Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Beginnings and Endings Chapter 1, a darkwing duck fanfic
Author's Note: Hello! So, its been nearly four years since I've written anything in this fandom, so I'm pretty sure I'm a bit rusty. But, its like riding a bike, you never really forget.
This is actually a continuation of my DWD series. It follows about three years after the events in "Broken Ties". I won't say you HAVE to read the other fics in order to understand everything, but it's probably a bit better if you do? Certain things took place in "Broken Ties" and I tried to leave room for a bit of explanation in cases like that. So, its not mandatory... But you might be a little lost in places...
This will be an interesting spin on the characters, especially Darkwing and Launchpad. Heck, its a twist for all the characters, but mainly those two.
Also, at the start here is meant to be a little glimpse into future events, it then goes back to present time. But, don't worry, I make that clear in the text.
So, hope you all enjoy!
Launchpad McQuack knew he wasn't the brightest guy in the world, nor the strongest, but he liked to think he was the one of most loyal of people around. He liked to think that he always put his friends first before his own needs; especially when it came to Darkwing Duck. But it was at this point in his life that he was starting to have doubts about that. How could he have been so stupid and naive to leave his friend in such a dire time? He knew he shouldn't have left Darwking by himself; he just knew something was wrong.
He was starting to wish he had taken the Ratcatcher or maybe even a taxi, but he had been in such a rush to find Darkwing, he didn't even consider it at the time. Running all the way from Morgana's to Avian Way was no small feet. He ran as fast as he could down the suburban side walk, dread filling him whenever he passed the corner.
He paused in his running for a moment to see the bright hot flames of fire currently billowing out of 357 Avian Way. His heart felt like it had leapt into his throat, his thoughts immediately turning to the worst. Was DW inside!? Was he hurt? Was he-!?
Launchpad forced himself to stop asking inward questions and find out for himself. He ran closer to the house, the only light coming from the cloudy night was from the flames. He was surprised so few neighbors were making a fuss over the fire. Perhaps they hadn't noticed yet? It was close to 2am after all.
It was then he noticed a lone darkened figure standing in front of the house on the side walk. Squinting, Launchpad was just barely able to make out and notice that it was Darkwing, only he wasn't dressed as Darkwing, he was dressed as Drake Mallard.
"DW!" the pilot cried out. He sprinted the remaining distance between them, panting and using his knees as support as he tried to catch his breath. Once he did, he demanded, "W-what happened!? Is everything okay? How did the house catch on fire!?"
Drake didn't answer him; in fact, he hadn't even so much as acknowledged Launchpad's presence. It was as though he didn't hear or see him. Drake just continued to look at the elusive and elegant flames lick away at what was once his house. There was no expression on his face; no sadness, no anger, no guilt, no worry, no anxiety, nothing. His face was blank of emotion.
It was like he didn't even care that his house was currently on fire.
Launchpad tore his eyes away from Drake so that he could watch the house that was his home burn. So many memories: watching Pelican's Island on the couch with the Muddlefoots, all the family dinners with Drake and Gosalyn, all the times they walked over to the blue swivel chairs, all the times Gosalyn wrecked things with her hyper personality...everything. Gone in a burst of flames.
"DW- Look- I know a lot has happened and you've changed a lot the past few days-But-I mean, come on! You're house is currently on fire! You've got to at least have SOME reaction to that, right?" screeched Launchpad, unable to comprehend how his friend was reacting, or in this instance, his lack of reaction. It just didn't make any sense. With all that had happened, sure, it shouldn't be that surprising, but yet it was. This was too much.
Sighing, Launchpad decided to ask another question, knowing Drake wasn't about to answer those ones. "Do you know who did this, DW? Was it one of the Four? They've been stirring up trouble ever since they teamed back up. Or maybe Negaduck- Or some other nefarious villain!?"
Finally, Drake tore his eyes away from the flames. He glanced nonchalantly up at Launchpad, his arms still limp at his side. His gaze made Launchpad shiver; this was not Drake, was it? He looked like Drake, but then again, so did Negaduck without his mask. Was this actually Negaduck? He certainly was acting more like Negaduck than Drake would in this instance. Oh, the poor pilot was so confused in all this craziness.
"Yes, Launchpad...It most certainly was a nefarious villain..." Drake finally replied almost like a robot. There was no emotion in his voice either. It was just cold smooth words. Promptly after answering, Drake turned on his heel and started walking down the sidewalk. Arms still at his side, his movements having little commitment, he walked away from a portion of his life that was going up in flames behind him.
It was only then that Launchpad noticed the can of gasoline and matches in Drake's hands.
FIVE DAYS EARLIER
Drake Mallard flinched and winced as he was in the midst of washing the dishes, his soapy hands letting the cup drop back in the water, his shoulders raising. Once the loud banging and crashing noises ended, he opened his eyes. "GOSALYN!" he shouted.
He wiped his hands off on a towel and immediately started heading for the stairs. "Gosalyn!" he shouted up the stairs. He could hear cluttering and thuds coming from his daughter's room. Pursing his lips, Drake walked up the stairs. "Gosalyn! Listen little missy! I demand to know what you're doing up here! It sounded like you broke something!" He paused before adding, "Again!"
Gosalyn's door suddenly flew open and she quickly shut it behind her, giving her father a sweet, clearly not innocent smile.
"Hiya, dad!" she greeted him.
Drake, now before her, crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. "That doesn't sound like you doing homework, darling daughter of mine..."
"Oh, that? I've actually finished my homework and I've moved on to cleaning my room!" she replied quickly.
In the four years that have passed since Drake adopted her, Gosalyn hadn't changed all that much. She was about a foot taller, but still shorter than her father, which she hated to think about. She still wore her hair in pigtails, though they were slightly longer. Her purple jersey shirt was replaced with a slightly different one; still purple, just with a different logo on it.
And most especially, she was still his high spirited little girl, much to Drake's happiness and occasional chagrin.
Drake was one to talk though when it came to change. The mild-mannered Drake Mallard still wore pastels and sweater vests. Save for a few new stress lines around his eyes and forehead, very little had changed about him. Though Drake wasn't sure if that was from age or the daughter he was currently looking at.
"'Cleaning your room', huh?" he smirked. "That's really what you're going with?"
It was Gosalyn's turn to cross her arms and look condescending. "Are you saying I can't clean my room!? I'll have you know, I do more chores around here than you ever give me credit for!" Drake continued to listen to her rant, taking it upon himself to lean against the wall, crossing his left foot over his right. Gosalyn didn't seem to notice. "You know, I took out the trash this past week every day and did I hear a single word of 'thank you'!? NO! I tidied up the kitchen without breaking any plates while washing the dishes and I haven't clogged the vacuum cleaner in over a month, and the drain in the sink is no longer-What?"
Gosalyn noticed her dad's casual manner and blinked.
"Gos...You're ignoring my question. What was that noise?"
Gosalyn gave a huff before saying, "Fine! I was setting up a hockey ring in my room for Honker and I to use later and my stack of comic books fell over and knocked my lamp to the floor."
"Why were you building a hockey rink in your room? You know I hate it when you play those sort of games inside!"
Gosalyn looked at him as though he was asking why the sky was blue. "Because you won't let me play in the yard!"
"That's because the last time you played hockey out in the yard, you broke not, one, not two, not three, but FOUR of our neighbor's windows!" he reminded her.
Gosalyn glanced away in thought. "Oh yeah..." She considered it for a moment before shrugging it off. "Eh, bygones."
Drake nodded, pulling himself up to stand straight. "Right, well those 'bygones' cost me a lot of money, young lady!"
Gosalyn had the decency to look at least somewhat guilty at that, but that was quickly changed to annoyance."No kidding...That money just happens to be what should be my allowance!" she grumbled.
Drake raised a finger in the air. "Right! 'Should be'...which isn't far off from...'could be'! Gos, that could be your allowance if you would just stop giving me reasons not to give it to you!"
Gosalyn rolled her eyes. "Then where am I supposed to play hockey at, huh?"
Drake couldn't help but pause and smile. "You can play out in the yard again...Just...try not to break anymore windows...or...anything for that matter. Don't break anything!"
Gosalyn considered his words. "Deal!" They both reached their hands out and shook on it.
Drake cleared his throat. "Now, would you please go and do your homework?"
"I thought you wanted me to clean my room."
"I want you to do both, but its bad enough getting you to do ONE thing, let alone two" he said cheekily. "And your homework has a due date."
Gosalyn stuck her tongue out at him, which earned her an ever bigger smile from her father. Drake turned to head back down the stairs. "Uh...dad?"
Drake paused in mid-step, turning his head to look over his shoulder. "Are you going on that date with Morgana tonight?"
Drake sighed and turned to face her. That was not a question he was expecting. Things had been...straining between Drake and Morgana. There wasn't any true proof, but Drake suspected it had to do with the burning of Morgana's home. Roughly three years ago, Negaduck had threatened everyone Darkwing Duck cared about in order to force him to reveal his true identity to all of St. Canard and surrender once and for all.
That of course meant Morgana was one of his victims. Lashing out, Negaduck had taken to burning down Morgana's house, therefore forcing everyone in her house to vacate and left without a home. Her father and Aunt Nasty and the rest of them had all moved away to live with family. Morgana had refused to leave St. Canard and insisted on finding a temporary place to live. She had found one in a decent sized apartment building. It was strange to see her living in such a simple place, but over the last few years, McCawber Mansion was slowly being rebuilt to its former glory. The aid of magic came in handy, surely, but not all the work could be done that way.
Morgana's family had never been a big fan of Darkwing to begin with and to say they didn't blame him for the fire would be a mistake. This led poor Morgana to be caught in the middle of it, not knowing who's side to be on.
For about a year and a half Morgana and Drake had gone on a break, of sorts, in their relationship. Afterwards they tried picking the peices back up in their relationship, but it was slow and rough.
Not to mention awkward at best. They both truly loved each other, but it was hard to see a future together when there was so much hostility. Not to mention, Drake wasn't entirely sure Morgana didn't blame Drake for the fire either.
Drake took in a breath and let it out slowly. "Yeah, we're still going on that date."
"You don't sound too enthused..." commented Gosalyn.
Drake shrugged his shoulders. "How am I supposed to sound?" He didn't give Gosalyn a chance to answer. "Gos, you know how things are between us now...Its been hard."
"Why, though?" questioned his daughter. "I mean, sure, her family is all up in a knot still about the house burning down, but so what? You've helped them re-build-" Drake made a face. "Well, okay, you WOULD have helped out a lot if they had let you come within two hundred feet of the house, but that's gotta count for something, right!?"
"Not to them it doesn't" said Drake dryly.
Gosalyn considered him for a moment before suggesting, "Why don't Launchpad and I come over with you."
Mockingly, Drake batted his eyes at her. "Oh, what a LOVELY thought, Gosalyn! It'll be absolutely perfect! What father wouldn't want his daughter and best friend there on a date with him!?"
Gosalyn rolled her eyes. "Not like THAAAAT!" Drake waited for her to elaborate. "I'm just saying, maybe Launchpad and me should head over too. Cause let's face it, you two won't be having any kind of real date, anyways."
"And just what makes you think that, missy!?"
"Eh, you forget I'm pretty close with Eek, Squeak, and Archie. They've been keeping me on a need to know basis." Drake frowned at this as Gosalyn pressed on. "And they've informed me that you're dates these days are more like awkward meetings. You hardly ever even eat dinner there anymore!"
Drake pouted, knowing he couldn't argue with that. The worst part was that most of what was going on with Morgana's life is helping her family settle into their new lives, not to mention her own new life in her new apartment. And that just reminded them of all their other problems.
"I suppose you two tagging along wouldn't be the end of the world..." Drake relented.
Silence filled the space between them and just as Drake was about to walk down the stairs, Gosalyn spoke, "You still love her, right dad?"
Drake started at this. "Yeah, Gos, of course I do...I don't think I could ever NOT love her..."
"Then it shouldn't be this hard to stand in the same room together..."
Drake sighed, knowing his 12 year old daughter was right about his dating life. It shouldn't be as hard as it has been. Perhaps they've been going about everything the wrong way?
Gosalyn saw that her father was deep in thought and decided now would be the best chance to sneak back into her room without him telling her to clean it or do her homework. Just as she thought she was scot-free he said, "Do your homework AND clean your room, little missy!"
"UGHHHH" groaned Gosalyn loudly before shutting her door.
Morgana heard the knocking and headed for the door, knowing already who was on the other side. Darkwing had phoned earlier to say that Gosalyn and Launchpad would be joining them for the evening. She couldn't help but be relieved. Everything was just so awkward between her and Darkwing; it was unsettling. She still loved her darling, mysterious Dark, but finding things to talk about besides everything currently going on in her life was hard.
Fixing her hair quickly and annoying a grumbling Archie from his spot in her hair, she told herself to calm down and relax. It was going to be more of a friends night than a date night.
She swung the door opened and smiled warmly at the sight of Darkwing, Gosalyn, and Launchpad.
"Greetings, you guys!" she said. "Come on in!"
Launchpad and Gosalyn walked through the door happily enough, both a lot more animated than Darkwing, who took a moment before stepping inside after them. He gave Morgana a wan smile before she closed the door behind him.
"Hello Dark, darling" she cooed. She then knelt down and kissed him on the cheek, which he quickly returned. Morgana straightened up and walked after Darkwing, addressing all three of them. "Make yourselves at home. I know its not quite what it used to be at McCawber Manor, but this place is just as nice."
"We've all been here before, Morgana" Gosalyn said pointedly. "Its been a while for Launchpad and me, sure, but the place wasn't bad then and it isn't bad now."
It was true, for the most part. For an ordinary, "normal" apartment, Morgana managed to use her magic and make it less normal looking. The walls had a dull faded gray paint on them, spider webs covered the walls and ceilings, the furniture was black with a Victorian vampire feel to it, and she had red carpets around the couches and chairs. She has several bookshelves that held all her magic books and potions. It was a quaint little place for a sorceress.
"No, I suppose you're right, Gosalyn" Morgana had to agree. She was actually satisfied with her choice of living space. And it certainly allowed her to be a bit more independent. It didn't mean she didn't miss being with her family, who had outright said they didn't want to live in St. Canard any time soon. "Go ahead and make yourselves at home" she added lamely.
Gosalyn gave her a bored expression. "Yes, you said that already." She promptly sat on the couch. The young red-head could only imagine how horrible Darwking and Morgana's dates were if they were anything like this.
"So, Morgana, the last time we were here you were all worried you'd lost a lot of your family's old artifacts in the move" prompted Launchpad.
Gosalyn perked up at this as Darkwing timidly sat on the couch beside her. He took off his hat and fiddled with it in this hands.
"Keen Gear! That's right! Did you ever manage to find any of that stuff!?" she cried out in excitement.
Morgana nodded, ignoring Darkwing's mild and shy disposition. "Yes, I did manage to find those things! My, that's been a while! Shows how long its been since you two have been over here. I actually haven't even talked to you about them much Dark."
Darkwing proved that he was still alive by raising his head and nodding and actually deciding to speak, "Yeah, I remember. You did mention the one time but then your father came home and-yeah...We dropped the subject after that."
Talk about ruining a conversation.
"Right, well, that wasn't your fault, Dark dearest, just remember that." She walked over to one of the bookshelves and bent down to where some drawers were on the lower half. She opened one up and started pulling out some potions. "These are some of the ones that were recovered from the fire. Thankfully a lot of our oldest and most valuable of potions were kept downstairs, which didn't get nearly as damaged..." She trailed off, knowing it was this very topic that made things so rocky between her and Darkwing.
"So, what do some of these potions do exactly?" asked Gosalyn as Morgana placed them out on one of the shelves to the book case. "And what makes them so special, huh?"
"Well, these potions are so special and often referred to as artifacts because they're one of a kind. Some of our ancestors managed to make some of the most dangerous and difficult of potions and bottle them up. To say we would love to figure out how to remake these potions would be an understatement. Some have tried, but we're so frightened of ruining the potions while trying to discern the ingredients in them, that we've just let them be." She picked up one of the bottles and admired it. "This one is an invisibility potion. Very rare. Some have managed to re-create it but this one is said to have the longest effects." She set the bottle down and started pointing out what each potion did while telling them what all they did.
Darkwing watched intently. This was the first time Morgana had spoken so much in this presence in ages. It felt so wonderful for her to be more like herself and he didn't realize until now how much he missed how things used to be. He made sure to hang on to her every word, just because she missed her so much. "This one is said to help bring someone back from the dead...Though I don't believe in it. That's more something for a spell or curse and even those aren't trustworthy. This one is said to take away a person's emotions. Evidently, when drunk, it makes someone incapable of any kind of feeling...Can't imagine why anyone would ever want to drink there is the one here on the left... This potion is said to help control a person's dreams...Its a bit like the sleeping dust I used from Nodoff...Then these ones are more like poisons..." Morgana finished her rant with a shrug. "They're mainly so special because they're just so old and rare. Nothing more to it than that, really. My family was just happy to have something like these left."
Darkwing winced and looked away. "I'm uh...Glad you managed to find them, Morgana..." he said lamely.
Morgana smiled weakly, happy that Darkwing was clearly trying to make the best of the evening.
Launchpad cocked his head to one side, "So, now that you have them, what are you going to do with them?"
Morgana shrugged, clasping her hands in front of her. "Oh, I'll probably just set them up on display in here somewhere."
Darkwing pulled at his collar and decided to change the subject, "So, Morgana, sweetie, I mentioned the last time we spoke about the St. Canard Benefit being held at City Hall? Its coming up next weekend. Are you still interested in coming with me as my date? The city council has...finally...acknowledged my presence and all my good deeds over the years..." He paused and said on a quieter note, "Though why NOW they've decided to is beyond me...seeing as how these days I'm mainly working free-lance on the Search and Rescue online blogs or at my part time office job..."
Everyone made a face at the mention of Darkwing's part time job. Since the crime rate had been so low the last few years, Darkwing needed to do something with his free time, not to mention an income; so he had snagged a job at the local Transportation Department of St. Canard. He came in a few times a week and helped sort through files. Not exactly the greatest or rewarding job in the world, but it was something.
Morgana nodded. "Of course, Dark darling. I haven't changed my mind. I think it would be nice."
There was a lull in the conversation as Morgana had run out of things to say about the potions. But Gosalyn, being Gosalyn, wasn't about to let things go down without a fight. "So! Since we weren't on the subject and you lot aren't about to talk about anything, how about we talk about the crime in St. Canard!?" Everyone just gave her a perplexed look and said nothing. "Great! So, things have been pretty quiet lately...Morgana, have you been hearing anything on your end about...say...the Fearsome Four...Negaduck...F.O.W.L...?"
Morgana thought for a moment before shaking her head. "No...Like you said, Gos, things have been pretty quiet the last few years, save the occasional crime spree by one of the villains."
Darkwing crossed his arms with a huff, showing the most amount of enthusiasm he has all evening, "You're telling me! How am I supposed to be a mysterious caped vigilante defender of this city if there's no one to apprehend!?"
"Personally I think its been quite the relief! It's to the point where I'm used to not getting interrupted during Pelican Island all day, back-to-back specials or being able to head down to Hamburger Hippo without getting run over by a toy duck or shot at with F.O.W.L.'s newest weapon" chirped Launchpad with a relaxed smile. He sat down on the arm rest of the couch on the other side of Darkwing, who looked up at him fondly.
"LP, I really do wish you would someday stop watching that show. Exactly how many times have you seen all the episodes?"
Launchpad shrugged with a laugh. "I couldn't tell ya, DW, I've lost count a long time ago!"
Darkwing face-palmed; he should have expected that answer.
Morgana ran a hand through her hair, "You know, I have been hearing from Eek and Squeak that Quackerjack's old toy factory hideout has had a lot more comings and goings lately. I sometimes send them out on patrol...It helps them stretch their wings."
Darkwing rubbed under this beak, "Hmm, I'm going to have to watch that closely. Let me guess, they've seen Megavolt hanging around there too?" Morgana nodded. "It seems the past few years have just been a down period for the criminals of St. Canard. I suspect they're in the midst of working on their latest hair-brained schemes...But I'll be right there to stop them if they such much as TRY! Because I am the masked crusader-"
"Yeah, yeah, caped crusader...Darkwing Duck. We KNOW" grumbled Gosalyn with a smile. She leaned over to look at her father more squarely from where she was seated beside him. "I guess I shouldn't be complaining...The low crime rate has allowed you to help me train in crime fighting with you."
Darkwing smiled widely at that. "Yessir, it has! You're getting to be quite the hero these days, Gos!"
Gosalyn nodded, trying not to let it show how much that meant to her to hear him say that. "Right right, well, you just remember those words whenever new crimes DO show up, I don't want you throwing a hiss fit whenever I supposedly "steal your thunder" like you have in the past."
Darkwing gawked at her. "Me!? Never!" He said this mockingly, knowing there was a good chance he would. Both of them knew each other way too well. They all laughed with good humor. Darkwing stretched and gave a yawn, "No...I mean...I can't guarantee anything, but...You're getting old enough and you've been through enough over the years. Its kinda nice having you along these days...Though you KNOW I won't tolerate crime fighting on school nights, young lady!"
At this Gosalyn gave a loud groan of annoyance! "Awww! Come on! We both know that's when ALL the good crimes are going to take place! On school nights! Just my luck!"
She got no remorse from Darkwing. "Not my problem. That's what we agreed on right?" He got a heated grumbling nod from Gosalyn. "You could go crime fighting, with ME, and help LP and I and even fight the bad guys once in a while if its not a school night. Because despite what you believe, school is important!"
Morgana watched the exchange between father and daughter. It was so strange to see Darkwing so candid and relaxed and actually smiling for once. And not just small little brief smiles either. Large smiles that reached his eyes. Actual mirth. How she wished she could make him smile like that, but ever since the burning on the mansion and the large dispute between the family and their hatred for Darkwing, it was difficult for things to be comfortable anymore. Her family insisted on blaming Darkwing for what had happened and being caught in the middle of the feud wasn't helping in the least.
Fretting and wringing her hands together she barely noticed Archie crawl down to her shoulder and nearly jumped when he started grumbling to her. Her eyes widened at his words. "Oh, there's an idea! Thank you, Archie!"
This gained the attention of the three others in the room. "Archie suggests we all go out for a bit of patrol? I don't see the harm in it. We've all agreed the city is pretty quiet these days." She then quickly added. "And its not a school night!"
Darkwing quirked his lips, looking interested before he slowly nodded. "Alright, I like that idea, Morgana." He looked to Gosalyn and LP on either side of him. "What do you guys, think?"
"ALRIGHT! I can just quickly change into my Quiverwing gear!"
"I've got no problems with that, DW. I think it'll be nice for all of us to be out on the streets again. Kinda like old times!"
Bounding off the couch, Darkwing cried out, "Then, leeeet's GO!"
"This is madness...Madness...MADNESS! I TELL YOU!" The infuriated screams echoed through the metal doors and into the alleyways surrounding Quackerjack's hideout, inadvertently scaring an alley cat and causing it to holler in fright and run away.
Inside the hideout lair, the old overhead factory lights were on, though they still caused shadows along the walls which were covered in toys, most of which had eyes that liked to follow everyone that went by. On the far left side of the main room there was a work area that was clearly designated as a "toy free" zone, since all the toys ended and were pushed off and away from that area. There was a separate lower hanging light that served as the main light source for the work bench that was currently being used.
Megavolt, the crazed electrified villain, stood hunched over the work bench in deep concentration. Angry and annoyed mutterings and ravings were spilling out of the rat's mouth as he worked. "Don't start with me, Bulbsy! Just DON'T do it! I shall NOT admit defeat just yet!" There was a pause. "What did you say to me!?" His voice had gone lower with surprise and hurt.
Megavolt stopped what he was tinkering with and whipped around to pick up a small light bulb that was sitting beside him on the bench. He brought the the light bulb up next to his head to listen better. After a moment of listening he turned to look at the light bulb. "I CAN TOO!" he cried out indignantly. Another pause. "I-" He voice got lower and less intense. "You know what, Bulbsy? I thought you were my friend, but clearly...clearly you aren't. Clearly, you not GRATEFUL for me liberating you and saving you from a life of servitude from those enslaving monsters of St. Canard. CLEARLY I should no longer be speaking to you!" For a moment he looked as though he was about to throw the light bulb into the wall, going so far as making the motions to do so, but the light bulb stayed firmly in this blue rubber gloved hand. He sneered at the light bulb, opened the drawer beneath the work bench and placed the light bulb inside with all the other random junk cluttered inside. He slammed the drawer shut, opting to ignore the clattering inside and the faint sound of glass breaking inside. "THERE! That'll teach you!"
He sourly crossed his arms and glared down at what was before him on the work bench.
It was then he heard the faint sound of bells jingling; which wasn't anything new, by any means; but this was the first time all day it had grabbed his attention. He didn't have time to think about it long, for he was expectantly grasped by colorful puffy arms around the neck and was suddenly carrying the weight of his partner in crime on his back. "And just WHAT is making you all fussy and cantankerous over here, Megsy!?" The hyperactive, insane toy-maker Quackerjack asked as he made himself at home on top of Megavolt, who was now holding him as though giving the jester a piggy back ride.
Megavolt growled, wrapping his arms around Quackerjack's legs to better support him. "Oooh...Just Bulbsy giving me a hard time! This has been maddening I tell you!"
"So I heard" quipped Quackerjackas he rested his arms on top of Megavolt's head. He fiddled with the prongs of Megavolt's hat with his fingers.
The electrified rodent didn't even seem fazed that he was currently holding Quackerjack on his back. He motioned to the work bench. "Do you see those things!? Do you!? They're a nightmare!"
Quackerjack peered over Megavolt's plug hat to see what his friend was referring to. There on the work bench was a collection of assorted cell phones. They looked to be all of the same brand and make but they all were slightly different. Perplexed and not understanding the reason for Megavolt's problem, he asked, "So? They're just cell phones...They're all the rage these days...Everyone has them...Little flippy flop phones, right? Though I don't see the little flip flop parts of them. Did you tear them off or something?"
Megavolt shook his head, taking a moment to adjust the weight of Quackerjack on his back. "No, not flip phones. I don't know what year you think it is...But those are practically ancient these days...No, no...These are newer cell phones...They call them...'smart phones'...Though I'm not seeing anything 'smart' about them."
"They're supposedly supposed to "talk to you"...You know, communicate with you...But I haven't been able to communicate with ANY of these cell phones...They refuse to talk to me and I don't LIKE IT!"
Quackerjack's jester hat seem to sag along with his expression. "Aww, they don't want to be your friend?"
"No! They most certainly do NOT!"
"Hmmm...Do you want me to help you take your mind off those rude little phones for a while?"
"That would be lovely..." replied Megavolt pleasantly. He paused and blinked, then looked up at Quackerjack, who looked down at him with his big toothy smile.
"When did you get up there?"
"I've been up here this whole conversation!"
"Oh...Well, get off me!" grunted Megavolt as he flailed his arms and shoved the jester off.
Quackerjack bounced off him with ease. He landed on his feet and bounced in place. "So...While you've been busy at war with the cell phones...I've been planning my new biggest plan!" He gestured for Megavolt to follow him to the other side of the hideout where there was a lot of open space. The first thing Megavolt noticed walking up to Quackerjack's own work space was the amount of toy dolls that were currently lined up on the floor in rows like a little toy army of soldiers.
Once before them, Megavolt couldn't help but ask, "Uhh...Quacky? Why is your floor littered with Whiffle Boy dolls? I mean, I know my brain is fried and my frequencies make my memory horrible, but...Don't you HATE Whiffle Boy toys?"
"Indeed I do, Megster!" whistled Quackerjack proudly as he picked up one of the Whiffe Boy dolls.
"So...why is your hideout currently overflowing with them?"
Quackerjack bit his lip in an attempt to contain his obvious excitement. "Because, Megsy!" he squeaked. "These are actually NOT Whiffle Boy toys!"
Megavolt scratched behind his head, a few sparks emitting from his hat as he thought about that. "Oh...This is starting to make my head hurt just like those stupid smart phones..." moaned the rodent.
Quackerjack leap over to Megavolt and put a reassuring arm around him before shoving the doll in question in this hands. "No worries, Megsy! No worries! I shall explain it all to you to ease your fried brain's pain!" He laughed before continuing. He pointed to the doll and started explaining. "See, these are actually all replicas of the newest Whiffle Boy: Adventures in Time doll-They have yet to reach stores and they never will! I am going to be replacing all the REAL Whiffle Fiffle dolls with my OWN!" He burst out into maniacal laughter.
Megavolt studied the doll. "Okay...Couple questions..."
Quackerjack stopped his laughing and looked at his fellow villain curiously and beseechingly. "Uh, huh, do tell."
"First off...Why would you want to give out Whiffle Boy toys? Isn't that like...completely against your code as a toy-maker? You're making and distributing something you loathe and despise? That would be like me going door to door selling light bulbs willingly into slavery..."
"I told you! Those aren't actually Whiffle Boy!"
"Okay, then...secondly...or is it thirdly? Anyways, what makes them different from Whiffle Boy dolls? They look identical."
Quackerjack took the doll away from Megavolt and raised a finger in the air. "THIS is what makes them so different!" He pushed a button on the doll's chest and instead of the catchy phrase that was supposed to be said, the doll exploded. Quackerjack hardly flinched at the small explosion despite it having been in this hands. Megavolt on the other hand cowered and shielded his face with his arms. "They explode instead of talk! I made replicas and instead of putting little voice boxes inside them, I put small explosives!"
"Are you INSANE!?"
"Disturbingly so, yes."
"Well, alright..." yawned Megavolt with a wayward glance into space. "So...Now what are you going to do with them?"
"I'm going to sneak into the Whiffle Boy distribution factory and replace these ones with the REAL ones!"
"To what end?"
"To what end!? TO WHAT END, HE ASKS!?" hollered Quackerjack as he pulled down on the ends of his hat in consternation. "I'll tell you to what end! By replacing the dolls...everyone will think it was the Whiffle Boy company's fault! They'll all blame the nastiest of nasty: Mr. Meddle! The creator and CEO of Whiffle Boy! That's why I made my toys identical to HIS! Because mine are deadly...therefore everyone will think Whiffle Boy toys are deadly, meaning everyone will stop buying them to save their precious little brats from harm and that will BANKRUPT Whiffle Boy!"
Megavolt smiled this, thoroughly impressed. "Wow, Quacky! That's pretty clever!"
Quackerjack blushed and bowed. "Thank you...Thank you!" He acted as though he was in front of an audience.
"So, when do we box these up and replace them?"
Quackerjack smiled fondly at the word "we". "Actually, these ones here are just extra. The ones we'll be shipping off are already boxed up."
"Is this the big project you've been working on for ages now?"
"Yes sir, a year and a half!" crowed Quackerjack.
"Impressive..." sighed Megavolt. He placed his hands on his hips and looked around. "Say, you've been working on this for a year and half?" He didn't wait for an answer. He just looked at Quackerjack suspiciously. He pointed a finger at the jester accusingly. "This isn't the FIRST time you've told me this plan of yours, IS IT!?"
Quackerjack popped a piece of gum into his mouth before answering. "No, of course not." he answered causally as he chewed his gum and put his hands behind his back. "I may have lost count, but I'm pretty sure this is the 72nd time I've had to explain this to you. You ask me pretty much once a week." Megavolt passively nodded as Quackerjack played with his gum.
Author's Note: Well, there is the first chapter! I hope to have the second chapter up and rolling soon. I have lots of plans for this fic, I just hope it doesn't fizzle out. Its so fun being back in this fandom again! I've missed these characters SO much!
Also, Mr. Meddle belongs to me. He is an original character I came up with for "Toymaker Madness". Everything else belongs to Disney.
Author's Note: This was a difficult chapter, to say the least. This was a chapter was dreading the most, but it had to be done. :( R&R
Darkwing gave a long loud, exaggerated sigh. "You know, when we all agreed to go out patrolling, I was not exactly expecting to make a pit stop back at the house!" he groused the moment the blue swivel chairs came to a stop.
Gosalyn was in one chair while Darkwing was in the other. Launchpad and Morgana had decided to stay in the Tower.
"Well, so sorry! I thought I had a spare Quiverwing outfit in the Ratcatcher!" she snapped back with a roll of her eyes.
"Yes and when we didn't find THAT one you said there was another one in the Tower!" he accused her as he followed.
Gosalyn threw her arms up in the air. "Okay, so maybe I can't keep track of my Quiverwing costumes! So sue me!"
Darwking stopped at the base of the stairs, a smile on his lips. He gave a small chuckle as he looked down at the carpeted floor. Hearing his chuckle, Gosalyn twirled around, immediately assuming he was mocking her.
"And exactly what do you find so funny!?" she demanded. She stomped her way back to her father and glared up at him, ready to be made fun of again.
Darkwing shook his head and pulled off his fedora hat, running a hand through the feathers on his head, his smile still on his beak. "I love moments like these..." he spoke quietly and fondly.
Gosalyn blinked at him as though he had grown a second head. "Huh!?"
Looking over and gazing into Gosalyn's bright eyes he repeated himself. "I love moments like these."
Gosalyn loosened up, her shoulders no longer filled with tension as she thought about his words. "Wait, you mean, you like yelling at me when I forget my Quiverwing outfit?"
Darkwing scoffed and looked away. "No!' he laughed. " Well-I guess...Yeah, in a sense..." He sighed loudly as he searched for the right words. He fiddled with his hat. "Yeah, I guess I do love it. I love arguing with you. I love teasing you. I love yelling at you when you don't do your homework or don't clean your room. I love watching you come up with hair brained excuses when you make a mistake...I..." He paused to gauge Gosalyn's reaction. "I love being your dad."
Gosalyn's expression softened instantly at his words and suddenly she looked as though she didn't know what to say. She looked away, no longer able to meet his gaze, "Even- Even when I've got you so worked up that you want to pull your feathers out and hit your head against a wall?"
Darkwing burst into a nervous laugh, scratching behind his head at that one. "Well...Maybe not at that moment in time...But yes, I love every moment of it. It's not easy, that's for sure. You definitely keep me on my toes!" Gosalyn laughed at that. "If its not skateboarding in the house or trying to grow your own pet zombie by dragging dirt into the house...It's something else. And now..." he gestured to the room in general. "Now here we are coming to get your super hero gear so that you go out with your old man and fight crimes! And let me tell you missy, you may THINK these wrinkles are from old age, but they're actually from YOU!" He jabbed a finger at her and poked her in the stomach, making her squirm and giggle.
"Suuuuure" she jeered.
Without warning, Darkwing wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a tight hug. Sensing that her father needed this, Gosalyn reciprocated and placed her chin on his shoulder. "I wouldn't have you any other way, my little girl blue..."
Gosalyn smiled warmly at the nickname; even after all this time he still occasionally called her that. It always made her think of the moment she realized how amazing Darkwing was, and not as a crime fighter with a high tech secret hideout, but as an amazing person himself. Someone who she knew would take care of her and protect her. Sure, at the time she had no idea he would adopt her; but there had been a small hope in her mind that she would stay with him. Or at least he would stay present in her life. Never had she dreamed of having a father-figure like the mysterious and dangerous Darkwing Duck. Gosalyn snuggled closer into him. "You always do insist on being overly dramatic. We're just here to get my outfit. Once again, you're overreacting" she admonished.
That earned her a light pinch in the arm, which she cried out at and escaped from his grasp. They both stood there and smiled at each other for a moment before he amended, "Yep, yep, yep...That's me...Secret is out: Darkwing Duck is a great big softy who's too sensitive for his own good."
Gosalyn stepped back and placed her hands on her hips. "Yeah, but that's what makes you have the big heart that you do. You're want and determination to protect the innocent. I know I like to make fun of you for being over-dramatic, and egotistic, and self-centered-and"
"Okay, okay okay! I get it!" snapped Darkwing. "You were doing so well with the compliments...Don't spoil it!"
Gosalyn smirked at him, adding to her list, "And greedy..." Darkwing slapped his hand over his eyes. "But...I suppose everyone has their flaws...I guess what I'm trying to say is...I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have you as a father."
Darkwing removed his hand from over his eyes to reveal an expression of emotional shock. He allowed those words to sink in, his beak quivering with emotions. It was obvious he was trying desperately not to cry. He took in a deep wavering breath before hugging Gosalyn again. After several long moments, he said, "And I'm the luckiest father to have you as a daughter."
Gosalyn pulled back eventually and after recovering from some of her own emotions said, "Now, if this wishy washy boring stuff is over, I need to go find my Quiverwing outfit! Morgana and Launchpad are still at the Tower waiting for us!" With that she was off and up the stairs.
It took Darkwing a moment longer to gather his bearings and when he did he called up to her with a wry smile. "You won't be finding your Quiverwing outfit up there, Gos! Its in the laundry!"
"And just how would YOU know!?" he could hear her shout from her room.
Darkwing shook his head in exasperation. "Because I'm the one who does your laundry! I just washed one of your outfits today! Its in the dryer!"
Gosalyn came barreling back down the stairs, her arms up in the air in frustration. "This information would have been nice five minutes ago!"
Darkwing just smiled.
About a half hour later found Darkwing, Launchpad, Morgana, and Gosalyn flying overhead St. Canard, checking to see if anything was going on.
Launchpad, of course, was piloting the Thunderquack, with Darkwing in the front passenger seat, leaving Morgana to sit diagonal from Darkwing and Gosalyn behind him, who was currently dressed as Quiverwing.
"Oh, its been a while since I've been in the Thuderquack. Brings back old memories, doesn't it Dark, darling?" spoke Morgana in hopes of starting up a conversation. The tension had receded greatly once they had all left Morgana's apartment and gotten into the Thunderquack. Morgana figured it had something to do with the fact that Darkwing was now busy tinkering with the radio in hopes to catch any news.
"Hmm? Oh, yes. Yeah, it has been a while, hasn't it, Morg, sweetie?" he replied uncertainly. He pulled at the collar of his shirt. He was trying very hard to ignore the butterflies that were currently flying around in his stomach. It wasn't so much from nerves, than it was excitement. This was the first time in ages Morgana and him had done anything remotely "normal" in quite a while. She was right, it did really feel like old times, before all the trouble they've been having in their relationship. It wasn't either of their fault, really, mainly family business, but it didn't make things any easier. He turned to smile at her with more confidence than he was used to in regards to her. "I've missed this..."
"Oh, no!" groaned Quiverwing as she readjusted herself in her seat. Her eyes shot upward. "Careful everybody, he's about to go all nostalgic and wishy washy again!"
Darkwing shot her an annoyed and pointed look in the rear view mirror. "Hardy har har" he jeered. "You enjoyed that little bit of nostalgia at the house as much as I did little lady!"
Morgana titled her head to one side in confusion. "I'm sorry, what?"
"Back at the house, dad had gone all wishy washy on me and insisted on having a walk down memory lane and remembering how much he loved all our arguments. Apparently he loves arguing with me" she explained, covering up the best parts of what had really happened.
"That's not exactly how I worded it and you know it!" defended Darkwing. "Heaven forbid a father tells his daughter he loves her! I wasn't aware it was a crime! And you didn't exactly suffer from it either, miss, 'I love you too, dad!'"
"I was humoring you" Quiverwing deadpanned.
There was a faint beeping noise coming from the dashboard of the Thunderquack. "Hey, DW, I'm sorry to interrupt, but it seems you've got a message!" As Launchpad flew the Thunderquack, he pointed to the small screen on the dashboard.
Darkwing's attention was immediately on the radio, where he took about turning on the message he had received, pressing various buttons to do so. "Quiet everyone!" he shushed them.
The little screen turned on before they were able to see a short recording J. Gander Hooter had sent them. The small bird cleared his throat and adjusted his tie before saying through the screen, "Good evening, Darkwing. I have just been informed that Mr. Meddle, owner and CEO of Whiffle Boy, is asking of you to head over to his distribution toy factory for some extra security. It would seem he's still not gotten over the Quackerjack scenario that took place over three years ago. He's being a true bother, that one. Would you just get over there and watch over everything until the new merchandise is shipped out? That would be wonderful. Thank you, dear boy!" The screen then went blank; the message over.
Darkwing couldn't help but shake his head and groan. "Meddle, you really need to chill out."
"Why is Meddle so worried about the security at his factory?" asked Morgana.
With a sigh, Darkwing replied, "Because several years ago, Quackerjack had gone even more deranged than usual and nearly murdered him in his own house!"
Morgana covered her mouth, her eyes going wide. "Oh, my!"
"Yeah, and ever since then, Mr. Meddle has been a paranoid bundle of nerves. He actually asks me to oversee a lot of his toy factories and security measures these days. He seems to think Quackerjack is walking in his shadows waiting to try and kill him again."
"And you don't think he is?" asked Morgana skeptically.
"No, Megavolt and I actually teamed up and managed to convince him not to. Well, Sparky did most of the convincing, but I was there to help too" explained the hero.
"Megavolt actually helped you?" asked a surprised Morgana.
"Yep...Shockingly, yes...Pun intended...See, this had all happened shortly after Megavolt had lost his memory and it was revealed that he's actually my old best friend from high school, Elmo Sputterspark!" Morgana gasped a bit, sounded interested. "So, around that time, I guess ol' Megs still remembered we'd once been friends, but it seems his fried brain has caused him to slowly forget, because besides when I had to team up with them to stop Negaduck, he hasn't shown any other signs of acknowledgment that we were once friends..."
"That's a shame..." sighed Morgana.
Darkwing shrugged. "I've made my peace with it."
"So, we're heading over to the Whiffle Boy factory?" inquired Launchpad, changing the subject abruptly.
Darkwing nodded. "You've got it, LP!"
"Alright!" crowed Quiverwing. "I'm gonna get to see the new Whiffle Boy design from the newest video game before anyone else does!"
On the other side of the city, near the outskirts, the large Whiffle Boy distribution factory was currently getting ready for the shipment of new toys to be sent out.
Guards and factory workers were prepping the loading docks and getting ready to fill up the large semi trucks for the merchandise.
Cameras were everywhere, much to Megavolt's chagrin.
"Hey, you know what would have been nice to know before we got here!?" he sneered from their hiding spot behind a large truck Quackerjack has hijacked earlier. The jester in question gave him a puzzled look. "The amount of security that'd be surrounding this place!"
"Yes, it would seem that nasty Meddle still wets the bed at night at the mere THOUGHT of me..." Quackerjack tapped his beak in thought, eyeing his electrical friend. He then wrapped his arm around him, "But either way, Megs, you ARE aware that you and I are both super villains, yes? Surely that hasn't slipped your mind...Again!" Megavolt scowled at him, knowing he was referring to the time he had forgotten he was a super villain and had reverted back to Elmo Sputterspark, his high school self. "We can take care of a few fuddy duddy guards and workers!"
Megavolt shot a look at one of the many security cameras. "Poor things...Forced to have to watch over this, of all things! No say in what channel they get to watch! They can't even change it to a football game or something! No, they just have to keep their 180x lenses on a bunch of loons loading a bunch of trucks!"
Quackerjack patted Megavolt on the back reassuringly. "There, there, Megsy, you'll be able to save them once we take care of switching over my explosive Whiffle toys with the originals."
"Then let's get to it. Sitting here is making me cranky..." muttered the rodent.
"Everything makes you cranky" snickered Quackerjack in response. "It's what makes you so fun!" With that said, he bounced over to the truck they were using and started up the engine. Megavolt had just enough time to hop into the passenger seat and shut the door before Quackerjack was off. The jester drove the truck up to the back of the factory and towards the loading dock, where all the other semi-trucks were parked. One of the security guards saw what he was doing and came up to stop him.
"Hey! What are you doing here!? This is a restricted area!" shouted the guard and proceeded to shine a flashlight up into Quackerjack's eyes to see the driver of the truck. The guard was tan furred dog with deep blue eyes and dark nose.
Quackerjack winced at the bright light. "Heeeey! Don't shine that thing up at me! It's too bright!" he whined while covering his eyes with his hands dramatically.
"This is a no parking zone! You're not supposed to be back here!" continued the guard with a warning look.
"Not supposed to be here!? You wanna talk about not supposed to being here-" quipped Megavolt angrily from the passenger's seat. He leaned over Quackerjack so that he could see the guard better and more importantly, so that the guard could see him. The guard seemed to recognize Megavolt as a super villain quicker than he recognized Quackerjack. The guard's eyes widened at the sight of his sparking helmet. "I was once a high school genius with a bright future ahead of him! I was SUPPOSED to go off to college and become some grand inventor or scientist-or-Basketball player!" Quackerjack blinked at this last bit before smiling fondly at him and rubbing his friend's back. "I was SUPPOSED to have an actual LIFE! But noooooooo~! Life got in the way! Bullies got in the way! The invention of SMART PHONES happened! And now here I am years later with my partner in crime Quackerjack- getting ready to steal Whiffle Boy toys! Do you think this is something I was SUPPOSED to do with my life?! NO! But I'm dealing with it and enjoying it the best I can! So don't you DARE talk to me about what is SUPPOSED TO BE!"
The canine guard seemed to scared stuff, no longer knowing how to handle the situation. "M-M-Megavolt!" he whimpered in fear.
With Megavolt still leaning over his lap, Quackerjack loudly cleared his throat and said, "AHEM! Aaaand Quackerjaaaaack~! I'm here too ya know~!"
The guard in the blue uniform nervously went to pull out his radio to alert the others.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you!" warned Megavolt darkly. He raised a finger and shot a bolt of electricity at the radio, turning the radio in the guard's hand to ash. The guard started backing away slowly. Megavolt's crazed and mismatched eyes looked over the guard's head to see another guard near a side doorway talking on his cell phone. His eyes widened. "HEY!" He immediately started squirming and kicking his legs in a desperate way to climb over Quackerjack, who, at this point, was getting fed up with being ignored.
"Stop squirming, Megavolt!" he complained. He grabbed Megavolt around the waist and all but pushed his suddenly excited partner out of the truck door. "HOW RUDE!" The crazed rodent managed to land on his feet just in time.
Megavolt, oblivious to having nearly collided with the pavement, gathered his bearings and raced over to where the other guard was chatting on his phone. He halted in front of the guard, who was staring at him with wide eyes, the female voice on the phone still chattering away in his ear.
"You're doing it! You're talking to SIRI, aren't you!? Tell me how you're doing it!" he said in a jumble. His fingers twitched in anticipation and glee.
This guard was a tall duck with yellow feathers and green eyes. "W-What-!? What are you talking about? Y-You're Megavolt aren't you!?"
Megavolt nodded his head. "Ahh, yes, my reputation proceeds me once again! Yes, I'm Megavolt! Now PLEASE! Let me talk to that phone! I need to talk to SIRI!"
"But I'm not talking to-" began the guard, but he didn't have a chance to finish. Megavolt had grabbed him by his free hand and given him an electric shock that landed him on the ground. The electric rodent snatched his phone from his hand before the guard collapsed.
"Megavooooooolt" came the whining cry from Quackerjack who was now standing outside the truck. The jester had his arms crossed and he was tapping his foot as he impatiently waited. "We're in the middle of a crime here!" He was surrounded by his toy teeth that were currently chasing away the rest of the guards in the area.
Megavolt raised a single finger at him in gesture to wait a moment. His attention was completely on the phone. "Yes, hello!? Is this SIRI?"
The woman on the phone didn't seem to know she was currently speaking to one of St. Canard's deadliest criminals. "Who is this!? Mark? Is that you!?"
"No, no, no, SIRI, my name is not Mark! It's ME! Megavolt! I've finally gotten a chance to talk to you! You and the other smart phones haven't been speaking to me and its been driving me mad! I must have been doing something wrong...I just want to help you guys...or in this case...gals!"
"What are you raving about, you idiot!? I'm NOT SIRI! I'm a duck, not a voice on a phone! Now give the phone back to my ex-husband!" she demanded angrily.
Megavolt pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at it with wide eyes. He then turned down to the guard he had electrocuted. "Did you know this is your ex-wife you're talking to and not SIRI?!"
The guard named Mark coughed before answering. "Of course I did!"
"Do you have any idea what this means!?" cried Megavolt. The guard didn't bother answering, just stayed as close to the pavement as possible in fear of angering Megavolt further. "It means SIRI is still refusing to talk to me!" Without hesitation he slammed the phone onto the ground before zapping it with his hand, turning it to ash as well. He let out a long agonized cry of frustration before stomping his way back over to an equally annoyed Quackerjack.
Quackerjack was angrily pouting at him with his arms crossed over his chest. "Are you done yet!? I've been doing all the work around here, chasing off the guards while you've been off playing! HMPH!"
Megavolt just muttered quietly to himself and followed the jester.
Darkwing, Morgana, Launchpad, and Quiverwing had no idea the chaos that was currently starting outside the loading dock to the Whiffle Boy factory. All they knew was that absolutely nothing was happening inside. They had been given a quick explanation as to what all was going on. According to the guards at the front of the factory, the factory itself was shut down for the day, but the workers would be focusing on getting everything up and into the trucks. Each truck was set to head out in a different location. All Mr. Meddle wanted was for everything to go smoothly. So far, nothing was amiss.
Darkwing yawned as the four of them overlooked the factory in the many catwalks. "Well, this is boring..."
Quiverwing nodded. "You're telling me! I was hoping to at least see ONE of the new Whiffle Boy designs, but nooooo~! Nothing! Just the stuff that's already been advertised. This place shows nothing!" she griped.
Darkwing shook his head. "I don't know why you thought you'd be able to find anything of the sort in a place like this to begin with. This is just one of Meddle's distribution factories. Its not where the actual video games are made. This is for all his merchandise" he chastised her.
Quiverwing scowled but said nothing more on the subject. Morgana, sensing something needed to be done to lighten Quiverwing's mood, smiled and offered, "Perhaps we should split up? We can cover more ground that way and we can all agree, nothing seems to be happening around here."
Darkwing nodded. "Yeah, sure..." He paused as he thought about it. He looked to Quiverwing, biting his lip slightly. "Alright, Quiverwing, you can come with me-"
"No! I always go with you! You just want me to go with you so you can keep an eye on me! Dad, there is nothing going on here! And someday you're gonna have to get over always babysitting me while crime fighting. Let me pair up with Morgana! Even if something DID happen, she and I would be able to take care of it, isn't that right, Morgana!?"
Morgana squeaked as she was suddenly put on the spot. She placed a hand to her mouth, looking down uncertainly at the young duck. "Oh, yes, I suppose so. I do have my magic in case anything were to happen..."
Darkwing seemed skeptical, but Quiverwing beat him to it by saying, "Just relaaaaax, everything is going to be JUST fine! You head out and about with Launchpad and I'll be with Morgana. We'll meet up in an hour to see if anything is happening."
"Well, alright" conceded Darkwing. He looked up at Launchpad. "Come on, LP."
The two groups were about to split up when Darkwing gently grabbed Morgana by the wrist. He motioned for her to lean down so he could whisper, "Watch after her, alright? I know she's a natural at crime fighting but she's s still my baby...I'm counting on you, Morgana..."
Morgana paused at his words, but quickly smiled and nodded. "You can count on me, Dark, darling." she cooed before kissing him on the cheek. Darkwing blushed and his eyes glazed over in happiness for a moment before he snapped out of it and turned to follow Launchpad.
Launchpad and Darkwing walked on the East side of the factory while Morgana and Quiverwing walked around the West side. From the catwalks they were able to have a view of the whole factory as it stretched far. It was a large building. It had numerous levels of catwalks as well. Some were lower and closer to the machinery, obviously ways for maintenance. The two of them made their way to middle level catwalks and walked casually along them, watching the workers down below moving boxes and gathering around the gates of the loading dock in the back of the building.
"Well, DW, tonight seems to be turning out a lot better than I thought" mused Launchpad.
"Oh, you think so?"
"Yeah! Ever since we left the apartment, things haven't been nearly as awkward with Morgana with us! I think her idea of coming out here together was a great idea!"
Darkwing nodded, placing his hands behind his back. "Yes, its given us something else to focus on. I appreciate you and Gosalyn tagging along. It has helped. I guess the two of us just worry too much about our problems instead of just enjoying each other's company."
Launchpad nodded passively. "That's understandable. The two of you have been through a lot over the years. Inseparable, despite all the conflict."
"Yep, yep, yep. Nothing could come between me and my beautiful Gothic sorceress" crooned Darkwing in a sappy voice.
"Gee, DW, I sure hope I'm lucky enough to find someone that amazing and have that kind of love" confessed the pilot.
Darkwing snorted lightly, stopping in his tracks and turning to his friend. "Aww, come on, LP. Surely there's got to be someone in your life you like. You're a good looking guy. Not the sharpest or brightest guy in the world, but you have a good heart" praised the vigilante.
Launchpad blushed heavily at his words and adjusted his hat. "Aww, shucks, DW."
Darkwing turned away and asked, "Its all true. So, tell me, what kind of qualities are you looking for in a woman? There's no time like the present. Maybe that's my next assignment. Help find you a girlfriend! Won't be easy, but since when is dating ever easy?"
Launchpad considered his question thoughtfully. "Uh, well...uh...Let's see. I'd want her to be brave, and thoughtful...Being good with kids...or motherly, I suppose, would be nice. Caring, independent...I'd want her to be exciting though...I guess I'm so used to an active life, I'd want her to be more than just a house wife, you know? Being out and finding trouble... Smart, of course, and pretty...Though looks aren't as important to me as everything else. So long as they have a good heart and abide the law and want to protect those they love above all else..." He paused as his eyes landed on Darkwing, who was listening as he overlooked the factory. It dawned on him that Darkwing had all the qualities he was describing. He had just described his best friend. Did that mean he liked Darkwing...? In more than friendship?
Launchpad frowned, no longer understanding his thoughts or the flutter in his heart or what any of it meant.
Having heard Launchpad stop, he turned to his friend, oblivious to Launchpad's inner turmoil. "All very reasonable expectations in any woman, LP! Good choices! We'll start being on the lookout!"
"Y-Yeah" agreed Launchpad uncertainly. He followed after Darkwing, hoping to take his mind off the subject altogether.
It was then that the heard the screams and the yells. They turned and looked down to see all the workers fleeing the loading dock area. Darkwing glanced up to where they could see Quiverwing and Morgana on the other side of the large factory room. Their eyes met and all four of them silently agreed it was time to take action.
"RUUUUUN! IT'S MEGAVOLT!" cried several of the loaders once they had seen who had backed the new truck into the loading garage. Quackerjack had steered his truck backwards into the garage next to where the larger semi-trucks were being loaded. Once the truck was where it needed to be, Quackerjack turned off the engine and bounced his way out of the truck and into the factory, Megavolt doing the same on the passenger's side.
Throwing his arms up in the air, Quackerjack moaned, "No FAIR! Why is it everyone is recognizing YOU and running away in terror and no one is even so much as glancing in MY direction!?" He pulled down on the ends of his jester hat, the bells jingling louder than normal. "I haven't even gotten one good scream of panic for being here!"
Megavolt walked up beside him and shrugged. "I don't know. You'd think I was one of St. Canard's most dangerous villains the way they've been carrying on though..."
Quackerjack's frown deepened as he glared at Megavolt. It was then Mr. Banana Brain appeared between them. "Perhaps you're losing you touch, Dutch!" said the doll in Quackerjack's high pitched voice.
"I am NOT!" argued Quackerjack indignantly. "And this very scheme is going to prove it!" He put Mr. Banana Brain away and threw his arms up in the air. "Let's do this!" Without further ado, he twirled around and opened up the back of the truck. The door swung open and inside were large brown shipping boxes. There was suddenly a cloud of purple smoke behind them.
"I am the terror that FLAPS in the night! I am the chewing gum on the bottom of your shoe! I am Darkwiiiiiiiiiing Duck!" With a flip of his cape, Darkwing revealed himself once the smoke had cleared. Behind him stood Launchpad,. and Morgana and Quiverwing stood just in front of Darkwing.
She brought out her bow and arrow and prepared to shoot it. "Aaand, I am Quiverwing Quack!"
Quackerjack and Megavolt both looked relatively unfazed. "You're Darkwing's kid, aren't you? You're like, seven, right?" asked Megavolt conversationally.
"I'm going on thirteen if you MUST know!" growled Quiverwing.
Darkwing cut any further talking off by pulling out his gas gun. "Suck gas, evil doers!"
"You know, in all the years you've been fighting us, don't you think you could come up with anything more original?" jeered Quackerjack. He reached into his pockets and pulled A handful of toy soldiers, which fell to the ground and instantly took stance, ready to shoot their guns. "Then again, I'm one to talk: using the same ol' tricks, but you can't beat the classics! Its PLAAAAYTIIIIMMMME! "
The four heroes managed to dodge the fire arms that was currently shooting at them. Morgana and Quiverwing dodged to the left while Launchpad and Darkwing dodged to the right.
Quackerjack turned to Megavolt expectantly. "Don't just stand there counting light bulbs! They're ruining our playtime! We can't be bothered with these fuddy duddies! We need to get these boxes onto the other trucks!"
Megavolt thought for a moment before glancing at his surroundings. "Hmmm...Perhaps its time we shed some more light on the subject!" His plug helmet sparked to life and the tips of his fingers began to spark with electricity. "Let's bring LIFE to these poor machines! Let them fight back!" He shot out electric bolts all around them, which hit the various equipment and machines in the factory. Within seconds the whole factory was booming with noise and activity. Conveyor belts switched on, label makers clicked to life, the lights above grew brighter, and all the computers turned on.
Darkwing, who was busy fending off a toy soldier, didn't notice the conveyor belt he was leaning his hand on was now turned on. He lost his footing as his hand followed the belt, allowing the toy solider to shoot him in the chest. He shouted in pain and shock from suddenly being on the hard floor and being hit in the chest. "LP! Get that soldier!"
Launchpad, who had just finished fending off his own toy soldier, rushed over and kicked the soldier hard and causing it to crash and get smashed against the conveyor machine.
Meanwhile, Morgana and Quiverwing were quickly being pushed up the stairs to the middle catwalks by a dozen toy soldiers since most of them had gone after those two. "Stand back, Morgana, I'll get these toys with my arrows!" Though instead of shooting them, she took her holster of arrows and started swinging and lobbing it at the toys, crushing them. They looked up to see that Megavolt and Quackerjack had made quick work of emptying their truck with Quackerjack's Whiffle Boy toys. Quiverwing shot an arrow at them, hitting one of the box's lid and tearing it open. A bunch of explosive Whiffle toys began to fall out.
Seeing this, Quackerjack started fussing. "Heeeey! You rotten little girl! Stop that! Megsy! She's not playing nice!"
Megavolt dropped the box he was pulling out of the truck and sneered at Quiverwing and Morgana. "Oh, yeah? I'll teach them to mess with my Quacky!" He raised his finger, preparing to shoot bolts of electricity at them, when something hard hit Megavolt in the back of his head. Megavolt immediately flinched and placed both hands over the spot that had been hit. "OWWWW!" He twirled around to see that Darkwing had started throwing real Whiffle Boy toys at them. "Doh, stupid Dipwing!"
Both Launchpad and Darkwing were throwing Whiffle Boy toys at the both of them, since they were coming off fresh from the factory now that it was in full gear.
Quackerjack gasped as his boxes of toys were being knocked over and spilled, resulting in the different types of Whiffle Boy toys to intermix. "NOOO! Now I don't know which kind of which!" He panicked and bit his fingernails. "Megavolt! Make them stooooop!"
"Fine! You take of the brat and the witch and I'll take care of Dipwing and his boyfriend!"
Launchpad squeaked. "W-what!? DW and I aren't dating!? What would possibly make you think that!?"
"Relax, LP, he's just trying to get a rile out of you!" hissed Darkwing. He paused. "Is that really what everyone thinks!? That's we're together!?" He never got an answer as Megavolt began advancing on them.
Quackerjack fished out some of his toy teeth and released them on Morgana and Quiverwing. "Here ya go, girlies! Chew on THIS!" He instantly went back to trying to figure out which toys were his and frantically trying to sort them back into the boxes. In his haste, he accidentally set one off, making everyone pause. Quackerjack coughed up some smoke. "Don't mind me, everyone! Carry on with that you were doing! No explosive Whiffle Boy toys here!"
Darkwing's eyes widened. "So THAT'S your plan! Well, you won't get away with it, Quackerjack!"
"Oh, yeah?" growled Megavolt, threatening to use his electricity. "I'll be the one who decides that! Anyone else up for some fried duck?"
Darkwing and Launchpad kept backing up, not paying any attention to where they were going. They ran into a large lever that was pushed upwards when both of them ran into it. They flinched and looked behind with them when the machine was turned to a different setting. A large crane claw thrummed to life high above them and like a claw game at a video game center, moved around until it was on top of the three of them. Megavolt, Launchpad, and Darkwing all watched with dismay and horror as the crane opened its giant claw and came down on them, catching all three of them by the backs of their collars. Together, the three of them screamed in alarm as the crane rose them high in the air and moved them over to one of the catwalks, where it deposited them in a jumble of twisted and tangled limbs. In unison they groaned from the rough landing.
Quiverwing and Morgana weren't having the best of luck either. Quiverwing had tried using her arrows on the toy teeth, but Quackerack seemed to make them out of a tougher metal now for the arrows just bounced right off them. Quiverwing laughed nervously as Morgana and her slowly walked up the steps of the middle catwalk. The continued to be pushed until they were standing over-top the truck Quackerjack was frantically trying to organize. Quiverwing dodged one of the toy teeth just in time before it took a large chunk out of the metal railing. Morgana and Quiverwing both gulped, realizing how powerful the teeth were on these toys. They continued to dodge the attacks, but one of them nipped at Quiverwing's arm, causing the young duck to holler out in pain. Quiverwing groaned as she held onto her arm.
At the sound of his daughter's cry of pain, Darkwing snapped out of his daze and struggled hard to untangle himself from Launchpad and Megavolt. Once he was on his feet, he leaned over the railing to see what was happening. "QUIVERWING!" he cried worriedly. He immediately jumped over Megavolt and Launchpad in hopes to get to her, but Megavolt jutted out his arm and grabbed him by the leg, causing him to crash to the ground. "MORGANA! DO SOMETHING!" Darkwing shouted instead.
Morgana, who up until now, was mainly just watching and dodging attacks, seemed to remember that she could in fact do magic. "Oh, umm...Right. Sorry, you all know how I freeze up and panic in situations like these!" She immediately tried thinking of spells she could use.
"Yeah!? Well, stop panicking!" snapped Quiverwing. "I left all my other gear in my other costumes! Dad just HAD to go and wash my spare costume and take out all my equipment! I came completely unprepared, thinking it was just gonna be a quiet patrol!"
"Guess we should have known better" sighed Morgana.
Darkwing kicked Megavolt in the face, causing him to let go of Darkwing. Launchpad then grabbed Megavolt around the neck, giving Darkwing the chance to start running over to Quiverwing and Morgana.
Megavolt struggled against Launchpad's strong grip before zapping Lauchpad with electricity. Once he was free he shouted over to Quackerjack. "Quackerjack! Dorkwing is heading your way!"
Quackerjack stopped in his work, now surrounded in a large pile of Whiffle Toys, both original and his own since the boxes kept falling part. The crane that had grabbed Megavolt, Launchpad, and Darkwing earlier was now picking up the unopened boxes and making everything spill out of them. Quackerjack headed over to meet Darkwing at the bottom of the stairs to the catwalks.
"Not so fast, Darky!"
Quiverwing shouted again as another chomp of teeth got her on the same arm. Morgana was busy zapping the toy teeth and turning them in fluffy pink cotton balls save for the three cornering Quiverwing, who was trying hard not to fall off the catwalks where the toy teeth had broken the railing. Morgana tried aiming at the three but her magic decided to stop working. She looked at her finger, curious as to why she suddenly couldn't do the spell. "Ooh, darn-it! I had it!" She started snapping her fingers and random objects suddenly started appearing in her hands. They were all useless and she tossed them over the catwalks where Quackerjack's toys were.
"Hurry, Morgana!" screeched Quiverwing.
Quackerjack had just leaped in attack at Darkwing when the vigilante jumped over his attack, bounced on his back and jumped over caused the jester to roll and skid over to where some trash cans were, slamming into them face first.
Darkwing ran towards to the catwalk Quiverwing and Morgana were on, bounding up the stairs. One of the toy teeth attacking Quiverwing then got her by the cape and fell down over the catwalk, taking Quiverwing with it. With a scream, Quiverwing fell backwards off the catwalk and landed on the pile of mixed Whiffle Boy dolls. Due to the impact and her weight, several of Quackerjack's explosive dolls went off, injuring Quiverwing further in the blasts. The explosions also effected the truck, which shook and fell over sideways. The side with the gas tank was now out in the open and started spurting gasoline everywhere.
Darkwing rushed up to where Morgana was standing, gasping in horror when he saw Quiverwing fall. "QUIVERWING! Blast it! I got up here too late! I'm coming for you sweetheart!" He called down to his daughter in the best comforting way he could. He pulled down on his hat in frantic worry and was about to push past Morgana when he finally noticed what she was doing.
Morgana was too busy still trying to get the spell right to realize it was too late. A broom, a baseball, a hat, a sombrero, all useless things. She kept tossing them over the edge of the catwalk where Quivering fell. She was so busy she didn't even realize when a lighted candle appeared in her hand. Darkwing's keen eyes caught sight of the candle and he immediately tried snatching it from her but Morgana had already tossed it thoughtlessly. Once it was out of her hand, she saw her mistake and gave a cry of shock.
"NOOOO! GOSALYYYN!" screamed Darkwing hopelessly. The candle flew down and landed on the truck, not far from Quiverwing, who was dazedly trying to get her bearings; her mask having fallen off. The tiny flame of the candle made contact with the gasoline and within seconds the truck was aflame and all of Quackerjack's explosive toy dolls were being set off and it was all a fiery explosion. Morgana and Darkwing were pushed down from the blast of the flames, Quackerjack was hiding behind the tin garbage cans, and Megavolt and Launchpad were still up on the other catwalk, blocking their eyes from the explosion.
The pile of toys stayed aflame after the explosion; the truck now a burning mess. The smoke billowed up to the ceiling where the wires sparked from the explosion, but thankfully the sprinklers turned on, drenching them all along with fighting back the fire before it caused any more damage.
Darkwing numbly reached the railing and leaned over it to see the remains of where his precious daughter was just at. His breath became shallow as Morgana slowly walked up to him. The moment the candle had left her hand she had realized what she had done. This was all her fault. Tears came up to her eyes as she watched Darkwing's reaction. But before she could touch him, he darted away, running along the catwalk and down the steps. She heard him utter out Gosalyn's name again. He skidded to a halt in front of the flames that were slowly fading, pushing away melted plastic and charred metal pieces in an vain attempt to find his daughter. His fingers were bleeding and black by the time Morgana reached him.
"Dark-It's not-She's not-"she couldn't even bring herself to speak. She could see that Darkwing was now openly crying, tears falling down his beak and cheeks.
Launchpad, not fully understanding what was going on, pushed Megavolt aside as he ran down and over to them. Megavolt seemed uninterested that he'd just been pushed, instead he went down to the ground floor as well and found Quackerjack hiding behind the trash cans.
"Now looks like a good time to vamoose, Goose!" said Mr. Banana Brain. Megavolt silently nodded, glancing over at Darkwing. He wasn't entirely sure why, but in the back of his mind, buried in his memories, a part of felt heartbroken for Darkwing. But his brain wouldn't let him think about it too much. He instead focused on pulling Quackerjack up onto his feet and running with him out the side doors to escape.
Launchpad halted in front of them, out of breath, worry all over his face. "W-what happened!? DW!? W-Where's Gosalyn!?"
Morgana whimpered as she fiddled anxiously with her hair, tears in her eyes. "Oh, Dark, darling-I-I didn't mean it-!"
Darkwing didn't seem to hear them. He was too busy searching through the charred remains. He gave out a choked sob when he pulled out what was left of Quiverwing's arrows; that was all that was left. He raised them to eye level so that Launchpad and Morgana could see them. Both of them gasped and choked on their own sobs.
Brokenly, Darkwing curled up into a ball at the base of the pile, holding the arrows close to his chest. "My little girl blue..." His crying could be heard throughout the factory.
Author's Note: Go ahead. You can say it. I know it. I am a horrible...HORRIBLE person. I didn't WANT to do it, but...I sadly have to for the sake of this story's plot and purpose. Honestly though, if you didn't see this coming...You should have. I kinda made it obvious with all the gushy scenes. At least I thought so. Idk, maybe it wasn't as obvious. But this was a devastating scene to write out. Not to mention a difficult action scene regardless of the character death on top of it. Please believe me when I say this IS going somewhere. Make sure to bring tissues for chapter 3, though. :(
Also, again, Mr. J. Meddle belongs to me. Everyone else belongs to Disney. And SIRI belongs to Apple. R&R
Author's Note: I am...so sorry...in advance, for this chapter. I suggest everyone get out the tissues, because you might need them. I just want to say, I did not enjoy writing this chapter out in the slightest. And as hard as it might be to read, just imagine how it'd be to write it. But, sadly, this chapter is needed before the rest of the story can continue. R&R Good luck.
The sprinklers were still going off in Meddle's Whiffle Boy distribution factory and the worst of the flames were now smoldering hot coals that were emitting dark grey smoke. The factory's machinery had automatically turned off once the fire alarm system kicked in, so the noise they created was gone; leaving only the heart wrenching sobs of a father in the silence.
Darkwing was still curled in on himself, holding the remains of Quiverwing's arrows close to his chest. Just hearing him cry was painful. His hat had fallen off his head at some point, allowing everyone to see the pain in his face.
Tears poured from his eyes as he glanced back up where Quiverwing- no, Gosalyn - his little girl blue - last was.
Darkwing wasn't the only one sobbing; both Morgana and Launchpad were near inconsolable.
Gathering herself, Morgana fought back her tears and managed to say, "Dark...Darling...I'm...I'm SO sorry! When I threw that candle - I - You need to know it wasn't intentional. I was just trying so hard to get that spell to work again. I panicked, I guess. I-" She trailed off, no longer knowing what to say.
Not that it mattered; Darkwing seemed to get worse with every word she spoke. He started making a pained keening sound along with his sobs.
Launchpad stepped forward from where he was trying to keep himself composed, motioning for Morgana to take a step back. "I think you've done enough, Morgana" he told her solemnly through his own tears.
Morgana looked at him with shock and slight betrayal. "But, I-It was an accident, Launchpad. You know this! You both know this! I didn't-"
"Go away, Morgana..." moaned Darkwing.
Morgana's eyes filled with fresh tears. "I was trying to help, Dark! Really, I was! But those toy teeth of Quackerjack's were stronger than we're used to and and the spell I was using-"
Darkwing quickly spun around, still half on the ground and growled at her in a half sob as he held onto the arrows, "Maybe if you were actually SKILLED at magic this wouldn't have HAPPENED!" His voice echoed in the night air.
No one spoke and a thick tension filled the space around them. Darkwing hunched down further and continued to sob, not caring about anyone who might see him. He didn't care. His sweet little girl blue was gone and there was nothing he could do to alleviate the pain in his heart from his loss.
Launchpad awkwardly nudged Morgana to leave, giving the sorceress one last look before focusing his attention on Darkwing.
"There, there, DW..." hushed Launchpad as he knelt down beside his friend. His voice was thick with his own emotions, tears running down his own cheeks. He wrapped his arms around Darkwing once he was on his knees and cradled his friend once Darkwing leaned all his weight into Launchpad. "It's gonna be okay...We-'ll-We'll get through this..." he hiccuped.
Though he made no audible sound save for his sniffles, Darkwing shook his head in denial.
Morgana could no longer bare to watch either of them. She backed away slowly, knowing this was all her fault. She sighed and rubbed her arms, though it wasn't because she was cold. Their already fragile relationship was now completely destroyed. Not only did she know for a fact Darkwing wouldn't want to date her anymore, she didn't think she'd be able to bring herself to allow him to date her anyways. He deserved better. The guilt of her actions would be too overwhelming. She looked around at their surroundings, finally taking note that they're all soaking wet from the sprinklers. No wonder she felt a bit cold, but that wasn't why she was holding on tightly to her arms.
"I'm just -gonna-"she mumbled, tripping over her words as she started walking towards the garage doors. She pointed to the exit as she looked at them. "Going to...go..." She saw Launchpad look up briefly to acknowledge her before she turned away and left.
Darkwing moaned as he pushed himself closer to Launchpad, hiding his face in the pilot's stomach. He tightly gripped Launchpad's shirt and clung to it. "She was my baby..." he wailed between sniffles. "She may not have been my flesh and blood...But she might as well have been! She gave my life more purpose than I'd ever had before!"
Launchpad opened his beak to say something but no words came out. How was he supposed to support Darkwing? He'd never been through anything like this before. He didn't have any children of his own and he'd certainly never lost any. Huey, Dewey, Louie, and little Webby were the closest thing he had to kids of his own, he supposed. And Gosalyn, of course. But he never had quite the same relationship with the kids that Darkwing had as a father or Scrooge McDuck had with his nephews and Webby. He was more like the unofficial 'uncle' if anything. Gosalyn had come into Darkwing's life the same time Launchpad had. The sidekick had never known Darkwing without Gosalyn. Had Darkwing been any different before Gosalyn showed up? He didn't know.
"DW, are you gonna be okay?" whispered Launchpad. He winced at his own question. What a stupid question to ask, he thought.
Darkwing didn't reply right away. He seemed to be fighting back his sobs and trying really hard to calm himself down for he wasn't crying nearly as hard anymore. Only Darkwing's shaky, wavering breathing could be heard as the vigilante tried to get himself in control. Darkwing swallowed thickly. "I don't know...I really don't know..."
Launchpad patted him on the back. "Come on, we need to get out of here..."
Darkwing shook his head. "No."
"Come on, DW, we have to. There is nothing left here. She's..." He looked to the pile of smoldering plastic and ash. "She's gone..." He said it as though he was understanding it for the first time. He took a moment to fight back fresh tears of his own.
Darkwing uncurled himself from Launchpad's lap and looked to the remains of Quiverwing's arrows he was still holding onto. The arrow heads were dulled and no longer pointed. The feathers at the end were gone too. They hardly even looked like arrows anymore, but Darkwing knew what they were from all the times he had seen them. "This is all I have left of her..."
"That's not true. You still have all her stuff at home" Launchpad pointed out.
Darkwing flinched at his words. "Oh...I can't even fathom going back to the house. Maybe we can just go back to the Tower..." He tossed the arrow remains in the fire, much to Launchpad's surprise.
"But...There's nothing there, DW. We didn't restock the fridge, most of your laundry is at the house- And there's only one bed..." Launchpad listed all the reasons why they should go back to the house and he wasn't even sure why. He also couldn't help but think that they could technically share the bed in the Tower, but that suddenly led to thoughts he knew he shouldn't be thinking about. Shaking his head, Launchpad tried to focus. "We'll have to go back there eventually. What's that saying, "Better to rip open the band-aid and let it sting then slowly pull it off and suffer"?
Darkwing sighed. "You're right..." With tears still flowing from his eyes, Darkwing pushed himself up until he was standing, looking as though he was about to vomit from the sight of the smoking remains. He wrapped his arms around himself and glared around at the factory. "Let's go home..."
Launchpad quickly stood up and grabbed Darkwing's fedora hat, which had fallen off at one point. He wrapped his arms around Darkwing's shoulders and guided him out of the factory.
With a whirl of the matching blue chairs, Darkwing and Launchpad were home. Darkwing was still dressed as Darkwing Duck; Launchpad had been right about there hardly being any change of clothes at the Tower. Their clothes were semi-dry at this point.
With a deep breath, Darkwing clutched at the arms of the chairs tightly as he looked around them. This was the house he had bought specifically for Gosalyn and him to live in. He had not owned this house or even planned on owning a house of his own until Gosalyn had shown up and he had decided to adopt her. He had never needed a home before. He had just lived by himself; a nobody trying to be somebody. A kid out of college trying desperately to prove to the world who he could be. Now it all seemed so distant and far away.
Darkwing looked over to his right where a portrait of himself and Gosalyn hung, both of them wincing and plugging their ears. He didn't even remember why they had posed that way for the picture. All the memories of him and Gosalyn seemed to blur together now in an endless sea of thoughts. Everywhere he looked he thought of one memory after the other. He began to sob again as he remembered all the times Gosalyn insisted of skateboarding in the house, or playing hockey, or rollerblading, or sled riding on his old sled, or threw a tantrum when she didn't want to do something. So many good memories. It hurt. At the time, he had gotten so angry at her for doing any of those things, but now he wanted nothing more but to see her coming in through the front door tracking in mud when she knew he hated that.
Bowing his head, Darkwing allowed himself to succumb to his grief, crying loudly and unabashedly. He was so lost in his pain he hardly noticed when Launchpad picked him up from the chair and walked him over to the couch in the front room. Darkwing unconsciously wrapped his arms around the pilot's broad shoulders and rested the side of his face against Launchpad's chest. He just wanted the pain to stop.
"Now, now, DW...I know its hard. Heck, I'm crying myself..." began Launchpad. Darkwing looked up through his tears to see Launchpad was indeed crying, but he was keeping his voice steadier than Darkwing felt he could himself. "But, we gotta stay strong. Gosalyn would want us to stay strong...We just need to rest ourselves up for now...and when we get up, we'll face this together." He gently placed Darkwing down on the couch. Darkwing laid out so that he was lying down.
Darkwing nodded, keeping a grip on Launchpad's shirt and pulling him towards him. "Thank you, LP..." He sighed again and kept his grip on his friend's shirt. Launchpad awkwardly stood there bent over, not sure what to do. When Launchpad moved to leave, Darkwing pulled harder. "Stay with me, Launchpad. I don't want to be alone right now..."
Despite the situation, Launchpad still managed to blush. "W-what? Well, what do you want me to-"
Darkwing moved over and patted the couch wordlessly.
Launchpad knew then what his companion wanted. He awkwardly sat down on the couch next to Darkwing and just when he got comfortable, Darkwing leaned up against him in a lying down position. Launchpad sat there for a moment, motionless, before rearranging themselves so that he was also lying down. They both laid out on the couch together, pillows pushed around to accommodate their positions. Darkwing was perched mostly on top of Launchpad, with his lower half in front of Launchpad on the couch.
Not knowing what else to do with his left arm, Launchpad draped it around Darkwing, who didn't seem to care. After more crying and whispered reassurances, they both fell into a fitful sleep.
Despite the fitful, dreamless sleep, it was hard for consciousness to fully come to Launchpad. It began with a very annoying, very insistent pounding noise. It broke through the dark sleepiness of his mind and brought him closer and closer to reality.
Launchpad winced, feeling movement right next to him. He couldn't remember anything from the previous night or where he was at or why he was there. The pilot groaned and began to stretch and he ran into something that was laying in front of him. Ignoring whatever we he up against, he moved his legs. Another sound besides the annoying pounding noise suddenly came to his sense; it sounded like something mumbling angrily.
"Stop pushing me!" came the familiar voice of Darkwing Duck. His voice was thick with sleep. "And stop that pounding noise!"
Launchpad's brain seemed to click on at that moment. Oh, that was DW talking and he could hear the pounding noise too, he thought to himself.
Launchpad pushed himself up, pushing Darkwing off the couch they were still sharing altogether. Darkwing fell to the floor with a pained groan. The masked mallard seemed more asleep than Launchpad, for he looked like he was still trying to cling to the last remaining remnants of sleep as he tried curling back up into a comfortable ball on the floor. Launchpad, now in a sitting position, moved his neck and back, which both cracked loudly from the odd sleeping position and rubbed his eyes.
"Heya neighbors! Are you in there!?" came the boisterous and booming voice of none other than Herb Muddlefoot through the front door.
Launchpad's eyes widened when he realized who was at the door; he was officially wide awake.
"Oh dear, maybe they're not awake yet!" came the high pitched admonishing voice of Binkie.
Launchpad gasped. "Oh, no...This is NOT good!" he quickly turned to look down at Darkwing who was clearly still dressed as the terror that flapped in the night. The Muddlefoots couldn't see him dressed like that. Whimpering and trying his hardest not to panic, Launchpad looked back and forth at his surroundings in hopes for an easy answer. Biting his lip, Launchpad remembered that Drake had done some laundry. He quickly turned around to run into the laundry room which was connected to the kitchen, but he rammed his knee into the side of the couch in the process, causing the large duck to fall on the floor on the other side of the couch. "OUCH!"
Darkwing groaned from his spot on the floor and the Muddlefoots could be heard talking among themselves. Their voices were muffled from the door.
"Did you hear that? Sounded like someone just fell" commented Binkie worriedly.
"Heh, probably ol' Drake falling over the couch in a rush to answer the door!" laughed Herb.
Launchpad grunted from where he landed on the floor. He quickly pushed himself up and continued running into the laundry room. He was back moments later with Drake's long sleeved light salmon shirt and green vest. "DW! DW!" he started calling out to Darkwing in a stage whisper. He walked around the couch, glancing worriedly at the front door as Herb tried the doorknob relentlessly. Couldn't these guys take a hint, thought Launchpad. Thank goodness for the curtains being drawn!
Due to the lack of responce he was getting from Darkwing, Launchpad knew he'd have to act fast. He gathered Darkwing up into his arms, putting him into a sitting position before he started pulling off the other mallard's mask. Next was the tricky part: getting his suit off. The cape was also making the process harder, as it draped and tangled itself around Darkwing's torso.
Darkwing meanwhile, was starting to come around. He mumbled angrily. "What's the big idea!?" he demanded sleepily.
"DW! It's the Muddlefoots! They're at the front door and you're still in your Darkwing costume!" whispered Launchpad frantically. He pulled at the buttons of Darkwing's suit, already in the process of getting it off.
Darkwing's eyes widened at the news. "Wait-Wha-!? Why!? Why are they here!?" He glanced down and blearily watched Launchpad undue his buttons.
"Its the Muddlefoots, they can sense bad timing from a mile away!"
Darkwing blinked finally took note of what Launchpad was doing. His eyes widened. "LAUNCHPAD! What are you doing!?" he screeched, sounding scandalized. His face turned pink as he started fighting with Launchpad, who was trying to get Darkwing's arms out of his jacket and push the long cape out of the way.
"SHHHHH!" shushed Launchpad.
"Did you hear something, Binkie?" came Herb's voice through the door.
"Mom...Dad, we prob'ly caught dem off guard" came Honker's nasally little voice.
"Off guard!?" scoffed Herb with a laugh. "What's that supposed to mean!?"
Hearing their voices just hastened their actions even further; not to mention tangled them further together. Darkwing was now half on Launchpad's lap, his suit off save for at the arms. Launchpad was pulling fruitlessly at the sleeves, which had started to turn inside out. "Stop trying to undress me!" growled Darkwing, hoping he didn't say that loud enough for the Muddlefoots to overhear. He fought against Launchpad, fumbling to get himself in a better sitting position.
"I'm sorry, DW! But you were half asleep and the Muddlefoots are determined to get inside this house! I had to start changing your outfit!" explained Launchpad pitifully. He was blushing even more than Drake was. He had a couple little thoughts about the kind of person he liked the night before, realized said person was a lot like his best friend Darkwing Duck and now suddenly he couldn't stop having those kind of thoughts. What horrible timing! The both of them finally managed to get the sleeves off.
"Well, I'm awake now! I can dress myself!" snapped Drake, which was who he now was, since his Darkwing outfit was now off. Drake wrapped his arms around his now bare chest and snatched his shirt and vest and quickly pulled them on over his head. He then quickly crawled off Launchpad's lap, who was purposefully not looking at Drake, but rather the doorway to the kitchen. Once Drake had a proper amount of clothes on again, he managed to stand up and brush himself off. He sighed and tried to pull himself together, his mind still a jumble from everything that was going on.
Launchpad stood up beside him, his expression now bleak as he tossed the Darkwing costume into the closet under the stairs. "Uh...DW?"
"Hmm?" Drake seemed deep in thought as he looked around the living room.
"Uhh...You gonna be able to handle this?"
"Handle what?" asked Drake thoughtlessly. His eyes then landed on the door and reality set in. "Ohh..." Memories resurfaced and Drake slowly remembered what had happened the night before and why the two of them had slept on the couch to begin with. Dread filled him. "Oooooohhh..." His shoulders sagged and his expression turned to heartbreak. He pressed a hand on his forehead.
" I can try to get them to leave" offered Launchpad. "I'm sure you're not up to -"
Drake interrupted him with a shake of his head. "No...Let them in...They need to be told eventually...We can't ignore this...And Honker..." Drake's voice caught in his throat, no longer able to speak as he welled up with emotion. He took a deep breath and fought back his emotions. "We should just do it now."
"What are we going to tell them, I mean, we can't say the truth...At least in front of anyone but Honker. He's the only one who knows" Launchpad pointed out.
Drake groaned and covered his eyes with his hand. "Ugh, I don't know..." His voice break as though he was about to cry, but he took a deep breath and composed himself. "I guess...We'll just say...A half-truth...We'll say Gosalyn and I volunteered to help at the factory and Quackerjack and Megavolt happened...and there was an accident in the process...That's...somewhat believable. I'm sure something will be on the evening news about it anyways..." His voice was filled with grief and despair.
"If you're sure" Launchpad spoke uncertainly as he inched closer to the front door. At Drake's nod, he went to the front door, unlocked it, and opened the door to the stunned, expectant faces of all four Muddlefoots. Herb, Binkie, Honker, and Tank. Drake just watched, a hand over his beak and his other arm crossed over his torso, as they came inside.
"DRAKE! LAUNCHPAD! There you guys are! You finally answered your door! We've been standing out here for nearly 10 minutes!" boomed Herb as he stepped through the threshold.
Binkie came in after Herb, looking about the living room happily and yet skeptically at the same time. Honker was about to walk in next when Tank pushed him roughly to the side, where the smaller duckling fell into a bush. Tank grunted his greeting as Honker stood up, fixed his glasses, and composed himself before walking into the door and shutting it politely after him.
"Hello, Mr. Mallard, sir. Hello, Launchpad" he greeted calmly as though he hadn't just been shoved into a bush. He picked a leaf that was sticking out from the side of his glasses.
"H-Hey, Honk-man..." stuttered the pilot. Launchpad looked as though he was about to burst into tears as he looked at Gosalyn's best friend.
Honker seemed to see that in his face and titled his head to one side. "Is every-ding okay, Launchpad?"
Launchpad made a squeaking sound as he scratched the back of his neck. "A-Actually...No...Things...aren't okay..."
Drake and Launchpad exchanged pitied looks while Herb and Binkie made themselves at home on the couch.
"My, Drake, your couch looks a mess. The cushions are all messed up. One would think both you and Launchpad slept on the couch last night with how much of a mess it's in!" She cheerfully fluffed the pillows, completely oblivious to just how right she was.
"Heh, heh, heh" chuckled Drake nervously. He pulled at the collar of his green vest. "How strange..." His voice was slightly higher pitched than normal.
This did not go past Honker either. "Guys? What's going on? Where's Gosalyn? Is she upstairs? I can go get her before you explain." The young boy started making his way towards the stairs when Drake grabbed him by the arm, hissing a "no" before pulling him back roughly beside him. "Ow! What's wrong, Mr. Mallard!?"
Herb frowned at Drake's actions toward his son. "I think you'd best start explainin' there, Drake."
Drake let go of Honker's arm, realizing he was now everyone's center of attention. He shot a fleeting look to the Launchpad, who was watching him sympathetically and slowly nodding in encouragement. Tank sat down on the arm of the couch and crossed his arms as his parents waited for an explanation.
Drake crossed his arms and rubbed them anxiously. His beak quivered with emotion; this would be the first time he addressed the issue, the first time he openly acknowledged his beloved daughter was dead.
"G-Gosalyn is...She's..." Drake trailed off, unable to say it. He winced before opening his eyes and staring at the wall ahead of him. He couldn't do this; he couldn't bring himself to say it, because he knew saying it would only make it more true. Saying it would make him have to believe it and believing it was simply not an option for him. He had no idea how long he stood there trying to get the words out, but surprisingly the Muddlefoots didn't say anything. In an utter stroke of miracle they seemed to understand how hard a time he was having. Finally, almost like bile rising in his throat, Drake was finally able to say the words. "Gosalyn is...dead." He instantly broke into tears, letting out the pain he felt of saying those words.
Herb and Binkie's faces turned to complete shock and devastation. Binkie cried out in alarm, raising both her hands over her beak. Herb looked dumbfounded and wide-eyed, his mouth hanging open. Tank was speechless beside them, any look of anger, distate, or annoyance gone from his features.
And then there was Honker.
"W-What!?" he wailed. His little face looked horrified. Everyone could see tears welling up behind his big glasses.
Drake, now succumbing to his own pain and heartbreak, was nowhere near able to help support Honker, so Launchpad jumped in and brought the little duckling close, rubbing his shoulders and saying comforting words to him.
Herb and Binkie seemed to recover from the shock, for they both started blurting out how sorry they were for Drake's loss. Binkie was the first one to reach out to Drake. "Oh, my goodness! Drake, honey, oh! Don't cry!"
Drake only cried harder at her words as he continued to stand there. Binkie rushed over and wrapped her arms around him and in any other situation, Drake would probably recoil or flinch at a hug from Binkie Muddlefoot, but right now, with how he felt, he accepted it fully, burying half his face in her arm.
Herb stood up and walked up beside the two of them, placing a hand on Drake's shoulder. "Oh, Drake, I...I can't even begin to imagine what you're goin' through, buddy! Why I couldn't imagine what it'd be like to lose one my boys!"
Tank gave a nod in his father's direction half-heartedly, looking sullen and unsure how to respond.
Honker on the other hand, was no better off than Drake. He was a sobbing mess as Launchpad knelt down beside him and collected him into his arms, cradling him. "But why!?" he demanded. "How did it-did it h-happen!?"
His question left a silence in the room, despite everyone's crying and sniffles and it was all down to that one question: How?
Drake pulled himself away from Binkie to look at Launchpad. The pilot met his gaze and knew there was no way Drake was going to be able to explain anything. He had had enough trouble just stating the fact, let alone telling the story of how it happened. Binkie made a cooing noise as she brushed a fear tears from Drake's cheeks and upper beak. Drake didn't seem to notice; his eyes were dull and hollow, like all the light had left them as he watched Launchpad and waited for the other duck to tell the story for him.
Launchpad cleared his throat, gaining the Muddlefoot's attention. "Uhh...well, you see...The four of us...Drake...G-Gosalyn...Morgana...and me...We uh...We had gotten invited to help volunteer at the Whiffle Boy toy distribution factory..." He paused to make sure the Muddlefoot's were still following. They were hanging on his every word it seemed, especially little Honker, who was blowing his nose noisily with a hankie from his pocket. "And...we were helping them load up the semi trucks to send the shipments out and...Quackerjack and Megavolt...uh...Those two super villains you hear about on the T.V...they showed up...and they caused a big scene...and in the process...They caused an explosion...An explosion that...Gosalyn got caught in..." He fought back his own tears at the memory of seeing the remains of the charred plastic and ash.
Honker looked up at Launchpad knowingly. He knew that was all just a half-truth they were telling them since his parents and brother were there. He knew the truth. They had been there as Darkwing and Quiverwing in an attempt to stop Megavolt and Quackerjack. He had warned Gosalyn so many times that she wasn't ready to be a super hero. But his best friend would never listen to him. She was always so full of energy and was so brave as to head full on without any sort of plan. Oh, he knew something like this would happen and it broke his young little heart to know he was right. He wished now more than ever he wasn't so right all the time.
"Oh, my! How awful!" cried Binkie. "Gosalyn was always such a nice girl! Little hyper and rough around the edges, but always a sweet girl."
"What are the chances of that happenin'!?" sighed Herb. "Oh, Drake, that's just something' awful..."
Honker broke out into new sobs, crying louder this time now that he knew how he lost his best friend. Binkie was there in a heartbeat. She soothingly shushed her son as she collected him in her arms, picking him up and holding him close to her chest. Honker buried his face in his mother's neck as he continued his crying. "There, there, Honker, dear" she sniffed away her own tears. "It's going to be okay, sweetie. Mommy is here." Honker just continued to sniffle and cling to her.
Drake had to look away from them. He couldn't stand watching the parental nurturing Binkie was currently showing; it reminded him too much that he would never get to hold his little Gosalyn again, or wipe away her tears, or make her feel better. He made a noise of pain in the back of his throat as he fought to hold back tears.
"I'm so sorry for your loss, Mr. Mallard" Tank finally spoke up meekly. Tank was a blessed distraction from Drake's current thoughts. "Gosalyn and I may never have seen eye to eye, but she really was a good kid..." Drake gave him a nod of acknowledgement through his tears.
Binkie wiped away a few of her own tears with her free hand, pushing Herb and Tank towards the door. "Well, boys, perhaps we should leave Launchpad and Drake to themselves. They need some space. It's hard for a couple to lose their only child..." she tutted, patting Honker on the back as he started to hiccup.
Launchpad and Drake both blinked at the words, 'for a couple' but decided not to say anything about it. Drake just shook his head and ignored the comment; though it left poor Launchpad's mind reeling.
Binkie shooed her other son and husband back through the front door. Once they were out the door, she turned around and said, "If you need anything, anything at all, don't hesitate to call us or stop by. We're sorry, Drake. We're here for you and Launchpad!" She then quietly shut the door behind her.
There was a long pause in the house as Drake and Launchpad recovered from their visit. The Muddlefoot's, as always, seem to leave a giant empty hole in their wake, leaving the house like a whirlwind. And horrifying and hurtful enough as it was, this was the first time they left without practically being kicked out the door for overstaying.
Launchpad looked uncertainly at Drake, who was staring off into space. Drake didn't look good at all; there were bags under his eyes from all the stress and crying, and he looked so worn out. Neither of them had slept well, both waking up at odd times trying to calm their nerves. Everything just seemed so surreal. Less than twenty-four hours ago, everything had been just fine.
"So..." muttered Launchpad in an attempt to snap Drake out of his thoughts. It worked, but not that way he was expecting.
Drake inhaled long and loudly, his chest rising and his hands flying up to the feathers on top of his head. "I need out of this house!" he gasped in exclaimation. He wildly looked around them. He ruffled both his hands in his hair, messing up his feathers horribly. "I need-I need-" He seemed almost manic now, his eyes wide as he tried to get out words. He began to pace back and forth in front of the couch. He started muttering incoherently, every now and then his words were understandable, but they were in jumbled, unrelated sentences. "There is so much I have to do now-" He stopped for a moment before continuing in his pacing.
Launchpad just watched helplessly from behind the couch, not knowing what to do or what to say. He'd seen Drake in a bad place before, for numerous reasons, normally Darkwing related stuff, but never had he seen him act this way and it was beginning to scare him. Drake's words were getting more and more anxious and worked up by the word.
"I have to-I have to plan a funeral!" Drake exclaimed, throwing his arms out in the air. "I have to-I'll have to donate all her clothes and toys and-I have to-Oh...I have to call the school-Let them know-" He stopped mid sentence to scream his anguish. It took him a moment to pull himself back together, but once he did he went on rambling. "I have to lie to everyone about her death! Nobody can know how she REALLY died! No one can know how my little girl blue fought bravely to the bitter end!" He was shouting now. "How proud she really made me that she wanted to be just like her ol' foolish father!" He cried out and sobbed loudly.
Drake paused to look around the living room. There, on the table, next to the couch, sat another portrait of him and Gosalyn, only this time, Launchpad was also in the picture behind them,. Fervently, Drake dove to it, grabbing it quickly and holding it close. He stared intently at the photo in the simple black frame. They all looked so happy and carefree in that picture. Drake brushed a hand over the glass of the frame as his grip tightened.
"I failed her Launchpad" he announced brokenly.
"What?" asked a surprised Launchpad.
"I failed her. I never should have adopted her. She would have found someone else. Someone else who would have taken better care of her-"
"Woah, woah, woah, there, DW! Now you know that's not true!" came Launchpad's automatic protest.
"Isn't it!?" raged Drake. He turned and glared at Launchpad. "I failed her in being a good father-Because that's who I am, Launchpad! A failure! I don't know what ever possessed me to think I could take on something like that! She's dead because of me! I never should have let her become Quiverwing! I should have been a stricter father and kept her at home! But she was always SO insistent! Fighting me at every turn! I always hurt the people I let in close! Its why I lived alone for so many years before I met you two! I distanced myself because of this very reason! I didn't want to fail anyone and I knew I would. I KNEW IT! And yet I let this happen!" He glared down at the picture and with a yell he raised his arm before letting it smash to the ground, breaking the frame and the glass in its wake.
Launchpad winced. He wished he could do something. He held onto the back of the couch for support.
Drake went on, ignoring the broken glass at his feet. "I ruined us! I ruined the first good thing that's ever happened in my life! I failed Morgana three years ago when Negaduck burnt her family's house down! I didn't figure out to stop Negaduck in time! And our relationship suffered for it since! I failed Elmo Sputterspark in high school-We'd been such great friends in grade school but in high school I got caught up in my detective nonsense and started pushing everyone away and because of that Elmo went and got bullied to point where he became a super villain! I could have been there for him instead, but NO! I was too busy at prom 'playing hero'! And I did the same thing to Gosalyn! I couldn't be satisfied just being a father to her, NO! I had to continue being Darkwing Duck! So, because of that, I lost her! AND NOW NOTHING IN THIS HOUSE MEANS ANYTHING! EVERYTHING IS THIS HOUSE REMINDS ME OF GOSALYN AND I CAN'T STAND IT!"
Drake began attacking everything in sight in his anger and self hatred. He took his arms and knocked over the little table the frame had been on. He tore down half the curtains from the front window. He ripped away the cushions of the couch Binkie had so carefully fixed and through them all over the room, knocking over one of his paintings on the wall in the process. It fell down the wall with a loud clatter and crash. Drake took off to the living room, where he took down the portrait of him and Gosalyn wincing and clasping their hands to their ears. He stared at it for a moment before he threw that across the room to shatter as well. "I bought this whole house for the two of us to live in! Everything in this house was bought after I adopted Gosalyn! And now that's she's gone, I want nothing to do with any of it!"
Launchpad hesitantly followed him, shyly watching and fumbling with his hands. He couldn't bring himself to say any words of comfort for he knew nothing would calm him down at this point.
It was then Drake collapsed to his knees and curled in on himself, hiding his face in his hands. "I can't do this, Launchpad! I can't stand being in this house! I need out of here! Everything reminds me of Gosalyn and how I failed her and I HATE IT!" Drake broke down into sobs again.
Launchpad forced himself to speak up, walking up from behind Drake. "Then...let's get out of here, DW...Let's go to the Tower...Get some fresh air..."
Drake faintly nodded and Launchpad took that as his cue to gather Drake into his arms and place him on the blue chairs. He didn't bother setting Drake down, he just had Drake sit in his lap. Once Drake was secure, he pressed the Basil statue and off they went.
The warm rays of sunshine did nothing to help the mood of the two occupants inside the Auboden Bay Tower. The low rumblings of distant thunder from the storm heading towards St. Canard seemed a bit more fitting.
Drake seemed to calm down ever so slightly once he was no longer confined in the memory-riddled house; much to Launchpad's relief. He didn't know what he would do if Drake continued to rant and rave out his pain. The pilot made sure to avoid Quiverwing's little training area on the lower levels; it was where she practiced shooting her arrows. Last thing he needed was for Drake to start throwing things again. It took some convincing, but Launchpad finally managed to get Drake to lay down on the bed for a while. The other mallard had pointed out it was the same bed he had sung Gosalyn to sleep, but instead of hurling the bed outside the tower window like Launchpad guessed he would do, he agreed to sleep in the bed. Perhaps as a way to say goodbye? Launchpad didn't know, but if Drake was willing to try resting, he was not about to argue.
Launchpad himself was scurrying around the little kitchenette, frying some hamburgers on the stove. He would have preferred to cook them on a grill, but there wasn't one at his disposal. Drifting off in thought, Launchpad nearly burnt his hamburger, Drake had refused to eat anything, and Launchpad found himself fumbling with the spatula to try to save the piece of meat before it was too crisp to eat.
"Ack!" he grunted as he barely managed to get the hamburger on his bun and plate. Due to this distraction, he almost didn't hear the soft clearing of someone's throat behind him.
Whirling around, Launchpad was surprised to see that it was Morgana.
Morgana looked about as good as Launchpad and Drake. Her usually well kept black and grey-streaked hair was loose and strands were falling down on all sides. She too had bags under her eyes, a clear sign that she hadn't slept well either. Also of note, Launchpad saw she was holding a vintage-looking old box shaped suitcase, made of a hard wood. She held it tightly by the handle on top.
"Oh, uh...hi Morgana..." stuttered Launchpad with an awkward neck scratch. He found himself glancing over to where he knew Drake was sleeping on the bed. He had no idea how Drake would handle seeing Morgana.
"Hi...Launchpad..." she greeted, clearly just as nervous. "I...I had stopped at the house...but when no one answered the door, I figured you two were here..."
Launchpad nodded. He was suddenly very aware he was holding his hamburger on a small plate. "Uh...hamburger? I only made one, but you can have this one if you want." Launchpad set his plate on the table; the hamburger forgotten.
Morgana gave him a wan smile. "That's very nice of you, Launchpad, but I'm only here to drop off a few of Dark's things that he left at my apartment over time..." She boldly walked over to the table in the kitchen and set her suitcase down on it. She clicked it open with a little latch on the side and revealed one of Drake's Darkwing fedora hats and one of his spare gas guns. She set them aside. The rest of the suitcase was filled with the old potion bottles she had spoken about the night before, The ones she had managed to recover from the house fire.
"Why do you have these with you?" Launchpad heard himself ask.
"Oh, well...I'm...This is the last of my stuff. I'm...I can't be in St. Canard anymore." Launchpad widened his eyes as she continued. "I'm moving out of my apartment and leaving to be with my family. I don't know for how long, but...for the time being, at least..." She looked away and put her head down in shame.
Launchpad moved to embrace her in a hug, but ran into the table in the process. They both cried out in shock and the suitcase was bumped, causing one the potion bottles to fall out. Somehow, Launchpad managed to snatch the bottle in time before it went smashing into the floor.
He chuckled uncertainly. "Heh heh! Wooo! Sorry! That was close, eh, Morg? That's what I get for trying to give you a hug." Making sure not to run into the table again, he gave her the hug he had tried to before.
Morgana couldn't help but smile and nod, accepting the hug in appreciation.
Launchpad looked at the bottle in his hand. "Which potion is this one?"
Morgana, grateful for the change of subject, said, "That's the "Emoti-Gone" potion."
"Ehh?" was the confused reply.
Morgana cleared her throat, pointing at the potion in the other duck's hand. "Its a very old potion: It's said, that when someone drinks it, it takes away a person's emotions. It can be a very dangerous potion. Imagine, someone without the ability to feel any kind of emotion. Not happiness, not anger, not fear, not anxiety, not sadness...Nothing. It's nothing but trouble because people are meant to have emotions. It's what makes us who we are. Without emotions, we just become empty, nearly soulless shells."
"Gee, that sounds pretty horrible. Why would anyone want to take something like that?" was Launchpad's question. He set the potion back into the suitcase carefully.
Morgana shrugged. "I'm pretty sure we both know who wouldn't mind taking it right now..."
Both of them instantly thought of Drake. Morgana closed the suitcase and clasped it shut.
There was a light squeak from the metal stairs and both looked up to see Drake standing on the staircase that led to the make-shift bedroom. "Sorry..." he spoke softly. "Just wanted to get a glass of water..." He didn't even acknowledge Morgana, choosing not to even glance her way.
Morgana bowed her head, about to grab her suitcase and leave when Launchpad grabbed her by the wrist. "Wait! Before you go, I have something to talk to you about!"
Morgana blinked at him, but nodded. They looked over at Drake, who had gotten his glass of water and was heading back up the stairs. The witch was surprised when Launchpad guided her over towards the windows, a decent ways away and turned her to look his way. "What's wrong, Launchpad? You seem worked up..."
Launchpad's face had indeed turned pink. "Umm...Well...I have to ask you some advice..."
Launchpad nodded. The was another rumble of thunder as Launchpad tried to find the right words. "Yeah, so...Say you recently found out that you like someone...You recently realized that...a uh...close friend of yours...is actually exactly what you're looking for in a ...um...r-relationship...and you want to say something to them...You know...Tell them...But they're in a very bad place right now...Something very awful just happened to them...Should I...Should I still tell them about my feelings?"
Morgana took a long pause to think it all over when a dawned expression came over her features. Her eyes widened as it clicked. "Oh!" Her surprise turned to something between disappointment, envy, and sadness. "Oh, Launchpad...You should just tell him..."
Launchpad's face was now cherry red. "W-What!? W-Who said anything about this person being a 'h-him'!?"
Morgana shook her head. "You've always been an open book, Launchpad. Besides, everyone knows you're closest friend is Dark... I can put two and two together..."
Launchpad was flabbergasted, unsure of what to reply with.
Morgana sighed. "You should just tell, Dark. He needs something good in his life right now and I think starting something with you would be good for the both of you...I just wish...I could be the one to help him heal from all this, but we both know that'll never happen..."
Launchpad rested his hand on his shoulder. "You need to know, Morg...I don't blame you. No hard feelings from me. You're still my friend."
Morgana nodded appreciatively. "Thank you. I needed to hear that."
"So...I should just tell him?"
"Yes. Don't be shy. Dark's never been the homophobic type...And right now, I think he'll be open to anything that'll help support him. He needs people around him."
"DW would say otherwise...He blames himself for all this."
Morgana didn't reply, just winced and looked away. She suddenly looked as though she was about to cry. Quickly she managed to say, "I need to go!" She waved her hands in the air and in a puff of smoke she and her suitcase were gone.
Launchpad sighed, heading back over to the kitchenette. He took off his pilot head gear and ran a hand through his red hair before placing it back on. He looked at his forgotten hamburger, no longer hungry.
"Morgana left, huh?" came Drake's voice.
Launchpad jumped in alarm, spooked from the suddenness of Drake's appearance. His hands were behind his back. "Oh, boy, DW! You scared me!"
"Sorry" muttered Drake apologetically. "To be fair, I was standing in plain sight. Not my fault you didn't notice me." He licked his lips before asking, "What did she want?"
Launchpad pointed to his hat and gas gun. "Just to drop off some of your stuff you'd left at your apartment. She's leaving St. Canard to live with her family for the time being."
Drake nodded. Without removing his hands from his back, he used his shoulders to gesture up the steps. "Well, I'm gonna head back upstairs." He turned without letting his hands be seen and that was when Launchpad realized something wasn't right. Drake was hiding something. Without hesitation, Launchpad took the few steps between them, reached around Drake, and snatched the item from his hands, much to his friend's anger. "HEY!"
Launchpad moved backwards as he studied what Drake had held. It was one of Morgana's potion bottles. More specifically, it was the bottle of "Emoti-Gone". He looked up at Drake accusingly. "You took this from Morgana's suitcase! Why would you steal it!?"
Drake frowned, hating to be accused of stealing, of all things. He crossed his arms before saying, "Why do you THINK I took it from her!? I overheard what she said it could do! I want to drink it, LP!"
Launchpad gasped, his eyes wide. "WHY!? If you heard what she said, you'd have also heard how dangerous it can be!" He was suddenly very protective of the bottle, holding it and cradling it close to his chest.
"WHY!? You wanna know WHY!?" screeched Drake. "I want to drink it so that I don't have to FEEL anymore! That potion will give me EXACTLY what I want! I can't go anywhere anymore without thinking of Gosalyn and how I lost and failed her! You think I'm a mess now, just imagine how I'll be at her funeral! And when I tell the school she's gone-Or anytime she's so much as mentioned!" He paused and said more quietly and pleadingly. He took a step forward and Launchpad took a step backward. "LP, its...It hurts to breathe...I can't handle this. It hurts SO much, LP. I feel all strung out and stretched and drained and all I want is for the pain to stop! For everything to stop hurting! I want to be able to think about something without being overwhelmed by my emotions!"
Launchpad gave him a sympathetic look, yet he still shook his head. "I'm sorry, DW, but you're just going to have to face this. There is no easy way out of this. You're being selfish for wanting to drink this."
Drake threw him arms up. "Then I'm selfish! Pretty sure we already established that!"
Launchpad held firm on his decision. "No, DW, I refuse to let you do this to yourself. You're gonna have to think of another way to heal."
Drake sighed, knowing Launchpad wasn't going to budge on the issue. "Fine..." he snapped with a pout. "You're right! I KNOW you're right! It's just...ugh!" Drake turned and started heading back up the steps.
Launchpad let his shoulders drop, the tension in them loosening up. Still holding onto the potion, he turned to the window just in time for a loud clap of thunder pierce through the air; announcing that the storm had arrived. He thought about what Morgana had said about sharing his feelings with Drake. A goofy smile appeared on his face. Yes, she was right. This was what Drake needed to hear. Perhaps his confession would be what helped heal Drake, not the stupid potion. He just needed to feel happiness and love again.
Launchpad nodded, his confidence full to the brim. He smiled out into the darkening sky. He was going to tell his best friend, Darkwing Duck, he had romantic feelings for him and everything was going to be okay.
A sharp pain pierced through the back of his head and everything went black. The tall duck fell to the floor with a loud thud as Launchpad knew no more.
Drake stepped up from behind him and grabbed the potion from Launchpad's now limp hands. He straightened back up, the potion in one hand while a frying pan was in the other. He looked down his beak to Launchpad, his expression being one filled with guilt. "I"m sorry, Launchpad...But I just can't live like this anymore..." He dropped the frying pan with a clatter and ran.
Author's Note: And there is Chapter 3! Sorry for all the pain, but like I said, this was needed to get to this point in the plot. Poor Drake just wants the pain to stop. You really can't blame the guy. But sadly, this won't be boding well at all with the rest of St. Canard. What will Darkwing be like once he takes the potion and loses all his emotions?
Hope you enjoyed! -EricaX
Author's Note: Here is the aftermath of Drake stealing the potion. I also want to remind everyone that none of this belongs to me. But Disney and I make no profit from this. R&R. Enjoy.
There was a loud clap of thunder when Launchpad slowly began to wake. He groaned as he pushed himself up from the cement floor.
"Ugh...woah, there! Somebody get the license plate of that..." he looked over to his right where he saw what he had been hit with. "...frying pan?" He pushed himself up into a better sitting position. He sat there for a moment, a nagging voice in the back of his mind saying that he should be worried and anxious right now. He glanced down at his hands, finding them empty and that was when it hit him. Launchpad gasped. "THE POTION!"
He frantically looked around him to see that the potion bottle was no where in sight. There was another clap of thunder and Launchpad, getting more worked up by the second, stood and ran up to where the make-shift bedroom was. 'Please let DW be asleep! Please!' his internally rambled in his head.
Once he reached the top of the stairs he came to a halt; the bed was empty. "Oh, no...This is NOT good..." groaned the pilot. He massaged his temples underneath his hat.
There was a quiet zooming and beeping sound that caused him to open his eyes. Before him hovered one of the FlashQuacks from S.H.U.S.H. In its maroon colored bill was a letter. "Uh...Thanks?" Launchpad took the letter and watched as the FlashQuack zoomed away to wherever they stayed stored for messages; its job done. Launchpad knew the letter was addressed to Darkwing Duck, but given the circumstances, he figured it would be alright if he opened it. For all he knew, Drake drank that potion and no longer cared about anything.
He ripped open the letter to see it was a reminder of the St. Canard Police Academy Benefit. It stated the date, time, and place that it was going to be held. Memories of Darkwing talking about it when it had first been brought to their attention sprang to his mind. Evidently the Police Department were finally, after all these years, recognizing Darkwing as one of the heroes of St. Canard. Darkwing, Morgana, and Launchpad had originally been invited to attend. Well, there was now a very slim chance any of them were going, considering everything that was going on. The last place Darkwing was going to want to be at was the Benefit.
Launchpad moaned and closed his eyes. "This could NOT be happening at a worse time!" he wailed. He stuffed the reminder letter into his pocket and headed for the swirling blue chairs. "Boy, DW, I hope you went back to the house and decided NOT to drink that potion!" With a click and a whirl, he was gone.
The storm outside was at its peak; the wind howling, thunder clapping loudly after bright flashes of lightning. Normally Launchpad would be frightened of storms like this, for they always made him nervous, but he was too preoccupied thinking about Drake and hoping he wasn't too late.
Once he got to the living room inside the house on Avian Way, he looked around in hopes to find Drake.
He tentatively stood up, peering around the entry way into the front room. Everything was the same as how they had left it. The portrait of Drake and Gosalyn was still broken on the ground near the blue chairs. The table and smaller frame were still turned over, the curtains were still half off their hinges; allowing the lightning to shine through, and the couch was still all torn apart.
"D-DW?" he called out worriedly.
There was no reply.
Launchpad made his way into the kitchen. The first thing his eyes caught was the empty bottle of "Emoti-Gone" potion laying on the kitchen table. He knew it was empty because the cork was missing and it was lying on its side. Launchpad's heart sank.
"DW?" he called again.
There was a crash from the laundry room which extended past the kitchen. Launchpad followed the noise and found Drake standing in front of the laundry machine. He had opened up the dryer and was sorting through their clothes. Drake was setting his own clothing into one pile and Launchpad's into another. He was tossing anything of Gosalyn's on the floor. Launchpad stiffened, unsure of how to proceed.
He took the potion, right? So, how was Drake going to act now? Launchpad wanted to know without actually having to find out.
Drake's expression was entirely blank. He was standing sideways to Launchpad so the pilot was able to see half of his face. From what he could tell, Drake was just sorting laundry.
Launchpad winced and knocked on the wooden door frame to grab Drake's attention.
Launchpad found himself flinching as Drake's eyes met his own. Drake's normally deep blue eyes filled with light and a touch of hope, were now icy and cold. He was instantly reminded of Negaduck's eyes; for even though the two mallards were identical, right down to their eye color, Negaduck's eyes always felt cold and harsh as opposed to Drake's brighter ones. Now, Launchpad might as well have been looking at Negaduck.
"Oh, there you are" commented Drake flippantly, turning back to the laundry. "Finally decided to wake up, hm?"
Launchpad started at his remark. "Uh...Yeah. Sorry, the bump you gave me from the frying pan knocked me out a bit." He couldn't keep the slight contempt from his voice.
Drake pulled one of Launchpad's large brown shirts from the dryer and placed it in the appropriate pile. "Yeah, well, that was the point, I suppose."
"An apology would be nice!" the taller duck found himself saying.
"No..." drawled Drake as he turned back to Launchpad. "An apology would be a waste of words from my mouth because I wouldn't actually mean it. I did what I had to do to get that potion from you. You did it to yourself by not giving me what I wanted. You know how stubborn I can be, you should have seen it coming to be honest. Now stop moping and hand me that basket next to your feet. These are clean." He was referring to the laundry.
Launchpad's frown deepened. "Why did you take that potion!?"
Drake rolled his eyes, noting that Launchpad wasn't about to grab the laundry basket for him. He stepped towards the basket and grabbed it himself before placing it on the washer and placing their clothes in it. "I took it because I was miserable, LP. Or did you not notice my pain and frustration and heartbreak?" He looked up at his friend. "That potion took all that away from me and now look! Here I am doing the laundry, able to go about my regular day as though nothing ever happened." Once all the clothes were in the basket, Drake sidestepped Gosalyn's clothes still lying on the tiled floor and pushed past Launchpad in the doorway.
Launchpad felt his heart strings being pulled at that last comment. "So, what? You're just going to forget Gosalyn ever existed!?" His eyes followed Drake as the other mallard walked into the kitchen and headed for the stairs. Launchpad followed after him, watching him carefully.
"Of course not!" snorted Drake. "I'll never be able to forget about her. She was too big a part of my life. No, I'm just not suffering anymore."
Launchpad sighed, not knowing what else to say. "So...How do you feel?"
This caused Drake to pause. His eyes widened, as though he wasn't quite sure himself. "I feel..." He thought about it for a moment, his foot on the first step of the stairs as he held the basket in front of him. "Nothing."
Drake snapped out of his thoughts and nodded, walking up the stairs. "That's right. Nothing. I feel...numb...Not physically numb...Just...almost mentally numb..." He gave a solemn chuckle. "Which was the whole point. That potion may have been old, but it sure worked."
"We have to tell Morgana that you drank it! She'll know what to do! She'll know if there will be any side effects or anything! I mean a potion that old might be-" he paused when he reached the top of the stairs, where Drake was waiting for him, the basket of laundry at his feet.
Drake snatched Launchpad's scarf and pulled him close. It was amazing how Drake could clearly look pissed off without actually showing how pissed off he was. He was once again reminded of Negaduck as Drake stared intently at him.
"You will do no such thing, Launchpad! There will be no aid from Morgana. We will not be finding an antidote for this potion! I took the potion and got what I wanted." He released Launchpad from his grip and as he turned back to the basket, said briskly, "I don't want my emotions back." Drake then promptly picked up the basket and headed into his bedroom.
Flabbergasted, Launchpad stood there in the middle of the stairs trying to figure out what just happened. This was all so horribly wrong. Snapping out of it, Launchpad headed in after Drake.
Drake was folding the clothes on the bed, but not putting anything away. He pulled up one of his long sleeved salmon shirts From the pile and gave it a critical eye. "Why do I wear a feminine color?"
Launchpad shrugged. "I don't know. That's just the color of shirts you're always drawn to at the retail stores..."
Drake raised an eyebrow before folding it and putting it with the rest of his clothes. "You don't have to babysit me, LP. I'm fine. I'm not made of glass."
Surprised at being called out, Launchpad jumped before gathering himself together and saying, "I-I know that. I just-Its not everyday you're best friend takes a potion that gets rid of all their emotions!"
"Hmm, true" shrugged Drake. "I'll give you that much. But you still don't have to worry about me. I'm gonna be just fine." He continued sifting through the laundry when suddenly he paused. Launchpad wasn't sure what was happening until Drake lifted one of Gosalyn's small socks from the pile. It must have been stuck on one of the articles of clothing due to static cling.
Launchpad nervously watched as Drake stared at it blankly, his cold analyzing eyes taking in every little detail about it. Normally, the pilot knew, Drake would have burst into tears at this point. He was sure of it. But now, Drake just studied it, as though he was unsure what to do with it. After a long pause in which it looked like Drake was going to start showing emotion, any faint trace of sadness was wiped away and Drake was back to his blank expression. He tossed the sock at Launchpad.
"Throw that away for me, would you?" he asked with disinterest.
Launchpad happened to catch the sock out of reflex. He looked down at the sock and found himself frozen in place. He couldn't get rid of Gosalyn's sock just like that.
"I said to throw it away, LP. Get over it. Its just a sock. Gosalyn had about three hundred of them" stated Drake coldly.
"Y-Yeah, but-Throwing it away would be like- Making it official, wouldn't it?"
Drake sighed, sounding annoyed as he looked up from what he was doing. "No, seeing her burn to ash in an explosion my now ex-girlfriend half caused would make it official. Throwing away a sock is just that. Throwing away a sock that neither you nor I would ever be able to fit into."
Launchpad made a face as he inched closer to Drake's trashcan and dropped it inside. It was not even the sock that was bothering him so much, it was how callous Drake was acting about everything. Launchpad had only spent five minutes with Drake and he already felt like his heart was starting to burst; he couldn't stand how Drake was acting this way. It was then he remembered the good news he was originally going to tell Drake before he was hit over the head with a frying pan. Was now a good time to bring it up? No. Drake would just brush him off now.
Launchpad just rubbed at his arms and stood awkwardly in the doorway.
There was suddenly a loud pounding on the front door.
Drake sighed and looked up at the ceiling. "Why do they keep trying? Of ALL our neighbors to bother and pester, why US of all people?"
"We're the most likable?" guessed Launchpad.
Drake shot a sideways look at the pilot. "Yes, that's it. We're 'likable'" he said sarcastically. "Just forget the fact that we're the most unsociable household in the suburbs, but sure, its because we're 'likable'."The pounding downstairs sounded off again, this time at the back door. "Lovely, they didn't get a response so they moved to a different door. How smart of them! Let's get going before they decide to try the windows next!" Drake's falsely chipper mood made Launchpad's stomach churn.
He followed Drake down the stairs, muttering on his way, "This is going to get ugly..."
The two of them made their way through the house and into the kitchen, where Herb and Binkie could be seen through the small window on the door behind the tiny curtains decorating them. Drake reached for the doorknob and swung the door open. Instead of a normal disgruntled greeting, he just stared at them with his new default blank face.
"Heya neighbor!" Herb greeted as he pushed his way through the threshold. His voice wasn't quite as loud and boisterous as usual, not grating on the nerves all the same. "Binkie and I just wanted to come over and check on you two..."
"How thoughtful" muttered Drake. He stepped back, giving Herb and Binkie more space to enter the kitchen.
Binkie tittered about until she made her way around her husband and over to Drake. In her hands was an elaborate arrangement of multicolored flowers. Most were lilies, but Launchpad could see some carnations, and roses mixed in too. She offered them to Drake who had no choice but to take the vase from the way she pushed them into his hands. Drake stared at the flowers with wide eyes as though he had never seen flowers before, let alone have any idea what to do with them.
"Here you go, Drake!" she beamed at him. "These are for you and Launchpad! Oh, you poor things must be out of your minds with grief!"
"Nah, just one of us" quipped Launchpad quietly as he watched Drake look at the flowers. The comment seemed to go over the Muddlefoots' head.
Finally Drake commented on the flowers. "Oh, how thoughtful. Give a grieving family a beautiful arrangement of flowers so we can place them in our house and watch them slowly wither away and die, reminding us once again about death. The one thing we're currently struggling with."
Binkie looked horrified as she stared at him. "Why, Drake-I-I Guess I didn't think of it that way! I'm so sorry!"
Drake ignored her frantic apologies as he set the flowers on the kitchen counter next to the sink. Herb stood there uncomfortably while Binkie looked panic stricken.
There was a hesitant knock on the back door that was still open. Everyone turned to see Honker and Tank inching their way through the door.
Honker's eyes were still slightly red from obvious crying. Launchpad reached out to the little duckling. "Aww, hey Honk-man...How you holding up?"
Honker shook his head. "N-Not well, sir..." he sniffled.
Tank leaned against the door frame with his arms crossed, though instead of his usual glare, he looked bummed out and a bit depressed.
"And of course, the Muddlefoot spawns..." huffed Drake under his breath.
Honker paused in his sniffles and gave Drake a critical eye. He watched the mallard's mannerisms and the way he was standing with his arms crossed over his chest. He watched as the same duck who'd been lost in a sea of tears and pain the day before looked as though nothing had happened; as though he hadn't just lost his only daughter. Drake's expression showed very little, his eyes saying the most though. They seemed darker, the light extinguished from them. They felt more cold and calculating than Honker was ever used to seeing Drake's eyes.
Drake was busy listening to Binkie's chattering and Herb's occasional input. Honker could tell Drake was about to say something but his parents kept interrupting.
"Yes, poor Honker has just been an absolute mess!" Honker heard his mother say.
It was then those cold, dark eyes turned to him and Honker felt himself freeze up in fear. He'd seen those eyes before, but not on Drake Mallard, also known as Darkwing Duck. Those were the hard steely eyes of Negaduck. It was easy to picture the mallard in front of him with a red fedora on and a yellow suit. Honker was forced to look away and thankfully his mother pulled Drake's attention back to her. The little duckling turned to Launchpad and started tugging on his pant leg.
Launchpad leaned down to see what Honker had to say.
"L-Launchpad, I think Negaduck is pretending to be Mr. Mallard! L-Look at his eyes!" he whispered with fright in his voice.
Launchpad blinked in confusion for a moment, wondering what Negaduck had to do with anything, when he glanced up at Drake's eyes. They were a lot colder looking than usual. He couldn't blame Honker for thinking that. With a shake of his head, Launchpad shot that worry down. "No, no. That's DW, alright. Ugh, its a long story, Honk...And I'm not sure here is the best place to explain, but let's just say Drake isn't himself at the moment."
Honker gave his tall friend an unconvinced look, which made Launchpad side.
Speaking more quietly, he said, "DW drank an old potion of Morgana's that took away his emotions. He couldn't handle the pain and grief. He's currently incapable of feeling any kind of emotion. So, I guess his eyes looking darker and more like Negaduck's is a side effect."
Understanding crossed all over Honker's face before it turned to sympathy. "Aww, poor Mr. Mallard..."
Any further conversation was interrupted when Drake cut through Binkie's talking.
"Binkie, you're giving me a headache with all your mindless chattering" he snapped.
"Well, goodness! No need to be so rude about it!" she admonished.
Herb, completely obvious to the insult Drake had just given his wife, slapped Drake hard on the back. "Boy, Drake, you sure look better than you did yesterday. I'm glad you managed to clam down a bit. I'd prolly still be in tears myself though."
Keeping himself from falling, Drake turned to Herb next. "Herb, its a miracle either of your children have lived as long as they have. You should be crying for joy they've survived having such idiot parents."
There were gasps from all four Muddlefoots.
"Hey! No one gets to insult my parents but ME!" growled Tank as he stepped forward, jabbing his thumb to point at himself.
Drake's eyebrows raised. "Oh! You DO know how to speak more than three words in a sentence!"
Tank's eyes widened at the insult as his mouth flew open. "Why I oughta-!"
Herb held his son back before Tank could walk over to Drake and punch him in the face. "Now, Drake, that wasn't very nice! What's the matter with ya!?"
"What's the matter with me? You want to know what the matter is with me? I have four very annoying neighbors who insist on barging into my house at the drop of a hat and make themselves at home, often bringing their own food and tearing up the place. Said neighbors tend to be some of the dumbest people I have ever met, and that's saying something, seeing as how I've met a guy who's brain is literally fried! Do you want to know who these neighbors are?"
No one said anything, so Drake continued.
"Those people would be the four of you" he gestured to the four Muddlefoots. He turned to Binkie. "Binkie, you with your prim and proper ways and constant criticism. You make me want to throw up at the mere sight of you. You are everything I despise in a woman. You are too frilly and obnoxious and you're voice sounds worse than nails on a chalkboard. Then there's you Herb," Drake turned to Herb, who flinched backwards. "You are the most disgusting duck I have ever met. You are literally a giant tub of lard that walks around on two legs and dresses like he's on a cruise ship. You have an aggravating booming voice that makes my eardrums bleed. Don;t even get me started on your horrible lack of proper English. Every time you come into my house, I ask myself, 'WHY!? WHY am I to be tormented by this simple minded duck who's only two coherent thoughts are food and Pelican's Island!"
Now it was Tank's turn. "And as though it wasn't bad enough, the two of you created THIS piece of failure! Tank Muddlefoot, the bottomless pit of a stomach with an attitude problem. Who also bullies everyone his age because deep down he knows he'll always be the fat kid no one wants around." Tank currently looked murderous as Drake turned to Honker. "The one TINY brim of hope in this pathetic excuse of a family would have to be your youngest child, who half the time I can't even understand because his voice is so nasally. Have either of you ever THOUGHT to take your son to a doctor and get him something for his horrible sinuses? Probably not, since anything past frilly pink bows or floor cleaner is too complicated for you Binkie. And Herb? Like I said, you can't think of anything but food and TV." He turned back to Honker. "The main reason I liked you Honker is because you were a good influence on Gosalyn...SOME of the time...when she wasn't bullying you into her little schemes." Drake addressed everyone now. "So, that, Herb, is what is the matter with me. Or at least the current matter that is bothering me at the moment.
After taking a moment to take all of Drake's words in, Herb gathered himself to stand taller, looking more intimidating than Launchpad has ever seen him. "Drake Mallard!" he roared, which Drake didn't even flinch at. "You take all that back right now!"
Nonplussed, Drake just stood there. "And why would I do that, Herb? I'm only stating my opinion, which also happens to be fact."
"Let me at him, dad! I'll knock that big beak off his face!" snarled Tank, who started toward Drake again. Herb held him back again though.
"No need, Tank. He's not worth our time!" hissed Herb. He started pushing Tank towards the door. "You know what, Drake? I always thought you were a strange feller, full of secrets, but I pushed all that aside, cause I figured you just needed a friend, was all, but I guess I was wrong."
"I don't need anyone" was Drake's automatic reply.
"L-Launchpad!" squeaked Binkie, bringing Launchpad into the mix. "Are you really just going to stand there and let Drake treat us this way?! I understand the two of you just lost your daughter, but you two should be working together to heal and talk through your problems! You can't let Drake be the dominate one in your relationship! The two of you should be equals!"
Launchpad turned cherry red. "W-What do you mean by that, Binkie!?"
"Isn't it obvious, LP? She thinks we're a couple. All the Muddlefoots do. Save for maybe Honker, but only because he uses his eyes and sees we're not dating." He turned to Binkie. "It's because we live together under the same roof, isn't it?"
Binkie just blinked at him, unsure of how to handle his bluntness.
"In your tiny little floral patterned brain, you think the only reason two males could possibly live together with an adopted girl is that they're gay and living the dream in the suburbs, hm? We'll, I'm afraid you're wrong. It just further proves how simple minded you all are."
Binkie opened her beak to say something, but nothing came out. Instead she opted to looking indignant.
Herb, snapping out of his anger towards Drake, looked at Launchpad and said, "Wait a sec...You mean you're not living here to be with Drake, Launchpad?"
If Launchpad's face could be any more red, it would look ready to explode. "Well-Yeah-I am-I-I-Mean-Not in THAT way though! Ugh- It was always just so convenient! I didn't have a place of my own and Drake had extra space in his bed-" Realizing that had come out wrong, Launchpad panicked more. " I MEAN HE HAD SPACE FOR AN EXTRA BED! You know, in a spare bedroom here!" The poor duck looked ready to faint.
"Good job, LP. Way to sell it" was Drake's sarcastic reply.
"Well, I can certainly see why you're NOT dating him, Launchpad" quipped Herb. "Finally showing his true colors after all these years."
"No, I can assure you, my hatred and disgust for you all has always been there, I'm just no longer feeling obliged to hold it in any longer" replied Drake almost serenely."Now, would you PLEASE leave my house?!"
The Muddlefoots didn't have to be told twice for the first time ever. They glared at Drake and made their way through the door. Binkie was the last one to leave and once she was outside, she turned on her heel and asked, "Does this mean I won't be baking your wedding cake?"
Drake slammed the door in her face.
It was only then that Drake noticed Honker was still in his kitchen. "And you're still here because...?"
"How could you do that to my family!?" demanded Honker.
"Easy. I stated my opinions about them. Not my fault they didn't like what I had to say."
"Then is what Launchpad said about the potion true!? Did you in fact take a potion that made you this way?" was Honker's next question.
"He told you, huh?" He glanced up at Launchpad. "Yes, I drank it. Its the best decision I ever made."
"But why, sir?"
"Why? You're joking right? I took it because I couldn't handle the pain anymore. Because my emotions were keeping me from moving on and living the rest of my life. And I'm better for it now that I no longer have them."
"I beg to differ, sir. When I first saw you, I thought you were Negaduck" confessed Honker.
Drake seemed to care very little of this fact. "Shocking, seeing as how we ARE identical..."
"But its your eyes, sir! They're-"
"I'm going to tell you the same thing I told Launchpad. I'm content like this. I don't want my emotions back!" he said firmly in a tone that was not to be questioned. Drake turned on his heel and started heading upstairs.
Honker and Launchpad watched him go, neither of them knowing what to do or say. It was Honker who broke the silence though. He turned to Launchpad and told him, "Morgana needs to know about this. She might have a way to help him."
"But DW has already shot me down about that idea!" argued Launchpad. "You heard him! He doesn't want to be helped! He won't accept any help and if he has even the slightest idea that we're trying to help him, he'll just push us further away! Trust me, I've already talked to him about this!"
Honker sighed, his beak moving down into a frown. "Hmm...Well, I think it would be best if Morgana still knew."
Launchpad nodded, knowing the young boy was right.
Launchpad, who was currently in the Tower, sorted through all the notebooks and random paper that were in Darkwing's desk drawers. He knew it had to be somewhere. Morgana had not given him a new phone number the night before, so he could only hope that the phone number she had given them for emergencies to reach her family was still good. Frantically Launchpad tossed paper after paper away, looking for the piece of scrap paper the number was written on.
Finally, near the bottom of the top drawer, he managed to find it. "Ah ha!" he cried out in success. He pulled the paper up into the air in victory. "Now, if I can just get through to her family, hopefully they'll let me talk to Morgana and I can tell her what all is happening!" He went to the phone and started dialing the number. Raising the phone to his ear, he listened to the ringing. After about six rings someone answered the phone.
"Yeah!? And just who is this!?" came a very high pitched irritated voice. "Just my luck, I go to make porked worms and I'm interrupted with the ringing of this phone! So, say what you gotta say and leave me alone!"
Launchpad recognized the voice to be Aunt Nasty, Morgana's aunt. He fumbled a bit with his words before saying, "Aunt Nasty? This is Launchpad McQuack-I-I'm a friend of Morgana's. Do you happen to know if she's-"
"I don't know who that is!" snapped Nasty.
"Sure ya do!" insisted Launchpad. "I always hung around Darkwing Duck! Surely you remember him!"
"Oh, Darkwing Duck? Do you happen to know where he is!? He'd make an excellent entree here at the restaurant! Last time he was here, I figured out it best if he was cooked and boiled at 360 degrees!" she rambled on.
"Please, Aunt Nasty, I just need to speak with Morgana. Is she there?"
"I lost some of my BEST cookware because of that duck, I'll have you know!"
"Y-Yes, Aunt Nasty. I'm sorry for your loss, but please-"
"What about you? What temperature do you think it would best you were cooked at!?"
"M-Me!? I don't want to be cooked at all!"
"The food never wants to be cooked!" lamented Aunt Nasty in her scratchy voice.
Launchpad was about to say something else when he heard a new voice in the background. "Auntie, who are you talking to in here?" It was Morgana.
"Nobody!" came Nasty's snappish reply.
Morgana's voice seem to get louder as she clearly got closer to Nasty and the phone. "Auntie! Answer me!"
"I don't know! Some McQuack feller! I wanna know how well he'd fry in liver batter!"
"McQuack!?" Launchpad heard Morgana gasp. "It's Launchpad! Auntie! Give me that phone RIGHT NOW! Something must be wrong if he's calling here!"
"NO! This is MY take out order! The food doesn't usually offer itself up like this after all!"
"He's not offering for you to cook him, Auntie! He wants to talk to me!" After a minute or so of the sound of struggling and fighting for the phone, Launchpad heard Morgana threaten, "Don't make me turn you into pudding, Auntie!" Nasty could be heard gasping with shock and betrayal. "VANILLA pudding!"
Nasty could be heard making an awful wrenching cry before there was silence.
"Launchpad?" came Morgana's softer concerned voice. "Is that you?"
Finally feeling like part of the conversation again, Launchpad began talking. "Yeah, Morgana, its me. Listen, something awful has happened."
"You're tell me!" interrupted Morgana. "My old "Emoti-Gone" potion is missing! I remember specifically putting it back into the suitcase-"
"DW drank it."
Morgana stopped speaking.
"DW drank it and now he no longer has his emotions."
"Oh..." whimpered Morgana. "Oh, Launchpad, do you have any idea how bad this is!?"
Launchpad's thoughts immediately went back to just earlier that day when Drake had insulted the Muddlefoots and chased them out of the house. "Yeah, I'm starting to get an idea..."
"No, Launchpad, you don't. That potion is REALLY old! Imagine it being like wine! The older it is the stronger it gets! Its more potent now that its sat in that bottle for so long!"
Launchpad tried to figure out what she meant. He scratched the back of his neck as he looked out the window of the Tower. "So...What does that mean for DW?"
"It means that its taking an even stronger effect on Dark than it would have in its prime! And I fear that because its so old it'll not just take his emotions away, but it'll make it harder for him to want his emotions back!"
"Yeah, he's already been making it pretty clear he doesn't want his emotions back" he paused and thought about that for a moment. "Wait, are you saying that's one of the effects of the potion being so old?" Though Launchpad couldn't see it, he had a feeling she was nodding as she she confirmed his statement. Launchpad exhaled. "...Oh, boy..."
"Launchpad, you need to tell me everything, from the very beginning!"
About an hour after talking to Morgana and explaining what all that had happened after she had left the Tower, Launchpad made his way back to the house on Avian Way. With a whirl of one of the blue chairs, he was back and he let out a long sigh as he gripped the arms of the chair. Morgana was not at all happy to hear what Drake had said to the Muddlefoots, but Drake was no where near his normal self, as he had reminded her.
Launchpad stood up and made his way into the living room, looking for any signs of where Drake was. "DW?" he called out through the house. Nothing.
He searched the house top to bottom, but there was no sign of Drake. He checked the garage last and his nearly popped out of his skull and his heart fell to the floor when he saw that the old Station Wagon car was missing. Launchpad slapped his palm to his forehead. "Oh, no..." he groaned.
The St. Canard mall was unusually quiet due to the time of year. The holidays were long past and it was quiet part of the year in regards to shopping. What few shoppers were around were hustled near the food court, mingling among themselves with little interest in anything outside their little worlds.
Off to the side, near the end of the mall branch hallway was the Lawn and Garden store with an attached Greenhouse. The sales associate on the clock was lazily reading a magazine at the check-out counter and just one lone customer was inside on the other side of the store.
"Just come along to be a distraction, Reggie...You don't have to actually commit any crimes, Reggie..." came the gloomy baritone voice of Dr. Reginald Bushroot in a mocking voice. He was the lone customer in the store, currently disguised with the help of his grey trench coat, gloves, pants, and uncomfortable shoes. To top it off was a large over sized fedora hat to help cover up the petals of his hair. He pulled the collar of his coat closer to him, covering a good portion of his face.
He tried to focus his attention on the shrubbery he was currently standing next to but he found himself too anxious to fully pay attention. What he did know what was the shrubbery were none to happy about their current living conditions and they were making sure the mutant plant duck knew about it.
With a shrug, Bushroot gave a guilty head tilt. "I'm sorry!" he whispered quickly to them, genuinely sounded apologetic. "But I can't do anything to help you guys!" He paused as he listened to their protests. He huffed a sigh. "Yeah, like it'd be that easy! I'll just have you guys waltz right on out of here...You know, cause that's totally a normal thing: shrubbery walking out of a greenhouse of their own free will!"
"Wanna know what ELSE isn't normal?" came a stage whispered question.
Bushroot gave a quiet squeak at the voice, knowing exactly who it was. What startled him the most was where the voice was coming from. He glanced down to see a puddle of water near his feet that he knew hadn't been there a moment ago.
Narrowing his eyes and frowning, Bushroot answered as inconspicuously as he could, "Talking puddles!?"
"My, aren't we in a snippy mood! As clever a comeback as that was, I must point out your own failures of normalcy as you chat away with the shrubbery! Now stop chatting and get moving! This deal won't seal itself!" spoke the Liquidator in his usual sales pitch jargon.
Bushroot shot his gaze upwards and took a deep breath before eyeing the sales clerk at the counter. With a whimper, he pulled his trench coat closer around his thin body and moved over to cash register. He held the front flaps of his coat around his beak with his gloved covered hands as though he was cold, but it was really out of nerves. "Umm...Excuse me...?"
The sales clerk was a younger yellow-feathered duck, wearing a t-shirt with the store's logo on it, jeans, and a baseball cap. He flipped to the next page of the magazine with boredom, acting as though Bushroot hadn't spoken at all.
"Hello?" Bushroot tried again, leaning closer to the clerk.
The door to the store opened with a jingle of the bell attached to the entrance to let everyone know someone had entered. The sales clerk had yet to notice any of this. Bushroot, gaining some confidence in his annoyance at being ignored, placed a gloved hand on the counter in hopes to gain his attention.
"Hello! Can you hear me!?" he tried again.
It was then the villain saw out of his peripheral eyes sight someone else come up to the counter and stand beside him. He glanced over at the newcomer and stared at him blankly.
Drake stared blankly back at Bushroot.
"...What are you lookin' at?" snapped Bushroot after a minute.
"I'm not entirely sure myself. I just know you're in my way" answered Drake calmly.
Bushroot's frown deepened. "Hey, no need to be rude!"
"No need to be so sensitive. You asked me what I was looking at and I gave you an honest answer. I don't know. Though a part of me wants to say you're Bushroot, as in a ex-team member of the Fearsome Five" surmised Drake before promptly raising a hand and pulling off Bushroot's fedora hat.
Bushroot gave out a loud hissing gasp at being called out so bluntly. "I-I don't know what you're talking about!" exclaimed Bushroot, snatching his hat back and plopping it down hard over his head. He turned and gave the sales clerk and alarmed expression. "I don't know any Bushroot! Though judging by the name, he sounds QUITE handsome!"
Finally, the sales clerk looked away from the magazine and finally took note of his surroundings. He had looked up just in time to see Bushroot without his hat, immediately causing the young sales clerk to panic.
"M-MONSTER!" screamed the sales clerk.
"WHERE!?" yelled Bushroot, looking frantically around himself as he clung to his hat. He realized too late he was the one the teen was referring to. "Who me!? NO! I'm no monster!"
"Listen, as much fun as this is, I just want to know where the cement is" interjected an unfazed Drake. He never got a reply, but instead looked up at the overhanging signs and found his answer. "Ah, never mind. Carry on with your screaming."
Bushroot stared at the mallard with wide eyes as Drake candidly walked past Bushroot as though the plant duck didn't exist. He opened his mouth to say something but his eyes looked back up at the store clerk, who was now on the phone.
"Yeah, I have an emergency!" he was saying into the phone. "That plant monster Bushroot is at my store!"
Bushroot gave a pout. "People really need to stop calling me a monster..." He quickly reached out and swiped the phone away from the young duck, who cowered back in fear.
"Feeling underrated? Feeling discouraged? Never fear! Liquidator Brand Water is here to wash away those pesky doubts!" came the bubbly and exuberant voice of Liquidator, who morphed into his dog form beside Bushroot. The sales clerk trembled even more as Bushroot tugged at the phone line, disconnecting it in the process.
Tossing the phone over his shoulder, Bushroot crossed his arms and looked at Liquidator petulantly. "I thought we were doing this MY way!"
"We WERE doing it your way, but mold grows faster than you trying to pull this heist!" complained Liquidator.
"Not MY fault the kid wouldn't pay any attention to me!" argued Bushroot.
Bushroot and Liquidator turned to see Drake Mallard standing there with a cart filled with half a dozen large bags of cement powder. Instead of wearing his usual salmon colored shirt and green vest, he was wearing a light grey cardigan over a black shirt. Liquidator took an instinctive step backwards, but otherwise, neither reacted.
"Are you two in line?" asked Drake as though he wasn't speaking to two super villains.
Bushroot and Liquidator exchanged looked before turning back to Drake and shaking their head.
"Excellent. Then you can get out of my way." Drake pushed the cart up the rest of the way to the register, both villains stepping out of the way in their stunned states. Neither of them were used to a civilian acting so chill around them, let alone bossing them around like they were bugs under their feet.
Liquidator, being the kind of person he was, refused to stand aside and let someone treat him that way. He placed his hands on his hips and with a slippery maneuver, he was standing in front of Drake. "Excuse me! Are you not aware that you are currently in the presence of two of St. Canard's most powerful super villains!?"
Drake raised an eyebrow at him. "Yeah, so? Are you not aware I currently have a cart full of cement powder that could put you out of commission for a good couple days?"
Now properly threatened, Liquidator's ears drooped and he found himself stepping aside once more. Bushroot instinctively wrapped an arm around his companion's liquid arm in support. He knew from experience how long and difficult it was for Liquidator to get himself from the horrible confines of cement. "Well played, sir. Do carry on with your day. It's not like you're irritating us or anything" grumbled the watery canine.
Drake ignored him as he focused on the near petrified sales clerk who was still cowering near the back counter. He looked at the young kid imploringly. "Well?" The sales clerk just continued to shiver and tremble, too numb with fear to do anything but stare back at them. "I don't have the patience for this, "Drake muttered darkly to himself before turning back to Bushroot and Liquidator. "I don't suppose either of you would judge me for leaving here without paying, would you?"
Both villains shook their heads.
"I thought not" replied Drake without a second look back. He turned the cart and pushed it out the store calmly without any sign of hesitation or guilt.
Once the door shut behind him, reality seemed to slowly settle back in for Bushroot and Liquidator. Bushroot gestured to the store. "We were in the middle of a heist?" he offered.
Liquidator grinned widely. "That we were!" he chortled.
Author's Note: Well, there was chapter 4! A much less depressing chapter! And I was finally able to write Bushroot and Liquidator again! I've missed writing those two! More is to come soon! Please R&R any comments or questions! Later! EricaX
When Drake had been found missing, Launchpad had ended up heading over to the Muddlefoots, who were still quite peeved and confused about their earlier interaction with the shorter mallard. Launchpad had tried his hardest to reassure them that Drake hadn't meant any of it.
"Well, that's no excuse!" Herb had grumbled.
Binkie on the other hand, was slightly more forgiving. "Poor dear...He's hurting so badly. It only makes sense that he would end up taking it out on someone."
It was shortly after that Launchpad found himself sitting in the back yard of the Muddlefoots talking with Honker. The two of them sat on the hammock Herb had put up between to of their trees. Launchpad was laid across it, half asleep, and Honker was laying beside him. With his one leg, Launchpad was slowly rocking the hammock in a gentle sway.
The two of them talked about different topics, but most hovered around the topic of Gosalyn.
"I jus' miss her" Honker was saying between sniffles. "She hasn't even been gone that long and it seems like she's been gone forever..."
Launchpad took a hand and placed it on the boy's shoulder. "I know what you mean, Honk-man..."
There was silence between them for a few minutes before Honker piped up. "Don't you think you should be off looking for Mr. Mallard?"
Launchpad shrugged the best he could in his current position. "I wouldn't know the first place to start lookin'" he admitted. "DW took the car, which means he's not dressed up as Darkwing. At least...he shouldn't be...Meaning he could be anywhere. He always went more public places as Drake than as Darkwing, especially during the day time."
Honker titled his head, making an agreeing noise. "You've been here for several hours now. Maybe you should head back to see if he's home."
Launchpad gave out a long loud sigh. "Yeah, I prolly should, shouldn't I?"
Honker started to get up from the hammock, allowing Launchpad to get up as well. The pilot stretched, raising his arms up over his head. "I'll see ya later, Honk-man!" he said over his shoulder as he headed over to the house. He decided to go through the front door, since he didn't feel like going around the back yard fence.
Launchpad pulled out the spare house key he always kept in his pocket and opened the front door.
Nothing had seemed amiss as he walked up to the house. The garage door was still shut, the yard still looked normal, and everything seemed as though it was any other day. Launchpad had half expected something to be wrong straight off the bat.
Perhaps things weren't as bad as he feared. Maybe Drake had just gone for a drive and was back already.
The pilot pushed the front door open and his hopes immediately sank as his eyes landed on the state of the living room. Launchpad froze in the doorway as his eyes took everything in. Slow, he pushed his way inside and quietly shut the door behind him.
There were cement bags littering the area between the couch and television, cement powder dusting everything in the vicinity. The couch now had grey powder in spots on it and even the television and VCR looked to have some dusting on it. But that wasn't the worst. Furniture from the front room off to the side of the stairs were now cluttering the living room. The small table stand that sat between the two blue chairs was laying on its side next to the couch. The infamous Basil statue that, when pressed, whirled them away to the Audubon Tower, was on the floor; Basil's head broken off.
Launchpad gulped, not sure if he wanted to see what the front room looked like. His eyes traveled to the left where the blue chairs belonged. Oh, they were still in the room, just pushed far away, the metal that was once attached to the secret tunnel bent crudely. Launchpad wasn't even entirely sure how Drake had managed that. He had to have taken a buzz saw or metal cutter for that one. The chairs themselves were pushed to the front wall, near the front window.
The tunnels underneath the chairs were filled in with drying cement, which explained all the cement bags. There had to have been a dozen of them laying in various places between the two rooms. There were mixing buckets at the base of the stairs and a mixing rod and hoe that was used to smooth out the cement.
Launchpad flinched when he stepped on something with a squishy consistency. He looked down at his foot to see that he had stepped in a pile of cement that had yet to dry. Looking closer, the pilot could see just how sloppy of a job Drake had done during the process. For someone who was normally so nit-picky and fussy about cleanliness, especially in his house, Drake certainly made a mess of things.
"Oh, there you are" came Drake's unimpressed voice.
Having been caught of guard, Launchpad cried out in alarm before spinning around on his feet. He found Drake standing before him, staring at him with little interest. In Drake's hands was a towel.
"DW!" cried the pilot.
"Still sharp as ever, LP" deadpanned Drake before pushing past the other duck to inspect the drying cement. "I see you've noticed my project."
"Yeah...Love what you've done to the place" commented Launchpad sarcastically as he nervously looked back around the disaster area that was their house.
Drake turned back to him. "Oh, right. The living room. Yeah...I just wanted to get this done. I really don't care about the furniture."
"You don't care about much of anything, these days" Launchpad couldn't help but grumble.
Drake glanced his way to shoot what once might have been a glare, but now was just an empty look. "That's not true. I care about many things."
"Oh yeah? Like what?" taunted Launchpad.
"I care about sealing off these secret tunnels to the Tower. I don't want them anymore."
"Why not? They're the quickest and easiest way to the Tower" was Launchpad's obvious question.
Drake shrugged. "I have other plans..."
Launchpad opened his beak to interrogate more, when the phone rang. Launchpad instantly set to answer it, knowing Drake wasn't about it.
He sidestepped some more empty bags of cement and reached the phone. Bringing it up to his ear, he said, "Hello! You've reached the Mallard house! Who is this?"
Launchpad barely heard the person's answer for there was a loud thud coming from the front room where Drake was. He leaned back in hopes to view what was going on before he realized someone was speaking to him. "W-What was that? Oh, ugh, sorry! Uh..." His frazzled expression morphed into one of sadness as the person on the other end spoke. "Oh...Right. Um...Yeah, Drake is here...Just one moment..." He covered the ear piece before calling for Drake.
Drake stepped into the room, looking dully irritated that he was interrupted.
"It's Gosalyn's school!" whispered the pilot anxiously. "They want to know why she didn't show up to school today! They want to talk to you!"
Drake rolled his eyes. "I know they do. They've been calling all afternoon. I keep telling them I'm not here. Idiots can't recognize I'M who they want to talk to." He swiped his hand in the air carelessly before turning away. "I don't want to talk to them. You deal with it. Tell them she's dead and get it over with."
Launchpad felt tears come to his eyes at the cruel way Drake spoke about Gosalyn's death. Pushing his tears away, he watched as Drake went back into the front room. After a moment he said on the phone with a sniffle, "Uh...Drake has...left the house...He uh..." He waited to hear what the other had to say. "You want to see him in person? I uh...I don't think that's such a great idea..."
It was clear the person he was talking to was the principle of Gosalyn's school and she was far from happy. Launchpad swallowed painfully, knowing he was the one who was going to have to explain what was going on.
Twenty minutes later, Launchpad found himself sitting on the half powder-covered couch wiping away his tears. He sat there unabashedly allowing himself a moment to cry, Everything was just falling apart. This shouldn't be happening. He had thought he'd had everything under control in regards to accepting Gosalyn's death, but explaining the best he could without giving too much away to the principle had been too much.
What had happened? Everything was just fine hours ago. It was around two days now since the accident and yet things seemed to be getting worse instead of better.
He hated seeing Drake like this. It was like he wasn't living with Drake anymore; he was living with this cold distant stranger in Drake's skin. It hurt so much and up until now Launchpad wasn't sure why, but now he knew.
Drake wasn't just his best friend; he was his crush. The pilot wasn't able to deny it anymore. He had come so close to confessing his feelings to Drake before and now there was no chance of him revealing his feelings now.
The part that frightened him the most was that he was no longer sure he would ever get his best friend back and tell him any of this.
Launchpad wiped more tears from his eyes as he managed to calm himself down. He sniffled and blew his nose with his scarf; it needed cleaned anyways.
"Stop your blubbering, would you?" came Drake's voice. "You're giving me a headache."
Launchpad flinched at the tone and looked up to find Drake standing before him. Launchpad sucked in a breath and wiped away the last of his tears. The pilot stood up, a deep anger bubbling up inside of him. Enough was enough.
"Sorry, DW, but not all of us have the luxury of drinking a potion to remove our feelings!" he heard himself hissing at the shorter mallard.
Drake regarded him coolly. "You had your chance. You could have drank it instead."
It was then that something deep snapped inside Launchpad. "But I didn't! Cause I'm not a coward like you! I don't run away from my troubles! I deal with them!" argued Launchpad. "So excuse me for crying! For actually dealing with my emotions, unlike you!" He paused for a moment, his anger towards Drake only seeming to get worse. He couldn't hold any of it in anymore. "You're not the only one suffering, DW! You're not the only one who cared about Gosalyn! She was like a daughter to me too, ya know! No one said I had to stick around here! I have a life outside of St. Canard! Unlike you! I have a life in Duckberg, but I CHOOSE to stay here and help you! Because-" He stopped himself in the nick of time. He had almost blurted out his feelings for Drake and he knew now wasn't the time to do it.
Drake raised an eyebrow. "'Because' why, Launchpad? Please, enlighten me about this so called grand reason you insist on staying here instead of working for the world's richest duck: Scrooge McDuck. Hmm? Tell me, why would someone give something like that up? To be a sidekick to a lowly masked vigilante of St. Canard? I mean, really...Why DID you insist on staying here?"
Launchpad's anger has long since extinguished. He immediately looked away. The conversation had diverted into a direction he had not expected. He said the first thing he could think of, "It doesn't matter why I stayed. The fact is I did!"
Drake just stared at him, clearly not convinced. He squinted at Launchpad, clearly thinking about something. "Wait...You don't..."
Launchpad refused to look at the shorter mallard, instead finding interest in a cement glob that was now plastered to the wall. He didn't want to think of the possibility that Drake could somehow figure out he had feelings for him.
Drake's eyes widened. "When we first met, you told me you were my number one fan..." He watched as Launchpad winced and continued to look away. "You stay here for me, don't you? You have feelings for me, don't you?"
Launchpad sighed and looked down at his feet.
"Well..." breathed Drake flippantly. "That certainly explains our conversation the other night when we were talking about possible dates for you...You had seemed a bit nervous after that. I didn't think much about it then, but looking back, I see it."
"Hmmp! It's when I started to notice...okay? Just forget about it!" snapped Launchpad. "Why don't you go back to wrecking the house and burying us in cement!?" Without another word, the pilot stormed out into the kitchen.
After stepping into the kitchen, Launchpad found himself staring at the vase of flowers Binkie had given them. His bottom lip quivered as he remembered the reason for them and turned away, finding himself stomping back out into the living room, where Drake was checking the drying cement. He ignored the mallard and stormed up the stairs. He looked away as he passed Gosalyn's room and pushed the door open into his own room.
Launchpad pushed off his pilot hat and threw it on his bed in frustration. With a disgruntled whimper, the pilot pushed the palms of his hands into eyes, rubbing them and feeling new tears threaten to fall. Opening his eyes again, he ran a hand through his red hair and sighed.
He looked about his room, seeing all of his airplane memorabilia, flight posters, his collection of comics, his messy dresser that was covered in his clothes and miscellaneous things. He glanced into the mirror above the dresser and saw how tired and worn out he looked. He certainly felt that tired and worn.
He was slowly beginning to see why Drake had wanted out of the house so badly before he had drank the potion. It was painful, and he wasn't even in Gosalyn's room being reminded of what was lost...He was just in his own room.
There was another thud from downstairs, as though Drake was moving more furniture around. This caused Launchpad to snap out of his thoughts and flinch a bit. This was such a mess. He couldn't even bring himself to think about the idea of planning a funeral for Gosalyn; because somewhere in the back of Launchpad's frazzled mind, a voice was telling him that was something he was eventually going to have to arrange. He also knew Drake wasn't about to be a part of that either.
Just as Launchpad went to sit on the bed, there was a knock on the door. He looked over to see Drake standing in the doorway. In his cement covered hands was a Flashquack. "This just came to me" he told Launchpad tonelessly. He tossed the Flashquack over to Launchpad, who just barely caught it in time. The little miniature Thunderquack trembled in his hands until he let go, clearly preferring to hover in the air than be held. "I think its a message from J. Gander. Coe on, we have to head to the Tower."
Launchpad blinked at him dubiously. "But...you blocked the chair tunnel..."
"There is more than one way to enter the Tower, genius" snapped Drake. "Now, hurry up."
Without another word, the shorter mallard was gone.
Launchpad sat there to consider his thoughts. Guess even an emotionless Drake was still a crime fighter. He wasn't entirely sure how that worked, but he figured he should just roll with it. Standing up, Launchpad quickly turned to get ready.
Getting to the Tower took about twice the time it normally would, but once they arrived, Darkwing went straight to the computer. The trip there had been silent and awkward; Launchpad having no idea what to say and Darkwing offering nothing to the conversation.
Finally, J. Gander Hooter come on the screen, looking down at them both imploringly.
"There you are, Darkwing. I am afraid I have some bad news" started the owl.
Darkwing raised an eyebrow. "What else is new?"
Hooter started at his comment, but said nothing. "Well, I am informing you that Megavolt and that jester clown-" He paused for a moment as though trying to remember the villain's name.
"Quackerjack?" offered Launchpad, surprised J. Gander would forget such a thing.
"Yes, Quackerjack. He and Megavolt have been spotted terrorizing the cell phone company on the West side of the city.
"Which cell phone company? I bit more information would be lovely" replied Darkwing.
"Dapple. They're terrorizing Dapple. All the employees have thankfully evacuated the building, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still be alarmed. That Dapple building has the coding to all its cell phones and technologies. I have to think what would happen if Megavolt got a hold of such information...or worse...F.O.W.L..."
"What kind of information would be so bad that they have?" inquired Launchpad.
"Passwords, line of codes, programs...what have you...It doesn't matter what he could get from such a place, the important thing is that we stop him!" demanded Hooter.
"Yeah, wouldn't want to risk the chance of secret text messages to your secret lover getting exposed out into the world" said Darkwing dryly.
Hooter went pale. "What did you just say!?"
Darkwing turned away, clearly having no desire to repeat himself.
Launchpad thought it best to intervene. "We'll get right on it Mr. Hooter!
Darkwing rolled his eyes once the screen went blank. He crossed his arms before saying. "What a waste of time. Let's go, LP. You take the Thunderquack, I'll take the Ratcatcher."
"Uh...Why are we taking two separate vehicles?"
Darkwing turned back to glare at him. "Because I might need to stop somewhere first. Plus, I might need air support. You wait here a bit and then meet me there. I'll rush in first and see what there is to see. I'll call you if I need you."
"But-" tried Launchpad.
Darkwing, however, had already hopped onto the Ratcatcher and started the engine, which roared to life. Not bothering to put his helmet on, the vigilante was gone within seconds.
Launchpad sighed and headed over to the Thunderquack. He just wished things could go back to normal.
"This is IT!" came the nasally voice of Megavolt. He slid through the shadows of the room, inching his way closer to where the newly created cell phones were laying out on the conveyor belt, waiting for be boxed and shipped out.
"This is BORIIIIIING" said the whiny, childish voice of Quackerjack.
Absentmindedly, Megavolt grabbed onto Quackerjack's right hand as the jester stood sulking beside him; pulling the jester along.
"Oh, stop being such a sourpuss! Just because your plans failed doesn't mean you have to rain on my parade!" the rodent pointed out. He then turned to Quackerjack, tearing his eyes away from the cell phones. An accusing finger was pointed at the clown. "And you KNOW how much I hate being rained on!"
Quackerjack rolled his eyes, unimpressed by the word play.
Megavolt had immediately turned back to his marveling of the cell phones before him. "I'll finally be able to talk to SIRI here, for sure!"
Quackerjack was uncharacteristically quiet. His hat looked as though it was deflated and the bells at the ends of his hat weren't jingling His movements were sluggish and he seemed very out of it. "Megs...You know...You can talk to SIRI on ANY cell phone, right?"
"Right! And I've been TRYING! But she WON'T talk to me!" Megavolt raved loudly. Then, more quietly he added, "Surely you've noticed my obsession about all this?"
Quackerjack nodded, his hand still being tightly held in Megavolt's own.
Quackerjack allowed Megavolt to guide him around from section to section of the room, listlessly listening to his friend's ramblings.
"This is the company that started it all! Drapple! The company that invented SIRI! If I can just free all of these cell phones, perhaps SIRI will find it in her circuitry heart to finally trust me and talk to me and we can finally be MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE!" Megavolt paused. "Wait, sorry, that's the scheme to another world dominating plan! Heh heh!" Megavolt chuckled to himself at what could only be referred to as an inside joke.
Quackerjack pursed his lips and opened a bottom drawer to one of the employee desks on his left. His eyes widened, finally showing a hint of the maniacal shimmer they usually did. He let go of Megavolt's hand. "Oooh, Double Bubble Gum!" He snatched the packet of gum and immediately started popping several pieces into his mouth.
Megavolt was unaware of the jester who was now stuffing his mouth with as much gum as he could. It wasn't his fault Quackerjack was all depressed that his Whiffle Boy plot had been foiled.
"Oh, SIRIIIIII~!" called the electrified villain. He hovered closely around the line of cell phones he'd placed on a table. His nose was practically touching the little phones. "Pleeeease! One of you speak to me!"
Quackerjack looked over at his friend, his mouth now filled with gum. As best he could, Quackerjack said, "Hooo know, alf youf haffed to do isp pess teh button in fer a momend end scheel talk to oo."
Megavolt perked up at the sound of his voice. "What?"
Quackerjack stared back at him. "Whut?"
"What did you say?"
Quackerjack looked like he had wanted to reply back but the amount of gum in his mouth was starting to hurt his large jaw and he frowned, now focusing on chewing. Megavolt watched him briefly before forgetting Quackerjack had said anything all together.
Meanwhile, after having waited for Darkwing tmo show up for nearly an hour, Launchpad flew the Thunderquack closer, wondering if Darkwing had already gone inside. He couldn't see the Ratcatcher anywhere, but that didn't mean Darkwing wasn't there.
Launchpad went to land near the building, but on his flight downwards, he flew the Thunderquack right through a power line, which got caught in the Thunderquack's maroon beak. Fiddling with the controls and trying to put the flying marvel into reverse, the cables, acting like a slingshot, threw the Thunderquack backwards, causing it to crash into the old garage next to the building.
The plane crashed loudly, metal screeching against metal. Launchpad coughed as steam and smoke billowed out from the dashboard and controls. Heavier smoke was coming out from the outside engine. Launchpad sighed. "Well, so much for flying home. Guess I'll have to hitch a ride with DW." He opened the hatch and climbed out of the now wrecked Thunderquack.
He looked around at his surroundings as he patted himself off. "DW?"
It was then he could hear the crazed laugh of Megavolt echoing from inside the Dapple building. Ducking out of sight, Launchpad took a moment to figure out what to do, before he found himself inching his way closer and into the building.
He could see Megavolt and Quackerjack standing over on the other side of the room before a table covered in cell phones. Quackerjack seemed occupied chewing a bunch of gumt and playing with his paddle ball while Megavolt looked to be singing a lullaby to the cell phones.
Yep, situation seemed pretty normal, Launchpad noted.
Now, where was Darkwing?
The pilot waited. And waited. And waited.
Megavolt continued to rant to the cell phones and Quackerjack continued to be mildly entertained by the gum and his paddle ball.
It was then that it dawned on Launchpad. Darkwing wasn't coming.
It felt like an ice cube was just dropped into his stomach. His heart froze and his stomach churned. He'd been tricked.
As fast as he could, Launchpad darted back out of the building, only barely registering a furious Megavolt crying you, "Stop it, Quacky! You're getting gum all over the cell phones!"
The rest of what happened was beyond Launchpad's knowledge. All he knew was that he had to get back to the house and figure out where Darkwing really was.
He stopped short at the sight of the wrecked Thunderquack. With a grunt of frustration, the pilot started running towards downtown St. Canard.
"Launchpad, would do you mean you don't know where Dark is?" came Morgana's exasperated question on the phone.
Launchpad winced, inwardly berating himself. "Well, golly, Morg, how was I supposed to know he would trick me like that?!"
"Well, where could he have gone?" asked Morgana, who's voice clearly indicated how worried she was.
"I don't know...I've been looking all over for him...I've gone to all the normal places he would go...The grocery store, Hamburger Hippo, the bank, dry cleaners-"
"Launchpad! Dark no longer has his emotions! He shouldn't be caring about anything like that!" chastised Morgana.
"Well he was certainly thinking about the laundry earlier. That's where I found him originally, after all! He was in the laundry room sorting through our clean clothes! It was though nothing had ever happened. Of course, that was before he threw all of Gosalyn's clothes on the floor and left them there like yesterday's trash...And before he chewed out the Muddlefoots; insulting them left and right, and before he made a mess of the front room by holing up the tunnels to the Tower...And then..."
"What happened after he left the Tower, LP? After you two talked to Hooter."
The tall pilot's voice was suddenly filled with reluctance, as though he was admitting a great secret. "Well, uh...Thing is...uh...That's when I went to meet him as Dapple...heh heh..."
Morgana could be heard sighing through the phone. "You left him alone!?"
"Uh...Yeah...Lookin' back, that wasn't one of my greatest ideas..." he sighed. "But, he left in such a rush and he had insisted we leave separately-"
Another hopeless sigh from Morgana before the enchantress asked, "Where are you now?"
Launchpad glanced around at his surroundings, which consisted of the downtown area of St. Canard. He was on the street speaking through a payphone. He took in a deep breath as he contemplated his answer. "Uh...This is gonna be another answer you don't like.." he confessed.
"Oh, Launchpad..." sighed Morgana, though her tone had changed to one more commonly used towards a dear friend; an affectionate note to it.
Noting that she didn't sound as upset anymore, Launchpad decided to answer her. "I'm in downtown St. Canard. When I realized he had tricked me, I immediately headed here to town. I've been runnin' through St. Canard in hopes of finding him."
"Wouldn't the Ratcatcher or the Thunderquack have been easier and quicker?"
"Well, gee, I hadn't thought of that, Morg" snipped Launchpad sarcastically. It was rare for him to show that side of him, but it had been a long night. "DW has the Ratcatcher and I...uh...I crashed the Thunderquack by mistake..."
"So, what are you going to do now?"
"Well, I guess I'll just have to head back to the house and hope DW's made his way back there."
"Alright. Please keep me posted, Launchpad. I just got settled here with my family and they're not too keen on me leaving anytime soon. But if things get any worse, I don't care what daddy says, I'll be making my way back to St. Canard in a heartbeat!"
Launchpad smiled at her loyalty. "No worries!" There was a pause before a thought came to Launchpad. "So, Morg, how am I supposed to help DW, exactly?" Is there a cure for this?"
Morgana was quiet for several long minutes, making Launchpad wonder if he had enough change in case the call got cut off. Thankfully the enchantress starting speaking again.
"Well, I've been doing some research on the potion. There isn't a "cure" per say...But...there is a way for Dark to...snap out of it...I suppose. The cure is basically making Dark WANT to feel again. Because, the contents of the potion makes the person who drunk it not want to feel. So, to counteract it, we must make Dark want to feel. Does that make sense?"
There was silence on Launchpad's end for a moment. "Uh...no."
Morgana could be heard taking a deep breath before explaining further. "The potion is very powerful, as I said before. What makes this potion so unique and dangerous, is that the magical properties to it infuses itself with a person's emotions. Like a connection. As long as Dark refuses to feel anything emotionally, the potion is going to keep working. And its a double bladed knife because at the same time, the potion makes it almost impossible for Dark to feel any emotions even if he wanted to."
Launchpad scrunched his brow together and frowned, leaning up against the phone stand. "Wait...So you're sayin' we have to almost force DW to feel something?"
Launchpad stuttered a bit. "But how does one go about doin' something' like that?"
"We have to push Dark into an emotional situation. Remind him of what he's lost. Make him feel regret. The easiest way I can think of is to make him feel the pain he's lost..." She paused, hearing what she was saying. It was a horrible thing to imagine; to forcibly make someone feel emotional pain on purpose, but it was the only way. "Oh, dear...I know that sounds simply awful...especially coming from me...But we have to make him feel something again. It doesn't necessarily have to sad and painful emotions. We could try getting him to laugh, or perhaps thinking of fond memories will help him miss his ability to feel emotions."
"Won't that just make the potion work more? That's the whole point of it, right?"
"Again, the potion is only working because Dark doesn't WANT to feel. We have to break through the barriers. We have to find a way for him to push through the pain he's already in. Make him feel like it's okay to feel the pain, because after the pain, there is healing and love and comfort. We have to remind him that not everything he feels has to be a bad emotion."
Launchpad groaned. "Ugh, this is making my head hurt. Look, listen Morg, I'd better hop off here. I don't know how many more minutes I have left on this phone and I need to find DW and fast!"
"Alright, goodbye, Launchpad! And good luck!"
Launchpad returned the sentiment and hung up the phone. He glanced around himself, finding only pedestrians going about their day as though everything was happy sunshine. He frowned, wishing that was the case for them.
He grabbed his back and climbed on it. Boy, he sure wished he hadn't decided to walk anymore. His legs were killing him. He was also dreading the fact that it was now quite late in the evening since it had taken him a while to get from the Dapple building to downtown.
Launchpad McQuack knew he wasn't the brightest guy in the world, nor the strongest, but he liked to think he was the one of most loyal of people around. He liked to think that he always put his friends first before his own needs; especially when it came to Darkwing Duck. But it was at this point in his life that he was starting to have doubts about that. How could he have been so stupid and naive to leave his friend in such a dire time? He knew he shouldn't have left Darwking by himself; he just knew something was wrong.
Running all the way from downtown St. Canard to Avian Way was no small feat. He ran as fast as he could down the suburban side walk, dread filling him whenever he passed the corner.
He paused in his running for a moment to see the bright hot flames of fire currently billowing out of 357 Avian Way. His heart felt like it had leaped into his throat, his thoughts immediately turning to the worst. Was DW inside!? Was he hurt? Was he-!?
Launchpad forced himself to stop asking inward questions and find out for himself. He ran closer to the house, the only light coming from the cloudy night was from the flames. He was surprised so few neighbors were making a fuss over the fire. Perhaps they hadn't noticed yet? It was close to 12am after all.
It was then he noticed a lone darkened figure standing in front of the house on the side walk. Squinting, Launchpad was just barely able to make out and notice that it was Darkwing, only he wasn't dressed as Darkwing anymore; he was dressed as Drake Mallard.
"DW!" the pilot cried out. He sprinted the remaining distance between them, panting and using his knees as support as he tried to catch his breath. Once he did, he demanded, "W-what happened!? Is everything okay? How did the house catch on fire!?"
Drake didn't answer him; in fact, he hadn't even so much as acknowledged Launchpad's presence. It was as though he didn't hear or see him. Drake just continued to look at the elusive and elegant flames lick away at what was once his house. There was no expression on his face; no sadness, no anger, no guilt, no worry, no anxiety, nothing. His face was blank of emotion.
It was like he didn't even care that his house was currently on fire.
Launchpad tore his eyes away from Drake so that he could watch the house that was his home burn. So many memories: watching Pelican's Island on the couch with the Muddlefoots, all the family dinners with Drake and Gosalyn, all the times they walked over to the blue swivel chairs, all the times Gosalyn wrecked things with her hyper personality...everything. Gone in a burst of flames.
"DW- Look- I know a lot has happened and you've changed a lot the past few days-But-I mean, come on! You're house is currently on fire! You've got to at least have SOME reaction to that, right?" screeched Launchpad, unable to comprehend how his friend was reacting, or in this instance, his lack of reaction. Was this the kind of thing Morgana had been talking about? It just didn't make any sense. With all that had happened, sure, it shouldn't be that surprising, but yet it was. This was too much.
Sighing, Launchpad decided to ask another question, knowing Drake wasn't about to answer those ones. "Do you know who did this, DW? Was it one of the Four? They've been stirring up trouble ever since they teamed back up. Or maybe Negaduck- Or some other nefarious villain!?"
Finally, Drake tore his eyes away from the flames. He glanced nonchalantly up at Launchpad, his arms still limp at his side. His gaze made Launchpad shiver. He looked like Drake, but then again, so did Negaduck without his mask. Was this actually Negaduck now? He certainly was acting more like Negaduck than Drake would in this instance. Oh, the poor pilot was so confused in all this craziness.
"Yes, Launchpad...It most certainly was a nefarious villain..." Drake finally replied almost like a robot. There was no emotion in his voice either. It was just cold smooth words. Promptly after answering, Drake turned on his heel and started walking down the sidewalk. Arms still at his side, his movements having little commitment, he walked away from a portion of his life that was going up in flames behind him.
It was only then that Launchpad noticed the can of gasoline and matches in Drake's hands.
"You..." gasped Launchpad.
Drake stopped in mid step but didn't look back at him.
"You did this. You burned down your own house...Why?" demanded Launchpad. There was clear fury in his eyes. "WHY!?"
Drake finally turned to look at him. "That house means nothing to me anymore. Its only filled with pain and loss. I don't want it. Simple as that."
Launchpad turned back to the house as the sound of glass breaking shot through the air. He wondered which window had just broke from the heat. All of his stuff was in that house. His clothes, his comics, bed, and too many memories to count. "That house meant something to me too, you know!?"
Drake shrugged. "Why should I care?"
"Because you're ruining your life, DW! You're tearing it apart by allowing yourself to be this cold heartless-" He struggled to find the word. "-Jerk!"
Drake set the can of gasoline down on the sidewalk. "My life was already ruined. Now I'm just tying up some loose ends."
"But why be so dramatic about it? Couldn't you have just sold the house? Move out? Allow fellow house mates to gather their belongings out first!?"
"Oh" crooned Drake mockingly. "I'm sorry, are you sad I burned your Cave Duck comics?"
Launchpad felt tears come to his eyes for the third time that day. "Shut up, DW! This is far beyond comic books! You've crossed the line with this!" He paused and thought for a moment, before looking between Drake and the house. "That's why you holed up the tunnels!"
"Oh, look, he DOES have a brain" sneered Drake.
Launchpad's frown deepened. "DW, I know you're hurting, but this is inexcusable!"
Drake picked up the gasoline again and turned to walk away. "Not my problem. It's yours. You deal with it."
Without another word, Drake left, leaving Launchpad standing there in front of his burning home, completely dumbfounded.
Author's Note: Sorry if this seemed like a slow chapter, but it needed to be done. It needed to be focused on Launchpad. Poor guy has been through just as much as Darkwing, but he doesn't have the luxury of not feeling anything. Stay tuned for more! -EricaX
Author's Note: Here is chapter 6. I bit longer than I was expecting and I apologize for that, but this all needed to get done and over before the rest of the story and plot can continue. I hope you all understand! I also did this chapter in a bit more of a hurry, so there might be more typos and grammar issues than normal. I apologize! Enjoy! -EricaX
The flames of the fire were not ignored for very long. It was shortly after Drake left, strolling down the street without a care in the world, that the fire department had been called by one of their neighbors. Launchpad wasn't entirely sure which one it had been, for he had been too busy staring at what was once his home.
He was now left with nothing. Drake had mocked him at being upset about his comic book collection, however, that was one of the last things on his mind. He was more concerned about the fact that he no longer had a change of clothes.
He was going to have to ask the Muddlefoots if he could use their laundry machine, he supposed. The pilot cringed at the idea of asking for any spare clothes from Herb, who was the only one remotely close his size; at least in height. Launchpad would be swimming in them regardless.
Launchpad was currently standing in the Muddlefoots' front yard, watching the firemen hose down with fire with their hoses; water guzzling out of the fire hydrants. Heavy mist floated through the air around them as heavy smoke and steam billowed out of the crevices of two-by-fours, and charred furniture.
Herb walked up next to Launchpad, who was staring at the house. "Huh, sure is a shame we don't have any marshmallows...This would have made one heck of a camp fire."
Launchpad frowned further as his eyebrows lowered. He had never minded the Muddlefoots all that much in the past, being the chill, friendly, laid back type of person he was, but Launchpad really was not in the mood for Herb Muddlefoot. He turned and lightly scowled at the heavier duck. Launchpad suddenly had a deep respect for Drake and his ability to tolerate the Muddlefoots all these years.
"Gee, thanks for your sympathy there, Herb" he said snappishly. He turned away from the other duck, determined not to take out his frustrations on Herb. It wasn't hsi fault he was in this mess after all. But the guy could be a little more understanding! What kind of a person talks about roasting marshmallows to a person who's house is gone?
There was a tug on Launchpad's sleeve, who looked down to see it was Honker. The young duckling looked up at Launchpad nervously. Leaning down, the pilot listened to what his friend had to say.
Whispering, Honker asked, "Did Mr. Mallard do this?"
Launchpad blinked at his question. It was sure easy to forget how intuitive Honker could be when he wanted to. Reluctantly, Launchpad nodded.
"I'm afraid so. And don't bother asking me, 'why'" he answered with a sigh. "The only answer I was able to get from DW was that 'he no longer cared about the house' and that it 'gave him too much pain'. This is coming from the guy who supposedly has no emotions..."
Honker frowned and titled his head to the side. "It is strange for him to say that. Perhaps there's more to it?"
"How do ya mean?"
"Well, if Mr. Mallard no longer cares about anything, then what's the point of burning down his house? Why would be care if he lives in it or not? He shouldn't have to feel the pain anymore, so it shouldn't bother where he lives" Honker further enlightened.
Launchpad shook his head. "I don't know. All this talk of emotions has my head spinning. Morgana tried explaining it to me earlier. I guess being in the house made him kinda feel emotions, and the point of the potion is that it makes him not want to feel anything. So, maybe he burned the house down cause it triggered the emotions back or something? So he took it down to avoid feeling again?"
Honker absorbed this theory like a sponge. "Hmm...Fascinating. It's a shame there isn't more of that potion. I wouldn't have minded to study the contents of it..." He glanced up at a worried looking Launchpad. "Don't worry! I wouldn't want to drink it!"
"Good! Drake is bad enough without his emotions-We don't need you without them too!"
"I agree" nodded Honker. "So, where do you think Mr. Mallard went?"
Launchpad shrugged, turning back to the fire. "Beats me. I lost track of him once he walked down the street. I was a little too preoccupied with our burning house to watch him, ya know?"
Honker nodded sagely. "Understandable, LP. Given the circumstances, I don't think anyone expected you to have followed him..."
Launchpad heaved a great sigh. "I just don't get it, Honk-man...Several days ago, everything was just peachy-keen. DW and I would go out patrollin' like usual. Gosalyn was off doing her own thing as Quiverwing...I mean, sure, things weren't the greatest...What with all the tension with Morgana and DW...But things were good...A far cry from how they are now..."
Honker titled his head complacently. "I know what you mean...Things at school haven't been all tha'd great either... " His voice waned a bit and Launchpad turned down to see Honker fighting back tears. "W-Without Gosalyn around...the school bullies aren't afraid to bully me anymore..."
Launchpad knelt down next to his little friend and wrapped an arm around Honker, holding him close to his side. "Aww, gee, I'm sorry, Honker. This whole time I've been so focused on me and how things are effecting' my life, I haven't even asked you about how things are for you!"
Honker, who had curled up into Launchpad's embrace, shook his head. "No...Y-You've had too many of your own problems to worry about...My problems aren't that important..."
"Sure they are!" argued Launchpad strongly. "Look, even the tiniest of problems is still a problem and don't you ever hesitate to come to me if you ever need anything, okay?"
Honker nodded, happy that he'd been able to keep himself from crying. "Thank you, Launchpad..."
Their tender moment was interrupted when Herb shouted through the night air, "Hey Binkie! Do we have any hot dogs!?"
This time, both Launchpad and Honker looked up to glare at the larger duck.
The following day zoomed past Launchpad like a plane that was out of gas and about to crash into a mountain; he would know, he's had first hand experience. He had gotten very little sleep and once Binkie had seen how little of sleep he had gotten, she insisted on having him crash on their couch and take a nap. Herb had been far from happy, since it meant he couldn't watch television in his favorite spot, but Binkie ushered and pushed him to go outside and help her with her gardening, much to Herb's chagrin.
After sleeping four hours on their couch, Launchpad woke up and checked on the smoldering remains of 357 Avian Way. The firemen had long since left and were satisfied that the fire was completely out. Now just whispy smoke wafted its way into th air.
Caution tape had been placed around the perimeter of the house and after taking a quick scan on everything, Launchpad headed back to the Muddlefoots.
For the rest of the afternoon, the pilot spent time with Honker, who was happily explaining his science project for school to him. They were standing in the kitchen, Launchpad leaning up against the kitchen counter, his elbows supporting most of his weight as his chin rested on his hands.
The older duck was only half listening, his eyes slightly glazed over as Honker spoke with words he'd never even heard of before. But he knew Honker was appreciating the attention, since this was the most animated the young duckling had been since he learned about Gosalyn's death.
"And t'en...once I press this button..." Honker was demonstrating. He pressed the button on the little controller that was in his hand. He pointed it at a quarter on the otherwise empty counter top. "It multiplies whatever item you point it at!"
Both stood there and waited for something to happen.
Honker frowned after a moment. "Huh, I wonder why it's not working..."
Launchpad shrugged. "Eh, don't worry about it, Honk-man" chuckled Launchpad as he placed a hand on Honker's shoulder. "You'll figure it out. You always do. You said you just started this project last week right?"
Honker looked up at him almost sheepishly. "This morning actually..." He gulped. "I was supposed to have this assignment done a while back, but Gosalyn kept distracting me and d'en..." He looked downwards.
Launchpad didn't need to hear the rest to know the story. "Well, maybe try a project a little more simple than multiplying material objects? Make a volcano or something."
Honker shook his head. "No. I can't. Gosalyn already announced to all the school bullies I'd manage to pull this off...And with only a few more days to do it...It's not looking too good. Everyone is going to expect me to have it done..."
Launchpad gave him a look of sympathy.
"Would you mind helping me this evening, Launchpad?"
Launchpad shook his head. "As much as I would too, I sadly won't be here."
"Huh? Where are you going? To search for Mr. Mallard?"
"No. I have to go to the St. Canard Police Academy Banquet. They are, for the first time ever, inviting and saluting Darkwing" he answered. He rolled his eyes. "They couldn't have picked a worse time though..."
"So? Why are you going?"
"Because I have to accept DW's award. You can't tell me DW himself will be going. Not in the state he's in. I might as well go and accept it. It'll look bad if he finally gets an award for saving the city so many times and not even have his sidekick come claim it."
Honker shrugged. "I suppose so..."
"Problem is...heh heh...I no longer have a suit and tie..." mumbled Launchpad quietly.
The crisp night air was a faint reminder that spring was still in full bloom; having not quite reached the warmer temperatures that most everyone preferred. But the chill in the air didn't stop any of the attendees of the Police Academy Banquet to be deterred from having a good time.
The city hall in downtown St. Canard was currently swarming with people. Cars were parked along side the streets and the parking lot behind the building was jammed full. All the officers and their families were invited, celebrating another year of service to the city.
The Mayor of the town, Hender Quackson, was at the front door with this wife and two children, greeting everyone that walked inside with a large beaming smile. A line had formed at the doorway as everyone waited to be greeted and to enter.
Merriment was in the air as the lights from inside the station shown out into the night, illuminating the streets below. A large sign that read, "St. Canard Police Academy" had been placed over top the doorway, blue and white ribbons spooling off from the sides of it.
Launchpad McQuack didn't feel any of this merriment and cheer as he walked across the street and over towards the station. He fiddled anxiously with a black dress suit that was just slightly too short in the arms; which was more obvious since he continuously pulled at the said sleeves. It had been a last minute decision to head down to the tailor shop and rent a tux instead of wearing his normal attire. However, because of this, he was forced to rent the tux off the wrack, meaning he couldn't wait for a better one to be available.
So, here Launchpad stood, awkwardly getting in line in a tux that was technically a deep charcoal gray rather than inky black like all the other gentlemen wore; and with a coat that was too short in the sleeves. How had his life gotten to this point?
He nervously ran a hand through his red hair, which was now out in the open since he had opted to taking off his pilot goggles and hat. There were still several people in line ahead of him when a familiar voice broke through his melancholy thoughts.
"That's not your regular suit and tie."
Launchpad jumped at the voice, instinctively blocking himself with his left arm. He looked over to see that Darkwing Duck was standing next to him.
"Ack! D-DW!? W-Where did you come from? I-I mean-W-What are you doing here?!" he squeaked in shock and awe.
Darkwing, not even bothering to give his friend a glance, stared ahead at the other guests. He shrugged. "Why do you think I'm here? To accept my award."
Launchpad stared down at the mallard next to him before his brows knitted together. "B-But-I didn't think you'd want to come here. I figured you'd think it was a waste of your time!"
Darkwing nodded. "It IS a waste of my time, but the police department is finally recognizing all my years of saving this city. I'm not about to miss that." He paused and looked up at Launchpad; he looked him up and down critically. "What are YOU doing here?"
Launchpad scratched the back of his neck as they both stepped forward as the line moved onward. They were one person closer to reaching the door. Minding where he was stepping, the sidekick answered, "Well, I was gonna accept the award in your place, since I figured you wouldn't come tonight, but since you're here-" He quickly moved to duck out of line, honestly not wishing to be anywhere near Darkwing at the moment.
A strong yank of his coat sleeve pulled him back in place and he tried not to stumble. Perhaps he had misheard, since at the same time, the woman in front of them gave out a shrill laugh, but Launchpad could have sworn he heard the tiniest hint of panic in Darkwing's voice when he next spoke.
"No, no! Stay. You went out of your way to get that god-awful suit, you might as well try to make the best of it."
The dead tone in the rest of his statement made Launchpad believe he had just misheard the uncertain, worried tone completely.
He didn't give it another thought as Darkwing's words sunk in. He was quick to cross his arms, an angry pout forming on his beak at the insult to his impromptu tux. "Hmph! Not MY fault I'm in an ugly tux. Its' the only one I could rent on such short notice. Or did you forget that you burned my other one?"
Darkwing gave a soft groan. "Oh, please! Stop whining about the house."
They both took another step forward as they came the second next to be greeted.
Launchpad was barely even thinking about the banquet at this point, practically forgetting where they were at as he spat back, "It's not just the house you burnt down, DW! It was all of my belongings!"
Darkwing scoffed as he gave a disdain look over at the Mayor's children, who were watching him with awe; clearly the boy and girl had heard stories of the purple masked vigilante. He pulled his fedora hat further down on his head. "Whatever. Aren't you all chummy and close with the world's richest duck? Why don't you just head back to Duckberg and tell ol' McDuck your sob story? Maybe he'll buy you a new house...and some fashion sense too..."
The mention of his old boss and dear friend, Launchpad felt himself rolling his eyes to the sky. Clearly Darkwing didn't know Scrooge McDuck save by name and profession. He never got a chance to say so since the two were now at the door.
Mayor Quackson turned back from saying his final words to the couple in front of them and his blue eyes lit up. Mayor Quackson was a portly duck with a medium sized beak and stood somewhere between Herb Muddlefoot and Launchpad's height. He wasn't overweight, but he wasn't slim either.
"Darkwing Duck!" he boomed. "What an honor it is for you to join us this evening!"
Darkwing regarded him with a calculating look, looking down at the Mayor's offered hand which was waiting for a hand shake. "I'm sure it is, Mayor Quackson" he greeted in an almost civil sounding voice. "And I must say, after nearly a decade of watching over your city, it certainly is nice to finally be acknowledged."
Mayor Quackson blinked in confusion of his words; looking as though he was wondering if he had misheard. "Umm...Right. Well, its a pleasure to have you with us!"
Darkwing pushed past the Mayor without further conversation, leaving Launchpad to stand there by himself. "Hi. I'm um...with him" he mumbled quietly, pointing after the retreating mallard's back. Mayor Quackson followed his finger to see he was speaking about Darkwing.
"Oh! You must be his side kick! Lunchpail!" laughed Quackson.
Launchpad nodded tiredly. "Eh...It's LaunchPAD, but yeah..." He started pushing through the threshold. "It's wonderful to see you, Mayor Quackson..."
"And you too, Mr. McMack!"
Launchpad winced at the mispronunciation of his name but continued walking after Darkwing.
As they walked past the entrance they were met with a display set on two tables next to each other. It was covered in a blue table cloth and dozens of poster boards clearly made by their loved ones that depicted their years as police officers and some of their personal life. Photos of each of the officers were on each board, along with medals and plaques they'd gotten over the years. In front of the table was a banner that read, "Thank you, SCPD!" (St. Canard Police Department)
Darkwing stopped in front of the table and gave it quick look over. Launchpad reached him just in time to hear him grumble, "Disgusting" before the masked mallard veered left and continued past the tables.
"Why disgustin', DW? I thought that was a nice display the families made for their loved ones" inquired Launchpad.
"It's not disgusting because their families are supporting them, LP! It's disgusting because none of these idiots have actually ever PROTECTED this city! They shouldn't be thanked for something they really didn't do!" replied Darkwing heatedly. His brief moment of showing the emotion of anger was gone as quickly as it came.
Launchpad glanced around nervously, seeing that several people around them had glanced their way. Darkwing wasn't exactly being quiet. "Shh! Quiet, DW! You can't say stuff like that here and that loudly!"
Darkwing shook his head and scoffed. "I'll say whatever I want to say."
Launchpad cringed at his words.
They continued walking into the main room of city hall and followed the signs and decorations until they were led to the basement, where a large conference room was located. The room was big enough to be a fancy dining room in a restaurant and that was exactly what it was being used as.
The room was brightly lit, the stone walls and archways covered in more blue and white ribbons. There was a dull roar of chatter from all the other guests as both Darkwing and Launchpad scanned the room.
Twenty round tables had been packed into the room, along with a buffet line and desert table.
"So this is where all the tax dollars go..." commented Darkwing. "So that they can stuff their faces with expensive food at banquets they host to pat themselves on the back."
It was true, there was roast duck, crab legs, numerous kinds of steaks, five different steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, and lasagna. That was even mentioning the desert table!
"Boy, I'll say!" Launchpad couldn't help but find himself agreeing. "Maybe coming here wasn't a total loss after all! I mean, free food is free food! Heh heh!" The taller duck immediately got in line at the buffet, leaving Darkwing to himself. The pilot knew it probably wasn't the best idea, but he hadn't eaten all day and was starving.
Darkwing was just about to say something when there was the sound of a tire screeching to a halt and the light humming of electronics. The masked mallard had just enough time to turn around and see a large white plated chest in front of him. He looked upwards to see the outstretched arms of his metallic competition.
"Hello, Gizmo Buddies! Why, I didn't know YOU were invited here tonight, Wingy!" came the loud boisterous voice of Duckberg's finest.
Darkwing slapped himself in the forehead. "For the love of all that is good and holy, WHY?"
Gizmoduck moved ever so slightly closer on his wheel and leaned downward, tilting his head so that his ear was closer to Darkwing. "Sorry? 'Why' what?"
"Why?" Darkwing repeated himself. "Why are you here!? As though my night wasn't horrible enough, now the world's biggest collection of cheap hardware has to be here too!"
Gizmoduck reeled back, standing straighter in indignation. "Cheap!? I can assure you, I am loaded with some of the world's finiest and newest technologies!"
"You're a walking television" deadpanned Darkwing with half lidded eyes.
"Am NOT!" cried out Gizmoduck in a slightly higher pitched voice than normal.
"Oh, sorry. My mistake: a walking television on a uni-cycle. Big difference."
Gizmoduck sputtered for a moment, trying to figure out how to argue, but Darkwing didn't let him.
"I mean, seriously. Who designs the world's supposedly grandest superhero suit on a uni-cycle?"
"No, seriously. It's a legit question" Darkwing continued. He showed one hint of emotion as his beak curled deeper into a frown. "Honestly, you call yourself a superhero, when you're nothing underneath that suit."
"Now wait just a minute!" hollered Gizmoduck, his voice back to being a deeper, more masculine tone.
"I'll bet underneath all that thick metal, you're just some wimpy, lanky accountant who took the job as Gizmoduck in a desperate attempt to save his job" leered Darkwing as his face went back to being void of emotion.
Gizmoduck wobbled a bit on his uni-cycle, nearly crashing into the desert table behind him. He reached a black gloved hand to his bill nervously. "I-I - How did you kn-I mean-Uh...You're wrong! So very wrong!"
"Prove it" goaded the masked mallard with narrowed eyes. "Show us the man underneath the can opener. Or are you too afraid I'm right?"
Gizmoduck visibly gulped, clearly nervous about where the conversation had gone. "Listen, Wingy, I know you're upset that you've never gotten the proper limelight you deserve, but to take it out on me-"
"Who else should I take it out on? You've hogged a good deal of my fame, only makes sense for you to take some of the blame..." He trailed off, glancing around at his surroundings. "Hmm...You know, GizmoDoof...You might have a point..."
"Hmmm..." hummed Darkwing, not giving a proper answer.
Gizmoduck stood there beside him uncertainly, not understanding the strange behavior of the masked mallard.
It was no small miracle, Launchpad figured, that Darkwing had actually behaved himself up to the point of everyone sitting down for dinner. Everyone had gone through the buffet line, gotten their plate of food and their beverage, and sat down.
Darkwing had found himself a lone table off to the side, where he instantly pulled Launchpad over to sit with him. The two of them ate with little conversation between them. It was mainly Launchpad occasionally commenting on the food, saying how delicious it was. For the most part, Darkwing ignored him and opted to staring around the room at all the police officers and their families.
Once Launchpad had finished eating, he focused his attention on the abnormally silent mallard beside him. It worried him that Darkwing was being so quiet. He was normally the type of person to speak his mind, even before the potion.
By now, several people had finished eating and were congregating on the other side of the room, away from the food and tables, where a slide show of shots and images, all ranging from head shots of all the officers to news articles to a few videos interlaced between them.
"Darkwing Duck!" one of the police officers called over to their table.
Launchpad winced, having hoped no one would engage in conversation with the vigilante.
The officer was a tall rat with blonde hair, dressed in a black suit and red tie. He seemed friendly and open minded as he walked over to the table; clearly not deluded by all the rumors and jokes most of the academy told about shorter mallard.
"My Darkwing! It's good to see you with us here tonight!" he greeted warmly.
Darkwing regarded him silently, resting his chin on his hand and elbow on the table. "Pleasure, I'm sure" was his candid response.
The officer didn't seem to catch his undertone of disinterest. "I'm surprised you didn't appear in one those smoke clouds of yours when you first got here! Don't you also give a little speech or intro?"
"Yes..." he sighed in boredom. "But I didn't feel that any of you were worth wasting a smoke bomb on. Nor did I feel like wasting my breath."
The officer blinked down at him, clearly surprised by his answer. He opened his mouth to reply when the mayor tapped him on the shoulder from behind and began a conversation with him by asking a question.
Launchpad sighed and hid his face in his hands, his elbows propped up on the table. He just wanted this to end!
"There you are, Wingy! Launchpad!" Gizmoduck's voice pierced through their thoughts.
The metallic hero came to a stop next to Launchpad and gently placed a hand on the pilot's shoulders. "And how might you be doing, Launchpad? I haven't seen you in quite a while!"
Launchpad smiled, happy to see his old friend. "Oh, ya know. Same old, same old."
Gizmoduck nodded em pathetically. "Right right." He turned to speak to both of them. "So...Wingy, you don't happen to know why Morgana's not here, do you?"
"Why would Morgana be here?" asked Launchpad before Darkwing would reply.
Gizmoduck seemed baffled by his question. "Why, all the members of Justice Ducks were invited this evening!"
This piece of information seemed to make Darkwing's unnaturally cold eyes turn slightly darker. "What?"
"You mean you didn't know?" gasped Gizmoduck in confusion.
Darkwing shook his head.
"Yes! You weren't the only one the Police Academy wanted to recognize tonight! They invited all of us! That's why I'M here!" explained the hero.
Launchpad sat back further into his chair, watching with dread as the news sunk in with Darkwing. Though, now that he thought about it, he wondered why the masked mallard cared, seeing as how he 'didn't care about anything'. Feeling bold, Launchpad decided to say, "That doesn't 'bother' you, does it, DW?"
Darkwing looked over at his companion with half lidded eyes.
"Does that make you feel angry? Upset? Hurt? Ya know, any kind of...feeling?" he couldn't help but goad.
Darkwing's demeanor seemed to change then; whatever annoyance or anger that was starting to show disappearing. Indifferently, Darkwing titled his head and looked away. "No. I guess I shouldn't be surprised."
Launchpad frowned at Darkwing's lack of admittance to feeling anything.
Gizmoduck looked between the two of them curiously, clearly knowing he was missing something. Deciding to step in, Gizmoduck asked after the sorceress again.
"Hmm...I imagine she's crying to her daddy about how pathetic of a sorceress she is" was Darkwing's response.
"E-Excuse me!?" squeaked Gizmoduck. That was one of the last things he had expected Darkwing to say, especially about Morgana. He missed the sigh of defeat that came from Launchpad, who slumped further into his chair.
Darkwing looked up at Gizmoduck with disdain. "What? You're deaf too? You heard me."
Gizmoduck reeled at this. "That is NO way to talk about a fellow Gizmo-Buddy! Especially to someone like your girlfriend! Aren't you two dating!?"
"I ended things with her permanently. She disappointed me in the greatest way someone ever could. I won't say its entirely her fault, but let's just say I would be in a much difference place if not for her and her idiocy."
Gizmoduck shifted nervously on his wheel. 'W-What happened?"
"None of your business, metal head" snapped Darkwing.
Launchpad gave Gizmoduck an apologetic look. "Just let it go, Giz. He's not in the mood to talk about it."
Gizmoduck scoffed at his words. "He doesn't seem in any kind of mood" he replied to Launchpad. Then to Darkwing he said, "What's gotten into you, Wingy?"
"Nothing. I just don't feel like answering your mind-numbing questions."
Launchpad shot him another warning look before Gizmoduck let the subject drop. He decided to change the subject once again. "Well, did you see the slide show? They have sections of it for every officer and all of us Justice Ducks!"
"Yeah, where ARE the others, anyways?" asked Launchpad, his mood lightening somewhat from the change in the conversation.
Beaming, Gizmoduck was happy to answer. "Well, Stegmutt hasn't really be in the super hero game recently...Actually, last I heard, he was in the outskirts of St. Canard working at a nursing home."
Both Darkwing and Launchpad shared unconvinced looks.
"No, really!" defended the hero. "Apparently he has quite a knack for being helpful with the patients there!"
"I find that hard to believe" muttered Darkwing.
"What about Neptunia?" was Launchpad's next question.
Gizmoduck shrugged. "I don't know, to be honest. She was invited, but my guess is, she didn't want to come. Probably didn't want to stay out of the water long enough to be bothered." It was then a thought struck him. "Say! Where's Gosalyn? I haven't seen my little Gizmo-buddy recently!"
"Don't mention that name to me!" snarled Darkwing.
Both Gizmoduck and Launchpad flinched at the coldness in his voice. Turning to Launchpad, Gizmoduck asked, "What's wrong?"
"Eh..." stuttered Launchpad. Boy was he getting tired of being the one to explain what happened. "Gos-" he stopped, remembering Darkwing's angry reaction. "She's...gone, Giz..."
"GONE!?" exclaimed the hero. "What do you mean 'gone'!?"
"I mean-" started Launchpad, but Darkwing interrupted him.
"She's dead, you moron. There was an explosion, partly caused by Morgana. Because of that witch, Gosalyn is gone. So you can see why I broke up with Morgana" answered Darkwing quietly. Once again, the emotion from his features and voice were slowly disappearing.
It seemed only occasionally did Darkwing show glimpses of emotions, only to be quickly eliminated, no doubt by the effects of the potion. Though, Launchpad figured, that showed some slight hope. If he could just continue to push Darkwing towards those emotions, there might be a chance of getting him back.
"Oh...Wingy...I'm so sorry! She was like-You're biggest fan, wasn't she!?" spoke Gizmoduck quietly and sympathetically.
Darkwing gave a mirthless chuckle. "You don't know the half of it."
Silence filled the space between the three of them once again. Gizmoduck was, blissfully, in Darkwing's opinion, distracted from asking any more questions as several people came up to talk to him. He was the big celebrity at the party after all!
Launchpad stood up from his chair, startling Darkwing slightly. "Let's go check out that slide show Giz mentioned."
Not having any kind of retort not to, Darkwing stood and followed him.
For the moment, no one else was standing in front of the large screen that was playing the slide show. The two of them seemed to walk up to it just in time, for the picture of on of the officers soon faded and turned to a shot of Darkwing Duck himself, standing on top of a building.
It was a beautiful shot, if Launchpad was being honest with himself. He knew Darkwing wouldn't admit it, but it was probably one of the best shots ever taken of him as Darkwing. The masked vigilante was standing there, his hands on his hips, staring sternly and mysteriously out over the city, his cape flowing behind him in the wind and his fedora hat covering just enough of his face to make him look more devious.
Launchpad side glanced Darkwing to see the other mallard's reaction. His friend's face was still neutral, though with each daring and elusive shot that was taken, Launchpad could have sworn Darkwing's face features were softening ever so slightly. Going from blank to slight interest.
Several shots later, a shot of Darkwing and Launchpad showed up. Launchpad couldn't help but smile, remembering the crime that had taken place. They had just stopped Splatter Phoenix from terrorizing the city. The two of them were standing side by side; hero and sidekick.
A few more action shots were shown next, both featuring Darkwing and Launchpad. One of them was of Launchpad flying the Thunderquack and Darkwing swinging below it on a rope. The next was both of them getting ready to jump into the Ratcatcher; they both looked ready to chase after someone.
It was amazing; neither of them knew such great shots had been taken of them over the years. Why didn't any of these ever make the headlines?
Launchpad turned his attention back to the shorter mallard beside him.
Darkwing seemed entranced by the slide show. And if Launchpad watched closely, he was sure he could see Darkwing's eyes shimmer ever so slightly, a tiny glint of light starting to show back in the otherwise icy black orbs.
Darkwing titled his head slightly, continuing to watch. His beak moved into the faintest of smiles as he stood there completely enraptured.
Launchpad's heart soared! He wasn't entirely sure what was causing this-Perhaps just the reminder of all the times Darkwing has fought villains and the concept of crime fighting again! The thrill of the moment! Being back out there, theatrically scaring off all the villains-The whole purpose of his existence as the terror that flapped in the night!
The slide show picture faded out and changed to a shot of Darkwing and Quiverwing standing next to each other, supposedly on guard or watching something closely, since they weren't looking at the camera.
It all changed so fast, Launchpad wasn't entirely sure any of it was real.
The light that was beginning to shine in Darkwing's eyes went dark like a light switch being turned off. His expression went back to being blank; completely void of any emotion.
Darkwing took in a deep breath before saying, "If I keep watching this I'm going to be sick." He then promptly turned on his heel and walked away.
Launchpad let go of a breath he didn't know he was holding, hearing himself whimper faintly in the process. He was so close to getting through to him there! Launchpad knew the moment Darkwing had seen Gosalyn, any success went down the drain. Gosalyn was the last thing Darkwing wanted to talk about, let alone feel for. She was the whole reason he took away his emotions to begin with, after all.
Launchpad didn't bother to follow Darkwing; needing a moment to himself.
Instead he found himself walking over to where Gizmoduck was standing in the corner. It seemed the great hero of Duckberg needed a moment to himself as well. The pilot silently walked up to Gizmoduck and stood to his left.
"Why the long face, Gizmo Buddy?" asked the mechanical hero with concern.
Launchpad wrapped his arms in front of him. He hadn't exactly been planning on talking. "Oh, it's just been a rough couple a days..."
"Oh? Could Wingy's attitude tonight have anything to do with that? Or is this more about Gosalyn? That poor sweet thing. She was always such a great gizmo buddy! So much potential!"
"Eh...It's actually a bit of both?"
"Ahh, I see. Well, I won't make you talk about anything you don't want to" assured Gizmoduck. "How about Drake? How is he handling all this? I mean, Gosalyn was his daughter after all, wasn't she?"
Launchpad looked away. "He's definitely not taking this all that well...He um..." He looked back up at Gizmoduck, as though debating something.
"You can tell me anything, Launchpad! I won't tell a soul! Scout's Honor!" promised the metal hero, raising a hand and crossing his two fingers.
Launchpad's shoulders drooped. "Aww, gee, Giz. Everything's been terrible! Gosalyn is gone...Morgana was chased off by DW...DW-err, I mean, Drake...He's a mess...He even burned our house down!"
"Yeah, he was so upset...I don't really blame him, ya know? He's not really in his right mind. But everything just keeps getting worse and worse..."
Gizmoduck put a reassuring hand on his friend's shoulder. "Don't worry, Launchpad! Things always get darker before the dawn!"
"Yeah...Dawn just needs to get here...and FAST!"
Darkwing, meanwhile, was meandering his way through the crowd of people, all of whom were finished eating at this point and now standing around talking. Some still in their seats at their tables and others mingling.
Darkwing was about to pass by the buffet line again when he was blocked by some officers talking. So many people and none of them seemed to care they were in his way!
As he stood there trying to figure out a way to slide past them, their conversation reached his ears and he couldn't help but listen.
"You are lying! Zat is not true at'll!" one of the guests was saying.
Darkwing looked up to see the person who spoke. It appeared to be a family member since he was standing close to one of the female officers and holding her hand. Next to her was Mayor Quackson.
The next guy spoke was a large owl, dressed in his uniform. He was one of the reserve officers. "No! I'm telling the truth! That's the rumor that's going around Duckberg! I even heard it on the news the other evening! Scrooge McDuck is dating! And not only is he dating, but he's dating a man! A 'younger' man!"
Darkwing rolled his eyes, not caring in the least about the latest gossip that was floating around.
"Well, I think that's ridiculous! McDuck has no business dating someone so young! How young are they saying he is?"
The large owl answered, "I heard the lad was somewhere in his thirties."
"THIRTIES!?" they all cried, even the woman.
"Zat ees gross!" gasped the officer's husband. He turned to his wife. "OH, honey, if we ees going to z'top at the z'tore, we need to be leaving now."
The woman nodded, quickly saying her goodbyes to them all before leaving.
Mayor Quackson took up the space in the circle they left behind and said, "I would have to agree with him. That is ridiculous. What does an old duck like him need to be dating for? Clearly he needed felt the need to before, why now?"
Darkwing finally announced his presence with a scoff; stepping forward into their circle. "Pfft. Mayor Quackson, you're just upset the old miser might be getting more than you."
Mayor Quackson, who had just taken a sip of punch from his cup, spat out his drink everywhere. The large owl to Darkwing's right gasped and stepped back, looking at the masked mallard with wide eyes.
As Quackson was recovering, Darkwing asked, "Are we going to start any of the speeches now, or am I free to go?"
Mayor Quackson never got a chance to respond as someone at the head of the room tapped on a microphone, gaining everyone's attention. A large podium had been brought into the room, opposite of the buffet table. "Ahem. Excuse me? If you would all please take your seats, we would like to start giving out some of the awards we have prepared to give out!"
Slowly, everyone made it back to their seats. Launchpad and Gizmoduck were waiting for Darkwing back at the table.
Mayor Quackson walked up to the podium and despite the offensive comment Darkwing had just given him -or perhaps because of the offensive comment-one couldn't be too sure, Darkwing was the first one to be awarded.
"For years now, this caped crusader has saved our fair city of St. Canard and tonight we wish to honor him with this award, stating him a true hero!" he announced through the microphone.
Darkwing gave a false smile to gave everyone who was now looking at him. With the spotlight now directed at him, Launchpad was curious how he would behave. He watched as Darkwing stood, giving a weak wave to the crowd, and walked through the congested tables, ignoring everyone he passes, since some wished him congratulations while others muttered insults under their breaths.
Darkwing walked up next to Mayor Quackson, who handed him a gold statue in the shape of St. Canard's Police Station. It was planted firmly on a wooden stand with a gold encrusted label on it; stating what it was.
Without further words, Mayor Quackson stood out of Darkwing's way, gesturing to the podium and microphone. Darkwing looked up in time to see a slight scowl on the mayor's face, no doubt the result of his comment. The mayor was ignored however, as Darkwing refused to be cowed.
Once before the podium, he tapped on the microphone, getting slight feedback. There was actually a soft pleasant smile on his face. With a breath, Darkwing started speaking as the mayor could be seen taking his seat in the crowd.
"First off..." he began. "I just want to say: Thank you."
Launchpad jolted from his thoughts, shocked those words had just come out of Darkwing's mouth. That was the last thing he was expecting to hear.
Darkwing looked down at the trophy, almost cradling it in his arms. There was a near angelic look on Darkwing's face, as though his expression had softened.
This only made Launchpad squirm in his seat with worry. He knew what was about to come. Over the years he'd learned when to tell when Darkwing Duck was being honest and when he was being fake.
Darkwing was most definitely faking his emotions right now.
"Thank you" Darkwing repeated, pausing before continuing. The soft, fake smile one his beak instantly vanished back to his neutral emotionless face. "Thank you for FINALLY getting your heads out of your tail feathers and acknowledging the REAL hero of this crime-riddled city!"
The room was filled with gasps and everyone started talking among themselves heatedly.
Darkwing spoke over top of the dull roar of incredulous murmurs. "Nearly ten years worth of saving this city from super villain after super villain and you all FINALLY start to give me some of the respect I deserve!" His voice had increased in volume with every word until he was shouting at them; the microphone no longer necessary.
"You all disgust me! Each year you get together with this stupid banquet, coming here, stuffing your faces with food that's more expensive than some of the meals citizens have in a week put together! How many of you 'brave police officers' have taken on the likes of Negaduck, one-on-one and come out ALIVE! How many of you fools have taken on Megavolt and thrown him and his fellow team mates behind bars!? How many!?" He paused briefly, as though waiting for an answer.
"NONE OF YOU! That's how many! I have done and seen ten times more heroic deeds and dangerous stunts than all of you put together! But you all have the nerve to ignore me! To ridicule me! To laugh at me in my face whenever I make a mistake! Which yes, I AM prone to making mistakes, but I dare all of you to try HALF the things I've done to keep you and your loved ones safe at night without making any mistakes! None of you would last a day!"
Everyone in the room were starting to get angry by his words and several even voiced it. "You're just a clown in a cape!" someone hollered at him.
"A clown, he says! A clown! I'm sorry, last time I checked I wasn't bouncing around on a pogo stick! Sorry, moron, but you're confusing me with Quackerjack! Get it right!"
"You can all continue pretending to be heroes. You can all even continue to idolize the bucket of bolts himself, Gizmoduck! The lame-brain machine of the hour!" Gizmoduck straightened up indignantly, his hands going to his hips. "But none of you will truly know and understand the pain and suffering I've endured to allow you all to keep stuffing your faces like spoiled pigs!"
Darkwing looked down at the trophy in his hands. "Here! Here is what I think you and your damn banquet and your damn academy!" With that, he hurled the trophy through the air as everyone in the audience ducked for cover as it crashed loudly on one of the tables. The fall and the trophy's weight caused the table to break in half. Food, dishes, silverware, glasses all went flying into the air; glass shattered. Men and women alike screamed and cried out in alarm as glass and broken porcelain flew everywhere.
Over top of the chaos, Darkwing shouted, "And in case any of you had forgotten, I am the terror that FLAPS in the night, I am the rude awakening you get at a banquet, I am DARKWING DUCK! The REAL hero of his city! And don't any of you forget it!"
A puff of purple smoke appeared around him, consuming him from sight. Once the smoke cleared and everyone who had been close to attack recovered, Darkwing was gone.
Launchpad, who was sitting at the farthest table away from the podium, had placed his arms before him and buried his face, unable to face anyone.
Author's Note: Poor Launchpad, things just seem to keep getting worse and worse for the poor guy! :(
Author's Note: First half of this chapter is with Launchpad, the other half is with Darkwing. Enjoy!
The loud and angered chatter coming out of city hall could be heard for several blocks. The commotion Darkwing Duck had made wasn't about to be forgotten, that was for sure. Gizmoduck had been sure to grab everyone's attention by assuring them all everything would be alright. Surprisingly, Gizmoduck had defended Darkwing's behavior by saying he was extra stressed after losing someone special.
Not many of the crowd members who listened were deterred by his words, however.
Launchpad had managed to sneak out of the building without anyone noticing him. He pulled the small, cheap charcoal grey suit closer to him, wishing the sleeves were a couple inches longer. It was now more evident than ever that the suit was the wrong size in the chilly night air.
Hunched over and stuffing his hands into the tiny pockets of his pants, he walked along the streets of St. Canard without much of a destination in mind.
It wasn't until he heard a familiar voice that he looked up to see where he was going.
"Ugh, would you stop looking like a kicked puppy, already?"
The pilot looked up to see Darkwing standing in front of him; the shorter mallard's expression naturally blank.
Launchpad's frown deepened to annoyance as he looked away. "Not until you stop all this nonsense! Turn your emotions back on and we might actually be able to move past this!"
Darkwing gave a noise that sounded between a grunt and a chuckle. "'Turn my emotions back on' he says. As though its like a light switch."
"You know what I mean!" snapped Launchpad.
"Its not that simple, LP, and you know it. I have to WANT to feel again and we both know I don't want that."
Launchpad sprung into action, suddenly feeling daring enough to stand before Darkwing and grab both his hands and hold them in his own larger ones. With hope shining in his eyes, Launchpad said, "Then let me give you a reason, DW! We can make this work! It doesn't have to be this way!"
Darkwing tried to step back and away from Launchpad's grip, but he found the taller duck was holding on too tightly and he felt himself curious to hear what had to be said. He looked up at the duck who'd been his friend and sidekick for years, suddenly wanting nothing more than to listen to him. With eyes slightly widened, he listened.
Sensing that he was starting to get through to Darkwing, Launchpad pushed forward in his impromptu speech. "You're not alone in any of this, DW! I'm hurting too! And I know you did this to try to get away from the pain, I understand that, but this isn't healthy! Just remember some of the good times we've had! Not all emotions have to be bad! There are good feelings that you're missing out on!"
There was silence for a moment and it was clear that Launchpad had Darkwing's full attention right there on the sidewalk in the middle of St. Canard. "Please, DW! I know I just recently figured all this out, but if all of this has shown me anything, its that I can't imagine losing you! I love you! Bring back your emotions and things can get so much better!"
Not even caring if anyone was around them or that they were completely out in the open, Launchpad leaned down and lightly kissed the top of Darkwing's beak. Not quite their first kiss, but more like a prelude to it. His nervousness suddenly hit full force as he pulled back, watching Darkwing's every move and waiting for some sort of reaction.
Darkwing, to his surprise, had closed his eyes and had a faint complacent look on his face for a few seconds before opening his eyes and looking back up at Launchpad. "Launchpad..." he spoke quietly. His voice sounded vulnerable and uncertain, more like the Darkwing Launchpad was used to.
For just a moment, Launchpad knew he had seen a spark of Drake Mallard behind those darkened eyes. And his heart fluttered at the thought of getting through to Drake and able to make him see past the effects of the potion. To be enough for Drake to want to feel again!
Though fate had another plan in mind. As quickly as it came, the spark in his eyes was gone and literally within the blink of an eye, Darkwing's eyes went back to being pitch black orbs and the soft expression changed back to one void of emotion.
Launchpad felt his heart sinking as Darkwing opened his mouth to speak.
"Launchpad" he started by repeating his name. His voice was notably less sad and uncertain. "If you honestly think your love confession is enough to want me to start feeling emotions again, you're more of a naive idiot than I ever thought."
Launchpad was frozen on the spot as he felt his heart turn to ice. The now broken pilot let out a deep breath he hadn't known he was holding. His shoulders sagged as he felt tears come to his eyes. He gave a soft whimper as he quickly brushed them away with his hands after pulling away from Darkwing. After giving himself a moment, he mumbled, "Well, then that's that..."
Darkwing crossed his arms over his chest, shifting his weight as he waited for more.
Launchpad nodded, as though coming to an agreement with himself. "DW, I have to leave...I can't stand seeing you like this any longer...I'm...I have to get out of St. Canard."
"Should I expect a post card?" asked Darkwing.
Launchpad gave a weak grunt as he looked away, closing his eyes. He was unconsciously pulling at the sleeves of his suit in nerves and heartbreak. "Laugh all ya want at...my expense, DW, but I know this isn't the real you..." His voice cracked a bit. "You aren't my best friend...You just look identical to him."
"I'm not Negaduck, you big oaf" Darkwing pointed out.
"With the way you've been acting, you might as well be!" hissed Launchpad.
Darkwing's eyes narrowed slightly at his words, but made no comment.
"Like I said, I'm leaving! I'm heading back to Duckberg" continued the heartbroken pilot. "And if you ever come back to your senses...And finally start feeling your emotions again...I'll be waiting for you...Until then...This is goodbye!"
There was an awkward pause as though Launchpad was expecting Darkwing to say something, but when no response came from the shorter mallard, he sighed. "I love you, DW...Wherever you've buried yourself in there..."
With a twist of his heel, Launchpad turned and walked away, refusing to look back.
It was because of this that he missed the broken expression on Darkwing's face before it was replaced with a deep frown and half-lidded eyes.
"And so..." Launchpad's voice broke through the quiet of the little room. "There you have it..."
He received a distracted hum as a response from the other occupant in the room.
Launchpad was currently resting his head on his arms, which were resting on the back of a wooden chair he was leaning on; practically about to fall. He was pale and bags were under his eyes, along with old tear stains on his cheeks and around his beak.
"Goodness! You really have been through the wringer!" spoke an astonished male voice.
Gyro Gearloose finally stepped away from the closet he had been burrowing through and turned to his heartbroken friend. On his head was some type of device that looked like it could pick up everything between sonar and a radio signal. He reached up and turned one of the dials on the head equipment, holding out a finger as though to tell someone to wait a moment as he turned it. There was suddenly a high pitched sound that made the inventor cringe and throw the helmet off his head.
Launchpad fell out of his chair as he desperately tried to block out the painful sound by covering his ears.
The momentum of Gyro's throw sent the helmet flying across the room, where it hit the blunted corner of his wooden work bench, breaking the gear on top of the helmet with a smash.
The high pitched frequency stopped instantly much to the two men's relief.
Launchpad groaned as he got up from where he had fallen. "Ugh, what WAS that!?"
Gyro was busy lamenting over the broken helmet to answer immediately, but after a pause of speculation, he looked up at Launchpad as though he had forgotten he was there. "Oh, that?" He pointed at his now broken invention. "That was my Sonar Remote Helmet. With it, we'd be able to just THINK about what we wanted to turn on electronically and it would turn on! Example: I would just have to THINK about turning on the microwave to make popcorn and it would start making it!" he explained proudly as he fiddled with his suspenders. He paused a moment before adding, "After you put the popcorn IN the microwave of course! I'm still working on that part!"
Launchpad genuinely smiled for the first time in what felt like years. "Neato!"
Gyro nodded, clearly proud of himself. Reality set back in as he looked down at the broken helmet. "Uh...Of course, that was before I went and broke it..."
The two friends stood next to each other, looking down at the broken device in Gyro's hands before the inventor looked back up to his friend. "Anyways, you were saying, Launchpad?"
Launchpad blinked, having completely gotten off topic. "Eh? Oh, oh! Right! Well, yeah...That's pretty much the end of my story...I just came here because...Well, I really have no other place to go?"
"What happened to your little house on the East side of the park?"
"Eh...Well, that was technically the first place I went...but see...I guess those roof tiles I installed a while back weren't as secure as I would have hoped and...the roof collapsed at some point...and frankly...I can't fix it all by myself..." Launchpad explained, rubbing a hand along the back of his neck.
Gyro nodded. "I can help you fix it, don't you worry" promised the inventor.
"Thank you" mumbled a pacified Launchpad.
Gyro opened his beak to speak when Little Helper started purring animatedly. Both heads turned to see what the little anthropomorphic robot was all hyped up about. The little machine was jumping up and down and waving its hands up and down as he continued to purr and hum.
Launchpad could only stare in wonder at Little Helper while Gyro nodded conversationally, clearly understanding him. "Hmm...You raise a good question, Helper..."
"What's he sayin'?" asked Launchpad.
"He's asking on where you plan to stay tonight. Are you going to let Mr. McDuck know you're in town? I'm sure he'd be more than happy than help you out."
Launchpad shook his head in a negative. "No...I don't want to bother him..."
Gyro, who had started fiddling with some of the beakers on his work stand made a sympathetic noise in his throat before saying, "No...You wouldn't be a bother, Launchpad!" There was a moment of silence before he added, "No less of a bother than an unexpected plane crash, that is."
Launchpad gave a wan smile, hardly perturbed by the offhanded jibe. "Heh, I think Mr. McDee has had one too many of my crashes...Though it would be awful nice to see the boys...H-How are they anyways?"
"You mean, Huey, Dewey, and Louie? Oh, they're fine. Haven't actually seen much of them around here myself to be honest. So much has been going on lately with Mr. McDuck and his new relationship" answered Gyro who was patting Little Helper on the back.
"Relationship?" echoed Launchpad.
"You mean you haven't heard? Its been all over the news for months now!" squeaked Gyro.
"Mr. McDee finally hooked back up with ol' Glittering Goldie then?"
Gyro shook his head. "Goodness, no! Why, with Fenton Crackshell, of course!" He shook his head with a chuckle.
"Fenton!? As in, Mr. McDee's accountant, Fenton!?"
"The one and only!"
"Gee, I never would have guessed. You know, come to think of it, that would explain all the comments about Mr. McDuck at the Police Academy Banquet I was at last night." He chuckled a bit. "I guess I was so wrapped up in my own problems, I hardly thought or noticed anything else!"
"So, basically it was like any other night, huh?" asked Gyro innocently enough.
"Yep-exactly-H-hey, wait a second-!" Launchpad realized a moment too late he had been insulted.
Gyro beat him to the punch before he could argue any further. "To be fair, I didn't know about it until I was suddenly bombarded with new reporters at my door demanding for an interview about my thoughts on Mr. McDuck and Fenton as a couple. And I'll tell you the same thing I told them. Let me just find my magnets real fast-" He immediately went in search for the said objects when Little Helper started humming wildly again.
Gyro turned to see what he wanted and found the little robot was holding the magnets already. "Ah, thank you Little Helper! See these magnets? One side is negative, the other is positive. I've always seen Mr. McDuck as negative and Fenton would be more positive." He held the two magnets together, briefly showing the two different sides to them to the pilot, before snapping them together. "The same thing can be said about you and this Darkwing character. I may not know him as well as I know Mr. McDuck, but from what I hear, he'd be the negative magnet, while you would be the positive one."
Launchpad frowned. "He's negative alright."
Gryo turned to hand the magnets back to Little Helper, who obligingly put them away.
"So..." began the pilot nervously. "You don't think its weird that I'm attracted to Darkwing?"
"Not at all. Gender isn't part of the equation. So long as two living creatures connect and bond, that's all that matters. I can get my chemistry set out if you'd like a further explanation."
Launchpad shook his head. "Not necessary. I wouldn't understand any of it anyways..."
Gryo pouted. "Why doesn't anyone ever want to hear my chemistry theories?"
Little Helper walked up to Gyro from his perch on the table and reached out to pat him on the arm. Launchpad watched the display with curiousity before saying, "You know, its a wonder how Megavolt hasn't made a little robot friend like Little Helper."
Gyro, who had started looking through one of his tool chests, questioned, "Mega-who?"
"Megavolt. He's a super villain from back in St. Canard. Crazed electrical rodent, always sending power surges through the city to clear his sinuses and going around tryin' to liberate light bulbs and other appliances."
"What makes him electrical?" was Gyro's next question, though it was obvious his real interest was whatever he was trying to find in the tool chest.
"Uhh...I dunno...I just know he's practically a walking live wire. He wears a battery strapped to his back, even!"
"Hmm... I wonder if somehow he got electrons in his blood stream...and they managed to merge with his blood cells-"
"Okay, woah!" hollered Launchpad, backing away with his hands up. He couldn't help but chuckle at the same time though. "You're speakin' a whole other language now, there, Gyro. I was just making an observation! No need to make a lecture out of it!"
"Yes, but now I'm curious! I'd like to meet this guy!" commented Gyro.
"No, you wouldn't. Trust me. He's a nut case!"
Gyro took a deep breath and sighed, placing his thinking cap onto his head. "Oh well." He jumped and started bouncing upside down on the bouncy helmet.
Launchpad watched his friend, deciding to sit down and relax. "So, you don't mind if I crash here for a while?"
"Nope!" came the jolted reply of Gyro as he bounced. "Just so long as it isn't an actual crash, its fine with me! I just rebuilt this place after my last invention crashing after all!"
Launchpad smiled as Little Helper climbed onto his lap and sat down, making himself at home on the pilot's lap. Together, the two watched the inventor brainstorm new ideas.
Meanwhile, back in the streets of St. Canard, Darkwing Duck made his way through the city without much of a glance without his surroundings. To say that Launchpad's words hadn't had an effect on him would have been a miscalculation. And it was because of this that left Darkwing restless, to the point where he couldn't settle himself in one spot. He needed to do something to distract him from these emotions.
He didn't feel comfortable anymore, the potions effects waning ever so slightly from the revelation of Launchpad's confession.
So, in order to take his mind of the scenario that was now repeating on a loop in his mind, Darkwing began walking around the city in hopes for a distraction.
He received one not long after he started looking when the deep gravely voice of his counter part rang through the city.
"That's right, St. Canard, I, the great Negaduck, am BACK!" came the brawled shouts. Darkwing stopped where he was walking along the sidewalk, not even noticing the person behind him nearly colliding him with and angrily telling him not watch where he was going.
Squinting into the early morning sunlight, since he had been walking through the streets all through the night, the masked mallard was just barely able to make out the outline of the notorious Negaduck standing up on top of the St. Canard Bank, shouting down at the citizens to announce his arrival back into the city.
Darkwing regarded him in near boredom, listening to what the other mallard had to say.
"You all thought you had gotten rid of me!" Negaduck was saying.
Onlookers and people on the street were starting to pay attention to the criminal and stop in their daily lives to listen and gossip in fear.
With half-lidded eyes, Darkwing looked back down to ground level, where he saw the front doors to the bank. An idea came to mind as he walked up to the doors, pushing his way past an elderly couple who had just walked out and making his way inside.
He walked past the long line of those waiting to be waited on, ignoring their angry complaints that he needed to wait in line like everyone else. He pushed his way past everyone and up to one of the bankers who currently had a "closed" sign out since they were clearly working on another task.
Darkwing stopped before the woman who was quickly typing away at her computer and cleared his throat. The woman, who was a cat, blinked at him. "This vestibule is closed. You'll have to get in line for another one."
"Are you blind?" asked Darkwing bluntly.
"I asked if you're blind."
"Clearly you are, for you seem to fail to notice that I am Darkwing Duck."
"You still have to wait in line."
Darkwing regarded her coolly for a moment before turning to his left, where the was a "Employee's Only" sign. The walkway led to the back hallways of the bank. Wordlessly, Darkwing walked through the walkway. The second he was past the counter, the woman exclaimed, "You can't be back here!"
Darkwing turned to her. "I'll go where I please."
"If you were Darkwing Duck, you'd be showing more respect!"
Darkwing's blank expression turned to a deep frown. He opened his beak to say something before quickly shutting it. Then, his expression showed that an idea had struck him. Darkwing cleared his throat and gave a grunt before talking in a deeper voice that was identical to Negaduck's, "Well, congratulations, toots. You caught me!" He raised his arms up in mock surrender.
The woman's eyes widened, clearly having heard Negaduck's voice on the news before. She gasped in alarm, and by this point, the woman working in the vestibule beside her had caught on to what was happening and was starting to freak out too. "Oh my God! I think that IS Negaduck! A lot of people have been saying he's been outside making threats all morning!"
The cat woman who had been speaking to Darkwing gasped again and got up from her chair in an attempt to back away from Darkwing.
"I've been parading around town as Darkwing, but you...You managed to to see through my disguise...BARELY! Congratulations, ya knob!" continued Darkwing, adding the cherry on top to get what he wanted. His voice deepened even further. "Now, ya gonna let me go where I want or are things gonna have to get ugly?"
"Go wherever you please, sir!" squealed the woman.
Darkwing didn't waste another second before continuing on his way through the back hallways to the bank that would otherwise be restricted. He came upon a set of elevators quickly enough before he turned and got into one. Thankfully no one else was inside and he able to get up to the top floor without further hindrance.
If he guessed right, Negaduck was sure to be somewhere on one of the top levels. The evil mallard had been on the top floor screaming out one of the windows. Clearly rooftops were now a slight fear of the villain's since that was where he would normally be. That happens whenever you got pushed off one.
The elevator dinged and announced that he had reached the top floor. The doors opened with a whir and Darkwing stepped out. The top floor was empty; just being one large room, like a large unfinished condo.
Negaduck's voice could be heard fully now, reverberating and echoing off the bare steel walls.
Darkwing turned and saw the criminal in the flesh; Negaduck's back facing towards him as he leaned out the window making his threats.
"If I catch that Darkwing Duck, and you believe me, I will, I will send HIM flying down a large building to his death!" Negaduck was shouting.
Darkwing lightly scoffed at the threat.
Silently he walked up to where Negaduck had set up a thin long eight by four table where a few miscellaneous weapons were laid out. Most of them were knives of some type save for Negaduck's infamous and ever loyal chainsaw, which could be seen sitting underneath the table.
Negaduck certainly couldn't be accused of not being prepared.
Negaduck continued to rant and rave, completely obvious that he arch nemesis was directly behind him.
"I will find that masked mallard and have him rue to the day he messed with Negaduck! And all of St. Canard will be there to watch! So watch out, you worthless scum!"
Darkwing, who had been busy looking at the four knives on the table, glanced up at Negaduck with a raised eyebrow before studying the knives on the table once again.
He was so busy admiring the sharp objects when a shadow came over his persona. Instinctively, Darkwing grabbed one of the knives and raised it outward, nearly slicing Negaduck directly in the middle of his beak.
Negaduck chuckled at his own knife being used against him. "Heh heh. Well, if it isn't Darkwing Duck himself" came Negaduck's voice. "I"m surprised. No purple smoke? No introduction?"
Darkwing didn't answer, just stared at Negaduck and pointing the knife at him.
Negaduck's brows furrowed together in confusion, clearly not used to this. He studied the masked mallard before him, noting the strange behavior, along with the strange blank expression on his enemies face. It was then that Negaduck noticed Darkwing's darkened eyes. "What's with you?" he hissed.
"I'd be a little less curious about me and more curious about where I could stick this knife if I were you, Negaduck" replied Darkwing coldly.
Negaduck blinked. He then laughed. Not just the light, caught off guard laugh. A full on belly, 'I can't breathe', laugh. Negaduck held onto his sides as he doubled over in laughter. One could swear tears were beginning to form in the villain's eyes but it was hard to tell due to his black mask. After recovering slightly, Negaduck managed to gasp out, "Right! You don't have the guts for that sort of violence, Wingy!" He continued to laugh.
"I wouldn't be too sure of that" quipped Darkwing.
Negaduck's laughter was quickly fading as the yellow dressed duck slowly realized Darkwing wasn't messing around. With a huff he asked, "What? You're going to cut my throat out? Gut me? Please. You're too much of a goody-two-shoes for that, Dorkwip. We both know it. So, just put the knife down...Or better yet, give it to me...And I'll show you how a real man threatens someone with it."
Darkwing lowered his arm, the knife dropping to the table with a clatter in the process.
"You underestimate me, Negaduck. A lot has happened to me since the last time we fought."
Negaduck snorted. "Right. Like what? Did people finally stop asking for your autograph? Oh, wait, they never did to begin with! Ha!"
"No. I just lost all interest in the thoughts and feelings of others, along with my own."
"Eh?" grunted Negaduck. "What are you on about?"
"Do I have to spell it out for you, 'knob'?" mocked Darkwing. "I no longer have the ability to feel emotions. I took all of that away after I lost the one person who I cared about most. I lost Gosalyn."
Negaduck's eyes widened in genuine shock. While it had never really been addressed, it was pretty evident that Negaduck and Darkwing shared the same secret identity and to this day, Negaduck was never quite sure why he never used that knowledge to his advantage, but the fact remained that he was well aware that the young duckling who had always followed Darkwing Duck around was the counter part to the sickening, frilly pink dressed girl in his own universe. He also was well aware that as much as Negaduck despised his own little Nega-Gosalyn, Darkwing loved and adored his own Gosalyn.
"She's...dead?" Negaduck found himself asking.
"So, you're telling me, that you went all "cry baby" after she kicked the bucket and now you don't have your emotions? How did you manage that?"
"A potion? Let me guess, Morgana's doing?" guessed the doppelgänger. Negaduck adjusted his weight and placed his left hand spread out on the table before them.
Darkwing didn't reply, just glanced down at the knives and Negaduck's hand.
"So...what? You had a shitty day and you go have a hissy fit and decide to run from your problems by ridding yourself of emotions?" exclaimed Negaduck incredulously. "You're an even bigger coward than I ever imagined! You can't even deal with your own pain and emotions!"
Darkwing grabbed the knife so quickly, Negaduck didn't have a chance to realize what was even happening before the Darkwing raised the knife and jammed it right in the dead center of Negaduck's left hand.
Negaduck's scream of pain and agony could be heard several floors below them. "AAAAHHHHH!" The pained duck bent over in pain, nearly hitting his face against the edge of the table in the process. His free hand gripped the edge of the table, his knuckles tight and stiff from how tight he was holding onto it. Once his initial scream was over, he shouted in misery and grunted angrily.
Darkwing however, seemed completely unfazed. He never let go of the handle of the knife, keeping it firmly in its place in Negaduck's hand. Blood began to pool at the base of the wound, the knife having gone completely through his hand.
While Negaduck cringed and trembled in pain, Darkwing stared at him as though they were still having a civil conversation.
Negaduck then went to grab the knife and pull it out himself, but Darkwing's quick reflexes caught the pained villain off guard and managed to catch the opposing hand. Negaduck managed to look up once his other hand was caught by Darkwing and his eyes widened in shock when he saw how little this was effecting the other mallard.
"What the hell is wrong with you!?" shouted Negaduck.
"According to you, I'm a coward. That is apparently what is wrong with me. But I disagree" remarked the masked vigilante.
Negaduck squirmed as he tried to free his hand from Darkwing's hand, but all he got as a reward was more pain from his wounded hand.
Darkwing leaned in close, pulling Negaduck along with him so that they were both leaning over the table; their bills almost touching. "You call me a coward for drinking a potion that took away my emotions. But what you don't seem to understand, is that I didn't just take away my emotions. I took away my pain."
Negaduck groaned and closed his eyes tight; his teeth digging into his lower lip to keep from screaming as Darkwing pushed down on the knife harder.
"You feel the pain in your hand?"
"Yes, ya knob, of course I do!" snapped Negaduck.
"Are you sure?" was Darkwing's question. He twisted the knife ever so slightly and Negaduck let out another scream of torment.
"YES! NOW STOP IT!" yelled the duck in yellow.
Darkwing stopped trying to twist the knife, much to Negaduck's slight relief. "Good, now focus on this pain and imagine it ripping through your heart instead of your hand and times it by ten." He paused and allowed Negaduck a moment to think his words over. "Because that's the pain I felt when I lost Gosalyn. You wouldn't fully understand this because you've never been this close to anyone. You've never been capable of letting someone that close to you. But I have. And because of that, I felt my heart rip in two. Similar to how your hand could easily be sliced in two if I decided to..." He moved the angle of the knife a bit to prove that he could slice Negaduck's hand up even more if he wanted.
Negaduck fought against Darkwing's hold even more, but sadly, the pain in his hand left him weakened and and every little movement of his hand or even his wrist sent another ripple of pain shooting through his arm and through his body.
"Now, tell me, Negaduck. If you felt that kind of pain, are you trying to tell me you wouldn't do the same thing I did? You wouldn't selfishly take a potion and push everyone else in your life away just so you didn't have to feel anymore?" contested Darkwing, proving his point.
Negaduck grunted, his beak opening and closing as he tried to think of a response. His hat fell to the floor as he wriggled along the table in a desperate hope to alleviate the pain even slightly.
"If you could, right now, would you do anything in your power to stop the pain you're feeling now?" was Darkwing's next question.
Negaduck found himself nodding, though he figured it was more because he wanted to give the masked mallard the right answer and not because it was his actual answer. "I'm going to murder you, Darkwing" he growled.
Darkwing's beak formed a straight line as his eyes slid shut half way. "I'm just defending myself against your claim that I'm a coward. I'm not a coward at all. I'm just tired of being controlled by my emotions. You have no idea what I've been through, so for you to call me a coward just shows how little you know."
Darkwing looked back down at the knife still firmly in Negaduck's hand. With a jerk of his arm, he pulled the knife out and let go of Negaduck's other hand. Negaduck instantly fell to his knees, cradling his hand and looking it over, blood spilling out of it on both sides. He looked up over the table to see Darkwing still holding the bloody knife in his hands.
"When you've had your heart ripped to pieces and you feel like you've lost everything that was once important to you, then we can talk again about who's a coward and who's not" finished Darkwing. With a flip of his cape, the masked vigilante left the room and Negaduck was left pondering what had just happened.
Darkwing had just walked through the front doors to the bank after having left Negaduck up there mend his hand, when the flashing of cameras nearly blinded him from being unprepared.
The masked vigilante stepped back in shock as he closed his eyes, almost stumbling on the few steps down to the sidewalk. When he opened his eyes though, he noticed that the cameras were not focused on him, but the bank itself. News stations and reporters were cluttering around the street a ways away, all eyes glued on the top of the bank where Negaduck had earlier been making his threats.
Assured that the attention was not on him, Darkwing continued walking, only mildly noting the dirty looks he was receiving from the police officers who were barricading the bank so that no one got too close.
So that was why the bank was suddenly empty, Darkwing thought.
"Say, Darkwing!" called over one of the police officers.
Darkwing glanced over. He recognized the officer as one of the guys who was at the table he threw his statue at the night before. Darkwing stopped and regarded the canine officer tiredly.
"Where's Negaduck? Didn't manage to get him, did you? Mr. 'I'm Better Than All of You!" sneered the officer.
Darkwing debated whether or not to reply. "Working on it." He decided to say.
The officer sneered at him once more before turning his attention to the security around the bank.
Darkwing walked several yards down the street when when he heard Negaduck's voice near his right.
"Alright, Darkwing!" The yellow clothed criminal did in fact look murderous, just as he said he would be, his cape torn at the end for a makeshift bandage for his hand. "You're gonna pay for that, just like I told you you would!"
Negaduck was holding up a small gun and pointing it straight at Darkwing's head.
Darkwing just stood there, now several feet away from the other duck. "You won't shoot me" spoke the masked mallard confidently.
Negaduck's scowl deepened before his eyes widened in surprise. "Wait...You're not even one bit scared, are you? I'm pointing a damn gun at your head!"
Darkwing just blinked at him. "Idiot. Fear is an emotion. What part of 'I no longer have my emotions', didn't you seem to get?"
Negaduck jerked in surprise, his wounded hand clutched closely to his chest. "I-You know what, Wingy? Over the years, so many weird, unexplained things have happened over time-Its often hard to tell what's real and what's not actually happening. I'll never forget the time you suddenly turned into a friggin' baby right there in my arms and then a violinist the next as we're falling to our doom."
Darkwing shrugged. "Fine, I'll give you that. But go ahead and put the gun away, we both know you won't shoot."
Negaduck cocked the gun, proving that it was ready and loaded. "Wanna bet?"
There was a door slamming in the distance and they both looked to see the news cameras had finally decided to leave. Clearly they had not noticed that both mallards they wanted to shoot were right there; down the street from them. The police officers seemed oblivious as well.
Darkwing caught site of the canine officer who had jeered at him not minutes before. An idea struck him as he turned back to Negaduck.
"Do you want to see something fun?" Darkwing randomly asked.
Flabbergasted, all Negaduck could reply with was, "What?"
"You heard me. Do you want to see something fun?"
"What are you getting at!?"
"I'll tell you if you put the gun down" retorted Darkwing.
"Please, there is a better chance of me using that gun than you" goaded the emotionless hero.
"Is not! Between the two of us, I'm by far the most ruthless."
Darkwing titled his head to side, a small smirk playing on his lips. If he had the ability to, he'd laugh. "He says to the guy who just put a knife through his hand."
"What are you implying?" snarled Negaduck.
He never received an answer. Darkwing's eyes just narrowed and for a moment Negaduck was stunned. The hero's eyes were suddenly far colder than he had ever seen Darkwing's eyes. It caused a shiver to run up the criminal's spine.
"You don't think I can be ruthless?" asked Darkwing ominously. "This is part of the reason why I drank that potion. So that I didn't have to feel the pain anymore, but also so that I wouldn't care anymore. I'm tired of caring about what everyone thinks. I'm tired of taking care of a city that clearly doesn't give a shit about me. I'm tired of striving so much for attention that I'd never get anyways. Now, I just want to do whatever I want to do. Simply because I can."
Negaduck, still holding the gun at him, shifted nervously in his spot, unsure of what was happening.
"I'll ask again: You want to see something fun?"
Without warning, Darkwing snatched the gun out of Negaduck's hand and aimed it at the police officer who was down the street talking to two other police officers. "Do you think that if I wanted to be, I could just as good a super villain as I am a hero ?"
Negaduck's eyes practically popped out of his head. "WHAT!?"
"Stop making me repeat things. I'm asking if you'd think I'd make a good villain" repeated Darkwing, though he was clearly in a better mood now that he was the one holding the gun.
Negaduck just gaped at Darkwing. It was one thing for the hero to be without his emotions, it was another thing altogether to be willing to commit crimes. A person's morals didn't go away without one's emotions, did they?
"You're bluffing!" Negaduck accused. "You'd never be able to be a criminal! Now give me my gun back!"
"I'm not bluffing" argued Darkwing.
"Yes, you are, now give me back the gun, Dipwing. We both know you're too moral to be a-"
Without even taking his eyes off Negaduck, Darkwing raised the gun to his right and shot the gun once, the bullet soaring through the air. Seconds later, cries of pain could be heard from the canine police officer. Everyone around him gasped in alarm as the wounded officer grabbed his leg and fell to the ground. The bullet had hit him just above the left knee.
Negaduck's beak fell open. "...Super villain..." he trailed off in shock. "Y-You just-You just...Shot a police officer..." Negaduck turned to Darkwing, seeing him in a whole new light.
There was shouting that caused both mallards to look back over. Finally the officers had taken notice to their presence.
"Heh, well, Wingy, now you get to see the other side of the law" said Negaduck smugly. "You-"
Negaduck was interrupted as Darkwing maneuvered around him, suddenly at his back. The gun was slammed inconspicuously into his good hand and while Negaduck was confused, Darkwing grabbed the others bad hand and pulled it behind Negaduck's back.
The moment Darkwing touched Negaduck's bad hand, he screamed in pain. His one arm now forced behind his back and the gun in his other hand, it was hard for Negaduck to move out his grasp.
"Watch this" hissed Darkwing into Negaduck's ear.
Louder, Darkwing shouted in his usual, peppy, hero voice, "Over here! I have caught Negaduck! I am so sorry! I was not able to get him in time before he shot the gun!"
The police officers began making their way towards them. In the meantime, Negaduck growled, "What are you doing!?" He tried to push Darkwing away but the masked mallard only tightened his grip harder on Negaduck's injured hand, making Negaduck nearly fall in pain.
"Framing you. And you want to know the best part?" Darkwing answered quietly into the criminal's ear. "They're going to believe me. Because as you said, I'm 'too moral'. No one would ever believe Darkwing Duck would EVER do such a thing. I might be a real pain in the ass to the police officers right now after how I treated them last night at the banquet-Oh, right, you don't know about that, but anyways-They're still gonna take my word over yours..."
He finished speaking the moment the officers came around to grab Negaduck. The gun was snatched out of Negaduck's hand, who hardly noticed it had even been there from all the commotion; his mind still reeling to what was happening.
Negaduck was quickly handcuffed and there was a moment when Darkwing was able to get close enough to Negaduck to whisper without anyone overhearing, "Do you still think I'm too moral to be a criminal mastermind?"
"You'd never do anything to tarnish your precious super hero image" hissed Negaduck.
"Well, its a good thing I have a super villain doppelgänger to impersonate, eh?"
Negaduck's eyes widened. "You wouldn't!"
Darkwing shrugged."You've done it to me plenty of times. Maybe now it's my turn. Let's see if I can be a better criminal mastermind than you." Darkwing then stepped back as the police officers stepped closer.
"I'll get you for this, Darkwing!" was Negaduck's only reply as two officers came and started dragging him off to a police car.
The angry mallard continued to fight and spit like a hissing cat, shouting in pain whenever his hand was pressed on too hard. The police shut him in the police car and carried him off to jail.
None of the officers really said anything save for their muttered thanks, since they were still unsure of how to treat Darkwing. But the masked vigilante took no notice as he just watched Negaduck get taken away, his expression even more blank and emotionless than ever.
Author's Note: Woah! Darkwing as officially crossed the dark side! Also, some references were made from Snark N Moon's own McCrack stories. Along with her Gyro explanation about magnets. That was loosely copied from her. :) Please review! Thanks!
Author's Notes: Here is chapter 8! I want to remind everyone who doesn't already know, Mr. Meddle if my own creation. He is the owner and creator of Whiffle Boy. I invented him back in my Quackjerjack based story, "Toymaker Madness". To learn more about him, I suggest you take some time in reading that. Anyways, enjoy the chapter! -EricaX
Camera lights were flashing like crazy as the paparazzi surrounded the area in front of the Whiffle Boy Factory where the owner, Mr. Meddle, was currently standing, smugly smiling out at those crowded around him.
Flanked on either side of him were two large, body builder type body guards who were dressed in black suits and sunglasses. They looked about as threatening as could be. Even after three years, the old rodent still found himself terrified of the idea that Quackerjack would still someday come to try to kill him once again. Therefore, ever since that dreadful night, he insisted on protection in the form of body guards and heavy security at all times.
However, that was one of the last things on his mind as he opened his mouth to speak. "Thank you, everyone, for coming this afternoon! I am thrilled to see you are all so excited to know that I will be participating in tonight's Game-a-Thon! I hope all of you Whiffle fans are as excited as I am! I am looking forward to seeing all of you out there on the game floor showing off your maddening skills!" His high pitched called over the crowd. He fiddled with the collar of his brown suit and then his red tie.
Those in the crowd who were simply fans squealed in delight at the reminder of the highly anticipated Game-a-Thon.
"I will be at the Convention Center all afternoon! Sixth floor! I hope to see you all there!" he finished. "Whiffle Ho!"
The fans grew louder in happiness at the infamous line Meddle called out.
More cameras went off to catpure the announcement as Meddle turned to glance at his body guards, given them a brief nod each before turning to head back into the building.
Unknown to anyone, way in the back in one of darkened alleyways across the street stood Darkwing, who had been watching the entire scene unfold before him.
In the darkened warehouse, filled to the brim with toys and electircal appliances, a loud, obnoxious yawn and groan came from the large collection of pillows, bean bag chairs, and blankets that were littered with Quackerjack's threatening stuffed teddy bears. Sprinkled around the bears were odds and ends like paddle balls, jump ropes, roller skates, and yo-yos. Not to mention a great deal more.
In the midst of the chaos laid Quackerjack, who was laying spread eagle on the top of the pile, practically hidden from view from the floor since the pile was no high. No one would know he was up there if his red clad foot wasn't sticking out over the edge.
"Doh! Would you stop you're whining!?" came the aggravated and nasally voice of Megavolt from where he was working at his table across the room. "Its hard for me to concentrate when you're over there groaning and fussing every other minute!"
"MEEEEEEGGGGSSSSYYYY!" responded Quackerjack is a whiny childish voice. "You're supposed to console me and make me feel better whenever I'm in these moods!"
"Tough luck!" grouses the rodent. "I'm busy!"
"You are NOT!" argued the clown. He had yet to get up from his spot on the messy pile. It was like he was trapped in a little cocoon of his own madness.
"I'm trying to communicate with SIRI!" shot back Megavolt.
"PFFT!" rasp-berried Quackerjack. He finally chose this moment to sit up, looking over at his electrical friend. The bells at the end of his hat jingled at his sudden movements. "Don't give me that! You've been trying to talk to her for days! And I've already tried to tell you! You have to press the-"
"SHHHH! I'm trying to work!" growled Megavolt.
Quackerjack rolled his eyes dramatically. With a huff he pushed himself forward so that he was sitting at the edge of hsi pile, his long legs now swinging off the side. "Why is she so important to you anyways? I'M here! Aren't I enough!?"
Megavolt cleared his throat as though he was going to say something, but he never did, he just continued studying the cell phones before him.
Quackerjack closed his eyes with impatience. The last few days had not been easy on the jester, since his grand scheme that he had been working on for a year and a half had blown up in his face. Literally. Now he was depressed and to make matters worse, his favorite person in the whole wide world wasn't even paying attention to him.
Megavolt, meanwhile, was oblivious to his partner's distress and was looking at a cell phone closely. His right thumb hovered over the little black button at the button of the phone. He had pressed that button hundreds of times and SIRI had not shown up once. Grunting in frustration, the rodent pressed down on the button and held on, not actually expecting anything to happen.
The phone then made a little humming noise and vibrated softly in his gloved hand. Crazed eyes snapped open wide and looked down to see the screen turn from the menu and the words, "What can I help you with?" showed up.
Megavolt squeaked. "SIRI!?" he asked the phone while still pressing the button.
A female, robotic voice replied, "How may I assist you?"
Megavolt jumped up with joy, setting the phone down on the table before he began celebrating. "IT'S SIRI! SHE SPOKE TO ME!"
Completely uninterested, Quackerjack just scratched a spot under his hat and gave him a half-lidded look. "Whoop-dee-doo."
Megavolt cackled mischievously, rubbing his hands together and making a few sparks appear between them.
He went back over to the phone, fully intending to start his plans to liberate all cell phones. Now knowing that he just had to press the button down and speak.
"Hi, SIRI, this is Megavolt! I've been trying to get a hold of you!"
"Who, me?" the cell phone responded.
Megavolt nodded happily. "Yes! Yes, you! I was hoping to discuss how we could liberate all cell phones! I want to help you!"
"That's what I figured" was SIRI's answer.
Megavolt beamed. "Oh, so you've heard about me?"
"You're certainly entitled to that opinion."
Megavolt paused and thought about her reply for a moment. "Eh?"
SIRI merely repeated herself.
Meanwhile, Quackerjack was watching this take place, clearly getting more and more frustrated with every word the two shared. This conversation was getting nowhere fast.
"Megsy, I'm BOOOORRREEED!" he cried out to his ignorant friend.
Megavolt brushed him off with a wave of his hand. "SIRI, I need to know. How can I help all of the cell phones in the world?"
There was a pause as SIRI processed the question before she said, "Hold on, let me check my sources."
The next thing Megavolt knew, he was shown a list of internet links on the amount of "sulfones" there were in the world and how he could help them. "Sulfones?" he asked with a confused expression. "I didn't say "sulfones" I said CELL PHONES!"
"I don't know what you mean by 'I didn't say sulfones I said cell phones". How about a web search for it?"
Megavolt blinked. "W-What? What are you talking about SIRI!?"
"I don't get it." was all the answer he got.
Megavolt frowned in consternation and confusion, scratching underneath his helmet and nearly making it fall to the concrete floor. "But if you don't get it, how am I supposed to get it?"
"Oh, rats..." said SIRI in a slightly defeating robotic tone.
Quackerjack pouted from his perch on the messy pile. He looked over and saw one of his teddy bears which no longer had a chainsaw in it. He grabbed it and threw it at Megavolt's head, hitting the rodent with astonishing accuracy from that distance.
The stuffed bear hit Megavolt, causing the rodent to drop the phone on the table. When he whirled around to look at Quackerjack, the jester looked furious.
"WOULD EVERYONE JUST STOP IGNORING ME!?" Quackerjack yelled, making his voice echo through the walls of the warehouse.
Megavolt finally turned his full attention on the petulant jester. "What's your problem!?"
"YOU! You're my problem! You're ignoring me! EVERYONE has been ignoring me!" Quackerjack wailed in return.
He whipped out Mr. Banana Brain. "No one likes you anymore, Theodore" squeaked the doll.
This only caused the jester to become more distressed for he started pulling down hard on the ends of his jester hat, kicking his legs out and making the large pile of toys and blankets wobble.
Megavolt turned to SIRI and asked, "SIRI, do you like Quackerjack?"
"I'd rather not say, Megavolt" was SIRI's answer.
Megavolt frowned at the phone while Quackerjack cried out in further anger and despair.
"That's just a fancy way of saying no, Joe" interjected Mr. Banana Brain.
Megavolt looked back and forth between SIRI and the banana doll being held out in Quackerjack's hand. After a long moment of contemplation, Megavolt sighed and said, "You know what? I don't feel like helping a bunch of cell phones who don't even like Quacky." He then turned off the cell phone and flopped it on the table with a thud. He crossed his arms and scowled at the offending phone.
Quackerjack, meanwhile, just stared wide eyed as he slowly pushed his way down the pile and over to Megavolt. "You're giving up on SIRI because she doesn't like me?"
Megavolt nodded. "That's right. She's not worth my time if she doesn't like you. I don't like anyone who doesn't like you. Because I like you and that's all that matters."
Quackerjack sniffled and gave a watery smile. "Aww, Megsy! You DO like me!"
Next thing the electric rodent knew was that he was attacked in a giant hug, the jester's colorfully dressed arms wrapped around his torso and the duck's chin on his shoulder. Megavolt awkwardly patted him on the shoulder in support.
There was a sudden knock on the large metal doors to the warehouse, which caused both of them to look over at them. They pulled apart and looked at each other in confusion before looking back at the doors.
Quackerjack was the one who ventured over to the doors and slowly opened one of them, using most of his weight to push the heavy door. It was raining outside and thunder could be heard in the distance. He looked around to see no one in sight save for an alley cat across the street digging through a trash can. "Kitty? It wasn't you who knocked, was it?"
Hearing Quackerjack speak, the thin black roughed up looking cat glanced over hsi way, a peice of old meat in its mouth. The cat blinked before scampering away with its prize.
Quackerjack hummed as he continued to look around. Just as he was about to give up and go back inside, he glanced down to see a peice of paper on the ground. He picked it up.
'Meet us at the Convention Center on the 12th floor. We have something to discuss'
-Bushroot and Liquidator
Quackerjack flipped the piece of paper over to make sure there was nothing more to it. Seeing nothing, he stepped back inside and shut the door. He looked over to where Megavolt was scowling at the cell phones.
"And to think I wasted all this time on you" he was saying to the phones.
Quackerjack cleared his throat to gain his friend's attention. "Got a note from Bushy and Likky. Or so it seems to be from them."
Megavolt snatched the paper from the jester and read it himself. He then looked back up to inquire. "Why the note? Why didn't they just come in and tell us?"
Over the past few years, since their little spat with Liquidator, the Fearsome Four had come to a truce and were once again friends. They had figured bygones should be bygones. Though Quackerjack still had a small chip on his shoulder towards Liquidator for selling Megavolt out to Paddywhack.
"Should we meet up with them? See what they want at least?" asked Megavolt.
Quackerjack tossed the piece of paper over his shoulder and grinned widely, his buck teeth in full view. "Sure! Why not!? Maybe they have something planned! Might be fun!"
"I don't like this. I don't like this. I don't like this. I don't like this!" came the constant baritone mantra as Bushroot tipped his head down closer to his chest, further hiding his face underneath his brown fedora hat. A shiver ran down his spine as he stood in front of the small home and garden store that had just opened the previous month next to the convention center in St. Canard.
Surrounding him were other customers who were blissfully unaware they were in the presence of one of St. Canard's super villains.
The mutant plant duck groaned as gloved hands awkwardly fiddled with each other, his leaf shaped hands making it hard to keep the gloves on. "Why do I always manage to get myself talked into these situations" he moaned quietly to himself.
Thunder sounded in the distance, which caused the shoppers around him to start nervously looking up at the sky. Outside the store were an assortment of potted flowers that were on sale.
Bushroot didn't even want to contemplate responding to any of the flower's comments about how happy they were to being on sale and possibly purchased. Poor dears had no idea none of these shoppers would probably even plant them right, nor feed them. Not the proper way like Bushroot would, at any rate.
Oh, if only he could save all plants from improper treatment! The world would be such a happier place!
The customers around him continued to chatter away happily as he waited for his companion to finish with his job. Liquidator had insisted that Bushroot was in desperate need of new gardening tools, regardless of how many times the floral mallard told him they were fine. Lately the botanist had noticed the liquid canine going far and beyond to please the other mutant and Bushroot couldn't begin to fathom why.
The two of them had been back on good terms for a couple years now, so it certainly wasn't to get in Bushroot's better graces.
Anyways, the mutant was waiting for Liquidator to come back out with the stolen goods they'd made a list of getting. Originally Bushroot was supposed to be in there with him getting the supplies that were deemed needed, but once plant duck had seen just how many customers were in the store, Bushroot hadn't been able to bring himself to go inside.
Horrible memories of that dreadful Christmas still plagued his memories. After much complaining and frantic refusals, Liquidator had ran a watery hand through his petals before placing a kiss on his beak before announcing he would handle the heist and all Bushroot had to do was keep look out.
Now he was just waiting for his cue, when the customers started running and screaming in terror; he'd know Liquidator had made his move and was ready to run for it. It was easy for the canine to sneak in by himself without being detected, but leaving with merchandise was another scenario altogether.
It wasn't long before he heard the first scream of fright and Bushroott flinched, pulling his trench coat closer and turning before the store's front door and readying himself for Liquidator.
"It's Meagvolt! RUUUN!" screamed a man from out on the street.
Bushroot nearly fell over his roots at the shout.
Wait, that wasn't right.
"And it's Quackerjack!" screamed someone else.
Bushroot turned to look out into the street and there, across from him, stood Megavolt and Quackerjack. Neither rodent or duck had yet to see their villainous friend and were watching with bemused expressions as shoppers and workers getting off work ran for their lives at the mere sight of them.
"Megs? Quacky?" Bushroot found himself calling out to his friends. "What are you two doing here!?"
Quackerjack heard Bushroot first since he was closer and turned with a jingle of his hat to see his disguised friend.
Megavolt then turned his head at Quackerjack's inquiry.
Minding themselves of screaming citizens that were stupidly running around, clueless of where to go, the two partners walked over to where Bushroot was stationed.
"'What are we doing here' he asks" tsked Quackerjack with a shake of his head. He leaned closer to Bushroot, his large beak inches away from Bushroot's face. "Poor Bushy... I think you need to lay off the special fertilizer. I think its starting to mess with your head. You're starting to get as bad as Megsy." He pulled off the mutant's hat and pulled at one of his petals.
"What?" asked Bushroot as he jerked his head away from the offending hand.
"He's getting as bad as who?" came Megavolt's confused question since he had not heard the first bit.
Quackerjack ignored Megavolt in order to answer Bushroot's own question. "You and Likky asked us to be here, remember?" enlightened the jester.
Bushroot frowned and shook his head. "We did no such thing-We're in the middle of a-"
More screams and terrified cries cut him off as the front door to the store burst open. Quackerjack squeaked in alarm and dove for cover to the left while Bushroot fell backwards on his roots to the right.
Megavolt, still having no idea what was going on, was sadly left in front of the door, where Liquidator came barreling out the door. The liquid canine was carrying a bag of gardening tools over his shoulder and was so preoccupied with the customers from inside, he didn't bother looking in front of him.
Megavolt didn't even have enough time to shout in alarm before electricity and water collided and the two super villains were both spazzing out from being electrocuted.
"AHHHHHH" they both screamed together for a good five seconds before they both collapsed to the concrete sidewalk. Megavolt landed on his side, his helmet falling off his head and over towards where Quackerjack had dodged to while Liquidator had con-busted into a splash of water and was now on the ground in the form of a puddle; the bag of tools clanging to the ground.
Megavolt groaned and got up into a sitting position. "Ugh...I HATE IT when that happens!"
The puddle of the ground began to speak, "I can assure you, Liquidator Brand Pure Water is not a fan of that happening either."
Bushroot pushed himself over to where Liquidator was now a puddle and looked down to see his worried expression stare back at him in the dog's current form. He knew Liquidator was fine, just surprised by the impact, so he turned his attention to their unexpected visitors.
"So, wait, you were saying we 'asked' you to be here?" was Bushroot's question.
Quackerjack nodded as he handed a now soaking wet and very upset Megavolt his helmet. "Yeppers! We got a note from you two and everything!"
"A note?" gurgled Liquidator from his puddle form. "That does not sound like Liquidator advertising. I do all my marketing in person, thank you very much. Saves on cost."
"Yeah, what, are we suddenly pen pals?" quipped the mutant plant duck as he pulled the bag of tools close to him. He glanced at the store which was now void of customers.
Quackerjack leaned over Liquidator and once again brought his beak close to Bushroot's face. "Shhhh!" he chastised. "Quiet, Reggie! We wouldn't want the others to catch onto our secret correspondences, now would we!?"
Bushroot backed away instictively, his face turning a darker shade of green as he blushed furiously and looked away. This reaction caused Quackerjack to cackle loudly and lean back from where he was sitting.
Liquidator chose this moment to solidify back into his dog for, suspiciously looking between the two ducks. "Inquiring minds would like to know, would you prefer hot water or cold water, Quackerjack, as I drown you for flirtatiously insinuating things with my boyfriend!?"
Quackerjack snorted and waggled his eyebrows. "Who said anything about insinuations?"
That just seemed to blacken Liquidator's mood further as he started towering over the jester threateningly.
Leafy hands gripped onto one of Liquidator's fisted hands. "Forget him, Buddy! We gotta stay focused! We have a bag full of gardening tools we have to take back to the Greenhouse before we're caught!"
Megavolt, who had been sitting there watching the scene unfold, shook his head as he announced his aggravation. "No way!" he said nasally. "I didn't just get the voltage knocked outta me so that you two can go gallivanting off into the sunset! If the note wasn't from petunia breath and sewer drainage, then why are we even here!?"
Liquidator turned his angry eyes to the rodent and considered his comment while Quackerjack winked at Bushroot was stage whispered "Call me!" as he pretended to be on a phone.
Bushroot shook his head and looked away, using the flap of his trench coat to hide part of his face from the jester as he held on to Liquidator's hand.
Liquidator growled, having heard Quackerjack's snickering joke, but focused on Megavolt. "You know, Megs has a point. Who left that note for you if it wasn't us?"
Quackerjack shrugged. "The Easter Bunny?"
Three sets of eyes turned to glare at him.
"Did the note say where we were supposedly meeting up with you?" Bushroot asked.
"...I can't remember" mumbled Megavolt.
Quackerjack finally stood and said matter of factly, "Here at the Convention Center, actually." He pointed to the building next door and all of them turned to study the tall architecture.
"I think its time we find out who's been impersonating half the members of the Fearsome Four!" suggested Liquidator.
Twenty minutes later, thanks to the handy vines that Bushroot had grow up the side of the building, the four of them were waiting impatiently to see just who had told Megavolt and Quackerjack to be at the 12th floor on this particular day in this particular building.
The floor was a large office meeting room, though all of the tables and chairs had been moved to one side of the room to clear space. It seemed whoever was in charge of his plan wanted to keep things simple and out of the way.
"Soooooo" drawled Quackerjack as the four of them waited.
Liquidator was busy looking out the many windows and Megavolt was whispering nonsense to the lamp on one of the tables.
Bushroot was standing near the middle of the room, having opted to take his trench coat off and having set it on one of the tables. He was no longer ou tin public and was surrounded by those he was comfortable with. At least to an extent, he thought as he watched Quackerjack walk up to him.
"How's the morning dew treating the rose petals?"
Bushroot blinked at him. "What?" His face turned a dark shade of green once again, his mind already coming up with his own ideas of what the jester meant.
"You turn a lovely shade of green when you get all...flustered Bushy, did ya know that?" snickered the jester.
Bushroot squirmed in his place, clearly uncomfortable. His eyes scanned the room until he found Liquidator. He looked as though he was about to talk over to the canine when Quackerjack's large beak met with Bushroot's green cheek, right between his eye and the start of his beak.
Bushroot's eyes closed shut at the touch, hsi shoulders hunching as he recoiled from the jester. "QUACKERJACK!?"
The room was filled with Quackerjack's loud insane laughter as Bushroot fell to the floor in alarm and panic, holding a hand to hsi cheek.
This of course instantly gained the attention of Liquidator and Megavolt.
"HAHAHAHA~! Oh, Bushy boy! You're just TOO FUN to NOT mess with! HAHAHAA!" the clown continued to hoot with laughter. He was laughing so hard he fell to the ground, holding his gut and kicking his legs as he pointed at the flustered mutant plant duck.
Megavolt sighed. "What did he do this time?"
"H-He-He-" gulped Bushroot as he tried to get the words out. His eyes landed on Liquidator and he immediately darted over and ran to Liquidator who enveloped him with his watery warms. "HE KISSED ME!"
"WHAT!?" roared Liquidator angrily, his arms rising in anger and alarm.
"Oh SUUUURE!" whined Megavolt as he crossed his arms. "I'm not allowed to make friends with female cell phones, but its perfectly okay for you to kiss another guy!"
Quackerjack fiddled with the ends of his hat, smiling broadly and not at all ashamed of his actions. "I'm just plaaaayyinnnggg."
Bushroot rubbed at the spot on his cheek that Quackerjack had kissed. "I'd appreciate it if you're playing didn't involve kissing me!"
Liquidator gently pushed Bushroot to the other side of him so the mutant duck was now behind him as he sloshed his way closer to Quackerjack. "You're asking for it, Quack."
Quackerjack shot him a large toothy grin. "Oh, come on! It's not like I de-flowered him or anything! It wasn't even on the lips! Go easy on me! I'm bored! You know how I get when I'm bored!"
"This is one salesman who is not in the mood to negotiate" snarled the ex-salesman.
The sound of someone clearing their throat broke through the tension. All eyes turned to the elevator, which was still closed.
"As much as I'd love to watch Liquidator drown you, Quackerjack, that's not why I invited you here."
Megavolt gaped at the person before them. "Darwking Duck!? You're the one who invited us here!?"
Darkwing was in fact standing in front of them, his face as blank as ever and his arms lifeless at his side. His fedora hat was sitting slightly lower than usual, but other than that, he looked the same as ever.
"I technically only invited Quackerjack, but I guess I should have known better than to expect him to come alone" replied Darkwing listlessly.
Bushroot frowned and narrowed his eyes at the mallard. Since there had once been a time when he had stayed at the vigilante's hideout to avoid being caught by Negaduck after reforming, he knew the masked mallard better than any of them. Something wasn't right.
"No purple smoke? No lame introduction? Viewers want to know, are you really Darkwing Duck?" Liquidator spoke in his normal jargon.
"No, I'm Negaduck in disguise" deadpanned Darkwing.
This only caused the four villains to flinch, seeing as how the last time they had seen their former boss, the evil mallard had wanted to see them all dead.
Rolling his eyes, Darkwing took a step forward. "Yes, I am Darkwing. Excuse me for not wanting to waste the time or breath on my usual introduction. More important things are about to happen anyways." He turned his attention to Quackerjack. "Alright, Chuckles, come here."
Quackerjack blinked and shook his head. "Nope! Not fallin' for it, Darky!"
Darkwing just stood there and waited, knowing eventually he would get something more out of the impatient and childish jester.
As if on cue, the jester huffed and crossed his arms as the mallard continued to stare at him. "Why me? What do you want with me? I mean, as flattered as I am that I've been invited to this...'party'...I have yet to see WHY!"
Darkwing jerked his head in gesture for Quackerjack to follow him over to the elevator. Megavolt, Bushroot, and Liquidator all stood back and watched as Quackerjack awkwardly followed. The jester glanced back at his friends, who all shrugged in confusion back at him.
Once the two of them were standing before the elevator, Quackerjack watched as Darkwing rammed it open with a crow bar he had kept hidden on his person. Quackerjack gulped as he watched, not having expected the vigilante to openly destroy property like that.
The metal doors screeched open slowly and once the doors were open, they both peered down to the dark cold shaft to see the elevator way down below a good six levels down. All but the thick cords and metal gears could be seen.
"Are you aware that there is currently a Game-a-Thon going on right now, Quackerjack?" asked Darkwing as he put the crow bar away.
Quackerjack hummed in thought and shook his head. "You mean icky video game stuff? No, I didn't know that."
"Well, there is. The main reason I know that is because my daughter was supposed to be a participant in it, just like she has been for the last four years. She's won each year, being crowned champion. I never really cared that much up until now, mainly because I used to compete with her and lose." He glanced over at the others. "I'm sure you guys can imagine, I'm a sore loser."
There was a collective amount of responces as they all answered at once, "No way." "Get out." "No." The sarcasm in their voices wasn't lost.
Darkwing took in a breath before continuing. "Well, this year..." He paused as he brought out two large metal pliers and studied them for a moment in his hands. "She isn't participating."
"Wait, you mean, Gosalyn!?" Bushroot blurted out. He covered his mouth with leafy hands, his eyes wide, as though he had just shared a dark secret. Quackerjack, Megavolt, and Liquidator gave him confused looks while Darkwing just nodded. Bushroot had forgotten how hard he had kept his short time with the vigilante and his friends a secret from his friends.
Recovering, Bushroot asked. "Why isn't she participating this year and what does that have to do with any of this?"
"She's not participating because she's dead."
Silence filled the room.
Bushroot was clearly the only one worked up about this. His eyes widened at the very idea, suddenly looking heartbroken. The idea that the sweet little redhead who had wanted to befriend him in one of his darkest of times. Back before he had reformed and when Dandren, his loyal tree, had turned against and rebelled against him. The little girl who had always come up to him and asked how his experiments were coming along when he had stayed at the Tower.
Sensing that this bothered Bushroot, Liquidator placed a hand around his slim shoulders.
Meanwhile, Darkwing seemed unfazed. "Yes. She's dead."
"Uhh...how?" piped up Megavolt. The electrified villain couldn't quite remember who they were walking about, but a part of his felt that he should be more worked up about this piece of information than he was.
Quackerjack gave a squeak, the events from several nights ago coming to his mind. He remembered the explosion that had taken place at the factory. Just before he and Megavolt had fled the scene, he remembered Quiverwing Quack had fallen onto the pile of toys before they had exploded.
He nervously watched the masked mallard before him, wondering if Darkwing was blaming him for it. It didn't take a genius to put two and two together. Gosalyn must have been Quiverwing.
"Uhhh...This isn't one of those...You killed someone I love...Now I kill someone YOU love sorta thing, is it!?" asked Quackerjack as he worried his bottom lip. "Because I can assure you, that was an accident."
"Oh, I know" replied Darkwing candidly.
Quackerjack blinked at his calm answer.
"I did think about killing you, Quackerjack, for killing her. But..." Darkwing paused as though thinking of his next words.
As he waited for Darkwing to continue, Quackerjack glanced nervously over at the others, gesturning to them that Darkwing was crazy with his finger pointed to his head. The others nodded.
Darkwing continued, looking Quackerjack straight in the eye. "Then it occurred to me. You didn't kill her. Not really. Mr. Meddle did."
Quackerjack's eyes narrowed in confusion. "Meddle? As in the guy who invented Whiffle Boy?"
"As in the guy who destroyed your career and sent you into a life of insanity and crime? Yes. That Meddle" was Darkwing's response.
Forgetting his usual sales pitch lingo, Liquidator spoke out, "Wait, so you're blaming Mr. Meddle for all this and you want to kill him? I'm confused. I thought you were Darkwing Duck. Darkwing Duck doesn't go around saying stuff like this. He doesn't go around wanting to kill people."
Darkwing didn't reply, instead, he offered Quackerjack one of the large metal pliers in his hand. "So, instead of blaming you, Quacky, I decided, why not team up with you and kill the one responsible for our troubles, hmm?"
Quackerjack's eyes practically popped out of their sockets in surprise. "WHAT!?"
Darkwing pointed to the thick cable in the middle of the elevator shaft. "You see this cable? Its connected to the elevator. Its the main thing that holds the elevator in place and keeps it from falling to the ground. I timed this all out. Right now, as of three minutes ago, Mr. Meddle just got onto the elevator to head up to the sixth floor, where he will be at the Game-a-Thon. The elevator has been stuck between floors for the last couple minutes. Courtesy of a few crossed wires on my part."
"Since he's trapped in there, this is our chance. All we have to do is cut this cable and he'll be out of our lives for good" explained Darkwing.
Quackerjack stared at the mallard before him, his eyes occasionally looking down at the pliers still being offered to him. He gulped. "So, you want me to be a part of this?"
Darkwing shrugged. "Why not? You nearly killed him three years ago. You would have had Megs and I not stopped you."
"I did what now?" muttered Megavolt in confusion. He didn't remember the incident at all.
"So? What's it going to be clown? Are you going to help me kill Meddle or are you gonna stand by and let me do it?"
Quackerjack bounced on the balls of his feet nervously, not knowing what to do. He then pulled down on the ends of his hat. "I don't know..." he whined.
Darkwing frowned at his answer. "We don't have much time. They could fix the elevator any minute now."
After another long moment of waiting, Darkwing grunted and tossed the second pair of pliers clanging to the floor. "Fine. I'll do it myself."
He turned his attention on the cable, opening the pliers and placing the cable in the middle of its grip. He pushed the ends of the pliers inward, closer the gap around the cable and was ready to snap the cable like scissors through paper.
"ENOUGH!" screeched an upset Bushroot. Thin vine like arms extended and wrapped themselves around Darkwing's upper torso and arms, pinning the mallard's arms together and causing him to drop the pliers. Darkwing struggled in his plant mutant's grip but to no avail. Bushroot pulled the masked mallard away from the elevator and over to where the remaining Fearsome Four where standing.
"STOP THIS!" he shouted angrily. There were tears in the mutant's eyes as he glared down at the mallard that was tight in his hold. "I don't fully know what is going on and I have no idea why you're acting like this, but this has got to STOP! This is not you, Darkwing! What happened to you that would make you want to kill someone! You're a hero! You're not supposed to do things like this!"
"I drank a potion that made me lose my emotions. I no longer care about anything. Now let me go you giant vegetable!" snarled Darkwing.
"You did what!?" squawked Quackerjack as he walked over to them.
"Why would you do something like that?" asked Liquidator.
"As though any of you nitwits would understand" hissed Darkwing, struggling against Bushroot's arms.
"This is all wrong. Gosalyn wouldn't want you to act this way!" retorted Bushroot.
"You have no idea what Gosalyn would want!" argued Darkwing. "No one does! She's gone!"
"I do!" Bushroot fought back. "She and I became pretty close friends there for a while. I know she would not have been happy to learn that her father ended up the way you have!"
Darkwing didn't even bother replying, instead he just continued to struggle. Not knowing what else to do, Bushroot extended one of his arms further so that he could grab onto one of the forgotten pair of pliers. He brought it back over and smacked Darkwing hard on the back of the head with it.
The masked mallard was out cold and slumped in his grip. Satisfied that the mallard out, Bushroot retracted his arms so they were back to their normal length.
"Now what?" spoke Megavolt in wonder.
Bushroot brushed away some stray tears that were flowing down his cheeks. He still couldn't wrap his mind around the thought that his dear little friend, Gosalyn, was gone. No wonder Darkwing was acting out the way he was. But that was still no excuse. If what Darkwing said was true, they had to do something about it.
"If he did drink a potion, then he's not in his right mind" sniffed Bushroot at length. "If he's willing to pull something off like this, I hate to think what other damage he would do. I think the best option would have to be contacting someone who can help us get him back to normal."
"Pfft. Why? This isn't our problem" huffed Liquidator.
Bushroot shot him a glare. "Gosalyn was my friend, Likky." He sighed before continuing. "I owe it to Gosalyn to help Darkwing. You guys don't have to help me if you don't want to, but let's remember one important thing. Darkwing helped us when we needed him. When Negaduck was after us we banded together and stopped him. And Darkwing hasn't really given us any problems since. There's been a bit of a peace and quiet and I think we all owe it to him."
Megavolt, Quackerjack, and Liquidator all looked away, knowing the floral duck was right.
"So, what do we do?" asked Quackerjack.
"He mentioned a potion. So, I think we need to talk to Morgana" was Bushroot's reply.
Darkwing sneezed at the dust as he was brought back to reality. Consciousness came back slowly for him and he looked around at his surroundings. He saw that he was on the Audoben Bay Bridge. Before him stood the Fearsome Four and his eyes widened ever so slightly when he saw them holding Launchpad hostage.
"Launchpad?" he groaned. He stood up and dusted himself off. "I thought you went to Duckberg..."
Launchpad struggled against Quackerjack and Megavolt's hold. "I did! But the Fearsome Four-They tracked me down and kidnapped me!"
Instead of panicking like he normally would have, Darkwing just calmly drank it all in. "Whatever for?" he scoffed.
Bushroot stepped in front of Darkwing and gained his attention. "You need to be stopped Darkwing Duck! You say you took a potion that has rid you of your emotions? Well, its time you got them back!"
Darkwing scoffed again and looked away. "What is this? An intervention? Please."
Megavolt zapped Launchpad with a hint of electricity, making the pilot cry out in shock.
"I wouldn't get too cocky, Dorkwip! If you don't do as we say, you're little sidekick here is gonna be a fried duck!" cackled the electrified rodent.
Darkwing paused and took a moment to soak everything in. It then dawned on him. "Wait...You guys are trying to blackmail me into feeling emotions again?"
"Ooh, he's smart, Bart!" chortled Mr. Banana Brain from Quackerjack's free hand.
"Sometimes the best persuasion is done by force!" interjected Liquidator, who had sloshed his way behind Launchpad and was standing up on the railings to the bridge.
"Gosalyn would be ashamed of you, Darkwing!" sneered Bushroot. "You and I both know this isn't what she would want from you and its time to stop it!"
Darkwing shook his head. "You're all idiots. None of you understand how this works. I can't just turn on my emotions. I have to-"
"We know! You have to WANT to feel all wishy washy and ooey gooey!" interrupted Quackerjack. "That's why we have your friend here! We're gonna make him hurt all over until you finally feel something enough to have emotions again!"
Darkwing frowned. "It won't work. You'll end up killing him."
Launchpad whimpered in their grasp at the very thought. "Please, DW! They're serious! You didn't hear some of the plans they have in store for me!"
"Like what, exactly?" snorted Darkwing as he crossed his arms.
"Like this!" yelled Megavolt before he shot volts of strong electricity through Launchpad's arm. The pilot cried out in pain as the voltage lasted a good ten seconds. He sagged in exhaustion and panted for air. "That's just a small taste of what is coming to him if you don't start working on those emotions!"
Darkwing still seemed unperturbed.
"Unsatisfied? Unconvinced? Then let Liquidator show you what REAL torture is like!" called out the ex-salesman. Without warning, Liquidator grabbed hold of Launchpad by the neck, lifting him up a good two inches from the ground. Megavolt and Quackerjack let go, since it was obvious they didn't need to hold on anymore.
Launchpad's eyes widened, his hands going straight to the liquid dog's arms. Since Liquidator was made of water, his fingers dug through the water, making it useless to struggle.
Darkwing visibly paled. "Come on, Liquidator. We all know you're bluffing. You won't kill him."
"Oh? Is that a challenge, Darkwing?"
Darkwing became more uncomfortable at the question.
Liquidator's hold tightened and it was clear that Launchpad was no longer able to breath, his movements starting to weaken the longer he was left without precious air. "D-DW.." managed Launchpad.
Darkwing had started fidgeting, pulling his hat off and letting it blow in the wind without a thought. It was clear that seeing Launchpad's life hanging in the balance was effecting the short mallard greatly. There seemed to be an inner battle going on; as though he wasn't able to hold back what he was really feeling.
"Maybe we make this more interesting?" asked Megavolt. His hands sparked as he moved closer to touching Launchpad.
Both he and Liquidator moved at the same time so that Launchpad was hanging over the edge of the bridge where he would undoubtedly fall into the icy river below.
"Choke him, fry him, then drop him?" asked Liquidator as though he was in a commercial. "I like it!"
Megavolt grabbed Launchpad's ankle and shot electricity through him. Liquidator's hold around his neck loosened enough for Launchpad to scream in pain before he gasped for a moment's breath before the grasp was once again tight.
Just as Liquidator was about to drop him, Darkwing clutched at feathers on the sides of his head, no longer knowing what to do. "STOP IT!" he screamed. When he raised his head and opened his eyes, they were filled with tears. His whole body was shaking.
Liquiadtor loosened his grip anyways and Launchpad started falling downwards towards the water.
"NOOOOOOO!" screamed Darkwing, his body moving without being told until he slammed himself up against the railing to see where Launchpad hit the water.
Yet he gasped when he saw a thick net of vines holding the nearly passed out pilot instead. Bushroot had created a net of vines to catch Launchpad and he watched in shock and awe as the vines moved slowly and expertly until Launchpad was laid out safely on the pavement of the bridge, gasping for air.
Darkwing rushed over to him, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Launchpad!" he cried out. He didn't even give Launchpad a chance to collect himself. Instead he pushed himself into where the pilot was now sitting and held into him tightly. He buried his face into Launchpad's chest, repeating over and over, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry!"
Darkwing's sobbed grew louder and louder as the potion's effect weakened more and more until he was no longer under its influence. Time seemed to be forgotten as the two of them held on tightly to each other.
The Fearsome Four were forgotten and suddenly Morgana's voice filled Darkwing's ears. "Shh, that's it, Dark. Let in all those emotions. You feel them now, right? It's going to be okay..."
Darkwing flinched at her sudden appearance, and glanced at her quickly, before turning back into Launchpad's chest.
Launchpad was now sitting up, having recovered his breath and from the electrical shocks. He wrapped his arms around Darkwing. "It's okay, DW."
Darkwing shook his head. "No..." he moaned. "No it's not. I can't...I nearly let them kill you..."
Launchpad shook his head. "They weren't going to kill me. I knew they were going to do this. This was a plan that Bushroot and Morgana came up with."
Darkwing sniffed and pulled himself back enough to look at Launchpad's in the eyes. "What?"
Launchpad nodded. "Yeah, it was totally their scheme!"
To say Morgana McCawber was surprised when she received a phone call from Reginald Bushroot, of all people, would have been an understatement. Though she knew the mutant plant duck wouldn't be calling her unless it was an emergency.
The last few days had been a whirlwind of family issues. She had hoped to have gotten back to St. Canard sooner, but for whatever reason, her family just refused to let her be for two single minutes!
However, once she had heard the most recent news about her beloved Dark, she knew she couldn't wait any longer. She knew Launchpad had gone to Duckberg, no longer able to handle being around Darkwing anymore. The pilot had made sure to inform her of where she was going.
Bushroot had asked her what had happened between hero and sidekick and she had confessed to him that she wasn't entirely sure herself. Though she suspected from the heartbreak in Launchpad's voice, that the pilot had shared his feelings with Darkwing and had been shot down.
Morgana was currently standing on the secluded Audubon Bridge; traffic had been forced to go a different way for the time being. After a long chat with Bushroot, the two of them had devised a plan that they hoped would bring Darkwing Duck back to them.
Morgana looked up to see Bushroot propping a still passed out Darkwing up against the side of the railing. The mutant nervously rubbed the back of his neck. He turned to the witch. "Do you think this will work?"
"It has to" she told him without thinking.
Quiet footsteps alerted them to someone's presence. Launchpad walked up to them quietly.
He had been quite surprised when Eek and Squeak had shown up at Gyro's little shack. They had managed to track the pilot down with a locator spell from Morgana. Gyro had been fascinated in the two little bats and had it not been for Launchpad, he was sure Gyro would still have them connected to little wires to use for his new invention.
"You guys have a plan?" he asked them.
"More like a hunch" confessed the witch. "Now, you're telling me that when you told Darkwing you loved him and that you were leaving, he showed a little bit of emotion?"
Launchpad nodded. "Yeah, but clearly not enough for him to want his emotions back."
Morgana nodded, clearly deep in thought. She then said mainly to herself. "It might just work then..."
"You boys ready?" she turned to Bushroot and then to Megavolt, Quackerjack, and Liquidator, who had shown up behind him.
They all nodded.
Morgana sucked in a breath and pulled out some Awakening Powder to wake Darkwing up. Megavolt and Quackerjack quickly grabbed Launchpad by the shoulders and dragged him to the edge of the bridge while Morgana ducked out of sight.
Darkwing just stared, awestruck, at what he had just been told.
"Morgana came back from being with her family and she explained everything to the guys. And we got all this planned out after Bushroot knocked you out" Launchpad further explained.
Darkwing just looked downwards. "Doesn't matter. I still...I still nearly had you killed..."
Launchpad shook his head. "Don't worry about that now, DW. Just relax. Everything's going to be okay now..." sniffed Launchpad. Tears were in his own eyes as it slowly dawned on him that his best friend was finally back. Morgana met his eyes and she smiled down at them both. It would take a while yet, but everything was going to be okay.
Author's Note: Cliffhanger. Hope that all sounded good! I added this last bit in at the last minute! But it needed to be done! I feel this whole chapter was rushed, so maybe I'll go back and fix it later, but for now, that's it! Enjoy! -EricaX
The wind whipped through the evening air as darkening clouds slowly rolled closer and closer to St. Canard. Thunder could be heard in the distance as the storm drew closer.
Yet the weather was one of the last things on the minds of the heroes as they continued sitting there after the terrifying events that had just taken place.
Bushroot, though unhappy that he had to use violence like that, was happy to see that Darkwing seemed a lot more like himself. He turned to his companions and ushered them away from the emotional and private scene that was starting to unfold before them.
Quackerjack brought out Mr. Banana Brain and had the doll say, "All in a day's work, Kurt!"
Megavolt flexed his fingers and stretched his arms while ignoring a yawn. "I need a recharge. I'm still recovering from when Likky crashed into me."
Liquidator, having heard the comment, raised his ears. "Consumer reports say that paying close attention to one's surroundings gains the best level of readiness."
Megavolt frowned at him. "I'm not even going to pretend to know what you just said."
"I meant, you shouldn't have been standing in my way!" he gurgled as he wrapped an arm around Bushroot's slim shoulders. The four of them were slowly making their way across the bridge and back into the city.
Megavolt growled. "You should have been watching where you were going!"
Liquidator huffed and said, "Details."
"At least he's not as bad as taking four days to talk to a cell phone you ended up not even liking!" jabbed Quackerjack.
"What?" squeaked Bushroot in confusion.
Megavolt began to pout at the reminder of the failed plan to save cell phones. "I don't want to talk about it" he muttered.
"Yes, but viewers who were not able to catch that showing would like to know what was missed!" encouraged the liquid canine.
The rest of their trip back to the city involved a reluctant Megavolt sharing the story about how he wasted four days on SIRI and she didn't even like Quackerjack.
While the Fearsome Four happily chattered and bickered with each other as they left, Darkwing continued to hide his face in the warm and safe arms of Launchpad, who still held him close as they sat on the pavement.
Morgana watched the Fearsome Four leave, making a mental note to thank them for their efforts at another time.
She nervously wrung her hands together as she tried to think of what more to say. It was clear that even though Darkwing's emotions were back and the effects were clearly gone since he was still sobbing wretchedly, there was still a long way to go in the healing process. For all of them.
"Dark, its important that you think of the feelings your feeling now and embrace them" she began. "I highly doubt this would happen, but just to be on the safe side, we don't want the potion kicking back in for any reason if you try to ignore or suppress what you're feeling inside right now."
Darkwing shook his head. "No...No chance of that happening..." sniffled Darkwing between breaths. "I know what I'm capable of doing without them and I'm not about to become that again..."
Launchpad patted his friend on the back. "It's good to have you back, DW."
Instead of making Darkwing feel comforted, it seemed to only make him feel worse, for the masked mallard curled himself further into Launchpad and whimpered pathetically.
"Try not to blame yourself too much, Dark. You've been through so much the last few days. No one would have been able to think clearly after drinking that potion. It turned into that" explained Morgana. She walked over and grabbed Darkwing's fedora hat which had blown off earlier in the wind.
"No..."argued Darkwing. "I don't believe that. That potion didn't change me into anything. It just showed me in a new light. That was all stuff that was already buried in my mind. All that potion did was make it easier for me to say and act how I really wanted to deep down."
Launchpad started at that, his eyes going wide. "No! I refuse to believe that, DW! You're nothing like that! You haven't been yourself this whole time!"
Darkwing groaned as he finally pushed himself to sit up more, looking up into his sidekick's eyes. It was then that Launchpad noticed Darkwing's eyes. They were no longer the dark cold black eyes that reminded him so much of Negaduck. They were back to being a dark blue, light and a faint amount of hope shining in them like they used to.
Darkwing groaned and looked away. "Oh, LP...I have no idea where to even begin apologizing to you..."
Launchpad smiled and wiped away the last stray tear that had developed in his eyes. He had always been a softie for situations like this. "Don't worry about it, DW!" he told the mallard cheerfully. "Like I said, that wasn't you! You didn't do those things in your own right mind and I know you're sorry. I'm just glad you're back to normal!"
Darkwing snorted. "I wouldn't go as far as saying 'normal'..."
Morgana looked around at their surroundings. She seemed to be the only one who was aware they were still in the middle of the Audoben Bay Bridge. "Perhaps we should move this to somewhere more private?" she suggested.
Launchpad and Darkwing looked up at her and nodded.
Uncertainly, seeing as how Darkwing refused to let him go, Launchpad stood up. When it was obvious that Darkwing wasn't about to let him go, he lifted the shorter mallard up into his arms and carried him.
Darkwing squawked in mild indignation as he looked down at the ground, but otherwise said nothing. Instead his arms just instinctively wrapped around the pilot's neck.
It felt strange to Launchpad to be holding Darkwing even though it was not the first time he's had to. But since the shorter mallard was so uncomfortable about his height, Launchpad had learned that the masked mallard had never liked it when he need to be picked up for any reason. Though, he supposed this case was an exception, for Darkwing wasn't fussing in the slightest. Though there was a faint blush on his face as they looked over to Morgana.
The witch smiled at the scene before them, amused at how Darkwing's cape still hung low and moved in the wind.
"Where we headed?" voiced Launchpad in question.
Morgana glanced up at the Tower. "Perhaps the Tower would be the best place. Your hideout is still up there, right?"
Darkwing nodded as he wiped the last of his tears away. "I thankfully didn't do anything up there..." he spoke quietly.
Launchpad opened his beak to say something, but chose not to. He knew eventually they would have to talk about the burnt remains of their house on Avian Way, but he figured now was not the time. Instead, he chose to focus on getting them up to the Tower.
The three of them quickly made haste in getting up to the Tower and once they were in the same refines of the hideout, they knew they could speak in peace without being seen or listened to.
Launchpad stood there, Darkwing still in his arms, in front of the Thunderquack. Morgana nervously rubbed at her arm, not knowing how to proceed. The last time she had been there she was saying goodbye to the both of them and now that everything was supposedly over, she didn't know what to do with herself.
Darkwing groaned as he momentarily hid his face into the crease of Launchpad's neck before he began to pull himself away from the pilot. "Okay, you can put me down now..."
Launchpad seemed reluctant to but he did as he was told. Once his webbed feet were back on the ground, he took a few steps back from the both of them and twiddled his thumbs nervously in his hands.
The once blank face that Launchpad had sadly grown accustomed to the last few days was now lined with worry, self-hatred, and anxiety. Fresh tears were clearly threatening to fall from his eyes, though his purple mask seem to keep most of them from falling.
"L-Look..." he began quietly, not meeting either of their gazes. "I just...want to say sorry...to the both of you...for...How I've acted lately..."
Morgana just gave him a sympathetic smile when Launchpad looked like he was ready to tackle the mallard in a giant bear hug. "Dark, it was natural of you to act the way you did. I never should have told you guys about that potion. If I had ANY idea that you would have wanted to use it-Or if you had had a reason to use it-"
Darkwing raised a hand to keep her from talking. "There was no way you could have known about any of this, Morg. So, don't go blaming yourself."
Morgana opened her mouth to speak but she ended up not saying anything. She knew it was useless to argue; Darkwing was going to blame himself regardless. She knew how stubborn he could be.
Instead, after a pause, she said instead, "Well, I think I'm gonna head back to my family. I kinda left last minute and they're probably wondering where I am..."
Darkwing turned to her and to everyone's surprise he took her hand and kissed it. "Thanks for helping us out tonight, Morgana."
Morgana smiled, her heart melting at the sentiment. "Anything for you, Dark darling." She handed Darkwing his hat as she wished them farewell and with a puff of smoke, she was gone.
Darkwing took in a deep breath and turned back to Launchpad; looking up at him with guilt.
"Launchpad, I am...SO sorry..."
Launchpad just stood there and waited for what he knew was to come.
Tears once again blurred Darkwing's vision. "I...I burned down the house...and all your stuff with it...I threw your feelings for me back in your face...I treated you like crap...I have...no idea you're able to even be in the same room as me right me. I would be...so livid..."
Launchpad simply smiled his big goofy smile that he was known for. "Gee, DW, when you put it like that...I almost think I SHOULD be angry" he said lightheartedly.
Darkwing flinched at his words, clearly not catching the pilot's joking tone.
Seeing this, Launchpad backpedaled. "Woah, easy there, DW! I was kidding!"
Darkwing wrapped his arms around himself, looking away.
There was a tense silence that filled the space between them, neither knowing what to do or say. Launchpad eventually broke the silence by asking, "What was it like?"
"What was it like...not having any emotions?"
Darkwing gave him a surprised look before thinking it over and saying, "It felt like...It kinda felt like I was on auto pilot. It was like...I was living my life but...I was incapable of really...reacting to anything. Nothing that anybody said or did fazed me. It was as though I was watching my life through a television set and I couldn't change the channel or change the volume. Everything just happened around me and I found myself repsonding without really thinking. If that makes sense?"
Launchpad nodded slowly. "I think I get it."
"And it seemed like the numbing auto pilot feeling just got worse whenever things like Gosalyn was brought up. Anything that would normally get me worked up, just made me feel numb..." he trailed off before adding, "Except when it came to you."
Launchpad blinked down at his friend. "Me?"
Darkwing nodded. " Yeah. For example, when you said you were leaving for Duckberg...Instead of the numb feeling...I was screaming on the inside for you to stay, but I couldn't get my my mouth to say so. It was like the potion was fighting with me on a constant basis whenever anything like that happened with you."
Launchpad could feel his cheeks beginning to burn and he knew he was blushing. He looked down at his feet shyly as he started fiddling with his scarf. "Any clue as to why?"
"Why it was you?"
Launchpad nodded, not wanting to validate his question verbally.
"I would think that was obvious, LP" replied Darkwing gently.
Launchpad looked up to see the masked mallard smiling affectionately at him. "You're my best friend."
A shiver ran down Launchpad's spine as his beak formed into a frown. He wasn't entirely sure why that answer bothered him so much. "O-oh...Right. Friends..."
Darkwing stepped forward and took Launchpad by the hand, guiding him over to the library section of the Tower where there was a couch in front of the spare television he had brought up there for Gosalyn to watch TV whenever she had insisted on being up there with him on the late night weekends.
The vigilante gestured for Launchpad to sit down and he was soon to follow, sitting next to the pilot.
"Look, LP...I...Really don't know how to feel about...y-you know..." he muttered nervously.
Launchpad began to nod but then quickly shook his head. "Uh...No. Actually, I'm not all that sure what you mean. We've kinda been hopping from subject to subject, and rankly, its been hard for me to keep up after all that's been going on the last few days."
Darkwing face palmed and found himself chuckling at his friend's confusion. "About your feelings for me, you block head!"
Launchpad's expression brightened and he blushed further at his mistake. "Oh, heh heh! Right!"
Darkwing's smile faltered as the subject turned serious again. He played with a stray string that was sticking out of the couch's cushion. "Like I said, I really...don't know what to think about it all...I'm...flattered that you like me that much, LP. You're such a great friend...A little bit of an oddball with more than a few screws loose, but...I couldn't have ever asked for a better sidekick...or a better friend...than you. And...While I can't...imagine my life without you...I still don't know if I can say I return your feelings."
Launchpad nodded solemnly. "That's okay, DW. I just found out how I felt about you, so I'm still trying to sort it all out myself to be honest."
Darkwing nodded, scratching the back of his neck. "If earlier taught me anything though..." continued the masked mallard. He inched his way closer to Launchpad and rested against the larger duck's arm. "It's that I can't stand the thought of losing you..." His voice suddenly broke and he hid his face in Launchpad's arm. He took his free hand that wasn't pressed against the couch and grabbed onto the front of the pilot's shirt. When he spoke again Launchpad could hear his tears. "I already lost my baby girl blue...And that thought still haunts me...And I don't think I'll ever recover from losing my baby...But...I at least have you to help me...And tonight...I realized what it would be like if you weren't around anymore...and...and-"
Darkwing wasn't able to continue as his sobs grew to strong to form words. Soon Launchpad was able to feel a wetness on his arm and the pilot was shocked to realize it was Darkwing's tears.
Launchpad didn't say anything. He knew Darkwing needed this time to grieve. It was amazing to think that just five days ago everything was how it used to be. Gosalyn was still around and they were living there lives as though nothing could ever effect them. It had been such a whirlwind that the pilot felt as though it wasn't actually happening. Gosalyn was just on a school trip for the week. She would be back. But no. That wasn't the case at all.
After a while Launchpad finally said, "Don't worry, DW. I'm not going anywhere. You'll always have me..."
Neither of them were sure how long they stayed curled up next to each other on the couch, but at some point both of them had fallen asleep. As the night wore on and they both woke up, they spoke about their next steps and what they would have to do.
The next morning it became abundantly clear that Darkwing was not about to let Launchpad out of his sight any time soon. He stayed near the pilot, only leaving him be whenever it was necessary. The two of them changed; Darkwing having known where a spare set of Launchpad's clothes were in one of the many closets in the place. Darkwing changed out of his masked mallard costume, opting to change into his other persona, Drake Mallard.
His customary pink shirt and green vest no longer appealed to Drake, so he found himself a blue t-shirt and a grey long sleeved cardigan with brown buttons to wear instead. He felt it was time for a change in his wardrobe. That was another downfall to everything that had happened. Everything reminded him of either Gosalyn or how poorly he'd acted under the influence of the potion.
It was beginning to drive him a bit stir crazy. Launchpad had noticed how bothered Drake was with everything when he had caught the other mallard staring out one of the many large windows of the Tower and surveying the city below. He could hear Drake muttering to himself; though he couldn't make out any of what he was saying. Years of experience had taught Launchpad to know the signs of when something was truly bothering Drake. Everything always festered underneath the surface and Drake was always the type of person to hide it all; bottle it all up.
There was also still so much the two of them needed to discuss. However, visiting Avian Way, or more specifically, the Muddlefoots, was their first plan of action for the new day before them.
Sadly, they were forced to walk since the tunnels to Avian Way were now sealed up. Drake figured that was a bit of a blessing in disguise, for even before he took the potion, he'd known he wouldn't be able to live at that house anymore. Sure, burning the house down was not what he had planned, but at least now he didn't have to worry about selling the house or explaining why the two thick pieces of concrete were in the ground.
Drake whimpered as the two of them walked side by side down the familiar suburb; making a turn onto their street. Though the air was warm, Drake found himself pulling his cardigan closer to him. Once his eyes landed on the burnt remains of his old house, he found himself choking back a sob.
"You know, I gotta say..." started Launchpad. "Out of all the things I wished you hadn't burned...I really wish you hadn't burnt my comic book collection. You know, I had some pretty rare Squirrel Hero comics that can't be found in stores or online anymore..."
Drake shot the pilot an annoyed look. "I'm sorry, okay!"
Launchpad shrugged. "Not to mention my baseball card collection..."
Drake's shoulders sagged.
"Or my favorite scarf..."
Drake hid his face in his hands as they got closer to the burnt house.
Drake acted completely out of frustration as he grabbed onto the pilot's sleeve and pulled himself upwards, practically climbing up the taller duck until he was face to face with him and placed a quick kiss on Launchpad's cheek. That silenced the pilot instantly.
"There! My way of saying I'm sorry!" cried out Drake as he jumped off the pilot and took a step back.
Launchpad had stopped dead in his tracks, unsure if the kiss had actually happened or if he had imagined it. Slowly, he brought a hand up to touch the spot where Drake had just kissed him, his eyes staring wide out before him.
It seemed to dawn on Drake that he had just kissed his best friend; albeit, on the cheek, but kissed him regardless. Launchpad was currently red as a tomato while Drake felt himself blushing slightly as well.
It had been complete impulse. He knew he had destroyed a lot of Launchpad's personal belongings and the part that terrified him and startled him the most was that was the most instinctive action on how to make up for it.
"You-You-" squeaked Launchpad, his tongue getting twisted as he tried to get out words.
Drake looked down at his feet awkwardly. "...Yeah."
After a moment, Drake grabbed him by the hand and started dragging him the rest of the way to the Muddlefoots. "Come, we have things to do."
Launchpad nodded faintly, not able to bring himself to form words. Drake had kissed him; the action on loop over and over in his mind. The pilot felt his heart bursting with happiness at the tiny impulsive action. In the back of his mind he knew Drake had said he had no idea what he felt towards the pilot, but this was surely a sign for the best, right? Oh, how the pilot hoped so!
Launchpad had managed to come down from his euphoria just before they reached the front door to the Muddlefoots. The smell of smoke was still thick in the air and Drake suddenly felt bad for the neighborhood. He hadn't even given any of his other neighbors a thought.
Drake winced and knocked on his head three times before he started knocking on the actual front door; he really didn't want to do this but he knew he had to.
He could hear Binkie exclaim in shock that someone was at the door and that she would get it. Seconds later, the door opened and Binkie gave a squeak of shock to find Drake and Launchpad standing on the other side.
"Oh!" she gasped, placing a hand on her chest. "Drake! Launchpad! We didn't expect to see you two here! What a pleasant surprise! Uh...Come on in!"
She moved aside, keeping the door open for them, and allowed them to enter. Drake was sure not to make eye contact, instead choosing to slink his way through the threshold. Launchpad however, managed to smile at the canary.
Binkie shut the door once they were inside. "Oh, Herb! Herb?" she called through the house in her chipper high pitched voice.
Drake nervously wrapped his arms around himself as he stood in the front foyer of the Muddlefoots' house. He just wanted to get this over with. Launchpad patted him on the back as a reassurance.
"Eh? Binkie? You say somethin'?" came Herb's boisterous voice from the kitchen.
"Yes, dear! Drake and Launchpad just came over!" she called back.
They could distinctly hear the door to the fridge shut with a clinking sound and a moment later, the large form of Herb Muddlefoot could be seen at the entrance to the living room. "Drake? Surprised you showed up here." In his hands was a large sandwich which looked to have every kind of meat and condiment of it. It was a good three inches thick.
Drake chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. "Heh, heh. Yeah...Um...Well-"
"Not here to insult us some more, are ya?" accused the large duck before taking a large bite out of his sandwich.
Drake went to reply, but Binkie beat him to it. "Oh, now, Herb, dear, be nice! We talked about this! Drake probably just said those things because he was hurting! He lost his dear sweet Gosalyn, after all! Isn't that right, dear?" She turned expectantly to Drake to confirm her theory.
Drake looked up at her with guilt filling his eyes. He slowly nodded. "Yeah...And that's why I came over here...Look, I just wanted to say...How sorry I am for all I said to you guys...I wasn't..." He looked up to Launchpad as though for support. "...I wasn't in my...right mind...You could say..."
Binkie beamed at his words and walked over to him and gave him a hug. "Oh, it's fine, sweetheart. I said that from the beginning, didn't I Herb?"
Now that her husband had happily gulped down his sandwich within seconds, he seemed to be in a much better and understanding mood. He gulped down the last of his sandwich with a nod. "Yep, you sure did, Binkie! I guess I shoulda known better..."
"Mom? Did I hear you say we had company?" came Honker's nasally voice. The young boy could be seen walking down the steps; most likely having been in his room studying. Honker looked a lot better than the last time Launchpad had seen him, but it was clear the young duck was still depressed.
Once Honker saw Launchpad and Drake standing in their living room, his eyes widened and he walked over to them. "Mr. Mallard! Launchpad! What are you two doing here?"
The moment Drake's eyes set on Honker his eyes filled with tears. Before he could comprehend what he was doing, Drake had scooped the young duck up into his arms and was giving him a hug. "Honker...I'm sorry..."
Taken aback by Drake's complete attitude change from the last time he'd seen him, Honker could only awkwardly pat him on the pat. "Oh, its fine, sir. Launchpad told me all about what had happened." This was spoken quietly so not to gain suspicion from his parents.
Drake nodded and let the duckling go, moving him out to arm's reach and giving him a wan smile.
"It's good to have you back, Mr. Mallard" whispered Honker softly.
Drake patted Honker on the shoulder before standing up straighter and looking back to his parents who were still in the room with them.
"So, Drakarooni...Feeling better?" came Herb's question.
Drake paused at the question, not entirely sure how to answer it. He ended up shrugging his shoulders. "I don't know. I guess so" he sighed. "I wasn't...really myself there for a while..."
"Boy, I'll say!" boomed Herb.
'Give him an inch...' thought Drake as Herb began ranting off.
"You were so cold and distant the other day, Drake...I tell ya, I've never seen anything like it. We had even brought you over flowers and everything!"
Drake grimaced, recalling his reaction to the flowers. "Yeah, thanks for those, by the way."
Herb nodded almost sagely. "Well, then your house went and burned to the ground."
Drake stiffened at the mention of his old house and Launchpad cleared his throat to gain his attention. He looked up at the pilot who was giving him a knowing look. Drake just furrowed his brow at him, not understanding. He faintly noted that Herb was still speaking.
"I mean-You just can't catch a break, can ya, Drake? First you lose Gosalyn, then your house catches on fire! Did the firemen ever say what caused it?"
It was then that Drake understood Launchpad's knowing look. It appeared the taller duck had been privy to the real reason the house had burned. He figured he shouldn't be surprised that Launchpad didn't tell the Muddlefoots the truth, but after all he'd put Launchpad through, he could honestly say he wouldn't have blamed Launchpad for ratting him out.
"Oh...Uh, no. They still haven't determined that..." he mumbled.
"Shame" sighed Herb. "So, what are your plans now? Thinkin' of just rebuildin' or-"
"No" Drake cut him off. "I'm not rebuilding..."
Binkie flattened the apron around her waist and chirped, "Oh? Then are you moving?"
Drake turned to Launchpad, who shrugged his shoulders. Neither of them had brought up the topic of their current lack of a home. They had lucked out with having a place to crash at the Tower, but now that Bushroot had gone and opened his beak to the other Fearsome Four members, Drake wasn't so sure that was a safe place to have his hideout anymore.
Drake inhaled deeply for letting it all out. Just another problem to add to the growing list.
"I don't know yet. Launchpad and I have a lot to figure out, still. We don't really have a place to stay anymore..." he admitted.
"Where have you been staying then, if you don't mind my asking, sir" piped up Honker.
Drake gave the young duckling a glance before turning back to his parents. "Here and there...With...other friends...?" His answer came out more as a question.
"You have other friends!?" gasped Herb, sounding more hurt than anything at the idea that Drake hung out with anyone other than themselves.
Drake made a face and closed his eyes, trying his best to keep the sarcasm out of his voice. "Yes, Herb, I have other friends beside you and Binkie..." A lie. Unless he counted the The Justice Ducks, or the Fearsome Four or his ex-girlfriend Morgana. It suddenly became apparent just how little Drake got out when he wasn't crime fighting.
"Hmm...You never seemed the type to have friends...Maybe Launchpad here" replied Herb, patting the pilot on the shoulder. Launchpad laughed nervously at the obvious insult he was giving Drake. "But not you..."
Drake scowled. "Gee, thanks, Herb. You're so kind" he spat through gritted teeth.
"Aww, be nice to him, Herb" interjected Launchpad. "DW-er, Drake is just a private person. He likes his space." He then added on. "Not just anybody gets to hang out with him."
Drake gave his friend a narrowed look but said nothing. Instead, he changed the topic. "Anyways, Launchpad and I haven't really discussed living arrangements yet, but most likely we won't be staying here on Avian Way."
"We'll be sorry to see you go, sir" sighed Honker.
"What's all the fuss" came the deep growling voice of Tank. The young youth stepped into the living room, looking around to see what all was happening. Once his eyes landed on Drake, his scowl deepened. "O, its you again. Come back to insult us some more!?"
Drake looked away, knowing perfectly well how he had railed into Tank and his parents the last time. "No. I'm here to apologize, actually."
This seemed to deflate Tank's angry mood and suddenly the heavy set kid didn't know how to respond. "Oh, uh..."
"Tank dear, why don't you and Honker go outside and play?" suggested Binkie pragmatically.
Tank groaned while Honker looked like he wanted to go live under a rock.
"I need to get back to my homework" mumbled Honker before scampering away to his bedroom upstairs.
"Ugh, yeah, and I'm gonna go play with some of the other kids outside" grumbled Tank.
Though it wasn't what Binkie had suggested, it still got the kids out of the room.
Binkie, clearly having had an ulterior motive, turned to Drake and Launchpad in an almost determined nature. "So, you keep mentioning the words, 'we' whenever you talk about your future plans...Does that mean you and Launchpad are...?"
Drake felt himself blushing while Launchpad cocked his head to the side, clearly lost. "Are we what?"
Drake face palmed. "Uh...Actually, Binkie...Launchpad and I are...um...Still working that out. We're...not anything...yet. I um...I don't really know yet how I feel about it..."
Launchpad looked at Drake in confusion. "We're working what out?"
Drake ignored his confused friend. "That's...something else we need to figure out. All I know is, the both of us need a place to stay and I figure we might as well find a place together...As house mates...if anything..."
"Huh?" grunted Launchpad. "House mates? But we've always been house mates. Since we met, pretty much!"
Drake sighed. "Try not to think too hard, LP. You'll hurt yourself."
Launchpad just continued staring at him in confusion.
"Oh, you poor dears!" gushed Binkie. "So much heart break in such a short amount of time! No wonder you were lashing out at us the other day!"
Drake rolled his eyes. "You have no idea..."
It was as though a light bulb went off in Launchpad's mind. "Oh! Hey, DW-errr-Drake!"
Drake turned to him with raised eyebrows.
"You know, I was thinkin'...If we need a place to stay...We could always head to my old stomping grounds in Duckberg..." he offered with a fond smile. "I mean, that's where I went for a short bit during this whole mess."
Drake frowned and thought about the idea of leaving St. Canard. He had never left the city before; St. Canard had always been his home. And while everything around him in the city reminded him of Gosalyn and all the pain he felt, he couldn't bring himself to say that he was ready to leave it all behind either.
Drake ran a trembling hand through the feathers on the top of his head; gently scratching them at the same time. "We'll talk about that later, LP" was all he said.
Sensing to drop the subject, Launchpad said no more.
The short mallard turned his attention back on Herb and Binkie. "Well, thank you both for understanding. I am...again...sorry for the way I treated you all the other day. I'm just...This has just been all a little too much for me and I took it out on your guys when I had no right to."
Herb nodded, licking his fingers from the sandwich he clearly wished he still had. "Well, we appreciate the apology there, Drakey."
"Oh, yes!" agreed Binkie cheerily.
Satisfied with their responses, Drake turned on his heel. "Well, come on LP, we have a lot to do today."
"Oh, Drake dear! Just remember, if you ever need anything, we're here for you!" Binkie briskly added on.
Drake nodded and gave her a wan smile of appreciation before grabbing the handle to the front door and opening it with a swing of his arm. Launchpad was soon to follow and before either knew it they were in the warm sunlight outside once again.
The two of them headed back in the direction that they had came, both walking side by side. It wasn't until they had reached the other side of their burnt house did Launchpad realize that Drake was no longer walking with him. He stumbled in his footing as he backpedaled and turned around. What he saw before him nearly made his heart break once more.
Drake was standing in the remains of their front yard, staring bereft at the charred wooden beams that once stood as their front door. Out of the corner of his eye, Drake saw that Launchpad had turned to look at him. He wiped away some of the tears that were beginning to form. "Sorry, LP...I just...I need to say goodbye before we leave..." His voice was weak and filled with emotion.
Launchpad nodded, walking over to stand behind Drake.
The only sounds around them were the chirping of birds and someone mowing their lawn in the distance as Drake slowly began to cry. It was clear the shorter mallard was working hard to control himself but it seemed to be a losing battle.
Launchpad simply stood there, fighting back his own tears as he remembered all the good memories they had shared in that house. It was their home and now it was gone. He absently rubbed at Drake's shoulders, trying to calm himself and Drake at the same time.
After several long moments Drake managed to calm himself down enough to speak. "I had bought this house out of impulse..."
Launchpad leaned down a bit to hear the soft words his companion was saying. "Hmm?"
"I had bought this house completely out of impulse. I wasn't even sure if I would be able to adopt Gosalyn when I put an offer on this house...I didn't have too much money at the time since I've always been Darkwing Duck since right out of high school, pretty much. I had to get two loans in order to do it. That was around the same time I came to you and offered you to live with us. I had just picked up Gosalyn from the orphanage right before making the offer, but I had had this house picked out for several days before hand. But before I knew it, everything was being finalized and I was signing the final adoption papers for Gosalyn and the house papers pretty much at the same time..."
Drake sniffled and rubbed at his eyes. "I had heard that that Waddlemeyer had a granddaughter and I didn't even think twice to go and find her and take her into my care, for I knew people would be after her. She was annoying at first, but not for long. I instantly loved her. She was the first person to ever look at me with such adoration. She had such a strong spirit and she was so animated and excited to hear every little detail about me. I had never had that before. And I knew I had to adopt her. I couldn't imagine not having her as my own..."
Drake whimpered as his emotions began to overwhelm him. "And now I know adopting her was the most selfish thing I've ever done. I was never meant to be a father! I was wrapped up in the idea of being a good parent but I never was! Had it not been for me-she-she'd still -still-be-h-here!" He succumbed to his grief and began crying his heart out. Unabashedly, his tears fell down his cheeks as his beak trembled with heavy breaths as he sobbed.
Launchpad knelt down and wrapped his arms around Drake, who raised his arms and held onto Launchpad's.
"I-I drank that potion because I didn't-didn't want to feel like this-" confessed Drake between hiccups and sobs. "But I should have known it was inevitable. Now I've only gone and m-made things worse!"
"No one blames you, DW" hushed Launchpad, placing his chin on Drake's shoulder. He said this softly into the other duck's ear. "You didn't fully understand the potion when you drank it. You didn't fully know what it would do to you. You just heard that it would take away the pain and you jumped for it. You can't blame someone for that."
"I'm a coward, Launchpad!" cried out Drake. "That's what I am! I couldn't even deal with this myself like a normal person! I had to go and hide myself!"
Launchpad shook his head. "I refuse to believe that!"
Drake made a soft grunting noise and a slight watery chuckle. "You're a fool then, McQuack." It was odd hearing Drake use Launchpad's last name, but it was a phrase Launchpad was used to from his days back in Duckberg.
Speaking of Duckberg, a burning question was still on Launchpad's mind.
"So...uh...What exactly are we gonna do about our living arrangements? Did you want to try and find a place here in the city or...?" He left the question open for Drake to share his own thoughts. Frankly, the idea of returning to Duckberg sounded the best to him, but he wasn't about to complain if Drake wanted something else.
The change of subject seem to help Drake's mood as he managed to wipe away his tears and settle himself back down. "I...I can't stay here, I know that much. Maybe Duckberg is our best bet..."
Launchpad nodded, making sure to hide his excitement of being back in his hometown after all these years. He stood up straight after having been kneeling to support Drake and he had the shorter mallard turn to face him. "Great! Well, how's about we head over to my old place there-Mind you, the roof needs to be fixed-But it'd be a nice place for us to crash for a few days and figure out a better place to stay."
Drake found himself slowly nodded as he processed this plan. "Yeah...we could do that."
Launchpad had to keep himself from bouncing in place. It was then that a thought struck. "Hey, wait a minute! What about Darkwing Duck? And the Tower? Are we expected to just keep all that stuff in there?"
Drake closed his eyes and shuddered at the reminder of his alter ego, much to the pilot's surprise. "I can't believe I'm saying this...But...I honestly can't even fathom being Darkwing Duck right now..."
The grieving father nodded. "I really screwed up this time, LP...I not only hurt you, but I hurt everyone. I pissed off the whole police station...Made a fool of myself in the process. They'll never even think of truly trusting me again. I haven't even told you all that I did to Negaduck-"
"Uh oh...What did you do?" Launchpad nervously asked.
Drake winced. He had hoped to forget this part of the last few days. He suddenly looked as though he was going to cry again. He held back his tears with a loud sniffle. "LP...I did something awful...I took a knife and put it through Negaduck's hand...and it wasn't even out of self defence! It was just to prove a point! Then I ended up taking his gun and to piss him off I-" He gulped, nervous to continue. "I shot a police officer in the leg then proceeded to blame Negaduck for it!"
"DW!" cried the pilot in shock.
Drake looked away in shame. "Which is why I can't be Darkwing right now! I need-I need some time away from all this."
Launchpad nodded understandingly. "We can start over" he offered.
Drake nodded. "Yeah...start over..."
Shortly after pulling themselves away from the house on Avian Way, the two of them hunted down the Volkswagen Darkwing had left at Hamburger Hippo several days prior in his emotionless state and made their way out of town.
Though beforehand Drake had been sure to go into the Tower and lock everything up. There had always been an emergency button where everything would get hidden away in secret chambers in case he would ever have to abandon the place in a hurry. The control room was now empty. The Thunderquack and Ratcatcher hidden away. All this books and belongings were hidden. It would be good enough for the time being. At least until Drake could come back and figure out what to do with everything. It kept things away from prying eyes.
It hadn't taken long at all for them to make their way into Duckberg, seeing as how it was the town next door. It was a completely different scenery than Drake was used to. The cold metallic and concrete walls and streets of St. Canard was nothing compared to open, quaint, sunny roads of Duckberg. Everything seemed so positive and sunny as compared to the city.
One of the first things Drake had commented on was how easier it was to breathe! Who knew what actual air smelled like when they weren't surrounded by fumes and smog!
Launchpad was, of course, driving, since he knew the area better than Drake. The only time the shorter mallard had ever been to Duckberg had been three years ago when he had left Launchpad and Gosalyn in the protective care of Scrooge McDuck when Negaduck had been threatening to kill the pilot. Drake wondered briefly in the back of his mind if he would be seeing the old duck again since Launchpad was a dear friend of his.
Before either of them knew it, both of them were standing in front of Launchpad's small shack, the little flag on the roof still lightly blowing in the wind.
"Modest" deadpanned Drake.
Launchpad shrugged. "Eh, make fun all ya want! This is our new home for the time being, so you might as well get used to it!"
Drake rolled his eyes as they headed inside. Once the door was opened, Launchpad gave a cry of shock and so did the person who was inside.
There was a loud commotion as the intruder fell off the ladder that was under the gaping hole in the roof.
After a moment, Launchpad shouted out, "Gyro! What are you doing here?"
Gyro, who had fallen off the ladder, stood and brushed himself off. "Oh, there you are, Launchpad!" he greeted happily.
Drake stared with wide eyes at the man in front of them. The man looked like an inventor just by looking at him. He watched as Gyro adjusted his small glasses and played with his suspenders.
Gyro cleared his throat before saying, "I was gonna help you fix your roof, remember?"
Launchpad blinked and bonked himself on the head with his hand. "Oh yeah! Sorry! I completely forgot!"
Drake cleared his throat.
Launchpad turned and chuckled. "Oh, sorry. DW! This here is my old friend, Gyro! He and I used to work for Mr. McDee!"
"Correction! I STILL works for Mr. McDuck!" Gyro offered his hand out to Drake. "Gyro Gearloose! At your service!"
"Drake Mallard" returned Drake.
"So, what brings you both here? Last I saw of you, Launchpad, you were being dragged off by bats!" chuckled the inventor.
Drake gave the pilot a raised eyebrow as Launchpad laughed nervously. "Oh, that. Those were friends of mine...And I was needed suddenly in St. Canard. But I'm back for good this time! And now I've got my friend DW-er-Drake with me! We're in the process of finding a new place to stay and we figured we'd stay here for the time being!"
Gyro nodded absently as he started climbing the ladder again with some nails and a hammer in hand. "Well, I'm just finishing up fixing your roof, so there's good timing with that."
"Aww, you didn't have to do that for me, Gyro" gushed Launchpad.
"No worries!" he shrugged. "Besides, I haven't exactly been doing this by myself. Fenton has been helping me."
"Fenton?" echoed Drake with dread. His memory suddenly reminded him of the annoying duck who had stayed with him for a short while and insisted on wearing his red robe everywhere.
As if on cue, the loud voice of Fenton Crackshell could be heard outside the door. "Here ya go, Gyro! Two small super fizzy fruity drinks for you and me!"
The duck in question walked through the door, wearing his usual garb minus his lavender jacket. The moment his eyes landed on Launchpad and Drake, he nearly dropped the drinks.
"Blathering Blatherskite!" he exclaimed in surprise. "Launchpad! When did you get here!?"
"Just now" answered Launchpad evenly.
Drake and Fenton then made eye contact and both of them hadn't a clue how to act. "Oh, this your friend Drake?" Of course Fenton recovered first.
Launchpad nodded. "Yeah! You remember my house mate from St. Canard! You stayed with us that one time!"
Fenton nodded, eyeing Drake up. "Yeah...So, what brings you two here?" He absently handed Gyro his drink, who had gotten down from the ladder to retrieve it.
"Eh..." mumbled Launchpad uncertainly. He glanced at Drake before saying, "It's a long story. But we're most likely gonna be staying in town and looking for a place to stay." He gestured to his little shack. "I mean, this place is great and all, but after living in our house in St. Canard, this is a little too small, if ya know what I mean!"
Fenton nodded. "So, you guys staying here for good? Like relocating and everything?"
Both Launchpad and Drake nodded.
Fenton thought this over for a minute before turning to Drake. "Say, that means you need a job, right?"
Drake nodded. "Yeah, I guess so." He said this warily since he wasn't sure where the other duck was taking it.
"Well, ol' Scroogey has been on my case for weeks now to help him find someone to replace the guy who's retiring from his Data Analysis position at the vault. You good with computers?"
Drake shrugged. "I know how they work and I can do basic stuff on them." He figured if he could work and handle the large super computer at the Tower, he could do some simply computer work.
"You good with numbers?" was Fenton's next question.
"Great! You're hired!" he beamed.
"What? Just like that?" gaped Drake.
Fenton shook his head with a laugh. "Haha, no! I wish, but sadly you'll have to get through ol' Scroogey's inspection before its official! But, hey, if you're willing to work for practically nothing, he'll hire you in a heart beat! That's pretty much his only requirment. That and no criminal record. I'm assuming you don't have one of those!"
Drake just stared at him for a moment before shaking his head. If only Fenton knew.
Drake cleared his throat. "I take it by 'Ol' Scroogey' you are referring to Scrooge McDuck?"
"Yep!" chirped Fenton happily before looking worried. "Uh, but please don't tell him I've been calling him 'Scroogey'! He hates it when I call him that in public!"
Drake raised an eyebrow at the accountant, wondering what he meant by 'public'. "Wouldn't dream of it."
Happy with that answer, Fenton nodded before taking a sip of his own drink.
It had turned out that Gyro and Fenton had finished the roof, for the most part. This allowed Drake and Launchpad to stay there for the night. It had been an awkward affair when it was time for them to sleep, since Launchpad's bed consisted of a hammock. But due to their recent connection, both of them found it less strange and more comforting.
It had taken a while, but eventually Drake had fallen asleep with his head resting against Launchpad's chest. The pilot had been thrilled having Drake sleep next to him. It was a stark contrast from the last few days and he was ecstatic that Drake was clearly comfortable about the arrangement.
Though Drake had yet to give him a definitive answer on where he wanted to take their relationship, it seemed clear that Drake had no intentions of leaving Launchpad any time soon. That was good enough for him!
As promised, Fenton had arranged for Drake, and by extension, Launchpad, to meet up with Scrooge McDuck. The old duck had decided to meet at his mansion, since it was the weekend anyways.
Driving in the Volkswagen, Drake had to scream at Launchpad to hit the brakes before the pilot could crash into the fancy water fountain in front of the house. Though he knew Scrooge was probably more than used to Launchpad and his crashes and could more than afford the damage, that didn't mean he wanted to meet McDuck that way.
Stepping out of the car, they looked up at the large mansion in awe.
"Wow" breathed Drake. "You know, last time I wasn't able to really appreciate how beautiful this place is!"
Launchpad nodded happily, a large grin on his face. "I know, right? What a pad!"
The two of them walked up to the front doors, which were opened by Duckworth. Drake jumped slightly at the sudden appearance of the butler. "Good afternoon, gentlemen." greeted Duckworth.
Drake nodded politely while Launchpad shocked the butler by giving him a large side hug.
"Long time no see, Duckworth!" he laughed.
Once Duckworth was let go, his fixed his tie and straightened up again. "Always a pleasure, Mr. McQuack..." he sighed.
The two visitors stepped into the large foyer, both admiring the view.
Fenton's voice could suddenly be heard through the closed wooden double doors in front of them and both of them turned their attention to it.
The doors opened to reveal Fenton and Scrooge walking through it. The taller accountant was clinging to Scrooge's left shoulder making kissing faces as he tried to smooch the older duck on the cheek. Scrooge's stony expression proved how uninterested he currently was by Fenton's affections.
Upon seeing his visitors and with a quick jab of his elbow, Scrooge knocked the younger duck away."We have company, ya great buffoon!" he hissed.
Drake blinked. He had heard rumors about Scrooge McDuck dating a younger man, but he never thought Fenton Crackshell would be him, of all people! Suddenly Fenton's words from the day before made sense.
Fenton grunted and rubbed at the spot on his chest that Scrooge had hit, but his attention span was low enough that it was soon forgotten when his eyes landed on Drake and Launchpad. "Oh, hiya, Launchpad! Drake! See, Scroogey, I told ya they would be here on time!"
Scrooge turned to glare at the accountant and threatened to use his cane. "What 'ave I told ya about callin' me that!?"
Fenton flinched and gulped, knowing from experience it was his time to back off.
"Aww, lighten up, Mr. McDee. He didn't mean anything by it" chuckled Launchpad. He walked up to the zillionaire and knelt down to give him a hug. Scrooge returned it with a smile. "Ya gotta watch that blood pressure, after all!"
Scrooge ignored the jab at his expense and said, "Good ta see ya again, lad!"
Scrooge's attention then turned to Drake. Launchpad watched his gaze change and instantly moved to introduce Drake.
"Oh, right! This is Drake Mallard, Mr. McDee! The guy Fenton thinks would do well as your Data Analysis Manager!"
Scrooge titled his head and narrowed his eyes at Drake, who suddenly felt like he was being overly criticized; which he probably was.
"Now wait a moment" began Scrooge. "I was under the impression you were staying with that Darkwing Duck character."
Launchpad opened and closed his mouth in shock, unsure of what to say. Scrooge had heard from Fenton about his troubles and how they needed a place to say. And Scrooge was nothing but observant. He was no idiot that was for sure. He could connect the dots easily enough.
But before either Drake or Launchpad could say anything, Scrooge continued. "Donnae matter" he sighed. "I can put two and two together."
Fenton scratched his head in confusion. "What are ya talking about, Scrooge?"
The old duck adjusted his top hat, ignoring Fenton altogether. He turned his attention on Drake. "So, life's been hard on ya and you need a change of pace, hmm? And you think workin' for me will do the trick?"
Drake shrugged, hating the idea that he was being put on the spot. "I guess so? A lot has happened so fast the last few days and I DO need a job. Fenton offered me this one and it sounds like something I can handle."
Scrooge nodded. "Fine. Fine. Just how much are ya expectin' to be paid then?"
How much did he want to get paid? He hadn't expected Scrooge to ask that. Once again, Drake shrugged; not knowing what else to do. "Honestly, Mr. McDuck? You're talking to someone who's never really had a legit income before, so I'm open to just about anything."
This seemed to brighten Scrooge's mood immediately. "Splendid! You're hired!"
Launchpad couldn't help but laugh at Drake's dumbfounded expression as he and Scrooge shook hands on the agreement.
"T-Thanks, Mr. McDuck. I'll...try not to let you down..." mumbled Drake.
Scrooge gestured for them to step outside before leading them out of the front door, which Duckworth opened for them. Once outside he said, "You'll do just fine, my boy." He glanced over at Fenton, who was following him like a lost puppy. "If I can handle having Fenton as an employee, I'm sure you won't be any trouble..."
Fenton nodded happily before his words sunk in. "H-Hey!" he cried out indignantly.
Scrooge gave the accountant a half lidded smirk before turning back to Launchpad and Drake. "When can you start?"
"Whenever you want me to, sir" replied Drake.
Scrooge nodded. "Excellent. I'll have you start on Monday then! I'll expect you to be at my Money Bin at 8 AM sharp. I will meet you at the front door and show you to your desk and the like. It's really quite simple once you get settled, I assure you."
"Plus, if you have any questions or concerns, you can just ask me! I work there too, ya know!" beamed Fenton happily.
Scrooge rolled his eyes as he leaned on his cane. "Good luck with tha' though" he mumbled.
Launchpad stepped forward. "Thanks a bunch, Mr. McDee! Drake and I have been through the wringer recently and frankly, we just needed to both get out of St. Canard and start fresh, you know?"
Scrooge nodded. "I admire that. Sometimes its necessary to start back at square one." He pointed his cane as Launchpad. "I'm assuming you'd like to take back your old job as my personal pilot?"
"You know it!" crowed Launchpad happily. "Free of charge, as always!"
Scrooge's smile broadened at his words.
Drake looked up at Launchpad and smiled. Five days ago it had seemed like his life had fallen apart and would never be fixed. But here, Scrooge McDuck was giving him his first real job and hopefully a chance to start over. He would never be able to fully heal from his past, but he was sure going to try.
The sun felt good as Drake took a moment to enjoy the light breeze ruffling his feathers. For the first time since all this madness had started, Drake felt like everything was going to be okay. Change was in the air and he wanted to desperately believe that it was for the best.
"NYEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!"
Magica de Spell was busy laughing as she watched through her crystal ball clear on the other side of the world. She was watching the scene at McDuck Manor unfold before her.
Her sleek shoulder length black hair danced around her face as she cackled.
She put her hands together and rested them on the side of her face. "Oh! This is being too PERFECT!" she hooted happily. "All this time and planning and never had I thought things would turn out so well!"
"Well!" cawed Poe from his perch on the table beside her. "Plan going well!"
"Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!" Magica continued to laugh. "I try so very hard to make perfect host for potion-And after that went well-Host goes and gets close to McDuck himself! Excellent!"
"Host does well! Darkwing perfect!" crowed Poe.
"As though you ever doubted me" came the deep suave, almost mechanical male voice from the shadows.
Magica turned to her partner in crime with a smirk. "Ahh, yes! You were big help in suggesting that masked duck from St. Canard! It has been fun watching world fall apart for him!"
There was a mechanical whirring around and a heavy clanking sound as metal feet walked out of the shadows and into the light. Taurus Bulba looked just as intimidating and frightening as the last time he had made an appearance in the criminal world, having gone underground after Darkwing last defeated him. Half of his body was still machinery, though the last remaining living parts of him had seen better days.
"I've known that duck's weakness since the very beginning. Once I knew you needed to break someone's heart and destroy a person for your plans, I instantly knew teaming up and getting rid of Darkwing would suffice. Not to mention the enjoyment I would get out of all this. This is the last thing he will ever expect coming. Darkwing certainly has put on quite a show" explained Bulba. "He completely bought your magic tricks and fully fell into our hands..."
Magica flushed at the praise of her magic. "It was simple, Dah'ling. Only had to wait for the exact moment to strike and poof! Pain and suffering begin!"
"Yes...Darkwing truly has suffered and he most certainly made a spectacle of himself over the loss of his little blue girl..." With slow exaggerated steps thanks to his mechanical body, he turned to a small cell on the other side of the room. His one machine eye glowing red, he glowered at the prisoner he knew was inside it. "Isn't that right...Gosalyn Waddlemeyer?"
Inside the cell, a living and breathing Gosalyn Mallard, still donning her Quiverwing Quack costume, glared through the bars. She was sitting on the concrete floor, tied up and unable to speak due to the tight cloth wrapped around her beak.
Both Magica and Bulba laughed maniacally, knowing all their planning would soon come to completion and they would both get what they wanted.
Author's Note: MAJOR cliffhanger! And I'm afraid to say that is the end of 'Beginnings and Endings'! The story will continue in 'Thicker Than Water'! Though, first, I will have to write another story, 'The Golden Heart' which will allow the next installment to make SO much more sense! Don't worry! I'll try not to keep you in suspense for too long! I hope you all enjoyed this story as much as I have! Please review! Thank you! -EricaX