Surprise, surprise! I joined the Gang of Five forum a few days ago, since I was inspired by the fact that many of the good Land Before Time fanfics on here were responses to fanfiction challenge prompts, so I thought I'd give it a go.
This is my response to the Gang of Five fanfiction challenge prompt for February 2018, which focuses on "Undying Love." I immediately thought of an excellent idea after rereading through the epilogue for my 2017 DuckyxPetrie story, "Secret Love." I will admit, the epilogue felt a little empty by not really detailing Ducky and Petrie's wedding within my "Secret Love" continuity, and instead just mentioning it, so with this story, I'm making up for that!
This story will take place 12 years after the main events of "Secret Love," thus Ducky and Petrie are 18 years old in this story, and have gained essentially all of their adult features.
LOVE IS AN ADVENTURE
The Great Valley was bathed in natural light as the Bright Circle gave rise to a new day. For many, it simply meant the start of another typical day in the valley, but for two particular teenagers, it meant beauty that would warm their hearts as it created such a bright, lively atmosphere that they could never resist enjoying. It was the brightest days that they enjoyed more than any other day, and not only did it remind them of their adventurous childhoods, but it also reminded them of how much they loved each other and how much they loved being together any day.
On the ledge in front of a mountain cave in the middle of the valley, a teenage male brown Flyer stared into the distance as he admired the view of the Great Valley under the early morning light. A smile crept onto his beak as he watched the river below sparkle with the Bright Circle's light. It was a sight for sore eyes, and whenever he looked at water, he could only think about one particular dinosaur who meant so much to him; one he had loved since childhood, one who cared for him and comforted him when no one else could, and one who was more selfless than anyone else he knew.
"Ducky," the Flyer sighed thoughtfully as he kept his gaze down towards the river.
His peaceful moment only lasted for another minute before a female voice that sounded middle-aged came up from behind him.
"Good morning, Petrie," said an old, female blue Flyer as she stepped beside him, towering over him by just a few inches.
"Good morning, Mom," the brown Flyer replied, his voice retaining the slightest bit of squeakiness that he had during his childhood.
"I'll go ahead and take a wild guess," said Mama Flyer, "You're thinking about Ducky again, aren't you, dear?"
Petrie shyly chuckled and responded, "Lucky guess."
"You know, Petrie, last night I was watching the stars, and I noticed that the way they looked was very similar to one particular night twelve cold times ago that I can remember vividly," said Mama Flyer.
Petrie's gaze shifted over to his mother in surprise. He had no idea that she could recall something that had happened that long ago, since many her age would have forgotten by now.
"Really?" he said.
"Of course, Petrie," smiled Mama Flyer, "That night twelve cold times ago when the stars looked exactly like they did last night … was the night you first told me that you had fallen in love with Ducky."
Petrie gasped as the realization hit him like he had been bonked in the head by a pointy seed. How could he not have known that the day before yesterday marked the twelfth anniversary of the day he and Ducky began their relationship? That was such an important night, as it was the first time in the Great Valley's history that an interspecies relationship had bloomed, and although others weren't welcoming of it at first (in fact, even threatening to banish them once they were discovered), the valley eventually came to accept them being in love, and now twelve cold times had passed since that fateful night. Petrie felt stupid for not remembering exactly what day the anniversary was, but there had been one thing on his mind lately; something he had been wanting to do for the past few months. Suddenly, it reminded him of the one thing he had wanted to do, and now that he knew that twelve cold times had passed since the day they first confessed their love for each other, he knew he had to do it today. It was now or never.
"That suddenly reminds me," the 18-year-old Flyer said with a look of determination, "I've been wanting to do this since right after my eighteenth hatch day, but I felt so shy and kept backing out of every opportunity I had. Today, … I'm gonna do it."
"Do what, Petrie?" his mother asked curiously.
"You'll see, Mom," Petrie replied, and he turned back into his family's cave, which was empty for the most part since nearly all his siblings were out somewhere else in the valley.
The Flyer looked to his right and saw a red shiny stone that had a decoration on the front that had been created using pieces from tree stars. It showed a Flyer and a Swimmer playing with each other, with a large heart directly above them. A stem had been glued on top so that it could be worn around a child's neck. Petrie smiled and felt his eyes welling as he recalled wearing this shiny stone as a necklace during his childhood whenever he and Ducky were on their loving, playful dates. Now, though, it could no longer fit around his neck, so he kept his as a souvenir to remind him of the many times he and Ducky had romantic nights together as little children.
Right next to the red shiny stone necklace was a deep blue one (a sapphire) that he had found after stumbling into a canyon of shiny stones somewhere in the Mysterious Beyond. It was in a glorious shade of blue; as blue as the water and the sky. Its color reminded Petrie of how much Ducky naturally loved water since she was a Swimmer, and he had wanted to give her this sapphire after inadvertently collecting it on yet another one of the Gang's misadventures that happened a few months after Ducky and Petrie started their relationship. Twelve cold times later, it still retained its blue beauty and its shine, and Petrie knew now that after all this time had passed, there would be no more holding back. He was determined that Ducky would finally get to see this sapphire after he had sneaked it with him back to the valley, hidden from all his friends, and kept it in the Flyer family's cave ever since.
"Yes," Petrie said to himself as he gently picked up the sapphire, "Today's the day. I won't hold back any longer. I'm more determined than ever now. I will do it."
"What are you up to back there, son?" came Mama Flyer's voice from afar.
"Something I should have done a long time ago," replied Petrie, and he stepped out of the cave with the sapphire in his hands and stood on the ledge once more beside his mother.
Mama Flyer managed to get a glimpse at her son's sapphire and felt nothing but confusion spiraling in her head.
"You've had that shiny stone for twelve cold times, dear," she gasped, still not understanding what Petrie was up to, "What could you possibly be doing?"
"Ever since I got this shiny stone, I've been wanting to give it to the one I love so much," said Petrie, "I've waited way too long to give her this shiny stone that's as blue as the water she swims in. Now, … I won't wait any longer."
Mama Flyer suddenly realized what her son was getting at, and she nodded in understanding.
"I see, dear," she said slowly, "It sure does look as blue as water."
"And water is one of the things she enjoys the most," added Petrie, "She would love this."
"Would you like me to help you take it over to the Swimmer family nest?" Mama Flyer offered, "Shiny stones are much more precious than all the green food we have here, and to break it would be deeply regrettable."
Petrie sighed as he kept his gaze on the sapphire, and he looked at his mother with a faint grin.
"Okay, Mom," he nodded.
Without hesitation, Mama Flyer flapped her wings and got her feet off the ledge, and Petrie held the sapphire high above his head. His mother carefully grasped the shiny stone with all the grip her talons could put on it, and her son then lifted himself off the ledge and soared his way down into the lush valley grounds below with his mother following close behind.
Next to a nest that was right next to the river, a teenage green female Swimmer sat right on the bank with her feet dipping into the fresh water that gently cooled her soothingly. She smiled down at her own reflection in the water as her mind was clouded with thoughts; memories from the past and plans for the future. Although she been very happy living in the Great Valley for the past thirteen cold times, the Swimmer was still uncertain as to what the future would bring to her. There was only one particular dinosaur (or rather, pterosaur) that she could think about when it came to times like these when she was alone and her family was tending to the nest.
"Petrie," she sighed as she looked away from the river just in time to see another female Swimmer (a much older one) approach her.
The teenager nearly jolted as the sudden presence of another Swimmer briefly startled her.
"Oh. Mom, it's you," the Swimmer panted as she quickly recovered from her tiny moment of shock.
"Of course, it is, Ducky," chuckled the older Swimmer, "You wouldn't think it'd be anyone else, did you?"
"No, it's just that I didn't hear you walk up to me," explained Ducky, "I was just surprised. Yep, yep, yep."
Mama Swimmer chuckled at her daughter. Although Ducky no longer had speech-related issues like she had when she was younger, her old catchphrase wasn't going anywhere.
"You look as though you didn't sleep much last night, dear," said Mama Swimmer with the slightest bit of concern present in her voice, "Are you feeling okay?"
"What? Of course, I got some sleep last night, Mom," replied Ducky, "I was just thinking about stuff. I was. I was."
"Like what, dear?" asked Mama Swimmer.
Ducky sighed and looked back down towards her reflection in the river.
"Okay, Mom. I was thinking about Petrie again," she admitted.
"I thought so," said Mama Swimmer, sitting next to her eldest child, "As I understand it, twelve cold times it's been."
"Twelve cold times?" said Ducky dumbfoundedly.
"Twelve cold times since you and Petrie first started your relationship," Mama Swimmer pointed out.
"Oh, … yeah. I didn't think about that. No, no, no. How silly of me," Ducky gasped in realization.
"At least I'm assuming that it'll soon have been twelve cold times," added Mama Swimmer, "I wasn't paying close attention to the stars the night you came home and informed me that you were in love with Petrie. I can remember, I had only just tucked your brothers and sisters to bed by the time you came home and told me."
"I could never forget that first week after we started our relationship," said Ducky, "Sometimes, looking back at those days makes me wish I was a kid again. Yep, yep, yep."
"I know, dear," giggled Mama Swimmer, "You've grown to be quite a beautiful Swimmer, Ducky, and everyone loves you for how selfless you are."
Ducky smiled at her mother's compliment. She could recall the many times she would care for others much more than herself. It had earned her a reputation as one of the friendliest dinosaurs in the entire Great Valley.
"You're not alone in feeling that way, Ducky," added Mama Swimmer, "Even parents have a hard time watching their kids grow up because they feel that time passes by so quickly, because once the kids grow up, it makes the parents feel rather … old. It seems only yesterday when you were that beautiful little Swimmer who could fit in the palm of my hand."
"Oh, Mom!" said Ducky, her cheeks turning red in embarrassment, "As much as I miss being a kid, it sometimes embarrasses me when you remind me of that detail. It does. It does."
Mama Swimmer simply chuckled and nuzzled her daughter's beak with her own.
"So, Ducky, … twelve cold times since you and Petrie first started blossoming your relationship. You should consider doing something special for him. After all, it was the two of you who broke the interspecies barrier all those cold times ago."
"I have been thinking about that, but all that I can think about is either some shiny stone or the two of us going to some very special place," said Ducky as she tried in vain to think of something that she and Petrie had NOT done over the past twelve cold times.
"That's the one thing that can be hard about interspecies relationships, dear," her mother explained, "There aren't that many places where both a Swimmer and a Flyer can hang out together."
"It's too bad I got too big to fit in that forest cave we would spend time in when we were little ones. It is. It is," sighed Ducky sadly as she remembered the first romantic hideout she and Petrie had shared right after they started their relationship, "I miss that place. I do. I do."
"I know, dear, but the Great Valley has plenty to offer," said Mama Swimmer with a knowing wink.
Ducky grinned softly before she gazed back at the river, and no sooner did she suddenly hear a sweet, somewhat squeakily voice that she knew all too well …
The Swimmer perked up as a smile crept onto her face. She knew that voice anywhere.
Ducky looked to her left, and sure enough, on the big, grey rock next to the Swimmer nest stood none other than Petrie; the Flyer she loved so much over the past twelve cold times. Every time Petrie visited the Swimmer family, he would always land on that same grey rock and softly call the name of his beloved one, like knocking on the door to indicate that he was paying a visit. He had done this ever since they fell in love, and it was one of only a few things that hadn't changed at all since then.
"Hi, Petrie!" Ducky said happily, and she stood up and walked over to the rock Petrie was standing on.
It was then that the Swimmer noticed that the Flyer had his hands hidden behind his back. It seemed obvious to her that he was hiding something.
"How's my dearly beloved doing on this fine morning?" said Petrie with a smile on his beak.
Ducky chuckled at her boyfriend's words and replied, "Not very eventful. Nope, nope, nope. How about you?"
"I'm doing swell," said Petrie, "My uncle Pterano had to deal with crawlers in his cave again last night, but Mom and I took care of them."
Ducky giggled, "Spike's been dealing with the same thing. He has. He has."
"Maybe the crawlers are cracking down this season," said Petrie, looking worried about something.
"Oh, Petrie!" laughed Ducky, "Crawlers are just crawlers!"
In recent cold times, Petrie had gained quite a big sense of humor compared to how it was when he was a kid, and Ducky found it to be so amusing.
"So, my love, what brings you here on this beautiful morning?" the Swimmer asked her boyfriend, "Oh, and what are you hiding behind your back?"
Petrie gulped as he tried to find the right words to say. This was something he had been wanting to do for a long time, but every time he thought about doing it, he got too nervous and backed out. Now, though, he was determined that it would not happen again and that this time he would do the one thing that would bring himself and Ducky closer together than ever before.
Taking a deep sigh, Petrie cleared his throat and began …
"Let me start with this," he paused for a moment and opened his eyes to look into his girlfriend's sparkling blue eyes, "Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
Ducky chuckled at the question and replied, "Of course, you have, Petrie. So many times. Yep, yep, yep."
Petrie shyly grinned and continued, "Well, my mother told me that the night before last … marked twelve cold times since the very night you and I first confessed our love for each other."
Ducky gasped as the realization hit her like a pile of rocks.
"You mean, … that day already passed?" she said.
Petrie nodded sadly and looked away for a moment before he found the courage to speak again.
"I wanted to make up for that today," he said.
Ducky was surprised to hear that, and she crouched down and looked intently into the black pupils of the Flyer's eyes.
"How so, Petrie?" she asked him.
"Recently, I've been having so many sleep stories about you, and every morning I wake up feeling like I love you more than I had before," the Flyer said, "You remember when we were kids and I gave you a pink tree star?"
Ducky nodded as she thought of that memory she held dear to her heart.
"You remember what I said to you that day?" Petrie said with a smile, "My love and devotion for you is stronger than anything else, Ducky. I love you, Ducky, … and I will always love you from the bottom of my heart, … forever and ever, … and perhaps I should add a 'yep, yep, yep' to that."
The two lovers laughed after Petrie said those last few words.
"Aw, Petrie. You can remember our days as children so well, just as well as I can," said Ducky.
Petrie smiled and continued …
"Well, … lately I've been feeling more than ever that my love for you could never be surpassed by anything on the earth. No matter what happens to us, even the many times we had to run from Sharpteeth when we were kids, … and no matter how far away we are sometimes, … each and every day I feel pure love for you that could never wither. I've said this many times and I'll say it again: I love you, Ducky, ... from the bottom of my heart, … forever and ever."
Ducky's eyes welled up with tears as she listened to Petrie's loving words, and by the time he finished, the tears came down to form small streams that ran down her cheeks.
"Aww, Petrie!" she cried, "You always know how to brighten my mornings even when they already are bright! Yep, yep, yep!"
Petrie peeked over Ducky's shoulder and noticed that her mother was watching them with a smile on her face. The Flyer smiled back and looked to his left, and he found his own mother also smiling down on them. He thought it was quite amazing that Ducky had not noticed his mother's presence yet, but he was glad because he wanted to surprise the Swimmer as much as he could.
"Ducky, … I have one very important question to ask you," said Petrie as he looked into Ducky's tearing eyes once more.
Ducky kept her gaze directly at Petrie's eyes and felt some strange feeling in her chest. The thought of him asking her a very important question during a moment like this felt somewhat overwhelming, but she kept her composure and managed a faint smile.
"What may that be, Petrie?" she asked nervously.
Petrie took a few deep breaths to prepare himself, and he gave Ducky another faint smile.
"I love you, Ducky, … more than you could ever imagine," the Flyer said, "Every day we're together, I feel so nourished by your love, and in return my love for you is eternal. I will always love you, Ducky, … now and forever, … and I could never imagine living the rest of my life without you."
Ducky felt an extremely warm sensation in her heart as Petrie's words continuously melted her emotions and brightened the smile on her face.
"Well, … here it goes," thought Petrie as he took another deep breath, "No turning back now. It's now or never."
Finally, the Flyer slowly brought his right wing out from behind his back, and Ducky could only gasp in astonishment once she took one glance at what was in Petrie's right hand …
It was a sapphire blue shiny stone. Its shade was as blue as fresh water and the sky, and it sparkled delicately in the Bright Circle's light.
Neither Ducky nor her mother were prepared to hear the very next words that came out of Petrie's beak …
"Ducky, my sweet Swimmer, … will you marry me?"
Ducky held her breath for a moment and felt her heart skip a beat. Never could she expected to hear those words from the Flyer she loved more than anything. She stared at the sapphire, then at Petrie, and at the sapphire again while she struggled to regain her breathing stability.
Everyone remained silent for a moment. The only sound that could be heard was the gentle rushing of the river, and Ducky's heavy breathing.
Soon, the teenage Swimmer calmed down enough to find her voice again.
"I … had never been sure if our love would go that far," she panted, "Every morning, I would wonder if others would go crazy like they did after we first fell in love, … but deep down, I know that my love for you is stronger than anything else I had ever felt. We may have so many friends that we care so deeply about, … and we have great families that we love so much, … but it couldn't compare to how much I love you, Petrie. You are so caring to me, just like I am for you, and our many childhood adventures only brought us closer together until I felt my heart choosing to be with you."
Petrie smiled as he kept the sapphire firmly in his hand. Inside, though, he was feeling dreadfully nervous, as his proposal hadn't been answered yet.
"Twelve cold times later, my heart has always felt warm whenever we're together, and now I think it'll feel warmer than ever before," continued Ducky, then she paused and let the next stream of tears fall from her eyes, and she looked directly into Petrie's nervous eyes again, "Yes."
Petrie's eyes were wide with hope as he heard the word, "Yes."
"Yes, Petrie, my funny Flyer," said Ducky with another pause, then, by surprise, she lifted her boyfriend off the rock and squeezed him in a hug in much the same way she would do when they were kids that were roughly the same size, "I will marry you, Petrie! Yep, yep, yep!"
Petrie nearly lost his breath as Ducky's hug squeezed him hard. It seemed that it was for good reason why they didn't do these hugs very often anymore once they reached their Time of Great Growing, and Ducky grew to be considerably larger than Petrie.
The Flyer felt his chest heaving with pure happiness once he heard those words come out of the Swimmer's mouth. He smiled and felt tears of joy pouring from his eyes. There was no reason to be nervous anymore. He had finally asked his beloved one to marry him, and she had accepted. Their love for each other had reached a new height, and not so long from now, they would become mates just as they had dreamed of being during their childhoods. In fact, they would become the first interspecies mates in the Great Valley's history. It had been their own romantic relationship that had led to the ban on interspecies relationships in the valley being abolished after such a painful hearing that took place just nine days after they fell in love with each other (with the threat of banishment). Although interspecies relationships were no longer banned, nobody wanted to try marrying someone from another species, fearing it would lead to more chaos, but on this very day, Ducky and Petrie had broken that barrier, and now they were ready to live the rest of their lives together as one very happy couple.
"I've been wanting to do this for a while, but I kept getting nervous," Petrie admitted once Ducky set him back on his feet.
"I know how you feel, Petrie," replied Ducky, "I was patiently waiting for this day to come, too, but I didn't know what to do. I'm happy that you don't have to worry anymore."
"Neither do you, my love," responded Petrie with a smile.
"I … am stunned beyond words," came Mama Swimmer's voice accompanied by a gasp of surprise, "I never thought this day would come."
"The day that our loving children would bring their everlasting love to a whole new level," added Mama Flyer as she came down and landed next to her son.
Ducky was wide-eyed as she saw Petrie's mother come down. She had no idea she had been watching them until now.
"I'm … just … so surprised," the Swimmer stuttered.
"So was I, dear," her mother added as Petrie crouched down and pulled out a single line of green grass from the ground, "For twelve cold times, Ms. Flyer and I have had the pleasure of watching the two of you nourish your love for each other, … and now, … I'm just, … I still can't find any words to say about it."
"Neither can I, to be honest, … other than … I feel so happy," chuckled Ducky.
Petrie chuckled along and twisted the line of grass before he tied two ends together around the center of the line so that it looked like a figure-eight. He then slid the sapphire into one of the gaps, leaving the other one empty.
"May this shiny stone, … as blue as the sky I like to fly in, … as blue as the water you love to swim in, be an engagement gift from me to you, my dear Ducky, … a token symbolic of our faithful and sincere love … and of the day we become mates."
"I happily accept, Petrie," smiled Ducky, and the Flyer promptly took Ducky's right hand and gently slid the shining, sparkling sapphire onto the third of the hand's four fingers, thus making their engagement official.
"Congratulations, you two," Mama Swimmer chuckled, "I'm sure you'll both be very happy together."
"I think there's only one thing to do from here," added Mama Flyer, winking at her son, "Mrs. Swimmer, … let's spread the word to their close friends."
"And their families," Mama Swimmer put in, "We've got quite a big event to plan!"
Ducky and Petrie blushed and giggled as their mothers gently hugged them, and within a moment, the two were off to another area of the Great Valley where they knew their kids' friends would meet up very often.
Alone at last, the two lovers smiled and brought their faces closer together before Ducky's bill made contact with Petrie's beak. In no time at all, the pair locked themselves in a passionate kiss that they had been waiting to share since the moment Ducky said "Yes," to Petrie's proposal. They gently nuzzled each other's mouths and silently moaned in pleasure as their kiss warmed their hearts and lured them to think only about each other. Now that they were engaged, and they were potentially just a short time away from their long-awaited marriage, they could already picture themselves living together in some beautiful place. This was like entering a new world that felt much more beautiful than the old one they had lived in ever since they first arrived in the Great Valley long ago. After spending twelve cold times loving and dating each other while going on a few more adventures and misadventures with Littlefoot and their other friends, they would, at long last, become family.
After nearly two whole minutes, the two broke off their kiss and smiled passionately at each other. Their hearts were beating rapidly in anticipation of the day they would become mates. They could feel it coming just a short time away.
"I feel like I can't wait for that special day to come, my love," said Petrie happily.
"Me neither, my love. Nope, nope, nope," replied Ducky.
"I wonder how many others will come? After all, it'll be the Great Valley's first interspecies marriage, and it makes us more special than ever before," said Petrie with a warm smile.
Ducky returned the smile and responded, "It sure does, Petrie. Yep, yep, yep."
"I love you, Ducky," said Petrie.
"I love you, too, Petrie," replied Ducky.
The two embraced each other in a tight hug, with Petrie wrapping his wings around Ducky's neck, while the Swimmer wrapped her arms around the Flyer's back. They nuzzled each other's cheeks lovingly as they hummed a quiet tune; a love song that they used to sing to each other as children. They still remembered the words to the tune, but most of the time they preferred to hum it nowadays.
This had become a morning that Ducky and Petrie would never forget, but a much more unforgettable day was right on the horizon …
One week later, a large clearing in the valley was being decorated with many gorgeous plants and shiny stones. One end of the clearing was open enough to provide light from the Bright Circle. During a sunset, the yellowish-orange light would bath the clearing beautifully and provide such a colorful sight for all to behold.
The sides of the clearing were lined with flowers and tree sweets of all colors. The lines stretched all the way from the front end of the clearing to the back, where the entrance was. At the far edge of the clearing, where the Bright Circle's light was shining through, was the open space where the bride and groom would stand. Shiny stones of various colors lined the open space, and an archway was created by tying many lines of grass together so that the stones could stick all the way to the natural ceiling of the clearing, composed of many tree stars and branches that stuck out from the trees that made the sidelines. The shiny stones gleamed in sunlight as the Bright Circle's rays provided the warm-colored light that highlighted the whole clearing. They had been collected by Mama Flyer, with some help from Tria as she had great knowledge of shiny stones.
In the sunlit open space stood Petrie. The Flyer was gazing out the window-like opening that allowed the Bright Circle's light to poke its way through. He was wearing his red shiny stone necklace that Ducky had made for him on their first-ever date. Petrie had removed the short line of grass that allowed him to wrap the stone around his neck when he was a kid, and replaced it with a longer one made up of four lines of grass all double knotted together so that he could wear it around his now-much-bigger neck for at least one last time. The stone shone directly over his heart like it once had done, and it reminded the teenager of the many times he and Ducky wore their necklaces as kids.
Next to Petrie stood the officiant of the wedding: Grandpa Longneck. He had gladly accepted the role of officiant after Mr. Thicknose was offered the position but calmly turned it down because he claimed he was not very experienced with events like these, as he had been to only two of them during his lifetime. Grandpa Longneck, on the other hand, had attended many of these events before with Longneck herds, so he knew his stuff and was happy to take the position once the offer was given to him.
Behind Petrie and Grandpa Longneck, the large empty space of grass was taken up by seats made of rocks; some small and some large. The only space that was left empty was an aisle that provided enough space even for a large dinosaur to walk across without bumping into anyone in the seats. There were enough seats for about one hundred dinosaurs and pterosaurs to take and watch the wedding unfold.
Petrie shifted his gaze over to the audience that had gathered into the clearing. Some were having a pleasant, quiet chat, while others were exchanging smiles with the groom. Most of the friends he had made during his life were here …
In the front row sat Mama Flyer, Grandma Longneck, Topps, Tria, Tricia, Guido, Littlefoot, Cera, Spike and Ali, whose herd just so happened to be visiting the Great Valley and had coincidentally arrived just in time to witness what would be a memorable event. Mama Swimmer was nowhere to be seen, and Petrie knew why: she was preparing to escort Ducky down the aisle to join him once it was time. A majority of the second row was taken up by his siblings, along with Ducky's, except for one sister in each of the two families. Chomper and Ruby were standing on either side of the entrance to await the arrival of Ducky while politely greeting all the guests whom had come to attend. Pterano was standing by his nephew's side, serving as the Best Man.
It was with slight reluctance that Pterano had accepted the role of Best Man. For weddings, usually the only ones who were allowed to be chosen were either the groom's father, best friend or brother. None of Petrie's brothers accepted the position since they all felt that they would do a terrible job at it, his father had been dead since the day after Petrie hatched, Littlefoot was serving as the ringbearer (or, in their terms, shiny stone bearer), Spike was the bride's adopted brother and thus wasn't eligible, Chomper wasn't comfortable with the idea of there being a Sharptooth as the Best Man for a wedding between leafeaters, and Cera and Ruby couldn't make a decision in time on whether or not they should do it. Thus, Petrie was left with only one option; his last resort: his uncle Pterano. Although the older Flyer didn't think the position would be suitable for him, Petrie reminded him that he felt just like a father to him, and that Pterano was essentially the father that Petrie never really got to have. In fact, by kidnapping Ducky during his search for the Stone of Cold Fire and leaving Petrie worried sick about her, Pterano unwittingly strengthened his nephew's love for Ducky, as Petrie began to have a crush on her during the Gang's search for her, particularly after she comforted him about Pterano. It was after hearing those words about being a fatherly figure, and how his kidnapping and later rescue of Ducky led to his nephew crushing on her, that his uncle accepted his position as Best Man, and he was sure to take it very well.
"This is something that I had never thought would happen during our lifetimes," said Tria to Grandma Longneck, who was sitting to her right.
"Ducky and Petrie are such special kids," Grandma Longneck replied, "They, along with their friends, have saved our lives and the valley so many times, and they were the first ones in the Great Valley to get into an interspecies relationship. After we decided that interspecies relationships should be allowed in the valley, we still didn't get very many of them, but Ducky and Petrie kept blossoming on their love so much in twelve cold times that now, … they're getting married."
"I'm so happy for them," added Tria, "They greatly deserve each other, and the fact that it was not only the first interspecies relationship in the valley, but also the first one that will result in interspecies marriage, makes them even more special."
"I must agree," sighed Topps, "I still feel terrible for what I tried to do when I first found out about them."
"But the hearing that you forced them into did teach you an extremely valuable lesson," said Tria.
Topps could only chuckle in embarrassment.
"It's that species doesn't matter when it comes to love," added Tria.
Grandma Longneck let out a lighthearted chuckle, along with a few nearby dinosaurs in the audience.
Scanning the crowd, Petrie noticed Sparkle, with her mate and daughter, in the second row. He even spotted Etta in the third row. She had been invited by Pterano to attend the wedding, and she was extraordinarily surprised after hearing that a Flyer had fallen in love with a Swimmer and were due to be married. Nevertheless, she felt happy for two of the friends she had helped to save Littlefoot's father from imminent death all those cold times ago.
Bron and Shorty were also in attendance, as they, like Ali's herd, also happened to be visiting the valley until the next cold time, making it even more of a remarkable coincidence. The two were in the second row of the audience, seated right behind Littlefoot and his grandmother. The two adopted brothers appeared to be having a friendly chat, as they were now getting along very well. Ali's mother was seated right behind her daughter.
Mo and his parents were floating in a shallow creek on one of the sidelines of the clearing. They had also been invited by Pterano on his journey to gather as many of his nephew's friends as he possibly could, and they had a special path connecting from the Big Water all the way to the valley made for them by the combined efforts of dinosaurs in the Mysterious Beyond and within the Great Valley.
Some of Petrie's friends, however, could not make it to attend the wedding, including Tippy and Swooper. The Spiketail herd was nowhere near the valley at the time the wedding was announced, so there was no way they would have been able to make it in time. As for Swooper, the old hermit that Petrie had befriended in Black Rock long ago had passed away a few cold times ago due to old age, which had saddened the young Flyer, but he was happy that Swooper at least got to live nine happy cold times in the Great Valley so that his final years would be enjoyable rather than lonely as most of his life had been.
Next to Petrie was a large tree star that was deliciously moist and filled with tall grasses, big leaves, berries and smaller tree stars; the favorite foods of the Swimmer and Flyer who would become mates in just a matter of minutes. The stack of plants piled up to the height of Petrie's shoulders, so it seemed that there was enough food to provide them for several days. The Gang (minus Chomper) had gathered many of those plants over a period of three days while exploring the valley, and their efforts had paid off tremendously.
At that moment, Petrie turned his gaze back to the large window-like opening where the Bright Circle was shining through, and he felt a numbing chill running down his spine. He covered his chest with his wings as if he was shivering cold, and he took a few deep sighs as he frowned at the luscious environment that could be seen through the window.
Mama Flyer and Pterano looked anxiously at their younger relative, who now appeared to be on the verge of hyperventilating, and they exchanged worried glances. They both knew what Petrie was going through at that moment.
"He looks dreadfully nervous," said Pterano to his sister with concern.
"I can understand why," Mama Flyer replied as she stood up and walked up to her brother, "I felt the same way when my mate and I first got married. I can remember when I walked down the aisle to join him, a part of me felt so numb that I almost couldn't breathe anymore, but I got through it."
"I think one of us should go calm him down," said Pterano.
"You're right, brother," nodded Mama Flyer, "I'll do it."
Pterano nodded in agreement and kept a close eye as his sister slowly approached her son.
Mama Flyer gently placed a hand on Petrie's shoulder, and the younger Flyer accepted the gesture and took a few deep breaths to stop himself from going into a panic attack.
"It's okay, son," she said soothingly, "I know how nerve racking it can be."
"I've never felt so nervous before in all my life," panted Petrie, his teeth clattering silently as he tried to contain himself.
"I know, dear. I was very nervous myself the day I married your father," his mother replied.
Mama Flyer wrapped a wing around her son, and Petrie soon felt his mother's wings giving him such warming sensations. He calmed his breathing, and his teeth stopped clattering.
Within a moment, Petrie suddenly felt another source bringing him warmth, and he looked to his left and saw his uncle Pterano grinning and nuzzling his beak.
"It's not wrong to feel so nervous during a wedding. Everyone goes through the same feeling whenever they are about to marry," he said gently.
Petrie grinned at his uncle as a single tear slipped from his eye.
"Thank you, Uncle," he sniffled.
"You'll do just fine, my dear nephew. Today is the day to let those feelings come out and express them to the one you love," added Pterano.
Petrie froze for a moment and nodded his head.
Just above the Flyers, Grandpa Longneck quietly cleared his throat to get their attention and bent his neck down so he was at eye level with them.
"It's okay to feel nervous, Petrie," he said in his always-so-kind voice, "It happens to everyone."
"I just want you to know, Petrie, that I feel so happy for you that you're getting married," whispered Mama Flyer as tears began to fall from her eyes, "I'm so proud of you, son, and I hope you and Ducky will have a very happy life together."
"I'm so proud to have a nephew who is about to marry the Swimmer he loves so much," Pterano added, "I've seen how you and Ducky are perfect for each other, and I feel that you will be a great family."
Petrie tearfully smiled at his mother and uncle, and he embraced them both in a group hug. This moment felt like one that he had never gotten to experience. Ever since Pterano had returned to the Great Valley after his banishment expired, he had been just like a father to Petrie, and Petrie never got to know his father very well, as he died just one day after his hatching after being killed by a Sharptooth. At this moment, the young Flyer felt as if his mother and uncle were more like mother and father.
"Thank you," he said as he choked back sobs, "You're both the greatest family a Flyer like me could ask for."
"You're welcome, dear," smiled Mama Flyer, and she kissed her son's beak while Pterano nuzzled him.
"We both love you very much, Petrie, and we're so proud of you," Pterano spoke with a smile.
"I love you both, too," replied Petrie.
Eventually, the three Flyers broke off their group hug, and Mama Flyer walked back to her seat in the front row of the audience, while Pterano retook his place next to his nephew. Petrie felt much calmer after that, but he still felt dreadfully nervous inside.
Then, everything was suddenly silent as the audience looked back to the entrance, and a beautiful sight awaited them …
Walking down the aisle was one of Ducky's sisters, with one of Petrie's sisters flanking alongside her. They had been picked as the flower girls for this special occasion. Because this was an interspecies marriage taking place, the Swimmer and Flyer families had decided that one sister of each of the newlyweds would serve as the flower girls, rather than there being the usual one flower girl. The two girls each held piles of sweet blossoms in their hands, and they were happily scattering them around the aisle as they walked down towards the front row. Everyone smiled at the two girls and felt their hearts beating with excitement. They knew what this meant …
"Here she comes," Pterano whispered.
"Here comes the bride!" whispered Tria excitedly.
There, standing at the entrance to the clearing, was Mama Swimmer. Ducky was standing right next to her, with her old childhood red shiny stone necklace wrapped around her neck in the same way that Petrie's was, with the original small line of grass removed and replaced with four lines of grass knotted together so that it would not be too small to wrap around her neck. Her sapphire engagement ring that Petrie had made for her a week earlier was still wrapped delicately around the middle finger of her right hand. Mama Swimmer was in tears as she looked at her daughter, and Ducky returned the gaze with a smile.
"I'm so proud of you, dear," sniffled Mama Swimmer as she and her daughter began their slow walk down the aisle, "This is the proudest moment of my life."
"I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life, Mom. Yep, yep, yep," whispered Ducky, and the Swimmers nuzzled each other's bills.
Petrie kept his back turned and gazed at the Bright Circle. He didn't want to see what his bride looked like until she walked right up to him. He was once again panting heavily as he tried to keep himself composed. He could feel that nerve racking moment inching ever so closer to him with every step he heard the Swimmers take. He had been told by his uncle Pterano the day before that it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.
Nearly everyone in the crowd had tears of happiness in their eyes as they could feel the moment coming; the moment that a Swimmer and Flyer would be united forever through everlasting love.
Soon, the two Swimmers walked past the front row and stopped in the open space where Petrie and Grandpa Longneck were standing. It was at that moment when Petrie finally turned around, and he gasped in astonishment. The gorgeous sight of Ducky wearing her old red shiny stone necklace and sapphire ring was a sight for sore eyes. Her blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight, and a tearful smile was on her face. Petrie felt the ends of his mouth slowly turning upwards to indicate a smile creeping its way onto his beak. Tears of joy streamed from his eyes as he and his soon-to-be-mate smiled joyfully at each other. Mama Swimmer smiled and winked playfully at Petrie before kissing her daughter one last time, and she broke off and made her way to an empty seat in the front row next to Mama Flyer.
"Twelve cold times we've been watching those lovable children having so much fun together and loving each other, and they've dreamt so long for this moment, … and now … I couldn't be happier than I am now for our children," Mama Swimmer sobbed quietly.
"I'm so happy for those two kids, too," replied Mama Flyer, "They've warmed each other's hearts for so long, and now their dreams and hearts' desires are coming true."
Ducky and Petrie continued to smile affectionately at each other, and slowly but surely the Swimmer approached the Flyer until they were close enough to hold hands.
Grandpa Longneck then cleared his throat to get everyone's attention, and the entire assembly fell silent immediately. Ducky and Petrie exchanged nervous tears as they tried to keep their smiles on their faces. For Ducky, seeing such a look on Petrie's face reminded her of his old self when he would very frequently become a nervous wreck.
"Good evening, and welcome, family, friends, loved ones, and citizens of the Great Valley," Grandpa Longneck began, "We gather here today … to celebrate the marriage of two special dinosaurs who have meant so much to the Great Valley … and to us all: Ducky the Swimmer … and Petrie the Flyer."
Ducky and Petrie silently chuckled at each other as Grandpa Longneck continued with his speech.
"We are all here on this evening to share in this formal commitment they make to one another, … to offer our love and support to this union, … and to allow Ducky and Petrie to start their married life together surrounded by those dearest and most important to them, … and shall make them more special than ever before, … as not only were they the first in the Great Valley to break the interspecies barrier, … but on this night, they will officially break the species divide that has been unbroken for so long, … and bring our Great Valley closer than ever before.
"So welcome … to one and all, … who have traveled from beyond the Mysterious Beyond and throughout the Great Valley. Ducky and Petrie thank you for your presence here tonight, and now ask for your blessing, encouragement, and lifelong support, for their decision to be married."
The elder Longneck paused for a moment, then he turned his gaze from the audience and down to Ducky and Petrie standing directly below him.
"Ducky and Petrie, … marriage is perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure of any relationship; … even more challenging than all the adventures you had as children."
Ducky and Petrie giggled briefly, as did some of the audience.
"Even love itself can be an adventure," the Longneck added humorously.
Many more within the crowd burst into quiet laughter for a moment, while Ducky and Petrie blushed as they remembered their many childhood adventures, particularly the ones they took with the Gang after they started their relationship.
"No ceremony can create your marriage; only you can do that … through love and patience; through dedication and perseverance; through talking and listening, helping and supporting and believing each other; through tenderness and laughter; through learning to forgive, learning to appreciate your differences, and by learning to make the important things matter, and to let go of the rest.
"What this ceremony can do is to witness and affirm the choice you make to stand together as mates and partners."
The two lovers felt tears shedding from their eyes as they listened to Grandpa Longneck's warm words. It reminded them of the love and devotion they had for each other, and they couldn't help but think of the many times they shared their loving moments.
"And now, … it is time for the exchange of vows," announced Grandpa Longneck.
Ducky and Petrie felt their chests heaving as they looked into each other's eyes affectionately. This was the moment that they felt like they were dreading, although they knew it would also be a moment to cherish for the rest of their lives.
"Do you, Petrie the Flyer, … take Ducky the Swimmer … to be your wedded wife? Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, for as long as you both shall live?" asked Grandpa Longneck as he grinned down at the Flyer.
Petrie smiled at Ducky and spoke in his cute, squeakily voice that Ducky had loved to hear since they were five, "I do."
Those words earned a sniffling grin from Ducky, along with some audible sobs from the audience. It seemed that the "I do's" would always be the most emotional part of any wedding.
With a gentle smile, Grandpa Longneck turned his eyes over to Ducky.
"Do you, Ducky the Swimmer, … take Petrie the Flyer … to be your wedded husband? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to him, for as long as you both shall live?"
Ducky let a tear slip down her cheek as she gazed at Petrie's adorable smile.
"I do. I do. Yep, yep, yep."
Everyone chuckled at Ducky's famous catchphrase. Petrie's smile grew bigger as a few tears managed to escape from his eyes, too. They could hear their mothers and siblings sobbing quietly in the front row as they watched this memorable moment.
Grandpa Longneck smiled brightly and looked down at the audience once more.
"Two dinosaurs in love do not live in isolation. Their love is a source of strength with which they may nourish not only each other but also the world around them. And in turn, … we, … their community of friends and family, have a responsibility to this couple. By our steadfast care, respect and love, we can support their marriage and the new family they are creating today."
Many of those in the audience nodded their heads in silence and grinned at the two lovers.
"Will everyone please rise?" said Grandpa Longneck, and at that moment, the entire crowd, save for Mo and his parents, stood up from their rock seats, "Will you who are present here tonight, … surround Ducky and Petrie in love, offering them the joys of your friendship, and supporting them in their marriage?"
The entire assembly uttered the words, "We will," although not in perfect unison.
Grandpa Longneck nodded to the crowd as Ducky and Petrie felt warming sensations in their chests. This felt just like the day of their hearing twelve cold times ago, when the Great Valley came to accept them being in love despite their difference in species.
"You may be seated," said Grandpa Longneck, and the assembly sat back down on the large rocks that made up their seats.
The elder Longneck then turned his attention back to the Swimmer and Flyer who were still holding hands as they had throughout the entire event, and smiling at each other passionately with plenty of tears streaming from their eyes while they desperately choked back sobs.
Grandpa Longneck stated, "I ask you to remember that love, … which is rooted in faith, trust and acceptance, … will be the foundation of an abiding and deepening relationship. No other ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those you now assume.
"If you are able to keep the vows you take here today, … not because of any law …," he continued with a wink that earned chuckles from the loving pair, "… but out of a desire to love and be loved by another dinosaur fully, … without limitation, … then your life will have joy and the home you establish will be a place in which you both will find the direction of your growth, … your freedom, … and your responsibility."
Ducky's bill and Petrie's beak quivered as they stared at each other's sparkling, wet eyes.
Grandpa Longneck rose his neck and looked down at his grandson, Littlefoot.
With a grin and a curt nod, the elder Longneck spoke in a very clear voice, "May I have the shiny stones, please?"
Littlefoot carefully lifted two shiny stones with his tail; a brown one (jasper) and a green one (emerald) that matched Petrie and Ducky's skin color tones, respectively, and he slowly made his way to his grandfather and set the shiny stones delicately on the ground next to Ducky and Petrie. Each of the shiny stones had strips of grass sticking to them via the use of tree star juice. Some of the grass strips stretched outward and were knotted together so that they could stick to one's finger. It was these shiny stones that Ducky and Petrie had picked to give each other as their mating rings (wedding rings). Littlefoot then retook his seat in the front row of the audience, and his grandfather continued …
"Although usually mating would involve the performance of a ritual dance, Ducky and Petrie, in breaking the species divide, have chosen to symbolize the commitment they make today by use of these shiny stones. The stones shine as brightly as their hearts that join together on this evening and create an unbroken and never-ending circle that symbolizes a commitment to love that is also never ending."
In the audience, Mama Swimmer and Mama Flyer were smiling brightly at their respective children as they prepared to present their shiny stones to each other.
"Petrie, … take the shiny stone which you have selected, … place it on Ducky's finger, … and please repeat after me: I, Petrie, give you, Ducky, this shiny stone, as a reminder of my love for you, and as a gift for you to symbolize my desire that you be my wife from this day forward," instructed Grandpa Longneck.
Petrie picked up the jasper and gently held Ducky's right hand.
"I, … Petrie, … give you, … Ducky, … this shiny stone, … as a reminder of my love for you, … and as a gift for you … to symbolize my desire … that you be my wife from this day forward," Petrie spoke as he choked back a sob, and he carefully removed the sapphire from the middle finger of Ducky's right hand and replaced it with the jasper.
Ducky smiled with tears pouring down her cheeks as she gazed in amazement at the jasper on her finger which had just taken the sapphire's place. Its shade of brown looked just like Petrie's, and as it sparkled in the evening sunlight, she could picture herself watching a sunset with her beloved Flyer.
"Ducky," said Grandpa Longneck, interrupting Ducky's train of thought, "Take the shiny stone which you have selected, … place it on Petrie's hand, … and please repeat after me: I, Ducky, give you, Petrie, this shiny stone, as a reminder of my love for you, and as a gift for you to symbolize my desire that you be my husband from this day forward."
Nodding, Ducky picked up the emerald from the grassy ground and gently took Petrie's right hand.
"I, … Ducky, … give you, … Petrie, … this shiny stone, … as a reminder of my love for you, … and as a gift for you … to symbolize my desire … that you be my husband from this day forward," the Swimmer spoke in a voice that Petrie thought sounded so cute for a teenager, and she delicately slid the emerald onto Petrie's right wrist where his hand connected to his wing.
The Flyer quivered happily as he stared at the emerald that was now wrapped around his right wrist. It reminded him of Ducky's beautiful shade of green.
"Let these shiny stones open your hearts in times of need, unlocking the secrets of your hearts for each other to know, and thus bringing you closer together forever," said Grandpa Longneck proudly.
Ducky and Petrie shared some light chuckles as they once again smiled at each other. The Gang were all smiling in anticipation as they eyed their two loving friends. Mama Swimmer, Mama Flyer and Pterano were taking deep breaths; they knew what was coming next …
"By the power of your love and commitment, … and by the power vested in me, … I hereby pronounce you, … Ducky and Petrie, … the first interspecies husband and wife in the Great Valley!" announced Grandpa Longneck, "You may seal your vows with a kiss!"
Ducky and Petrie let out a few sobs that they had been keeping in for what felt like hours, and they brought their faces together and opened their mouths. In no time, Petrie's beak was gently rubbing against Ducky's beak, and their tongues made contact. As they quietly moaned in pleasure, the large assembly broke into happy cheers and applause. Many had burst into happy tears as they watched Ducky and Petrie kiss each other passionately.
The kiss lasted for a whole minute before they broke apart and shared more joyful smiles. After twelve cold times being in love with each other, they were, at long last, the first interspecies mates in the Great Valley. Their biggest dream since they were five had come true. Now, here they were, destined to spend the rest of their lives together. An adventure that had lasted for twelve cold times had reached its conclusion, and now the next adventure of their lives could begin; one that would last for the rest of their time on Earth.
"Well, Petrie, … we're mates now!" chuckled Ducky as the cheers kept roaring on, "We can spend the rest of our lives together! We can! We can! Yep, yep, yep!"
"I can't wait for tomorrow, Ducky! We can look around the valley for a beautiful home for us to live in! Yep, yep, yep!" replied Petrie.
Ducky chuckled playfully after hearing her new mate utter her catchphrase in the same playful way he had done since their relationship first began to bloom.
Eventually, some of the cheers died down, and the two mates held hands and began their slow walk down the aisle, followed closely by their sisters whom had served as the flower girls, then Littlefoot, Pterano, Mama Swimmer, Mama Flyer, and finally the rest of the assembly, including the rest of the Gang.
Once some of the valley residents had left to return to their homes, and the crowd was reduced to the newlyweds, their families, friends, and families of their friends, Ducky and Petrie hugged each other tightly, exchanging happy laughs and tears of joy. They could already feel the next chapter of their lives starting just right around the corner. They could picture themselves getting ready for a very bright future as they prepared to start their next life adventure in their beloved Great Valley.
"I love you, Petrie, … so much. I do. I do," said Ducky.
"I love you, too, Ducky, … so much," replied Petrie, and the mates broke off their hug and smiled at each other.
"Congratulations, Ducky and Petrie!" cheered Littlefoot.
"Hehe! Thanks, Littlefoot!" chuckled Petrie as his beak flushed red.
"You two will have a wonderful life together! Together, you'll have a wonderful life!" added Ruby.
Ducky and Petrie couldn't help but share some laughs. If there was one thing that would never change, it was that as long as the whole Gang was around, then there would be plenty of laughs to go around.
"Well, Ruby and I had better be getting back to the Secret Caverns," said Chomper, "Congratulations, Ducky and Petrie!"
"Thanks, Chomper!" smiled Ducky.
"You're welcome!" replied Chomper with a return smile, "Goodnight, everyone!"
As Chomper and Ruby left, Petrie took a peek behind Ducky's shoulder and saw their mothers, along with Pterano, walking up to them. The sight put an instant bright smile on his beak.
Ducky looked back just in time to see her mother wrap her arms tightly around her chest and nuzzle her bill.
"Oh, Ducky!" she sobbed with joy, "I'm so proud of you!"
Petrie was only just starting to watch the happy scene when he suddenly felt another pair of wings squeeze him into a hug; a pair of wings he had known since the day he hatched.
"Oh, Petrie! I'm so happy for you!" came Mama Flyer's joyful voice accompanied by sobs.
"I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life!" Petrie replied happily, and he shared a brief kiss with his mother before he turned back to his new mate.
"I'd say this is the happiest day for all of us. Yep, yep, yep!" agreed Ducky.
Once their mothers released their tight grips on their newlywedded children, Petrie received a playful cuddle from his uncle before he walked up to Ducky again and shared more kisses with her.
Mama Flyer and Pterano exchanged some smiles, and she soon spoke up …
"I really am going to miss having my children with me in our nest."
"What do you mean, sister? You've got around ten children at the very least," said a bewildered Pterano.
"Only recently I took my first clutch, except for Petrie, to the Flyers' courting grounds, and they all found mates in other Flyers," explained Mama Flyer, "Pretty soon, I'll be due to do the same with my second clutch, and eventually that'll mean that all of my children will have mates."
"I see," sighed Pterano in understanding.
It was then that the old, brown Flyer thought of an idea that would greatly brighten his sister's spirits.
"You know, sis, … I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I think it's time I brought it up," he said slowly.
"What would that be, Pterano?" asked Mama Flyer.
"I was wondering if perhaps I could move back in with you after the rest of your children have found their mates," said Pterano with a look of hope in his eyes, "It would not only mean so much to me, but also for my dear nephew."
"How would it mean so much to Petrie?" chuckled a partially convinced Mama Flyer.
"Think about it, sister," explained Pterano, "Petrie and Ducky are married now, so they're bound to find a new home that will be special to them. You and I can find whatever is the nearest cave to their new home and move in there so we can stay close to Petrie. It would help bring the family closer together."
Mama Flyer smiled at her brother after listening to the details, and she gently wrapped a wing around his back, which was something they had not done with each other since before the Great Earth Shake.
"You really have been learning to be a much better uncle than before, Pterano," she chuckled.
"Come now, sis," blushed Pterano, "Ever since what happened thirteen cold times ago, I felt like I've owed a debt to society, and that is to spend the rest of my life being as good a family member as I can be … for you, … and for Petrie, … and for Ducky, considering that I nearly let her die but eventually unburdened myself by saving her from what would undoubtedly have been a fatal fall. You were there to see that happen."
"I remember that day," nodded Mama Flyer, "From the moment I watched you save Ducky from that fall, I've been sure that you've been steadily getting closer and closer to becoming the Flyer we'd all like you to be, … and I'll gladly accept your idea, Pterano. Once my second clutch has moved out, you and I can find a cave close to wherever Petrie and Ducky decide to live."
"I am so extraordinarily thankful to hear that, sister," said Pterano gratefully, "Thank you."
Mama Flyer nodded, and the two siblings continued to watch their younger relative exchange kisses with his new mate. Before long, Spike had joined the small family gathering, and he nuzzled his foster sister playfully.
"Oh, Spike!" giggled Ducky.
"I see Spike's very happy for you, too!" chuckled Mama Swimmer.
"He is! He is!" agreed Ducky.
"This will be a day that we'll all remember!" said Petrie.
"Yep, yep, yep!" replied Ducky.
Once Spike stepped back, the Swimmer once again cuddled her new Flyer mate, and they shared another passionate kiss. Everyone surrounding them smiled and let tears fall from their eyes as they watched the newlyweds nourish their love for each other even more.
"Ready to start a new adventure, Petrie?" asked Ducky once they broke off their kiss.
"Love is an adventure, Ducky," replied Petrie, "An adventure that will go on for the rest of our lives."
Ducky smiled at Petrie's words, and the pair once again hugged and nuzzled each other.
It was with those words that the Swimmer and Flyer would begin an adventure that would bring themselves and their families closer than ever before; an adventure that would bring the family a new generation and keep their love for each other alive for many more generations to come; an adventure that would last forever.
The greatest adventure for Ducky and Petrie; the adventure of love, would continue on with a brand new chapter; a chapter that stemmed from their adventures of love, friendship and family that started … long, long ago.
That will wrap up the piece that I really shouldn't have cut from the epilogue of "Secret Love." It was the one thing that was stuck on my mind after looking at the February challenge prompt. It took me a couple of days to write it, but I must say that it turned out nicely! :)
Oh, and by the way, for those of you who have been wondering if I'm going to make this into a series where a ChomperxRuby story and LittlefootxCera story will eventually be included, I have been considering doing that, but I would more than likely do the ChomperxRuby one next, since I'm having more ideas for that one than I am for the LittlefootxCera pairing. I originally only made "Secret Love," because I loved Ducky and Petrie and shipped them when I was a kid, and it was only natural that I made that story last year. Now, though, maybe at some point in 2018, you'll probably be seeing some more "Secret Love" with Chomper and Ruby being the characters of focus. ;)
Anyways, that'll be all for now! See ya next time!