Dr. Youngbeak downed a cup of coffee in one of the staff rooms of Duckham Asylum. She let out a tired sigh. Her job was becoming more demanding than what she had thought it would be. Most of her off-hours revolved around pouring over her notes and audio tapes, trying to make sense of the way her patients' minds worked. She had always believed in working hard and doing one's best, but she was exhausted. She glanced at the time and got up from her seat. She made her way down the halls of the asylum and into her office. She pulled out her notes from her file cabinet and sat at the table. She turned the tape recorder on.
"Patient interview number one: Dr. Reginald Bushroot. Reginald has, surprisingly, been very cooperative with the staff here at Duckham Asylum since being brought in. The knowledge he has of how his body works is extensive, and he's provided the doctors with everything they need to know. I suspect that the reason for his cooperation is due to not wanting to be poked and prodded in the laboratory, and I can't say that I would blame him for that. It would seem that, at this time, finding medicine that Reginald's body can metabolize will be difficult, but at least the doctors have something to go on. Psychologically, Reginald will be an interesting case. He does not have a long record of criminal activity. It's astounding that he could go from being a respected professor at St. Canard University to supervillain without any noticeable warning signs."
She heard a knock on the door. Bushroot was brought in by two guards. His movement was kind of sluggish, almost as if he was sedated, but she knew that wasn't the case. He was being given a bare minimum quota of light from a sun lamp each day to keep him weakened and, therefore, less likely to be in a condition to escape the asylum. She watched the guards take their positions against the wall, and she sighed.
"Must you stay?"
"He could still be dangerous, ma'am. It's our job to keep you safe," one of the guards replied.
"I'm not dangerous," Bushroot said, half glaring and half sullenly glancing at the guards.
Dr. Youngbeak flashed an apologetic smile in Bushroot's direction, then nodded to the guards. "Very well."
At her response, Bushroot gave her a similar look that he had given the guards. Dr. Youngbeak's expression went neutral and showed no sign of slipping.
"How are you doing today, Reginald?"
Bushroot paused a moment, his eyes widening a little. He slumped in his chair. "I'm in here, aren't I? I can think of a million other places I'd rather be right now." He paused again, "It's been a while since someone's called me Reginald."
"Duckham Asylum isn't the most pleasant place in the world to be, true. But it is an asylum. Think of it as a place where you can take refuge from the world. A place where people see you more as a person than a super villain. We're here to help you."
Bushroot looked unconvinced, "If you saw me more as a person than a super villain, you wouldn't have me locked up in here."
"We have to take special precautions for the safety of everyone involved," Dr. Youngbeak said, "But one of our goals is to separate your normal identity from your super villain identity. Thus, I will be referring to you by your first name, instead of your last name, since your last name is too closely tied to your super villain identity."
Bushroot shrugged but seemed to relax a little, "Well, I suppose that's better than being seen as a monster."
"You're not a monster, Reginald."
"Thank you, Dr. Youngbeak." Bushroot smiled a little.
"You're welcome. Now, do you know why you're here?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
Bushroot's expression went sour again. "Yeah. I'm here because Darkwing Duck doesn't know how to stay out of my way." He clenched his leafy fists, "He's always butting in where he shouldn't. I can't do anything without…"
"We're not here to talk about Darkwing Duck. We're here to talk about you, Reginald," Dr. Youngbeak said, "The reason you are here is because of your own actions and your own problems."
"Oooh! You're just like all the others. You think Darkwing Duck is some kind of saint, but you don't know what he's really like. Your so-called 'hero' has humiliated me, mowed me down, mulched me, and even froze me, and he…" Bushroot said, clenching his leafy fists.
Dr. Youngbeak listened to him patiently, waiting for him to get it all out of his system. By the time he finished, he looked even more exhausted than he was when he came in. He looked at her, expecting some type of response after his long-winded rant about Darkwing Duck. Dr. Youngbeak took that as her sign to continue the session.
"Do you feel better, now?" she asked.
Bushroot blinked and looked a little confused, as if he really hadn't expected her to say that. "I, well, um… I guess."
Dr. Youngbeak smiled, "That's good." She wrote down a few notes on her clipboard.
"What are you writing about me?"
Dr. Youngbeak looked up from her notes. Bushroot held a wary look in his eyes. It surprised her that he had asked that since most patients seemed to just accept it as part of the doctor routine. She put the clipboard on the table and slid it over to Bushroot. The guards against the walls shifted a little, seeming on edge.
"You can have a look if you want. I have nothing to hide from you, Reginald." Dr. Youngbeak watched him as he read what little notes there were on the clipboard. After a short moment, he passed the clipboard back to her. The guards relaxed. Bushroot appeared thoughtful.
"I think you're probably right. I think I do have a lot of… pent-up frustration," he said, "It's hard being a plant-duck, sometimes."
"I imagine so. If you ever feel the need to let out some of that frustration, let me know. My job is to help you, and I think it would be beneficial if you talked about the things that are causing you to feel this way." She paused a moment, then added, "I would like you to try to keep the focus on yourself, if you can. Think of this as your personal time. You don't want Darkwing Duck to be the focus of the time that rightfully belongs to you, do you?"
"I guess not." Bushroot leaned against the back of the chair and sighed. "It's not my fault that I'm frustrated, you know."
"I never said it was. We can't help how we feel. Feelings aren't bad in and of themselves. It's what we do when we're feeling a certain way that can be good or bad or, as I like to say, constructive or destructive," Dr. Youngbeak said, studying Bushroot's expression and mannerisms. He looked tense a lot, as if he was waiting for her to say something offensive.
"You think what I do when I'm feeling upset is destructive, don't you?" Bushroot said, looking at her with accusation in his eyes.
"I didn't say that, Reginald." She spoke in a gentle, calming tone in an attempt to relax him. "Do you think what you do when you're feeling upset is destructive?"
Bushroot's expression revealed surprise, then frustration. He seemed to struggle with finding something to say for a while before exclaiming, "No!"
Dr. Youngbeak noted that Bushroot appeared to be a very defensive individual. She suspected he wasn't being entirely honest with himself, but that was something to address at a later time. "You know yourself better than I do. I'll take your word for it."
"You will?" Bushroot blinked. It seemed like he wasn't quite sure what to make of her.
"Yes." She glanced at her watch, "Our session is over with for today. I will see you next week, Reginald."
"Um, okay," Bushroot said before he was led out the door by the two guards.
"Patient interview number two: Dr. Reginald Bushroot. The guards have reported nothing but good behavior from Reginald. He does not struggle or complain when he is led anywhere by the guards, and he does not taunt the guards or other patients. Still, from this report, it would seem that Reginald has been in a constant state of depression. He does not talk to anyone, and he shows no interest in rec room activities. I believe Reginald would benefit from taking an anti-depressant, but the doctors have yet to find a suitable medication for him. In the meantime, I hope talk therapy will help ease his depression a little." Dr. Youngbeak did a quick review of the report and her notes while she waited for the guards to bring Bushroot in.
There was a knock on the door. The guards opened the door and brought Bushroot inside. Once again, they took their places on opposite sides of the wall. Dr. Youngbeak folded her hands on the table. "Hello, Reginald. How are you feeling today?" She could already guess the answer.
"Miserable." It was all Bushroot had to say. His head was lowered, so Dr. Youngbeak couldn't read the expression on his face.
"I see," she said, "What are you thinking about right now?"
"I'm thinking about how dark and terrible this asylum is and how much I want to see the sun again." Bushroot's voice came out as a flat monotone with just a hint of anger behind it.
"Hmm, I like that you put it that way, Reginald." Dr. Youngbeak watched him tilt his head up to look at her. His expression was almost comical; he looked so confused.
"What? I just told you that I think this asylum is dark and terrible. What's so likable about that?" He was starting to look frustrated, now.
"But you also told me how much you want to see the sun again, and I think that's what you need to focus on. Instead of thinking about how dark and terrible things are, why don't you think of the things that make you happy? It might make you feel better," Dr. Youngbeak told him.
Bushroot sighed, "I don't think that'll work, Dr. Youngbeak."
"Why don't you think it will work?" she asked.
"Because… it'll just make me think of everything I don't have right now and make me more miserable." He rested his head on his leafy hands and sighed again.
"I don't want to make you more miserable, but why don't we try it, anyway, and see what happens, hm? What makes you happy?" Dr. Youngbeak readied her pen.
"Fine," Bushroot groaned. "Plenty of sunlight, fertilizer, and water make me happy. Maybe a little soft music. I like Spike, my flytrap. I'd like to have friends with intelligence or even better… a soul mate to share my life with." He paused after a moment, "See? I don't feel any better. I'm still stuck here, and I feel worse than I did before." He gave her a brief glare before averting his eyes from her.
"Like I said, I don't want to make you more miserable. How about this… would you feel better if we had some soft music playing in your cell?" She looked down at her notes, "We could probably get a hold of some fertilizer for you, too."
Bushroot glanced back at her, looking a little hopeful. "Really? You think you could do that?"
"I'll have to run it by the board, but I don't see why they would object. We want to make your stay here as comfortable and soothing as we possibly can. Everyone working here at Duckham Asylum wants to be your friend, Reginald," Dr. Youngbeak said, meeting his eyes in order to express her sincerity.
Bushroot raised an eyebrow. "Well, it is nice of you to do that for me, Dr. Youngbeak, but I still don't think anyone here really wants to be my friend. A real friend wouldn't want me to be unhappy. They'd let me out of this dark, miserable place."
Dr. Youngbeak felt like they were going in circles. It always seemed to come back to him wanting out of the asylum.
"I'm sorry that you feel that way." She decided to take the discussion in a new direction. "Reginald, what do you do when you're unhappy?"
Bushroot was taken aback. "What do I do when I'm unhappy?"
"Yes. That's what I asked."
"Well, nothing much, really, I guess. I'll talk to my plants…" He shrugged.
"Does talking to your plants make you feel better?" Dr. Youngbeak asked, scribbling a couple of notes on the clipboard.
"Sometimes. They don't really understand what I'm going through, though. It'd be nice to talk to a friend with intelligence, but… nobody wants to talk to a mutant plant-duck." His blue eyes expressed sorrow.
Dr. Youngbeak had to remember that Bushroot was a unique patient, and his claims about being able to communicate with plants were real. It was hard to believe, but it was true. She found herself feeling sorry for the plant-duck. He had done some terrible things, but it was clear that he was deeply in need of help.
"That's not entirely true. I want to talk to you."
Bushroot shrugged, "Yeah, but that's your job, isn't it?"
"Yes, but why do you think I chose this sort of job? I chose it because I like talking to people and helping them through their problems." Dr. Youngbeak smiled at him.
He didn't smile back, but he seemed less tense. "You… seem like a very nice person, Dr. Youngbeak."
"Thank you, Reginald. That's a nice thing to say." She happened to glance at her watch while writing notes. "It looks like our session is over with for today. I will see you next week."
"Okay," Bushroot said before he was led out the door by the two guards.
"Patient interview number ten: Dr. Reginald Bushroot. Reginald is continuing to respond well to his new medication. He appears more alert, and he has taken an interest in rec room activities. So far, there have been no reported side-effects. This is very encouraging news. Reginald is still unhappy about being in the asylum, but I believe he is becoming more accepting of it. He has opened up to me considerably in these past few weeks. I think talking to me about what frustrates him has been significant in helping his mental state." Dr. Youngbeak thought for a moment, glancing over her notes. "Since I have begun to establish a trusting doctor-patient relationship with Reginald, I am going to try to broach what will no doubt be difficult subjects for him. By doing this, I hope to gain further insight into his psyche, as well as help him along with his healing process."
The guards came in after knocking on the door. They had Bushroot sit down in a chair in front of the table, then took their usual places against the wall.
"Hello, Reginald," Dr. Youngbeak said, smiling at him.
"Hello, Dr. Youngbeak." Bushroot gave her a sort of half-smile.
"Today, I'd like to talk with you about some things that might be difficult for you. Would that be all right?" she asked.
Bushroot's expression was near unreadable. Then, he looked hesitant. "I don't know…"
"It's okay if you don't want to talk about them at this current point in time, but I would like to talk with you about these things eventually. I think you might find it as helpful as letting out your frustrations to me." Dr. Youngbeak watched him struggle with making a decision. Finally, he sighed.
"Let's give it a try."
"I appreciate your cooperation, Reginald. Now then, why don't we start with what happened at St. Canard University? You used to be a well-respected…" She was interrupted.
"Well-respected?" Bushroot shook his head, "I don't know what news report you listened to, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I was never well-respected. The only respect I ever got was from Rhoda, and even that's probably gone, now."
"I see." Dr. Youngbeak took down some notes, "That must have been very frustrating, going to work each day and no one appreciating what you do."
"It was," Bushroot said but declined to say anything further.
"Would you say your work environment was hostile?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Yes. Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson were always picking on me, always trying to sabotage my experiments, or get me in trouble with the dean. I never got a moment's peace with them around. They made it hard for me to concentrate. They just made life difficult…" Bushroot's body tensed for a moment, then relaxed. He wore a cold expression, "But I took care of them. They won't be making my life miserable anymore."
Dr. Youngbeak kept her expression neutral and directed her eyes to her notes. She hadn't seen Bushroot look so hardened and sound so cold before. It was quite a change from his usual demeanor. The way he had looked was reminiscent of some of the killers she had talked with in her previous job. She decided to move the conversation away from murder for the moment.
"Despite all of the trouble they caused, you still found it in you to keep going. What made you keep going?" she asked.
Bushroot's expression lost its hard edge. "Well, there was my work, my research. It was very important to me. And then…" He sighed, "And then, there was Rhoda."
Dr. Youngbeak, once again, kept her expression neutral. She was feeling sorry for the plant-duck in front of her again. If his research and one girl had been the only things in his life that mattered to him, it was no wonder his life had taken such a downward spiral after everything that happened at the university.
"I think I'm getting a clearer picture of what happened to you at the university," she said, "But I still have a few more questions. Do you consider yourself an impulsive person or a planner?"
"Well, I guess I'm a planner. I tend to think things through before acting," Bushroot said, looking thoughtful.
"So, had you been planning since before you were fired from the university to murder Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Before? Well, no. I mean, I thought about it lots of times, but I hadn't considered doing anything until after they sabotaged my experiment and got me fired in the first place." Bushroot watched her, looking a little on edge.
"I see. What about abducting Rhoda? Was that planned?" Dr. Youngbeak kept her tone of voice level and her expression neutral. She had noticed he was getting anxious.
"No! I mean, I wasn't… I didn't mean to… It would've been much different if Darkwing Duck hadn't gotten in the way!" Bushroot fidgeted in his seat.
"How would it have been different?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"I wanted to do things the normal way. I was thinking maybe a candle-lit dinner, maybe some dancing. Stuff like that." Bushroot stopped fidgeting. "I don't know what happened. I think I just got too excited, maybe I panicked a little bit because of Darkwing Duck. He's the one that ruined everything."
Dr. Youngbeak ignored the bit about Darkwing Duck, having already written in her notes that Bushroot had a tendency to place blame on him for some of the things that went wrong in his life. "It sounds like you get carried away, sometimes. Can you think of any other instances in your life where you might have gotten carried away?"
Bushroot seemed to relax since the conversation had drifted away from Rhoda. He shook his head. "No, I can't think of anything. I used to be…" He paused. "I am pretty well in control of myself."
"Do you really believe that?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Of course, I do! Why would I say it if I didn't believe it?" Bushroot said, narrowing his eyes.
"Sometimes, we say things we don't believe in order to make ourselves feel better, Reginald. It sounds to me like you've suppressed a lot of emotions over the years, and what happened at St. Canard University was a catalyst that caused all of those suppressed emotions to come out all at once. I think that you're continuing to keep your emotions unsuppressed and unchecked, which can be as bad for you as suppressing too much." Dr. Youngbeak watched Bushroot's expression soften a little bit.
"Maybe you're right. Maybe I did suppress a lot of emotions before I became a plant-duck. But I don't see any reason why I should go back to that. All it did was get me pushed around. Well, no one's going to push me around, anymore." He glanced at the guards in the room, then sighed. "Not if I can help it, I mean."
"There's a healthier way to keep your emotions in check while not letting yourself get pushed around. It doesn't have to be one extreme or the other, Reginald."
"Healthier? I think I'm healthy enough as it is, at least when I'm not stuck in a dark asylum where the only light I ever get to see comes from a sun lamp." Bushroot looked annoyed.
"I did not mean to offend you. I was only going to suggest a different method for handling your emotions," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"I handle my emotions fine, now," Bushroot said.
Dr. Youngbeak noticed that time for the session was up. She sighed. "All right, Reginald. I won't push the issue. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how to handle your emotions." Her eyes went to her notes to look them over. "Time is up for today. I'll see you next week."
"Fine." Bushroot was led out of the room by the two guards.
"Patient interview number twenty: Dr. Reginald Bushroot. Reginald was brought in two days ago after a two month-long period since his escape. Duckham Asylum security is uncertain of how he managed to escape, but since they suspect plant life may have been involved, there has been a new rule that no plants of any kind are allowed within the asylum's walls, no matter how far away it may be from Reginald's cell. Today, I will talk to him about his escape." Dr. Youngbeak gathered her notes and wait. Soon, there was a knock on the door, and Bushroot was led in by two guards.
"Hello, Reginald. It's good to see you again," she said but didn't smile. She kept her expression neutral since it appeared that Bushroot was not only depressed but also agitated.
"Sure, it is. I'm sure everybody is so happy to see me locked up in here again," he said. His words were angry, but his face expressed only misery.
"That's not what I meant. As your doctor, I am concerned about your well-being. It is good to see you here again because I can be assured you will be getting the treatment you need," Dr. Youngbeak explained in a calm, level voice.
"If you're so concerned about my well-being, then you'd let me out of here. Oh, why do I even bother? It's not like you're going to listen to me," Bushroot said, the misery deepening on the features of his face.
"I'm not going to let you out of here, but I am going to listen to you. That is one of the things I do is listen. I'm here to help you, Reginald."
"I don't need help, especially not from a place like this," Bushroot said, an annoyed expression replacing his miserable one.
"Why do you think that?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Because… this is an insane asylum. Maybe people like Megavolt and Quackerjack belong here, but I certainly don't. I have all of my reasoning intact. I don't do crazy things like… strap people to electric chairs or something."
"What if they made you angry?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
Bushroot stared at her a moment, unsure of how to answer that. His eyes lowered. He muttered, "I'm not crazy."
"Perhaps you're not," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Bushroot looked up, puzzled.
"I don't choose who comes into the asylum, Reginald. That sort of thing is left up to court and the recommendations of court psychologists. It's simply my job to help some of the people in here." Dr. Youngbeak set her clipboard down, "Do you want to know what I see when you come into the room?"
Bushroot nodded slowly and uncertainly.
"I see a sad, lonely duck who has made some bad decisions in his life and wants desperately to be accepted and loved," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Bushroot said nothing. He looked back at her, his eyes filled with unshed tears.
"Now, doesn't that sound like a person who needs help?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"M-maybe," Bushroot said, his voice soft. He straightened up, "But I still don't think I belong here."
"I'm glad you've at least acknowledged that you might need help. It's a step in the right direction."
Bushroot seemed less agitated now but no less depressed. Dr. Youngbeak hoped that once he was put back on his anti-depressant he'd feel better again. After a small moment of silence, she spoke up.
"Why don't we talk about how you've been feeling since you've escaped the asylum. I know you've mentioned several times that you missed being in the sun."
"I missed my plants, too. They're the only friends I have, and I'm the only one that takes care of them. Without me there, they can't get everything they need," Bushroot said.
Dr. Youngbeak frowned because she knew there was nothing she could do about that. She supposed she could volunteer to take care of his plants while he's in the asylum, but when would she find the time? It just wouldn't work out. She was sure now that nothing would make Bushroot stay in the asylum if he could help it, not when he needed to take care of his friends outside of the asylum.
"That is definitely a problem," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"Yeah," Bushroot said, "I'll admit that, well… I missed being able to talk to you. It's nice having someone with intelligence listen to me. But other than that, I really hate being in this place."
Dr. Youngbeak was surprised by his admission. That was definitely a big step forward. It almost made her excited, thinking that maybe, just maybe… she was making well-paced progress with him.
"Well, Reginald, I'm always happy to help you in anyway that I can. I'm sorry that your stay at the asylum keeps you away from your friends," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"Would you say you were happier outside of the asylum walls? Or do you think you feel about the same or worse?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Well…" Bushroot hesitated, "I know that I am happier outside than inside, but I guess… it seems like misery follows me no matter where I go."
"That must be very sad for you," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"It is. I just wish things would go right in my life for once, you know? Sometimes, it seems like I'll never get what I want." Bushroot had a hopeless expression on his face.
"Sometimes, we don't get what we want out of life. We just have to make the best with what we have," Dr. Youngbeak said. The guards indicated to her that time for the session was up. She sighed. "Well, Reginald, it looks like our session is up for today. I'll see you next week."
Bushroot left the room, still looking hopeless but much less depressed and agitated than he was when he came in.
"Patient interview number twenty-seven: Dr. Reginald Bushroot. Reginald has been put back on his anti-depressant and has shown some signs of improvement. I believe I have gained a great deal of insight into his psyche. He appears to suffer from loneliness, low self-esteem, and he has emotional control issues. While the incident at St. Canard University was no doubt the catalyst that brought all of his problems to the surface, I believe that the problems themselves may have originated from his childhood. So, today, I plan to talk to him about his childhood in hopes of gaining further insight into Reginald's issues." Dr. Youngbeak waited for Bushroot to be brought into the room. A few minutes later, the guards brought Bushroot to her and had him sit down.
"Hello, Reginald," she said, looking up from her notes.
"Hello, Dr. Youngbeak," Bushroot said. He didn't appear to be angry or upset, but it was clear he wasn't happy, either.
"Today, I'd like to talk to you about your childhood," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Bushroot frowned. "My childhood wasn't a very happy one. I'd really prefer to just forget about it."
"It's hard to forget about something like that, though, isn't it? I wanted to talk to you about it because it's often the experiences in our childhood that shapes us into the people we are today. It would help me get to know you better. Plus, I think you might find it therapeutic," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Bushroot glanced around for a moment, then sighed. "Well… I guess I don't have anything better to do."
"I'll try to take it slow for you. Let's start by telling me what makes you think your childhood was unhappy," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"Well, I didn't have a normal childhood. I didn't grow up with my mom and dad like most kids do," Bushroot said, twiddling his leafy fingers.
"And that made you unhappy?"
"It wasn't that, exactly. It's just… I never got adopted. I would always behave and do my best in school. I tried to be the perfect kid. But it didn't work. For some reason or another, I always ended up getting moved to a different foster home. It's like…" Bushroot paused and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, then opened them again. "It's like nobody wanted me." His voice came out a little shaky with emotion.
Dr. Youngbeak wrote some notes on her clipboard. It was no wonder Bushroot was so desperate to be loved. He had never really felt loved to begin with.
"That must have been very hard for you as a child," she said, "Was there ever a time when you were happy?"
Bushroot thought hard before answering, "Some of the homes I was in were nice. I enjoyed school. I guess you could say school made me happy. All of the teachers liked me, anyway." He narrowed his eyes after a moment. "But even there, I experienced misery. Kids were always picking on me, bullying me. I had trouble making friends…"
"You seem like a likable person, Reginald. Why do you think you had trouble making friends?"
Bushroot blinked, seeming surprised. "You think I'm likable?"
"Yes. You're probably one of our best behaved and cooperative patients, escapes not withstanding. Is there something wrong with what I said?"
"Well, no. It's just nobody has ever told me that before," Bushroot told her.
"I see." She scribbled some more notes. "Back to the question… Why do you think you had trouble making friends?"
"I'm not really sure. I guess one of the reasons is because I'm shy. I have trouble approaching new people. And I guess another reason is because, well, I was so different from the rest of my peers," Bushroot said.
"Different how?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Most kids don't like school like I do, and most kids didn't appreciate plants the way I did, either," Bushroot said.
"Have you always been interested in plants, Reginald?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
"Yeah. I guess you could say I feel a special kinship with them, even before I turned into a plant-duck. Plants don't really bother anyone, and all they want is to be cared for."
"When you were unhappy, did you talk to plants, then, too?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
Bushroot nodded. "They didn't talk back obviously, but it still helped me feel better to talk to them."
"That's good. Have you ever had any non-plant friends?" Dr. Youngbeak watched him think for a second.
"Well, there's the others in the Fearsome Five, not including Negaduck. I have a little trouble getting along with Megavolt and Quackerjack because they're so crazy, but they seem to like me well enough, and that's more than what I can say for the rest of the population of St. Canard," Bushroot said.
Dr. Youngbeak paused for a moment in her writing. It struck her as interesting that the members of the Fearsome Five minus Negaduck all considered each other friends. There was a period of silence. Finally, she thought of more questions to ask.
"What were the homes you were in like? You said some of them were nice. Does that mean some of them weren't?"
Bushroot's expression turned grim. "Yeah. Some of them weren't very nice at all."
He didn't elaborate any further.
"Were you ever abused or neglected in any way?" Dr. Youngbeak asked.
Bushroot averted his eyes and didn't say anything for a while. Dr. Youngbeak made her tone of voice gentle and soothing.
"We don't have to talk about that right now, if you don't want to. I understand that some things can be very difficult to say. Let's change the subject. Why don't you tell me what the happiest moment in your life was?"
Bushroot was still quiet, as if he was lost in thought. Finally, he responded.
"I think the happiest moment in my life had to be when I got accepted into college. It was good to finally be out of the foster care system and have a future ahead of me." Bushroot paused. His bill started to quiver, "But all that's gone now."
He looked like he was about to cry. Dr. Youngbeak tried to think of a way to comfort him. The poor plant-duck seemed to have lived a rough life all around. She once again found it hard to accept that such a duck could be capable of criminal activity.
"It's not all gone. You still have your memories to hold onto and cherish. There's still plenty of time for you, too. There's no telling what the future may have in store for you, Reginald," Dr. Youngbeak said.
"You're just trying to cheer me up," Bushroot said, but his bill stopped quivering. He seemed a little calmer now.
"Yes and no. I do mean what I say," Dr. Youngbeak said.
Bushroot lapsed into thought again. Dr. Youngbeak noticed that time for the session was up.
"It looks like it's time for you to go, now, Reginald. I'll see you next week," she said.
The guards started to lead Bushroot out of the room. He looked back at the doctor. "Dr. Youngbeak?"
He hesitated a moment. "Thank you for trying to help me."
Dr. Youngbeak smiled. "You're welcome."
The guards led Bushroot out of the room. Dr. Youngbeak looked through her notes, feeling a sense of accomplishment since she was actually managing to get through to one of her patients.