Della Duck back on Earth. And everybody was thrilled.
Scrooge had leapt up onto the table and danced for sheer joy when they’d gotten the news. Della Duck had found a way off the moon and back to planet Earth! She was coming home! Uncle Donald had cried, his shoulders looking like a thousand pound weight had been very suddenly thrown off of them. A bounce resided with each step, a sparkle remaining permanently within his eyes.
“We ‘aft to get things, ready!” Scrooge exclaimed as he rushed from the dinning table and out the door. “We doon’t want her sittin’ in tha’ hospital too long, now do we? Beakly! Start the preparations! She’ll stay right here—in the mansion. She’ll have the best care tha’ money can buy!”
Della duck was back on Earth. And everybody was thrilled… everybody, except for Louie.
Don’t get him wrong. He was over the moon when he’d first heard the news. He cheered and screamed and jumped in the air with everyone else.
“We’re finally gonna meet her!” Dewey cried over the shouts. Huey jumped off the chair and next to him, beaming.
“I wonder what she’s like!”
Mom was coming home—she was back! Finally, after over a decade, they could reunite with the one person they’d loved and missed the most in their entire lives. She could take care of them—she could finally love them… Louie stuffed his hands in his pockets, the smile faltering as a little voice whispered a single question that ruined it all…
But would she love them?
He blinked. After all… it had been over a decade since she’d last seen them—and they were still eggs back then. People changed. It was a fact. Louie felt his shoulders slump ever so slightly as he backed away from the group. It wasn’t like she was required to love them… she didn’t even know them.
Louie turned and left the dining room—making his way up the stairs and into his room. She had left them once before… what if she was going to do that again?
~~~ break line ~~~
Della Duck was coming home in the morning. And Huey and Dewey were practically vibrating.
“When do you think she’ll take us on our first adventure together?” He asked as he shifted in his bed. Louie scowled as he curled deeper into the blankets.
“Just go to sleep, Dewey.”
“Will she take us someplace we’ve never seen before? What if she wants to take us to space!”
“Think of the stories she’ll have for us! I wonder how many space-adventures she’s had!”
“My question is how did she survive on the moon for so long?” Huey peaked a head over the side of the triplet’s bunkbed. “I mean, scientifically speaking, it’s kind of impossible.”
“I have so many questions for her,” Dewey shifted again. Louie grit his teeth. “Like—what do you think—has she been all over space or just the moon? How come she didn’t come back sooner? What kind of daring things did she have to do to survive? What does—”
“Dewey, shut up and go to sleep!” Louie snapped. The room fell quiet, save for the squeaking of the mattress above as Dewey leaned down to look at him.
“Uh…” Dewey exchanged a glance with Huey above him before continuing. “Louie, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine!” Louie pulled the cover high over his shoulders. “Just--go to sleep already.”
Huey was already climbing out of his bed and sliding down the ladder. “You don’t sound fine. In fact, you sound the opposite of fine.”
“Yeah,” Dewey agreed as he followed Huey down and sat gently on Loui’s bed. “What’s going on?”
Louie let out a huff as he sat up. It was hard to make out their expression in the dark, but he knew they were probably worried. Louie swallowed and stared down at the blankets twisted tightly in his clenched fists.
“Do…” he paused for a moment. “Do you think Mom loves us?”
Dewey gave a scoff as Huey cocked his head to the side.
“Of course she loves us!” Dewey exclaimed. “She’s our mom—that’s her job!”
“Yeah,” Huey agreed. “Why wouldn’t she love us?”
“Well,” Louie gave a shrug. “Think about it. We blamed Uncle Scrooge for her disappearance but we never really considered that she’s the one who stole the rocket in the first place. I mean—why would she do that if she knew we were going to hatch soon?”
Dewey and Huey had both fallen silent. Louie felt his stomach churn at the ongoing quiet.
“I-I don’t like it,” he tried to continue. “But I think it’s a possibility we need too-“
Louie clicked his beak shut as Dewey looked up, eyes narrowed.
“Our mom loves us and has been trying to get home for over a decade! Uncle Donald and Uncle scrooge have tried everything to bring this family back together again, and it’s not fair to them or to Mom to blame them for what happened!”
Huey nodded and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Yeah, Louie. I understand where you’re coming from but, I think you need to try and be more positive. Mom’s been through a lot—I heard the doctor telling Uncle Donald over the phone that her muscles have atrophied quiet a lot from the lack of gravity—and her welcome back tomorrow should be as smooth as possible.”
“Besides,” Dewey spoke up. “If there are any problems, we’ll face them like we always do. Together.”
Louie was quiet. They didn’t understand. They didn’t fear what he did. All they could think about was the image of their mom in their minds. He cleared his throat and gave a swift nod. “Yeah, you’re probably right. I guess I was just overthinking things.”
Huey smiled and gave Louie a pat. “Everything is going to be fine, Louie.”
Louie hmm’ed in agreement and gave another swift nod.
“Alright—it’s already pretty late and we’re going to need all the energy we can for tomorrow.” Huey jumped up and began to climb up the later. Dewey followed close behind and collapsed into the bed, the frame shaking. Louie flopped onto his back and bit the bottom part of his beak.
“Goodnight, guys!” Huey called out.
“Goodnight,” Dewey responded. Louie rolled onto his side, arms wrapped tightly around his twisting stomach.
“Night.” He whispered. His heart hammered against his chest and he felt as though a hand was trying to claw its way up his throat.
Della Duck was coming home in the morning. And Huey and Dewey didn’t understand him.
~~~ Break Line ~~~
Della Duck was here. And Louie didn’t know what to do.
His feet were stuck like glue to the carpet in the entryway of the mansion. His hands stuffed tightly into his hoodie pocket, his teeth clenched to keep his beak from quivering. Dewey bounced from one foot to the other, one hand had a bunch of balloons and the other holding up one end of a Welcome Home banner. Huey held the other end of said banner, a grin splitting his cheeks as he watched the door.
“Okay!” Donald’s voice could be heard just outside the door. “One step at a time—there we go! You got it!”
The doorknob turned. Louie felt his stomach drop. Uncle Scrooge entered the house first—opening the door wide.
“Welcome home, Della,” he whispered as Donald helped Della into the house. She stood on shaking legs, her arms wrapped tightly around Uncle Donald’s shoulders as he held her up. Louie shook his head and took a step back. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
“Boys?” Della held a hand over her beak, eyes brimming with tears. “Is… Is that really you?”
“Mom!” Dewey gave a cry and rushed towards her—arms stretched out and open. Huey had tears streaming down his face as he followed suite. And Louie? Louie felt panic like he’d never felt it before.
Della Duck was here… and Louie? Louie did the only thing he could do.
His feet tore up the carpet stairs three at a time. Uncle Donald called his name as he tore around the corner and disappeared from sight.
Louie had faced death countless times. He’d claimed cursed treasures, faced off with mummies, and accomplished the impossible with his family. Louie’s vision blurred as he ran blindly down the fancy hallways and dodged expensive décor. He’d fought shadow people and helped take down Magica De Spell for goodness sake!
So why was he running?
Louie yelped as his foot caught on an upturned bit of carpet and he crashed into the ground. He sat up and rubbed his chin, a scowl in place. Coward… While it was true that he’d done all those things… it was also true that he’d run away just as many times—if not more—when faced with danger. Louie blinked rapidly as he scooted into the corner. He brought his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms tightly around them.
How many times had he wanted to run while his brothers had stayed behind to fight? To solve the mystery? To finish what they’ve started? What did he contribute to those adventures? Nothing.
He was a selfish child who was only concerned with making a quick buck.
Della Duck was his mom… She was a pilot, and adventurer, and an astronaut all in one! She climbed the greatest mountains, crossed the deepest valleys, and explored the scariest of jungles. She’d faced death and laughed in it’s face countless of times and then, just to top it off, she went and explored space! By herself! Louie buried his face in his knees and yanked the hoodie over his head.
How could she possibly love a son who was terrified at every turn? How could she love someone who was so motivated by money he’d scam his only family? How could she love a boy who ran away from his mother just because he feared what she would say?
How could Della Duck possibly love someone like him?
A hand came down gently on his head. Louie startled and looked up. Uncle Donald knelt next to him, a sad smile displayed on his face. Louie rubbed at his eyes and looked away.
“Uncle Donald, I really don’t need to hear what—”
Donald didn’t wait to hear what Louie had to say. Instead he bent forward and scooped him up in his arms.
“Oh, Louie…” Donald whispered as he patted the boy on the back. “It’s okay… It’s okay.”
Louie sniffed and pulled back. “Uncle Donald, I don’t know what to do.”
“Come with me,” Donald stood. He helped Louie to his feet and placed a gentle hand on his back. “It’s going to be just fine.”
With a light shove, Donald began to push Louie back down the hallway.
“Where are we going?” Louie tried to resist—his feet sliding along the carpet as Donald continued to push him. They went around the corner, and Louie realized with a gasp that Donald was taking him right back to the entryway. “Uncle Donald! What are you doing?”
“Helping you along.” Donald answered swiftly as they approached. Louie opened his mouth to snap—perhaps try to persuade his uncle that he needed more time to process, maybe just to shout at him… That’s when Louie heard the shouting.
“Della--- Ay swear to all things ‘holy!” Uncle Scrooge could be heard shouting from the entryway. “Yoo’re going tah—Curse me kiltz! Yoo’re no’ suppose’ tah be walking!”
“I don’t care what I’m not supposed to do!” Della shouted. “I’m going to see my son—boys, you’re doing great! Keep helping me. Uncle Scrooge has no power over you now.”
Uncle Donald muttered a curse under his breath and rolled up his sleeves, hurrying the rest of the way down the hall and to the stairs. Louie followed cautiously and peaked a head around the corner.
Della was halfway through the entryway, Dewey and Huey on either side of her, supporting her with groans as they struggled to get her across the room. Uncle Scrooge was attempting to take her from the boys to stop her, a scowl on his face as she continuously pushed him away.
“Della!” Donald shouted as he rushed down the stairs and saddled up next to her, taking her from Dewey and Huey. “What are you doing?”
“I’m going after my son—what do you think I’m doing!” Della snapped. “I haven’t seen him for over a decade and I’ll sooner fly back into space than forgo my first hug!”
She took a deep breath, screwed her eyes shut and gave a furious roar. “Now get out of my way!”
“Louie!” Huey gasped. He rushed up the stairs and grabbed ahold of his sleeve. Louie tried to pull away with a scowl. “You have to come downstairs right now!”
“Yeah—” Dewey was next to him, grabbing the other arm. “Mom’s about to lose her mind!”
“No—hey wait!” Louie yelped as the two all but dragged him down the massive staircase. They stopped right at the bottom. Louie felt his stomach rolling and twisting itself into knots as he came face to face with Della.
She stared down at him, her eyes wide. Louie looked away, shame heating up his cheeks.
And suddenly she was throwing herself out of Donald’s arms and wrapping her arms tightly around Louie. Her knees hit the carpet with a thud, her body shaking at the strain. Louie grunted under the sudden weight and held her up as best as he could.
“I-I’ve missed you so much.”
With a start Louie realized she was crying. He struggled for a moment, a lump growing in his throat. Della suddenly reached out and grabbed Huey and Dewey, pulling them into the hug.
“H-How could you miss me?” Louie whispered. “You don’t even know me.”
“I don’t need to know you,” she whispered as she cradled his head against her shoulder, and held her boys tight. “To know that I love you.”
Della Duck was finally home. And everyone was thrilled… everyone, including Louie.