought and hating it.
Glomgold unwrapped the blanket from around himself and looked down at it. He didn’t want to give it up, but his only conclusion to Scrooge’s behavior was that the cold had started to make him go mad. Defeating him would be no fun if he wasn’t his usual-self. With a sigh, Glomgold carefully set the blanket on Scrooge’s shoulders.
This snapped Scrooge out of his trance. He looked to the blanket, then back to Glomgold.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!?” Scrooge shouted. The last thing he needed was any sort of gesture from Flintheart that would continue to influence unwanted feelings.
Glomgold was taken aback by Scrooge’s snap, but was instinctively prepared. “NOT LETTING YOUR MIND FREEZE, MCDUCK!”
“I DON’T WANT YOUR STUPID BLANKET, FLINTY!” Scrooge shouted, throwing the blanket back.
“WHAT!? THIS IS YOUR STUPID BLANKET!!” Glomgold shouted back, throwing the blanket in to Scrooge’s face.
“Y’SEE, THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I WANT TO KEEP HATING YOU!!”
“I’M ALREADY KEEPING HATING YOU!!”
“THAT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY—“ Scrooge stopped himself, groaning in frustration as he rubbed his temples. His throat was starting to feel sore.
Glomgold stood still, arms crossed as he shuddered wildly. Being generous never did any good for him.
Scrooge took a deep breath and sighed. “Ye need the blanket more than I do, Flinty.” He stated flatly, pointing at Glomgold’s frosted clothes.
“I DON’T NEED ANYTHING FROM YOU, MCDUCK!!” Glomgold shouted, which was quickly followed by a rough-sounding cough.
Why do I care if he freezes? Scrooge cursed himself quietly, refusing to admit the answer.
Glomgold frowned as he stuffed his freezing fingers in to his jacket. The cold was even starting to numb his anger.
“Bah,” Scrooge rolled his eyes. “We’ll stay warmer if we huddle together.”
Glomgold quickly looked to Scrooge. “What?”
Scrooge held out his arm, holding out part of the blanket for his nemesis.
“What are we, penguins!?” He scoffed at the offer.
“FINE, GO AHEAD AND FREEZE!” Scrooge quickly pulled his arm back to his body. The sting of embarrassment was, in some ways, worse than the cold. He averted his eyes and grumbled.
Glomgold looked down and considered his options. He wished Scrooge hadn’t given up so quickly.
After a few silent seconds, Glomgold sat down beside Scrooge without a word.
Scrooge looked back over when he felt Glomgold brush against his side. Neither of them said a word as Scrooge wrapped part of the blanket around him.
Several long moments passed. The two misers had naturally began pressing closer to one another without thinking. It was comforting in a way, but neither would ever dare to admit it.
Scrooge realized that a rich scent was lingering on Glomgold’s feathers. It was warm and comforting, the soothing scent of sandalwood.
“Are ye wearing cologne?” Scrooge asked without thinking.
“The richest scent in the Glomgold Industries’ cologne line.”
Scrooge was silent for a moment.
“Had you originally planned a date before the storm?” Scrooge felt angry with himself for asking such a question.
“HA! Don’t be ridiculous, Scroogie!! I wouldn’t wear this expensive stuff for anyone else! I’m not tryin’ to go broke!”
Scrooge looked at Glomgold with confusion. “You wear it for me?”
“WELL OF COURSE!! You’re my arch nemesis!”
“... Right.” Glomgold’s logic was... Not something he understood. “Ahem... Why wear it for your business rival?”
Glomgold rolled his eyes, as if the reason should’ve been obvious.
“TO IMPRESS YOU!! Honestly Scroogie, we’ve been at it for over TWO decades!! How are ye tellin’ me now that you don’t even understand the basics of being a nemesis!?”
“I have TEN TIMES more enemies than you do, Flinty! And none of ‘em wear cologne to impress me!!”
“And THAT’S why I am your number one nemesis!! Nobody else gives you that butterfly feelin’ of hatred in your stomach, the angry red flushin’ of your face, or that wonderful, exhilarating feelin’ of bitterness that makes your pulse rush and is the very reason you wake up every morning!”
Scrooge took several moments to process what he was saying. Every feeling that Glomgold had described was beginning to effect him.
“Flinty, ye daft dobber!! That isn’t—You aren’t—“, Scrooge searched for words, not quite sure what to say.
“I’M NOT WHAT!?” He pulled away a bit from Scrooge to face him, though not far enough for the blanket to fall off his shoulders.
Scrooge leaned forward and kissed him. The warm scent of his cologne flooded his senses.
Glomgold, though at first still, quickly melted in to the kiss and ran his fingers through the tufts of feathers on Scrooge’s cheeks.
It must’ve been the cold that made him do it. The icy air must’ve clouded his mind, as everything felt like a blur. Nothing felt real, but that didn’t matter. The fantasy was wonderful.
The two slowly broke away, not quite sure what to say to each other. Their faces felt hot despite the nipping cold.
“... Another trick, Scroogie? Eheh.. You can’t fool Flintheart Glomgold with ah... Whatever wonderful scheme that was...”
“GET AWAY FROM OUR UNCLE!”
Scrooge and Glomgold instinctively pushed each other away at the sound of another voice. Dewey ran in, soon followed by Huey, Louie, and Webby. They were dressed warmly in huge jackets, Webby with a shovel in-hand.
“DON’T WORRY UNCLE SCROOGE, WE’RE HERE TO SAVE YOU!!” Webby leaped over, whacking Glomgold’s head with her shovel as she landed.
“AGH!! YE WEE, PINK NUISANCE!!” Glomgold attempted to yank the shovel from Webby’s hands, but failed miserably. She ripped it from his grasp and prepared to whack him again.
“WEBBIGAIL, WAIT!” Webby froze and looked to Scrooge, a frown on her face.
“What are ye kids doin’ here!?”
The triplets ran to Scrooge and hugged him. His eyes wandered over to Glomgold, who sat alone rubbing his head as a young duckling prepared to whack him again if he moved.
“Everyone told us to stay inside, but we knew that if we left you, Glomgold would’ve tried something!” Huey explained before glaring at his uncle’s nemesis.
“Ah, Flinty? He’s nothing I can’t handle. You kids oughta know that by now.”
“That’s what I’ve been telling them!” Louie rolled his eyes.
Webby leaped up and landed beside Scrooge, shovel in hand.
“I DUG US THROUGH THE SNOW!!”
Scrooge couldn’t help but smile. He rustled her hair with a soft chuckle.
“Aye, good job, lass.”
He once again looked back to Flintheart, who was being unusually quiet. Glomgold’s gaze met his, and for several moments they stared longingly as the children celebrated their victorious mission.
“Can we go now!? I’m freezing!” Louie whined and tugged harshly at Scrooge’s arm, snapping his attention back to the kids.
“Ah, yes! We best be going.”
“What about him?” Dewey pointed at Glomgold with disgust.
Scrooge stared at Glomgold, the longing in his face was obvious. However, they both knew that they couldn’t. Not yet.
“We leave him. I’m sure he’ll find a way to bounce back, as always.”
Glomgold frowned and remained silent.
Scrooge turned away, swallowing back any feelings that would get in the way of his family.
“Come along, lads! I’m sure Donald won’t be happy knowin’ what ye did.” He held out his arms to gently lead the kids forward.
“Aw man, do we have to tell him?” Louie whined.
“No.” Scrooge continued walking towards the door, but gave one final glance to Flintheart. “It can be our little secret.”