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Thicker Than Water

Chapter Text

Author's Note: This story taken place directly after the events in "Beginnings and Endings". You will NOT understand this story without reading that first. So I suggest you do that before moving on. The chapter starts off re-living the scene at the factory in the second chapter of "Beginnings and Endings".

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A Week Ago

Whiffle Boy Distribution Factory

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"Its PLAAAAYTIIIIMMMME! " Quackerjack had yelled out loudly, his voice echoing throughout the factory.

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. Megavolt had been quick to bring the factory to life around them with his electrical abilities, making the factory more dangerous to them with moving machinery.

While Launchpad and Darkwing fended off the machinery that had been brought to life, 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.

Morgana and Quiverwing took this chance to continue fending off the toy soldiers and smashing them with her arrows. Morgana smashed them with little sparks of magic. Distantly, Quiverwing heard Quackerjack cry out in panic and alarm, "NOOO! Now I don't know which kind of which! Megavolt! Make them stooooop!"

"Fine! You take of the brat and the witch and I'll take care of Dipwing and his boyfriend!"

At these words, Quiverwing looked up to see that Quackerjack was indeed headed their way.

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.

Morgana and Quiverwing, having heard it all, paused and looked at each other in confusion. Quiverwing rolled her eyes and mumbled sarcastically to herself, "Right guys, cause THAT'S what you two should be focused on right now."

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!"

Quiverwing's eyes widened in alarm. "Did you see that, Morgana!?" she asked her companion. "Be careful of those toys there, they're explosive!"

Morgana looked over to see what her young friend was referring to. She watched as the jester seem to frantically sort the toys around. "I'll be careful."

Just as she said these words, both her and Quiverwing looked up at the shouts of Darkwing, Launchpad, and Megavolt. They watched with wide eyes as a large crane came down and picked them up, sending them up and over to one of the other catwalks. Quiverwing winced when she saw her dad land on the bottom of the dog pile when the crane released them.

It was then that their attention was brought back to the toy teeth in front of them. Quiverwing had tried using her arrows on the toy teeth, but Quackerjack 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 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.

Faintly, Quiverwing was able to hear her father cry out in worry for her. "QUIVERWING!" he cried worriedly. Then a moment later, "MORGANA! DO SOMETHING!" Darkwing shouted instead.

Quiverwing rolled her eyes as she tried to ignore the pain in her arm. Once again her dad was over exaggerating. She was fine!

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.

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.

"Is it just me, or are these toy teeth stronger than usual? My arrows are having no effect on them and I could have sworn they have in the past!" wondered Quiverwing out loud as she dodged another bite from one of the said toys.

"Either that or my magic is weakening..." replied the enchantress. Just as she said these words, she noticed her magic was in fact, failing her. 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.

Meanwhile, Darkwing was running towards the catwalk Quiverwing and Morgana were on, bounding up the steps.

One of the toy teeth attacking Quiverwing then got her by the cape and fell down over the catwalk, taking Quiverwing with it.

"Ahhhhh!" screamed Quiverwing, feeling herself descending down to the ground below, whistling air in her ears. She fell backwards off the catwalk and landed on a pile of mixed Whiffle Boy dolls. She groaned at the impact, which caused several of Quackerjack's explosive dolls went off.

Quiverwing cried out in pain as the blasts went off around her. Her vision was suddenly blurry and her mind felt numb. She felt like she couldn't move. Behind her she heard a great towering crash as the truck that Quackerjack had driven in fell to its side. The gas tank on the truck was now open and starting spurting gasoline everywhere.

The heavy thick smell of the gasoline slammed into Quiverwing's, causing her to wince and turn away; but it was everywhere. Her head was starting to feel like it was splitting in two.

Somewhere in her hazy mind she could hear her father's voice.

"QUIVERWING! I'm coming for you, sweetheart!" He called down to his daughter in the best comforting way he could.

Faintly, Quiverwing nodded, but that only seemed to make her head spin more and the pain intensify. At this point she just wanted to go home. She wanted Darkwing to come get her, take care of Quackerjack and Megavolt, and they could go home and have ice cream or something. She was done with being Quiverwing for the night. With the way she was feeling, she'd rather do homework.

Just when Quiverwing thought that things were going to be okay, she heard Darkwing shout out in the most heartbreaking voice she had ever heard him speak in, "NOOOO! GOSALYYYN!"

Something told her to look up. She looked up and saw a lit flame falling down towards her. She wasn't sure why, but something told her that was NOT a good thing. She closed her eyes; her instincts telling her this was going to hurt. That this was the end.

The last thought Quiverwing had before everything went black was: "I love you, dad."

Then there was nothing. No pain. No sound. Just darkness.

Blearily, Quiverwing opened her eyes, which felt like a harder task than it should. She could no longer feel the pile of broken Whiffle Boy dolls underneath her. Nor could she smell the gasoline anymore.

Was she dead?

"Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!" came a woman's high pitched cackled. Quiverwing didn't recognize it.

Was it Quackerjack's laugh?

No, no. This laugh was far different from his. This laugh was a woman's laugh. The only woman she knew who was around them was Morgana and she certainly didn't laugh like that.

She couldn't bring herself to open her eyes; her eyelids were too heavy. All she wanted to do was sleep.

The maniacal laughter was suddenly combined with a chilling clank of metal footsteps. Quiverwing knew in the back of her mind that she had heard those footsteps before, along with the faint whirring sound of robotics.

She knew no more as her mind lost the battle and she lost consciousness.

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Five Days Later

In An Unknown Location

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When Quiverwing woke up once more, her mind was much more clear and she found it a lot easier to think without her head screaming at her to stop.

With a groan, Quiverwing slowly pushed herself up off the cement floor she found herself to be lying on. No wonder she was so sore. She coughed and cleared her dry throat, wishing for a glass of water.

"Dad?" she rasped in confusion.

How long had she been out of it? Surely not more than a couple hours, right? Darkwing and Launchpad would have taken care of Quackerjack and Megavolt by now, right? Her dad had to be nearby, he wouldn't let her out of his sight and she remembered him shouting to her that he was on his way.

She really wished she had some answers.

She sat up completely, placing both hands on the sides of her head as she tried to figure out what was happening. Were they still at the factory? Or were they back at the Tower? She was laying on the cement floor, making Quiverwing think they were still at the factory. Darkwing would have put her in bed if she'd been knocked unconscious and managed to get back home.

'He's such a worry wart' she thought offhandedly. She pulled off her mask, thinking it was safe to do so.

Out loud she said, "Seriously though, dad, where are we? Why aren't we at the Tower?" She finally glanced around at her surroundings and saw that she was not in the factory nor the Tower. She was in a cell. And her dad was no where to be seen.

Suddenly there was the sound of mechanical whirring and humming accompanied by heavy metallic footsteps. The feathers on the back of Gosalyn's neck stood on end and her heart beat raced faster as she recalled the last time she had heard such a sound.

With wide eyes, Gosalyn sat in the middle of the cell and looked through the bars. She appeared to be in some kind of furnished cave. She could see several tables filled with books and potions and other such things. It looked like something she would see at Morgana's family's house. The right side of the room was a long thick deep red curtain which seemed highly out of place. Glancing up, she saw that the stone was carved into the shape of an elaborate dome.

Where the heck was she!? This was like no villain's hideout she'd ever seen.

The metallic footsteps seem to get louder and Gosalyn assumed that was because they were coming closer. She pushed herself further back into the cell she was in for fear of what she would find. Memories of that awful time in her life came to mind unbidden and she tried her hardest to will them away. That deep, heart wrenching fear and pain of having lost of seeing that building rooftop explode and seeing how, at the time, was the only person who seemed to understand her die. She had been wrong, thankfully, but the fear had never left her.

There was suddenly a deep chuckle that could be heard just outside her view and Gosalyn's whole body froze. "No way..." she whispered.

After several more heavy footsteps, Taurus Bulba stepped into view, casting a shadow on Gosalyn's small form in the cell as he blocked out the light. Gosalyn gasped as she stared up at the villain who scared her the most.

"Well, well, if it isn't Gosalyn Waddlemeyer..." he spoke calmly. It was the same chilling voice she occasionally had in her nightmares. "Time certainly seems to have changed things... No longer are you the pathetic little weakling orphan I met all those years ago. Now you are hero in training!" he exclaimed mockingly. "Just like her dear ol' adopted father..."

Gosalyn willed herself not be afraid as she glared at the bull before her. "What do you want, Bulba!?"

Taurus seemed impressed by her courage, for her smirked down at her with a raised eyebrow. "Oh, just the typical revenge most villains want on others...Though, in my case, its to avenge the body parts I lost no thanks to that no good has-been Darkwing Duck!"

"Not his fault you had to go and steal my grandfather's invention. Should have tried a life that wasn't crime!" she argued back.

"Ahh, your youthful innocence and naivity is amusing, Waddlemeyer" he chuckled, his red mechanical eye gleaming. "You say this yet you have never been taunted by the world's most darkest temptations. You will soon learn that the world is far from black and white. And once you hear what your father has done, you won't be so cavalier with your opinions."

That got Gosalyn's temper riled up instantly. She found herself pushed up against the bars in her anger. "What did you do to Darkwing!?"

"Me?" he gestured to himself innocently. "I have done nothing. It is Darkwing who has ruined everything for himself. He has dug himself quite the grave."

"Well, whatever it is you're planning, he'll stop you! I'm sure he's on his way now, trying to find me and kick your butt!" threatened the red-headed duckingly.

"Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!"

There was that laughter again. Gosalyn remembered hearing it before she had passed out. A puff of smoke appeared and the source of the cackling laughter showed itself.

Magica de Spell continued her laughter for another few moments before she finally went quiet.

Gosalyn stared at her with wide eyes, having never seen her before. The duck before her had sleek shoulder length black hair and a black dress with ruffles at the end. Red heels finished off her outfit. Magica turned her eyes to Gosalyn, who couldn't help but freeze up in fear. She had never seen this woman before and the fact that she was clearly working with Taurus Bulba didn't make her feel any better.

"Silly girl!" began Magica. "Darkwing Duck is not coming to save you!"

Despite her uncertainly of this new villain, Gosalyn couldn't keep herself from biting back. "Oh, yeah!? And just what makes you so sure!?"

Taurus Bulba was the one who replied, "Because your father t'inks you are dead."

Gosalyn's face fell into one of pure horror. "WHAT!?"

Magica laughed again, though not as loudly or for as long. "Thanks to simple parlor trick, your father thinks you died in explosion! It was so easy!"

"Explosion!?" echoed Gosalyn with wide eyes. She could suddenly remember falling onto Quackerjack's exploding Whiffle Boy dolls and smelling gasoline. She knew she had heard her father call out to her, which would explain why she had thought everything had been alright. She thought she had just lost consciousness from the fall.

"Yes" said Bulba. "Thanks to Magica you were saved at the last moment before your otherwise painful death."

Reeling from all this information, Gosalyn found herself mumbling in confused shock. "Magica?"

At the confused mention of her name, Magica smiled and looked slightly bashful and sassy at the same time. "Ahh, it is time I is properly introducing self!" she said. She placed a hand on her chest. "I am the great enchantress, Magica de Spell!"

"Awk! Magica de Spell! Great enchantress!" called out a scratchy male voice.

Gosalyn jumped at the voice and looked up to her high left where she saw a crow perched up on one of the many chandeliers illuminating the room.

Getting irritated for the lack of knowing what was happening, Gosalyn blurted out, "What did you mean about my dad!?" She glanced over at Magica, knowing she was revealing that Darkwing was her father, but she had sinking feeling in the bottom of her stomach that Magica was already highly aware of it.

"Ahh! So much to say to answer simple question! Why don't we SHOW you!?" suggested Magica happily. She threw up her arms and in a whirl of purple smoke, she procured a large mirror. The smoke continued to swirl around the large round mirror, which floated in the air.

Gosalyn watched in awe. Magica was clearly more advanced in her magic than Morgana. Morgana had never done anything like this before. At least, Gosalyn was assuming this was more difficult magic; she honestly didn't know.

Taurus Bulba shuffled his large metallic feet impatiently. "Must we show her all that we've been watching the past week?"

Magica scowled at the bull opposite of her. "Not everything! Just important parts! Don't be getting bolts twisted!" She turned her attention back to the mirror and after a few elaborate arm gestures, the mirror began to glow. She looked around the mirror to Taurus and asked him almost mockingly, "Would you like to tell story or shall I?"

Taurus sneered at the magical mirror. "T'is your magic. You tell it."

Magica shrugged and as she started speaking, the mirror followed along with her words. "It was simple, as Magica said. That silly jester and his sniveling rat companion game me perfect chance! I whisk you away from explosion at very last minute! Leading everyone in that factory believe you to be dead! Including Darkwing Duck!"

The mirror's shiny surface quivered like a drop of water hit it, its rippling effect changing the mirror until it showed a picture. It was like watching a video. Gosalyn could see her father sobbing in front of the burnt and charred remains of the Whiffle Boy toy pile she had landed on; one of her arrows clutched tightly in his hands. Gosalyn felt her heart pull at the sight of her dad in the mirror.

Magica continued. "He cried and cried until mindless witch unknowingly smuggles my very own Emoti-Gone potion to his not so secret hideout! Nyeh heh heh!" The mirror changed to show a tired and drained Morgana holding a potion in her hands and speaking to Launchpad at the Tower. "Fool thought it was an ancient potion passed down by family! Ha! Not even close! I sneak it there, knowing fool would show it. Just to be sure, I made sure to bump potion and make it fall!" The mirror showed how the chest of potions magically shifted so the bottle would fall to the ground. "I even made sure bumbling father came down for drink so he would hear all about the potion that would take away all feelings!"

Gosalyn frowned. "A potion that would take away all feelings?"

Magica nodded. "Keep watching! Magica explain!" she encouraged.

Taurus turned away as she continued, opting to pace around the area.

"Potion is old recipe that I re-designed and made more powerful! I knew bumbling hero would drink it. He was in so much pain from feelings he could not control. He drank potion and lost all abilities to feel emotions! No sadness, no grief, no happiness, no jealousy, no anger, no annoyance-Nothing!"

Gosalyn watched through the mirror as a blank faced Drake Mallard walked about their house on Avian Way and spoke to Launchpad as though he was a robot.

The mirror changed and showed her Drake standing in front of their burning house. Gosalyn's whole body tensed and her eyes widened, feeling as though they would pop right out of her head. "Our house!"

At this, Taurus spoke up, starting with a taunting laugh. "He burned it. He burned down your cute little suburban house. He no longer desired to live there and saw need to burn it. It only reminded him of the pain he was so desperately avoiding."

Gosalyn had looked at the half robotic bull in shock before looking back at the mirror. "But why!? Why do all this!?"

Magica raised a finger in the air to gain Gosalyn's attention. "Keep listening! It was from then on, bumbling hero dug himself metamorphic grave! Without his emotions, he no longer kept himself from insulting everyone left and right. He pushed everyone away, even silly pilot sidekick! Who ended up making all this even better!"

"Who, Launchpad?" questioned the confused hero in training.

Magica nodded. "Yes! Sidekick made this all the better! This was not part of plan, but it worked so well! Turns out silly pilot has been harboring feelings for bumbling hero. You can imagine his broken heart when Darkwing turns him down harshly. Pilot's heart break ended up helping me find another piece of the puzzle I need for plans!"

Gosalyn, completely gobsmacked, shook her head. "WAIT! Launchpad is in love with my dad!? SINCE WHEN!?" She didn't know if she was happy or disgusted; not that she disliked the idea, but because the idea of her dad being anything close to romantic was not a sight she liked to imagine.

"Since now, apparently" shrugged Magica in disinterest. "Not only did bumbling hero break pilot's heart, but he spat in the faces of all of St. Canard's Police Department, sassed S.H.U.S.H., drove knife through Negaduck's hand, shot officer in leg then blame it on his doppelganger, and nearly had silly pilot killed before he finally caved and broke the effects of my potion!"

Gosalyn had watched little snippet scenes of each event take place as Magica listed them off. Gosalyn's face was on of horror and heart break as she watched her father, her role model, reduced to this emotionless drone. It was like someone else was playing the role of her dad and failing miserably at it. This person looked just like her dad, but as she watched the mirror, she saw the coldness in his eyes. That wasn't her dad. It couldn't be. He would never do any of those things.

He'd been so lost and hurt when he thought he'd lost her that he hid himself away.

There was a twinge of annoyance at her dad's actions; but her sympathy for him won out. She knew she would be just as big of a mess had the situation been reversed.

"So!" Magica pressed on. "Here we are today! Hero fought back against potion! Effects are gone! Emotions are back! And I know have the perfect ingredient for my plans!"

Taurus stepped forward as Magica spelled the mirror away and making it disappear. "And now we can do what I have been wanting to do all week."

"All week!?" Gosalyn interrupted.

Taurus raised the only eyebrow he had left. "Have you not figured it out? You have been unconscious for seven days...Almost eight now. Magica kept you under a light sleeping spell. We couldn't risk the chance of you getting away and running off to your father before our plans came to bear fruit."

Gosalyn scowled. "Now what do you plan to do!?"

Taurus Bulba turned to face her completely, his face contorting to a dark grin. He opened his mouth to explain when Magica cut him off.

"We release you."

Taurus stopped and turned to her and at the same time, both Bulba and Gosalyn asked, "What?"

Magica, who was now facing her potion table, shrugged and replied without facing them. "We release you. There is no longer any reason to keep you here. No longer any reason to hide knowledge that you are still alive."

Taurus turned on Magica immediately, stomping his way over to her angrily. "What!? That was not part of the deal, Magica! The deal was we kidnap the girl and use her to our advantage!"

Unfazed by the threatening half cyborg who was yelling at her, she calmly turned to him. "And we did just that! We got Darkwing to drink potion! And potion's effects were broken! I knew the moment that pilot's feelings existed, he would be one to break it. Girl was back-up in case that failed. It does not matter if Darkwing knows if she is alive to us anymore. She is no longer useful."

Growling, Taurus demanded, "But then why kidnap her at all!?"

"Fool!" snapped Magica, clearly not liking Taurus' impudence. "She was so Darkwing would drink the potion! He did just that and now that potion is over, it no longer matters what happens! Send her back!"

"What about luring Darkwing to us!?"

Magica ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "That comes later in plan. You're getting ahead of self. Your need for revenge is blinding you. Must be patient! Send her back! Keeping her here will only be more work later!"

Taurus was at a loss. "But-!"

Magica turned on him, her hair whipping around at the quick movement. "Don't you dare, Taurus Bulba! Don't ruin this for me! You do as I say or I make sure your metal parts rot with rust!" With a wave of her hand, his metallic hand began to do just that. Taurus watched in horror as the metal of his hand began to turn to rust and start crumbling.

"FINE!" hollered a panicked Taurus.

Magica stopped the spell and Taurus' hand returned to normal, much to his relief.

Gosalyn meanwhile, was now watching Magica with a new awe and fear. This woman, who she had never seen nor heard of, was not the least bit scared or worried about Taurus Bulba, who was known for being one of the most nefarious and difficult of villains her and her father have ever faced. It was a terrifying concept. Just who was this Magica de Spell and what was she planning!?

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Feverish whimpers broke the quiet of the night. Images of Gosalyn, his precious daughter, falling to the toy pile and then going up in flames repeated itself over and over in his sleep deprived mind until finally he cried out.

"Gosalyn!"

Drake shot up from his spot in the hammock he shared with Launchpad. He breathed heavily, his eyes wide, as his senses slowly returned to him. He looked around the darkened room that was known as their current home. Sweat mingled under his feathers as he slowly closed hsi eyes and rubbed his left eye with his hand. He moaned in despair. He couldn't sleep; his mind wouldn't let him.

He'd had the luxury of no emotions for far too long and now finally, Drake Mallard was properly grieving the daughter he lost. Tears welled up in his eyes as his chest tightened with emotion and he felt it harder to breathe.

Just when Drake was starting to think he would explode from it all, a gentle hand reached out to him, grabbing onto his arm.

"Shh...It's okay, DW..."

Drake started slightly from the sleepy voice of his best friend. He turned his head to look behind him where Launchpad's head was. The pilot was still laying down, but his eyes were half open and looking at Drake in sympathy. "I miss her too..."

Drake sniffed at Launchpad's confession and looked down at his lap. "I can't...I can't sleep, Launchpad. I can't stop thinking about it. My mind won't let me. Every time I close my eyes I just keep seeing-Keep seeing-" He wasn't able to finish his sentence as Drake curled in on himself and willed back his sobs.

Watching Drake curl himself up into a ball, he pushed himself up on his elbow and with his free arm, wrapped it around Drake and pulled the grieving mallard to him. They moved about in the hammock until Drake was laying in front of Launchpad; his back pressed against Launchpad's chest. Launchpad's left hand rubbed at Drake's arm soothingly. "It's gonna take some time for both of us, DW, but we can get through this. I promise..."

Drake miserably nodded, his head now back on his tear stained pillow.

"Just try to think of other things. That's what I do when I'm sad" suggested Launchpad with a yawn. "Come on, let's talk about something else and maybe that'll help ya get sleepy again so you can rest."

Drake couldn't help but give him a wan smile he knew Launchpad couldn't see.

"How about thinkin' about your first day at your new job in the morning?"

Drake closed his eyes, his small smile vanishing. He groaned and shifted his feet. "Don't remind me!"

Launchpad squeezed his arm encouragingly. "Aww, have some confidence, DW! You'll do great! And the best part is, you'll have Fenton there to help ya out! He knows all about that stuff and he's worked for Mr. McDee for years! Any questions can go to him! It'll be like havin' a cheat sheet on a test!"

Drake rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I know he's your friend, LP, but you're gonna have to give me a bit of time to get used to the guy. He's...quite the character..."

Launchpad laughed. "Heh, Fenton is Fenton, I'll give ya that. But he's a good egg. Worships the ground Mr. McDee walks on...And that was BEFORE they started dating!"

Drake shook his head again. "Odd fellow..." He sighed. "Though I guess you're right. It is nice to know I can go to him for questions..."

Launchpad shifted uncomfortably behind Drake. "Um...Why do you say he's odd?"

Drake didn't reply right away. He half shrugged, which was awkward since he was laying on his side. He turned around in the hammock so that he was now facing Launchpad. "I don't know. Just comes off that way to me, I guess."

Launchpad opened his beak then closed it. He was no longer looking at Drake and instead was looking above Drake's head and to the dresser that was behind him.

Seeing Launchpad's sudden uncomfortable silence, Drake asked, "What's wrong, LP?"

It was clear Launchpad was debating whether or not to say anything. Finally, he admitted, "You say Fenton is odd. You don't think that because he's in love with Mr. McDee, do you? I mean, according to Gyro, a lot of people were uneasy and disliked the idea of them together."

It finally occurred to Drake what was bothering his friend. He nodded in understanding, being able to read between the lines. The two of them still haven't discussed the dynamics between them yet. He should have known Launchpad would be worried about where Drake stood in dating another guy. "Ahh, I see. No. Trust me, LP. That has nothing to do with it. I've always thought Fenton was an oddball. Long before he started dating Scrooge McDuck." He paused and thought his words out carefully. "Look, I've only really met the guy once. When he stayed with us in St. Canard that one time, remember?"

Launchpad nodded.

"Well, the real reason I call him odd is cause...he's just odd to me! He's just too positive, too loud, too talkative. And he kept wearing my red robe!" This last bit was adding in more out of a irritation than anything else. "He's just a lot for me to take in, okay?"

Launchpad smiled before asking, "So it has nothing to do with who he's dating?"

Drake shook his head. "I don't give a flying hoot who he dates. He just needs to stop talking a mile a minute around me. And also-I don't know why-But he reminds me of that annoying spotlight hogging buffoon- Gizmoduck! I don't know-it's the way they both talk or something-And you know how much I can't stand him!"

That got another laugh out of Launchpad before he yawned hugely again. "You and your dislike of Gizmoduck. I'll never understand it. I think he's great!"

Drake didn't respond at first. He was absently plucking at the small thin bed sheet between them. When he did speak he said seriously, "Launchpad, I want you to know, I'm okay with the idea of dating you. Or another guy for that matter. It's just...After everything that's happened lately-"

Launchpad interrupted him. "That's all I needed to hear, DW! I understand why now is a bad time. I'm not tryin' to rush you in any way! I'm just glad to know its not me."

Drake gave him a tender smile and pushed himself closer; filling the space between them. He rested his head against the pilot's chest and wrapped his one arm around his waist. "No...It's definitely not you, LP. You've been so good to me...Even when I was horrible to you."

Launchpad beamed down at Drake, his chin resting above Drake's head. He held the shorter mallard close. "Aww, shucks, DW! I know that wasn't really you!"

Reality seemed to settle back in as Drake's melancholy returned. He groaned. "I just don't feel as though things will be getting any easier of me anytime soon, LP. I'm going to need some time..."

Launchpad nodded. "I understand! Really! Take all the time you need!"

Drake nodded. "I don't think its even fully registered with me yet that things are officially over with Morgana and me. I...I don't blame her for what happened...But just the idea of seeing her just hurts too much, you know? And the idea of dating anyone at the moment is the last thing on my mind."

Launchpad nodded understandingly.

Drake continued. "Just, help me get through the next few days and this new job and we'll go from there..."

"You got it, DW!" yawned Launchpad again. "Now let's try to get some sleep, okay? I'm bushed!"

Drake nodded and moved until he was comfortable. It didn't take long for Launchpad to fall back asleep and Drake wished he could say the same for himself. There was just this little aching deep inside of him that said something wasn't right. Something bad was going to happen and he usually had been right about such feelings in the past as Darkwing.

Closing his eyes, Drake ignored it and willed himself to sleep.

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Bright and early later that morning found Launchpad and Drake making their way to Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin. The sun was bright and the sky was clear; which was the complete opposite of Drake's current mood. He had been thrilled at the idea of getting a job so quickly for he and Launchpad were desperate since they had to start everything from scratch, more or less.

Fenton's offer had been a God send, but now that it was time to actually show up to work, butterflies were starting to dance around inside the shorter mallard's stomach. All of his adult life he had been Darkwing Duck: masked mallard and secret vigilante to St. Canard. He had used the money he had gotten from his foster parents to support himself and cut costs wherever he could. Mainly by living in the Tower. But now it was time to act like a true citizen of the world and have a full time job.

Drake swallowed the lump in his throat as the taxi they had taken to get to the Money Bin drove off behind them. They looked up at the towering building that contained McDuck's three cubic-acre fortune.

"What does a duck do with that much money?" Drake asked out loud.

Launchpad shrugged. "He swims in it, of course!"

Drake turned to his taller friend. "No, he doesn't! You can't swim in money!"

Launchpad frowned. "No, really. I've seen him do it myself! He actually swims through his money! He wears a bathing suit and everything!"

Sensing that Launchpad wasn't joking, Drake's eyes widened. "How do you SWIM in money!?"

Launchpad shrugged. "Beats me! I've never tired. Not that he'd let me. I know his nephews have tried and they can't. I guess its just something only Mr. McDee can do..."

Drake shook his head and they both looked at the front doors in time to see the said billionaire duck step out of the doors with Fenton at his heels.

Upon seeing them, Scrooge gave a smirk and leaned on his cane, waiting for them to walk up the rest of the way to them. Following Scrooge's gaze, Fenton saw them approach as well and beamed at them happily.

"Hi, Launchpad! Hi, Drake!" he greeted them in too chipper of a voice for Drake's taste. It was too early to be so happy and energetic.

Scrooge seemed unfazed by his companion's exuberant mood and regarded the two of them in a cool manner. "Good mornin'. Yer right on time. I admire that. Time is money, laddie" he said to Drake specifically. "MY money! So be sure t'always be on time or ya won't have this job long!"

Drake nodded. "I can do that."

"Are you joining us on the tour we're gonna give Drake, Launchpad?" asked Fenton.

Launchpad shook his head. "Nahh. I'm just dropping Drake off. He's still new to Duckberg, so he's not entirely sure where he's going half the time."

Drake gave him a half lidded glare. "Though, like I told you, I would have been able to find the very large, very noticeable building that towers over the city without problem, thank you, Launchpad."

Scrooge seemed flattered by Drake's annoyed comment. He looked up at his money bin fondly. "Aye, me Money Bin is quite the beauty, ain't she?" He admired the view for a brief second before turning back to them. "Now, let's get started. I have a very busy day ahead of me. I need ta get ya settled as soon as possible. Follow me." Before he went, he turned to Launchpad. "It was good seein' ya, laddie!"

"Same to you, Mr. McDee!" smiled the pilot.

Drake looked uncertainly up at Launchpad, not wanting to see him go. He was in unfamiliar territory and in the emotional and mental state he was currently in, he wasn't sure he was ready to be. He gave Launchpad a small wave, who returned it and smiled back encouragingly. Despite Launchpad's distraction the night before, Drake had still found it hard to sleep and he was paying for it now.

Without further hesitation, Drake followed the world's richest duck and his significant other into the money bin.

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The 'tour' Scrooge had given him had been more like a trip to the elevator and a short walk through the offices where he introduced all his other employees. And by "introduced", Drake meant, pointed them out with his cane and said who they were and what they did for him. Not that Drake would be able to remember any of this.

The only good part about the 'tour' was that, firstly, Fenton seemed to keep more quiet than he expected and actually allowed Scrooge to do the talking. But also, he found that Drake's new desk was right behind Fenton's. As Launchpad had said, this was good, because Fenton would be able to help him out. And the shorter mallard had a feeling he would need a lot of it.

Scrooge had left Fenton and Drake in the offices shortly after they got upstairs; shutting the door to his office behind him. In the wake of the rich duck's absence, Drake looked to Fenton who was still standing beside him and noted that the accountant was staring at the door with hearts in his eyes. "Isn't he amazing, Drakey?"

Drake blinked, looking back and forth between Fenton and the door. "Mr. McDuck? Yeah, I suppose so. He's a very important duck after all. Very um...intimidating? He really fills a room, despite being even shorter than me."

Fenton's happy gaze faltered as he turned to Drake. "He's not short! He's fun-sized!"

Drake awkwardly looked away. "Alright. So..."

Fenton had the decency to blush and look away as well. "Let's get to it then!" His smile returned as he guided Drake over to his new desk. "If you have any questions, just me know!"

Drake sat in his chair and looked at the computer and basic office supplies on it. He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "Um...Yeah. Exactly WHAT will I be doing?"

Fenton leaned on his desk and began explaining. "Okay, well, in simple terms: you're Scrooge's Data Analysis Manager. So, basically, your job is to process statistics and techniques within the company. All the information and data from Scrooge's company will be coming and going from you and it'll be your job to collect and analyze it all."

"What will I be looking for?" was Drake's question.

Fenton shrugged. "Oh, patterns and such. Say a company is not doing so well, you'll be able to look through their documents and files and stuff and help us figure out what's wrong." He paused and looked at Scrooge's office door before leaning in towards Drake and whispering. "Honestly, all you'll have to do is just organize and collect files. It's a pretty simple job. Just make it look like you're doing your job and you'll be fine. Scrooge rarely ever fusses over the details, unless of course, a situation arises that he needs to look more closely at one of his companies for some reason. But even then, just find him what he's looking for and you're fine."

Drake nodded slowly. He clicked a few buttons on the computer, bringing up a program that he will be using. "That's it?"

Fenton nodded. "That's it. You'll be doing a lot of printing too. Print off the files and reports you get and keep them together. Usually the reports come in about the same time each week like clock work. The filing cabinent over there is where you'll be stocking it all."

Drake followed his gaze and nodded again. He pulled anxiously at the tie he'd found in Launchpad's little shack. It happened to match his salmon shirt and vest so he put it on in an attempt to look more professional.

"I think I can handle a printer..." mumbled Drake as Fenton turned back to work at his own desk.

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"I can't even handle a printer!" groaned Drake two hours later. He was frantically trying his hardest to keep the printer from printing out any more copies of the report he had been trying to print. The printer however seemed jammed and didn't want to listen to him.

Sweat was rolling down Drake's temple as Fenton walked over to see what the problem was. "What's wrong, Drake?" He glanced down at the printer tray. "Blathering Blatherskite! That's a lot of copies of the Happy Fizzy Drink statistic report! You know you only had to copy it once, right?"

Drake glared at the accountant, feeling the question go straight to his ego since it insinuated he was stupid. "Yes, I knew that!" he snapped. "But I don't know what I did wrong! The printer just won't stop copying!"

After looking over the printer and seeing that it was in fact jammed and refusing to quit, Fenton hummed in thought. "Hmm...You know, this happened to me once when my toaster just kept cooking my toast over and over again. It wouldn't give me the toast. It was stuck. Wanna know what I did then?"

Drake frowned at him. "You told me how this was story was relevant?"

Fenton shook his head, not catching the jibe. "No, I didn't know you back then. Heh, when the toaster wouldn't stop...I went and found my M'ma. She took care of it."

Drake face palmed. It was then that the printer starting going into hyper drive and started spitting out the papers faster and faster. They both stepped back in alarm. By this point everyone in the office was watching them.

Now more worried as ever as the machine spat papers everywhere, Drake said loudly, "Okay, well, your M'ma isn't here! So what now, genius!?"

Fenton opened his beak to reply when the door to Scrooge's office opened. Drake turned in time to see the rich duck heading out of his office and he cursed under his breath. Scrooge McDuck WOULD pick now of all times to step out of his office.

Upon seeing the papers spitting all over the place, Scrooge threw everyone his signature glare. "What is the meanin' a this!?"

He stepped up to Drake and Fenton who were being rained on by Happy Fizzy Drink statistic reports. "Uh, ya see, Scrooge-Drake was trying to print out the Happy Fizzy Drink statistical report and-"

Scrooge didn't let him continue. "So he started printing out hundreds of them and started wasting my ink and paper!?" Without wasting another moment, Scrooge pushed past them and around to the other side of the printer where he unplugged the printer all together. The printer immediately powered down and the mess of papers stopping flowing out of it.

Drake shut his eyes, asking himself hatefully inside why he hadn't thought of that.

Fenton whistled. "Huh...You know, that's the same thing M'ma did with the toaster..."

Drake bit back a growl. That! That right there was why Fenton annoyed him so much!

His annoyance didn't last long as he opened his eyes to see a furious Scrooge in front of him. "I would appreciate it if ya didn't go wasting my supplies!" he snapped. "It costs MONEY for those supplies! What a waste, Mr. Mallard!"

Drake forced himself to stay strong. This recent botch up with the printer and Scrooge's anger was just the cherry on top of everything else that had happened to him in the past week. Loosing Gosalyn by failing to be a better protector and father, giving in to his selfishness and drinking that potion and ruining his life further, forcing him and his best friend to move after burning down their house, losing his girlfriend, possibly gaining a boyfriend in the process, being in a new city and completely lost, and now angering his boss two hours into his new job? He couldn't handle this.

Fenton glanced over at Drake and saw the shorter mallard's hands start to tremble. Seeing and knowing the signs of a break down from personal experience, the accountant quickly latched onto Drake's right hand and pushed him out of Scrooge's line of sight. "Give him a break, Scroogey!" he smiled fondly at his favorite duck.

Scrooge stepped backed at Fenton's intervention. "What?"

"Give the guy a break! He just lost his daughter and he's living in a new city! He's nervous, is all!" said Fenton pragmatically. He noted all the papers and wasted ink around them. "We'll clean up this mess in a jiffy and I'll even buy you new ink and paper myself, okay, Scrooge?"

The two of them shared a brief staring contest as Fenton's words sunk in and Scrooge gave it some thought. The older duck huffed before saying and looking away. "Fine! Get him sorted out! But I be havin' anymore of this! We have a business to run! No time for such mistakes!"

With a turn of his heel, Scrooge moved past them and over to Mrs. Quackfaster, who seemed to be the real person he had come to speak to.

Drake had just watched, stunned that Fenton was sticking up for him so much. He squeezed Fenton's hand slightly. "Thanks" he managed to get out.

Fenton turned his attention to Drake and wordlessly led him out of the money bin. Drake followed the accountant down the stairs and outside where they could get some fresh air and privacy.

Drake took in a deep breath, enjoying the breeze. He was once again amazed at how clear and fresh the air smelled as compared to back in St. Canard.

Fenton urged him to follow, having let go of Drake's hand. "Come on, there is a bench here."

The two of them sat on the bench and enjoyed the warm sunny day for a few minutes before Fenton broke the silence. "So? Are you feeling better?"

Drake shook his head. "No." He admitted honestly.

Fenton frowned and leaned forward to get a better look at Drake's downturned face. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Talk about what?"

"Pfft, trust me, Drakey, I know an emotional break down when I see one. Believe me, I"ve dealt with them myself" replied Fenton, leaning back and gesturing to himself with his hand. "When I first admitted my feelings to ol' Scroogey, he broke my heart in two by screaming at me about how big of a screw up I was and how I never listened. But you want to know what got me through it?"

"Not your M'ma again, was it?"

Fenton thought about it for a second before shaking his head. "No. I mean, she helped...a little between her soap operas...but no. My determination and loyalty ended up making Scrooge realize I was worth keeping around! And the same can be said about all the other times I had break downs. I just never let myself give up!"

Drake gave him an uninterested expression. "That's lovely and all, Fenton, and I'm happy for you, but have you ever had to deal with losing a daughter? A daughter that you didn't protect when you should have?"

Fenton paused, knowing Drake had a point. "No, I've never experienced anything like that. But, it's going to be okay, Drake! You're just going through a tough time in your life. But just look at everyone who's rooting for you. I am, in case you didn't know!" He laughed and fiddled with the sleeve of his jacket. "And what about Launchpad? He's there for you, right?"

Drake managed a small smile at the mention of his loyal sidekick. He nodded. "Yeah. He is..." His smile vanished. "But I just feel so drained, Fenton. I'm messed up SO much this past week and with so many things...And when Mr. McDuck started yelling at me...I just...I couldn't do it. I feel thin and stretched and I can't sleep...and I can hardly eat. I've barely had a chance to move on and accept what all has happened and suddenly I'm expected to start this new job with a temperamental boss obsessed with money!?"

"Hmm...Scroogey does love his money..." agreed Fenton passively.

Drake took in a deep breath and let it out. "Thank you, Fenton. I needed a breather."

"Do you think you'll be okay?"

Drake shook his head. "No. But, I guess it doesn't really matter, does it? I have to keep pressing on regardless, right?"

Fenton nodded sympathetically. "Yeah...But don't worry! I've got your back, Drakey!" He patted Drake enthusiastically on the back. "I'll help you out! You just leave Scroogey to me! Not to brag...but he's uh...Got a bit of a soft spot for me." He winked at his friend.

Drake smirked. "I would imagine so, seeing as how you're dating him!"

Fenton suddenly looked like a little kid on Christmas. He leaned over to Drake and said quietly, "Not for long! Soon I'm planning on proposing to him! I want to marry him, Drakey! He's the love of my life, the apple of my eye, the cream in my coffee!"

Drake couldn't help but grin at Fenton's lovesick attitude. "He really makes you that happy, huh?"

Fenton nodded excitedly. "He has the power to make or break my day! Just a single smile from him makes my heart flutter. He's just too amazing not to love!"

Drake nodded, patting Fenton on the knee. "I'm happy for you, Fenton. I wish you luck and I hope he says yes ...And....thank you for cheering me up. We didn't talk much, but it helped."

Fenton smiled hugely. "Anytime, Drake! Now come on, let's go figure out that printer!"

The two of them walked back into the money bin and Fenton spent the rest of the day helping out Drake, knowing the poor guy needed the extra help. Normally Drake wouldn't appreciate the extra help, his ego not allowing it, but he knew he wasn't up to the challenge of handling any of it by himself.

He just wished he could get rid of the sinking feeling in the bottom of his stomach that something bad was going to happen.

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Back at the cave, Magica was busy reading through a spell book. She didn't notice Taurus Bulba walking closer to Gosalyn's cage. The young duckling had fallen asleep from exhaustion from lack of nutrition and properly recovering from the events at the factory.

Looking down at her, Taurus spoke quietly, "I care not what Magica has planned. I am getting my revenge on Darkwing Duck and you...Gosalyn Waddlemeyer, are gonna help me do it!"

His shadow covered over the sleeping Gosalyn's face as he chortled with laughter.

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Chapter Text

Chapter 2

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In the caves of Mount Vesuvius, Magica was busy going over her many potion books, deep in thought as she mumbled to herself in concentration. Poe was busy sleeping on his little perch; his left wing covering his face as he dozed off.

Neither of them noticed the hulking mass of metal slowly walk up to them. Taurus Bulba glared at Magica's back. He did not care if this was against her plans. He had signed up to work with her all in hopes of ruining Darkwing and killing him afterwards. He had watched Darkwing Duck destroy his life after having drank that potion while thinking Gosalyn was dead. Now that that was over, it was time for Taurus to make his final strike and get the proper revenge he deserved! He hated living as a half cyborg and it was time Darkwing paid the price for what he did to him!

In his arms laid a heavily tied up and unconscious Gosalyn. It was time he took matters into his own hands! He just had to make sure Magica was not aware that he was not releasing the girl like he had been ordered to.

Stepping forward into the light, Taurus calmly cleared his throat conversationally. He had to do this correctly. After having worked with her and staying here at her hideout, Taurus had picked up some of the witch's habits. One of them being that once she started rambling about something while working, she would become so distracted that nearly anything could be happening around her and she wouldn't notice.

"So, Magica? May I ask you a question?" he spoke questioningly.

"Eh?" came Magica's confused response. Thankfully for Taurus she did not look away from her spell book. His whole plan would have been ruined if she had, but he figured she wouldn't. "Oh...Uh...Go ahead and ask."

Taurus smirked. "When we spoke to young Waddlemeyer, you said something that left me wondering...You said something about ingredients. Just how many ingredients do you need to fulfill our plan?"

"Eh...Too many to count, really. Though, now that I've handled Darkwing and Scrooge's lover boy, things should be progressing faster..." she answered distractedly. She suddenly lit up with excitement as her eyes scanned one of the pages of her book. "Oooh! That is handy spell!"

Taurus chose his next question carefully, wanting to ask one that he knew would start her off in a rambling garble. "Ahh, yes. That accountant. He is an ingredient, you say?"

"Hmm...Yes. But don't worry. I took care of that a ways back. He is taken cared for. But trust me, it was not easy! Things did not turn out the way I expected with that!" She flipped the page to her book and kept reading.

Taurus started walking as quietly as his metallic body would allow him. "Oh? How so?" As he asked, he continued walking, not intending to hear her answer as he made his way out of the cavernous home the enchantress lived in.

"Is long and complicated story which I don't have time to tell you. But basically, I am surprised lover boy is alive. I was expecting him to be swallowed by the darkness after what happened to him. But, either way, I obtained my ingredient. I was not expecting lover boy to survive, but I got what I needed regardless. And best part is: Scrooge has no idea I did anything to his lover boy! Nyeh heh heh heh heh!" Her laughing quickly turned into coughing. "Oh...I must not let myself get carried away..."

There was silence in the room for several moments before she cried out, "Here it is! The potion I been looking for!"

She didn't notice that she and her sleeping brother were now the only ones in the room, nor that she no longer had Gosalyn as her prisoner.

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After having calmed himself down from his anxieties, Drake Mallard managed to get some headway on the work he was expected to do as the new Data Analysis Manager for Scrooge McDuck. Fenton had also made a habit to periodically check on him and ask to make sure he was still feeling okay. Normally Drake would have been annoyed by his meddling, or anyone else's for that matter, but today he was grateful for it.

Once Fenton had led him back upstairs into the office, they had found that Mrs. Quackfaster and a couple other employees had cleaned up the mess of papers that they'd left on the floor. Drake had been sure to thank them and apologize for the mess. He was surprised to find that everyone was very warm and accepting of him; which was something he was not used to.

So many years as being an unwanted masked vigilante in St. Canard had toughened Drake's skin to the point where he always expected the worst when he was Drake Mallard. As Darkwing Duck, he expected praise and applause, even though he never got that either. That had been his ego rearing its ugly head.

Drake had tried to avoid the printer the rest of the day, but sadly, as Fenton had told him, a big part of his job was working with the printer. But Mrs. Quackfaster, who had been using it before him, gave him a quick tutorial on all the buttons and warned him not to double press the print button on both the computer and on the machine itself. She told him that was most likely what had happened earlier. It was nice to know that was a known glitch in the printer and it wasn't just Drake's own idiocy on not being able to work a simple printer.

It was getting later in the afternoon; nearing the time when it would be time to go home, when the door from the elevator opened and in bounded the three triplets Drake remembered seeing at Scrooge's mansion three years ago.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie, still wearing their signature colors, happily jogged through the office. Instead of their normal shirts, they were wearing baseball informs in their proper colors. Clearly they knew not to run, but they also weren't patient enough to walk in their excitement. Drake watched them in curiosity as they made their way to the door to Scrooge's office door.

"Oh, boy, oh boy!" one of them cried in excitement.

"We've been waiting for today for a while!" said another one.

They weren't facing him so it was hard for Drake to determine which one was speaking.

Just as Huey was about to twist the knob to their uncle's office door, Fenton loudly cleared his throat from his spot at his desk. "Hiya, boys!" he greeted happily. All three ducklings turned at the sound of his voice. "I'm afraid you'll have to wait a few more minutes. Your uncle Scrooge just got an important call. He wouldn't tell me who it was from but he did say he didn't want to be disturbed! So, if you want him to be in a semi-chipper mood for your game tonight, I suggest you wait for him!"

"Aww" groaned Louie. "But last time we had to wait for him to finish a phone call we almost ended up being late to our game."

Fenton shook his head as the three boys walked up to stand before Fenton's desk. "That won't happen on MY watch!" beamed Fenton proudly. "All else fails, I'll take you down to the baseball feilds myself and your uncle Scrooge can meet us there!"

Huey, Dewey, and Louie all looked at each other before shrugging. "Okay!" they said in unison.

Dewey glanced over and spotted Drake. "Hey! Who's the new guy?"

Drake leaned back a bit in his chair as he realized he was suddenly being watched and observed carefully by three young boys. They gathered in front of his desk and Drake felt the odd sense of relief of having a desk between them, for the way they were watching him, they'd be all up close in his face to get a better look.

Fenton beat him to answering. "This is the new Data Analysis Manager, boys! Drake Mallard!"

"What happened to Mr. Bearson?" asked Louie as he looked to Fenton for an answer.

"He retired" the accountant answered simply.

"Heh, nice to meet you boys" Drake said nervously. He didn't know what else to say. He had only seen the three boys shortly when dropping off Launchpad and Gosalyn to stay with McDuck three years ago when Negaduck was terrorizing and threatening to kill his sidekick. At the time, it had been his only option to keep his loved ones safe. It all seemed so pointless now, Drake thought morosely. Seeing as how he still ended up losing Gosalyn.

He watched as the three brothers turned their attention back to Fenton and began rambling about the baseball game they would be participating in for their school later that evening. As he listened, Drake remembered how excited Gosalyn would get about her baseball games at school and he felt his heart sink to the floor.

Just another reminder of what he no longer had in his life.

Seeing Drake's depressive expression, Fenton asked, "You okay over there, Drakey?"

Drake snapped out of his thoughts and looked over at the concerned accountant. "I'm fine. Just..." He looked down at Huey, Dewey, and Louie and saw they were listening with slight concern as well. "Gosalyn used to play baseball a lot...And..." He gulped and found himself unable to continue.

Fenton frowned. "And you're sad you won't have any more baseball games to go to?"

Drake shrugged, feeling slightly annoyed by his answer. "More like I'm just sad in general at yet another reminder of what I've lost!" he found himself snapping.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie jumped a bit at his tone. "What happened to her?" asked Dewey.

Drake turned his eyes down on the young duckling and his innocent question. He couldn't bring himself to answer but thankfully he didn't have to.

"Say, I remember her. She stayed with us for a little while, didn't she? That girl's name was Gosalyn, wasn't it?" asked Louie, turning to his brother's for confirmation.

Drake took in a deep breath and let it out slowly as the boys slowly recalled the red-headed girl who had stayed with them for a few days.

"Yeah! She was fun! Of course, she was worried about her dad and Darkwing Duck the whole time, not that I blame her!" replied Huey. "I would have been just as worried had that been Uncle Donald or Uncle Scrooge..."

"Hey now! Let's not forget your ol' pal Fenton!" interjected the accountant. "I'm practically like an uncle to you guys too!"

The boys all turned to him. "Yeah, but not really...You're just Unca Scrooge's...ick...boyfriend!" said Dewey with a bit of disgust at the thought of lovey dovey adult stuff.

Louie spoke up next, "Plus, you don't get into near as much danger as Uncle Scrooge does...and Uncle Donald is family for us-"

Fenton gaped at them, clearly affronted by the accusation of not getting into danger. "Danger!? I don't get into danger!? Why, 'danger' is my middle name!"

Drake couldn't bite back the scoff he let out.

This gained Fenton's attention. "Oh, and I'm sure you've seen a lot of danger, Drakey?" His question came in the form of taunting. It was the first time Fenton hadn't been overly cheerful and friendly to him. Drake knew the boys had hit a nerve with the accountant.

It was at the tip of his tongue to say that he had and normally he probably would have blurted out something ridiculous and nearly have compromised his secret identity by now, but Drake was hardly in the mood to talk and go along with the jibe. Instead he said in a heavily sarcastic voice, "Oh, yes, Fenton. LOTS of danger. I LAUGH in the face of it."

"Are you mocking me!?"

Huey, Dewey, and Louie were all giggling at the two adults.

"He's right though, Fenton. You haven't seen much danger. I mean, sure, you've been on a few of Unca Scrooge's adventures with us but-"

"What about the time your uncle and I searched for the Golden Heart, huh!? Surely your uncle told you all about that!"

All three boys shook their heads. "No, he said that was a story we could hear later. Probably means it was a boring trip and he wanted to save us the trouble of hearing it." said Huey.

Fenton's eyes nearly popped out of his head as his mouth hung agape.

The argument would have continued had Scrooge McDuck not opened his door and walked out. At the sight of their beloved granduncle, Huey, Dewey, and Louie all forgot about their conversation with Fenton and ran over to the billionaire.

"Ahh, me boys!" sighed Scrooge happily. "You're right on time! Sorry if I left ya lads waiting, but I had a very important phone call t'make. But I'm all done for the day now and ready t'watch yeh play your game later!"

Drake was forced to look away at the happy familial scene happening in front of him. He couldn't stand to watch how the boys hugged their uncle and looked up at him with such admiration; the same kind of admiration he had seen Gosalyn give him. Fenton didn't help matters when he walked up to Scrooge and gave him a quick, indiscreet kiss on his side of his bill.

Shuddering, Drake stood up and turned off his computer. He vaguely noted in the back of his mind that all the other workers in the office were somewhere in the process of leaving for the work day as well. He figured if they could leave, he could too. He wanted to go back to the little shack known as his new and hopefully temporary home and curl up on the hammock they were using as their bed and stay there for the rest of the month.

Launchpad had said he would try to remember to be there at the end of the day to walk Drake home, so he was somewhat grateful for that. While it was easy to find the Money Bin, Drake knew he wouldn't be able to find his way back to Launchpad's little house as easily.

Scrooge finally turned his attention away from his nephews long enough to regard Drake critically. "I take it the rest of your day went better than this mornin'?" he asked Drake.

Drake turned around after having pushed his chair in and was sure to be as polite as possible to his new employer. "Yes. Thank you again, Mr. McDuck, for giving me this job and understanding..." He trailed off before adding. "This has been a very rough time for me."

Instead of the kind sympathy he had been expecting and having been given by everyone else that day, Scrooge just lowered his eyes and said with a slight scowl, "Oh, I'm sure. Just remember laddie, it could always be worse."

Something about the tone in which Scrooge had used made Drake's eye twitch in irritation. Was he implying that what he was going through was not actually that bad? He knew he shouldn't press further, but Drake found it impossible to stay quiet. As usual, his temper and ego got the better of him. "What do you mean by that, Mr. McDuck?"

Scrooge, who had been ruffling the feather.s on top of Louie's head, looked back up at Drake as he placed the boy's green hat back on his head. "It means what I said. Things could always be worse for yeh."

Fenton and the triplets nervously looked back and forth between the two ducks, already able to see the argument beginning.

"Oh, so because things 'could' be worse, you're implying that I shouldn't be suffering the way I am? That I shouldn't be depressed? That I shouldn't be having anxiety attacks and having trouble sleeping and being unable to eat?" Drake began to rant bitterly. "That I shouldn't be nervous about working for the wealthiest duck in the world who's known for looking someone up and down and saying they're unworthy of his time and money at first glance!"

Scrooge scowled at the insult. "Now see here-"

Drake wouldn't let him finish. "Oh, no, I know! You're Scrooge McDuck! You know it all! You've SEEN it all! I get it! Well, excuse me for not being as good as you, Scrooge McDuck! Excuse me for not having worked my entire life earning every last penny as efficiently and honestly as you have!" Tears had begun to form in Drake's eyes and he angrily and hatefully brushed them away only for more to appear. "Excuse me for getting teary eyed and worked up as you happily greet your boys and prepare to take them to a baseball game! Excuse me for being reminded that I will never get to see my baby girl blue go to a baseball game ever again!"

Scrooge looked as though he wanted to say something but he remained silent. It had seemed the last little bit of his speech had kept him from saying anything that he knew would only upset and hurt Drake further. Scrooge glanced down at Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who were all gathered closely around him.

"I'm very aware that things could be worse, Mr. McDuck, but excuse me if I don't act like it! My life has just been turned upside down-I lost my daughter-I lost my girlfriend in the process-and I've made some of the biggest mistakes of my life in just the past week, so EXCUSE ME if I'm having a bad day! EXCUSE ME for wasting a TINY FRACTION of your three cubic acre amount of cash because I'm going through a difficult time in my life! Because we both know you're still bitter about the printer fiasco this morning! It's not like I WANTED to waste your money by using up your ink and paper! Because no matter how much money you own and possess, it won't bring your loved ones back! So at the end of the day, does any of it REALLY MATTER!?"

There was a deafening silence in the office as Drake turned away. He didn't even care if he had just royally pissed off the richest duck in the world. He didn't care if he had just gotten himself fired. He just wanted the pain in his heart to stop and Drake was painfully reminded of why he had drank that Emoti-Gone potion to begin with. This was why. He couldn't handle this empty feeling.

As Drake was turned away, Huey, Dewey, and Louie looked up at their uncle to see Scrooge and Fenton sharing a knowing look. The accountant grabbed Scrooge's left hand and squeezed it gently. The billionaire certainly did look peeved off, but at the same time, he was very aware that Drake had a point. There was no point in poking at a hurt and angry snake for it will only hiss and fight back with its venomous fangs. This could be said about Drake Mallard. He was hurting and in a strange environment he wasn't used to and Scrooge was aware that yelling at him wasn't going to help matters.

Though some of the things Drake said, Scrooge could not ignore. Taking in a deep breath, Scrooge said evenly, "Firstly, laddie, if you donnae want t'be meetin' the end of me cane, I suggest you never insult me in such a fashion again. Here I am, simply trying t'give you some advice and you go and twist me words."

Scrooge looked over at Fenton who was giving him a sympathetic look. Scrooge squeezed the accountant's hand back as he said, "I am very aware that money will not bring back me loved ones once we lose them. Believe me when I say this: I understand" He rubbed his thumb over the top of Fenton's hand as he pressed on. "But money allows me t'help keep me loved ones safe in the meantime..."

Drake wiped away his tears and crossed his arms; turning back to pout angrily at Scrooge.

"Now" continued Scrooge. "I suggest the two of us finish this conversation...privately..." He smiled down at Huey, Dewey, and Louie fondly. "Excuse me boys. I'll be right back and we'll go get ready for your game, aye?"

The triplets nodded somewhat reluctantly. They turned to Fenton, who seemed to take his cue and catch on that he was expected to take them outside. He grabbed a large white suitcase that had been sitting underneath his desk all day before before giving Scrooge a quick kiss on the temple. Drake glanced at the white suitcase in Fenton's hand in mild interest, noting the insignia on the side of it. Drake furrowed his brow in thought; wondering where he had seen that symbol before.

Without further ado, Fenton guided the boys out the door, clearly wishing he could stay with Scrooge as he kept glancing back at his paramour.

Once they were gone, Scrooge led Drake into his office. There were still a few straggling employees who had yet to leave and Scrooge did not want them to be privy to the conversation they were about to have.

Drake followed, uncertain of what Scrooge could possibly have to say to him that needed to be so private. He heard McDuck shut the door behind them and turned around in time to see Scrooge raise his arm before he felt a sharp pain on the top of his head as Scrooge smacked him with his cane.

"OW! Hey!" groaned Drake as he rubbed at the sore spot and stepped back and away from the other duck.

Scrooge was having none of it as he scowled at Drake. He pointed his cane at Drake, who flinched backwards, nearly colliding with Scrooge's desk. "Now listen here, lad! I know who you are and what you've been up to in St. Canard! I know more about your troubles than y'think!"

Drake tensed visibly at his words but tried hard not to show it. He rubbed the back of his neck in an anxious manner and looked away. "What? I have no idea what you're talking about! I'm just a regular citizen as everyone else is-"

"Tarten me tail feathers! Donnae insult me further!" snapped Scrooge. "I know it's you who masquerades as Darkwing Duck in the middle of the night! I know it was you who came T'ME three years ago wantin' me t'keep your loved ones safe! And now you've gone and done it again! Something went wrong in your life and here ya are at me doorstep!"

Drake stared at the older duck, flabbergasted. He wasn't sure what he was more shocked and angry about. The fact that Scrooge McDuck just admitted he knew he was Darkwing Duck or implying that he was running to the duck for help like a coward.

"Y-You don't know what your talkin' about, gramps!" snapped Drake, not knowing what else to do but continue to feign ignorance.

"Oh? So your best friend Launchpad isn't the same Launchpad McQuack who worked for me for years? He isn't the same Launchpad McQuack who was bein' threatened by Negaduck in St. Canard three years ago? Who was brought here for protection by Darkwing Duck 'imself?"

Drake just snarled at Scrooge, knowing the old miser was right. He couldn't deny any of that. Launchpad was the dead obvious hint in figuring out his secret identity.

Scrooge's posture slackened slightly as he leaned more causally on his cane. With a half lidded glare, he said mockingly, "Ya know, come t'think of it...You certainly LOOK a lot like a bumblin' wanna-be hero who would get his close friends and family in t'danger...It's a wonder how other's haven't figured it out yet."

Alright, that was the last straw! Furiously, Drake rolled up his sleeves and stepped closer to the billionaire. He pointed a finger at Scrooge and said scathingly, "Now that's uncalled for! A guy makes a few mistakes and he's judged by them for the rest of his life!?"

"Ahhh! No longer denyin' that you're Darkwing, eh? So, I WAS right!" gloated Scrooge mischievously.

Drake slapped himself on the forehead with his hand and grunted in annoyance.

"Look, laddie, I'm not tryin' t'be your enemy here. But what I see before me is a young mallard who's given up on 'imself" explained Scrooge in a gentler tone.

"Well, what else am I supposed to do!?" demanded Drake, his voice breaking slightly. His face contorted in pain and depression as he glared at Scrooge. "I failed! I failed Gosalyn! And I made a fool of myself in front of all of St. Canard and lost any and all chances of ever being taken seriously by the law!"

Scrooge's frown deepened. "So that gives you the idea that you should just quit?!"

"I'm NOT quitting!" snapped Drake defiantly. "I'm starting over! Getting a fresh start! That's why Launchpad and I moved here-It's why I took this job to begin with! In case you haven't noticed, Scrooge, we currently have nothing to our name! See the clothes on my back!? They're all I have!"

"I'm not talkin' about your personal life, laddie! I'm talkin' about Darkwing Duck! You're giving up on Darkwing Duck!" Scrooge yelled back.

Drake opened his beak to reply when suddenly their ears were attacked by the loud blaring sound of Scrooge's security system. The lights in the room started flashing red and white. They looked around the room and then at each other in confusion before Scrooge squeaked in panic and alarm, "ME MONEY!" He instantly turned to his closed Money Bin door. "That's the alarm to me money bin! But we're right here!"

Drake watched in shock as Scrooge went from being a serious, calm mannered duck to one of absolute worry and panic and showing more expression of his face than Drake has ever seen.

Despite his words, the old miser still went straight to his money bin, just to be extra sure. With familiarity and expertise, Scrooge quickly opened the safe doors and ran inside till he was leaning against the metal bars barricading him on the landing. He cooed happily when he saw that no one was inside and that his money was safe. "Aww, me precious money! You're still safe!"

Drake, who had cautiously followed, tepidly stepped close to the doorway to the money bin, glancing inside. He had heard of the three cubic acres of gold, cash, and precious gems that Scrooge McDuck kept tightly locked up, but for him to actually SEE the money was a whole new experience. It was surreal to see that much money and treasure in one place.

He was sure to step back out of respectful instinct when Scrooge came back out of the bin and closed the door behind him. As he watched the older duck close it and lock it up, he looked up at the blaring red lights that were still going off. "If it's not your money bin, then what is setting this alarm off? Is it your museum?"

Scrooge shook his head. "Nae, that's a different alarm system entirely. That's what has me baffled."

Before they could say anymore, there was a loud booming voice that spoke to them as though they were on speakers. Like someone was speaking on an intercom system inside the money bin. Drake froze as he knew deep down that he recognized the voice and knew who's it was.

"Attention everyone! This message goes directly to my dear friend, Darkwing Duck" came Taurus Bulba's suave and sarcastic voice.

Before him, Scrooge was fuming. "How is he doin' that!?" he demanded angrily. "It sounds as though he's hacked into me wiring! How else could he direct his voice like tha'!?"

Taurus Bulba continued on almost as though he had heard Scrooge. "Do not be alarmed. I have not tampered with any of your electrical systems or wiring. Just set off your security alarm. But it was the only way I would be able to get your full attention. And your full attention is exactly what I want, Darkwing!"

Scrooge glared at Drake. "A friend of yours?" he sneered.

"Hardly. Just one of my greatest enemies. Taurus Bulba. He's now living as half cyborg, half bull and he blames me for it." He paused and pulled nervously at his collar. "Though to be fair, it IS my fault." A thought then dawned on him and he looked to Scrooge imploringly. "Wait, if he didn't mess with any of your overrides or wiring, then how did he set off your alarm? Wouldn't he have to be up here with us?"

Scrooge shook his head. "He could have set it off outside..." he trailed off in thought. Then his eyes went wide in fear. "Wait! If he's outside-! FENTON! ME NEPHEWS!" Scrooge gave a little jump in panic. He looked to Drake in explanation. "They went outside-Which means they could be in trouble!"

Drake and Scrooge ran out of the offices and to the staircase. Neither of them had the patience to wait for the elevator. As they ran down flight after flight of stairs, Taurus' voice rang in their ears from the intercoms.

"I have a score to settle with you, Darkwing Duck! And I have the means of hurting you in the harshest of ways. I have something very precious to you, Darkwing. Perhaps you know who this little girl blue is..."

Drake, who had been running in front of Scrooge, stopped dead in his tracks. The older duck collided with Drake, causing the two of them to stumble down the last few steps to the next landing.

"What are ya waitin' for, laddie!? Why'd ya stop! Me nephews are out there! And so is Fenton!" he snapped.

But Drake wasn't listening. His eyes were wide as he held tightly to the railing to keep himself standing. "She's dead...He's got to be bluffing...She's dead..."

Scrooge gave him a slight shove since Drake was blocking his way from moving past. "Ignore 'im! He's jus' tryin' t'get you riled up! If she is in fact gone, then yes, he's bluffing! Get moving!"

Drake shook his head and followed Scrooge's orders. They continued to run down the steps until they were finally on the ground floor. The alarm was still blaring off loudly, making it all the more aggravating for the both of them.

Drake was reeling on the inside though. Taurus Bulba was clearly just setting up a trap for him. He just doesn't know that Gosalyn was gone. Right? But why would he show up NOW, of all times?

Scrooge pushed past him and was seething as he stepped out of the front doors to the Money Bin. "What is the meanin' of this!? If y'think y'can mess around with MY loved ones, y'got another thing comin'!" he shouted when he opened the doors.

Before them stood Taurus Bulba. In his left hand he held Fenton up by the neck, who was grasping at the bull's hand in a vain attempt to lessen the pressure of being choked. His legs were kicking out beneath his uselessly. In Taurus' other hand was a thick net that held Huey, Dewey, and Louie inside. The three boys struggled with all their might to get out of the net.

"Ahh, so you are the infamous Scrooge McDuck that I've 'eard so much about!" chuckled Taurus. "Funny, you are nothing like I pictured.I pictured you older and leaning more heavily on your cane!"

With a snarl, Scrooge pointed the said cane at Taurus. "You let them go this instant!"

"Ahh, as amusing as I find your temper, Scrooge McDuck, this is not about you. This is between Darkwing Duck and myself!" cackled Taurus, his real eye and his mechanical red eye focusing on Drake. "Or should I say 'Drake Mallard'?"

Drake stood there with his hands clenched to his side and his knees bent, ready for a strike he was knew was inevitable. The short mallard sighed in exasperation. "What do you want, Taurus? Do you want to finally turn the guy who made you half cyborg into a cream puff? Then go ahead! But leave Fenton and the boys out of this!"

Out of the corner of Drake's eyes, he could have sworn he saw a flare of red behind one of the triplet's heads. A flare of red that reminded him of Gosalyn's pigtails. Drake felt his body tense up at the mere possibility.

Taurus continued on as Drake watched the net that held Huey, Dewey, and Louie inside it. "Oh, but this just makes it all the more fun, Darkwing!"

Faintly, almost unheard by the blaring alarm still coming from the money bin, came a small unsteady voice from inside the net with the triplets. "Ugh, where am I?"

It was at this same moment that Scrooge was rolling up his sleeves and looked ready to stomp his way over to Taurus Bulba and give him a taste of his own medicine when Drake stopped him by placing an arm out in front of him. "Wait!" he squeaked. He listened carefully in hopes to hear the voice of his daughter once more.

Catching on to what was happening, Taurus laughed. "Haha! So, you've noticed the fifth prisoner I have in my net, haven't you, Darkwing?"

Gosalyn, who had been unconscious up until this point, opened her green eyes slowly and jumped when she saw that she was inside a net with Huey, Dewey, and Louie. But what truly woke her up was the sound of her father's alias name. She pushed past Louie so she could see Scrooge and Drake. "Darkwing?" she muttered to herself. Once her eyes landed on Drake, she called out loudly and happily, "DAD!"

Drake's heart skipped a beat when he finally saw his baby girl blue. "GOSALYN!" he shouted back in disbelief.

Taurus Bulba laughed. "You thought she was dead this whole time! But in fact she's been my prisoner this whole time!"

Reeling from this news, Drake found himself unable to grasp it all. All he truly knew was that he was angry. No, furious! "TAURUS BULBA! You crossed the line!" he yelled vehemently.

This earned him a reaction. Since both his hands were full, he took a step closer, clearly wanting to point an accusing finger at Darkwing. "NO! YOU crossed the line when you caused that explosion on that fateful night, leaving me to live as a half cyborg for the rest of my life! Now I am making sure you suffer for what you have done to me!"

Taurus then shifted his left arm and a metal lid on his bicep opened and revealed a small rocket launcher. Without warning, the bull shot the rocket launcher at Scrooge and Drake. Drake instinctively dove at Scrooge and knocked them both out of the way, causing the rocket launcher to hit the corner of the money bin instead of them.

The small explosion caused dust and bits of debris to shower over where Drake and Scrooge landed, making it hard for them to be seen.

"UNCA SCROOGE!" cried out Huey, Dewey, and Louie in fear for their uncle.

"DAD!" screamed Gosalyn.

"SCROOGE!" screamed a panicking Fenton. He kicked harder in Taurus' grasp, desperately wanting to run to his paramour to find out if he was safe. Scrooge had already been close to dying in a similar explosion due to his absence; he wasn't about to let it happen again.

Taurus looked over at Fenton. "Does the old duck really mean that much to you?" he taunted. "Or are you just worried he might not be alive to sign your next paycheck?"

Fenton wasn't able to reply as Taurus tightened his hold around the accountant's neck.

The accountant no longer cared about the consequences of what he was about to do. The love of his life, his paramour, was in danger! Struggling against Taurus' grip, Fenton managed to scream out from his aching throat, "BLATHERING BLATHERSKITE!"

The forgotten white suitcase that was a few yards away from where Taurus was standing started lighting up with electricity and humming with life. Hearing the sounds and seeing the light that was coming from the suitcase, Taurus looked over in time for the Gizmo suit to burst free from the confines of the suit case and start swirling around Fenton.

Not knowing what was going on and shouting in alarm, Taurus released his hold on Fenton, causing the accountant to fall. However, the Gizmosuit didn't allow him to fall far, for it continued to swirl around him as, piece by piece, it connected itself onto Fenton until the duck was completely dressed as Duckburg's greatest hero.

Drake and Scrooge, who had fallen to the ground to avoid being hit by the rocket launcher, coughed heavily as the smoke from the impact filtered away. They both looked over in time to see Gizmoduck now standing there.

"Never fear, citizens! GIZMODUCK is here!" called out the hero in his deeper voice.

"Wait-Where did he come from-!?" demanded Drake. He looked down at the forgotten suit case and saw the matching insignia that was on the case and on the chest of Gizmoduck. So that was why the symbol had been familiar to him earlier. He had seen it on Gizmoduck! Huffing as he stood up, Drake breathed, "Wait, FENTON is Gizmoduck!?"

Scrooge, who had gotten up as well, pushed past the confused and flustered mallard before him, a heavy scowl on his face. "Now, Gizmoduck, if y'would teach this over-sized bucket a'bolts a thing or two about manners, it would be appreciated!"

Moving forward on his unicycle wheel, Gizmoduck raised an arm out towards Taurus Bulba who had recovered from his initial shock of seeing the unexpected hero. "Stand aside citizens while I take care of this delinquent!"

"Ahh, Gizmoduck. The little accountant is your true identity, eh?" mocked Taurus, holding onto the net that still held Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Gosalyn tightly inside.

Backtracking, Gizmoduck stumbled over his words. "Uhh..NO! No, that was just a very intricate trick to fool you into THINKING that was my true identity!"

This only made Taurus laugh manically. "As fun and amusing as you all are, I really am tiring of all this." Shifting his arm to aim towards Gizmoduck, his changed his mechanical arm so that it went from a hand to a large bomb.

Gizmoduck watched as Taurus sneered at him and moved so that he was aiming at Drake and Scrooge. "Now, let's make things a bit more interesting, shall we, Gizmo-freak. You get to choose: The children-" He raised the net that contained the yelling and kicking pre-teens. "Or-Choose the world's richest duck and the bumbling St. Canard hero. You're pick."

Gizmoduck gasped. "That's hardly fair!" he wailed childishly. "It's like Double Jeopardy! Double Jeopardy always made me nervous! M'ma would always have to tell me how it ended cause I could never watch!"

"Gizmoduck!" roared Scrooge impatiently. "FOCUS!"

Snapping out of it, Gizmoduck nodded. "Anyways-Prepare yourself for trouble!"

"DAD!" shouted Gosalyn from the net.

Drake looked up to meet the worried green eyes of his daughter. It was all so surreal to see her alive and breathing, but the adrenaline of the moment was keeping him from dwelling on it too much. His instincts were to pull out his gas gun and start fighting Taurus one-on-one, but-He didn't have his gas gun. He wasn't even dressed up as Darkwing Duck. Not to mention, the last time he had been dressed up as Darkwing Duck, he had been a horrible emotionless fiend. Shortly before that, he had been too late to save Gosalyn. What was keeping history from repeating itself? If Gosalyn really WAS alive now, it looked as though Bulba planned on doing the job for real this time. He was gun shy to the idea of fighting back and he hated it!

Bringing himself back to reality, Drake shouted back, "I'm coming, sweetheart!" He whimpered as he remembered those were the exact words he had said the last time when he thought he had lost her.

Gizmoduck, meanwhile, was busy rambling about the logistics of Double Jeopardy. "I demand to have more time to figure this out!" he was saying.

Taurus laughed again. "Why don't we make this even MORE interesting then!" he taunted. He took the net and threw the kids at Drake and Scrooge. Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Gosalyn all screamed as they were thrown, the net coming loose as they were in mid-air and coming undone around them.

Gosalyn and Dewey slammed into Scrooge while Huey and Louie slammed into Drake. Both adults fell backwards from the impact, barely missing the wall behind them and crushing their skulls. But the important thing was that the kids at least had something soft to land on, Drake figured.

"Unca Scrooge!" whimpered Dewey.

Scrooge and Drake now pushed themselves backwards until they were huddled along the money bin's wall; trying their best to place themselves in front of Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Gosalyn to protect them.

Turning to Gizmoduck, Taurus said, "Why don't I just kill them all in one blow and let you have the privilege of watching. Frankly, I would prefer it if it was Darkwing Duck in your place, but..." His red mechanical eye zoomed in on Darkwing. "I have a feeling he knows what it's like to watch his loved ones die already!"

The large bull then swung his arm back and threw the bomb. All six of them flinched; Gosalyn and Dewey hiding behind Scrooge while Huey and Louie did the same with Drake.

"NOOO!" screamed Gizmoduck. Acting fast, the hero raced in front of the bomb and caught it before it could hurt his paramour and friends. Sadly, the bomb exploded the moment he caught it, sending Gizmoduck crashing on top of the very ones he was hoping to save. Drake and Scrooge managed to push them all away just in time before Gizmoduck landed in a smoking heap between them.

"Ugghh, is there a doctor in the Money Bin?" moaned Fenton, for his Gizmoduck mask had been broken by the impact and was now half off his face.

"Fenton! Me treasure! Are yeh alright?" whispered Scrooge desperately into the aching accountant's ear.

Fenton only groaned in reply as he shakily nodded his head the best he could.

Drake held onto Huey and Louie tighter and glared up at Taurus. "Some hero I am" he grumbled in self hatred and pity.

Scrooge scowled and was about to retaliate when Taurus stepped closer to them and spoke up, "Yes, Darkwing. How DOES it feel to be completely at my mercy?" The bull raised one of his arms and brought out another rocket launcher and aimed it at them.

Drake just snarled up at Taurus. "You won't get away with this, Bulba!" he found himself saying. He inwardly winced, since, considering the situation they were currently in, it certainly did look as though Taurus was going to do just that.

Scrooge, who's temper finally seemed to have sizzled out, held onto Gosalyn and Dewey closer; leaning in to where Fenton was laying in his Gizmoduck suit. They all huddled in and braced themselves; closing their eyes to the inevitable.

Taurus started cackling loudly with victory.

"TAURUS BULBA, YOU FOOL!" came the infuriated shriek of a woman's voice.

Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Gosalyn, Fenton, and Drake all opened their eyes and looked up to see Magica de Spell floating a ways above and behind Taurus Bulba, who turned half way to look up at her.

Taurus had the decency to look slightly guilty, though only for a moment as his lips curled up into a sneer. "You simply don't understand, Magica! I am not waiting around for your silly plans to unfold! My revenge is within reach and I'm going to take it!"

"Then you leave me no choice but to be rid of you!" she snarled back. With a raise of her arm, there was a slightly swirl of magic before Taurus cried out in alarm. At a heavily fast pace, all the metal on his body was turning into severe rust.

"Ahhhhhhhh!" Taurus barely had a chance to react before her magic turned him into nothing more but a large collection of rust, which com-busted in a soft explosion and frittered off into the wind, leaving that to be the very end of Taurus Bulba who was no more.

Everyone stared at the place Taurus had been standing not moments ago before Magica started cackling and gaining their attention back. "Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh heh! Do not consider this victory, Scroogey! Consider this warning for you haven't seen the last of me! Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh!"

In a puff of misty clouds she was gone as well, leaving a deafening wake as the seven friends tried to grasp what had just happened.

"Scroogey?" Fenton asked softly as he slowly tried to get up from inside his Gizmosuit. "You okay?"

Scrooge, who was sitting up next to Gizmoduck's shoulder, nodded and pulled off the remaining part of Fenton's helmet that hadn't been broken. "Aye, me treasure, I'm fine." Scrooge answered even more quietly. Louder he said, "Just a few bumps and bruises. Nothing this ol' duck can't handle." Fenton groaned at his answer, though it was hard to say if it was from Scrooge's responce or his own bumps and bruises.

Drake released Huey and Louie, who immediately went to their uncle to see for themselves that he was alright. Drake slowly stood up, his eyes seeking out Gosalyn. Gosalyn seemed to be doing the same thing as she peered around her spot on the other side of Scrooge. When their eyes met, they both smiled widely.

"Dad!" beamed Gosalyn happily.

Almost numb by the surreal moment, Drake opened his arms wide and fell to his knees. Gosalyn bounded into his arms, practically tackling Drake to the ground. "G-Gosalyn!" Drake choked on his overwhelmed emotions. He held on tightly to Gosalyn, closing his eyes and placing kiss after kiss on top of her red hair. It was just too good to be true! His baby girl who back in his arms, safe and sound!? But how!?

Scrooge and the triplets were busy helping Fenton stand back up in the Gizmoduck suit, leaving father and daughter a chance for a talk.

After another long pause of hugging, Drake got himself to pull Gosalyn back far enough so that he could look at her in the face. "Gosalyn, baby, how? I thought you were dead!" He brushed his thumb over her cheek. He could feel tears welling up in his eyes; he just couldn't believe what was happening!

Gosalyn smiled softly at him. "Yeaaah, that's a bit of a story, let me tell ya!"

Drake laughed and kissed her forehead. He had missed her sassy nature so much!

"But first-! "Gosalyn continued. She bonked Drake on the head lightly with her fist, who winced at the action. "Would you mind tellin' me what you were thinking when you burned down our house and made a fool of yourself!"

"Oh, but Gosalyn, sweetie -I-Wait, how do you know about all that?" he questioned.

Gosalyn looked away. "Taurus and Magica - That creepy lady who turned Bulba into rust-Showed me what all you had been up to this past week or so. They were gloating about how they'd tricked you and made you think I was dead."

"Who's Magica?" Drake asked.

"Magica is an evil enchantress who's been after me Number One Dime for years" replied Scrooge. "She is not a threat to be taken lightly!"

Drake, who was still kneeling on the ground, looked up at Scrooge with a grave expression. That most certainly seemed like the case, seeing as how she was able to destroy Taurus Bulba so easily like that! He turned back to smile at Gosalyn, not caring enough about this new threat and wanting nothing more than to focus on the daughter he had thought he had lost. He reached a hand out and held onto one of Gosalyn's pig tails, running his fingers through it. "Well, sweetie, I'll explain everything later, I guess. Right now we need to find La-"

"DW!" came the frantic call of the pilot in question.

Launchpad could be seen running up the dirt path on the hill that led to the Money Bin. When he reached them, he leaned on his knees and panted heavily, trying to catch his breath. "I saw you guys from a distance-But I wasn't able to get here in time! I was just able to see Magica leaving! I-" He looked past DW and Gosalyn and spotted Scrooge, the boys, and Gizmoduck. "Mr. McDee! Are you okay?"

Drake looked away with an annoyed expression. "I'm fine, LP, and in case you didn't notice, Gos now is too" he muttered.

However, this seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Gizmoduck had fixed his helmet at this point so that his face was no longer visible, though it was visibly cracked. He had also managed to stand back up on his wheel and was now carrying Scrooge protectively on his left shoulder; a metal arm and black glove firmly but gently holding Scrooge in place. The older mallard was also holding on to the back of the hero's neck. Huey and Louie were sitting on his right shoulder while Dewey was being held by Gizmoduck's other arm.

"Never fear, citizen! There were no casualties and I plan on taking Sc-erm-Mr. McDuck and his loved ones to their home so that they can recover!" announced Gizmoduck.

"And then to our baseball game!" piped up Louie.

Dewey giggled and whispered to his brothers, "I just can't believe Gizmoduck is actually Fenton!" The boys snickered for a moment. "Never would have guessed that!"

Whether or not Gizmoduck had heard them or not was never found out, for his attention turned to Scrooge, who was glancing at the results of Taurus' attack. "Ack! Pluck my tail feathers! What a mess! That overgrown collection a'bolts made a mess a'things!" They all looked at the large gaping whole that was now in the side of the money bin's wall. "Ach, I'm just glad it didn't leave too big of a dent...It's only exterior damage..."

"Do not worry, Mr. McDuck! Gizmoduck will help fix it! Free of charge!" he declared.

Scrooge made a humming sound as he turned back to Gizmoduck; running a hand over the broken visor on the hero's helmet. "First it seems we'll have to fix ya helmet. I'll have to call Gyro."

Meanwhile, Gosalyn wiggled herself out of Drake's grasp, noting how her father was watching her every move, and stepped before Launchpad. He waved up at him. "Hi."

Launchpad looked down and he had to do a double take before stepping back in shock and surprise. "G-Gosalyn!? Is that you? But you're supposed to be dead!"

Gosalyn gave him a deadpan expression as Drake stood up and went to stand behind her. He placed his hands on her shoulders. "So sorry to disappoint" she muttered halfheartedly.

Drake was smiling widely as he looked up at the pilot in delight. "She's not dead after all, LP! It was a trick this whole time! Taurus Bulba had teamed up with that Magica lady and they did it for...I'm not even sure why-But she's here!" He then pushed Gosalyn back into him and hugged her tightly, closing his eyes and resting his cheek on her head.

Gosalyn crossed her arms. "You gonna keep up this mushy gushy stuff all night?" she asked her father.

"And then some!" was Drake's giddy reply.

Gosalyn rolled her eyes and laughed. She was then picked up by Launchpad, who held her close with a hug. "It's great to have ya back, Gos! Drake has been an absolute mess without you!"

Gosalyn looked back at Drake with a half lidded look that wasn't quite a glare. "I know. It's something we'll be discussing." Drake gave her a sheepish expression. "Like why you felt the need to burn all my comics and sports gear!"

"I was devastated, sweetie!" wailed Drake in his weak defense.

"Uh huh..." She then said quietly. "Love you too, dad."

"Oh! And what's this I hear about you having feelings for my dad, huh, Launchpad!?" demanded Gosalyn.

Launchpad immediately went red as a tomato. "Heh, yeah...Eh...We'll talk about that later too, m'kay?"

Launchpad wordlessly handed Gosalyn over to Drake. The young duckling normally wouldn't care for being held around like a baby, but she knew how much her father was hurting. She had seen what her supposed 'death' had done to him, so she allowed herself to be babied a little. For the time being, anyways. She also made sure to ignore the tears of joy that Drake kept trying to hide.

The three of them quickly said their goodbyes, leaving Scrooge and Gizmoduck alone with the boys. Once they were out of earshot, Huey, Dewey, and Louie immediately started talking a mile a minute and all at the same time.

"Wackarooni! So you're actually Gizmoduck!"

"I never would have guessed you would be him!"

"Gee whiz! Our Unca Scrooge is dating a super hero!"

Scrooge and Gizmoduck laughed.

"Now, now, no need to get all excited!" Fenton said underneath his helmet. HIs voice was more his own and less Gizmoduck's. "It really shouldn't be a surprise! I told ya I've seen plenty of adventure! YOU THREE wouldn't believe me! Why, I've seen more adventure than you boys can even imagine!"

The three boys were silent and Scrooge watched with amusement as they soaked in this new bit of information.

"Nahh, Unca Scrooge has still seen far more than you!" Huey pointed out. Dewey and Louie giggled at his comment.

Gizmoduck was about to retaliate when Scrooge glanced down at his watch and cried out in alarm. "Ach! Is that the time!?"

"What's wrong, Unca Scrooge? Our baseball game isn't for another hour or so. We have time!" said Louie.

"I know that, but your-I mean-I have someone to meet up with!" explained Scrooge distractedly. Gizmoduck titled his head to the side in confusion.

"What? Surely this is information even I would have been aware of, Scroogey? Who could you possibly have to meet that I don't know about! GASP! Scroogey! Surely your not secretly seeing...SOMEONE ELSE!" screeched the hero.

Scrooge smacked the top of Gizmoduck's already broken helmet with his cane. "Nae! Don't be stupid! Now get goin' ya great bafoon! We have places to go!"

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"Have you cleaned the kitchen?"

"Aye, sir!"

"Mopped the deck?"

"Aye, sir?"

"What about cleaning the lower decks?"

"Aye, sir!"

"Alright, Seaman Duck" spoke Admiral Grimmits in an authoritative voice. "You're free to go ashore."

"Aye aye, sir!" Donald Duck saluted to the admiral happily. In his sailor suit and hat, he was practically shaking with excitement. He had just finished getting a ship-to-shore phone call with his Uncle Scrooge, confirming that his naval ship had just docked into port and that he would be able to meet his uncle and Fenton at the docks in time to see his nephew's baseball game! The boys had no idea he was coming! They were in for a surprise when they saw him rooting for them in the stands!

Admiral Grimmits checked his watch. "We'll be ported for about five days, Seaman Duck. The cargo holder needs to be re-sealed and some refurbishing needs to be done throughout the ship. Duckburg has agreed to help station us here for the time being. Your Uncle McDuck has seen to it we get the supplies we need. You've done a good job, Seaman Duck and since this is your hometown, we've seen it fit to grant you some days off. Enjoy them!"

Donald nodded happily. "Oh, I will!"

"But be sure to be back in 120 hours! Understand?"

"Aye, sir!" Donald saluted once more.

"Then good luck to ya!" Admiral Grimmits nodded his farewell before walking away.

Donald turned on his heel and walked over to the side of the ship where the dock was waiting for him. The ship was anchored and tied up to port so he didn't have to bother with a boat to shore. He walked down the steps that led off the ship and down to the docks. On his shoulder he carried his bag of belongings.

Scrooge had agreed to meet him at the docks and pick him up. This was also when he would get to meet his uncle's boyfriend for the first time. His uncle, through correspondence, had mentioned that he had a boyfriend; but only after Donald had inquired what all the half reports and rumors he had heard about the world's richest duck dating from his fellow ship mates who had already been ashore.

For years his family had been trying to get Scrooge to date someone. While everyone had been shocked to hear Scrooge was dating a man, Donald had long since gotten past it, for the most part, and decided to greet this man with open arms. Anyone who was worthy of Scrooge McDuck was worth his time, right?

He wondered if this Fenton was a fellow billionaire, or perhaps once knew Scrooge when they had been mining in the Klondike. Or on one of his adventures.

Donald was snapped out of his thoughts when the infamous Scottish accent of his uncle cut through the air.

"I told yeh, Fenton! I'm fine! It's just a few scrapes, is all!" Scrooge was saying.

Donald smiled and followed his uncle's voice, who sounded like he was brushing off Fenton's concern. Had his uncle fallen and hurt himself, he couldn't help but wonder.

A ways down the docks, Donald's bright blue eyes landed on Scrooge. He could see his uncle half turned away from him; his attention focused on the taller duck beside him. Scrooge's arm was being inspected by the other duck who Donald could only assume was this 'Fenton'.

Though the closer Donald got, the more he frowned. That couldn't be Fenton. He was too young!

Regardless, Donald raised his arm and shouted over to them. "Uncle Scrooge!"

Scrooge and Fenton immediately looked up and before Donald knew what was happening, he was being engulfed in a large hug by Scrooge. "Donald! Great to see ya, laddie!" Scrooge pushed up his top hat, which had fallen over his eyes slightly.

"It's great to see you too, Uncle Scrooge!" replied Donald happily. He placed his bag beside them. He then turned to the taller duck beside his uncle. "Who is this? Is this Fenton's son? I thought you said Fenton would be meeting us here too."

Fenton's eyes widened in confusion. "Umm...I might be mistaken, since his voice sounds funny-Probably from all that salty air-But it sounded like he said I was my own son."

"Wak!" squawked Donald in irritation. He hated it whenever someone insulted him over his voice. He began rolling up one of his sleeves. "You watch it, ya great palooki!"

Scrooge acted quickly and stepped between the two of them. He placed both hands on Donald's shoulders and smiled at him calmly and patiently. "Ahh! Nae, Donald! He meant no offense! And this actually IS Fenton!"

Smiling, Fenton offered his hand out to Donald. "Hi! Nice to finally meet you! Scroogey has said some great things about ya! I'm Fenton Crackshell!"

"WAAAAAHHHHHH!"

Scrooge was pretty sure that everyone in a four block radius was now looking at them in bewilderment and covering their ears. He certainly wish he was, for his ears were now knew his nephew would react this way, but there was nothing for it. Most everyone had the same reaction; though perhaps not so strong of one.

"Yes, Donald, I know what you're gonna say-" started Scrooge.

"B-But he's MY AGE, Uncle Scrooge!" blurted out Donald.

"I'm highly aware, nephew" stated Scrooge sharply. He glanced at his watch. He didn't want to be late to the baseball game. "Now, on t'more pressin' matters. We've already dropped the boys off at their game, which should be startin' in about twenty minutes. That leaves us plenty of time to get there. They'll be awfully surprised to see you there. They don't have a clue! Heh heh heh!" He cackled for a moment in his excitement. He was also desperately hoping to change the subject.

Donald however was too busy looking Fenton up and down critically with a sneer on his face. "I don't like you!"

Fenton started at the statement. "Well, way to be rude! Not to mention blunt!"

"Yes, yes" sighed Scrooge. "That's Donald for yeh. He's got the family temperament, that's fer sure." He wrapped his arm around Donald's shoulder and started leading his nephew away. "Grab his bag, would you, Fenton?"

Fenton pouted. "Fiiine. But only cause he's your nephew, Scroogey, my love! I don't normally stand for such rudeness!" He grabbed Donald's bag and heaved it over his shoulder, nearly falling over in the process. "What have ya got in here, Donald!? BRICKS!?"

Donald glanced back at him and scowled. "Palooki" he muttered darkly.

Fenton stopped and blinked before slowly starting to follow. "Oh, this is gonna a FUN five days, I can tell!" he groused sarcastically before following uncle and nephew off the docks and to the baseball game.

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Chapter Text

Chapter 3

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The sun was starting to get low in the West as Duckworth pulled up to the Duckburg baseball fields. He was quick to open the back door to let out the other three occupants.

With his professionally blank face, Duckworth opened the door and ignored the banter that was currently going on between Scrooge McDuck and his nephew: Donald Duck.

Donald was the first one to get out of the car, since Scrooge had wisely chosen to sit in the middle with Donald and Fenton on either side of him. He was scowling and his signature temper was clearly reaching its boiling point. Scrooge hopped out behind him, a look of indifference on his face while Fenton slowly and timidly climbed out behind his paramour. The accountant was watching the other two ducks nervously.

"Donald, if I say it once, I'll say it a thousand times-I'm VERY aware Fenton is younger than me. And YES! I'm aware he's around 40 years younger than me! I know!" Scrooge said tiredly.

Fenton, who was trying not to cower behind Scrooge, spoke up, "I can be a really swell guy once you get to know me, Donald! Really! I don't care about your uncle's money! I care about Scrooge himself! Honest!"

Donald muttered darkly under his breath, the peaceful, sunny evening in the park doing nothing to lighten his mood. He crossed his arms, thankful that he was no longer carrying his duffel bag, since it had been left in the car. He turned to face his uncle. "Fine! But I still don't like it!"

Scrooge nodded sympathetically as he reached out to place his hands on Donald's shoulders. "That's all I ask. I don't expect you to understand. Now, let's just forget about who I'm datin' and focus on what really matters!" He stepped up beside Donald and gestured to the large baseball field in front of them. "Such as Huey, Dewey, and Louie's baseball game! They'll gonnae be so surprised when they see their uncle Donald in the stands, aye?"

The mention of his nephews seemed to do the trick in getting Donald out of his foul mood. His frown was replaced with a large grin. "Oh boy! I've missed those boys so much!"

Scrooge smiled at his nephew before guiding him over to the stands. Fenton was sure to stay on the opposite side of Scrooge. Donald was finally happy and he didn't want to be the reason for another argument.

The three of them quickly settled into some seats higher up in the stands. They wanted to be sure Huey, Dewey, and Louie would see them. The crowd surrounding them was reasonable. Parents of the other players wanting to watch as well. Though it was far from cramped on the stands.

"Blathering Blatherskite! I remember playing baseball in middle school! It was such fun!" commented Fenton as he sat down next to Scrooge.

Donald sent him a side glare on the other side of Scrooge. "Did ya ever even get to 'hit' the ball?" He said this accusingly and as an insult, though his eyes widened at Fenton's response.

The accountant chuckled. "Haha! Hit the ball? As in with a bat?" He thought about it. "Gee, no! But boy! I sure was good at being 'used' as a bat! The older kids liked to swing me around like a bat!"

Donald, having clearly failed at insulting Fenton, raised an eyebrow; perplexed.

Scrooge simply adjusted his glasses and tried to focus on the happenings on the field. There was a whistle that was blown as the coaches of the teams gathered their players and spoke to them. After a few minutes, the teams scattered; officially ready to play ball!

Donald bounced in his seat as his eyes landed on Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who were running out onto the field. Huey went to third base, while Louie and Dewey went to the out field. All three of them wore identical uniforms to match the team's logo, though each had a stripe on their left sleeve in their signature colors to help everyone figure out who was who. All three of them turned to the first batter for the other team; their gloves ready to catch the ball.

Fenton, being his usual talkative self, found himself in need of a conversation. What better way to get to know his Scroogey's nephew than to start asking him questions. "So, Donald, you have a sister?"

His eyes focused on the game, Donald replied without looking away. "Yeah, what of it?"

"Huey, Dewey, and Louie? They're her boys?"

"They're MY boys" snapped Donald instantly. "Della is no longer in the picture."

Scrooge placed a hand on Donald's knee, knowing this was not a happy subject. To Fenton, he said, "The lads are in good hands between Donald and myself, Fenton. That's all you need to know."

Fenton looked down into his lap and looked embarrassed. "Boy, sorry I asked!"

Scrooge then turned his sympathy over to Fenton as he leaned over and spoke softly. "Look, laddie, I see what yer tryin' t'do here, but pryin' into Donald's life won't make 'im like ya any faster. Donald is a very private person. He'll come t'open up t'ya on his own terms."

Fenton nodded silently. "I just...I want him to like me, Scroogey...I want him to understand I'm not just playing you for your money! He looks at me and thinks I'm some gold digger! I'm not!"

Scrooge discreetly kissed Fenton on the cheek before saying, "I know, lad. But give it some time. I mean, tarten me feathers-He just met ya not fifteen minutes ago!"

"Come on, Louie! Catch it!" shouted Donald from the other side of the Scrooge. This startled the two love birds back to reality as both billionaire and accountant turned back to the game in time to see Louie catch the ball that had been hit into left field. All three of them cheered loudly when they saw Louie catch it and throw it back to the pitcher.

The happy cries of excitement from the stands gained the attention of Huey, Dewey, and Louie as pitchers were being swapped out on the team. "That sounded like Uncle Donald!" Dewey called out to his brothers.

Huey, over on third base, nodded. "Yeah! It sure did!"

All three of them looked over at the stands and they cried out in happiness when they saw Donald bouncing in the stands; now standing, and waving his arms in excitement.

"Wackarooni! That's because it IS, Uncle Donald!" shouted Louie in surprise.

The triplets started jumping up and down as they waved back to their uncle. "UNCLE DONALD!" they shouted.

Over on the stands, Donald, Scrooge, and Fenton laughed at excited triplets.

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It was an hour and a half later when the game was finally over, the triplet's team having won by 10 points. All the parents had left the stands and everyone was now standing around talking with each other and their kids.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie were the first ones to break away after their post-game team pep talk and they instantly ran over to where Scrooge, Donald, and Fenton were standing.

"UNCLE DONALD!" they all cried out at once.

Before Donald knew it, all three of his nephews were in his arms, holding onto him tightly. Donald struggled to keep standing at the sudden weight of all three boys plowing into him. He held Dewey in his right arm and Huey in his left arm while Louie stood in front of him, hugging his midsection. The sailor didn't even care that there were covered head to toe in dirt. It didn't matter; he was finally home and with his dear nephews!

"We've missed you!" they all cried out in unison.

"Ohh, boys" gushed Donald affectionately as he held onto them. He rested his head on Huey's shoulder. "I've missed you too!"

The triplets soon released their uncle and pulled away from him. "So how long are you visiting? Couple days?" asked Huey.

"Five days, actually!" beamed Donald happily and pridefully as he puffed out his chest.

"Wackarooni! That's great!" squealed Dewey in happiness.

"And he'll be stayin' with us at the mansion, boys" Scrooge added with a wink. "So you'll have plenty a'time t'visit with him."

That only made the boys even happier.

Fenton was the only one not participating in the conversation as the boys started sharing story after story with their uncle. He stood awkwardly next to Scrooge with his hands behind his back; watching the reunion with a wan smile on his face.

He felt as though he was intruding on a private family moment, especially when Scrooge began adding little comments to the stories they were re-telling of their most recent adventures with their grand uncle.

He watched them. Three generations of family. It was quite heart warming. Fenton just wished someday he could be able to consider himself a true part of something so special. Growing up, he had only ever had his M'ma. No one else. He didn't know what it was like to have so many family members and loved ones.

His eyes turned to Scrooge, who was laughing at something one of the others had said. Scrooge was the love of his life; he made Fenton feel like he was a somebody! He had finally earned Scrooge's love; would he be able to earn a place in Scrooge's family though? Donald already had such a chip on his shoulder about Fenton. He didn't even want to think about how any other family of Scrooge;s would react about him.

Absently fiddling with his fingers, Fenton's thoughts turned back to the confession he had told Drake about his intentions of asking Scrooge to marry him. Oh, how he hoped Scrooge would say yes when he finally found the guts to! Then he would finally be a true part of Scrooge's life! Not that he wasn't already-But marriage made the whole affair sound so much more official!

The accountant looked away almost bashfully at his own thoughts. He noted that most everyone else had already left the baseball field and leaving them all by themselves.

After a small debate with himself, Fenton reached out and gently pulled on Scrooge's sleeve. Scrooge looked behind him to see his love looking at him almost shyly. "Yes, Fenton?"

Glancing at the now empty field around them, Fenton replied, "Don't you think we should be heading back home now?"

The conversation must have been over, because Donald heard his words and glared at the accountant. "Don't you mean 'we' should be heading home!?" he snapped. His eyes landed on Scrooge. "He's not coming with us is he uncle Scrooge?"

Scrooge looked slightly offended. "Aye, and why wouldn't he come with us?"

"Yeah! Fenton's over at the mansion all the time! He practically lives there with us!" chipped in Louie with a big smile on his face. The boys clearly didn't realize their uncle's dislike for the accountant.

Feeling the need to defend himself, Fenton added in, "I AM dating Scrooge after all! Isn't that normal? For couples to spend time together?"

"Whatever, ya great palooka" grumbled Donald. He turned away and focused his attention back to his nephews.

Fenton opened his beak to say something, but Scrooge stopped him with a gentle wave of his hand. "Quiet now, laddie. I told ya. This will take time" he whispered.

"Don't you like Fenton, Uncle Donald?" one of the triplets asked.

"No" was Donald's blunt reply, his voice telling them he clearly didn't want to talk about Fenton.

"Aww!" sighed Huey. "He's actually pretty great, Uncle Donald! He plays with us all the time and helps us practice baseball and even helps us with our math homework! He's really good at numbers!"

Donald only seemed to get more upset at Huey's words. There was a coil of jealousy twisting in Donald's stomach as he pictured Fenton playing with his boys; spending more time with them than he has in a long time. "Next you'll tell me he's good friends with my girlfriend, Daisy!"

Fenton pressed his lips together in a straight line and looked up at the blue sky. Well, he and Daisy certainly weren't enemies, especially after she helped Fenton and Scrooge out with the media shortly after the world found out they were dating. She had supported them immediately and helped shed a new positive light to the world about their relationship.

As the six of them headed back to where Duckworth had parked the car, Fenton sighed. He supposed he couldn't really blame Donald for not liking him all that much straight off the bat. The accountant certainly was invading a lot of Donald's life after all by getting so close to his family!

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"Are you ever gonna put me down?" groused Gosalyn.

"Probably not" teased Drake.

The three of them were currently following Launchpad through the park and back to his little house. Gosalyn grumbled and she shifted in Drake's arms. She was about to be a teenager! She was not supposed to be carried around by her dad like a little toddler!

"I will admit though" spoke her dad as though reading her thoughts. "You are rather heavy." He panted slightly, feeling his arms start to tire.

Gosalyn's eyes narrowed. "Watch it!"

Drake only laughed at her anger.

"Boy" sighed Launchpad as he walked beside them. His eyes had a distant look in them and there was a dopey smile on his face. "I never thought I'd hear that sound again." Drake and Gosalyn looked up at his quizzically. Seeing their confused looks, the pilot blushed and scratched the back of his head. "Your laugh, I meant, DW! I haven't heard ya laugh in what seems like ages! It's good to hear it again!"

Drake found himself blushing as well as he awkwardly, "Oh, I see..."

Gosalyn looked between the two of them before prying herself out of Drake's arms and placing herself on the ground before them; making both adults stop in their tracks. "Okay, hold the phone! Before we get any further I need to know what all has happened between you two!"

Both hero and sidekick were now blushing. "Happened?" squeaked Drake. "Nothing happened, sweetie!"

Gosalyn narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. "Look, that Magica lady told me some of what has happened and she said that you Launchpad-" She pointed an accusing finger at the pilot. "Have been harboring feelings for my dad! Is this true!?"

Suddenly placed on the spot, Launchpad didn't know how to respond. "Uh, well, gee, Gos, I don't know! This is all sorta new to me too, to be honest! I didn't really realize I had...err...feelings...for yer dad-uh, DW...Till just last week. It was the night you-didn't die...I guess..."

Drake rolled his eyes.

"Well, I can't say the night she DID die, cause she didn't! We know that now!" defended Launchpad.

Despite himself, Drake snorted in laughter. "Yeah, I suppose so. But yeah, Launchpad told me about his feelings-or rather-I guessed he had feelings and was proven right while I was under the effects of the potion. And...I brushed him off. Twice. And then after I got my emotions back...well..." He looked up at Launchpad as if for support. "Well...we haven't really talked much about it."

"What about Morgana though, dad? I thought you two were still dating?" was Gosalyn's next question.

Drake made a face filled with shame. "Yeah. About that. I pretty much dumped her on the spot after you-After we THOUGHT you died."

"What? Why?"

Drake looked away, but Launchpad spoke up. "Ya see, Gos. After you fell, Morgana was still busy trying to get her magic to start working again. Your dad here rushed over to catch you before you fell, but didn't get there in time. Well, Morgana, in her rush to get her magic working, conjured up a lit candle and threw it over the edge and down where you were without thinking. And since you were literally sitting on a pile of explosives, it was only natural for us to think Morgana was the cause of you...dying."

Gosalyn turned to Drake for confirmation. "So...You thought Morgana had killed me?"

Drake nodded. "Yeah...We didn't know Magica had saved you at the last minute. The explosion still went off with you there and-Let's just say it was hard for me to even so much as look at Morgana, let alone date her."

Gosalyn sighed and moved in so that she could hug her father. She pulled herself close, resting the side of her face against his chest. Drake accepted her hug with open arms, resting his chin on her head. "I can see how that would be hard."

Drake nodded. "Very hard. And...I think I hurt Morgana in the process. She didn't show it, but I know she feels guilty about everything and I think she feels I blame her for what happened."

Gosalyn pulled back and looked up at him. "Do you?"

Drake shook his head. "No. Not really. She certainly didn't help but...It was bound to happen sooner or later. We're crime fighters, Gos. We live dangerous lives and what's worse, I LET you live such a dangerous life. Because of that, I'm not a good father, Gosalyn."

Drake was suddenly being pounded in the chest by Gosalyn's fists. He backed up in shock. "You stop talking about my dad like that!" she shouted. She stopped pounding on his chest and stepped back to glare up at Drake. "You are NOT a bad father! You're the best dad a kid could ask for! Sure, you're a little pretentious and a little self-centered and you can't remember to pack my school lunch to save your life, but you're loving and caring and you always put my needs first!"

Drake smiled. "Thanks, Gos. That means a lot to me."

"So! We'll have to call Morgana and let her know that I'm okay!" concluded Gosalyn as she turned and the three of them continued walking. "And I'll be grilling you later for more information! Not just ANYONE is allowed to date my dad, after all!" She shot this last bit as Launchpad who pulled nervously at his collar.

"Right, um...Gos...You'll first want to call Honker..." mentioned Drake quietly.

Gosalyn stopped dead in her tracks, causing Drake to nearly collide with her. "Holy smokes! If you guys thought I was dead and Morgana thought I was dead-" She whirled back around to face her dad. "Honker thinks I'm dead too, doesn't he!?"

Drake nodded slowly and sadly. "Afraid so."

Gosalyn's mouth was hanging open in horror of the idea of her best friend thinking she was dead. "Oh! Poor Honker!" She shook her head. "Well, there's no time like the present! Come on! Let's get to Launchpad's place so I can call Honker and let him know I'm actually just fine!" She began stomping her way to the direction they were going.

Drake and Launchpad looked at each and shrugged.

Once the three of them made it to Launchpad's little shack, Gosalyn had to look at them in reassurance that they were at the right place. "Really, guys? I'm gone a week and this is what we're reduced to?" groused Gosalyn once her eyes took in the little shack that was known as their current home.

"Watch the sass, little lady" reprimanded Drake with a frown. Though that frown was instantly replaced with a large grin. He clapped his hands together and held them in front of him. "Oh! I still can't believe I have my sassy little girl back! I've MISSED your sassy remarks and trouble-making ways!"

Gosalyn's eyes widened as she watched her father warily. "You're not gonna carry me around like a baby again, are you!?"

Drake smiled down at her. "it's tempting" he goaded her.

Launchpad laughed and placed a hand on Drake's shoulder. "Gee, Gos- I guess you just don't understand. You're dad was a total mess this past week! Give the guy a break! He's finally smiling and laughing again!"

Gosalyn sobered up a bit at the pilot's comment. "I'm sorry, dad. You know I just don't like being babied."

Drake nodded. "Trust me, I am VERY aware."

Launchpad opened the front door to his little home and the three of them walked inside.

Gosalyn scanned the room and crossed her arms. "Well, its not Plaza Hotel" she deadpanned.

The large pilot behind her made a hurt sound. "Hey now! This place isn't all THAT bad! Sides, it was all I could afford! I may have worked for Mr. McDee for years, but that doesn't mean I had good pay!"

Gosalyn shrugged as she hopped up onto the little hammock. "Yeah, well, one would think being the personal pilot of the world's richest duck and carting the old stiff around all over the world would pay better!"

"Gosalyn!" reprimanded Drake. "Show some manners! That happens to be my new boss you're insulting, I'll have you know!"

Gosalyn's eyes lit up at this. She hopped up and down in the hammock, making it sway back and forth. "Keen Gear! What are you-His personal crime fighter!? His very own detective! I'll bet he's paying you lots then, cause not just anyone can employ Darkwing Duck!"

Drake stood opposite of her, leaning against Launchpad's little wooden kitchen table. "Heh heh, well, actually..." He pulled on his collar. "I'm his new Data Analyst Manager..."

The young duckling titled her head in confusion and made a face. "His Data Ana-what?"

"Data Analyst" corrected Drake. "I work at his Money Bin. Fenton Crackshell helped me get the job."

"Who's he?"

Launchpad was the one to reply as he pulled out some bowls from his cupboards and a large bag of chips. "He was there with us earlier this afternoon. He was the other guy Taurus Bulba had captured. He was-"

Gosalyn's eyes widened as she suddenly remembered the tall lanky accountant from earlier. "Wait a minute!" she hollered louder than she needed to. She stood up from the hammock and stepped up to Launchpad, causing the pilot to step back till he was pinned against the cupboards. "You mean that guy who turned into Gizmoduck?!"

Launchpad didn't even have a chance to reply before Gosalyn whirled around to face her father. "You got a job working for Mr. McDuck by GIZMODUCK?!"

Drake scowled as he realized just how true that was. He stuttered as he tried to brush it off. "Well-I-I didn't KNOW he was Gizmoduck at the time! I just found out his secret identity too, ya know!"

"This is still Mega Cool!" gushed Gosalyn. "I need to meet this Fenton guy! He must be amazing if he's Gizmoduck!"

Picturing Fenton and trying to put two and two together that he was the same person as his most hated fellow hero, he made a face. Swaying his hand back and forth in a wavy manner he said, "Meh...I wouldn't say AMAZING. I mean-Not nearly as amazing as I am!"

There was silence as Gosalyn and Launchpad just looked at Drake, who grunted in irritation.

"Anyone want some chips?" offered Launchpad.

The three of them began munching on chips; Drake and Launchpad trying to fill in Gosalyn as much as they could.

"It was that witch, Magica, you know! She was the one who gave Morgana that potion for you to drink!" spoke Gosalyn once there was a lull in the conversation.

Drake nearly dropped the bowls he was eating his chips out of as he flinched at the news. "W-What!?"

Gosalyn nodded as she dried off some spoons with a clean towel. "Yeah! That witch who showed up earlier? That was her. She wanted you to drink that potion, dad!"

Drake frowned and furrowed his brow at this new information. "But why? What have I ever done to her? I've never even met this...this Magica de Spell lady."

"I have" sighed Launchpad.

Gosalyn and Drake looked up at the pilot in question.

Seeing their perplexed looks, Launchpad began explaining as he ate the last of the chips from the bag. "I know her from back when I worked closely with Mr. McDee. Magica de Spell is an evil enchantress who is constantly trying to get Mr. McDee's Number One Dime to use for her magic."

"Wait. Number One Dime? What is that?" asked Drake as he guided Gosalyn over to sit in their little hammock.

"It's the first dime Mr. McDee ever made. The first time he ever earned money from hard work. I guess it has some special properties to it because it means so much to him. That's why Magica has always wanted it. She's not someone to be taken lightly either. She can be really scary when she wants to be" explained Launchpad.

Drake placed a hand under his chin in thought. "Hmmm...I still don't get what that has to do with me."

"I don't know, dad. But Launchpad's right! She's not to be taken lightly. She had Taurus Bulba, one of your toughest enemies, wrapped around her finger and you saw how easy it was for her to destroy him! Just think what she could do to us!" gulped Gosalyn.

Drake groaned and sat on the hammock next to Gosalyn. "Oh, boy...I'm beat. I'm too tired to worry about what some crazed enchantress wants to do with me..." He laid back, pulling Gosalyn to lay down beside him too. "You know what? I don't even care about that right now. I'm just so happy to have you back, Gosalyn." He placed a kiss on the top of her head. "My little girl blue..."

Gosalyn smiled and snuggled in closer to him. "So...what are we gonna do now?"

"Hmm?"

"What do we do now? You burned out house in St. Canard. And now you guys are living here?" asked Gosalyn, looking disdainfully around the little shack.

"Hey, this place isn't that bad!" admonished Launchpad defensively.

Drake and Gosalyn sat up to raise an eyebrow at him. "For three people? No, don't think so, LP" replied Drake sardonically. "But, it'll have to do for the time being until we can find ourselves a new home..."

The three of them were silent for a while until Gosalyn finally broke the silence. "Well, this has been great and all, but WOULD SOMEONE FIND ME A PHONE SO THAT I CAN TELL MY BEST FRIEND I'M NOT DEAD!"

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Meanwhile, in the cold metal cells of the St. Canard, buried deep within walls of concrete and being held in the high security portion of the jail, sat Negaduck.

The yellow clad villain was currently without his fedora as he sat on the thin cot that was currently being served as his bed. The angry mallard was grumbling darkly under his breath as he tenderly rubbed the deep wound on his hand where Darkwing had cut through his palm with a knife.

Negaduck snarled at the bandages that the medical team had wrapped his hand in shortly after he had been carted away to the prison. The only reason he had let them anywhere near him to do so was because the amount of blood that had been pooling out of his hand and around the bit of fabric he'd torn from his cape was quite alarming. The material had been soaked through and he had been leaving a trail of blood everywhere he went. And, though he would never admit it, the high amount of sudden blood loss had started to get to him. He had decided it was best to let the sniveling little nurses live another day and help him.

He had been given six stitches on his hand, three on the back of his hand and three on the palm of it. They had then bandaged the would up in gauze.

"Wait'll I get my hands on that Darkwing!" growled Negaduck. He groaned as he pushed just a little too hard on his hand, sending pain shooting through his hand and up his arm. He closed his eyes and grunted until the pain subsided slightly. "He's going to PAY for this! The Twerp that Falls in the Night really pushed it this time! He's out of his mind! I always knew he'd crack, but not like this!"

There was the distant sound of keys clanging together and some chortled laughter from some of the prison guards, which Negaduck ignored. He simply continued staring at his injured hand.

"What the hell pushed him over the edge so much? I mean, I get it; he lost that little brat of his. But he said something about a potion? No emotions?" Negaduck shook his head in annoyance as he spoke quietly to himself in his jail cell. "The idiot was a rambling fool! I would mind getting back to the person who GAVE him that blasted potion in the first place! I'll bet it was that broad Morgana!"

"Oh, please, Dah'ling! You insult me by such making such claim!" came a woman's voice from the darkened cell.

Upon hearing the voice, Negaduck's eyes widened as he immediately stood; his fighting instincts on full alert. "Who's there!?" he called out into the otherwise empty area. "Show yourself!"

There was a puff of grayish smoke on the other side of his prison's bars and Negaduck laid his eyes on Magica de Spell for the first time.

Magica stood there, flaunting her magical arrival. She flipped her shoulder length black hair behind her and grinned at Negaduck. "Why, Magica de Spell, at your service!"

Negaduck narrowed his eyes. "Magica de Spell? I've heard rumors about you."

"Oh? I hope they were good ones" replied Magica as she winked at him.

Amused by his sudden guest, Negaduck crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow at her. "And just what do I owe for this sudden visit?"

Magica casually ran a finger along the metal bars of the cell. "Oh, just one villain helping out another..."

"How kind of you" sneered the mallard in yellow. He shifted his weight as his light smirk faded from his beak and turned to a frown. "Listen, toots, I'm not exactly in the mood for idle chatter. So unless you want to see my bad side, I suggest you start tellin' me the REAL reason you're here!"

Magica laughed. "Eh heh heh! You? Hurt me? When inside this cage of yours? Heh heh! You are funny, little mallard!"

Negaduck gave her a sickly sweet grin that would normally send shivers down anyone else's spine. "Call me 'little' again and it's your funeral!"

This only made Magica laugh more. With a wave of her hand, Negaduck suddenly found his throat close tightly as he was suddenly unable to breath. He gasped at the invisible vice that was currently around his throat. He moved his chin high as his hands grasped at his throat in a desperate attempt to pry the force away. "Ack!"

Magica's laughter died as her face turned more serious. "I suggest you stop threatening me and listen or I will make that knife to your hand feel like a tickle!"

With another wave of her hand, the force binding Negaduck's wind pipes was suddenly gone, leaving the mallard to nearly collapse as he sucked in air greedily. Panting, Negaduck rubbed at his throat as he warily watched the enchantress on the other side of the bars.

"Now that I have your full attention" began Magica as she paced back and forth in front of his cell. "I am offering you deal."

"Oh yeah?" growled Negaduck, his voice slightly deeper since his throat was still recovering. "Well you-" he paused as her words from a moment before finally clicked with him. "Hold on! How did you know about the knife incident?!"

Magica smiled coyly at him. "Hmm? Oh, you mean emotionless Darkwing grabbed knife and sliced your hand?"

Negaduck just continued to glare at her.

Magica shrugged her shoulders. "I MAY have been the one to give him the potion in first place" she explained. Seeing Negaduck's growing anger at the confession, she pressed on. "You see, having Darkwing drink potion was only one part of very long and complicated plans. He was a mere puppet I needed to use. Not my fault you went and blabbed your big beak out around the city and grabbed his attention!"

Negaduck growled. "So what was the point of it all then? Why would you want him to drink something like that?"

Magica lowered her eyelids. "Because I needed to turn someone with a pure heart dark."

Negaduck's glare eased away as his eyebrows raised. "Really? And what you would need something like that for?"

"For a very difficult and very dark potion I will be brewing. It doesn't get much darker than what I have planned, let me assure you, Dah'ling" confessed the enchantress.

"Fine, alright. What does this have to do with me?" was Negaduck's next question.

Magica shrugged and feigned innocence. "Can't an evil enchantress just want some company?"

Crossing his arms again, Negaduck tapped his foot on the cement floor. "Gonna need a bit more than that to convince me, toots."

Her patience clearly waning, Magica frowned at him. "You want out of here, no?" She gestured to the prison surrounding them.

"Hell yeah!" barked Negaduck as though she had just asked if the sky was blue.

"Then come with me. I promise if you join Magica and her plans you will get to watch Darkwing Duck suffer!"

Giving her a wicked smile, Negaduck couldn't help but admit to himself that the idea did sound promising. Certainly better than rotting in a jail cell as he waited to be carted off to a higher security prison for Super Villains. Not that he wouldn't be able to escape; its just that it was a lot of effort he never liked putting forth.

Negaduck shrugged. "Fine. But how do you plan to get me out of here? Those pigs they call guards should be coming back any minute now-"

The moment the words left his beak, the doors of the hallway opened and two security guards came strolling into the hallway that held Negaduck's cell. One of the guards was a dog while the other was a pelican; both of them on the tall and muscular side. Upon seeing Magica standing there in plain sight, both guards yelled in surprise before they got out their guns.

"Halt! Put your arms in the air and anything you say will be held against you in court!" shouted one of them out of habit.

Magica rolled her eyes and looked back at Negaduck with a bored look. "You wanna see pigs?" Negaduck just gave her an evil smirk, waiting to see what she would do. "I'll show you pigs!" She began to mutter an assortment of foreign words before twisting her hand at the guards in gesture.

There was a quick puff of smoke and Negaduck leaned against the bars to his cell so that he could get a better look at the guards who had been turned into terrified squealing pigs dressed as security guards. "HA!" he cackled in delight.

With more foreign words, Magica turned her magic on the bars containing the yellow clad mallard and after a moment, the bars were gone; freeing Negaduck in the process. Negaduck stepped out from his cell and looked at where the bars once were with interest. "I've gotta learn some magic one of these days..." he muttered mostly to himself. He then turned to Magica, who was watching him expectantly.

"Now, will you be trusting Magica and come help me with my plans, little mallard?" she asked him.

Negaduck gave her a large devilish grin as he narrowed his eyes and nodded.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Author's Note: The plot begins to thicken!

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

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Huey, Dewey, and Louie clung to their uncle Donald happily as they all climbed out of the car outside the McDuck mansion.

"We're just so happy to see you, Unca Donald!" cried Louie of them.

"Yeah! Talk about a surprise visit!" cried out Huey.

Donald just laughed at their antics as he managed to grab his duffle bag and place it over his shoulder.

Fenton was the first one to the door, knocking on it and beaming at Duckworth when he answered it. "Hi, Duckworth!"

"Greetings, Mr. Crackshell. Greetings, Mr. McDuck" replied Duckworth since Scrooge was right behind Fenton.

Once he was through the threshold, Scrooge turned and told the boys firmly, "Alright, now, lads. I know how excited ya are to see yer uncle, but it's time for yun's to wash up. Yer a filthy bunch, covered head ta toe in dirt. Go wash up and-" He was interrupted by the complaints of his three grand-nephews.

"Do we have to?" whined Huey.

Scrooge nodded. "Indeed. Now get movin'!"

When it was clear the triplets were still reluctant to leave their other uncle, who they rarely got to see, Donald spoke up. "Now boys! Listen to your uncle Scrooge!"

Sighing in defeat, the triplets did as they were told and left to head up the stairs.

"Fenton" Scrooge spoke up. "Go and see what Mrs. Beakley is up to. Let her know we have some company over and to prepare for such while I go an' get Donald settled, aye?"

"Okie dokie, Scroogie, my love!" beamed Fenton before giving Scrooge a peck on the cheek and leaving a moment later. Neither of them noticed the glare this earned them from Donald.

"Your bags, sir" came Duckworth's voice, snapping Donald out of his thoughts. The sailor looked up to the tall canine beside him and regarded him with unease.

"Uhh..." he replied uncertainly. He looked down to see Duckworth holding out his hand so that he could take Donald's bag. Donald only held onto it tighter.

"I can take your belongings to your room, sir, whilst you relax and continue to visit with your family, Mr. Duck" continued the butler.

Donald's frown only deepened. "I can carry my bag with me just fine!"

Scrooge walked up between Donald and Duckworth. "Thank yeh, Duckworth, but Donald is fine."

Duckworth straightened and sniffed. "Very good, sir."

Scrooge laid his hands on Donald's shoulders and guided him further into the foyer. "Don't yeh mind, Duckworth, lad. He's good help. Only doin' his job." He grabbed the duffle bag out of Donald's now slackened hands and set it beside a chair. "Now, I just need to go and check on a few things and then we can sit down and have a nice chat. The boys will be able to join us by then too. After they've cleaned themselves up a bit, aye?"

Donald nodded, a small smile on his beak. He watched his uncle leave before peering around at his surroundings. His uncle's mansion would forever intimidate him; he supposed. Used to the smaller, thin walled houses and apartments he's lived in over the course of his life. Not to mention the tiny bunk room he shared with two other men now that he was in the Navy.

Walking over to look at some of the hundreds of books that were on the walls and shelves, he didn't hear the soft footsteps of someone else coming into the room before it was too late.

"Heya, Donald! I brought ya some cookies!" came Fenton's voice as he walked into the room with a tray. "Mrs. Beakley just brought them out of the oven, too! I'm sure you'll- OOOF!" He was cut off as the accountant tripped over Donald's duffle bag, which he had not seen as he walked in.

The duffle bag rolled over several times as it was caught on Fenton's webbed foot. Fenton tumbled and fell to the ground hard, the tray of cookies clattering before him.

Donald watched the spectacle with wide eyes until he saw that the zipper on his duffle bag had opened up in the process; spilling out his belongings.

"Hey! What d'ya think you're doin', ya great palooka?!" he snarled as he marched over to the accountant.

Fenton, now on the carpeted floor, struggled to get himself standing upright again. Sadly, his foot was now tangled in the strap of the bag, causing more of Donald's belongings to fall out. "It's got me! It's got me! Some kind of carpet monster has got me!"

Donald snarled. "That's not a carpet monster! That's my duffle bag!" he shouted.

Sadly, due to his panic, Fenton didn't quite hear him. "What? What did you say, Donald? I can't understand you, I'm too busy fighting off a carpet monster!" He continued to squirm and try to free his webbed foot.

The jab over not understanding him only made the tempered duck more angry. "Give it here!" Donald dodged a kick from Fenton and snatched the strap of his duffle bag that was currently wrapped around the accountant's foot. "Stop moving!" Donald nearly tripped in his haste to free Fenton and the moment the taller duck was free, Fenton scrambled away before finally standing.

Panting slightly, Fenton placed a hand over his chest. "Blathering blatherskite that scared me!" He blinked when he saw that there was no carpet monster after all. "Oh! Heh! Sorry, I didn't see your bag!" Guilt suddenly overcame him as he watched Donald ignore his apologies and collect his belongings that were now strewn around the entryway.

Fenton teetered over the decision of whether to help or not since it was obvious from the tension in Donald's shoulders that he was quite unwelcome. He looked down at his feet and saw that there were several half folded papers there. Thoughtlessly, he picked them up and opened them up to see what they were. "Hmm...What's this?"

Donald, who had just finished stuffing his clothes in the bag, squawked in alarm when he saw what Fenton had in his hands. "Wak! Don't read those! Give them back, ya great palooka!"

Fenton, unaware of Donald's rising rage, glanced over both papers; they were letters. He muttered what he saw at the bottom of them both. "Love Jose and Panchito."

Fenton was unable to read anymore, for the letters were ripped from his hands. "THOSE ARE PRIVATE!"

Fenton just stared at Donald, who was now red and shaking in anger. "What did I do?"

He didn't receive a verbal reply, just lots of growling and fuming from the sailor.

Not realizing he was dealing with a loose cannon about to go off, Fenton inquired, "Who are they? It said 'love Jose and Panchito'? Are you guys together or something- AHHHH!" He screamed as he dodged one of Donald's punches. "Not that I'm judging! AHH!" He dodged another. "I'm one to talk! I'm dating your uncle after all!" He squeaked and dove to hide behind a large long-backed velvet chair. "Guess I shouldn't remind of you of that, huh?"

"You just stay away from me! AND my uncle!" threatened Donald.

Fenton gasped. "But! I CAN'T! That's not fair, Donald! You can't keep me away from the love of my life, the apple of my apple of my eye, the-" He stopped, knowing his words were not helping. "Look, I know you don't like me and I'm sure you have LOTS of reasons not to, but my intentions with your uncle are PURE! I swear!"

Donald's bill down-turned into an even deeper frown and Fenton was fairly certain that the chair between them was not going to protect him in the slightest from the raging duck on the other side. He was positive Donald was about to pick up the chair protecting him and throw it across the room when the love of his life, his paramour, came to his rescue by stepping through the doorway.

"Save me, Scroogie!" exclaimed Fenton. Taking a chance, he dove to hide behind the rich duck, his hands going to the shorter duck's shoulders.

"Fenton! Donald! What is the meanin' of all this yellin'?!" demanded Scrooge.

Donald pointed an accusing finger at Fenton. "He's the one who comes in here and makes a mess of my duffle bag! I told him to stay away from me and to stay away from you! He's trouble, Uncle Scrooge! I don't like him and he needs to keep his beak out of my life and business! And-" His speech began to become indiscernible in his fury as he continued complaining.

Scrooge narrowed his eyes, having heard more than enough. He took his cane and hit Donald over the head with it.

"OW!" whined Donald as his hands instantly went up to rub at the spot. His anger dwindled and fizzled out when he saw his uncle's own equally angry expression. His expression and body language turned sulky as he pouted at the two lovers.

"That's quite enough, nephew!" he began evenly. "I know you may not like Fenton, but to threaten him and to demand him to stay away from me-eh-all of us-Is uncalled for and-!"

"Scrooge?"

Scrooge stopped mid-sentence as light nimble fingers discreetly massaged his shoulders in an attempt to gain his attention. The older duck turned his head to look at Fenton, who was shyly trying to gain both duck's audience. "Eh, what is it, lad?"

"Don't blame Donald. It's not his fault" replied Fenton quietly.

Both Donald and Scrooge stared at Fenton in surprise as they waited for the accountant to continue.

"I-I was the one who got Donald all riled up." He pointed to the forgotten tray of cookies, most of which were still on the tray, untouched and unruined. "I was just coming in to see if he wanted some cookies and I went and tripped over his bag that was there on the floor. I-I panicked...and made a mess of things. I was just tryin' to be nice, really."

Scrooge frowned. "So, what is it ye tryin' to say, laddie?"

"I'm just saying, don't yell at Donald. You told me to keep my distance from him and I didn't listen. I'm sorry. Donald has every reason to be mad at me. I'm sure it really does seem like I'm taking over his life..." sighed Fenton.

Neither of them knowing how to respond, Donald and Scrooge exchanged a look of confusion before turning back to Fenton. Donald had to admit he was impressed. He had been positive Fenton was going to use this moment to his advantage and try to win his uncle's favor over his own. Try to turn his uncle against his own nephew, perhaps. But instead, Fenton was defending him.

Feeling guilty over Fenton's confession and will to take blame, Donald added, "Well, I guess he didn't MEAN to trip over my bag. It was nice of him to bring me cookies, I guess..."

Scrooge, seeing that neither his boyfriend nor his nephew were angry, breathed out in a light sigh. "Well then, I see an understandin' as come to pass." He turned back to Donald warning. "But Donald...Do not ever threaten Fenton again or you'll see more than the end of me cane. Clear?"

Thoroughly cowed, Donald nodded. "Crystal, Uncle Scrooge."

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Back along the outskirts of St. Canard, the sun had long since set, which meant the plant duck hybrid that lived in the large Greenhouse was already falling into a deep sleep; happily awaiting the return of the live-giving sun.

Bushroot was curled up in the large flower pot that he used as his bed and the little bush that was used as his pillow still happily helping its master to rest.

Liquidator was also sleeping several feet away from the potted mutant, his canine form long gone as he sleep in the shape of a large puddle on the floor.

All that could be heard throughout the Greenhouse was Bushroot's snoring and the occasional gurgling sound from Liquidator. Not to mention the soft snoring from Spike, the mutated Venus-Fly-Trap.

Everything was peaceful as a shadow loomed over top of Bushroot's sleeping form.

Negaduck grinned maliciously as he glared down at his former teammate. Wordlessly, he pulled out a syringe and looked at it carefully in the pale moonight that was shining through the roof. He prepped the syringe before leaning over Bushroot and injecting it into a vine-like arm. Thick, red-tinted sap slowly filled the syringe as Bushroot groaned in his sleep, turning a bit and causing Negaduck to move his hand with him as he waited for the syringe to fill with his plant blood.

"Ugh, stop it, Spike...that hurts..." moaned Bushroot as he turned over just as Negaduck pulled the syringe out of his arm. Bushroot instantly rubbed at the spot that was now sore. Negaduck ignored him however as he pulled out a bag and placed the now filled syringe inside and stowed it away in his pockets.

The evil mallard then pulled out another syringe that was filled with a slightly glowing purple substance. He glanced at the contents inside it warily before injecting it in Bushroot's other arm. Just as the very last of the purple substance in Bushroot's bloodstream, the mutant whined some more. "Spiiiike!"

Negaduck was in the midst of pulling out the syringe when he heard another voice.

"Do you feel like you're being watched? Are you on edge? Perhaps that's because you're sneaking around in a super villains home in the middle of the night!" came Liquidator's sales jargon voice.

Negaduck was about to open his large beak to reply, when a cry of pain came from Bushroot, who shot up from his spot in the soil and began shivering, holding his arms around himself. "OOOHHH! It huuuurts! Spike what did you-" He finally looked up to the menacing face of Negaduck. "N-N-N-Negaduck!"

Negaduck's sneer grew. "What's the matter, Bushy? Not feeling well?" He cackled. He cocked his head to one side in mock sympathy. "You do look a bit GREEN!"

Bushroot whimpered and curled up into a ball, unable to respond due to the pain that was beginning to surge through his whole body.

"What did you do to him, Negaduck?!" demanded Liquidator from behind the shorter mallard.

"Nothing TOO permanent" he leered in response. "Just a little gift from me to him. Consider it an honor!"

Bushroot wailed in pain and both of them watched as the scientist's purple foliage slowly lost its pigment and became a sickly brown color before shriveling up. What was once his lush purple petals began to fall off his head like dead leaves in the fall.

Enraged with anger and grief at the sight of his love suffering, Liquidator placed a hand on Negaduck's shoulder and whirled him around so that the villain was facing him. "WHAT DID YOU DO!? WHAT DID YOU INJECT HIM WITH!?"

"Wouldn't YOU like to know?" replied Negaduck smugly. He ripped his shoulder out of the canine's watery grip and backed up a few steps. "Don't mess with me, Drip-Face! You remember the last time you crossed me!"

"Oh, you mean the time I nearly drowned you and washed you away after you tried murdering us both? Yeah, I remember just fine!" said Liquidator heatedly.

Negaduck scowled at the reminder. "That was an error on my part. Let me assure you, Sewer Drainage, that was a fluke chance you had that night! I won't be making that mistake again! Let's not forget how I nearly killed Bushy that night as well!"

Negaduck's throat was wrapped in Liquidator's overly large morphed hand a second later as the liquid canine drew him close. His watery body was beginning to boil in his anger, which caused Negaduck to squirm. "Give me the antidote to whatever you gave Reggie!"

Choking in the process, Negaduck spat out, "Who said there was one?"

Liquidator's grip around Negaduck's throat tightened and just when Negaduck was beginning to see stars, Liquidator found himself with a face full of talons.

"CAW! CAW!" went the creature that was currently ambushing Liquidator's face and head and causing the watery mutant to release Negaduck. Liquidator shouted in alarm and waved his arms about to clear off his attacker.

"About time, Poe!" he groused as Poe landed on his shoulder.

"Caw! All in good time! Not my fault you left without me! CAW!" replied Poe as he fixed his little hat.

Negaduck took his chance and dove back over to Bushroot, who squeaked in alarm and brought his knees to his chest in an attempt to hide his vulnerable and pained form. "Leave me alone!" he told Negaduck in a vain attempt. The evil mallard ignored him and jabbed another syringe into Bushroot's arm after grabbing it roughly. The scientist cried out in alarm.

"Just another dose of your blood, Bush-Brain, and we'll be good to go" muttered Negaduck as he watched blood fill the syringe.

Just as Negaduck finished, Bushroot jerked his arm away from the other's grip. "Why do you want my blood, of all things?!"

"Like I'm gonna tell you" he replied ominously. "AHHH!" He turned around to see that Spike had taken a bite of out his tail feathers. "Why you filthy mongrel!" He tossed Spike a can of weed killer and causing the fly trap dog to whine.

Negaduck turned back to Liquidator and Bushroot. "Later, suckers!" With a puff of red smoke, the yellow-clad villain was gone from sight.

Liquidator growled deeply in his non-existent throat. "Coward."

A pained and weak groan from Bushroot brought Liquidator back to the present. The mutant plant duck had curled himself up in a tight ball, his arms holding on tightly around himself. Liquidator was at Bushroot's side in seconds. "Reggie? What's wrong? What did he do to you?" He looked down in horror to find that most of dried up petals on his lover's head had fallen off and were now pooled at the mutant's sides and feet and falling to the floor and out of the flower pot.

Liquidator grabbed at Bushroot's fingers in an attempt to unwind and comfort his friend. It was then that he paused.

Fingers.

Bushroot didn't have fingers; not really. He had leaves that served as his hands. He then noted that Bushroot's skin was no longer green, but white. Tiny soft downy feathers were growing back on once smooth plant skin.

"Reggie...?" asked Liquidator softly. His companion didn't reply and Liquidator was reminded of the brief time he had glimpsed a photo of Reginald Bushroot before he had been mutated into what he was today. He suddenly understood exactly what Negaduck had done to him.

"Buddy...I don't feel so good..." whimpered Bushroot. His face was now hidden and tucked away as his chin rested on his chest; the effects of the glowing fluid now in full effect. A liquid hand gently raised his chin up so that Liquidator could get a better look at him.

Liquidator was no longer in the presence of the mutant plant duck and part time villain Bushroot, but the shy poor postured scientist, Reginald Bushroot.

"You're a pure duck again, Reggie" whispered Liquidator.

Bushroot nodded. "I know. I can't hear them! I can't hear my plants anymore!" he cried in dismay, getting more and more worked up. He clutched the sides of his head. "Buddy, I have no idea how he did it, but he changed me back! He un-mutated me and I don't like it!"

Seeing that Bushroot was only getting more worked up, he looked around, knowing that his lover's new form needed more coverage than his mutated state. To be frank, in his duck form, it was more obvious he was in nothing but his skin. He quickly spotted Bushroot's lab coat and pulled it over Bushroot's hunched over form.

"Why? Why would he do this to me? How could he possibly have done it!? I didn't even know how to reverse the effects of my mutation! So how did HE figure it out?!" rambled Bushroot. "I'm pretty sure he took a sample of my blood twice-Meaning-Meaning he wanted both my mutated blood and my regular clean blood. But why?!"

Pulling him close, Liquidator said soothingly, "I don't know, Reggie. But it's going to be okay. We'll figure this out." He raised a hand out of habit to run through his petals, only to find they were missing. All that was there was a few straggling black hairs. Premature balding, that's what Reggie had once said to him. "It's different."

Bushroot looked up, thick worry lines now more obvious on his face and bags under his eyes. "What?"

"When I touched you before, there was always a faint sensation. It was your plant body accepting my water. But now, nothing. I might as well be touching stone."

Bushroot didn't respond at first, but after several moments of silence he shouted out, "It's so quiet in here! This is like that time we were in that monster's toy box, remember? Paddywhack, or whatever his name was! He had taken my ability to hear plants away and this is ten times worse, cause not only can I not hear them-But now I'm back to being boring, ugly, Reggie the Veggie!"

"You mutated yourself once before, you can do it again if you really wanted to, right?"

Bushroot nodded quickly.

"Mutated or not, I still love you, Reggie, do you understand me?"

Another quick nod. "Love you too, Buddy..."

The two of them sat there in the middle of the night, neither of them knowing what was happening or what they should do next.

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"Morgana?" came the shy nasally voice of Honker Muddlefoot.

"Yes, Honker?" replied Morgana's sultry voice.

"Are you sure Mr. Mallard wanted me to come along as well? I mean, I get why he would want to meet up with you since- Well, if you don't mind me saying, you two have a lot more to work out than he and I do. G-Gosalyn is gone...And maybe he just wants to let me feel included but-"

Morgana cut him off. "I'm sure Dark has his reasons to want you to come along." She stopped in her tracks and Honker did the same thing. They were both in unfamiliar territory as they walked through the city park of Duckberg. Morgana had been surprised when Drake had called her and asked her to bring Honker so that the four of them could meet up and talk in the Duckberg City Park.

It was a bright sunny day outside, causing Morgana, especially, to stick out like a sore thumb in her deep red macabre dress and Gothic hairstyle. "This is the spot, right?" she asked the young duckling.

Honker nodded as he adjusted his glasses. "I'm pretty sure. He said it was near the South End of the park and he wanted us to meet him at a yellow park bench." He turned to the bench they were standing next to. "This is the only yellow park bench I've seen. He also said we'd be able to see a little shack in the distance and Mr. McDuck's Money Bin to the right of us."

Morgana nodded as she wrung her hands nervously. She had a good idea as to why her darling Dark wanted to speak with her, though wanting Honker to come along as well threw her off. If Dark wanted to officially end things and apologize for everything that had happened, like she suspected, why would he want Honker to be there as well? It didn't make any sense.

"Morgana! Honker!" came Drake's voice from a distance.

Both Morgana and Honker looked over to their left to see Drake and Launchpad. "Over here!" The pilot called over.

Honker and Morgana glanced at each and shrugged before doing as they were told.

Morgana felt her heart squeeze in her chest as she took in Drake's appearance. He seemed so much like his old self. The last time she had seen him, he had looked so small, fragile, and defeated. But now, he seemed to have regained the spring in his step, the light in his eyes. It had only been two days since she had seen him. How could there be such a drastic change in such a short amount of time? Had he really gotten over Gosalyn's death that quickly, after everything that had happened?

"Hi, Morgana" greeted Drake in the form of a happy sigh.

"Hello, Dark, darling" she cooed back.

It didn't go unnoticed how Launchpad tensed up beside Drake ever so slightly.

"Hello Mr. Mallard, sir' greeted Honker.

Drake turned to him and smiled. "Hi, Honker. Thank you both for coming."

"What was it you wanted to tell us, Dark?" asked Morgana.

Launchpad and Drake shared a look before Drake began wringing his hands together in a nervous manner. "Well, Morg- Heh- A lot has happened in the past week or so...And...Even more has happened since LP and I left St. Canard."

"Oh?"

Rubbing the back of his neck, Drake looked away from both Morgana and Honker's gazes. "You see, eh...Turns out what happened that night at the factory, also known as the night we lost Gosalyn, was actually all one big elaborate plot to get me to drink that Emoti-Gone potion.."

"What!?" exclaimed Morgana angrily. "Who would want something like that?!"

Launchpad was the one who answered. "Her name is Magica de Spell."

Morgana's eyes widened and her body froze in place. "Magica?"

"You know her?" asked Drake.

Gathering her thoughts, Morgana spoke, "Not personally. I've never met her, but I've heard about her. She is one of the last remaining members of the de Spell Clan. They are known to be a clan of powerful witches and wizards. The sorcery that has come from that family has astounded and baffled many for centuries. It is said that her and her brother, Poe, who has not been seen for decades, are known for their devious acts in magic and brewery."

"Yeah, well, she made that potion. That potion wasn't your family's, Morg. She just wanted you to think it was. It was actually hers! And she got me to drink it!" whined Drake, a dramatic air slipping into his voice. "She played with me and my emotions and got the better of the great Darkwing Duck and she's going to pay!"

Launchpad placed a hand on Drake's shoulder to calm the shorter mallard down, who was now panting slightly.

"Um..."

All three adults turned to the young scholar beside them. "Yes, Honker?" asked Morgana.

"Uh...I-"

Drake narrowed his eyes. "Spit it out, Honker!"

Squeaking in alarm, Honker replied in a jumble, "I don't mean to be rude, but what does any of this have to do with me!? I have a science report to finish!"

Instead of receiving the angry, peeved look he had been expecting from his rudeness, he watched as a large grin formed on Drake's beak. "Oh, just wait, Honker! The story isn't over yet! You see, Magica was there at the factory that night too. She knew that by losing Gosalyn, I would be more willing to drink her potion. But you see, Magica only wanted me to THINK Gosalyn was dead-"

Honker's eyes widened and before he could get his brain to put two and two together, a strong warm force slammed into his side in the form of a hug. "HI HONKER!" Gosalyn had run up to him and slammed into him, hugging her best friend tightly after coming out from her hiding spot in the nearby bushes.

Honker nearly lost his footing as he blinked and tried to take everything in. He looked over to see Gosalyn's bright happy face and tears began to well up in his eyes. "G-G-Go-Gosalyn!?"

Gosalyn pushed him back a bit to get a better look at him, her hands still on his shoulders. "Ya got that right, Honker! I'm not dead after all!"

Honker made a little whimpering sound on the back of his throat, tears beginning to spill down his cheeks, before he pulled Gosalyn into a large hug; burying his face her shoulder. "Gosalyn!" he wailed happily. "I-I thought you were -g-gone forever!"

Gosalyn sobered as she felt tears begin to soak through shirt on her shoulder. "Aww, come on, Honker. No need to cry! I'm back and I'm not going anywhere for a while!"

"Oh, Gosalyn, dear!" exclaimed Morgana happily.

Still holding on tightly to Honker, Gosalyn just smiled up at the witch. Morgana could tell that Honker wasn't about to let go of Gosalyn any time soon and was content just to share a warm smile with the young duckling. It was then that Morgana turned back to Drake. Now she understood why Drake looked so much happier; his Gosalyn was returned to him.

Allowing the children to have their own private moment, Morgana walked up next to Drake and Launchpad. "So..." she began. "I see everything had truly fallen into place." There was an awkward silence as none of them knew what to say. "So, how do you like Duckberg?"

Drake shrugged. "Well" he snorted. "It's no St. Canard! But, the place is nice, I guess."

Morgana nodded as she tried to think of another question to ask him. "So, what are you doing with your time, then?"

"Morgana?" said Drake quietly, ignoring her question altogether.

"Hmmm?"

"I don't blame you."

Morgana blinked. "What?"

Drake looked nervous as he stepped closer to her. "I don't blame you for what happened to Gosalyn. When she-When we-I know you had only been trying to help. And after what I learned about Magica-For all we know, SHE could have been the only magicked that candle to existence. We'll never know. But, those things I said to you-I-I didn't..."

"I know, Dark" smiled Morgana. She leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. "I'm glad you don't blame me. Thank you for telling me that."

Drake nodded.

"Are you happy?" she asked him next. It was left unspoken, yet obvious between the three of them, that she didn't mean this to be a general question. It was about him and Launchpad.

Drake didn't reply at first and for the longest time, neither Launchpad nor Morgana thought he was going to reply, when suddenly he said, "I think so."

This caused Launchpad to smile, for it was a better answer than he had been expecting.

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Donald took in a deep breath and let it go slowly. Huey, Dewey, and Louie had just been sent to bed, after several hours of demanding story after story out of him. Donald couldn't help but smile. He couldn't blame them; it was certainly exciting to hear the stories of being in the Navy. It was the reason he had signed up to be a sailor to begin with.

He was just getting ready to head up the grand staircase in the front room when someone knocked on the front door. Donald paused in mid-step on the first stair and blinked at the door. He looked around uncertainly; not knowing where Duckworth was, or if anyone else had heard the knocking sound. He was about to pass it off as his imagination when the knocking sound came again.

Donald soon found himself opening up the front door and found himself face to face with a woman with shoulder length sleek black hair and wearing a frilly black dress.

Magica beamed at Donald, her eyes widening as she looked Donald up and down and clearly liking what she saw. "Oh! Good evening! I was expecting silly butler."

Donald smiled in reply. "Hiya, toots!" he said brazenly. "Uhh, I don't know where Duckworth is. Are you here to see my uncle Scrooge?"

"Oh? What is that you say? You is being Scrooge's nephew then, eh, pretty one?"

Donald blushed and nodded. "Yep!"

"Ahh, yes! I can see family resemblance already. Eh, is something wrong with your throat?"

Donald furrowed his brow, a frown forming. "No..."

"Ahh! That is just your voice then. Was only curious! Now, tell me, pretty one, is your uncle Scroogie around?" She stepped closer to Donald, now through the threshold of the doorway. She fluttered her eyelids at Donald, who was completely unaware that he was being flirted by his uncle's worst enemy.

Donald took a step back, feeling slightly perturbed and completely unused to the bold and willing attention he was getting. "Uhhh, sure-He's-"

"Magica!?" came Scrooge's shout in horror and alarm. "DONALD! GET AWAY FROM HER!"

Before the sailor knew what was happening, his uncle was next to him and holding tightly to his arm before pulling him backwards, where he tumbled into Fenton, who caught him.

"Hey! What's the big idea!?" squawked Donald in indignation.

"Stay away from her Donald! She's trouble! This is Magica de Spell! And evil enchantress!" explained Scrooge, his eyes never leaving Magica. "You stay away from my nephew, Magica. I'm warnin' yeh!"

"Oh, shame! He's so pretty!" admonished Magica before winking at a new worried and uninterested Donald.

"Duckworth! Sound the alarm! Call the authorities! Me Number One Dime is at risk!"

Magica scoffed. "Do not be fool, Scroogie! Do you think that if I was after Number One Dime, I would be here with you? Ha!"

Scrooge glared at her. "Then why ARE ye here, Magica?"

Magica smirked and cocked her head to one side coyly. "To take something even more precious from you."

Scrooge took several steps back, colliding with Fenton, who grabbed him by the arms to support him. "W-What?!"

Magica's smirk only deepened as her eyes narrowed. "When I am finished with you, Scroogie, you will have nothing left but your own loneliness. Not even your loved ones" The enchantress took a few steps around them, beginning to circle them like a predator does to its prey. She watched Donald closely and tried inching closer to him, but Scrooge stepped between them.

"You stay away from me nephews, Magica! I'm warnin' yeh!" threatened the rich duck.

Magica shook her head. "Is not only nephews you should be worryin' 'bout, ya old has-been!"

Fenton blinked in surprise when he felt Scrooge's shaking hand search out his own and grip on tightly to it. He made sure to hold on tightly in return.

"Is it me Number One Dime yer after, Magica? Do ya really want it that badly that yer willin' to sacrifice all me loved ones fer it?" asked Scrooge, trying his hardest to keep his expression blank and to keep the panic from showing.

"Yer Number One Dime is no longer my priority! Important? Yes! Main priority? No! You had your chance-MANY chances-To give Magica what she wants! Now I do things different way! I have come to learn of different way to get what I want! Not exactly same-But even better! I still get what I want-But rather than me stealing Dime from you, you will be begging me to take Dime from your greedy little paws! Heh heh heh heh heh!" the witch cackled.

She laughed for about a minute before she ran out of breath. She paused, sucking air back in, before flipping her hair back and grinning evilly at the three of them. "Keep your loved ones close, Scroogie. You never know when something bad might happen to them. Theoretically, something bad has already happened to your little boy toy."

Scrooge gasped while Fenton squeaked.

Donald, who was not one to take things lying down, rolled up his sleeves and pushed past Fenton and Scrooge; his temper rising by the second. "Now see here!" He pointed a finger at her. "Just who do you think you are barging in like this and making threats to my family?! I'm gonna teach you a few things about manners-I don't care if you're a lady or not!"

"Donald!" hissed a now frantic Scrooge as he tried without success to pull Donald back.

Magica just watched him in fascination. Her amazement only heightened as she watched Donald actually throw his arm back as he prepared to punch her. She dodged it and took a step back with a cackle. She flicked her wrist and Donald was sent flying back into a heap on the floor.

This only enraged Donald further as he stood up and saw only red. Pushing past Scrooge and Fenton once more, who were both now trying to get him to back off, he yelled in gibberish that was hardly understandable, "How dare you!? Why I outgha-!" A slew of threats and curses spilled out of Donald, but thankfully, with the combined efforts of Scrooge and Fenton, they were able to hold him back; just barely.

"HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!" laughed Magica as she watched the sight before her. "Oh! That's too rich! You're not just pretty, you're funny too! You are too precious, pretty one! Heh heh heh heh! As much fun as this has been though, I must be off! So much to do, so little time! Heh heh heh heh heh!"

With a quick puff of red smoke, Magica was gone.

Once she vanished, Donald stopped his fit of rage, causing Scrooge and Fenton to fall into him and landing on him in a pile in the process from the momentum. They all groaned.

"What did she mean, Scroogie? There's nothing wrong with me, is there?" wondered Fenton as he sat up.

"Is that a rhetorical question, lad? Cause I could stand 'ere all night listing the things wrong with yeh" quipped Scrooge.

Donald snickered.

"You know what I meant!" sighed the accountant. "She said she's already done something to me!"

Scrooge sobered and looked away. "I don't know, lad. But I'm worried." he confessed. He helped Donald to stand up. "Magica is up to somethin' and something' horrible. She was in a right good mood, which is a bad sign for us. WE best be on our good from 'ere on out, aye?"

Fenton and Donald both nodded.

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Chapter Text

Thicker Than Water - Chapter 5

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Bushroot made a small noise in the back of his throat as he wrapped his lab coat tighter around himself, his knees brought up close to his chest as he sat in his favorite large flower pot.

He had managed to find some of his old clothes that had been tucked away in storage after his mutation. Save for the few times he wore clothing for his disguise for when he went out in public, Bushroot was no longer accustomed to wearing anything; his mutant plant body normally allowing him not to bother. Not to mention the fabric blocked out the life-giving sun. It was easier for him to soak in the sun for nutrients without the cloth barriers getting in his way.

But he wasn't a mutant plant duck anymore, he thought sadly to himself as he examined his hand. He studied the fluffy white feathers that he had once been used to.

Liquidator gave a grunt as he sloshed his way over to his companion, his arms crossed over his chest as he glared out the Greenhouse windows. "I think they're gone for good, Reggie."

Bushroot nodded distantly, his thoughts elsewhere. He flexed his fingers, having forgotten what it was like to have four separate digits instead of leaves.

"I don't get it. Why would he un-mutate me like this?" asked the former mutant quietly. Liquidator glanced over at him, not sure if the other had meant to say that out loud or not.

"I don't know, Reg, but it's Negaduck. Who knows what that brute has up his sleeve? This customer certainly isn't willing to wait around and find out!" gurgled the ex-salesman.

Bushroot titled his head in confusion. "What do you mean by that?"

Liquidator turned to finally face Bushroot properly and jutted his thumb to point at himself with a large grin on his face. "This consumer is going to read the fine print to this deal! I'm gonna do some investigating!"

Instead of the boost of support he had been expecting, Liquidator watched as Bushroot stared at him with large blue eyes as he curled in on himself as he rubbed at his temples. "I really wish you wouldn't..."

Liquidator would have blinked if he had possessed the ability to. Instead he quirked an eyebrow. He didn't even bother with a sales pitch. "Why not?" he asked bluntly.

Bushroot gave a whimper. "Because you need to stay here so I have someone to talk to so that I don't go mad from the silence." Seeing that his liquid lover was not understanding his suffering, he explained further. "You don't get it, Buddy. I'm used to hearing a constant dull roar of voices in my head at all times. It's all the plants around me. I'm so used to them talking and making noise and sometimes even conversing with me when I'm near that NOT hearing them is driving me mad! The plants don't even have to be talking to me, specifically-But I still hear them. And now I can't and I-" He paused as he shivered and winced. "I don't think I can handle NOT listening to them!"

Liquidator took a moment to soak all this in before saying, "You know that's what they made noise makers for, right?"

"A noise maker?"

Liquidator nodded. "Yeah, my ex-wife went through something kinda similar to what you're describing, I guess. Once our son was old enough to sleep through the night without waking, she had to start using a noise maker because the silence started to drive her nuts. She'd gotten so used to listening for any crying that the noise maker helped calm her down and help her sleep well at night."

Bushroot just stared at him.

Seeing the lack of reaction, Liquidator shrugged. "I mean, personally, it drove me up a wall and was but one of MANY reasons I stopped sharing a bed with her. But hey, I digress. If a noise maker will help you, then a noise maker we shall use!"

"Well, for that matter, I could just turn on the radio or something. I mean, when you put it like that, it's all I would really need, right?" said Bushroot meekly, resting his chin on his knees.

"Do you HAVE a radio?"

Bushroot thought about it for a moment before replying, "No. Not one that could pick up any kind of signal from out here in the middle of nowhere. But I have the stereo system you insisted on stealing for me, but Spike ate through all the wires so it doesn't work anymore."

"Oh, right! I forgot about that thing..." chuckled Liquidator as he recalled the memory. He'd stolen so many things over the years he'd lost track of it. Didn't help that Bushroot had shoved it in the back of the Greenhouse where they hardly ever went, claiming it was too loud and disturbing for his plants. He shook his head and came back to reality. "Look, its still early. The sun has barely risen over the horizon. All the stores are still gonna be closed for a least a couple more hours. Let me just rush into town real fast and I'll get you a noise maker. It'll be a cinch! In and out! I'll be a half hour tops!"

Bushroot debated it for a moment, fiddling with the hem of his coat with his newly returned fingers. He closed his eyes. "I REAAALLLYYYY can't handle this silence...So maybe you should."

Liquidator flashed him a large grin. He leaned over and gave Bushroot a kiss on the cheek. "Anything for my flower!" He pulled back and gave the scientist a solemn look. "You sure you'll be okay while I'm gone?"

Bushroot made a positive sound in his throat but shook his head in negative at the same time.

Liquidator chuckled. "You know, you could technically come with me."

Bushroot's eyes widened. "Are you mad!? I can't be seen out in public looking LIKE THIS!"

A cricket chirped in the silence that followed.

"Like a regular duck?"

Bushroot nodded.

"Looking completely normal like an everyday citizen?"

"Exactly! No one should have to bear seeing me like this!" He pointed to his face though Liquidator guessed he was more concerned about his hair; or rather, the lack of hair.

"So...You're okay with people seeing you as a mutant plant duck, but not as a regular duck?"

Bushroot growled in annoyance. "Don't make fun! I know it sounds strange! But-I'M NOT LEAVING!"

Liquidator shook his head with a smile. "Fine. Have it your way. Look, you'll be fine! I'll be quick and sly and back before you know it!"

Before Bushroot could say anything more, Liquidator dropped his form into that of a puddle and surged out of sight.

Bushroot just stayed where he was, watching after his partner in crime. It was then that he felt Spike nudge his elbow. Bushroot glanced down at him, watching the large tongue hang out of the mutant's mouth. The two of them stared at each other, silence filling the space between them.

After a moment, Bushroot grunted loudly and stood up. "I CAN'T HANDLE THIS SILENCE!"

He pushed Spike out of the way and ran over to his lab table, knocking over bottles and formulas in the process as he desperately searched for any clues as to how to get him back to being a mutant plant duck. "And to think I actually WANT to be a mutant outcast now! Ugh! WHY MEEEEE!?" he groaned into the quiet emptiness that surrounded him.

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Another paper was tossed to the side of a growing pile of uninteresting sales reports that Scrooge was currently trying to look through. Owning as many companies as he did had its benefits, to be sure, but at the same time, there was a great deal of paperwork to be sorted through and frankly, a good portion of it was not worth his time.

The old miser clicked his tongue as he tossed another one to the side. He was currently propped up with several large fluffy pillows on his bed, having decided to try to get some work done at the mansion for the first half of the day rather than at the Money Bin. Gizmoduck and Gyro had already evaluated the damage that had been caused by Taurus Bulba and it was only a matter of waiting for the bricks and cement to be delivered before any construction to fix it could start. He would go to the Money Bin later in the afternoon.

The faintest of grunts was heard from the body that was lying half on top of him. Fenton's head was resting on Scrooge's chest, the rest of his body stretched out to the right side of Scrooge, his feet dangling off the side of the bed. The accountant claimed that he loved hearing the sound of Scrooge's heartbeat and that it helped calm him down and fall asleep easily. Scrooge found it quite strange, if he was being honest with himself, but if it shut the lad up for a while as he read over these reports, he would allow it.

Scrooge's right hand was subconsciously running through the feathers on top of Fenton's head as the other slept. He bit back a groan at yet another useless report that didn't need his attention. He tossed aside the report and looked away from the files, no longer interested. Fenton made a soft snoring sound making the older duck flinch. Though instead of being annoyed, it only caused Scrooge's thoughts to flash back to two months ago when they had reached Sitka, France in search for the Golden Heart.

The trip in itself had been...enlightening.

The rich duck didn't like to think of that particular trip too often. If he did, it was only to think of how close the trip had allowed him to become with Fenton. That was truly the only good thing about the trip. The two of them had shared quite an adventure and learned a lot about the other. Particularly Scrooge's deep feelings and attraction for the other mallard.

Fenton squirmed beside Scrooge, causing the older duck to move with him as the accountant found a comfortable spot. The lanky mallard was now half on top of Scrooge, but he was unwilling to disturb him. Scrooge discreetly made himself comfortable in Fenton's new position.

Fenton give a small whimper and Scrooge was alarmed to find the lad to be trembling. He decided to rid the accountant from his obvious discomfort.

"Fenton" he spoke quietly. "Fenton, laddie, wake up."

Fenton's eyebrows furrowed as he grumbled. "Hmm...I don't want anymore cookies..."

Scrooge raised an eyebrow and decided to play along, finding himself oddly amused. "I have no intention of giving you any cookies, lad. Now get up!"

Fenton huffed and slowly sat up, stretching and scratching his stomach through his shirt. "Scroogey?"

"Aye, who else?"

Fenton pushed himself up into a proper sitting position and gave his paramour a dopey smile. "Finish looking through your reports then?" he asked before stretching his arms high above his head.

Scrooge shook his head. "Nae. I'm sick of lookin' at them though."

Fenton glanced out the window and into the sunshine, smiling as he saw Donald, Daisy, and the triplets playing. "I didn't know Daisy was here" he commented. He rubbed at his throat, which still had bruises hidden under his plumage from where Taurus Bulba had strangled him. Scrooge found it odd that the bruises still looked freshly vibrant whenever Fenton moved his feathers around for him to see them, despite that particular incident having been two days ago.

"Aye, Daisy came about an hour ago" replied Scrooge as he shook away his darker thoughts. "Duckworth came in to inform me, not that it matters. She's practically family after all." He looked out at Daisy through the window with a smile on his face. "She's a fine lass and has a head on her shoulders, thank goodness! Far from a push over and clearly willing and able to put up and even tame Donald's horrid temper."

Fenton turned away, not quite sure how he felt about Scrooge's comment about Daisy practically being family. If he thought that way about Daisy, did he think the same about Fenton; his boyfriend? Having Donald around has certainly made it quite obvious that despite Donald being enlisted in the Navy and hardly ever being around, the Duck and McDuck family was a strong and closely knitted family. Or rather, that's how it appeared to be to Fenton.

Something Fenton was entirely unfamiliar with.

Scrooge was busy gathering all the reports he had tossed aside as Fenton sat there in thought. It was the slightest twitch that caught the old miser's attention out of the corner of his eye. Glancing over, Scrooge watched as Fenton's right hand, which was resting on his knee, trembled and shook; fingers twitching minutely, but erratically.

Fenton didn't seem to be aware of it in the slightest and Scrooge wasn't sure that was a good thing or not. So, the trembling hadn't been from an oncoming nightmare then. Just another reminder of what Fenton had gone through in Sitka, France.

Fenton sighed and turned back to Scrooge, his usual goofy smile on his beak. "So, what's the plans for today, Scroogey, my love?" Before Scrooge could answer, he took note of the reports in his paramour's hands. "Oh! Let me get those for ya!"

He leaned his body over across Scrooge, not quite leaning across the other mallard's lap, and reached for the pile that Scrooge had yet to grab. Yet halfway through pulling himself back up to sit properly, his still trembling hand lost its grip on the papers and they all fell in a disorganized mess in Scrooge's lap.

In any other circumstance, Scrooge would have found his temper rising, despite how kind the gesture, but since he knew the reason for the mishap, he couldn't bring himself to be upset.

"Good grief! Slippery little buggers!" guffawed Fenton, his voice somewhere between surprise and guilt. "Sorry about that, Scroogey! I'll clean them up!"

Scrooge reached out and snatched Fenton's trembling hand. This caused Fenton to pause. In Scrooge's firm grip, it was more obvious how badly his hands were shaking since Scrooge's hand was now shaking ever so slightly too.

"Boy! What gives? I can't seem to get my hands to stop shaking! You'd think I was nervous! Or terrified! " Scrooge heard Fenton say, laughing it off.

Really now, was the lad completely incapable of taking any situation seriously? Did he not wonder if there was more to the tremors? Perhaps it wasn't anything more at all. The tremors certainly weren't as bad as they had been when Fenton had-

No, Scrooge wouldn't allow himself to finish that train of thought.

"Aye, you do seem a bit peaky" Scrooge said after a beat. He released Fenton's hand and felt the accountant's forehead. "No fever. So, that's good!" Playing it off to him as being under the weather was a lot easier for the rich duck than to think about any other possibility. "How's about we go check in on Mrs. Beakley and see if she can't whip us up some lunch. hmm? Perhaps some soup?"

Fenton didn't respond at first, giving his lover a peculiar look before smiling and bouncing off the bed. "Sounds good! I'll go on ahead while you clean up this mess-Or rather-Maybe I should be the one to clean the mess up-Seeing as how I made it." Fenton began to pick up the papers when Scrooge interrupted him.

"Nae, Fenton! I'll handle this mess, you go on to the kitchen!" he ordered the younger duck lightly.

Fenton stood there awkwardly for a moment before asking, "Scrooge, is there something wrong?"

Blast, perhaps the lad wasn't quite so oblivious as he had expected, thought Scrooge with a smirk. Out loud, Scrooge replied, "Hmm? Wrong?" He turned to his accountant and feigned the best innocent look he could muster. "No, laddie, nothing is wrong." He quickly turned back to the papers.

Fenton looked skeptical.

Scrooge was positive that Fenton had left the room, the other duck was so quite, so he jumped slightly when Fenton's voice quietly asked, "It's about what Magica said, isn't it? She said something bad happened to me. That's what has you all worried."

Scrooge sighed heavily and set the papers he was gathering on the bed. He turned to his younger boyfriend with a sad smile. "Aye, lad. Yeh got me. I am indeed worried. Magica is a formidable foe; one who is not to be taken lightly."

Before he knew it, arms were encircling Scrooge and Fenton was pulling him into a close hug. "Don't you worry, Scroogey my dearest! I won't let anything that ol' witch says get me down! I'm fine! Honest! And if she DID do something to me...Well-" he trailed off as though he suddenly wasn't sure how to finish. "Well-Then, we'll deal with it! So long as I'm with you, everything will be okay! You wouldn't let anything bad happen to me, after all!"

Scrooge winced at that last part as his hold on Fenton tightened. It didn't help that he could feel Fenton's trembling hands on his back. He didn't know if Fenton was lying about feeling fine or if he truly didn't notice his tremors and Scrooge wasn't sure which way he would prefer it.

()()()()()()()()()()

Liquidator had not been lying when he told Bushroot he was would be in and out of the store with the noise maker within minutes. Transportation through the water pipes of St. Canard was truly the fastest and easiest way to get around, if Liquidator was being honest with himself. As a solid sales dog back in his youth he had known the city like the back of his hand, for he had always been an extrovert, especially once he had gotten his first job working in his early teens. But now he knew the city even better. He literally knew the city inside and out.

He had purposefully given himself more time before returning back to his unhappy lover so that he could make an extra stop.

Minding the noise maker that was in a plastic bag to protect it from his liquid body, Liquidator morphed himself out of the sewers. A look of disgust was on his face. "I do NOT want to know what the McCluckster family eats next door!" he announced to the empty street around him. The sewers were a great way to get from place to place, but in cases like this, Liquidator wished it wasn't the greatest transport.

Pushing the nasty things he had seen and smelled in the sewers, Liquidator looked up to the large macabre mansion that was his destination.

"This place would give even the most stubborn and foolish door to door salesman a run for their money" he muttered under his breath.

He pushed down his own nerves and walked through the gate and past the grave-filled front yard. The McCawber Mansion had been restored back to its former glory after having been burnt down by Negaduck three years ago. If Liquidator hadn't known any better, he wouldn't have thought the fire had happened at all.

Liquidator made his way up to the front door and knocked.

The brass door handle sprung to life, large menacing eyes opening and glaring down at the liquid mutant. "Heeey! Watch it, before I start knocking on you!" the door handle said in a deep brutish voice.

Liquidator blinked at the spectacle before him. "A talking door. Now there's a door buster if I ever did see one."

"Who are you callin' buster, Buster!? If you don't high tail it out of here, I'll-"

"Ahh! Rattling the chains of a possible investment?" interjected Liquidator as he raised a finger in the air.

"Say what!?" came the confused reply of the door handle.

"You shouldn't get testy with the visitors, for one never knows when opportunity comes knocking!"

"What are you on about?"

"Confused? Lost? That's just fine, Liquidator will brighten your metal!"

"How do you-"

Liquidator didn't let him finish and raised the bag in his hand higher for the door handle to see. "Why, inside this bag could very possibly be just what you need to stay rust free and live longer!"

"What?"

"All you have to do is let me inside this fine mansion!" finished Liquidator.

"I-Well- You'd better not be lyin'!"

"Now, sir! I am an aqueous, water-controlling, all powerful mutant! Do you really think I'm capable of such a thing as lying!?"

Silence greeted his question as Liquidator's flowing words seemed to have confused the door handle. "Erm...I guess...Maybe...Uh...I don't know?"

Liquidator nodded in understanding. "I get it. I've been in this business long enough to understand when one is overcome with the decisions that need to be made in any business transaction. Why don't you let me inside while you figure out whether I'm capable of lying and save us both the time and trouble?"

"Uhh...Yeah, sure...Alright" said the door handle uncertainly.

Without anymore hesitation, the door handle, now too confused to say anything more, swung the door open. With a smirk, Liquidator slid inside.

The main room seemed simple enough; covered ceiling to floor in dust and cobwebs. It was everything Liquidator had ever imagined inside. Though he had been expecting a few more coffins. Having never actually been inside McCawber mansion, he had been left to his imagination and the cheap horror flicks he had once watched his son.

Just when he was beginning to think that there was nothing all that scary inside the mansion, a craggy voice spoke out from behind him. Liquidator had to use all his effort not to lose his form as his torso elongated as he jumped in fright.

"Are you one of Morgana's 'Normal' friends?"

Liquidator whirled around to see hunched over Aunt Nasty, eyeing him critically with a ladle in her hand. After calming his non-existent heart down from the scare, the ex-salesman registered her question and answered snarkily, "Ma'am, do I LOOK normal?"

Aunt Nasty looked Liquidator up and down critically. "Hmm...Fair enough. But her 'Normal' friends are always busting in acting as though they own the place..." Aunt Nasty grumbled.

"Any chance you could tell me where I could find Morgana?" Liquidator asked.

Aunt Nasty grumbled and gnashed at her teeth. "Morgana is around here somewhere...I don't keep tabs on her!" She went to move around Liquidator before pausing and looking up at him again. "At what temperature do you typically begin to boil, by chance? You are made of water, aren't ya?"

Liquidator's ears perked up at her oddly personal question. "Yes, I'm 100% pure Liquidator-brand water! As for what temperature I boil at-Well-" He eyed the ladle in her hand. "I suppose every good salesman is entitled to his secrets!"

Aunt Nasty grumbled darkly at his response. She walked past him, muttering as she went. "Fine! I'll figure it out for myself then! Maybe you'll cook that ridiculous clown ex-boyfriend of Morgana's better than regular water! He finally went and dumped her, like we all knew he would. Now if I could just get my hands on him to cook him! Finally!"

Liquidator raised an eyebrow at the thought and insinuation of her wanting to use him to boil whom he could only assume was Darkwing Duck. Talk about ironic. Though for years Darkwing had been a persistent and quite loud enemy of the Liquidator's, these days there were on more mutual ground. Darkwing didn't bother himself or the other members of the Fearsome Four and in return, they tried to be more discreet in their crimes and taking over the world plans. It was a bit like turning a blind eye, in Darkwing's case, but after all they had been through with Negaduck, the Fearsome Four were still recovering and taking it easy. Darkwing, he knew, would show up in his purple smoke if he felt the need to.

"Liquidator?"

At the call of him name, the canine in question walked further into the mansion and found himself before Morgana McCawber, as radiant and mysterious as ever. Had Bud Flood met this beauty before his ex-wife and everything else in his life that came after, he most certainly would have taken to her. Though he needed to forget chances long gone and remember the reason he was here: the love of his life, Reggie.

"Ahh, we meet again, Mistress McCawber" greeted the canine with a suave bow. He may have been off the market, but that didn't mean he couldn't flirt.

Morgana smiled at him, though from the look she gave him, it was clear she knew his intentions weren't real. "Hello, yourself, Liquidator. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Ahh, always the eloquent one, eh, Morg?" he smirked. "As much as I would love to say that this is strictly a visit of pleasure, I actually came because I need to ask you some questions."

"Oh? About what?" The last time the two had seen each other was briefly when the Fearsome Four had teamed up with Launchpad and Morgana to help Darkwing get his emotions back. Though their interactions had been brief at best, since the situation was rather dire at the time.

"Something has happened to Reggie" he began. "Negaduck had broken in late last night-or should I say, very early this morning and injected Bushroot with some kind of formula or potion. It was glowing so it seemed more to me like a potion. Whatever it was caused Bushroot to un-mutate."

"Un-mutate? What do you mean?"

" I mean, he's no longer a mutant plant duck, Morg! He's somehow a regular mallard again! He's been reverted back to his old self before he mutated himself!"

"Oh, dear!" gasped Morgana. She took a moment to process the thought."But wait...Wouldn't that be a good thing? Reginald was always going on about how lonely it was to be the only mutant plant duck. Wouldn't he be thrilled?"

Liquidator shrugged. "One would think, with the way he complained, but he's devastated! I think its less about no longer being a mutant and more about no longer being able to control and talk to his beloved plants."

"Ahh, I can see why that would be troubling for him..." sighed Morgana with sympathy.

"Morg, is there a way that a potion of some type could have been made to reverse the effects of his mutation? A potion that reverses any type of mutation? Like, Reginald's or even mine?

Morgana hummed in thought as she turned to look out a window. Archie appeared from the nest that was her hair and grumbled something before settling down for another nap. "Hmm...Well, no. Potions are more exact and precise than that. For example: a potion that would cure one type of mutation wouldn't cure another type of mutation.

Liquidator titled his head to one side. "So...That potion wouldn't have...say...reversed MY mutation, right?"

The witch nodded, turning back to her friend. "Right. Because there are entirely different elements in your mutation. Different chemicals and DNA were used to create your unique mutation as opposed to Reginald's."

"Then, essentially what you're saying is that Negaduck, or...whoever made that potion, made it specifically for Reggie?"

"Correct."

This only seemed to worsen Liquidator's mood. He thought back to earlier that morning when he had woken up to find Negaduck towering over his slumbering flower. "But why? Why would he want to do something like that!? If he wanted Bushroot dead, he wouldn't have left him there! He would have finished the job straight off! But no, he left Bushroot unharmed...Kinda."

Morgana began to pace. "Well, it's hard saying what goes on in Negaduck's head, assuming of course he's even the one behind it."

"Who else would it be? Negs isn't exactly the type for teamwork, Morg" he pointed out. "You saw how well the Fearsome Five went down after all."

"Well, Dark actually mentioned someone's name now that I think about it. He said that Magica de Spell was behind the Emoti-Gone potion that you helped him out of. I'm beginning to wonder if she's the one behind this as well. It can't be a coincidence that two rare potions have been used in such a short amount of time."

His shackles now raised and his liquid body closely raising to the boiling point Aunt Nasty had asked about earlier, Liquidator spat out, "Who the hell is Magica de Spell?"

Morgana sighed. "She's a powerful witch descended from a powerful witch line. I've never met her in person, of course, only heard stories about her clan. From the sound of it, she is no one we would find a friend in. She and her brother were once notorious for their wicked ways-Though not much has been heard from her after she became obsessed with trying to further her magic abilities. I don't even know if she was ever successful. Perhaps this is one of her plots?"

Frowning deeply, Liquidator crossed his arms. "I don't know, but this is one villain who's got her on his Hit List." He paused and noticed the rising sun outside the window. "Shoot! Morgana, I have to go! I promised Reggie I wouldn't be long. I left to go to the store to get him a noise maker. He's so used to always hearing his plants, that the silence in his head is driving him nuts!"

"Aww, that's right. He wouldn't be able to talk to plants anymore...Poor thing. That would be like me no longer being able to understand Eak, Squeak, or Archie! How devastating!" lamented Morgana. Archie grumbled on the top of her head in agreement.

"Thank you, Morgana!"

"Anytime!"

Liquidator left without another word, ignoring the door handle's angry shouts since he never did give the door handle whatever was in the bag.

()()()()()()()()()

"Meeeggggsssyyyyy, enough with the depression, ya mopey butt!" came the irritated and whiny complaint of the St. Canard's resident toy maker gone mad. Quackerjack leaned over dramatically as he walked, the ends of his long jester hat dragging on the ground, making the bells jingle.

Quackerjack and Megavolt were currently walking up the pathway that led to Bushroot's Greenhouse, both of them at their limit after the events of the past week. "You don't get it, Quacky! Such a betrayal! So much potential could have come from those cell phones and I have to stand by and watch it be wasted, all because they refuse to listen!"

Quackerjack straightened up in thought. "Actually, they WERE listening to you, but you said you wouldn't work with them."

"Because Siri didn't even LIKE you! How am I supposed to work together and take over the world with someone who doesn't even LIKE you!? I mean, what's the POINT!?" wailed Megavolt.

Quackerjack shrugged. "I'm a unique brand of madness, Megsy. It's of no shock to me she doesn't like my flavor of it. Though I said from the beginning it was a waste of playtime!"

Megavolt sighed, a sad look on his face. "I should have listened to you, Quacky..."

Quackerjack was sympathetic: for about a second. "Yes, well, let bygones be bygones! Forget about those stupid telly phones and PLAAAAAYY! You've been extra booooriiing the last couple days!"

Megavolt stopped outside the doorway to Bushroot's Greenhouse. "You would be too if your carefully laid out plans had been foiled!"

Quackerjack stopped next to him, his eyes wide and blinking. "That DID happen to me, Megsy! Have you already forgotten my carefully laid out plans to foil WHIFFLE BOY last week!? Never mind that I spent MONTHS planning it out carefully!? Spent MONTHS making-EEEEWWWW-WHIFFLE BOY TOYS just in hopes to take down my worst enemy once and for all!?"

"...I thought that shadowy guy who possessed me that one time was your worst enemy" replied Megavolt quietly.

Quackerjack pulled on the ends of his hat in frustration. "Details! DETAILS!" he screamed. Then pointed a finger at Megavolt. "And we agreed never to mention that dreadful Paddywhack ever again!"

"And you expect me to have remembered such an agreement!?"

Quackerjack slapped a hand over his eyes dramatically as he moved his face up to the sky. "Meeegggssssyyyyyy! You're killing me, here!"

Megavolt opened his mouth to retort but was interrupted but the sound of glass breaking and a loud thud shortly after. The noise came from inside the greenhouse.

"Do ya mind? We're having a conversation here!" groused Megavolt at the greenhouse, as though the building itself had been the source of the noise.

Quackerjack rolled his eyes at his comment. "Sounds like Bushy is making a fuss inside." Without waiting for his companion's reply, he launched himself at the door and burst inside. "HELLOOOOOOOO! It's PLAYTIME BUSHY!"

His shout echoed slightly in the tall building, but otherwise pure silence met them.

"What a warm welcome" quipped Megavolt sarcastically as he pushed through the threshold.

Grunts and playful growls were suddenly heard and a moment later, Spike came barreling towards them. His long tongue flopped back and forth has he came to a screeching halt before the two villains. He panted up at them expectantly, recognizing them as his master's friends.

"What's this thing's name again? Thorn? Thorny?" asked Megavolt.

"Spike, I think" was Quackerjack's answer. He leaned down, his hands on his knees, as he addressed the mutant plant dog before him. "Heeey, buddy! Mind showin' us where ol' Bush-Brain is? Hmm?"

There was the sound of a distinct choking-like sound that came several feet away, the deeper tone of it allowing Quackerjack and Megavolt to know it belonged to the baritone scientist.

Quackerjack gasped dramatically. "Why Megsy!?"

"Yeah?"

"I do believe ol' Reggie-poo is already playing with us!"

"He is? Which game?"

With barely contained glee, Quackerjack squeaked, "Hide and SEEK!"

"NO!" came Bushroot's very distressed cry from somewhere in the greenhouse. "No, Quackerjack! I am NOT playing Hide and Seek with you!"

"Then why are you hiiiidiiiiinnnnggg!?" replied the jester in a sing-song voice.

"I'm not hiding!"

"You know, I once said the same thing whenever I didn't want Quackerjack to see me after I'd spilled paint all down my front. Which is normally not a big deal but...Let's just say it left things to the imagination, cause of the spots I spilled it" reminisced Megavolt as he adjusted his plug hat.

"Oh, yeaaaaaah!" smirked Quackerjack at the memory. "HAHAHA! That was a FUN afternoon!"

Bushroot could be heard groaning from wherever he was hiding. "Well, I can assure you, this is most certainly NOT that kind of situation. I'm just-ehh-In the middle of something. Errr! I mean-I'm-BUSY!"

Megavolt furrowed his brows. "So? You've seen us in the middle of stuff before without problem."

Quackerjack leaned over to his confused friend and whispered something into his ear.

Megavolt's eyes widened and his face went red. "Woah!"

"That's right, Megsy. THAT'S the kind of game he's playing!" giggled the toy maker.

"I am NOT playing any kind of games! And I am MOST CERTAINLY NOT playing whatever game you THINK I am!" came Bushroot angry shout.

Quackerjack wordlessly gestured for Megavolt to follow him, the two of them slowly and quietly making their way around the Greenhouse in search of their shy friend. Out loud, Quackerjack asked, "So, Reg, if you're not playing any games, then what exactly are you doing?"

Bushroot didn't respond at first. When he did, Quackerjack and Megavolt started heading to the source of his voice. "Umm...You know, normal stuff. Plant experiments. Why do you wanna know?"

Bushroot, who was cowering on the ground in a thick batch of bushes, whimpered a bit when he was met with nothing but silence. He knew that was far from a good sign. He was proved right when a moment later, two hands rested on his shoulders from behind him, causing the scientist to yell in fright, jumping up from his hiding spot in the process.

"FOUND YOOOOOUUU!" cackled Quackerjack happily. The jester began doing cartwheels once he stepped back out of the bushes.

Megavolt, meanwhile, gave Bushroot a funny look.

The botanist had recovered from his fright, making sure to keep his back to his friends as he put the collar of his coat up over his head.

"Saaay, you okay there, Bushy? You're lookin' a bit pale. And where your petals? They wilt and die or something?" inquired the electrical rodent.

Quackerjack stopped in his happy victory dance at Megavolt's questions and peered at Bushroot. "Megs is right. You okay there, Reggie?" His voice actually held slight concern for the other.

Bushroot flinched and seemed to curl in even more on himself. "A-Alright, fine! Negaduck-He-He did something to me! He injected me with some kind of-I don't even know! A formula or something and it-It turned me back into a regular duck!"

Quackerjack and Megavolt exchanged a look of disbelief and shock before Megavolt asked, "Wait, so, you're not a mutant anymore?"

"No...I've been reverted back to how I was before my accident..." whispered Bushroot in defeat.

A beat later, Quackerjack was bouncing in his spot. "Ooooh! I wanna see! I wanna see!" He quickly got around to the other side of Bushroot, who took a step backwards. Megavolt stepped up beside him. "I wanna see how ol' Bushbrain used to look before he became our favorite grass stain!"

Before Bushroot had a chance to pull back, Quackerjack reached around him and yanked the back of his lab coat down, causing Bushroot to loose his grip and leaving his head and face completely exposed.

"Holy Jell-O, Batman!" guffawed Quackerjack at the sight of his un-mutated friend. Both the jester and his companion became laughing loudly, both holding onto their sides at the sight of their friends.

Bushroot's face turned beet red at their hurtful laughter. "Oh, shut up!" he spat out darkly. "You guys aren't perfect looking either!"

"But-YOUR BALD!" Quackerjack managed through his laughter.

This only seemed to worsen Bushroot's mood. "Premature balding runs in my family!" he defended weakly.

This only seemed to make Quackerjack and Megavolt laugh harder and louder.

Bushroot looked like he was torn between fleeing from the scene and whacking them over the head with the nearest object he could find. Yet he didn't have to, for a wave of water came hurtling at the two laughing villains, instantly electrocuting them the instant the water hit Megavolt.

After about ten seconds of electrocution, Quackerjack and Megavolt collapsed next to each other with defeated groans.

"Are you taunting another? Laughing in someone's face at their expensive!? Well the Liquidator won't HAVE it!" growled the liquid canine dangerously as he morphed into his dog form next to Bushroot.

"Aww, thank you for shutting them up, Buddy" spoke Bushroot in a quiet whisper so that only the mutant dog could hear him.

The meek scientist was rewarded with a warm grin from his watery lover, who leaned in and gave him a light kiss on the cheek. "Anything for my weeping willow!"

A blush appeared on the white feathers on Bushroot's face as he was awestruck that even despite looking as horrible as he thought he did, Liquidator didn't even bat an eye at his changed appearance; as though nothing had even occurred.

Sputtering, Quackerjack began to do one of the things he did best: whine. "No faaaaiiirr, Likky! Why the theatrics!? We were just having a good laugh with Bushroot at his predicament!"

Liquidator raised a hand to object. "Correction: you were laughing at his EXPENSE! There is a difference, Quackerjack! And I suggest you learn it well unless you want more cold showers from yours truly!"

The jester in question grumbled as he stood up and helped Megavolt stand as well. "Well, fine then! But you can't tell me you don't want to laugh at the way he looks!" He gestured to Bushroot's poor posture, balding hair, sunken in eyes with bags under them, and pale complexion.

"If you must know, I think Bushroot is perfect the way he is! Now, what are you two doing here!?" demanded Liquidator.

Bushroot squeaked at the sentimental remark, subconsciously inching his way closer to the mutant as he tried to rid himself of the lovesick smile now on his face.

"P-Perfect!? You call that perfect!?" laughed Megavolt as he pointed to Bushroot. "I'm not sayin' I'm the best lookin' guy around here either, but come on!"

"Yeah, seriously! Weren't you once quite the ladies man, yourself? Always going after the prettiest and fairest?" asked Quackerjack, leaning in and wiggling his eyebrows.

Liquidator put a hand to his forehead in aggravation. "You two are really riding my patience. I ask again: why are you here?!"

"Just wanted to see what Bushroot was up to! We're bored!" answered Megavolt. He then halted and turned to Quackerjack for confirmation. "That WAS the reason we came here, right?"

Quackerjack nodded.

"Well, go away! We have bigger problems to worry about then entertaining you two!" snapped Liquidator. He turned around, grabbing the bag that had been placed beside him. He took Bushroot by the shoulder and turned him around to follow.

"Now hold up!" piped out Quackerjack. "You said Negaduck was the one who did this?"

Turning back around Bushroot was the one who answered. "Yeah. He did this to me this morning. Which means Negaduck is in town, which means you two had better be watching your backs! Who knows WHAT he's up to!"

Megavolt and Quackerjack both cringed at the idea of Negaduck lurking about. It was plain knowledge that Negaduck had a death sentence over their heads and would like nothing more than to kill the four of them in one sweep.

"Uhh...But shouldn't we stick together if Negs is around? There is better chance of winning against him with four of us..." suggested the electrified villain.

Liquidator paused in consideration. "Hm...Four against one IS better than two against one..."

"Just don't LAUGH at me!" snapped Bushroot.

Quackerjack thought about that for a moment. "Can I laugh behind your back?"

The jester had no chance of avoiding the large tidal wave of water that was Liquidator and Bushroot's response.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Later that day, Drake found himself once again sitting at his new desk and trying to figure out what to do with all the paperwork that was currently sitting on his desk. The short mallard felt mentally drained; no where near up to the task of sorting through the papers before him.

Everything that had happened in such a short time was starting to drain him physically. He was delighted to have Gosalyn back in his life and things seemed to finally be trying to get back to normal, but there was an unease in the pit of stomach. A feeling like things were only going to get uglier.

He drummed his fingers on the desk. He should be out scouring the streets for clues. Anything to explain why Taurus Bulba had found the need to team up with Magica de Spell. And who was she exactly? What did she want with him? She was Scrooge McDuck's enemy, right? Not his. So why was she bothering him?

His thoughts were interrupted at the soft shriek the woman at her desk behind him gave out. Drake whirled around in his face. "Is everything alright, Mrs. Kettleburn?"

The small petite mouse pointed to something up in the air behind him. "Bats!"

Drake looked up and saw Eek and Squeak flapping their little wings and panting, one of them carrying a piece of paper.

Fenton, who had heard the commotion, turned around in his own seat and whistled. "Boy! I knew having that one light out made it slightly darker in here, but not dark enough for bats!"

As his fellow co-workers, minus Fenton, squirmed in their seats at the sight of the bats, Eek and Squeak flew down so they hovered right above Drake's desk, dropping the little note for the mallard to see. "Uhh...Thanks..."

Seeing that their job was done, the two bats flew out of the building.

Drake looked at the piece of paper before him, recognizing Morgana's handwriting.

Dark,

Sorry to bother you while I know you're busy working, but we need to talk. NOW. Meet me outside the Money Bin.

-Morg.

"Launchpad sendin' ya love letters now?" chuckled Fenton, leaning over Drake's desk in hopes to catch a glimpse of said letter.

Drake looked up and glared at the accountant. "Hardly" he said dryly. "It's actually from Morgana..." He stood up. "I'll be right back."

Fenton watched him go. "You know this'll be coming out your paycheck, right?" he called after him.

It didn't take long for Drake to get outside and he quickly looked around to see the enchantress he knew and cared for. "Morgana?"

"Right here, Dark" came Morgana's sultry voice.

Drake turned and smiled at her, stepping closer. "Hi, Morg" he said almost shyly, old habits rising. "What can I do for you? You said it was important?"

Morgana nodded. "I'm afraid so. See, Liquidator stopped by the mansion earlier today to talk to me."

Drake's large bill down turned into a worried frown. "Liquidator? What did he want?"

Knowing how worried and carried away Drake could get, she quickly explained. "He only came by to ask me some questions and a bit of advice, really. See, he came by to tell me that Negaduck has done something to Bushroot." She quickly explained everything Liquidator had told her, watching as Drake grew more and more worried. "And Dark, we both know Negaduck doesn't know magic, let alone potions. I'm beginning to think Magica de Spell might be behind this as well. It's too big of a coincidence that this has happened so soon after the Emoti-Gone fiasco."

Before Drake could reply, a voice cut in from behind them. "So yer tellin' me that Magica de Spell has been botherin' you as well, laddie?"

At the sight of Scrooge McDuck, both blinked in surprise. Fenton was standing a couple feet behind them, smiling and giving a small wave. Morgana recovered quicker and gave a small curtsy and bow to of the head. "Oh, hello! Mr. McDuck, is it? I'm so sorry to have taken away Drake from his work, but this was urgent."

Pleased by her manners, Scrooge smiled up at her as he leaned on his cane. He raised his top hat and bowed his head in greeting. "Hello to you too, my dear. And yes, it does sound rather urgent. Is what yer sayin' true then? Do you know Magica de Spell and what she's up to?"

Morgana shook her head. "No, I'm afraid not. I've not actually ever met Magica, despite us both being witches. She is a part of a old clan, the de Spell clan, who have always been known for their powerful dark magic. My own clan, the McCawber clan, have moved on from the dark times in regards to the use of dark magic. We are a friendlier clan to Normals and Non-Magical Beings unlike some others."

"I'd like to beg to differ" deadpanned Drake quietly as he remembered all the threats and arguments he's had with her family.

"So you are an enchantress as well?" was Scrooge's next question.

"Yes."

"Hmm...Magica is an old foe of mine. She's been after me Lucky One Dime fer years!" he explained.

Morgana made a surprised sound. "Oh! Is it because this dime holds a great amount of importance to you?"

Scrooge stared at her in wonder. "Uh, why, yes. But-uh, how did you know?"

"What very little I know about her is that Magica has long since been obsessed with furthering her magic and becoming more powerful. It's said that if one were to find an object of great importance and value, particularly one that has been treasured and connected to great deals of emotion, it can be used to become a stronger master of magic" Morgana clarified.

Scrooge sighed. "Yes, that sounds about right..."

Fenton spoke up, "Gee, Scroogey, what do you think it all means?"

Scrooge looked away in thought. "I'm not sure lad, but I don't like the sound of this. She's planning something." He looked up at Morgana. "Yeh say she did somethin' to a friend of yours?"

Drake nodded, hating the fact that he was practically being left out of the conversation. "That's right! And worse, the nefarious Negaduck seems to be connected as well!"

Morgana turned to Drake. "I'm sorry, Dark, but I have to go. But you know how to reach me if you need me for anything!" She started to leave. "It was wonderful to meet you, Mr. McDuck." She waved to the three of them and in a puff of smoke, she was gone.

"Boy, must be nice to just poof in and out of existence!" sighed Fenton.

"Fenton?"

"Yes, Scrooge?"

"Don't talk."

Fenton pressed his lips together.

Drake crossed his arms. "How did you know I was out here?"

"Isn't it obvious?" asked Scrooge. After a pause, he continued. "If ya haven't noticed already, laddie, Fenton here never shuts up."

"Hey!" cried the accountant indignantly.

"Meaning he tells me everything. And he waltzed right into me office and told me about the appearance of bats and your mysterious letter from someone named 'Morgana'. And seeing as how yeh've only worked here for a grand total of three days and yeh've already led two scoundrels to me Money Bin, I thought it best to check things out."

Drake forced himself not to roll his eyes. "Fair enough."

"Now, I think it high time we start playin' defense, since it's clear something is gonnae be happenin'" began Scrooge. He turned to look back at Fenton and gesture for him to step up beside him. Fenton happily did so. Turning back to Drake, Scrooge continued. "I want you and Gizmoduck to work together and be on the look out for any more trouble!"

This earned Scrooge protests from both parties.

"I don't need some clown in a tin suit to help me!"

"But this is my city! I've protected it before without help!"

"Oh, don't even go there, pal! After all the times you've gone into MY city and hogged all MY glory!"

"But St. Canard had needed my help all those times!"

"Quiet!" commanded Scrooge with authority.

Ignoring Scrooge's command to be quiet, as usual, Fenton asked, Drake, "And what do you mean, 'your city'? You're not a super hero."

"I am TOO a super hero!" shouted Drake indignantly, his evident annoyance and anger growing.

Scrooge tilted his head at Fenton. "Not a super hero? Fenton, ya great buffoon! He's Darkwing Duck! You were there the other day when his cover was blown!"

Fenton paused and thought about the Taurus Bulba incident. "Oh...I must have been too busy trying not to be choked to death. It was a bit distracting, as you can imagine."

"How could you not have noticed! I am the terror that flaps in the night, I'll have you know! It's not every day you find out the secret identity to a legend like myself! And just for the record, Bub" he said, pointing a finger at Fenton. "I don't NEED your help either! I'd be fine on my own! I just can't BELIEVE that all this time it's YOU of all people that everyone has been PRAISING!"

Fenton squawked at the insult. "Hey now! What's THAT supposed to mean!?"

"Just LOOK at you! You're just some wimpy annoying accountant!"

"Oh, aye? And you're any better, laddie?" quipped Scrooge. Drake turned to him. "You're the walking definition of both 'wimpy' AND 'annoying'." He looked to both mallards. "It's a wonder how either of you are heroes to begin with!"

Ignoring the jibes, Fenton continued on a cord that had struck with Fenton on one of the other mallard's comments. "Hey now, I've deserved each and every one of those praises, I'll have you know, 'Wingy'!"

"Oh, please. Your suit does all the work FOR you!" grumbled Drake.

"Alright, alright!" grumbled Scrooge as he pushed them away from each other. "Yer both wonderful and terrific super heroes, I'm sure! But I don't care! I want you two working together because two heroes is better than one!"

Unsatisfied, Fenton continued to press. "But Scroogey- If this is about the other day, I'm fine! I can take care of myself! My bruises may not have fully healed yet but I've still get a pep in my step! Don't you worry!"

Fenton grabbed a hold of Scrooge's hand and held it tightly. This caused Scrooge to look at their hands, his heart going sore as he could feel the tremors that were still in Fenton's own hands. He looked up at his younger boyfriend with a sad smile. "Trust me, Fenton. It would be best if you worked with Darkwing for the time being. Do it for me?

Fenton thought about it, then blushed at the soft expression on his paramour's face. "Aww, shucks, Scrooge, you know I can't say no to ya!"

Satisfied, Scrooge looked to Drake. "Sound like a plan?"

"If I must" mumbled Drake unhappily.

Fenton nodded slowly. It was clear that neither of them liked the plan at all.

Chapter Text

Thicker Than Water Chapter 6, a DarkWing Duck + DuckTales Crossover fanfic

Thicker Than Water

Chapter 6

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Thud.

Thud.

Thud.

"It would be nice if you be stopping that noise" snapped Magica as she was leaning over her large spell book. Beside her was a large cauldron that was spilling out purple mist and bubbling heavily.

On the other side of the open space that was known and Magica's abode sat Negaduck. In his hand was a knife that he was using to dig into the wooden table next to him repeatedly.

"Know what else would be nice?" sneered Negaduck in reply. "You tellin' me what the hell is going on here!"

Magica huffed before turning the page of her spell book. "Fine. You want to know?"

Negaduck dropped the knife on the table and scooted up closer in his chair, clasping his hands together before him. "Pretty sure I just said that I did."

Magica straightened up and glanced over at Negaduck before pointing to several syringes being held up on little tray. "I had you collect the mutant's blood, yes?"

Negaduck gave her an unimpressed look. "Yeah. But you never did tell me why."

Magica turned her gaze to the syringes. "Because his blood is an ingredient."

"Ingredient? What are you making soup or something?" he paused. "Very disgusting soup?"

"No, you fool!" growled Magica. "Magica is making potion!"

"And what kind of a potion would require the blood of dear ol' Dr. Reginald Bushroot?"

"A very dark and powerful potion" was the enchantress' foreboding reply.

Negaduck stared at her for a moment before continuing his questions, "So...Anyone else's blood needed? And why his specifically?"

Magica reached over and grabbed an empty vial next to the tray of empty syringes, studying it in her hands. Poe came down from one of his many perches near the ceiling and landed on her shoulder. "I will be needing a lot more blood before this potion is ready and complete. As for why the doctor? Because he is a mutant."

"Was. Was a mutant" Negaduck corrected her. "You cured him, remember?"

Magica shook her head. "No, I did not. He is still a mutant. His blood, even after giving him my formula, is still tainted. But is fine! I got what I needed. His blood was cleaned enough that I can use it."

Negaduck sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Look, I told you I wanted to see Darkwing Duck suffer for all he's done to me. And you said by helping you, that would happen. Well, I'm not seeing any results!"

"Patience! You will!" assured Magica.

"See, I don't buy that" answered Negaduck, finally standing from the chair from unrest. "I'm not seeing it. What I see, is you messing around with that old duck."

"Old duck? You mean Scrooge McDuck? Yes, he is my main target, what is problem?"

"What has he ever done to you?"

That got a violent reaction out of the enchantress. Negaduck would never admit it, but he flinched as she turned on him and waved her arm out aggressively. Poe took off flying from her shoulder. "He's denied me the source I need to be more powerful! Because of him, Poe is still a bird! Because of him, I have been miserable and unable to rule the world like I have always wanted to do! With your help, I will finally be able to have this happen!"

"And exactly how has McDuck been keeping you from all that?" was Negaduck's next question.

"Because he has denied me first dime Scrooge ever made. It contains the psychic vibrations of every deal, every decision, every dollar Scrooge has ever made! Once I have that dime and use it properly, I'll be so powerful! Yehehehehehehe!" cackled Magica.

Soaking this in, Negaduck crossed his arms and asked, "But why choose me to help you?"

"Because you are connected to one of my victims in spell! Darkwing!" She thought for a moment before adding. "You want to know who my victims are? Fine! Darkwing Duck, Launchpad McQuack, Dr. Bushroot, Fenton Crackshell, and of course, Scrooge McDuck!"

"Darkwing Duck and his idiot pilot are two of your victims?" scoffed the evil mallard. "I was under the impression you knew little about them."

"I don't. Which is why you are being here to help me."

"Well, we're far from 'close', toots. Besides, if you know them so little, how do you know you need them for your plans?"

"I have been planning this for YEARS, little mallard! Do you not think I have been studying?! I have been searching for perfect victims for this potion! The perfect ingredients! Besides, point is, you know weaknesses that I do not. Now, go wreak some havoc on Duckberg!"

"What for?"

"To make Gizmoduck and Darkwing squirm!"

Negaduck's eyebrows rose up. "I agree about the Darkwing part, but why the hell Gizmoduck!? You didn't say anything about him being a victim!" groused Negaduck.

"He is not, but he will be there. I know it!" yelled Magica, clearly losing her patience.

"Alright fine. But who the hell is this Fenton Crackshell?" demanded Negaduck.

"Scrooge's little accountant! Also Scrooge's lover boy, which is why he is PERFECT for my plans for him!" She gave Negaduck a flirtatious smirk. "He is more special than all the rest! I have something special planned for him! Hehehe!"

"Lover boy? You're tellin' me that ol' fart has a lover?" groaned Negaduck in disgust. Negaduck then narrowed his eyes at her, the wheels in his mind turning. He eyed the bubbling cauldron with suspicion. With a growl, he said, "Alright, fine. How do you want me to cause problems for the great tin can and terror that yaps in the night?"

Magica smirked devilishly.

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In the quiet of the morning, the silent city of Duckberg were starting to rise for the day along with the sun. The stars were fading as the sky turned from soft violets to rosy reds and yellowed oranges.

Everything was peaceful until:

BOOM!

Sirens began to blare full force as the Duckberg police station, which had been housing the notorious Beagle Boys, practically came to life. Officers were shouting and panicking as they grabbed their flashlights and guns, ready to apprehend the criminals.

Big Time Beagle, Burger Beagle, and Bouncer Beagle all snickered as all the officers went in the wrong direction, having not heard the second explosion that had gone off at the same time as a decoy so they could make their escape.

Big Time glanced back once they were past the thick stone walls of the prison, "Heh, suckers!"

The three of them ran several blocks away until they felt more secure about going unseen. The three of them all looked at each other as they formed a circle. "Can we go get somethin' t'eat now? I'm starvin'!" whined Burger.

Bouncer replied first, "Ehhh, you're always hungry!"

Burger fidgeted and whimpered as Big Time pushed past him, taking in his surroundings. "What I wanna know is, who sent us that explodin' cake!?"

"Ya mean tha' delicious lookin' cake ya didn't even let me have a lick at?" wailed Burger. "I wanna know who sent it too! I wanna know if they can make me another one that I CAN eat!"

"It was ME, ya knob, and I'd rather step on a bed a nails before makin' you another cake!" came a deep snarling voice from the shadows of the buildings.

The three Beagle Boys instantly turned to the source of the voice;all of them on guard. "Who's d'ere!?" demanded Bouncer.

Negaduck stepped out from the shadows of a shoe polishing shop, his red hat still keeping his face hidden. He leaned against the wall and crossed his arms, propping one foot in front of the other.

Big Time squinted his eyes to get try to get a better look at him. "And you're supposed t'be?"

"Ooh! Oooh! I know this! I know this!" giggled Burger excitedly as he pointed at Negaduck. "It's Darkwing Duck! I just recently saw his name in da paper!"

Bouncer and Big Time turned and glared at him. "Whad'ya talkin' about, Burger!? Youse can't read!"

Bouncer scratched the back of his head. "Ehh...That can't be Darkwing Duck. If he was Darkwing Duck, why would he be springin' us from jail, huh? Isn't that like, against hero rules?"

"Alright, gentlemen" Negaduck cleared his throat. He moved from his spot against the building, now standing straight. He calmly took a few steps closer to them, pursing his lips in thought before continuing. "Before we move on any further with this little...outing I've sprung you out for...I need to make sure one thing is perfectly clear for you three..."

Big Time scoffed. "Oh, yeah? And what's that?"

"I AM NOT DARKWING DUCK AND IF YOU EVER REFER TO ME OR COMPARE ME TO THAT CAPED CLOWN EVER AGAIN I WILL BE SURE TO GOUGE YOUR EYES OUT AND FEED THEM TO THE BIRDS! IS THAT CLEAR!?"

The three Beagles flinched at his screaming and gruesome threat.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Don't gouge my eyes out! It'd mean I'd never get to see another tasty piece of cake ever again!" cried out Burger in despair, biting his nails nervously.

Negaduck stared at him blankly before asking, "Is that seriously all he got out of my threat?" This question was aimed at Bouncer and Big Time, who both nodded.

"Food is never not on Burger's mind" explained Big Time.

Negaduck sighed, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his beak.

"Then, uh...if you're not Darkwing Duck, who are you? And why's do ya look so much like him?" came Bouncer's question.

"My name is Negaduck! And to be clear, HE looks like ME! Not the other way around! HE'S the copycat!"

"Whatever!" groused Big Time impatiently. "So, exactly why did you spring us outta jail, then, huh? Not that we're not grateful to ya."

Negaduck opened his eyes at the question. "Because I need you three to cause some trouble here in Duckberg."

"Hmm, what kinda trouble?" asked Bouncer.

"Stealing?" guessed Big Time. "Cause I'm warnin' ya, we only go for the big stuff, ya hear? My name ain't Big Time for nothin'!"

Negaduck rolled his eyes. "If I wanted to steal something, I'd do it myself."

"Then what'dya wants from us!?" demanded Big Time.

Negaduck grumbled, clearly fighting back the urge to hurt them. "I'm not from around here...I'm from St. Canard. That's MY city, you understand. But I'm helping Magica de Spell with a few things and she's asked me to get you three to cause some trouble for Darkwing Duck and Gizmoduck."

Burger's eyes went wide. "Wait a second! Darkwing is here!? I thought you said you WEREN'T Darkwing Duck!"

Big Time reached up and slapped him hard on the back of the head. "That's cause he AIN'T, Burger!" To Negaduck he asked, "So wait a minute. You're tryin' t'tell us that this Darkwing fella is here in Duckberg too? What's with you St. Canardians comin' over and messin' around in our city, huh?"

Negaduck crossed his arms. "It's not by choice, I assure you. I'm here because Darkwing is here. I want to get revenge on him and Magica is helping me see that happen. So, for the last time, would you fellas be willing to help me out or would you prefer to go back to that one roomed cell the jail has waitin' for you?"

Police sirens started getting louder and louder as police officers started getting into their cars in a desperate search for the escapees. Panicking, the three Beagle whirled around and nodded. "We'll help! We'll help!" groaned Big Time with worry evident in his voice.

Negaduck smirked evilly.

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Drake groaned as the sounds of metal clanking against metal reached his ears. He tried turning in the hanging hammock that was currently their bed, rustling up against Gosalyn beside him in the process.

Gosalyn groaned as well. "What time s'it?"

Drake rubbed at his eyes.

"It's time for DW to be gettin' up to go to work" came the cheery voice of Launchpad.

Both Gosalyn and Drake jolted at the sound of his voice, both groaning.

"What are you doing up this early, Launchpad?" whined the shorter mallard.

Launchpad was currently standing on the other side of the small shack that was his home, in what could only be known as the kitchen. The little sink surrounded by dirty dishes that he was attempting to clean. "Well, let's see how well you sleep when you're forced out of your bed."

Drake sat up, watching with amusement as Gosalyn tried burying herself back under the thin covers and pillows. To Launchpad he said, "You said you didn't mind sleeping in the chair."

Launchpad nodded. "I know what I said. But what I didn't say was that I would be able to get any sleep!"

Drake rolled his eyes at the semantics. "Listen, you can sleep while I'm at work." He gasped, his eyes going wide. "What time is it?!"

"About 7:30" was the pilot's reply. "Meanin' you have about a half hour to get to Mr. McDee's Money Bin."

Drake closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his beak. "Ugh..."

As best as he could, Drake climbed out of the hammock without disturbing Gosalyn, who was desperately trying to fall back asleep and failing. "Do we have anything left to eat?" he asked once his webbed feet were on the wooden floor.

"Toast. Not much else. I'd say cereal, but uh...we ran out of milk" was the reply Drake didn't want to hear from the pilot. Drake rubbed the back of his neck as Launchpad continued. "We're gonna have to go get some groceries later."

"Yeah, and with what money? We hardly have any left as is and God only knows when McDuck decides to grace me with a paycheck. Assuming he ever does" snapped Drake.

"Well, to be fair, today is only what, your fourth day?" shrugged Launchpad. He scrubbed at one of the frying pans. "I mean, I'd give it two weeks, at best."

"Guy has enough money to buy the whole country, but he can't supply his down and out employees a couple hundred to get by?" Drake groused.

Launchpad didn't reply, just continued washing the dishes. The next several minutes went by in silence as Drake went into the little enclosed bathroom, relieved himself and washed up, before coming out to change into a fresh shirt and vest; adding his tie last.

"Dad?"

"Yes, sweetie?"

Gosalyn finally emerged from the pile of blankets and sat up; peering at her father sleepily. "When are we going back to St. Canard?"

Drake just stared at her for a moment before replying quietly, "I don't think we're going back to St. Canard, honey." He turned away, not wanting to look at her for he knew she'd be upset.

"Why not!?" demanded Gosalyn, now fully awake.

Drake threw his arms up in the air in exasperation. "What would we be going back to? The Muddlefoots and their constant inability to understand personal space!?"

Gosalyn glared. "Honker is my friend! Plus, what about school? You're always going on about how important it is for me to go!"

"You can go to a different school!" growled Drake in frustration. "Ugh, Look, Gos, there is nothing to go back to-Nothing for us in St. Canard! Nothing! I burned our house down, remember? What am I saying, of COURSE you remember! You remind me every other hour as you remember about something ELSE I burned down. Like your baseball and glove-Your comics-your traps - your autographed trophies-your clothes-your video games- There's nothing LEFT for us in St. Canard, sweetie! That's why we're here, so that daddy can try his hardest to make us money and we can start over."

"What about the Tower!? We could stay there! You said you left the Tower alone in your emotionless state! We could camp out there!" Gosalyn pointed out.

Drake looked away. "No. Gosalyn. We can't."

Scowling, Gosalyn's next question was, "What about Darkwing!? You need the Tower for Darkwing, don't you!? What are you going to do about HIM!?"

"I have to go to work" Drake said suddenly, looking at the clock.

Sensing the tension between the other two, Launchpad wiped his hands and turned off the water. The dishes could wait. "DW..."

"You're still going to be Darkwing Duck, aren't you, dad!?" demanded Gosalyn, rising up and out of the hammock.

Drake sighed. "No, Gos. I don't think I am."

"WHY NOT!?"

Drake took a step back from his infuriated daughter. "Because I have to face reality, which is I have a pre-teen daughter who needs an education-and in order for her to HAVE an education, I need to be the father I should have been all these years and properly take care of you! I need to stop thinking of being a hero and just be a father! For real this time! None of that 'reading out of the book' nonsense!I'm really going to try this time!" Launchpad was the only one who caught the shine of a tear in Drake's left eye.

Gosalyn growled in frustration. "You HAVE been an amazing dad! All this time! Even while you were Darkwing!"

Drake shook his head. "I've been selfish to think I could be a good father and Darkwing at the same time."

Gosalyn just continued to glare at him.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, some of us have jobs" said Drake before heading out the door.

Launchpad immediately took action. "DW, wait!"

Drake stopped several feet away from the house and waited for Launchpad to shut the door and step over to him. The pilot instantly took Drake into a large hug. "It's okay, DW. We know you're tryin'."

Drake sighed, having hoped that his tears hadn't been so noticeable. He should have known Launchpad would have noticed them. He was so much more attuned to Drake and what he was feeling these days. "Thanks, LP. I needed to hear that."

They pulled apart, both standing and waiting for the other to continue. "So, what ARE we going to do, DW?"

Drake shrugged. "I don't know."

"Are we just going to keep staying here? The three of us?"

"I guess" mumbled Drake. "Till we can afford a better place."

The pilot smiled at that. "That's right, DW! And I just want you to know, I'm proud of ya, and I love ya" Launchpad unconsciously leaned down and kissed Drake on top of the head. Both of them froze immediately after. Launchpad's eyes went wide as he realized what he'd just done. "I'm sorry! That just kinda came out! Was that too forward!?" squeaked a now nervous Launchpad as he stepped away. "I-I'm sorry if it was!"

Drake wordlessly shook his head, though he grabbed Launchpad's hand and gave it a small squeeze before letting it go. Knowing his face was now fully red, he said, "It's fine. Thanks again. I gotta go." Without another word, Drake turned and left down the park path towards McDuck's Money Bin.

Launchpad's shoulders sagged as he watched his paramour go.

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Drake had just barely managed to get to the Money Bin on time, surprisingly just before Scrooge McDuck and Fenton were dropped off by Duckworth. Drake had just walked through the large metal doors when he heard their conversation from the car as they stepped out.

"Come along, Fenton. We're nearly late!" he could hear Scrooge saying.

"Oh, but only nearly, Scroogey, dearest! Could be worse! We could ACTUALLY be running late!" came the chipper voice of Fenton. "Besides, you're the one who made us late! You wanted cuddle time, which I am far from opposed to! In fact, we should do it more often!"

Drake didn't hear the rest of their conversation as he felt his face go hot at the very idea of those two being affectionate to each other in any way, shape, or form. Drake was far from homophobic, especially now with his own budding feelings for Launchpad and had shown encouragement to Fenton when he had talked about dating Scrooge. However, that didn't mean Drake fully understood what the two saw in each other.

He quickly hopped into the elevator before they saw him, making sure to get into the offices before them.

Drake made quick work of getting over to his desk. He glanced at all the paperwork he had left there he day before and sighed. He was grateful for this job, but it sure was boring! He supposed it could be worse. He could have a desk job where he sat a computer all day clicking buttons in a tiny little cubicle with annoying co-workers on either side. At least this office was more open and everyone seemed fairly friendly so far.

The elevator dinged and Scrooge and Fenton came through, finally making their way up. Everyone nodded to their boss as Mr. McDuck walked by. It was then that Drake noticed that the instant they were through those doors, Fenton was no longer talking to Scrooge, nor was he clinging to him and pestering him like he's seen him do before. No, this was not Scrooge anymore. Now he was Scrooge McDuck, world's richest duck, and Fenton was his accountant, who faithfully went to his desk to get started on his job. It amazed him how their behavior changed like that.

The first half hour of the morning went fairly uneventful as Drake spoke with Mrs. Quackfaster about the new sets of files that were to be mailed from different businesses. Turned out he had to write up some e-mails explaining why he needed certain paperwork, which both Fenton and Mrs. Quackfaster helped him start with. It was shortly after however, that Fenton was called in to Mr. McDuck's office and he had yet to come back out.

Mrs. Quackfaster had just gotten back to her own desk and turned on her small radio, when everyone in the room heard the broadcaster announce anxiously: "Breaking news from your local Duckberg radio station! As of two hours ago, The Beagle Boys have managed to break free from the Duckberg Prison! The Chief of Police advises that no one panic, they already are on the look out for the criminals, who managed to escape due to an explosion that was set off from an unknown source. More at 10!"

Everyone in the room was looking at the small radio on Mrs. Quackfaster's desk with alarm. They all knew what that meant. The Beagle Boys were notorious for trying to break into Mr. McDuck's Money Bin, meaning their employer was going to be in a full blown panic.

"Oh dear!" fretted the secretary. She turned to address the office. "Now, everyone just remain calm! Just continue on with your work as though its a regular work day!" She said all this in a calm voice; or at least, she hoped. "I'm going to go and inform Mr. McDuck." She was about to get up from her desk, when her phone began ringing. Knowing Mr. McDuck preferred all phone calls to be answered, for one never knew when it would be a chance of a lifetime business deal, she picked up the phone.

Drake watched as she nervously tried to calm the person on the other end of the phone. "Don't worry, Mr. Benderbeak! Everything is going to be just fine! No, Mr. McDuck isn't available at the moment, but he'd tell you that it's still safe to invest in the stocks!" She paused as she listened. "Goodness! His Money Bin hasn't even been robbed, sir!"

Drake fiddled with some of the papers on his desk. All this was making him antsy. He couldn't seem to sit still. He didn't like the idea of such well known criminals to be out on the streets. This was something he could be dealing with as-

Drake sighed. "Don't even go there, buddy" he muttered to himself. Scrooge had asked him to protect the city as Darkwing Duck the night before, but until he heard anything more, he wasn't acting on it.

He continued to watch as Mrs. Quackfaster got more and more flustered as the phone continued to ring as more and more investors became worried. Curious to see what the fuss was about, Drake asked when the secretary had a spare moment. "Why are so many people calling all of a sudden?"

Mrs. Quackfaster sighed, adjusting her glasses. "It's the investors. This happens every time the Beagle Boys escape. They panic, you see. They know Mr. McDuck has had a history of nearly losing his fortune and investors fear that if that ever happens, they'll lose money in the stocks and bonds they have put into Mr. McDuck's businesses."

Drake titled his head in thought. "Makes sense, I guess." he looked past Fenton's empty desk and towards the door that led to Scrooge's office. "Shouldn't you inform him the Beagle Boys have escaped?"

The phone began ringing again. "Well, I would-But I have to answer the phone. Mr. McDuck doesn't like it when the phone isn't answered."

Drake nodded slowly. "You know, I could go in and tell him."

Mrs. Quackfaster didn't reply at first, answering the phone and answering the questions coming frantically from the other side of the line. Once she was off the phone, she nodded, though uncertainly. "Yes, I suppose you could do it. Though, don't be surprised if Mr. McDuck is unhappy to see you. He doesn't like surprise guests in his office for any reason."

Drake nodded with a wan smile as he stood up from his chair. "I'll handle it."

As he went up to the door, he wondered why he was bothering. It wasn't his job. Perhaps it was his need to help others-possibly part of his vigilante instincts kicking in.

Or, he thought dismissively, probably because I know Mr. McDuck will be sending me out as Darkwing regardless. Whether I like it or not.

Drake opened the door after a moment of debate on whether or not to knock. Deciding not to, he opened the door. He peered nervously around the wooden door, his eyes scanning the room. The last time he had been in the office, he had been invited in; or rather, pushed in by a peeved off Scrooge. But this time was different. He wasn't invited. He wasn't expected.

Seeing that Scrooge's desk and chair were empty and seeing neither Fenton or the rich mallard anywhere, he walked further into the office and shut the door quietly behind him.

"Mr. McDuck?" he called out.

His eyes instantly turned to the large round metallic door to the safe, which he noticed for the first time, was cracked open. Suddenly he could hear the echoing voices of Fenton and Scrooge from inside.

He couldn't help but overhear as he inched his way closer and closer to the vault.

"HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH!" came Scrooge's happy cackling.

Drake craned his neck around the large door to the vault; just barely able to see them over the railing that overlooked the piles of money. He blinked when he only saw the back of Fenton's head. Scrooge was nowhere to be seen.

Fenton was hunched over, sitting with his legs crossed in front of him, a calculator-looking machine in his lap. The accountant was muttering to himself, clearly deep in thought as he punched the numbers on the machine quickly and efficiently. It took Drake a moment longer than it should have to realize that Fenton was counting the money.

The vigilante finally allowed himself to walk fully into the vault, setting his hands on the rails as his eyes searched out of the old mallard he was looking for.

Drake was about to open his mouth to gain Fenton's attention, when suddenly, his eyes caught the shifting of some coins from the pile next to Fenton. He watched in awe as Scrooge popped out of the mound of cash, his arms open wide in happiness.

"YAHA!" cried out Scrooge, sending coins into the air and happily waiting for them to rain back down on his head. "EEEE! I love tossin' up money and lettin' it hit me on the head!"

The old miser turned his attention to Fenton, a mischievous grin on his face before he dove back into the sea of coins.

Drake's eyes went wide. "Well, what do ya know...Launchpad was right!" he muttered to himself. "He really DOES swim in his money!" Thankfully neither of the other ducks in the vault had heard him.

Drake watched as Scrooge sprang up from the coins next to Fenton, looking over the accountant's shoulder to see the numbers that were coming off the receipt paper printing from the machine.

At the sudden closeness, Fenton flinched a bit, glancing at Scrooge as he continued counting. "5,736! Oh, Hi Scroogey! 5,737!"

Scrooge said nothing, just smiled back, his eyes focusing on the numbers. Dollar signs appeared in his eyes before he cackled some more. "Ahhh! I don't know why, but today just feels like a good day!"He patted Fenton on the shoulder before he laid back onto a pile of coins, sifting them through his fingers.

Drake really hated to ruin the moment, but he knew he had to. He cleared his throat loudly.

Both Fenton and Scrooge reacted at the same time, both whipping their heads and upper bodies around to look up at Drake, who shyly waved back at them.

"Uh...Hello, Mr. McDuck..." chuckled Drake as he pulled anxiously at his tie.

Scrooge's good mood instantly melted away as his signature glare formed on his face. "Mr. Mallard! What are YOU doing here?!" Scrooge rolled over and stood up, adjusting his glasses as he placed his hands on his hips and glared up at his Data Analyst. "Where's Mrs. Quackfaster!? She knows better than t'send in just anyone without my knowledge!"

Fenton looked nervously between the two of them, as though he suddenly wasn't sure if he should continue counting or not. "Uh, Scrooge, my dearest, should I-?"

"Keep counting!" snapped Scrooge, his eyes never leaving Drake.

Fenton sighed, setting the machine down beside him as he began awkwardly swimming through the coins to get a more accurate count. "6,938!"

"Well!? I'm waiting for an answer, Mr. Mallard!" demanded the rich duck.

Drake fiddled with his tie in front of him, avoiding eye contact. He couldn't understand why he was getting so flustered. "Mrs. Quackfaster DID actually send me in! You see, she's busy talking on the phone, which is ringing off the hook."

"And why is the phone ringing off the hook?" was Scrooge's question.

Fenton popped up with a gasp from the sea of coins before calling out, "Could you two please be quiet! You're making it harder for me to count!" He didn't bother waiting for a reply, instantly diving back into the money.

Scrooge gave a look of sympathy to the accountant before turning back to glare at Drake. "Well?!"

Drake lowered his eyes, knowing his boss wouldn't like the answer. "Because the Beagle Boys have escaped from prison."

Scrooge's eyes went wide with alarm. "Pluck me tail feathers!" He clutched the sides of his head and pulled at his feathers. "Why didn't yeh say that sooner!?" Scrooge began climbing up the stairs and darted past Drake, though doubled back a moment later, tapping the side of his head until a coin came out his ear, which landed in the money bin. "There! At least Fenton's numbers will be accurate! I need t'be sure every coin is safe!"

Inside the money bin, Fenton poked his head out again, finally done counting. "Hey! Where'd everybody go!?"

Inside the office, Scrooge walked up to his desk where he hit a hidden button. Drake watched in awe as McDuck's desk lowered into the floor and was replaced by a large super computer. One that was not unlike the one he had in the Tower back in St. Canard.

Drake whistled. "Not bad, gramps."

Scrooge gave him a side glare as he pressed a few buttons on the keyboard.

"Scroogey, my sunshine! Why did you leave me!?" wailed Fenton as he climbed out of the money bin. He paused when he saw Drake standing there and the super computer up and loaded. "Oh, you're still here Drake?"

Scrooge interjected before Drake could reply. "The Beagle Boys have escaped from prison, Fenton! Just look!" he pointed to the screen, where they were now able to see news feed showing shots of the gaping hole along the side of the prison that was the cause from the blast everyone in a mile radius was able to hear earlier that morning. He suddenly looked intensely at Fenton. "Was every coin accounted for then!?"

Fenton nodded and beamed happily. "Yessir! Well, all but a nickle."

"Ah, one moment." Scrooge dug a hand into his pocket, pulling out a nickle. "Here. It was in me pocket." He tossed it to Fenton.

The accountant chuckled as he turned and threw the nickel into the vault. " There ya go! So, you think they'll be after your money, then?" asked Fenton as he stared up at the screens of the computer.

Scrooge nodded. "I'd bet my fortune on it! That's what they always go for, after all."

Drake narrowed his eyes, memories of all the times he had used his own super computer as Darkwing Duck coming to mind. Old thought patterns that were ingrained into his brain began circulating through his thoughts. "If they always come after your Money Bin, surely you're able to capture them pretty quickly then, right? Sounds simple enough."

"Oh, and I suppose you'd know all about it?" sneered the rich duck. "Have you ever been up against the Beagle Boys, laddie?"

Drake looked between Scrooge and Fenton, who were both watching him expectantly. Feeling on the spot all of a sudden, he answered tersely, "No. But I've been up against far worse than petty criminals after money! I've been up against the Fearsome Five! Criminals with super powers who try to take over the world! I've been up against F.O.W.L., the most notorious and powerful criminal organization known!" He pointed to the screen. "I can HANDLE the Beagle Boys!"

Fenton and Scrooge shared a look; Fenton's expression innocent as he stood there with his hands behind his back while Scrooge's expression was more skeptic.

Turning his gaze back to Drake, the old miser asked, "But I thought you were done bein' Darkwing. I thought you came here t'Duckberg for a fresh start? Didn't things end badly for you? Didn't you quit?"

"I did but-"

"Well, then you're no help" sighed Scrooge.

"Hey! I never said I wouldn't help!" argued Drake.

Scrooge sighed, looking away; uninterested. "But clearly yeh don't want to. I won't force yeh."

Drake scowled and poked a finger into Scrooge's chest. "Listen here, Mister-!" He paused in what was the beginning of an angry rant when he remembered just exactly who he was speaking to and who he was poking at. Scrooge's glare deepened, the shorter duck's eyes turning colder as though he was silently daring him to continue. "M-Mister-Mister McDuck!" He took a step. "Heh heh! Look here, Mr. McDuck, I know what you're trying to do! You're trying to do that reverse psychology stuff! Well I'm not falling for it! I'll go up against these Beagle Boys and keep them from getting your money! AND! I'll even accept Gizmoduck's help! So there!" Drake crossed his arms, satisfied.

Scrooge sniffed and adjusted his glasses. "Well then, since your mind seems t'be made up, I suggest you go get ready. You and Gizmoduck will begin scanning the city for the Beagle Boys in an hour."

Drake paused and opened his eyes, his mouth opening and closing several times as he realized what had just happened.

With a large grin, Fenton said, "We can meet up outside the Money Bin once we're ready and make plans for how we want to go about searching for the Beagle Boys!"

Drake groaned. "I'm just gonna...go now..." he muttered.

Scrooge and Fenton watched him leave and once the door was shut, Fenton asked, "So, were you really using that reverse psychology stuff on him?"

Scrooge smirked. "No. I was simply rufflin' his tail feathers. He certainly is easy t'mess with. Either way, we convinced him to help us."

Fenton laughed. "You're devious, Scroogey, my paramour!" He wrapped the smaller duck into a warm side hug.

The smirk faded from Scrooge's face as he felt the slight tremors that still seemed to be wracking through Fenton's hands and now his arms. "Fenton?"

"Hmmm?" Fenton laid the side of his face against the top of Scrooge's head affectionately.

"Please be careful" was the whispered reply.

"I always am!" replied Fenton. Noting Scrooge's worry, he pulled back looked at him at arm's length. "Is something the matter? Something I don't know?"

Scrooge stared back up at his boyfriend with wide, almost scared eyes before answering, "No, laddie. Nothing's wrong...Just an ol' man and his thoughts."

Giving Scrooge a quick peck on the cheek, Fenton left, proclaiming, "Don't you worry, Scrooge! You're money is safe with Gizmoduck on the job!"

Mr. McDuck sighed, suddenly feeling more worried than ever.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

"Wait a minute!" came Gosalyn's voice from inside their little home at the edge of the park. "This morning you told me you weren't going to be Darkwing and now suddenly you are!?"

Drake ground his teeth together in frustration. "Daddy doesn't have time to explain, sweetie!" He quickly finished buttoning his purple jacket, having already put his teal turtle neck on.

Gosalyn picked up his hat which was on a chair. "So, you didn't bother to save either of us some spare clothes, yet you saved your Darkwing Duck outfit from the fires?"

Drake tied his vigilante mask on his face, making sure it was tightened securely, finishing off his outfit. "I guess that was a high priority of mine at the time" he muttered. "What else is new?"

Launchpad had been standing there quietly in the sidelines, watching the two of them converse; the memory of that morning still fresh in his mind. Drake's blank stare after his proclamation of love still stained his memory.

"So you're going to be working with Gizmoduck?" was Gosalyn's next question.

"Unfortunately."

"He's not that bad, dad" shrugged the duckling. "I don't know why you don't like him."

Drake, now Darkwing, rolled his eyes. "He's full of himself!"

"YOU'RE full of yourself!" Gosalyn dared to say.

Darkwing glared at her. He mockingly repeated her comment. "You're full of yourself." Clearing this throat, Darkwing added in his usual voice, "Alright, I have to quickly go and meet up with the tin can."

"Be safe, dad. Try not to kill each other" teased Gosalyn.

Darkwing chuckled. "Please. Nothing is too great for Darkwing Duck!" He went to turn around and ended up running into the table, the wooden object ramming into his stomach. "OOF! Owww."

Now embarrassed and cowed, Darkwing left without another word.

Gosalyn shook her head as she watched her father go, turning her attention to Launchpad, who was staring off into space with a depressed expression on his face. "What's wrong with you?"

Launchpad looked away. "I uh...May or may not have confessed to DW that I loved him this morning. And now things are all awkward..."

"So? What's the big deal?" she paused and when she saw that Launchpad wasn't going to answer, she asked, "What? Didn't he say it back?"

"Of COURSE he didn't say it back, Gos!" cried out Launchpad in despair and self pity.

The young duckling took a step back from her friend's outburst, her eyes wide in surprise.

Launchpad took a moment to calm himself. "Gos, look, I know you keep sayin' that Magica lady showed you all that happened while you were gone, but she just glossed over the details from what you told us. You don't know all that happened. DW and Morgana never actually broke up."

Gosalyn blinked. "Well, yeah, I kinda got that much, but they're still not together, which means you and him can-" She stopped mid sentence when she saw Launchpad shaking his head vigorously.

"See, that's the thing, Gos. They're not together, sure, but that was not a decision either of them made. They were practically forced to break up. When we thought you died, Morgana was just as devastated as your dad, maybe even more so, cause at the time, she thought she'd killed you by accident. And that led both of them to just assume they were history as a couple. But now that we know you aren't dead, where does that really leave them?"

Gosalyn soaked all of this information in, contemplating what it all meant. "So, what you're saying, is that the two of them have never officially broken up. They never got that...mushy stuff that couples need to end things, right?"

Launchpad thought about it for a second. "Ya mean closure?"

Gosalyn nodded and pointed at him. "Yeah! That! They never got closure!" Gosalyn quickly frowned as she voiced her next question. "But wait a minute, they've talked to each other since then. A couple times now, actually."

Launchpad nodded. "Yeah, but they weren't talkin' about the things they need to talk about. When they have seen each other, they've been talkin' about everything that's been going on with Magica and that potion"

Gosalyn crossed her arms, knowing her friend had a point. She glanced around at the small little shack that was currently their home. "Well, just give dad some times, I guess."

Launchpad's shoulder sagged once more. "But Gos, I feel terrible about all this."

"Why?"

"Because I'm madly in love with a guy who's not even fully over his ex-girlfriend, that's why! And while he's still sortin' all that out, I'm over here tellin' him I love him and he just stares back up at me! He doesn't even know how to reply!" explained the pilot.

Gosalyn patted her friend on the arm sympathetically. "Don't worry, Launchpad. If there's two things I know about my dad, it's that he's stubborn as a mule and he's almost always emotionally constipated when it comes to his romantic feelings. He's never been good at expressing himself romantically. He gets flustered and nervous and makes an idiot out of himself. You've seen how's he's always acted around Morgana. Now he's got you saying you love him; knowing dad, he probably doesn't even believe you." Gosalyn's eyes narrowed. "He probably has it in his head you're just saying these things to make him feel better."

Launchpad sighed. "That does sound like DW..." He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, wishing everything would stop being so complicated.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

"This is a waste of time!" groused Darkwing.

"What is a waste of time?" asked Gizmoduck as he used binoculars from his helmet to overlook the city.

The two heroes were currently standing on top of the Duckberg Public Bank, which was in the center of the town. They had a bird's eye view of everything within several blocks, not to mention a good view of Scrooge's Money Bin. As Gizmoduck was looking around for anything suspicious, Darkwing paced back and forth.

"This!" he exclaimed, throwing his arms up. ""It's like looking for a needle in a haystack!"

"Then what do you suggest we do, Wingy? Isn't this the same thing you would have done in St. Canard?" Before Darkwing could reply, Gizmoduck cried out, "HEY!"

Excited that they may have found the Beagle Boys, Darkwing ran over to the mechanical marvel and looked out over the city with him. "What? What!? Did you find them!?"

"No, but that guy just jay walked! Boy, if I wasn't already in the middle of a case, I'd be busting him!"

Darkwing slumped forward, using Gizmoduck's arm to support him. "Uh, Gizmo? Do you think there's a chance we could FOCUS!?"

"I AM focusing!" argued Gizmoduck.

Silence settled between the two of them as they continued to look around for any clues.

It was Gizmoduck that broke the silence. "Why don't you like me, Wingy?"

Darkwing, who had been staring at a couple walking down the street after having gotten ice cream, turned to him. "Hmm? What?"

"You've never liked me. Ever since we've met. Why?"

"Pfft. As though I need to grace that with an answer. How could I NOT hate you? Ever since I met you you've been hogging all my glory after I've done all the work to catch bad guys! You swoop down into MY city and act as though you own the place, taking what very little limelight I've managed to get throughout the years!"

"I don't do that on purpose, you know! It comes with the territory!" defended Gizmoduck.

Darkwing made a mocking sound in the back of his throat before saying, "Yeah, well, you sure act like you do!" There was a long pause in which the masked vigilante suddenly remember that the same guy who drove him up a wall and wore a metal suit; calling himself a hero, was also the same guy who had stuck up for him on his first day at his new job. Taking in a deep breath, Darkwing said, "I will say though, since I've moved here to Duckberg, there's one guy who's I've realized is a pretty swell guy."

"Oh? And who's that?" asked Gizmoduck, true curiosity in his voice. He did a double take in his scanning of the city. "Oh, false alarm. Just a hot dog vendor."

"Fenton Crackshell. I hear he's been helping out his new co-worker; sticking up for him and all that." Keeping in mind that they both had secret identities to keep secret, he added, "Or so I've heard. I haven't met the guy myself. But seems pretty a-okay."

"Ya don't say" replied Gizmoduck quietly.

"Ever met him?"

Gizmoduck nodded, his eyes still looking through the binoculars. "Once or twice."

There was a long pause in which neither of them said anything.

Then, Gizmoduck said very softly. "You're welcome."

Darkwing nervously scratched the back of his neck and looked away. It was then that his eyes caught three individuals wearing red. "Is the bright sun messing with me or am seeing three guys walking around in red sweatshirts and black masks?"

Gizmoduck immediately turned his wheel so he could make his way over to where Darkwing was standing. Using the binoculars, he took a look for himself.

"Why, if it isn't Big Time, Bouncer, and Burger Beagle!" he exclaimed. "Good job, Wingy! Let's go and get them!"

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

"I'm STARVIN'!" came the wailing cry of Burger as the three of them made their way down the street. "When are we gonna meet up with Gizmoduck and that Darkwing guy?"

"Can it, Burger! We don't wants them to know we WANT them to follows us!" hissed Big Time.

A large cloud of purple smoke suddenly began to form in front of the three Beagles, making them stop in their tracks.

"I am the terror, that FLAPS in the night! I am the sunlight that tries to blind you! I am DARKWING DUCK!" announced the vigilante, holding his cape up high behind him.

Beside him stood Gizmoduck. "And never fear, citizens, GIZMODUCK is here!"

Several shoppers along the street gasped in panic and began running away from the scene; not wanting to be involved.

Big Time crossed his arms. "Oh, so YOU'RE Darkwing Duck! You know, I's heard of you."

Darkwing blinked. "R-Really?" He shook his head. "I mean-Of course you have!"

Big Time nodded. "Yeah. I's heard your the big screw up from St. Canard. Went berserk from what I heard. Off his rocker!" he goaded.

Darkwing's face went red with rage and embarrassment from the insult. "I-Why I-" He couldn't even bring himself to form words.

Seeing Darkwing struggle, Gizmoduck stepped in. Pointing a hand at the three criminals, he said, "Never mind all that, boys! You know who I am and you know I'm not one to be messed with!"

Snickering, Big Time, Burger, and Bouncer all shared a devious look before Big Time exclaimed, "Hey, look! A jay walker!"

Gizmoduck instantly whirled around to see what he was pointing at. "AGAIN!? Of course, the one day I'm not out looking for them-"

"Forget about the jay walkers! They're getting away!" yelled Darkwing, who then darted after the three Beagle Boys who had taken off.

The two heroes chased the three criminals a couple blocks before the brothers turned and ran inside an old theater.

"Stop evil doers!" called out Gizmoduck.

"Come and get us!" taunted the voice of Bouncer.

Bursting through the doors to the house of the theater, Gizmoduck and Darkwing paused in their pursuit, seeing Bouncer, Burger, and Big Time scramble up to the stage.

"This is the old L'Orange Theater!" noted Gizmoduck. "This place has been closed for years! Last summer they started to do renovations to it though!"

Darkwing took in his surroundings but his main focus stayed on the Beagle Boys. "Never mind that now! We have to catch them!"

Darkwing took off through the house, passing and jumping over broken seats. He cried out in alarm when some pigeons flew out from a pile of rubble. "This is ridiculous! You'd think in a town where the world's richest duck resided, there wouldn't be buildings practically falling apart! He's got money! He could use it!"

Gizmoduck used his propellers to get over the chairs and rubble quicker. "This place went out of business for a reason, Wingy! I'm sure Mr. McDuck hasn't taken interest in it because he knows it can't be salvaged!"

"Then he can turn it into something else! Rebuild it!" argued Darkwing. He was about to climb up on the stage, when Big Time's voice rang in their ears from up above.

"Oh! So is that what yer tryin' t'do, Darkwing? Rebuild your image? Hahaha! By what I's heard, you've got a LOT of work to do!" taunted Big Time from up in cat walks that still remained in tact. A large gaping whole in the ceiling made the bright sunlight blind both heroes for a moment.

Darkwing growled. "Stop acting as though you know me, you fiend!" Darkwing pulled out his hook shot and aimed it up near where Big Time was now standing. He shot it, shooting out the hook which wrapped around a steady looking beam. With a click, Darkwing went zooming up with the gun.

Gizmoduck was about to follow when he heard two chuckles behind him. Whirling around, the mechanical hero saw Bouncer and Burger in the background. "Hey, big guy! Why don't ya try us on for size!" guffawed Bouncer. The two brothers then took off towards the backstage area.

"Halt evil doers!" called out Gizmoduck, taking off after them.

Meanwhile, Darkwing pulled himself up to the catwalks, looking around the broken lamps and stage lights. He was careful not to step on any remaining broken glass. Big Time had taken off the moment he had seen Darkwing come after him.

"Come on out, you big coward! You're all talk! No match for the cunning and crafty Darkwing Duck!" goaded Darkwing as he slowly made his way around the catwalks and up near the roof of the building.

"'Cunning' and 'crafty', huh?" sounded Big Time's voice from several yards away. "Boy, the guy in the yellow jacket sure was right. You really ARE full of yourself!"

Darkwing stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes wide. "G-Guy in a yellow jacket!? What are you talking about?!" He chased Big Time into a room that was obviously once part of the upper back staging area. It was where all the rigging to the line sets and backdrops were once used. Most of the ropes now looked frayed and worn from over use and time.

Big Time stopped, panting slightly from all his ranting and running. "Hmm...What did he call himself again?" The shorter Beagle feigned deep thought. "Somethin'-duck."

Lowering his gas gun, Darkwing took another step forward, saying, "Negaduck?"

Big Time mockingly smiled in surprise. "Yeah! That was his name! He came to us early t'is mornin'. He was kind enough t'get us outta jail. Of course, we Beagle Boys don't do anything fer free. He told us that if we followed his orders, he'd be sure we got Scrooge McDuck's fortune once him and Magica de Spell were done with some big plan." He shrugged, his arms stretching out as he gestured to their surroundings. "Who were we to say no t'that? Seein' as how we's was in jail and all."

Anger boiled under Darkwing's feathers. "You're working for Negaduck? And he's working for Magica?"

Big Time shrugged again. "Don't know. Don't cares. All I know is that I have a job to do."

"Oh? And what's that?"

"Oh, but come ON! You're the cunning and mighty Darwking! Isn't that what ya just called yourself?!" laughed Big Time. "So, lemme get this straight. You, a lanky, weak lookin' duck dressed in a mask and cape is supposed t'scare me!?" guffawed Big Time in mockery. Darkwing growled lowly in his throat. "Or are the rumors I've been hearin' about yous lately, true?"

"What rumors?" spat out the masked vigilante.

"Oh, you know, the rumors about how you're a loose cannon. A real nut case. That yeh've lost your mind and that you're not even a real hero! You just go around actin' all self righteous when it reality, its YOU who should be locked up!"

Darkwing blinked. "What are you talking about?!"

"Don't pretend the world doesn't know about what you did back in St. Canard." Big Time continued. He leaned forward with a nasty smirk. "What you did to that police officer."

A shiver ran down Darkwing's spine as his whole body tensed.

"And before that, you went and threw a fit at some police academy benefit. Screamed in their faces and made a mockery of them!"

Darkwing closed his eyes. "I wasn't myself when any of that happened!" He defended. "I was...under a spell. I had taken a potion that made me act like that! It had taken away my emotions! That wasn't actually me!"

Big Time nodded sagely. "Yeah...Negaduck told me you'd say that."

Darkwing grunted in alarm, his hands shaking as he tried to keep a good grip on his gas gun. "What's that supposed to mean!?"

"Alright, Gizmo Buddy! I got the other two Beagles! Darkwing!? Darkwing!? Where are you!?" came Gizmoduck's voice from below. Faintly the two of them could hear the muffled shouts of protest from Bouncer and Burger.

Darkwing looked down at the floor, where he knew Gizmoduck was a floor below, but Big Time grabbed his attention back by answering his question.

"I don't buy it. You knew perfectly well what you was doing that night. That whole time you were under the effects of that potion? It didn't make you do anything you didn't already want to do, deep down. That potion only made it easier for ya. It didn't take away your emotions; it took away your morality!"

"You're lying! You weren't there!" screamed Darkwing. "It only took away my emotions! By doing that it made me into someone else!"

Big Time shook his head. "See, I don't believe that! Yeh've always wanted to act out! Go against the law! That's why yeh do what yeh do! You go against the law every day bein' a 'super hero'! You convince yourself you're saving everyone from people like me and my brothers, but you're really not! You're doing it because you think you're above the law!"

"Shut up!"

Big Time, seeing how worked up Darkwing was getting, took a few steps back. "You're doing it now. You're not thinkin' about puttin' me in cuffs and takin' me to the police. Yeh wanna hurt me. I can see the way your fingers are twitchin'!"

Darkwing grunted in frustration as he nearly dropped his gas gun; his fingers really were twitching.

"You ain't a hero! You're a whack job! You're no better than me!" jeered Big Time. His voice suddenly became slightly unsteady, his smirk fading as he watched Darkwing get more and more pissed off. "Admit it! You're a monster waitin' to be released! You're gonna come after us all and be the worst part of yourself! Because that's who you are! After years of humiliation and never bein' appreciated, you want to get your revenge! Hurt those who have never believed in you!" He sighed, looking up Darkwing up and down. "Hmm...Yeh know somethin'? Maybe not. Maybe you just really are that pathetic of a hero."

It happened so fast Big Time didn't even have a chance to react. Before Big Time knew it, he'd landed hard on his back, slamming his head into the wall. Darkwing was on top of him, his hands tightly wrapped around the Beagle's thick neck; his gas gun lying forgotten on the floor.

"I told you to shut up! You know nothing about me! You ARE nothing! You and I have never even met and here you are assuming you know me better than I know myself!" screamed Darkwing into Big Time's face. "You don't know what I've been through! Years of humiliation and being treated like I'm a nobody and when I finally DO get attention, its the wrong kind! They all just make fun of me even more! All I'm trying to do is protect the innocent and the world has to go and turn on me!"

Big Time was too busy choking for breath, clawing at the floor boards as he tried to desperately to keep breathing.

"No one understands all that I've given up for them! I've dedicated my whole life to save everyone-Nearly lost my daughter that night-Even my best friend! The two tiny rays of light I seem to have in my life and I'm sick of being treated like this!"

Big Time gasped and choked as Darkwing's grip tightened around his throat.

Darwking just continued to sneer down at him with contempt; every single one of Big Time's jibes digging into his skin like needles. He was sick of it. So sick of it! People were doubting him left and right even after all that he had done and sacrificed as a vigilante. All of his anger and hatred spilled out into this one action.

Just barely able to breathe, Bit Time managed to say, "See? This-Just proves-What a monster you-really are! Kill me! It'll only-prove how dark and twisted-you really are-on the inside!"

Darkwing's arms went slack at his words, his hands loosening. Big Time took this advantage to gulp in large breaths of air greedily as he squirmed.

"Darkwing?" came Gizmoduck's booming voice from the entrance of the room.

Darkwing stood up stepped away from the Beagle Boy, his eyes staring at Big Time in horror at what he had almost done. He's nearly choked a man to death. In cold blood. Shaking, Darkwing curled in on himself. He felt numb. He felt as though he couldn't control his own body anymore. His hands shook so horribly.

Was Big Time right? Had he truly been enjoying that satisfying feeling of finally taking down someone who had managed to anger him so much? To finally make someone else feel all the pain that was inside of him?

Had he truly enjoyed it?

The word 'yes' entered his mind at the same time Gizmoduck said again, only louder, "Darkwing? Is everything alright?"

Big Time just stayed where he was on the floor, still trying to gain his breath as he rubbed his now raw throat; too weak and dazed to bother escaping.

With concern, Gizmoduck wheeled himself closer to Darkwing; Bouncer and Burger tied up behind him, yet just as he was about to get any closer a large puff of purple smoke filled the room as Darkwing threw down one of his own smoke bombs.

The Beagle Boys and Gizmoduck coughed through the smoke and when it finally disappeared, Darkwing Duck was no where to be seen.

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Along the Duckberg's bay was anchored the military navy base, which was currently surrounded by crewmen who were suspended along the sides of the vessel, working on repairing and reinforcing the sides of the base. Shipments were being hauled in and out of the main port as the navy was restocked for their next ventures out at sea.

In the midst of it all, Donald Duck walked down the peer, wearing his usual sailor's uniform and eyeing everything that was going on around him with an unnatural air of disdain. Several crew members greeted him, but the greetings went ignored.

Donald walked straight up the ramp that led to the main deck of the ship. He saluted one of the officers wordlessly before entering the offices. Inside was a table with a pile of papers and a metal detector that was used for security reasons.

"Seaman Duck!" greeted the officer on the other side of the door. "As is standard procedure, would you please state your name and status upon this vessel?"

Donald gave a side glare at the officer, noting that he was the only officer in the small room.

Seeing that he wasn't getting a response, the officer asked again with more suspicion. "Seaman Duck?! Are you alright?"

Donald pulled out a small device from his pocket and shoved it into the man's chest. The canine officer barely had a chance to cry in pain before he fell unconscious from the electrical currents now running through his body. Watching the officer fall to the ground with a thump, Donald calmly put the taser back into his pocket with a grimace.

"I'm not Donald Duck, you knob" came the sneering voice of Negaduck from Donald's lips. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got work to do..." He walked further into the naval ship with a devious grin on his face.

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Please review and let me know what you think! -EricaX

Chapter Text

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"Launchpad, have you ever made grilled cheese before?"

"Well, sure!" replied the pilot indignantly.

Gosalyn was currently sitting on the hammock that was on the other side of the small shack, facing where Launchpad was making them some lunch in the kitchenette with a dubious look on her face. "You know how to grill it, right?"

"Heh, that's kinda what I meant when I said I've made it before, Gos" said Launchpad with a lopsided smile and a shrug of his shoulder. He looked back at her with a confident smile.

"Then why is it on fire right now?" she asked, her eyes turning to the burning bread and cheese on the stove.

Whirling around, Launchpad's eyesight was suddenly clouded with smoke. "ACK! Oh! Hot hot hot!" He grabbed the pan and set it aside, quickly turning off the stove completely. Launchpad blinked at the half charred food. "Uh...Lunch is served...?"

With a deadpan expression, Gosalyn replied sarcastically, "Yummy."

Both of them jumped at the sound of the front door slamming open, practically making the whole place shake. Owlishly, both Gosalyn and Launchpad watched as Darkwing walked through the door, slamming it behind him.

Seeing his broken, defeated, melancholy expression, the pilot and pre-teen shared a worried look.

As though not registering that they were even present, Darkwing slowly walked over to where Gosalyn was sitting on the hammock who jumped off it just in time before Darkwing fell face first into it. The hammock swung dangerously back and forth from both his weight and the impact of his fall.

"So, I take it working with Gizmoduck didn't work out so well, huh, dad?" guessed Gosalyn, having watched many of her father's self pity snits.

Darkwing's groan was muffled from the fabric of the blankets on the hammock.

"Uh...Can I interest you in some half burnt grilled cheese, DW? It's what we're havin' for lunch!" Launchpad offered in an attempt to lighten the mood.

Darkwing titled his head to the side so that one eye could be seen eyeing the offered food with disgust. Grunting at the sight, he turned his face back to the blankets. His voice was muffled but they could hear him as he replied, "Ugh, thanks, but I think I'll pass. I need to cut down on my intake of charcoal."

Gosalyn walked over and picked up her father's hat, setting it to the side. "So? What's got you so mopey?" She crossed her arms and tapped her foot; demanding answers. "Did you and Gizmoduck catch the Beagle Boys or what!?"

Darkwing made a noise in the back of his throat that was somewhere between a whine and grunt. He really didn't want to think about how that had ended. His fingers twitched as he remembered the absolute fury he had felt towards Big Time and the way his hands had been choking the beagle. Pushing those thoughts out of his mind, Darkwing turned his head to look at his daughter.

"Yeah, we caught them..." he said without an ounce of pride or enthusiasm.

"Uh, oh..." remarked Launchpad with worry. He set the plate of the grilled cheese aside. "That doesn't sound good."

With a huff, Gosalyn asked, "What did you do now?"

Darkwing's eyes widened in indignation and he pushed himself up instantly into a sitting position. "Just what do you mean by THAT, little lady!? Why are you assuming it was ME who did something wrong!?"

Nonplussed by her father's outburst, Gosalyn raised her eyebrows and replied, "Because otherwise you would have waltzed in here like you owned the place, bragging left and right about your amazing deeds!"

Pouting, Darkwing sniped back, "I wouldn't have 'waltzed' in and I wouldn't have 'bragged'!"

It was both Gosalyn and Launchpad who snorted in disbelief.

Eyes widening at their antics, Darkwing exclaimed, "I wouldn't have! It was that nefarious Beagle Boy and his cocky attitude that did it! He pushed my buttons and I-" Darkwing clamped his large beak shut; shocked that he had almost admitted the very thing he was trying to lie to himself about.

Gosalyn blinked. "And you what, dad?"

Darkwing suddenly seemed very fascinated with the ceiling. "I...maaaay have...lost my temper..." He paused before quickly continuing, hoping to glaze over the subject. "But it's fine! Gizmoduck was actually able to make himself useful for once and was able to cart them off to the police station!"

Gosalyn was eyeing Darkwing suspiciously, much to the vigilante's chagrin, but thankfully it was Launchpad who changed the subject before she could dig for more.

"Well, gee, DW, with everything that's been going on lately, and what with all you had done back in St. Canard, its no wonder! You've had it rough this past week or so!" He placed a hand on Darkwing's shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. This earned the pilot a tiny lopsided smile.

Gosalyn opened her mouth to say something more but there was a knock on the door.

"Gee, wonder who that could be" pondered Launchpad out loud as he headed for the door. "I'll find out."

Gosalyn meanwhile, continued to scowl at her dad. "You're not telling us the whole story!" she accused him.

"Am so!" he argued.

Launchpad opened the door to reveal Fenton on the other side. "Fenton!"

Fenton beamed up at the tall pilot happily. "Hi, Launchpad! Is Darkwing-I mean-Is Drake here?"

Launchpad nodded. "Yep. You tracked him down!" He stepped back to allow Fenton inside.

Darkwing rolled his eyes at the sight of the accountant. "What are YOU doing here?" he asked, with a little less bite than he would normally use when speaking to someone he knew to be Gizmoduck.

Fenton blinked, looking at him as though the answer was completely obvious. "I'm here to get you, Drake-err-Darkwing-hmm..Drake? Not sure which name to use in this case...Since I'm talking to you while you're Darkwing but referring to you as my coworker, Drake."

Darkwing pinched the bridge of his nose. "What do you need me for, Fenton?" He didn't have the patience to deal with the semantics of the situation.

"Wait" came Gosalyn's voice. "You're Fenton?"

Seeing a new face that he's never been properly introduced to before, Fenton beamed happily. "Sure am, little miss!"

"So, this means you're the guy who's Gizmoduck underneath the suit?!"

Fenton's eyes widened and his mouth opened. He wasn't used to people flat out stating it like that; seeing as how Scrooge's own nephews had once thought Launchpad was Gizmoduck. I-um...Well-ya see-"

Darkwing groaned loudly. "Can we PLEEEEASE stop focusing on the fact that he's Gizmoduck and focus on what really matters!? And that is-Why did you want to see me, Fenton!?"

"Well, gee, Darkwing, isn't it obvious?" asked Fenton with a casual shrug. "You still have to finish your shift at the office! Scrooge will be upset if he finds out you're not coming back to work today! And of course that'll mean it's-"

"Coming out of my paycheck" groused Darkwing, cutting Fenton off and finishing the other duck's sentence.

"Precisely" nodded Fenton.

"Fiiiiine! I'll go change!" declared Darkwing as he stood up and started taking off his cape and jacket. As he did this, he asked, "You took care of the Beagle Boys, I take it?"

"Sure did!" confirmed the accountant.

Darkwing made a noncommittal sound before walking further into the small shack to change. Launchpad and Gosalyn stuck around with Fenton.

"Keen gear!" giggled Gosalyn. "So, do you like, keep the gizmo suit with you at all times or something!? Does it compact down into small space like your pocket or something!? I mean, obviously you have to carry it around with you somehow while being discreet!" Gosalyn walked up to Fenton and shook his hand. "I've always been curious but its cool to know I'm in on your secret! But don't worry! It's safe with me!"

Fenton smiled. "I should hope so, Gizmo Buddy!" His voice changed slightly into his alter ego's voice for a moment.

Darkwing, now dressed as Drake Mallard, walked back out, now dressed in his salmon colored shirt and vest. He was fixing his tie as he said, "Alright, alright, let's get this over with." He muttered darkly. Once they were outside the park and to the street, he added: "Let's go allow an old man to chew us out..."

Indignantly, Fenton piped up as they shut the door behind them, "Hey! That's my paramour you're insulting, I'll have ya know!"

As Duckworth opened the door for them and Drake slid inside he retorted back, "Stop giving me reasons to judge you."

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"Sooo...Is it safe to say I'm not actually getting paid at all for this week?" was Drake's depressed and sassy question once they found themselves in front of Scrooge McDuck's desk and after the old miser had properly chastised them for not having come back to work afterwards.

Scrooge leveled him a hard look. "Yeh may find this funny, laddie, but I do not. Time is money. MY money! I shan't be payin' anyone who's not getting work done!"

Fenton raised a hand. "Technically, my dearest, we WERE working, just not here at the Money Bin!"

Scrooge's eyes narrowed further and Fenton shrunk in on himself slightly under the glower.

Drake rubbed at his forehead. "Listen, gramps, I'll get back to work now, alright? I'll file your papers, I'll use your printer and make copies of all your transactions. Forgive me for not bending over backwards to fulfill all your wishes. I'm Drake Mallard, also known as the amazing and dangerous Darkwing Duck and I don't take kindly to people telling me what to do on a constant basis, alright?"

Scrooge looked about ready to murder, though he asked impishly, "Yeh said this was yer first real job, aye?"

Crossing his arms stubbornly, Drake replied curtly, "Yes."

"Well, I hate t'burst yer bubble, laddie, but yer in for a harsh reality check. I suggest yeh get used t'bein' told what t'do" he goaded.

Fenton fidgeted beside Drake, his eyes going back and forth as he watched the two of them. "Well, anyhoo! We managed to take care of the Beagles, just like ya wanted us too!" He said cheerily.

Drake looked away with a scowl at his comment; a look that Scrooge did not miss. "Somethin' botherin' yeh, Mr. Mallard?"

"It's nothing you need to worry about, pal" he snapped.

"That just gives me all t 'more reason t'think it is" argued Scrooge. "Out with it."

Drake's scowl only deepened as he started tapping his foot.

"Glare at me wall all yeh want; I won't be satisfied without an answer." After another moment of long silence, Scrooge turned to Fenton. "Per'aps Fenton might know what's going on. Fenton, mind sharin' with me what yeh think could be botherin' Mr. Mallard?"

Drake immediately glared at Fenton.

Feeling as though he was between a rock and a hard place, Fenton nervously answered as he cautiously took a step back from Drake. "Indigestion?"

There was a beat of silence.

Chuckling nervously, Fenton pulled at his collar. "Uh...Boy, is it hot in here?"

"Fenton" warned Scrooge.

"Erk! Umm-Well, I mean-I'd been busy tailing Burger and Bouncer most of the time while Drake-err-Darkwing tailed Big Time, but...I heard bits and pieces of their conversation-" began Fenton. "The place is falling apart after all-"

"Pfft! Please! It was nothing!" shrugged Drake. He was completely ignored.

"Big Time had been goading him. The whole time, by the sound of it, he'd been trying to get a rise out of Darkwing" explained the accountant.

Scrooge leaned back in his chair at this new information, seemingly unimpressed. "So? Big Time is known t'have a big mouth."

"Exactly! He's just some bigoted criminal, probably so in shock at the sight of seeing the infamous Darkwing Duck in the flesh-He didn't know how to handle it, so he frantically shouted insults at me!"

Quietly, Fenton added, "He certainly knew a lot about you, Drake. For someone he'd just met, I mean. Recent stuff too. That's what bothered me, Scroogey. Eh, I mean, Scrooge!"

"What d'ya mean?" asked Scrooge.

Drake interrupted, once again trying to take control of the conversation. "Now, now, let's not read into this-I'm sure he's read about me in the papers!"

"But recent news? From clear over here in Duckburg? Inside a prison where they're lucky they get one newspaper a week in there? Hardly. You have quite t'ego there, laddie" remarked Scrooge.

Drake sighed. "Okay, FINE! So, maybe he DID know a little too much about me! But so what!? What has THAT got to do with anything!?"

"It could very well mean, tha' this was all planned" answered Scrooge seriously. "Tell me, did Big Time mention the name Magica by chance?"

Drake shook his head. "No, but he mentioned Negaduck. Or rather hinted at him."

Scrooge's frown deepened. "And was it not Negaduck who attacked that plant scientist in St. Canard?"

"You mean Bushroot?" asked Drake incredulously. "Yeah."

"What are ya thinkin', Scrooge?" asked Fenton.

"I'm not sure yet, but I'm highly suspicious of all this..." muttered Scrooge more to himself. He looked at the clock. "Pluck me tail feathers, it's that late in day already! Ugh, I've got work t'do! And so do you two! Get back to yer desks! Now!"

Due to McDuck's tone, both ducks knew it was no time to argue; quickly turning and doing as they were told. Scrooge watched them leave, a bad feeling deep in his stomach. Over his long life; he'd developed a deep sense of people and the events going on around him. He knew when something wasn't right and at that moment, he was feeling weary. Something was about to happen and he didn't like it, but he couldn't do anything about it until he knew more information.

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It was the next morning that Scrooge finally got the piece of information that finally hit the nail of suspicion further into his gut.

"Good morning, Mr. McDuck!" greeted Mrs. Quackfaster as Scrooge walked past her desk to open his office door.

Scrooge mumbled deeply in his throat; nothing close to worthy of an actual response, his focus on unlocking his door.

Fenton had opted to stay away from the McDuck Mansion the night prior; having decided it would be best if he steered clear and allowed Donald to have some proper time with his nephews and uncle while he was home. Scrooge shook his head as he remembered how tense the relationship between Fenton and Donald was.

Shutting the door behind him, Scrooge did his morning routine, which was checking on his money; smiling down lovingly at his three cubic acres of cash before diving in for a dip. Once he was done, he cackled delightedly and sat down at his desk.

McDuck paused when he saw a small note on his desk; flourishing black ink on the paper, saying words that squeezed painfully at Scrooge's heart.

'You haven't been keeping your loved ones close, Scroogey!'

-Magica

Who could she mean? If anything, Scrooge was currently surrounded by loved ones more than ever now since Donald was in town. He had spent time with Donald, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Webby, and even Daisy last night. Certainly she didn't mean his sisters?! Or Grandma Duck. He wasn't even sure Magica knew about them. That only left-

Dread filled the billionaire as he stood up from his chair on shaky legs, nearly tipping over the chair. Distantly, he thought to press the intercom button before demanding, "Mrs. Quackfaster! Call Duckworth! Get him back 'ere! I need t'get t'Sunnydale Trailer Park!"

He rushed out his office door to find Mrs. Quackfaster frantically dialing Duckworth's number. His dark steely eyes then landed on Drake, who was just walking up to his desk. The mallard in question looked exhausted and clearly had yet to fully wake up.

"Mr. Mallard!" yelled Scrooge frantically.

Drake jumped and nearly fell backwards; a hand pressed to his heart. "What!? I haven't even sat down at my desk yet!"

Scrooge flew by him, shouting back at him, "Never mind that now, Mr. Mallard! Yer comin' with me this instant!"

Drake's eyes rolled up to the ceiling as he sighed loudly and started following after the world's richest duck. "I'm not paid enough for this..." he muttered.

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With a cup filled with coffee glued to one hand and the television remote glued to the other; her hair up in her usual curlers, Iva Crackshell was ready for her morning soap operas. Yes, it was early in the morning, and true, she had stayed up late the night before, but if it meant she got to see her favorite dramas, sleep was to be ignored.

However, this morning, her usual routine was interrupted by the very annoying alarm clock that was blaring from her son's bedroom.

Tearing her eyes from the TV, she glared at the direction Fenton's room was. With a light growl, she set her coffee down and stomped her pink slippers down the tiny hallway and pounded on Fenton's door.

"FENTON! TURN THAT RIDICULOUS ALARM CLOCK OF YOURS OFF!" she yelled angrily.

"Whiffle HO!" she could hear the little Whiffle Boy themed clock cry out.

That only irritated her further. She grabbed for the doorknob. "Fenton! Wake up!" She turned the knob and started opening up the door as she asked, "Are you even in here!?"

It was hard to say at first if he was there, for anyone who wasn't Fenton's mother, but Iva was used to the messy chaos that was his room; along with the tousled and twisted collected of sheets and blankets on the bed.

Iva frowned, though not out of annoyance, but of concern. Fenton was known to be an early riser; generally waking up with the sun. On days that he didn't, his faithful Whiffle Boy alarm clock woke him up for him. It was very strange and unusual for neither of those things to wake Fenton up.

Iva stepped up beside the bed where she knew Fenton's head likely was and pulled back some of the blankets. There, nestled in a little cocoon and dressed in his onesie pajamas, slept Fenton in a deep sleep. With a click, Iva turned off the alarm clock.

Her soap operas, for once, not being the center of her attention and her motherly instincts kicking in, Iva put a hand up to Fenton's forehead. "Fenton, sweetheart, wake up. You should be at work by now."

Fenton quietly groaned and curled in further on himself. "Five more minutes..." he mumbled.

"Fenton, come on, I'm not gonna baby you all day! I'm missing my soap operas for this!" Iva snapped.

Fenton squirmed under the blankets and sheets, his legs tangled in them, as he slowly began to wake up. "Time s'it?"

"Time for you to get up, that's what time" replied Iva with her hands on her hips. She watched as Fenton sleepily rose to a sitting position. "Fenton, are you feeling alright? This is very unlike you."

Fenton pushed the covers off with one hand while using the other to rub at his eyes as he yawned. "I feel fine, Ma'ma, just sleepy."

"Well, get your tail feathers outta bed! You're a grown duck! I shouldn't have to drag you outta bed! I'm surprised McDuck hasn't called yet, demanding to know where you're at!" groused Iva as she headed out of the room.

At the mention of his paramour, Fenton's eyes shot open; suddenly more awake than before. He looked down at his clock and squeaked in shock at the time. Normally he was already at the Money Bin, getting ready for the day's work.

Fenton practically fell out of bed in his haste to quickly get ready. "Why didn't my alarm clock go off!?" he shouted so that his mother could hear him.

"It DID go off, you didn't hear it!?" came Iva's incredulous reply.

"No!" Fenton gave a girlish cry as he tripped while trying to find his tie. The thud he made when he hit the floor shook the trailer.

"I know you're runnin' late, Fenton, but please try to keep the trailer in one piece, would you!?" came Iva's annoyed tone from out in the living room.

"Ow! Ooof, I didn't know I could hurt that part of my body!" groaned Fenton as he got up from the floor. "OH hey! My tie!"

Minutes later, Fenton walked out into the living room fully dressed and noted that Iva was back to happily watching her operas.

Without taking her eyes off the television, Iva picked up and shoved several magazines into Fenton's face. "Ack! What gives, Ma'ma?! I'm running late, as you so pointedly reminded me!"

"You left them here last night. You realize McDuck is the richest duck in the world, right? It's going to be pretty darn hard to impress him."

Actually taking the time to look at the magazines and seeing what they were, Fenton's face suddenly turned red. They were less magazines and more brochures for ring designs. Fenton had gotten them in hopes to be struck with inspiration on how he was going to propose to the love of his life; if he ever found the courage to.

"That won't matter to Scroogey! He'll see that I got him-whatever it is I'm going to get him-out of love and devotion!" declared Fenton as he set the brochures aside and looked around for his briefcase.

"Uh, huh." drawled Iva. "This is assuming he'll even say yes. Cause we all know how well he took to even dating you. Not to mention that Southern bell he has history with. Who's to say he doesn't run back to her?"

Faltering slightly at the reminder of Glittering Goldie, Fenton replied as cheerfully as he could manage, "Naww! Scroogey wouldn't do that! Why, it was Goldie who encouraged me to date him to begin with!"

"So you say" drawled Iva.

"Well, it doesn't matter what you think, Ma'ma! You weren't there!" huffed Fenton. Seeing that Iva was once again fully engrossed in her shows, Fenton leaned down over the back of the couch with a smile and gave her a kiss on the temple before leaving. "Love ya, Ma'ma! See you later!"

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Duckworth pulled into the trailer park and let Scrooge and Darkwing off.

"Go on back to the mansion, Duckworth! If we need t'go anywhere else, we'll walk!" instructed Scrooge once he was out of the car. Duckworth nodded with a slight bow before getting back in and driving away.

"Walk?" echoed Darkwing incredulously.

Scrooge whirled around to glare at him. "Oh, please! You're a supposed crime fighter! Walking should not deter you in the slightest!" He then added under his breath, "Youngin's today..."

Without another word, Scrooge marched up to the trailer he knew Fenton and his ma'ma to live in. He knocked on the door.

"Go away!" came the surly voice of Iva.

Darkwing blinked as he took in his surroundings. "You sure this is the right place?"

Scrooge ignored him as he tried turning the door knob; not at all surprised to find it unlocked. He pushed his way through the threshold, much to Iva's chagrin.

"SHHHH! I'm waiting to see if Anthony is really going to marry his secret lover!" she hissed.

Darkwing stepped in tepidly after Scrooge, taking in the sight of Iva in her bathrobe and hair curlers. Before he could get a word in, Scrooge began talking.

"Mrs. Crackshell! Is Fenton here!?" he demanded.

Darkwing did a double take. "Mrs. Crackshell!?" He made a small choking noise in his throat. "This- This is Fenton's mother!?"

"Who wants to know!?" Iva shot a glare up at the vigilante. "McDuck, why are you bringin' strange purple caped clowns into my trailer!?"

"CLOWN!?" shouted Darkwing incredulously.

Scrooge clamped a hand on Darkwing's large beak; making the hero squawk and try to squirm away.

"Where is Fenton?" repeated the old miser.

Iva scowled heavily and turned to look at the older duck. "He just left for work."

"So he was here!? When!?" insisted Scrooge.

Darkwing slapped Scrooge's hand away and managed to free his bill from the other's clutches. He picked up his fedora hat; which had fallen off, and angrily put it back on.

"Just now! He just went to work!" growled Iva.

"Was he okay!?"

"YES!"

Taking a second to control his own growing impatience and anger with the woman in front of him; since she clearly didn't understand the seriousness of the situation, Scrooge said evenly, "Mrs. Crackshell, I am sorry t'bother yeh with all these questions, but I need to know if Fenton is alright. I have reason t'believe he might be in danger."

"Look, McDuck, I've told you, Fenton left not five minutes ago! You just missed him!" snarled Iva angrily, her eyes still glued to the television. "And if you must know, he was perfectly fine when he left! He just over slept, that's all! Goodness! You'd have thought he was dying or something with the way you're carrying on!"

Iva's words did not make Scrooge feel any better, seeing as how there was a chance that if his gut instincts were right, Fenton could very well be in danger.

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Fenton had just turned the corner of main street when he felt someone pull hard on his collar.

"ACK!" he cried out in panic and shock as he was pulled into an alley! With his eyes clamped shut, he felt himself get released and instantly put his hands into fists and readied himself for a fight. "Alright! What's the big idea!? I'll have ya know I won tenth place in a junior wrestling match once! I know how to throw a punch or two!"

"Fenton!" came McDuck's relieved voice. He pulled the tense accountant into a warm embrace.

"Scroogey?" said Fenton in confusion. He looked past Scrooge and saw Darkwing standing there, his Gizmo suitcase in his hands. "Darkwing? Gee, did I miss the memo about Take Your Favorite Superhero to Work Day? If so, I gotta tell ya Scroogey, I'm a bit hurt...I thought for sure you of all people would be more of Gizmoduck fan than a Darkwing fan."

Darkwing face-palmed with a groan.

Scrooge shook his head. "Nae, Fenton. Yeh weren't at work and I received a note from Magica. She said something that made me worry yeh was in danger."

Cocking his head to one side in thought, Fenton said, "Huh. I did sleep in, which is why I'm late and...well, as you can see, I'm fine."

"Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!" The shrill laughter of Magica de Spell filled the alley way. "I wouldn't be too sure of that!"

Darkwing, Fenton, and Scrooge all looked around them, hoping to find the source of the laughter. A poof of red smoke and Magica appeared behind Fenton, who was immediately grabbed by Scrooge. Fenton stumbled into the older billionaire as Scrooge hollered, "Stay away from us, Magica! I'm warnin' yeh!"

Magica giggled and hid her smile behind her hand, acting flattered. "Who me? Surely you aren't threatening ol' Magica, now?"

"Get us out of here, Darkwing!" shouted Scrooge, his glare never leaving Magica. The enchantress from watched them with large amused eyes.

"HOW!?" exclaimed a surprised Darkwing. He paused and then said, "Oh! Here!" He pulled out his hook shot and aimed it at the top of the large brick building they were next to. "Nothing like a handy hook shot which is capable of holding up to 1,000 pounds!"

Scrooge and Fenton huddled around Darkwing and all three of them grabbed hold of the gun's handle. Darkwing pulled the trigger and the three of them went flying upwards.

Just as their webbed feet left the concrete, Magica reached out and grabbed Fenton's ankle; pulling down hard. "AHHH! I'm falling! SCROOGEY!" The accountant wasn't able to keep his grip on the hook shot, causing him to fall back down to the concrete hard. Scrooge had reached for him as he fell but had only managed to grab the suitcase instead.

"FENTON!" screamed Scrooge as he and Darkwing propelled upwards to the roof. Scrooge's gazes stayed downward, past his spats covered feet to where Fenton was now left defenseless against Magica.

On the street, Fenton grumbled as he slowly began to stand up. He rubbed his tail feathers. "Ouch. That was far from a soft landing..." His eyes then landed on Magica and he yelped, taking a step backwards. ""W-What do you want!? Ya need me to count somethin' for ya?! That's typically why people want me around! I'm really good with numbers! And counting! All I have to do is look at a jar of beans and I instantly know how much is inside it!" he rambled in fear.

"Shut up" groused Magica. She quickly snatched Fenton's left hand, much to the accountant's panic. She whipped out a small knife from the inside of her sleeve and cut it deeply along the pal of his hand.

"HEY! What gives!? That hurts!" whined the accountant.

With a poof of magic, a medium sized jar appeared. She took a moment to watch the blood pool in his hand before flipping it over and having the blood spill into the jar. Fenton groaned as she put pressure of his hand in order to speed up the bleeding.

"Boy, had you wanted me to donate blood this badly, you could have just guided me to the nearest blood drive! Pretty sure this isn't a sanitary way to do it, after all!"

"Quiet, fool! You think that is why I want your blood!? Ha! No! I want your blood because it is time to put it in my potion! Wheels in plan are finally moving into action!" she cackled. Her voice then lowered and, making the jar float in the air, she used her now free hand to reach over and place it on his chest. Fenton tired to move away, but her grip on his hand was too strong. "And...thanks to your beating heart, Magica is able to make this all happen! Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!"

Fenton blinked in confusion. "My heart? What do you mean? What does my heart have to do with your potion!?"

"EVERYTHING! Nyeh heh heh heh! "

They both jerked in alarm when Scrooge's distant and anxious voice could be heard from way above them on the roof. "FENTON! I'LL BE RIGHT THERE! I'M GONNAE GET DOWN T'HELP YEH, LAD! DON'T LET ANYTHING SHE SAYS GET T'YEH!"

Up on the roof top, Scrooge sighed heavily after his shouting, currently knelt down at the edge of the roof top in order to see Fenton better. "Yech, this is awful! I donnae know what she wants with Fenton, but I don't like it! She's up t'somethin'!" He turned to Darkwing. "Darkwing! We have t'get back down there!"

Darkwing groaned. "You want to go back DOWN!?" he whined. "But I just worked so hard to get us UP here!" He groaned. "I suppose we have to though" he sighed in defeat. "You know it's easier to get up a building than it is to get down, right?"

Scrooge didn't answer, just looked away in annoyance. Until his eyes landed on the Gizmoduck suit case several feet away. His eyes flickered from Darkwing to the case.

Catching on to what the old miser was thinking, Darkwing immediately shook his head. "No way! Forget it, gramps! I'm NOT putting that damn suit on! I'm DARKWING DUCK! I don't need a suit to get things done!"

"Call me 'gramps' one more time and I'll see t'it yeh never get another job in yer life! Now, do this for me and MAYBE yeh'll still have a job in the morning!" snapped Scrooge furiously as he stood up and walked up into the vigilante's face.

Darkwing backed up, putting his hands up in surrender. "Fine, fine!" Watching the older duck back off, he commented as he walked over to the suit. "Boy, you really don't want Magica near Fenton. Why!?"

Scrooge seemed to be getting more and more irritated by the minute. "What part of ' she's an evil enchantress who can't be trusted', don't yeh understand!? Now MOVE-Oh, GIVE IT HERE!" He snatched the suit case from Darkwing's hands. "If yeh want something done right, do it yerself!"

Darkwing watched as Scrooge stepped away, placing the case down on the roof and backed up a few feet before calling out, "Blathering Blatherskite!"

Down below on the street, Fenton groaned as more and more of his blood spilled into the jar. Magica leaned in close and said smugly, "Just a little bit more dah'ling!"

"Scrooge won't let you get away with this!" Fenton snapped.

"Oh, you think so?" asked Magica tauntingly. She leaned in close to Fenton, who looked away. "Well, little lover boy, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your precious Scroogey is the reason you're IN this mess!"

Fenton's eyes widened. "That's a lie!"

"Is it!?" she jeered. "Then tell me, what happened in Sitka, France several months ago?"

Fenton stopped squirming, ignoring the numb feeling that was starting to make its way up his arm. "I-What does that have to do with anything!? And how do you know about that anyways!?"

"Just answer question!"

"We went to look for treasure, so what!?"

"Be more specific! Did you find the treasure then?"

Fenton opened his mouth to answer, only to realize he didn't know how. He stared at Magica.

"I'll take your silence as an answer. You can't remember can you?"

Fenton closed his eyes and forced his brain to remember the trip to France. They had found the Golden Heart, right? Surely they had. Scrooge would have gone into a depression of sorts had he not and Fenton would DEFINITELY have remembered that. They flew over seas with Launchpad and Glomgold. They got to the inn they had stayed, met the locals. They had found the old secret gardens beside the chateau. Then...

Blank. Fenton's memory went blank after that. After they went into the gardens, what had happened?

He remembered waking up back in the garden near where they had stayed. Scrooge had told him he had been knocked on the head and passed out. Then he remembered they went back home. Scrooge had reassured him that everything was okay and had left it at that. It was only now that Fenton was realizing any of this.

Why hadn't he realized he had lost so much time? Had they been there hours? Days? Longer?

Magica smiled, seeing the confusion written on the younger duck's face. "Do you find it strange that you can't remember anything from that trip? Surely Scroogey would have made sure you knew all about it, right?"

Angrily, Fenton used all his energy to rip his hand out of Magica's grip. The enchantress seemed unaffected by his sudden anger and looked carefully at how much blood she had collected, seemingly satisfied. "Look, I may not know what's going on here, but you just stay away from Scrooge and me, you hear!?"

"Big words for a little accountant!" giggled Magica. She leaned back down and said quietly. "Though don't be mad at me, dah'ling. I'm not the one keeping secrets from you. Your dear sweet Scroogey is! Nyeh heh heh! Don't believe me, ask him about Sitka, France yourself! I'll bet if you ask he'll brush off the subject and try to change it! Nyeh heh heh heh heh!"

There was suddenly a great large cloud of purple smoke and Magica whirled around to see Scrooge, inside the Gizmoduck suit, land safely on the ground thanks to the suit's propeller while holding onto Darkwing.

"I am the terror that FLAPS in the night!" Darkwing said through the smoke. "I am the-" Darkwing stopped in mid speech, the sound of him getting hit in the gut ringing in the air. Darkwing gasped loudly as the smoke began to disappear. "Gahh! I am the-hero who just got slugged in the gut-by an angry billionaire...Owww..."

Scrooge wheeled himself closer to Magica inside the Gizmo-suit as Darkwing stayed back and hugged his hurting torso. "I'm not in t' mood for theatrics, Darkwing!" To Magica he said, "Don't mess with him, Magica! I'm warnin' yeh!" warned Scrooge.

"Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh! Too late, Scroogey! He's already been messed with! And I do think your little lover boy will be demanding some answers now! Whoops! Suppose that is my bad! Nyeh heh heh heh heh!" With a puff of red smoke of her own, Magica was gone.

Whispering the words that would take the suit off, Scrooge clambered down and out of the suit, which fit itself back into the suit case automatically. Forgetting about the suit and Darkwing, Scrooge ran straight to Fenton.

"Fenton! Me treasure!" he gasped, kneeling before Fenton on the concrete. He enveloped him into a large hug.

"Hi, Scroogey" replied Fenton quietly and tiredly. He returned the hug, his face expression somewhere between blank and sad. He placed his chin on Scrooge's shoulder as they sat there for a long moment.

It was Scrooge who pulled away first, checking over Fenton for any injuries. "What did she do to yeh?! Are the tremors still botherin' yeh- Are yeh- Mother McDuck! Yer hand!" Scrooge had seen the bloodied hand and was now inspecting it closely. "We need t'get ya back home and have this looked at!"

Fenton winced. "Ouch...Heh, yeah, it stings a bit." he admitted. He looked back at Darkwing from behind Scrooge. "Hi Darkwing!"

Darkwing, still nursing his hurt ego from his failed entrance, nodded in the accountant's direction.

Fenton looked back down and saw that he was getting blood on Scrooge's jacket. "Cheese and crackers! Sorry, Scroogey! I'm getting blood all over your jacket!" exclaimed the accountant with no small amount of dismay.

"It'll wash out" the rich duck quickly dismissed. "Are you okay?"

Fenton nodded. "It doesn't hurt much, honest" he said on a positive note. "Just lots of blood."

"Magica did this to yeh, didn't she? But why though? What was to be gained?" He didn't give Fenton much of a chance to respond as he twirled around, looking for something. Darkwing was standing several feet away and his eyes widened; eyeing the hero's cape. Reaching over to the masked vigilante Scrooge grabbed the purple and pink cloth, much to Darkwing's dismay. Before Darkwing could react, however, Scrooge tore a long piece off the bottom of his cape off.

"Hey, hey, hey, hey!" protested Darkwing hotly. He gathered the remains of his cape closely to his chest. "You can't just rip my cape!" he whined.

Scrooge made a sound of disgust. "Oh, go bark up another tree, laddie. I don't want t'hear it!" He focused on wrapping the material tightly around Fenton's still heavily bleeding hand.

Outraged, Darkwing threw his arms up in the arm in indignation. "You see this!? You see!? I've been made fun of and called vain over this before, but this right here is why I keep so many Darkwing suits with me! So that when the world's richest duck decides to make my cape into rags on a whim, I have spares!" However, the vigilante's complaints fell on deaf ears. This only made Darkwing more upset. "No respect! NEVER any respect!"

Fenton answered Scrooge's earlier question. "Uh...well, I didn't cut my hand open myself if that's what you're asking. She wanted my blood, I guess. Though I still think the way she did it was definitely not sanitary."

Scrooge made a soft sound in his throat and shook his head with a small smirk on his beak. "Did she say anythin'?"

Fenton made an uncertain sound as Scrooge wound the ripped material around the palm of his hand tightly and tying it securely. "Sure, she said quite a bit. Though it was far from what I would call a pleasant conversation." Scrooge looked up and finally managed to make eye contact with Fenton, who seemed to be doing everything in his power not to meet his gaze.

Caving, Fenton said, "She said something about my heart being important and also something about a potion."

Scrooge had stiffened at the word 'heart' and pulled back to look as Fenton intently. ""Heart' yeh say?"

Fenton nodded and then mumbled, "She also said you'd know something about it..."

It was Scrooge's turn to look away.

"Uh, unless we want to be caught in what looks like a rain storm, I suggest we move this elsewhere." Darkwing's comment brought the other two ducks back to reality, snapping them out of the thoughts. He was looking up at the sky warily. In his hands he was tightly holding onto his torn cape. "I, for one, do not wish to be caught in a down pour. I would like to salvage what I can of my outfit, thank you very much."

Looking relieved at the distraction, Scrooge and Fenton both stood quickly. "Aye, that would probably be best. Come on, let's get a move on."

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"Here are the bandages ya wanted, Uncle Scrooge" announced Donald as he walked into the foyer. In his hands were several wrappings and bandages that would hold around Fenton's hand. "Mrs. Beakley said you wanted them. She's still trying to find the antibiotics."

Scrooge, Fenton, and Darkwing had immediately taken off to McDuck Manor; Darkwing having switched back to being Drake Mallard.

Fenton was sitting in one of the large red cushioned chairs while Scrooge stood next to it, cradling Fenton's bad hand. Drake was standing next to the large bookcase, watching uncertainly. He was out of his element at this point. He would have liked to have been able to go home, possibly back to bed, but Scrooge was insisted Drake come back to the mansion with them. And judging by the old miser's tone, he was not in a mood to be argued with.

Scrooge turned at the sound of the sailor's voice, a small smile of appreciation on his beak. "Ahh, thank yeh, Donald." To Fenton, he asked softly, "How yeh holdin' up, treasure. Yeh look tired."

Fenton nodded. "I AM tired, actually. And I don't know why." He slouched further into the large chair, still holding his hand out for Scrooge.

It was then that Donald noticed Drake standing off to the side. "Hey, who are you!?" he demanded.

Drake jolted, shocked that he was suddenly the center of attention. "You talkin' to me? Oh, gee, I thought everyone was ignoring me. Um, well, I'm Drake Mallard. Nice to meet you!"

Donald shook hands with Drake, a bewildered look on his face. "You a friend of Fenton's then?"

Drake shrugged. "The term 'friends' seems a bit strong..."

Scrooge, who was busy bandaging Fenton's hand, said impatiently without looking away form his work, "Mr. Mallard works for me, laddie."

Donald peered around the chair to see what was going on. "What happened?"

Fenton and Scrooge both ignored Drake's muttered question, "What did he say? I can barely understand him..."

It was Scrooge who answered loudly over Drake's mutter. "That woman from the other night? Remember her?"

"The black haired lady with the creepy laugh? Yeah" frowned Donald.

"She was the one who did this to Fenton" replied Scrooge. With a sigh, he pulled back from finishing Fenton's bandage and looked at his nephew straight in the eye. "I would prefer not to involve yeh, Donald, but I'm afraid feigning ignorance would be a bad move. Magica de Spell is up t'something. She's been after me Number One Dime for years and I fear she's no longer pulling any punches. She's full blown intent on getting what she wants from me and she seems t'be plannin' on takin' it out on all me loved ones."

Donald listened carefully, soaking all of his in. "Can't you just call the police, uncle Scrooge?"

Drake started to laugh at the very notion of the police being of any help, but after a quick glare from Scrooge, the shorter mallard began to cough and clear his throat in order to hide it.

Addressing Donald, Scrooge said evenly, "We are past the point of callin' the police, I'm afraid. She's much too strong of a foe for them to handle. Which is why we'll have t'take care of her ourselves."

Donald looked uncertain.

"If you want MY opinion-" began Drake brazenly.

"I don't" quipped Scrooge before he could continue. Drake clamped his beak shut with a scowl. Scrooge then pressed on by saying, "We need t'get to the bottom of all this. Figure out what she's after. Playin' defense isn't going to help us beat her." He pointed at Drake. "I want t'meet this Dr. Reginald Bushroot."

With a deadpan expression, Drake said, "You really don't. I've known the guy for years; trust me. No, you don't."

The rich duck growled lightly under his breath. "Quit testing my patience, Mr. Mallard! I want t'meet him! I think there may be a connection between wha' happened t'him and Magica's plans!" He looked down at Fenton, who looked half asleep. "You've met Dr. Bushroot haven't you?"

Fenton pursed his lips as he thought about all his encounters with the villains from St. Canard. "Briefly. I mean, he's a member of the Fearsome Five and I've gone up against them before."

"Huh?" asked a very confused Donald.

Drake, Fenton, and Scrooge suddenly seemed to remember Donald was even in the room and they were borderline from blowing Darkwing's and Gizmoduck's covers. Scrooge placed a gentle hand on Donald's shoulder. "Lad, would yeh be a dear and go and tell Mrs. Beakley to hail a cab for Mr. Mallard. He'll be on his way back to St. Canard to pick up Dr. Bushroot."

"I'm doing what now?" chirped Drake."No, I'm not going to pick up that wilting pansy!"

A scathing look in Drake's direction promptly shut him up. Donald left the room after giving them all another weary look.

Once Donald was gone, Fenton said, "Scroogey, I don't think you realize what you're asking. Bushroot is a dangerous criminal!"

"Aye, I understand that more than yeh think! But the fact of t'matter is: He may be the key to figurin' out what is goin' on! I want t'figure out what Magica is plannin'! I suspect she's got this Negaduck lunatic helping her. Which makes me even more anxious! Magica does not work well with others and the idea of her working together with another known criminal worries me!" explained Scrooge.

"Alright, fine, gramps! I'll go and get Bushroot. But I doubt he's going to be very much help" insisted Drake.

Scrooge slammed his fist down on the coffee table, making Drake and Fenton both jump. "Tartan me feathers! Don't yeh get it!? It's less about whether Dr. Bushroot will know how t'help us an' more about figurin' out what Magica WANTED from him! Magica is an enchantress! She's creatin' something!"

"She DID mention a potion" piped up Fenton.

Scrooge nodded. "Precisely! She's collectin' ingredients!"

Drake thought about this, a sour look on his face. "An enchantress? Pfft, pleeeeease. You don't want to talk to Bushroot. You need to talk to the lovely Miss Morgana McCawber! She might know how to help!"

"Fine then" relented the old miser. "She did seem quite pleasant the other day. Invite her as well, Mr. Mallard."

"Gladly."

Mrs. Beakley then poked her head into the room. "Uh, Mr. McDuck? You had asked for a cab for Mr. Mallard?"

"Aye, yes. Is it here yet?"

"No, but it's on its way" was her reply.

"Best get goin' Mr. Mallard" advised Scrooge. "Mrs. Beakley will see you out."

Drake muttered under his breath as he followed the cheery house maid out of the room.

"Scroogey?"

Scrooge turned to Fenton. "Aye, lad?"

Fenton looked away, more nervous than Scrooge has ever seen him. Even on the day he had decided to ask the older duck out on a date in the Klondike. "Did we ever find the Golden Heart?"

Scrooge paled slightly at the mention of the legendary treasure he had been hell-bent on getting three months ago. After a moment, he huffed and brushed the question off, "Donnae be askin' silly questions, Fenton. Yeh know we did."

"Actually, I don't know. I remember hardly anything from that trip" confessed Fenton pointedly. He sat up straighter in his chair.

Scrooge looked away. "Aye, yeh did hit yer head awful hard on a rock when yeh were there. Comes t'me as no surprise" he said airily.

Fenton looked down at his lap, his expression heartbroken. "Magica told me you're keeping something from me. At first I didn't want to believe it, but the fact that I can't remember anything from that trip makes me suspicious." Scrooge opened his mouth to retort, but Fenton said louder and more passionately. "But I don't care! I see what she's tryin' to do here, Scroogey, my love! And I refuse to fall for it! She wants me to turn against you! Yeah, sure, maybe you're keeping secrets from me, but..." His voice broke and sniffed. "While the idea of you lying to me makes me want to pull my feathers out, I want to fully believe you're doing it for a good cause! To protect me!"Fenton stood up and gave Scrooge a fierce hug.

Caught off guard from this passion-driven speech, Scrooge could do nothing but hug him back. "Fenton...I'm not-"

Fenton pushed away and shook his head. "No, no, Scroogey! It's fine! You don't have to say anything! I trust in you! If it was anything truly important, you would have told me! I believe in that!"

Scrooge stared at him for a moment before his gaze softened. "Oh, laddie, what did I ever do t'deserve yeh?"

Fenton chuckled and gave his paramour a kiss. "I dunno. But I'd like to think it musta been something amazing!"

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Chapter Text

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Chapter 8

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With a poof of magic, Magica appeared back in her lair.

"Nyeheheheheheheh! Plan is workin out so perfectly!" Magica cackled, pushing her hair out of her face.

Negaduck watched with a raised eyebrow from where he was sitting and cleaning his beloved chainsaw.

"McDuck has no idea what he has coming to him!" Magica continued with glee, ignoring the other duck altogether.

"Ahhh, so you got accountant's blood?" cawed Poe from where he was perched on a ledge above Negaduck.

Magica nodded. "Indeed!"

Negaduck frowned. "You're collecting blood already? I thought you said that wasn't until later."

"Things are progressing quickly, little mallard!"

"Stop calling me that! And you haven't collected Darkwing's blood yet, have you!?"

Magica shook her head. "I was leaving that for you, dah'ling."

A devilish grin appeared on Negaduck's face. "Just say when, toots. I'll give you all the blood you need and then some..."

"No! You cannot be killing Darkwing!"

"Care to run that be me again, toots!?" snarled Negaduck in a dangerously low and menacing voice.

"Not until potion is complete and my plans have come to fruition!"

Negaduck growled in frustration and pulled down on his fedora hat.

The sound of loud bubbles reached their ears and Magica gave a cackle of excitement before rushing over to a smaller cauldron that she was not using for her master potion. She peered inside and saw that the green liquid contents were now bubbling and swirling. With a flick of her wrist, a image appeared. It was like watching a video. Negaduck walked over and was in awe to see that it was live feed from inside Scrooge McDuck's manor.

"Are you spying on McDuck?" he asked incredulously.

"Always!" huffed Magica distractedly, her eyes never leaving the bubbling contents.

They both watched and listened as McDuck spoke with Drake and Fenton.

Seeing the sight of Darkwing in his civilian clothes made Negaduck scoff. "He's such a dweeb." Magica glanced wordlessly between the two similar looking mallards as Negaduck continued to insult Drake. "I mean, seriously. The sweater vest and tie? What the hell kinda fashion taste is that!? None, that's what!"

Without any further interruptions, Magica and Negaduck watched the scene before them.

The potion focused in on Drake as he crossed his arms and tapped his voice. "Alright, fine, gramps!" Drake's voice echoed slightly from the cauldron. "I'll go and get Bushroot. But I doubt he's going to be very much help."

Negaduck's frown deepened and turned to one of confusion. "Bushroot? What do they want Bushroot for!?"

"SHHHH!" hissed Magica as Scrooge slammed his fist down on the coffee table. "Trying to listen!"

"Tarten me feathers! Don't yeh get it!? It's less about whether Dr. Bushroot will know how t'help us an' more about figurin' out what Magica WANTED from him! Magica is an enchantress! She's creatin' something!"

"She DID mention a potion" piped up Fenton.

The two of them then heard Drake's reaction. "An enchantress? Pfft, pleeeeease. You don't want to talk to Bushroot. You need to talk to the lovely Miss Morgana McCawber! She might know how to help!"

"That flimsy floof knows NOTHING" grunted Magica.

"Fine then" they heard the old miser relent. "She did seem quite pleasant the other day. Invite her as well, Mr. Mallard."

"Gladly." Drake's response echoed and faded away as Magica had chosen that moment to whisk the video away.

Negaduck clucked his tongue and gave Negaduck an unimpressed look. "Alright, so what does any of that mean?"

Magica was rifling through a few things on her table ingredients and didn't respond until she picked up what looked like a small elephant horn and tossed it into the other larger cauldron that was brewing her master scheme. "It means that ol' Scroogey is grasping at straws as he attempts to figure out what I'm up to! But he shall NEVER figure it out! Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh!"

Negaduck rolled his eyes. "Hell, I'm WORKING with you and I don't even fully know what you're plannin'!"

Magica pointed a warning finger at him as she glared. "Do not get mouthy! You shall know soon enough! Soon the potion will be ready for Crackshell's blood and then he will really start to feel it!"

"Feel what?" groused Negaduck.

"The curse I put on his heart!" she laughed victoriously. "Nyeh heh heh heh he-" Her laugh was cut off midway by the sound of loud heavy metal emitting from Negaduck's coat pocket.

"What is that noise?" demanded Magica. She hated it when her maniacal laughter was interrupted. It ruined her mood.

With a roll of his eyes, Negaduck opened his jacket and pulled out a cell phone from his breast pocket. "My phone." Without glancing to see who it was, he clicked the button and put it up to his ear. "This is the phone of Negaduck and unless you want to be skinned alive, this had better be good."

"Oh, believe me, Negaduck, you's is one a da last person on d'is Earth I wants t'be talkin' to's, but you've gone and upset my superiors!"

Negaduck's eyebrows scrunched together in shock and confusion. "Steelbeak!? What the hell do you want!?"

"I'll tell ya what I want. I want yous to stop your crone-y Megavolt from hackin' into all the Dapple cell phones! You of all people should know that F.O.W.L. is always keepin' tabs on stuff like that!" came Steelbeak's voice on the other end of the line.

Shooting Magica an irritated look, Negaduck replied back, "Sorry, iron beak, but I don't hack and tell. Not my style. Besides, since you obviously don't know, I don't communicate with those knobs anymore. The Fearsome Five is long gone."

"Dat's a real shame" mocked Steelbeak over the phone. "Stop him anyways!"

"Watch it, Steely" growled Negaduck. "You may work for F.O.W.L., but that means nothing to me! I'll still destroy you if I must."

At the mention of the dastardly organization's name, Magica's eyes widened. "He works for F.O.W.L.!?"

Negaduck raised an eyebrow; clearly irritated that she was speaking to him while he was on the phone. To her he snapped, "Yeah, what of it!?" In the phone he said, "No, no. I'm talkin' to the broad-"

Magica turned, her eyes frantic as the wheels in her head ran at top speed. With a devious grin, she turned back to Negaduck. "Where is he at!?"

Negaduck blinked. "What?"

"Tell me where this Steelbeak is at! He may be useful to plans!"

Negaduck groaned in annoyance as Steelbeak demanded on the other end of the line, "What is goin' on over d'here!?"

"Ugh, where are you at, Steals? My..." he regarded Magica coldly. "...associate won't shut up till she knows your location."

"Pfft, like I'm gonna tell yous!"

"Just tell me!"

"Fine! Have it your way! I'm in de Clam Islands of d'Carribean!" snapped Steelbeak.

Negaduck repeated his location to Magica, who instantly cackled with glee and whirled around to face her spell book. Negaduck watched, only half-listening to Steelback's angry complaints. Lowering his phone, Negaduck demanded, "What are you doing!?"

"SHHH!" hushed Magica as she flipped through the pages of her spell book. Once she found the page she was looking for, she laughed haughtily. She began moving her hands and arms erratically as she mumbled words from a long ancient language.

"Are yous listenin' t'me, fedora brain!?"

Steelbeak's angry demand and insult snapped the yellow clad villain out of his thoughts. Raising the phone back up to his ear, Negaduck replied coldly, "Insult me again, Rusty, and I'll be sure to make your life a living hell. If it hasn't crossed your tiny mind, some of us have better things to do than sip martinis in the Caribbean!"

"I AM pretty partial d'vodka, now that yous mention it" snorted Steelbeak offhandedly.

Negaduck rolled his eyes, wondering why he was evening allowing his phone call to continue. He glanced over at Magica, who was still muttering the encantation to a spell. Purple mist began swirling around above her.

On the other end of the line, Negaduck could hear Steelbeak shouting in alarm and panic. "Hey! Wha's goin' on here! A purple tornado!?"

Negaduck's eyes widen as he puts two and two together. Before he can say or do anything however, he hears static on phone, making him pull it away from his ear. Magica cried out at the same time and the purple mist began intensifying and surrounding her before it disappears altogether.

When it was all said and done, Steelbeak was standing there in the middle of Magica's hideout, his cell phone up to his ear in one hand and, just as Negaduck has predicted, a vodka martini in the other.

Steelbeak was dressed in his usual high class white suit and polished shoes and currently wore a gobsmacked expression on his face.

Clicking his phone to end the call, Negaduck shoved it in his pocket and smirked at the taller fowl. "Heh, I guessed right. A martini." He swiped the martini from the other's hand, drank it in one gulp, then threw the glass over his shoulder.

Steelbeak didn't even seem to register that Negaduck has stolen his drink, he was too busy staring with wide eyes at his sudden appearance at Mount Versuvius. "What in d'hell!?" he swore under his breath.

"Greetings, Steelbeak! I have been hearing about you!" announced Magica, gaining back both of their attention.

Steelbeak snapped back to reality and his anger along with it. "Hey! Are yous the one who brought me here?!" He put away his phone and marched over to her angrily. "I don't now who's d'ink you are, but yous is messin' with the wrong guy, lady!"

With a flick of her wrist, Magica made it so that Steelbeak's metal beak solidified together so that he couldn't open his mouth at all. Steelbeak grunted loudly as he noticed this and tried in vain to open his mouth.

"It would be nice if you stop making empty threats" she warned. "Now, since you can no longer cluck, you shall listen." Steelbeak stopped his efforts to talk and glared daggers at her. "Glare at all you like, but I have proposition for you!"

Negaduck and Steelbeak both crossed their arms and listened to what Magica had to say.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Liquidator silently slid into the Greenhouse via the front door; actually using it properly instead of sliding under it in a puddle since he had a bag of Hamburger Hippo take-out in one of his hands.

He frowned when he noticed that Megavolt and Quackerjack were no where to be seen. They had been poking around the Greenhouse for the last two days, popping in and out as they pleased; much to the chagrin of Liquidator and Bushroot. The two crazed villains had been there messing around in the front yard when the liquid canine had left, but now they were no where to be seen.

"Reggie?" he called out to the quietness of the Greenhouse.

When he didn't immediately hear anything in return, he tried not to worry. There was then a rustle from the bushes and Spike came bounding over to him happily, large long tongue wagging in his large toothy mouth. "Hey, Spike." The ex-salesman patted the Venus fly-trap on the head. "Where's Reggie, boy? Hmm?"

Spike made some little grunts as he jerked his head towards the back of the Greenhouse. Without waiting, Spike took off, leaving Liquidator to follow him. As he stepped further into the lush green plants and towards the back, he began to hear the familiar mutterings of his favorite botanist.

"No, no, no-I have it, its right here! Just a touch of this-and then some of this-" Bushroot was talking to himself. A bad habit the mutant had picked up on early on in his life.

"Reggie?" asked Liquidator quietly. Bushroot was facing away from Liquidator and the last thing he wanted to do was startle his friend. However, his soft approach seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

"Oh, goodness me!" Bushroot cried out, holding up a vial of liquid. "I nearly forgot one of the most important ingredients!" He gave out a nervous shrill chuckle that confirmed Liquidator's fears: Bushroot was on the brink of a panic attack.

Liquidator sighed as he watched Bushroot frantically try to pull together the elixir that he had once used to mutate himself all those years ago. "Reggie!" he said louder. "I'm back with some food. Stop what you're doing and eat something. Please!"

Bushroot paused in what he was doing, his back facing the other mutant. Bushroot swallowed thickly before saying, "Oh, Buddy, you're back!" He was hunched over the table, the collar of his white lab coat sticking up and hiding half his face.

Liquidator held up a bag from Hamburger Hippo, reaching around so that Bushroot would see the bag. "Craving fatty foods? Want to eat lots of grease? Hamburger Hippo is the way to go!"

Bushroot flinched and took a step back from the bag, clutching onto the vials tightly. "Oh! Umm...Well, I suppose I COULD stop for a moment..." He looked down at the vials in his hand as though he had no clue as to how they got there. He gingerly set them on the table before turning to face Liquidator and wringing his hands together. "So...what did you bring me?" He wasn't sure he was prepared to flat out take whatever was inside the bag.

"Ahh, a curious entrepreneur! Won't just accept, instead needs to see the finer print! A man after my own heart!" gurgled the watery canine before giving Bushroot's cheek a chaste kiss. He opened the now soggy bag and pulled out a wrapped sandwich, some chicken tenders, and french fries. Raising a finger, Liquidator reached back into the bag. "Also! The cashier at the joint was completely terrified of me and was ever so kind to give me 20 packets of ketchup and everything that was currently in the cash register!"

Bushroot watched in awe as his partner in crime waved the cash out in front of him. "Wow! Always nice to make a profit, I suppose!"

"Indeed! A whole $300! Who knew they kept that much money in there at a place like that!" scoffed Liquidator as he set the money aside. "Now" grunted Liquidator, his voice becoming more serious. "Eat, Reggie. You need something in your stomach. You haven't eaten anything since you turned back into a normal duck. That's been nearly three days now."

Bushroot nodded, though he was looking quite skeptical of the food that had been placed in front of him. He opened the sandwich with his newly reacquired fingers and grimaced at the greasy and sloppy burger that met his eyes. "You know, years ago, when I first mutated myself, I would have KILLED to be able to eat one of these, since fertilizer didn't interest me much at the time, but now that I can...Can't say I want to."

Liquidator opened his mouth to verbalize his objection over that statement, but promptly shut it as he eyed the food in question. He had to admit, it wasn't the most appetizing food he had ever seen; but the fact of the matter was, Bushroot needed to eat something! Trying to muster some humor out of this, he said, "What? No love for grease and carbs?"

Bushroot, who had picked up and chicken strip and debating whether or not it was edible, looked up and shook his head. "Not particularly." He sighed and took a bite out of the chicken. After a bit of chewing he nodded in satisfaction. "This is good!"

Liquidator beamed. "So, x-nay on the hamburger but a win for the chicken tenders! One outta three is better than none!"

After his second bite, Bushroot closed his eyes and sighed. "It really does feel good to know I'm eating regular food again..."
Liquidator hated to bring it up, but he was rather curious as to how the scientist's efforts into becoming a mutant again was coming along. "So, how is everything going with the re-vegetation of Reggie Bushroot?"

Bushroot rolled his eyes at his friend's choice of words. "Not good. I mean, I was able to remake the formula I used, no problem!" He stuffed a piece of chicken into his mouth before moving over to where the examination table was behind his work desk. He moved to pull the lever that would rise the table up to the ceiling, but nothing happened. "Firstly, my table no longer goes up and down! Don't know what happened there! I mean, I haven't used it years, sure-Not since my last run in with..." he paused, as though afraid to say the same. "Rhoda...But, sometime time between then and now, it broke. I blame Dandren. He broke a lot of my stuff several years ago when he and the plants went crazy."

Liquidator nodded solemnly, remembering the particular oak tree. Dandren had once been a loyal friend to Bushroot; his trustworthy confident, before something snapped inside the sentient tree and he went insane with power. "You never did find out why he turned on you, did you?"

Bushroot shook his head. "No. I DO remember finding some kind of purple substance mingled in his charred remains, but it was washed away in the rain before I could save some to analyze. Even then, I was too distracted and would have forgotten about it anyways. That makes me think something may have gotten into his roots? But I've looked in the Greenhouse and its clean of anything like that. Oh well, I guess."

"MEGSYYYYY!" came the high pitched whiny voice of their fellow jester villain.

Both Bushroot and Liquidator turned to see an angry Megavolt stomp his way towards them and collapse into a chair behind Bushroot, who popped another piece of chicken into his mouth. "I'm done speaking to you, Quacky!"

"Ahh, is the sight of alarmingly bright colors straining your eyes? Do you find yourself drained from the sound of jangling bells? Then, my dear sir, its time you find yourself in better company!" announced Liquidator.

Bushroot didn't seem at all bothered by Megavolt's arrival. Rather, he seemed uninterested for he turned back to his work after eating another piece of chicken.
Megavolt, fowl tempered at ever, stopped his way over to the two of them, placing his hands on his hips. "I can only take so much!"

"Wait five minutes. You'll forget your annoyance" suggested Liquidator candidly.

The electrical rodent glared at him. "Oh, ha ha! Very funny! That's right! Make fun of my bad memory why don't ya! How ORIGINAL!" There was a beat before he looked over at Bushroot's hunched over form at the table. "What are you up to, Bushy?"

"Trying to figure out how I'm going to re-mutate myself! My operating table no longer moves up and down and..." he looked up to see a clear blue sky and a bright sun shining down at him. "And not a cloud in the sky, which means NO thunderstorms. Or better yet, no LIGHTNING! Its the last part of the process back to a mutant plant duck!" He shouted in aggravation. More quietly he added, "Still find it hard to believe I'm so desperately trying to become a mutated outcast once again." He took a fresh syringe and filled it with the concoction he'd been slaving over the last few days.

Liquidator stepped in and wrapped an arm around the scientist. "Ahh, but as a mutant you were finally able to be at peace with yourself and be yourself, more than before at least, and that's all that matters!"

"I just don't know how long I'm gonna have to wait for a thunderstorm for that lightning..." he mumbled dejectedly.

"Gotta hand it to ya, Bushy, the light bulbs in here are surprisingly happy" commented Megavolt. "They're not whining about being used too often. They say you keep them shut off most of the time to-"

"YOU!" screamed Bushroot in excitement, pointing at Megavolt.

Megavolt took a step back in surprise. "Say what now?"

"Megs, I need you to electrocute me!"

Megavolt scratched underneath his plug hat before saying, "I'm sorry, I just want to make sure I'm hearing you correctly. You want me to WHAT now?"

"Electrocute me after I inject this into my arm!" clarified Bushroot as he held up the concoction he had brewed.

Megavolt squinted at him, as though waiting form the punch line. "You're giving me PERMISSION to electrocute you?"

Bushroot's shoulders sagged impatiently. "Yes!"

"Wow. This is new. Never had this happen before. Someone WANTS me to electrocute them" Megavolt was muttering to himself.

"Say, Megs, where's Quackerjack?" voiced Liquidator, interrupting the conversation.

Megavolt scowled. "Oh, the guy who just made fun of my bad memory actually expects me to REMEMBER where I left Quacky?"

As soon as the words left his mouth, the three of them could hear Quackerjack's maniacal and gleeful laughter coming from outside the Greenhouse. They all turned in time and watched through the glass windows to see Quackerjack bouncing up and down on an enormous rubber duck inflatable and chasing Spike around the yard. The poor Venus Fly Trap was doing itself to stay away, but each bounce from the rubber duck was several feet, causing the dog-like plant to yip and cry in alarm.

"YEEEE RIDE 'EM COWBOYS!" they heard Quackerjack scream happily.

Bushroot and Liquidator turned back to Megavolt. "We can see why you couldn't take any more of him" deadpanned the liquid canine.

Bushroot shook his head before grabbing Megavolt's gloved hand. "Come on, Megs! Please! As soon as I drink this, I need you to electrocute me! That should trigger the chemicals in my body and change me back to a mutant!"

"Alright, have at it" shrugged the rodent.

Bushroot pushed aside some feathers in the crook of his elbow and carefully pressed the needle of the syringe into his arm. With a grunt of pain after the initial pierce, he pushed down so all the liquid inside entered into his blood. He the sighed and pulled it out, tossing it in a trash bin. He looked up at Megavolt expectantly as he rubbed at his now slightly irritated arm. "Alright, Megs. Hit me with your best shot."

Worriedly, Liquidator was only able to watch. "Uh, Reg, are you sure about this? This won't hurt you will it?"

"Oh, it'll hurt" replied Bushroot nonchalantly, much to Liquidator's horror. "But I've always had a low tolerance for pain anyways, so..."

Megavolt grabbed hold of Bushroot's hand as though they were shaking hands after a business agreement. "Do ya want me to count down or...?"

Bushroot shrugged. "You can."

"From ten?"

"Or five, whatever, I don't care!"

"So, counting down from five or ten?"

"I don't care!"

"I just wanna know how far down I have to count!"

"JUST DO IT!"

"FINE!"

Without further prompting, Megavolt sent a strong current of electricity from his gloved hand to Bushroot's white feathered own. The reaction was instant, the scientist's whole body going rigid as the electricity coursed through his body. Bushroot's eyes were blown wide open, his pupils dilating till they were tiny dots. After a few seconds, Megavolt let go of his hand and the other immediately fell to the ground in a smoking heap.

"Reggie!" cried out Liquidator in alarm.

The mutant dog pulled Bushroot close and pulled him into his lap. Bushroot coughed and cleared his throat with a deep grunt. "Okay...Now I just need sunshine. Direct sunshine. That's what happened last time."

Looking to Megavolt, who simply shrugged, Liquidator rose uncertainly, carrying Bushroot with him. He guided the weakened duck outside with Megavolt trailing behind.

All three of them winced at the brightness of the sun, which started making Bushroot twitch and spasm uncontrollably. "Ooooh" moaned Bushroot. "The sun feels so good!" He fell down on his knees and ran his hands through the grass beneath him. He watched as his fingers and the rest of his feathery body slowly turned green; darkening by the second. His fingers started to meld together into the leafy digits he was now accustomed to. His floral hair and anthers grew thickly on his head and his webbed feet separated back to the roots they once were.

After several minutes, Reginald Bushroot was back to being a proper mutant plant duck.

Bushroot looked down at himself happily and began laughing slightly hysterically. "I did it!"

Watery arms encircled his shoulders before Bushroot found himself being assaulted with wet kisses on the neck. He laughed and squirmed. "Buddy, you know I'm ticklish!" he squeaked in his baritone voice.

"Ahh, there's my favorite floral duck" said Liquidator lovingly with a sigh.

Bushroot gasped just then, pushing Liquidator away slightly. He made a slight hush sound before listening intently to something. Gasping in joy, Bushroot clapped his leafy hands together. "Oooh! I can hear my plants again! Awww, they're all saying hello to me! I missed hearing you all!" He paused. "Except you, Bushland!" He turned and pointed an accusing finger at a small bush beside the Greenhouse. "You're STILL complaining! I'm tired of hearing you COMPLAIN!"

It was then that Spike collided into Liquidator and Bushroot, yipping fearfully and kicking his root legs and digging them into Bushroot's torso. "UGH! SPIIIIKE!" whined the mutant plant duck. "Get off me!"

"Uhh..." groaned Megavolt from where he was standing near them. "We have company..."

"INCOMING!" screamed Quackerjack at the top of his voice. They could hear the sound of the rubber duck squish against the grass but before they could move out of the way, Quackerjack landed on top of Megavolt, Bushroot, Liquidator, and Spike in one big dog pile. "Ha ha ha ha hah hah hah hah hah hah!" Instead of getting off them, Quackerjack stayed above them, trying his best to look around the girth of the rubber duck to see them below. "WHOOPSIE!"

A tirade of angry and furious complaints came from the four of them. Liquidator was able to get out from beneath without problem in his liquefied state. "Let this be a lesson, folks. Quackerjack and large rubber duckies do NOT mix and are hazardous for one's health!"

The jester dramatically shook his head, causing the bells at the end of his hat to jingle loudly. "Maybe for YOUR health! Not miiine!"

As Bushroot and Megavolt slowly squeezed their way out from the rubber ducky's surprisingly heavy weight, none of them noticed the cloud of purple smoke appear.

"I am the terror that FLAPS in the night! I am the sewing needle that pops your balloon!" On cue, there was a high pitched sound of air hissing out of the side of the rubber duck and a second later, the whole thing collapsed in a loud hissing sound. Quackerjack squeaked as the air shooting out from the rubber duck sent him flying several yards away before falling to the ground with a thump.

"I am DARKWIIIIIING DUCK!" The purple smoke evaporated and Darkwing was seen standing there dramatically.

"HEY!" cried Quackerjack indignantly from where he was still on the grass several yards away. "You ruined my FUN!"

Darkwing rolled his eyes.

Megavolt crossed his arms. "What do you want? We haven't done anything in ages!"

Darkwing looked to the electrified rodent, always wondering if Megavolt remembered they once were friends and even on good terms in the last few years. He assumed by Megavolt's snippy question, that he didn't and a small part of him felt heart broken at the thought. "Look, I'm just here to deliver this to Bushroot." He pulled a letter out from the inside of his jacket.

"Me?" piped up Bushroot in surprise.

Quackerjack, who had walked back over to them, tried intercepting the letter before it could reach the flowery mutant.

Darkwing snatched it back and held it tightly to his chest, glaring at the jester. "Watch it, Chuckles! is your name Bushroot?"

Showing all his teeth, Quackerjack replied, "My name can be whatever you want it to be, Dorkwing."

Darkwing made a face of absolute disgust, his feathers even turning a shade green. "UGH! Never say that again. Ever." He continued to watch the jester warily as Bushroot took the letter and opened it.

Once he scanned the letter with his eyes, Bushroot looked up at the fedora wearing duck with wide eyes. "Scrooge McDuck wants to meet with me!?" He didn't even seem phased when Liquidator peered over his shoulder and snatched the letter out of his hand, which immediately ruined the paper from being readable.
Darkwing sighed deeply. "Sadly. For whatever reason, he's got in in his head that he needs to talk to you."

"About what!? What could a duck like him have anything to do with me!?"

"He thinks there's a connection between what happened to you and what happened to-" he paused. "Oh, I just now realized you're still a mutant." He looked to Liquidator. "I thought you told Morgana that Negs un-mutated him."

Liquidator grinned. "Ahhh, she told you that, huh? Well, I'm a man of my word! That really did happen! But the brilliant mind of Reginald Bushroot didn't allow that to stop him! He mutated himself back!"

Darkwing looked Bushroot up and down before shaking his head. "Well, anyways, Bushy, he wants to talk to you. He has it in his head that with your help, we might be able to figure out what Magica is up to."

"Who's Magica. Have I met her?" inquired Megavolt. "Wait. Isn't she the tall magic lady with the bats who dates Darkwing?"

Without evening thinking, Darkwing snapped back in reply, "We're not dating." There was a beat of silence before he cleared his throat, his face now cherry red as he pulled at his collar. "And no, that's Morgana, dim bulb." Before any of them had a chance to comment, he pushed on. "So, are you coming or not, Bushy?"
Bashfully, Bushroot rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged. "I guess so? Do we have to leave right now?"

Liquidator then stepped forward. "I'm coming too!" he declared.

Darkwing shook his head. "No chance, sewer drainage. McDuck only wants to see Bushroot."

"Don't care! Scrooge McDuck has been an idol of mine since I was a young pup just starting his first lemonade stand! The way he does business is inspiring and I've always dreamed that someday he would want to meet up with me and partner up in one of my businesses that I started from the ground up!" explained the canine with a look of nostalgia on his face.

"Oooh, that's right! I forgot you told me that once!" said Bushroot.

Feeling out of the loop and hating every minute of it, Quackerjack stomped his foot down. "Why do THEY get invited but Megs and I don't!?"

Face palming, Darkwing groaned. "The only one INVITED is Bushroot so Bushroot is the only one GOING!"

Liqquidator then stepped up into Darkwing's face. "How exactly do you plan on stopping me from going, Dorkwing?"

Refusing to be intimidated, the vigilante scowled and said, "I'm sure I could quickly find some quick dry cement around here somewhere." Taking a step back, he said louder and more confidently, "Besides! I only have room for one extra person on my Ratcatcher!"

"Then what's the limo for?" came Megavolt's question.

Darkwing blinked owlishly before turning around and looking to see that a limo was in fact parked right next to his Ratcatcher. He groaned, "His butler tailed me. The old coot had his butler TAIL me!" Growling in frustration, he looked over and his mood only soured by the way the Fearsome Four were now marveling at McDuck's limo. Duckworth then chose that moment to step out from the driver's side. A moment later, Morgana stepped out. "Oh! And he's already picked up the other half of my currently complicated dating life! Why doesn't he just do my job FOR me!?"

"Mr. McDuck wanted to make sure you didn't run into any trouble or experience any...detours" Duckworth called over stiffly.

"Hello, Dark!" waved Morgana.

Feeling his face heat up, Darkwing just wanted to melt into the ground as he awkwardly waved to Morgana.

"Looks as though there is plenty of room for us all NOW, Darky!" sneered Quackerjack gleefully.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Back in the depths of Mount Versuvius, Magica was currently alone as she worked on her masterful potion. She had sent Negaduck and Steelbeak out several hours ago to get a few things prepped for the rest of her upcoming plans. It was perfect, for now was the time that she needed to concentrate.

Poe was perched near her on a little tree stand on her work table. He watched as she went two and fro around her space finding this and that and checking and re-checking her spells for the potion.

"Did you remember the black grass?" he asked her.

Magica raised a finger in the air. "Ahh! Thank you, Poe! I knew I was forgetting something!"

"Eh" shrugged Poe. "You always forget the Black Grass, in any potion!"

She grabbed a small wooden box and opened it, checking to make sure it was what she needed. Nodding to herself, she tossed in the black grass and the potion hissed and bubbled louder. "Now I should be ready to start the REAL fun!" She walked over and grabbed a vial of blood from her tray of vials. "It is finally time to get things ROLLING! Once I add in the little accountant's blood to this potion, it CANNOT be undone! Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh heh!"

Poe flapped his wings up and down cheerfully. "One step closer to being a duck again!"

"Yes, Poe! Soon you shall be my real brother again and soon I shall be the most powerful witch in all d'world! Heh heh!" bragged the enchantress.

Uncorking the vial, she carefully held it over top of the potion and watched as the blood slowly trickled to the end of the glass and fell into the potion. "It is the beginning of the end for Fenton Crackshell! Nyeh heh heh heh heh heh!" Her laugh echoed throughout the cavern as the last of his blood was poured in and red steam poured out of the sides of the cauldron and onto the floor.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

"I have a bad feeling about this, Scroogey. Inviting a member of the Fearsome Four is serious business!" Gizmoduck was saying as he and Scrooge stood outside the McDuck mansion waiting for everyone to arrive. They had thought it best that Gizmoduck be present, not to mention Fenton refused to have it any other way.

"I know what I'm doin' Fenton" chided Scrooge softly. Gizmoduck made a grunting noise, causing Scrooge to glance up at him warily. "Everythin alright Fenton?"

"Hum..." replied Gizmoduck uncertainly. His voice was more Fenton's voice than the robotic hero's. "Just a wave of tiredness..." He said this a bit more deeper to keep his regular voice hidden.

The sound of Duckworth pulling into the lane pulled away his attention. Scrooge turned his eyes to the limo and watched it like a hawk. He waited for Duckworth to open the doors to see Bushroot.

However, much to his annoyance, it was quickly obvious that more people had arrived than he had wanted.

Quackerjack didn't even bother waiting, instead he kicked the door open with his foot and cried out in glee. Jumping out and throwing confetti all over McDuck's immaculate lawn, he cried out: "Let the party BEGIN everyone! Hahahaha!"

Scrooge scowled at the colorful jester and whirled around to glare at Darwking, who had stepped out from the other side of the limo to stand next to him. "This was NOT what I told yeh t'do, Darkwing! I told yeh to bring Dr. Bushroot here! Not this eyesore of color!"

Darkwing rolled his eyes. "Don't whine to me, gramps! You wanted Bushroot, I BROUGHT you Bushroot. Not my fault his idiot friends had to tag along!" They watched as everyone else filed out of the limo, Megavolt and Morgana being the last.

Scrooge looked murderous as more villains he had not invited stepped out of the limo. The last one stepping out being Bushroot; the person he actually wanted to see. It didn't help that Quackerjack took that moment to wrap his arm around Megavolt's neck and point the old miser out. "Look, Megsy. It's the World's Richest Duck in the FLESH!"

Megavolt peered around Quackerjack to see who he was referring to. "Sorry, wait. Who now?"

Quackerjack laughed and stepped over to tap Scrooge's top hat as he grinned at Megavolt. His lack of attention made him jump when Scrooge's cane slammed into his arm. "OUCH!"

"Don't yeh dare touch me, yeh confetti riddled clown!" snarled Scrooge.

Gizmoduck moved to intervene, rolling over closer to McDuck. "Cease, you criminal fiend!"

Liquidator cut him off before the metallic hero could continue. "Now now! Is that any way for new partners of business to be introduced!?" Quackerjack crossed his arms and backed off as Liquidator turned to Scrooge and offered his hand. "Pleasure to meet you, Mr. McDuck! The Liquidator, at your service! I've always been a fan and marveled at your skills at business! You are quite the genius of business!"

McDuck eyed the liquid hand with caution, having no intentions to shake it. His dark eyes turned up to meet where the ex-salesman's should be. "Ahh, Liquidator. Once known as the thieving crook known as Bud Flood."

Liquidator was only startled for a moment before he gained his suave confidence back. He ignored the 'thieving crook' comment and focused on being flattered that his economic icon knew of him. "Ahh! It would seem my history of successful business proceeds me!" he praised himself. "I remember looking up to you, Mr. McDuck! Even early on in my entrepreneur and business owning days!"

Scrooge's eyebrows raised up in mock interest. "Did yeh now?"

Liquidator nodded.

"So, yeh admired me hard work and fair tactics in t'stock market, hm?"

"Most certainly! It was quite inspiring!"

"That's odd. As someone who was a big fan of mine, yeh certainly didn't listen t'any of my principals of business. For wasn't it lyin' and cheatin' yer way t'the top how yeh got so far ahead?"

Liquidator suddenly looked crestfallen.

"And how did tha' end up workin' for yeh?" sneered Scrooge, looking Liquidator up and down. Without giving the watery canine a chance to react, Scrooge pressed on. "D'not insult me with flattery, Mr. Flood. I remember yeh from yer days before villainy very well. If yeh recall, my water bottle factory was t'only one that didn't get contaminated back then. It's because I didn't HAVE one. Instead I was the one owning all t'factories that made the filters to decontaminate the water before it were even put into bottles. Not to mention my chemical factories that yeh bought the chemicals from t'begin with!" He angrily pointed his cane accusingly at Liquidator. "Yeh used MY chemicals from MY chemical factories t'contaminate all of St. Canard's water sources! And who do you suppose the city turned to when they learned which chemicals ruined t'water? ME! They tried t'sue me for YOUR crimes since it was MY chemicals yeh decided t'use! Didn't think of THAT before yeh tried weaseling yer way t'me good side, did ya!?"

Liquidator was, in a word, gobsmacked. "I-I...Why-Why did they try to sue YOU!?"

"Because, yeh moronic marauder, its a bit difficult to sue the actual person t'blame when they're nothin' but a slippery puddle of drain water! And fer someone who claims t'be a great businessmen like yerself, yeh ought t'know that people will sue anyone s'long as they get their money!" argued Scrooge. "Thankfully, being the 'Genius of Business' as you so eloquently called me, I was able to refute and argue my case against my charges. So I suggest, Mr. Flood, that yeh stay far away from me."

Darkwing let out a long grieving sigh. "Oookaaaayyyy" he groaned, stepping in front of Liquidator who looked like a kicked puppy. "Listen, while we're all still young here!" This earned him a pointed look from the older miser. Darkwing had the decency to look guilty at that look. Shaking it off, the vigilante continued, "THIS is the guy you wanted to see!" He gestured to where Bushroot had quietly stepped up next to the now cowed and embarrassed Liquidator.

Bushroot shook with nerves as Scrooge's eyes landed on him. "Ahh! Dr. Bushroot then?"

Bushroot nodded. "T-that's me, M-Mr. McDuck. Honored to meet you!" He offered his hand out of politeness and habit, though wasn't surprised when Scrooge simply blinked in surprised at the leafy appendage. "Oh! Sorry! Lycium Nycantropies such as myself don't have the luxury of fingers! Heh!"

Seemingly more calm around the green mutant than he was around Quackerjack or Liquidator, Scrooge nodded. "Understandable. And it is lovely t'see yeh again, Miss McCawber" he nodded to Morgana. "I see there are several unwelcome guests who have showed up." He peered around Morgana. "Ahh, yes, Megavolt. I've of course heard of you and all the power outages yeh cause."

"Yeah, that sounds like me" shrugged Megavolt, who still didn't quite know what was going on. "I swear they're not always intentional! Well, sometimes they are. Okay, they almost always are unless they're accidental. I'm trying to save my poor luminaries from slavery, alright!?"

Scrooge raised his eyebrows but didn't comment. Instead he changed the topic altogether. "Thank yeh all for comin' despite having not been invited."

"We're party crashers!" Quackerjack pointed out jovially.

"This is not a party!" snapped Scrooge. "Negaduck and Magica are up t'somethin' and we need to figure out what that is! And I'll say this once and only once, I want you -" He stopped mid sentence when he heard a groan from Gizmoduck.

Fenton slumped forward inside the Gizmoduck suit and nearly lost balance on his unicycle lower half. That was when the shaking began. The metallic pieces of the suit clattered against each other as Fenton found himself shaking uncontrollably. "Scroogey..." He whimpered. "Something is definitely wrong in Denmark..."

Scrooge turned to Gizmoduck, which unfortunately meant, everyone else else turned to focus their attention on the robotic hero.

"What's the matter, Bolts? Outta battery?" sneered Megavolt from behind Quackerjack. His sneer suddenly morphed into empathy as he mumbled, "I know that feeling ALL too well, buddy..."

Darkwing looked nervously back and fourth between Gizmoduck and the Fearsome Four, who obviously didn't know it was actually Fenton underneath the suit. "Uhh...Giz? You gonna be okay?"

"I-I don't know! I can't stop trembling! I'm suddenly so exhausted! It doesn't make any sense! I overslept this morning! Which means I shouldn't be tired from lack of sleep! If anything, I had too much!" whined Fenton, his voice no longer Gizmoduck's.

It was then that the shaking became so violent that a gloved hand fell to the ground, revealing Fenton's feathered hand. Scrooge gasped as he watched the Gizmoduck suit fall off Fenton piece by piece. "Blathering Blatherskite! I'm sorry, but the suit is too heavy! I can't keep this thing on anymore!" The unicycle wheel fell and Fenton fell to his knees.

"OOOOH! Are we gonna get to see the duck behind the machinery!?" giggled Quackerjack. "The super top secret identity of Gizmoduck himself!? Where's popcorn when you need it!?"

Scrooge grunted in panic, his eyes darting to the bewildered looks the Fearsome Four were giving them. "Darkwing!" He hissed. "DO SOMETHING!"

"Oh, dear! I could try a disillusion spell! That might help!" suggested Morgana as she watched everything happen.

"No time, Morg!" snapped Darkwing, huddling close to Fenton has the last pieces of the Gizmoduck suit fell off. "Kneel down and whatever you do, don't let your helmet come off!" he hissed into Fenton's ear as he used his cape to block the view of the Fearsome Four.

Fenton did just that, holding on tightly to his helmet as best he could through the heavy shaking. Al the pieces of the suit where magnetically being pulled back into the suitcase it was kept in and the helmet was hell bent on going back in with the other pieces. With the help of Darkwing, the two of them kept the helmet in place while he and Scrooge started pushing Fenton through the front door to the mansion and away from the Fearsome Four.

"Keep the Four distracted, please, Morgana, sweetie!" called Darkwing over his shoulder as they rushed inside and slammed the door behind them.

Crickets were the only thing that could be heard in the aftermath of what had just taken place.

"Heh..." began Quackerjack nonchalantly. "Wardrobe malfunctions, am I right?"

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Finally pulling off the helmet now that it was safe to do so, Fenton groaned and fell to the floor. His entire body was shaking uncontrollably and he leaned on his arms, his legs underneath him.

Scrooge knelt down beside Fenton and felt his forehead. "Fenton! Me treasure, what's wrong?"

Fenton shook his head. "I don't know, Scroogey, dearest, but I'm suddenly so tired! A-And I can't stop shaking!" His voice sounded slightly hitched from the shakes.

"The tremors 'ave gotten worse laddie" commented Scrooge in worry. "Yeh've been having them for days now. Don't think I didn't notice!"

Fenton sunk in on himself, looking ashamed and guilty. "I didn't say much about them, cause I didn't think they were that serious! Honest, Scroogey!"

Darkwing cleared his throat loudly. "Would someone PLEASE tell me what is going on!? Right now seems to be a mighty bad time to be having an identity crisis! You nearly revealed your secret identity to the Fearsome Four of all people! Tell them something like that and the whole criminal world might as well know!"
Scrooge scowled at Darkwing's lack of empathy. "Can yeh not see Fenton is clearly sick, ya caped buffoon!? If yeh must know, Fenton has been wracked with slight tremors in his hands and arms for days now. It appears they just got much worse!"

Darkwing scratched his head underneath his fedora. "Should I suggest some nerve medicine then?"

This only worsened Scrooge's mood further. "Yeh can take yer remarks somewhere else, yeh insensitive swine! Go and make yerself useful by watching after the Fearsome Four! You were the one who brought all four of them here to begin with! I had only asked for Dr. Bushroot! Instead yeh bring me a circus!"

Darkwing grunted at the insults. "I didn't bring them with me WILLINGLY! Those four are like fleas! Once you have one of them on you, you have them all!"

Scrooge growled in anger as he guided Fenton's hunched over form closer to him. The accountant's forehead was now resting on Scrooge's chest. Taking an arm and pointing to the door, McDuck yelled, "JUST GO!"

Thoroughly intimidated, Darkwing raised his hands up in surrender before darting out of the mansion, but not befor saying, "Geez, someone needs a nap!"
Ignoring the vigilante, Scrooge turned to Fenton, who seemed to be half asleep. "Fenton? Fenton, are yeh gonnae be alright?"

Fenton shrugged the best he could in his current position. "I guess? I don't know. I can't stop shaking!" He looked up at Scrooge. "I am trying REALLY hard not to shake and I just can't! And I just feel so drained all of a sudden! Like I have no energy! I feel like I should be in my spaceship pajamas and sleeping!" He curled in on himself a bit before pulling himself up into a sitting position and looked at his paramour in the eyes.

Scrooge gulped, not liking how serious Fenton was being. A serious Fenton was never a good thing. It left a bad taste in his mouth, for the young lad was usually so bright and innocent and filled with life. Scrooge didn't like any of this and it didn't help that he knew he was most likely the cause of Fenton's troubles.

"What's going on, Scroogey? I have a feeling you might know what's happening to me. Does this relate to what Magica said to me? About the Golden Heart?"

Scrooge looked like a cornered mouse about to get eaten by a large grinning cat. His eyes darted back and forth as he pulled on his collar. "T'be honest, laddie, I think it does..."

Fenton groaned as Scrooge helped him into a chair. "I was afraid you were gonna say that Scroogey, my paramour..." He looked away and Scrooge awkwardly and guiltily stood there and waited. "R-Remember the time we went out into the Klondike with G-Gladstone and I kept messing things up because I was so nervous around you?"

"Aye, laddie. I remember."

A particularly strong tremor went up Fenton's spine before he continued. "B-Back then...I didn't really know what I was feeling about you. Gladstone h-helped me figure it out, in his own standoffish way. And...A lot of the stuff that happened out there could have been avoided if I'd just told you the truth."

"Aye. But if I recall correctly, when ya finally DID tell me, it was in public and everyone thought ya t'be heavily drunk and yeh went and made a fool of yerself" laughed Scrooge in an attempt to lighten the mood.

Fenton sighed. "And I learned that keeping secrets didn't help. It was better once I told you everything..." He raised a shaky hand to his head and rubbed at it. "Though, I'm pretty sure I still have a soft spot from where you hit me on the head with your cane."

Scrooge made a sound between a laugh and huff and ran his fingers through the tufts of hair on Fenton's head.

"I had a point to this..." confessed Fenton, blushing as he looked at his paramour sheepishly.

Scrooge nodded. "I understand what yer tryin' t'say, lad. That this old coot should 'ave told yeh sooner what happened in France. Since we both think that whatever is currently ailin' yeh, seems t'be connected."

Fenton nodded and the older duck pulled a blanket off another chair and threw it over the accountant's shoulders. "I didn't even realize I didn't k-know until Magica brought it up."

Scrooge nodded and continued to run his hand through Fenton's hair. "I never told you because, I'm not proud of what I allowed t'happen, Fenton."

Fenton looked up at Scrooge with big shiny eyes, and for a moment, the old miser wondered if the younger duck was going to cry. But instead, Fenton scooted over and made room for Scrooge to sit down. It was a tight squeeze for them to both be sitting in the large cushioned chair, but neither of them minded it.

"We found the Golden Heart. But it wasn't what it was cracked up t'be. Long story short, laddie, is, you, being the heart sick fool ya are, sacrificed yerself so I could get that Heart." whispered Scrooge. His voice was low and filled with regret and sorrow.

"I sacrificed myself? But how? Y-You make it sound like I gave my life up for it" questioned Fenton. "Which, yes, that does sound like something I would do. Anything for the apple of my eye!"

Fenton's joke fell flat for that only made Scrooge wince and look away. "Laddie, yeh did sacrifice yerself. I honestly don't know how yer still alive, but I thank me lucky stars every day that you are."

A heavy and tense silence filled the room as the two just stared at each other while Fenton processed this. Finally, Fenton squeaked, "What?"

Scrooge pulled his hand away from where it was still resting on Fenton's head and pulled off his glasses, rubbing between his eyes. "There was a part of t'legend no one knew about. We found ancient texts on t'wall down in the caverns that explained it but at t'time I was too treasure driven t'care. But they said in order to obtain t'Golden Heart, one had t'sacrifice someone they loved." He stared at Fenton. "And that person was you, Fenton. And you knew it was gonnae happen. Yeh even tried t'warn me. But I didn't listen and..." his voice broke. "Yeh wanted t'make me happy so badly, that ya gave up yer life so that I could have that cursed Heart!" Scrooge seemed to be holding back some tears which he quickly wiped away.

"So, how am I alive? What happened to the Golden Heart?"

"Glomgold took it. It didn't triple his fortune like it claimed to do, but I believe that's only because he didn't sacrifice anyone he loved to get it like I did. As fer how yer still alive? I don't know. Yeh were so cold for so long, Fenton...No life to yeh...And then yeh just started breathing again."

"So...I'm technically dead?"

Shaking his head quickly, Scrooge was quick to hush him, wondering if he would be needing to calm himself or Fenton down more. "Nae, Fenton! Nae! I -I mean, technically you WERE dead or...eh, appeared to be dead! But, you're alive now! See!?"Scrooge placed a hand on Fenton's chest, just over his heart. "See? You have a heart beat. Pumping blood! That wouldn't be the case if yeh were dead!"

Fenton thought about it for a long while, neither of them speaking."But I still died..."

Scrooge groaned and pulled Fenton closer to him. "Not a day goes by where I'm not wracked with guilt, Fenton, me treasure!" He pressed a kiss to the accountant's forehead.

"Well, I mean...You say I knew it would happen to me, so...I guess I brought it upon myself, right?"

The old billionaire shook his head. "No. I brought it upon you by not listening to yer warnin's. Instead I snapped at you and treated you horribly." He sighed. "Let me go get yeh a glass of water."

Scrooge quickly went and got the accountant a glass of water. As he walked down the hallway towards the kitchens, he pulled off his top hat and groaned. He had been stupid to believe this wouldn't eventually come up. Not talking about it had just been so much easier!

When he returned with the water, Fenton looked up at him with love shining in his eyes. "Awww, Scroogey!"

Perplexed by the sudden change in mood, Scrooge gawked at him. "What?"

"It was true love that brought me back!" Fenton gushed.

There was a small part of Scrooge that wanted to cringe. He was never the type to believe in such things as true love. But it appeared to be the only explanation to what had happened down in those caves all those months ago.

"Aye, that could have been it" he replied quietly. "But do yeh see why I didn't want t'bring it up? I was willing to risk yer life fer treasure laddie! It might as well have been one of me nephews I was sacrificing! I told myself years ago, when Donald came t'me to watch over the boys, that I would never take them fer granted. I messed up several times on t'way, but I knew they were worth more than all the treasure and money in t'world! And what I did in France was inexcusable."

Getting on shaky feet, Fenton pushed himself up and hugged Scrooge tightly. "Thank you for telling me, Scroogey, my dearest. I mean, I can't say I'm completely without anger and hurt that you'd allow that to happen, but, I REALLY feel awful right now and I just want hugs from my paramour because I love you, Scroogey!"

Scrooge chuckled nervously and held onto him tightly, trying hard not to let the unrelenting shivers bother him. "I love yeh too, Fenton. We'll sort all this out, I promise."

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