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Remissionem

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Scrooge McDuck: the richest duck in the world. He has more money than one could ever dream of, and he made it square. On top of being a businessman, the duck’s a world-renowned explorer. Solving mysteries and rewriting history is his pastime, and his family shares in the love of adventure...that is, all but one. Donald Duck is not as graceful as his uncle, not as smart as his twin, and much more prone to getting hurt than having fun. After losing Della to the call of the great unknown, his view of the “family business” soured even more. However, his three nephews, Della’s kids, have shown the same passion their mother and great uncle shared. After many deliberations with himself, he finally conceded in allowing the triplets to accompany the entrepreneur in his travels.

There were, of course, strict rules to follow. Donald doesn’t just give the responsibility of his nephews’ lives to anyone. Even with his inhibitions, he relinquished his family to Scrooge McDuck. Heaven help the old miser if something were to happen to those three. Donald had already lost one family member too many, and he’s determined not to lose another.

The sailor had made a personal vow of no more adventuring. Those days were long gone for him. He had never felt as much of a rush and received such enjoyment out of it as his kin did, which is why he’s currently relaxing on the hammock of his house boat. His family has another journey planned for today, but rather than worry about them returning safely, as he usually does, he attempts to keep his mind at bay with a nap. But fate never seems to be on Donald’s side, and at a loud shout of his name, he’s awakened by the thwack of his face meeting the boat’s wooden floor.

With a groan, he rubs his head as his eyes open sleepily. In front of his beak are spat-clad feet, and he doesn’t need to guess twice to know who’s interrupted his beauty sleep, “Scrooge?” He sits up with a scowl. He should ask why the old duck is on his boat, but then again, his boat is in Scrooge’s pool. Feeling rather agitated at the rude awakening, his mood is more combative than normal, “What do you want?!”

The Scottish duck pushes away the slight pain in his chest at the absence of ‘Uncle’ before his name. That’s been increasing in regularity ever since the events of the Sunchaser. Maybe his nephew had only been referring to him as that in front of his great nephews all this time? After his reputation had been dirtied in their eyes, Donald has been more frequently dropping the ‘Uncle’ and simply calling him ‘Scrooge’. He despises that.

But that’s not what he’s here for. Ever since the Shadow War and nearly losing his family for good, he’s been trying to rekindle the relationship long lost between him and his nephew. It’s been a rocky road at best, and the two of them have been known to lose their tempers at a drop of a hat. So today he chooses to keep the smile on his beak as he addresses the duck kneeling before him, “Came teh invite ye. Teh kids ‘n ah thought it might be fun teh have a sort of...” he waves a hand around, trying to come up with the words, “...family adventure.”

He can feel his fight or flight instinct kicking in. Scrooge is skilled at many things in life, talking to his own kin, however, was a skill he did not possess. Part of him wants to run and pretend he never asked while the other is still hopeful his nephew will accept his offer. Though the rather confused look that comes over Donald’s face as he stands up does nothing to soothe the old duck.

The sailor crosses his arms in front of his chest, “You know I don’t adventure anymore.” He looks his uncle up and down. The old man is good at hiding his feelings, but Donald has known him for years.

Scrooge was obviously nervous, “A-Ah knoo, but, well it’s just been a long time since ye’ve gone ‘n...ah jus-”

Donald holds up a hand to stop him, “I don’t adventure anymore because someone always gets hurt.”

His uncle blinks as he turns away to walk out onto the deck of his houseboat. He’s not surprised when he’s followed, “Thas’ nae troo! We’ve bin on several trips now ‘n everyone always comes back in one piece!”

Donald leans over the railing and looks over his shoulder at the other, “In one piece, yes, but I have to take care of the bumps and bruises!”

Dark turquoise eyes flick away at that. Sure, there are small injuries here and there, but no one had lost a limb or worse! You can’t live if you’re afraid to get hurt! In the past, Donald had been the one to sustain most of the injuries, and perhaps that is where the insecurities are coming from now. But the boys are skilled where their uncle is not. They take after their mother and himself. But then even Della had...

Scrooge frowns at the duck across him, “Thas’ part a teh fun! A bruise ‘r a scar lef’ behind tae remind ye of teh adventure when ye got it! Ye’ve got tae make memories while ye can, lad! Besides, those wee boys are much more capable than yer givin’ them credit fer.”

Donald’s eyes narrow and he straightens, glaring at the other, “I know they’re capable, why do you think I let them go with you?!” He can’t protect them from everything, they would never live!

His uncle’s brows furrow, bringing a hand to his chest, “Donald, ah knoo ye worry fer them, but ye can-” Scrooge cuts himself off, his eyes lower to the boat floor. He can’t finish that sentence because it’s not true.

But his nephew knew what he was about to say, and it only seems to stoke the sailor’s internal furnace, “I can what? Trust you?! I think you’ve made it very apparent that I can’t!” Scrooge’s eyes lift to glare at his kin. His instinct is to defend himself, but he keeps his beak shut for once, jaw clenching.

Donald continues in his fit, “The only reason I let the boys go adventuring with you is so they can get it out of their systems. So that maybe they’ll grow bored of it while they’re still young and can move on with their lives before something terrible happens! I know they’re already better at it than I was because they still actually want to go. They’re only ten years old, but I trust them and their decisions in this! Do you know how sad it is that I trust children more than I trust the adult in charge of them?!”

For a long time, Scrooge knew how Donald felt deep down, but hearing it so blatantly out of the young lad he raised, that all faith in him was lost, it stings. Like many times before, Scrooge abandons any hurt feelings in exchange for anger. His teeth grit as he takes a step forward, “At least when teh boys are with me, a successful businessman, they might learn a thing er two on how tae supply fer themselves once day instead a livin’ on a boat in their uncle’s swimmin’ pool and moochin’ off his hard-earned wages!” He wanted to take that back as soon as he said it. He knows more than anyone that even if Donald was lazy in nature, the duck had tried everything to hold on to a job to support his family. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, he would take any job if it meant providing a safe environment for the boys to grow up in.

Scrooge’s outburst was out of line, but he can’t take it back. Especially not with the hurt expression that quickly flashes across his nephew’s face. Though it’s instantly hid behind anger once again, as their family is known to do. Donald’s fists shake at his side, but he doesn’t blow his top. Instead his voice lowers to a mock calm, “Really? Alright. Why don’t I just see how much they’re learning, then?” With that, he gives his uncle a shoulder shove out of his way and marches off the boat, shouting, “I’ll get Launchpad to move the boat back to the marina after!” over his shoulder. The old coot wanted a family trip? He’ll get a family trip.

As the sailor enters the mansion to most likely cut through and get to the front yard where Launchpad and the children were waiting, the rich avian allows his face to fall in shame. This is not the way to repair the bond with his kin and he knows it. He hadn’t meant a word he said; Scrooge didn’t want Donald to leave, quite the opposite actually. He scolds himself for letting his anger once again take control of his tongue. This adventure is no longer sounding as fun as it did a few minutes ago.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Donald mostly ignores what exactly the treasure they’re after is. Most likely something gold and cursed if he knows his uncle. It had been several hours since their argument this morning and they both had time to cool down, but neither made a move to apologize. They mostly avoided one another.

The Duck’s and McDuck’s are good at arguing, not so much at having heart to hearts; a trait that Donald has attempted to break in his nephews. From a young age he made sure to talk out any disagreements with the boys, whether between they and him, or among the triplets themselves. Kids can hold onto grudges, but Huey, Dewey, and Louie had always been inspiring at resolving their fights before it ruined any relationships.

Scrooge had not been raised that way. He had, in a sense, raised himself since the age of 13, and, knowing nothing about being a parent, had raised Donald and Della from a young age as well. Della had always been better at talking about her feelings, but it wasn’t the same for Donald, at least not with his uncle. He’s learned a lot raising her sons, but the way the relationship was severed between his uncle and he is something not easily mended.

Donald sighs, his glance once again settles on the old duck. They had pushed their anger away for the children, not wanting to bring any negative feelings to the adventure. Webby and the triplets crowd around Scrooge’s seat next to Launchpad in the cockpit of the Sunchaser. He’s explaining the history of the location and what they’ll be looking for, but the sailor isn’t listening. His mind is years away in the distant past when he and his twin had the same wide and excited eyes the ducklings now have. Where had the time gone?

When they arrive several hours later at the ancient Mayan Ruins in Central America, the crew managing to escape a water landing by a feather’s length, his uncle takes the lead through the deep jungle while he brings up the rear himself, leaving Launchpad and the plane behind. They have yet to truly enter the temple ahead, but small native structures could be seen rising and falling through the thicket. The trees above them grow together so close in their canopy, only small rivers of light can be seen cascading through the leaves and lighting the world around them.

The dirt path they’ve taken eventually turns to a stone one. So battered is the path, that the stepping-stones are often broken or missing in places. Small green flora has managed to take root, and they rise up a few inches out of the small cracks of earth the pathway gives way to.

The group hikes for a few miles before the trail leads them to a small mountain, or rather large hill depending on how you look at it, gradually rising them higher out of the undergrowth. Huey occupies himself with identifying different plants, animals, and insects they pass along the way, while also keeping a sharp eye out for any poisonous ones. Webby next to him is jabbering about the native culture and history of the ruins around them.

Louie trails behind, just in front of Donald. He wipes the sweat off his brow as his bangs cling to his face; he should have packed a t-shirt. The humidity is suffocating, as if you can take a handful of the air itself, and the heat draining. You can practically feel yourself becoming dehydrated. He doesn’t know how the others can manage so well.

Dewey stays closely behind his great uncle, wanting more than anything to swing through the trees on vines and cut his way through the vegetation. Scrooge had strictly advised against such acts however, insisting he would lead the way on this expedition, and that everyone was to stay behind him. The kids have noticed his behavior is a bit off today, but don’t bring it up.

The old duck grits his teeth. Curse the arthritis in his hips. The pain in his legs had started this morning after his and Donald’s argument, and had seemed to only get worse the farther he traveled. He’d hoped moving would bring some relief, however it only increases the closer they get to the temple. It was almost as if his experienced body is giving him a warning. But that’s ridiculous; surely, it’s just one of the many days when his age is making itself known to him. Nevertheless, he’s being extra cautious today just to be safe, especially with his nephew keeping a close eye on him.

He’s sure he’s slowing the group down with his sluggish pace. He hates the fact his cane is proving to be more and more necessary. Most days he has no symptoms whatsoever, and finds little use for it, but then there are days like today when he doesn’t know if he can remain upright without the extra support. Scrooge shakes his head to focus on the task at hand; he can’t let himself be distracted, that’s when someone can get hurt, and that’s not going to happen today.

The group has reached a rather open area, making him take pause. To their right, more jungle reaching up and over their heads as the hill continues upward. To their left, an unnaturally clear view from the trees that shows how high they’ve already climbed. A gravel-like hillside drops abruptly to jungle nearly a hundred feet below. Off in the distance you can barely make out the bright light of the sun reflecting off the metal wings of the Sunchaser in a small clearing near the lake. More jungle filled mountains continue for as far as the eye can see.

Ahead of them, the path leads to a stone door with a rather threatening face carved into it, a trademark symbol of the natives that used to inhabit this land. The door is attached to the beginnings of the temple; however, hundreds of years have made the living forest become one with it, and most of the structure is covered under vegetation. It looks as if it was built into the mountain itself. The entrance lays about a hundred yards yet ahead of them. The senior duck’s eyes narrow; something isn’t right. Everything is too perfectly cleared away.

Donald hasn’t been watching exactly where he’s walking. The sounds of the forest have distracted and brought him back to adventures of old he’d shared with his family. Looking to his right, his attention is further distracted by a blue morpho fluttering about before silently landing on a native flower blooming on one of the many trees. He hasn’t noticed his uncle and the kids pause at the clearing, that is until he collides with his elder.

The old duck is pushed a few feet ahead and nearly collapses with a wince when the stone he steps on suddenly lowers underneath his weight. The switch seems to have activated a centuries’ old booby trap, as massive boulders are swiftly released up in the hillside to their right and swing on their ropes tied to the tree tops above them. Four stones in total, each twice the height of Scrooge, sweep along the path in front of them, swinging back and forth and threatening to push them over the edge.

The experienced avian sends a glare behind him, hands on his knees as the sudden movement sent a wave of pain through his body. A pink flush blooms across the younger duck’s face as he gives a grin and a shrug accompanied by a small giggle in embarrassment.

Louie rolls his eyes, “Great! Now what?”

His older brother garbed in blue smiles at him, “Aw, come on! It’s not so bad! We’ve had worse death traps than this!” As if to prove his point, he runs ahead of the group towards the first swinging rock. Pausing to watch its movements, he waits until it just passes in front of him before running quickly to the next safe spot between the first and second boulders. He turns around to his family with a triumphant grin, “See? Not so hard!”

The other three children and their elder move to follow him, leaving his uncle behind. Donald takes a few steps forward to where Scrooge stood but a moment before, watching his family wait for the rock to swing ahead of them. He holds his breath to keep himself from yelling out as his anxieties surface.

Now that he was focused enough to observe the awkward landscape before him, the layout makes sense as the death trap revealed itself. The boulders are supposed to crush any potential robbers and send them flying through the sudden break in the tree line down to their demises on the jungle floor, or at least that’s the idea. Donald can only picture tiny duck bodies soaring through that very air and meeting an unfortunate ending, but his family runs past the stone, and quickly joins Dewey on the other side. He releases the air in relief. This is why he doesn’t go on these trips, they are far too stressful for him now with the children along.

As he attempts to calm his racing heart before his family goes to the next stone, a distinct snapping makes him whip his head up to the jungle hillside next him. It sounds as if young saplings are breaking. The sound catches his uncle’s attention as well, making him pause as the kids continue onward. Scrooge’s fingers grip tightly to the cane he leans on, the pain has come to an all-time high; something is definitely wrong. Donald’s eyes widen as his body is rapidly dwarfed in comparison to the fifth massive boulder hurdling down the hillside towards him. The overgrown jungle must have temporarily kept the stone at bay before crumbling under the weight.

Time seems to slow down, and yet it all happens too quick for anyone to process. Instead of feeling the rough surface of the boulder making contact with his face, Donald feels two distinct hands push his limp body a good five feet away. The duck grunts as he bounces and slides across the rough surface before quickly turning his head back. He stares unblinkingly as a nauseating thud enters his ears, a body flying lifelessly through the air to his left and down to the hillside. Rocks slide along with the figure as it rolls along the rock face before falling down the drop-off into the trees, snapping branches and vines under its weight. Birds flee the scene up into the sky and other wildlife run to hide from the sudden noise before the form finally lands on the ground out of all their view.

Then all is quiet. The branches shake back and forth, before stilling once again. The forgotten fifth stone swings unaffected, as if it didn’t happen. Donald makes eye contact with his family ahead who stare in equal horror back at him. It feels like hours pass as they process what had just happened, all staring back at each other as the once life filled jungle is dead silent. Finally, it seems to hit them all at once, as they stare in the direction the body flew before crying out in shock, “SCROOGE!”

~~~~~~~~~

Donald never remembers running so fast. After the kids made it safely past the swinging boulders, the five of them run down the hillside as quick as their legs can carry them. Huey’s shaking voice tries to determine if someone can survive such an ordeal. Louie’s sobbing, repeatedly screaming, “He’s dead, he’s dead!” Dewey remains silent as the scene replays in his head over and over, tears stinging at his eyes.

Webby is the only one who seems to keep it together as she makes the group stop on the path to catch their breath; they’re all hyperventilating. She grabs Louie by the shoulders and gives him a good shake, “Louie! He’s not dead! We’re gonna find him and we’re gonna get him home!” The boy sniffs in response but says no more.

Donald can see the girl trembling. He’s the adult, he’s supposed to be calming the children down and making a plan to help their uncle! But at the moment, he feels like he might vomit. The sound of Scrooge’s body crumpling under the weight of the boulder still stuck in his head. He no longer feels like an adult, he’s a scared child. He simply exists alongside the kids.

Webby forces Huey to stop his dead-end rambling and focus with a smack across the face. The red garbed boy seems a bit hurt by the action, but he pushes his feelings away for the time being, and determination enters his eyes. Together they track the trajectory to locate where their uncle’s body could have landed. Finally pinpointing the most probable location, the group runs once again. Leaving the path, they venture into the deep thicket. Dewey leads the group, moving branches and leaves nearly as big as him out of the way for his followers. He’s not sure what else he can do, he’s not as smart as his older brother and Webby. But he can at least clear a path for them. It’s a while before anyone says anything, the only sounds to be heard are the twigs breaking under their webbed feet, and the still quiet sniffs of the youngest triplet.

They spot something up ahead. Donald feels himself run faster, ahead of his fellow ducklings. There’s a small clearing where broken branches lay scattered across the ground. One limb, still attached but hanging, swings back and forth melodically. The sun shines through a small break in the trees from its missing appendages down to the forest floor. All Donald can see is red.

A broken and crumpled body lays entangled with vines and branches. The family pauses in shock, taking in the scene before them. Their uncle’s body is motionless, his clothes in shreds. His top hat and spectacles landed relatively close together a few yards away in the tall undergrowth; his cane a few yards on the other side of him, hooked on a low branch. His feathers, once as white as freshly fallen snow, now a dirtied mix between brown and red. So much red. Donald’s heart sinks.

Chapter Text

Something’s ringing. A high-pitched squeal in his ears. Then pain. Terrible, unrelenting pain. Everything hurts. He wants to cry out, to wince, to retreat from it, but he can’t move. Distantly, he hears someone talking. No, someones talking. He can’t tell how many there are.

The ringing is fading, but the voices still seem a long way away. He forces himself to focus on them and not his tortuous body. His mind starts to return; that’s Dewey’s voice. The higher pitched one, that’s Webby. They're conversing back and forth, sometimes even calling out to him. He can’t respond. He can’t do anything. I’m here!

He hears a cry, followed by a different voice rise above the rest, “Is he dead?!” It’s Louie. Why would the lad think he’s gone? What happened? He hears a whack, presumably one of the others punching the green duckling to be quiet. He wants to smirk. Good. They should expect more of him, he’s Scrooge McDuck after all! It’ll take more than that tae kill me! Of course, he doesn’t know what that is. He doesn’t remember anything.

Two fingers are placed to his jugular and something tickles his nose. It’s soft and light, but the tickle makes him think he may sneeze, which would be excruciating at this moment. A few unbearable seconds go by before the annoying feeling leaves.

He hears Webby’s voice again, her voice cracks, “His heart’s beating! He’s breathing! He’s alive!” There’s a group breath released. Did they really think he had expired?

Someone touches his head; he wants to wince away. There’s a shout, “No, don’t move him!” Huey’s voice. “The Junior Woodchuck Guidebook says if he has a spine or neck injury, moving him could make it worse!” Smart lad.

“But we have to get him back to the Sunchaser! How are we supposed to do that if we can’t move him?!” Dewey again. His voice is filled with urgency and...concern? Are his injuries that severe?

The ringing has almost left now; his senses are coming back to him; the voices are clearer. He can feel the gentle breeze ruffle his feathers; even that makes his skin burn. That’s right, they were outside somewhere. On another adventure? His left shoulder throbs painfully. He feels like he was hit by a truck.

No...not a truck...a boulder. His memories return to him all at once. His nephew in the path of the stone that had, at first, failed to fall. He remembers forcing his aching joints to move as fast as he demanded, whether they’ll allow it or not, to get to him; to get to Donald. If he’s in the amount of pain he’s in now, he must have been hit; but did he save his nephew? He hasn’t heard the lad’s voice.

He needs to know. He must make sure Donald is alright. Scrooge compels his voice to work, though it sounds strained and weak, “...Donald...”
A hand is immediately placed on his cheek, “Unca Scrooge?!” His voice. The ‘uncle’ in front of his own name makes his heart leap. The old miser thanks any supernatural force he can think of. His nephew is alive! If his body would allow, he’d scoop the boy up now and smother him with kisses. But that’s not the uncle that Donald knows. The uncle his nephew grew up with keeps a calm head in these situations.

He needs to see him. To see with his own two eyes that Donald is ok. His face grimaces for a second before he forces his eyes open. At first all he sees is white. Then shadows appear, hovering above him. They gradually take shape and color. Eventually, the face of his nephew comes into view. That look...the last time he saw that look on Donald’s face was when the sailor heard Della was lost in space. A new pain plagues Scrooge; one in his chest, “...are ye...alright, lad...?”

Donald lets out a breath, closing his quickly dampening eyes for a moment, before looking back at him, “Thanks to you.” His beak is turned upwards into a smile, though it seems halfhearted and repressed.

Scrooge blinks, trying to get his vision to focus. More faces are forming next to him. Webby and the boys. There’s not a dry eye among them. He can’t stand seeing the usually joyous ducklings look like that, especially not when it’s over himself. Tsk, “...what are ye all cryin’ fer? Ye cannae git rid ‘a me that easily!” There’s the smiles he loves. His family embraces him at first gently, then they hold tight, as if afraid to let go. As much as the action is appreciated, he can already barely keep himself from crying out in pain. The elder lets out a grunt of discomfort and they quickly retreat.

Webby’s large, hollow eyes are glancing up and down his body, “We need to get you home. Can you move?” The question on if his back or neck are injured.

He tries to focus, but everything still hurts so bad. Slowly, his legs start to straighten themselves out of the strange angles they landed in.

Scrooge’s right wing moves to push himself up, but his left remains motionless, “...cannae move me arm...”

Said appendage lay tangled in vines and underneath a small branch. Webby and Huey work to unravel it as Donald places an arm underneath the old miser’s head to help lift him up.

When the ducklings finally manage to free his arm, Webby sucks her teeth, “I think it’s dislocated...”

The limb hangs awkwardly from the shoulder. The old duck lets out a soft groan, more in annoyance than actual pain. He lifts his good wing towards Donald, and his nephew helps him wrap it around the sailor’s neck. Together they gently pull Scrooge into a sitting position. His back cries out in protest at the movement, surely bruised, but he highly doubts broken as he can still move most of his appendages. When they finally pause, the Scottish duck relaxes his grimace and releases the breath he’s been holding with a small cough. Debris falls off his body as he keeps his eyes closed for just one more second. This upright position causes his head to swim, and he feels sick to his stomach. His beak is dry, and he swallows before his belly can have any more ideas.

Finally, he manages to acknowledge the girl, “...someone’ll have tae set it...”

Eyes risk opening, and Scrooge gets a look at his body for the first time. Cuts and scrapes litter his skin, but his legs seem to have escaped relatively unharmed, though his right leg aches. His right arm has a deep laceration that is undoubtedly bleeding down Donald’s shirt by now; his left hip is throbbing; the bad arm is hanging unnaturally at his side causing an overwhelming amount of pain; and his head is still spinning. He’s sure there’s a deep cut above his eye, as he can feel something threatening to drip into it. He most likely has a concussion as well from either whatever caused the gash, or from hitting his head on the ground. The back of his head and neck feel rather moist, perhaps there is some blood trickling down? The hand that Donald used to lift him up before is covered in a crimson color; his head is definitely bleeding. But the thing that hurts the most, next to his dislocated arm, is his left rib cage, especially in this position. He can see a tear in his robe where red is seeping out, a red far darker than the color of his attire, but there must be more damage than that. Small gashes sting across his face where branches and sharp rocks must have grazed him.

The first thing that runs through his mind is...how is he alive?! Injuries like these could be fatal to someone far younger than he, and with his age it’s even more a wonder. That death trap was designed to kill someone, a duck half his age would be lucky to survive something like this. 152 years is not easy on the body. He understands now why the kids thought he was already deceased, and with the pain he’s in, he almost wishes he was.

Scrooge eyes the children around him. Huey and Webby are near his bad arm, seemingly trying to figure out if they can set it themselves. Dewey sits on the ground closer to his knee. The blue child is looking over Webby’s shoulder as if he’s interested in helping, but his eyes seem to be far away. Louie kneels at his feet. The boy’s beak and face are as pale as a sheet, well, as pale as one can be with white feathers. He can’t look directly at his great uncle. The boy isn’t too keen on blood and seeing a family member badly injured is making his stomach churn, but his tears seemed to have dried for now.

Huey’s voice snaps the elder duck out of his thoughts, “It would be better to set it here than let it wait until we get back. The longer we wait, the more swelling will occur, and it’ll be harder to set. Plus, it’ll be less painful if we do it now rather than later.” The boy was reading his journal once again. That book really comes in handy.

The girl nods in approval, a hand to her chin. Then she pauses with a worried look, “...who’s gonna do it?”

The children all exchange a glance. Donald was currently supporting Scrooge, so it had to be one of them. Louie is definitely not an option; he’d just as soon puke at the thought then even try. He’d probably faint before he even touches the appendage. Huey possess the knowledge on how to set the bone, but the thought of physically feeling the shoulder move under his hands makes him queasy.

Webby retains the courage to do what needs to be done, but she would really prefer it not to be her causing such pain her idol. If she has to do it, she will, but she’s a bit unconfident in her bone setting abilities. Her Granny hasn’t covered that part of survival medicine with her yet.

Right as she opens her beak to mutter an ‘Ok, I guess I will then,’ the boy behind her speaks up, “I can.” Dewey wears an unwavering look, even if there’s some fear hidden behind his eyes.

“Dewey...” Donald calls to him softly. The sailor has an idea of why the middle child volunteered. The duckling hasn’t said much since the accident happened. He had been the one who encouraged them to keep going, even after the trap had been sprung. He led the group through the underbrush, making sure everybody got past each obstacle safely. The only thing he had really verbally said was that they needed to get their wounded uncle home as soon as possible. And now he wants to fix what is, in a sense, broken. Dewey blames himself. The boy shoots a glance to his uncle, but his determination never falters.

“Are you sure?” Webby seems appreciative, but still wants to make sure the boy is actually comfortable doing what he says.

Dewey switches positions with Webby so that he faces the bad arm directly. He looks at his older brother, “Just tell me what I need to do.” If Scrooge wasn’t already biting back his cries of pain, he’d congratulate the boy for stepping up to the task.

Huey nods, “First we need to see what position the bone is in now, so that we know which direction it needs to go.” He looks to Webby, who catches the hint and switches places with him, so she faces Dewey. She then places her tiny hands on the duck’s shoulder, using her small fingers to determine its location in comparison to where it should be.

Her touch immediately sends shocks of agony through the old duck’s body, causing him to wince and scrunch up his face with a grunt. He clenches his teeth as his hold around Donald tightens, making his nephew yelp in surprise. The girl’s brows knead together in concern, though her eyes remain focused on what she’s doing, “Sorry, Mr. McDuck.”

Mr. McDuck. How he despises that! When had the lass started calling him by that again?! It had seemed to be an increasing occurrence as of late, but as to when it had actually begun, he couldn’t say. There was also the certain dimness in her usually bright eyes.

Scrooge was serious when he told her a few months ago to call him ‘Uncle Scrooge.’ He truly sees her as his own niece, even if there is no blood relation. However, since the events of the Sunchaser in which he had excluded her from his family, the light that she once emitted was fizzled out. Even after he had reconciled with the boys, something remained missing within the fourth duckling. He’ll have to have a talk with the girl. But later, his mind is preoccupied at the moment.

Webby’s delicate fingers find the humerus head a good inch below and slightly to the left of where it should be, “Here’s the top, it needs to be moved up and over just slightly.” The girl’s grip makes the old miser shrink closer to Donald with a groan. As proud as he is of his niece, part of him wants to give her a good smack. He restrains himself just barely.

Louie covers his ears at the painful sounds, closing his eyes tightly. If he could just get the picture of his wounded uncle out of his head, maybe he could calm down. But he finds he can’t completely block the noises out. He has to listen just slightly to know what’s happening; to know that the motionless, crimson covered body he’d seen when they first found it, is sitting up before him, breathing, making those awful noises, and alive. Louie wishes nothing more than to skip ahead when they would all laugh about this later. He just wants to get this over and done with already. He allows himself to peek through his eyelids just a tad.

The oldest nephew can’t help but feel out of place. For the many years he grew up with Scrooge McDuck, Donald never saw his uncle in such pain, or at least openly showing it. Sure, they all had their fair shares of injuries in the past, but Scrooge never paid much mind to his own. A slight wince here or there would be it, and they’d be off on the next adventure whether he was healed already or not. No wound had ever been this severe though.

Of course, if it was Donald or Della that had gotten hurt, even if it was just a minor scrape, their uncle would put everything on hold until he was sure the children were bandaged up and alright.

The only time of outwardly expressing pain that came remotely close, was when they lost Della on the Spear of Selene. Donald had seen the pain and regret on his uncle’s face, especially when the sailor left with Della’s three little eggs, but even that expression had been masked.

If Scrooge is concealing his pain now, he must be in a world of hurt. The fact that the old duck’s face is practically buried in Donald’s chest as he tries to resist the urge to yell at the children to stop, makes the situation all the more strange. Of course, the headlock of sorts his uncle has on him helps that; he can’t move away if he wanted to, but he doesn’t.

His left wing supports Scrooge’s back, mindful of his arm and the gash on his ribs, while his right grips his uncle’s hand on the arm that’s tightly wrapped around his own neck. The hand in his would tighten when the pain is especially unbearable, and he would squeeze it in return to try and provide some sort of comfort.

Their argument from this morning couldn’t be further from his mind right now. Sure, they would need to talk it out, but something like that was not nearly important enough to be concerned about at the present time, not when Scrooge almost died. Donald was sure his uncle felt the same. A small disagreement can be overlooked when your family’s survival is at stake.

“Alright, Dewey, try and get a good feel so you know what you’re looking for,” Huey instructs his brother. The middle child does as told, following Webby’s hands and trying to ignore the pained sounds and faint Gaelic cursing coming from his uncle, the boy’s hands are not nearly as gentle as the girl’s.

Once he gets a good feel, he follows the instructions of how to hold the limb and maneuver it back in to place. Dewey places his left hand where the shoulder and upper humerus should meet so that he can feel when it correctly pops back in place. His right hand takes his uncle’s wrist that lay lifelessly on the ground, slowly bending the limb to a 90° angle. Under his left hand, Dewey can feel Scrooge trembling slightly in anticipation.

Huey seems to have noticed as well, and gently puts a hand on Celtic duck to get his attention, “Try and relax, Uncle Scrooge. It’ll be easier if your muscles stay loose.” Easier said than done, though the senior does take a deep breath to try and calm himself, not too deep though, for that hurt his ribs.

Dewey faulters for just a moment, looking to his left at his elder’s face. Sensing the other’s hesitation, Scrooge opens his eyes and glances at the boy next to him from his peripheral vision. The blue duckling seems to be apologizing for what is about to happen. He can tell the middle child is still nervous, despite his attempt at keeping a cool head. The experienced duck, not trusting his own voice at the moment, dips his head ever so slightly, silently urging him onward and reassuring the other that he trusts him fully. A blink; the boy nods back in appreciation.

Dewey refocuses himself and begins to move the appendage in his hand, by the wrist, away from the body as instructed. The old duck immediately tenses again with a grunt as he can feel the bone twist inside. The child’s hand moves until he feels resistance, and then continues by pulling the wrist up, as if making the hand reach to the sky. As he lifts the arm, he can feel the bone moving up along with him. The owner whines at the feeling, his torso straightening with the limb and slightly leaning away from the duckling.

Dewey’s brows furrow in concentration; the bone is right there; it just needs to pop back in now. Applying just a slight bit of force with his left hand on the humerus head and pushing the wing backwards just a tad farther with his right, he feels the bone give way underneath his force, and snaps back into place with an audible pop. The eldest duck lets out a cry, jumping up in reflex to the sudden pain.

The four watching the scene visibly flinch at the sound and shout that followed. Louie gags and closes his eyes once again. Huey and Webby suck their teeth in sympathy, turning their heads away a bit with a wince. Dewey remains unfazed, keeping the limb in position. Donald’s eye closes at the yell in his ear, before gazing back the other’s face.

The sailor had never seen his uncle cry in all his years, not even when they lost Della, but there are unmistaken tears in the old duck’s wide eyes. Scrooge’s jump had aggravated the pain in his side. His face wrinkles together again, and he lets out another strained groan between his tightly clenched teeth as he lowers himself back to a position that didn’t hurt as much. He wills the tears to stay where they are, ashamed they had appeared in the first place. Thankfully, they obey his command.

Dewey slowly lowers the arm back to a normal position, keeping it bent, and is relieved to find it moves without resistance. The owner’s feathered head lowers with it and hangs motionless.

The oldest nephew immediately notices the sudden act, “Scrooge?” No response. He squeezes the hand in his, trying to get the other to react. Nothing.

By now the children have noticed something is wrong. Louie’s eyes have reopened, and he uncovers his ears at his uncle’s call.

Huey puts a hand to the battered body again, hoping for some sign of life. He finds none.

Webby too looks up and down the body in front of her in concern, putting a hand on his back with a soft shake, “Mr. McDuck?!”

Dewey keeps his hands ahold of the injured wing, his eyes glancing back and forth. Did he do something wrong?! Did he give the man a heart attack?!

Donald releases the hand he held, placing his own on the elder’s chest, shaking a bit more urgently, “Unca Scrooge?!”

A weak cough forces itself out, followed by a low grumble, “...Donald...quit yer yappin’...Ah’m nae dead...”

The group takes a much-needed breath as the dark turquoise eyes open once again. Their owner slowly lifting his head up just slightly to glare at his nephew, who, despite his relief, returns the glare, “Well how am I supposed to react when you pass out like that?!”

Eyes narrow. Scrooge is humiliated that he could no longer tolerate the pain, and he had started to feel lightheaded right before his arm had been readjusted. He keeps his beak shut, not wanting to start yet another argument, and instead focuses his attention to left wing.

The boy in blue still clings to said appendage, keeping it a neutral 90° angle. Its owner tests the limb just slightly, moving his fingers that he had long lost feeling in, and extending it just a bit before bringing it back to same position. He’s pleased to find, although sore, the intense pain has lifted. He lets out a soft breath, looking up at the one who had freed him from it, “...thanks, laddie...” The boy smiles back and gives a nod.

Huey is already on the next step, “The arm needs to stay immobile for now; it’s still unstable. We need a sling. Uncle Donald, can I use your sleeves?” At his approval, the sleeves of his sailor uniform are promptly ripped off and tied tightly together. The injured wing is then placed in the makeshift sling as it’s wrapped around the owner’s head. It will work until they get back anyway.

With the initial crisis over, Donald feels it’s long overdue that he acts his age and takes charge of the situation. His brows lower in resolution, “Alright, we need to get back to the plane.” The four children each give a nod in agreement. He looks down at his uncle; he’s awake but seems rather out of it. His head is still carried lower than normal, and it seems he could lose consciousness again at any moment. A shiver wracks his body, most likely from blood loss. He’s going into shock, all the more reason they need to get back as soon as possible.

Donald addresses him, already moving to grab under the other’s knees, “I can carry you; it’ll be faster than having to make you walk.”

Not even a beat passes before, “Absolutely not...”

He frowns, “You stubborn old fool; you’ll exasperate your wounds if you try to walk all the way back!”

The bloodied head lifts again with a glare, his eyes seem a bit unfocused, “...teh clouds’ll part on Dismal Doons b’fore ah let ye carry me...” ...at least nae bridal style...

The nephew snorts in anger, but the senior ignores him, “...help me git on me feet...” He wants to prove to his family, maybe even to himself, that he isn’t as bad off as they think. Or maybe he isn’t thinking properly at all, which is much more likely. The kids glance at one another, reluctant to help. The Scottish duck sluggishly moves his spat-clad feet closer to his body to assist in lifting himself up.

His eldest nephew begins to stand, hanging on to the right hand around the sailor’s neck. A grimace already appears on wounded duck’s face at the stretching in his body. The children all come to aid, grabbing where it looks safest, and together they heave the injured duck to a stand, the rest of the debris falling off him. He stumbles a little, leaning heavily on Donald, before finally stilling. His head swims even more so like this; he fears he may actually lose his breakfast.

His nephew eyes him spitefully, “There, are ya happy?! Even just trying to stand you can hardly catch your breath!”

The heavy panting sends spikes of pain through his left side, making him utter another curse under his breath. But he maintains his glare, only opening a single eye, “...quiet you...!” If he had his cane, he’d whack the other on the head.

While he catches his breath, Webby goes to fetch his hat and spectacles while Louie reaches on his tiptoes to get the cane. Dewey helps support his great uncle on the opposite side of Donald by wrapping his arms around him since Scrooge’s left arm is useless. Huey stays close by in case the other loses his balance again.

Ever the leader, Scrooge tries to take the first step, only to collapse in their hold with a strained bellow. The three only just manage to keep him upright until he once again regains his footing, this time only on his left leg; the right he holds up with a wince.

Huey immediately notices his distress, and kneels down to examine the leg, “There’s a large bruise forming on your shank. You could have a break in there!”

His great uncle lets out a mix between a groan and growl, half in pain, half in agitation. Of course.

Huey only throws fuel on the flame by adding, “You can’t walk on that; you’ll only make things worse!"

The sailor shakes his head, “There’s no choice then. I’m carrying you back to the plane whether you like it or not!”

Scrooge’s glare isn’t as hard as before. His head is still spinning, and the longer he remains upright, the greater the chance of him collapsing grew. His nephew keeps ahold of his right hand, turns, and kneels down in front of him. With his hand still tightly being held, and his sudden support gone, Scrooge has little choice than to carefully climb aboard. His good arm is held around his nephew’s neck as he leans against Donald’s back. Hands come to grab under his knees to keep him in place, and Donald slowly rises to his feet. Scrooge’s weight settles on his own chest, making his side ache at the position, and his bent legs aggravate his hip, but they have little options left. The height still seems dizzying to the entrepreneur, but at least he no longer has to rely on his own body to keep him upright.

Taking a quick glance around to make sure everyone is with him and they haven’t forgotten anything, Donald initiates the hike back to the pathway. Dewey insists on leading to remove any obstacles that might be in the way of his uncles. Donald’s mobility is rather limited now, but he doesn’t complain, and thanks the middle child in making the venture easier. The three ducklings follow behind him, occasionally assisting the blue triplet in moving any branches out of the way to keep anything from hitting their great uncle.

The stone trail seems like a relief to see, and they can travel a bit easier back to the Sunchaser. Donald pauses just for a moment to catch his breath. The jungle is too thick to see the plane, but he hopes the walk will go quickly.

He readjusts his grip on his uncle’s legs, earning a grunt of protest. The lone arm around him has gone rather lax in their short trek, and he can hear the pained breaths in his ear that aren’t meant to be heard. The injured duck hasn’t said a word since they left; he hardly seems conscious. Blood loss comes to mind. Internal bleeding. Something they can’t see on the outside. They need to get Scrooge back and address his wounds as soon as possible. Determined, he begins the journey back to Launchpad and the Sunchaser, praying his uncle will hold out until then.

Chapter Text

A soft hum helps the time pass as Launchpad tinkers around on the Sunchaser. He has to make sure it’ll still fly of course, but waiting for Mr. McDuck and his family to come back from their adventuring is the perfect time to add some upgrades, and fix anything from the most recent crash this morning. He can check supplies and make sure everything is in tip top order with his plane now that he doesn’t have to actually pilot it. Normally he’s occupied being the rich duck’s chauffeur, so he takes advantage of these opportunities. They’ve been gone for a few hours now, but he doesn’t expect them back for at least a couple more. If he runs out of things to do, he can always nap in the meantime.

His daydreaming is cut short as he hears his name being called. Turning to see who it is, three ducklings come out of the thicket and run to his side. He recognizes his best pal Dewey at the lead, Webby close behind, and Louie just a few seconds later, “Guys! Back already? I wasn’t expecting you for a while yet! Was the temple super small or-“

Dewey cuts him off, “Cut the chatter, Launchpad; we need to get home asap!”

The pilot blinks at the young one’s urgency, “Home? Well, home’s quite a few hours away. You know we’re all the way in Central America, right?”

Webby speaks next, “This is an emergency; how fast can we get there?!”

A hand goes to a large beak, “Hmm. If we don’t hit any strong jet streams on the way, I’d say we could be there in just under six hours.” Apparently, that isn’t the right answer.

The youngest triplet puts his hands to the side of his head, “Six hours?!”

The girl looks down, equally as distressed, “But that could be too late!”

Launchpad finally gets a good look at the children. They aren’t the same happy and put together kids that had left just a few hours earlier. Webby’s normally well-kept hair is a bit unruly, her eyes are wide and worried. She holds a black top hat and a pair of spectacles close to her person.

Louie is sweaty, that’s not far from normal in climates like this, but he’s breathing a bit heavier than usual. His eyes are red and swollen like he’d been crying, and he carries a black cane that his hands keep fiddling nervously with.

The adult is confused, “...why do you have Mr. McDee’s things?”

Dewey is probably the most concerning. His typical cool-guy attitude is completely gone and replaced by someone much more anxious and urgent. His hair is also a bit ruffled, but the thing that sticks out the most to the pilot, are the red smears on his shirt and sleeves.

Now that he looks closer, Webby also bears several marks on her hands and clothes. Even Louie’s green hoodie, and nervous hands that fidget with the walking stick, are stained a dark red. That can’t be what he thinks it is...right?

His brows knit together in concern, “...Is that-“

Again, he’s cut off, only this time by himself. Behind the ducklings in front of him, he sees more figures emerging from the tree line. His eyes widen in disbelief. There’s Huey, also showing some dark red staining on his already red clothes and bare arms. He carries two straight branches in one hand. He’s walking just beside Donald, who’s sleeves are missing. He’s by far the most covered in the ruby substance. His arms, hands, body, even his face and hat have scarlet staining. The sight that makes Launchpad start running though, is the crumpled, unmoving body on Donald’s back.

Leaving the children behind him, he runs to the figures only a short distance away. When he finally reaches them, the horror of his boss’s injuries can be seen. His normally well-kept white feathers now anything but. Several bruises have set in, and countless small red rivers flow off his body and onto the one that carries him. The old duck’s eyes are closed, and the pilot fears it’s already too late.

“Mr. McDee! Wh-what happened?!”

To his relief, the dark turquoise eyes open just slightly to acknowledge him, but the eldest duck is too busy with his labored breathing to reply.

Donald never stops his beeline for the plane, “It’s a long story. He’s hurt...bad. We need to get in the air.”

He has high suspicions that his uncle had passed out a few times on the way back. There were moments when the breathing in his ear would become hushed, and he would pick up his pace. Within a few minutes, there would be a slight movement and the heavy breaths would return, signaling to him that old codger was awake, most likely reluctantly, and back in his painful body again.

At last registering what the other had said, Launchpad leaves them in favor of running back to the Sunchaser. He quickly opens the door and begins preparations for takeoff. As much as he wants to help assist in taking care of his employer, no, his family, the best thing he can do is get them all back home as fast and as safely as possible. Scrooge would surely refuse spending any money on a foreign hospital, let alone any hospital.

The group promptly loads up as soon as the door opens, the children each storing their held items in the lockers that line the plane’s side before finding somewhere to stay for the ride. Spare blankets and pillows are kept in the aircraft for use during long travel, but no beds or soft chairs to set their injured companion on. A padded area on the floor would be the best place for now.

Huey and Webby pick a spot on the bottom level of the plane along the wall. There’s no way Scrooge will be able to climb up the ladder to the top level where the chairs are, where they normally sit. The two lay some of the comfier blankets down along with a few pillows to keep the wounded somewhat comfortable.

Donald’s back is aching at this point, his legs trembling with every step, but he refuses to make his uncle stand or even walk to the padded area. Once he’s satisfied with the spot Huey and Webby put together, he moves to the edge and kneels. Scrooge is coherent enough to lift himself off of his nephew, putting his weight on his good leg, and with the help of his great nephews and niece, he eases down and backwards onto the blankets.

The sailor straightens once again, stretching his back with a wince. That journey seemed to take forever, and the old man was heavier than he looked. He looks back at his uncle, now settled on the floor.

The rich duck gives a tired sigh in relief, followed by a light cough. This position is a bit less painful than the previous where he put most of his own weight on his injured ribs. His good arm cradles his left side underneath the sling, providing some support. An exhausted smile reaches his beak, “...thank ye, nephew. Ye held out longer than ah thought ye would.”

His nephew’s concerned face brightens sympathetically for a just a moment, before focusing once again. Donald leaves his uncle to find the plane operator, “Launchpad, is the plane ready?”

The pilot is already up in the cockpit finishing the preparations, “Everything is set! I’m closing the hatch door now!” After flipping a switch, the plane closes them off to the outside world with a metallic thud. Launchpad starts the engines, and the comforting roar of the Sunchaser brings hope the worried family. The air starts to move inside, bringing air conditioning to the overheated ducks, and Louie is already sighing in relief.

A voice announces overhead, “We’re ready for takeoff! Everybody hang on!”

Donald returns to his patient’s right side, making everyone take a seat until the plane had steadied in the air. The children sit around them, each holding on a part of the aircraft or something heavy enough to keep them from sliding to the back. Normally the sailor would make them sit in a chair with a seatbelt for takeoff. Though the ducklings were used to simply grabbing onto something steady for takeoff and landing as Scrooge allowed them to on a regular basis as of late. They of course haven’t, and won’t, tell Donald about that though. He’s allowing them a chance to prove themselves.

The entrepreneur leans on a pillow against the left wall of the plane’s belly, and the sailor sits closely next to him while grabbing ahold of any sturdy piece he can reach with his left hand above his uncle’s head. His right arm wraps around Scrooge’s chest to keep them both in one spot while the aircraft begins to move.

The metal bird taxis along the rough terrain while turning around in preparation for takeoff. The ride so far is less than smooth, and each bump makes the old duck grit his teeth tighter, grunting on particularly irregular ones. The jostling only sends more pain up his side and through his battered body.

Finally, the Sunchaser picks up speed, and the children instinctively hold on tighter. Loose items scattered around inside are bouncing with the movements as they reach top speed. The familiar pressure settles in their heads as their world is slanted while the wheels lose contact with the ground.

The normally tolerable feeling is torture in Scrooge’s pounding head. He grimaces as his body moves backwards with gravity, and limply presses into Donald’s chest as his nephew hangs on to his hold to keep them both from flying to the back of the plane and risk damaging the old man more.

Within seconds, the trees are already small dots underneath them, not that they can see for there are no windows in the plane’s belly. But already they can tell how far up they must be by the gradual straightening of the metal bird around them. Launchpad turns them to the direction of home, and they slowly climb in elevation.

The pilot turns his head to his family, “Alright, we’re gonna go up a bit higher yet, but it should be smooth from here on out.”

The ducks have already relaxed their postures, the pressure starting to lift, and the children are moving back to the uncles to see how they can help. Donald addresses them each in turn, “Huey, get the first aid kit and all the medical supplies you can find. Louie, you climb up there and keep Launchpad focused on flying. Tell him to keep the plane as steady as possible. Webby, you get some fresh water and ice if it hasn’t already melted. Dewey, you stay with me.”

Huey takes off in one direction while Webby runs in the other.

Louie remains where he is with a scowl on his face, “Aw, why do I have to babysit Launchpad? Dewey is his best friend, make him go!”

Donald doesn’t even blink, “We need to dress Scrooge’s wounds, and he’ll probably need stitches. Dewey is here to help me get him undressed and hold him down...but if you want to switch...?”

A quick glance over of his great uncle’s body makes the green nephew turn green with a dry heave. He’s purposely been trying to avoid looking directly at the deep cuts that litter the elderly body and trying to forget that sickening pop the dislocated shoulder had made.

His mind is quickly made up, “You know what? I think I’m gonna go and make sure Launchpad’s attention is on getting us home as quick as possible.” Hands in his shirt pocket, the boy walks towards the ladder in the corner.

His uncle nods with a knowing smile, “Good idea.”

Donald turns back to his patient, who seems to be a bit more alert at the moment, though he’s been quiet. The lack of backtalk worries the duck though, usually Scrooge would have been grumbling about something by now. His eyes droop, probably exhausted, but he’s actively watching what happens around him, that’s a good sign at least.

The eldest nephew puts a hand on Scrooge’s padded shoulder, giving the robe a tug, “We should take this off first so we can see that.” He nods towards the Celtic duck’s hand still tightly cradling his side.

His uncle frowns, “...ye want me tae strip? In front a these wee ones?!” His voice is hoarse, and a well-trained ear can hear the pain in it.

But it does little to sway the sailor, “Please. Now is not the time for modesty. Besides, you don’t wear pants!”

There really is no shame in not wearing any clothes for the ducks, everything is covered by feathers. Clothing is not needed for most in their society, but it’s seen as a proper trend to take part in.

A glare meets Donald’s, but nothing more on the matter is said. The eldest nephew unfastens the buckle around his uncle’s middle first, loosening the belt, before unbuttoning what was left of the tattered coat. Once the buttons are released, Scrooge removes his supporting hand from his side for Donald to pull the sleeve off. The fabric sticks to partly dried blood on the deep laceration along his upper arm, making him hiss at his kin when it’s tugged, pulling some of his feathers along with it. Donald offers a slightly apologetic look but continues anyway.

With one arm free, the sailor on Scrooge’s right and Dewey on his left ease him forward, with a groan on his part, just enough to pass the coat behind him. The blue duckling takes hold of the robe before they let the old man lean against the pillow once again. The avian releases the breath he held at feeling his bones grind together in the short moment.

In the brief glance at Scrooge’s bare back, a deep bruise had already formed along his spine, along with more smaller bruising and superficial cuts scattered along the length of it. But nothing seems to be bleeding terribly there at least. His free hand returns to his side underneath his coat. The reinforcement helps the pain and keeps everything held in one spot, the way it should be.

The two continue undressing their injured uncle as Webby returns with several bottles of water, some towels, and ice in a small bucket. She sits next to Dewey, wrapping some of the ice in a smaller towel. She sits and waits for the two to finish, trying not to appear like she was staring.

It really isn’t an issue; the majority of male ducks she knows don’t wear pants, and of course their swimwear usually consists of shorts and no shirts, so there is truly nothing to hide. Modesty should be one of the lowest on the priority list in this situation anyway. Besides, Webby really isn’t staring at the lack of clothing, she’s mentally taking in the various injuries scattered along her hero’s body.

Donald removes the makeshift sling from around the old duck’s neck as Dewey supports the injured arm. They toss the fabric aside and Donald takes the lead holding onto the arm as Dewey peels off the robe. They carefully lead the injured wing out of it, at last freeing the senior from the tattered coat. The middle child then takes a long sheet they’d found earlier with the spare blankets, and with it forms a new sling that provides much more support than the strips of clothing had.

With the coat gone, the true extent of the rick duck’s injuries is revealed. Black and blue patches can be seen, even through the white feathers. The deep cut on his good arm drains freely down his elbow and onto the blankets below him. A rather large bruise centers over his left hip, most likely one of the many locations the large stone had made contact. His knees are skinned and bloodied, and a darkening bruise lay just below his right one. Webbed, still spat-clad, feet are scuffed and abused, but mostly fine.

Hands, mainly the right, have small bloody scratches and cuts. If he was at all still conscious during his fall, they might be from attempts to catch himself. The bad arm and shoulder are a bit discolored, most likely the initial hit had dislocated it, and it then flopped around uselessly getting more damaged as his body rolled. The darkest bruise sits on his rib cage, currently being hidden by his good hand. Traces of a cut can be seen starting above and stretching below it, and blood flows like a tiny stream down his side.

The once noble face is also cut and beaten, expression looking between a mix of agitated and defeated. A large cut over his left eye bleeds down the side of his face. A welt can be seen in the same location, most likely from the original hit again. The back of his head leaves blood smears on the pillow, but they must be multiple tiny cuts from the rough landing, as no large ones can be seen.

Despite his many injuries, there’s no sign of internal bleeding, at least that can be seen from the outside, though the most probable place, if there is any, would be on the ribcage. If broken, ribs have been known to puncture through lungs and other tissues. For now, they would just have to watch that particular wound closely.

As much as he tries to hide his pain, his family can see through his facade. The biggest sign being his unusually quiet demeanor. If he felt anything like his normal self, he’d be barking orders to the lot of them, and telling them to quit their worrying. Instead, he sits quietly, merely accepting whatever his kin decide to do next. The family can only hope they can provide some sort of relief to his situation.

Dewey steps aside for the time being, his job finished. Webby moves into his spot with her homemade icepack and holds it up to the large knot on Scrooge’s forehead. The rich duck winces at the sudden contact, not expecting it, but soon appreciates the cool sensation, leaning into it slightly. The blood from the cut in the same location had long since dripped past his eye and was running down his beak. The girl frowns, grabbing at a different towel to gently wipe it away, cleaning him up. She earns a tired but appreciative smile back.

Huey has returned with his medical supplies, having to make two trips to bring everything back, including the two branches he’d found in their trek home, “I found one bottle of hydrogen peroxide.”

Donald nods, “We’ll use that to clean the supplies and our hands then, and we’ll just use water to rinse out the sores.”

Eyes widen slightly next to him, and he’s a bit amused to see his uncle suddenly fearing his own kinfolk at the mention of their plans. Sweat forms on the old duck’s brow, but whether it was from anxiety at the inbound escalating of his already tormenting pain or from the fever developing, one can’t be sure.

The sailor looks back to the oldest triplet, “You and Dewey take care of his leg, Webby and I will start cleaning the cuts.”

A tiny hand grabs hold of one finger on the hand that holds tightly to crushed ribs and is led away. “Starting with this,” the female duckling gently lowers the bloodied hand, removing the ice from the other’s head for the time being. This is going to be a tad difficult with the wounded wing hanging right about where the injury was.

Scrooge’s good hand fiddles uneasily on his lap, wanting to cover the wound again as his eyes glance in the opposite direction. The slightest breeze from the air conditioning can be felt in the throbbing injury.

Donald senses Webby’s hesitation and stands on his knees over the entrepreneur to move the bad arm gently up and out of the way without causing injury. A grunt signifies the sensitivity at simply stretching the skin over the laceration, his body turning to the right and away, but the two continue on.

Now being able to see the gash clearly, Webby’s concern grows, and the oldest nephew can see it in her face. The bruise is quite large, and almost completely black. A long and deep cut runs vertically down the length of it, completely soaking the feathers around it in its deep crimson color. If she looks close enough, she can see the laceration is completely down to the bone, separating pieces of muscle and exposing several ribs to the outside world.

Webby cautiously takes a hand and lightly presses along the bruise and isn’t surprised when he flinches away and barks out another string of curses in his native tongue. The bones had moved and crunched together under her light touch, making even her strong stomach turn over, “Sorry, Mr. McDuck.”

There’s that name again! He hates it when she called him by that, it’s as if she’s one of his employees. He mentally takes a note for a later time, though he is unable to physically say anything logical at the moment as he grimaces and trembles, trying to recover from the painful assault. He’s now laying more so on his right side in a feeble attempt to get away.

Even though Donald can’t see the full injury itself at his position, from Webby and Scrooge’s reaction, he knows it’s severe. Though he risks the question anyway, “How bad is it?”

The duckling’s face remains apprehensive as her solemn, almost purple, eyes flick to him, “I-It’s...bad...”

How such an injury even occurred she’s not completely sure. The broken and damaged ribs could be from the force of the swinging boulder. The laceration perhaps from the sharp surface, or it’s possible the duck had landed on a particularly sharp stone during his decent. However it happened, it was going to definitely need some medical attention, “It looks down to bone, and there’s definitely some broken ribs in there. That’s probably what’s causing the cough.”

The sailor’s face turns grim at her statement with a worried hum, “Do you know how to sew up wounds?”

The girl nods her head, “Granny made sure I at least had a general idea of it in my survival classes. It might not be pretty, but I can do it.” As much as she hated being the object of Scrooge’s pain, she wanted to help as much as she could.

Donald had brief training in the navy as well. He was no doctor, but he wanted to know how to sew up a laceration to stabilize the injured until professional medical help was accessible. It had proven useful on multiple occasions since then. He had used his abilities on adventures with his family. Della and Scrooge would get the occasional cut here and there that needed stitches; such hazards come with the territory. Plus raising three boys was not always without incident either. Though this would be the most he’s ever done in one sitting. He’s grateful to be able to split up the work with the young duckling and trusts in her abilities despite her modesty.

He dips his head in return, “Good. You and I can each sew up the worst cuts. Normally, I’d offer to switch with you for this particular one, but I have a feeling we’re gonna have a resistant patient on our hands, and someone is going to have to keep him still.”

A snort makes him glance at the source of their attention, who’s looking off to his right with an annoyed expression. The girl stifles a smile and nods in agreement. As the two start their preparations of sewing up the large gash, they let the old duck move back to his original position to rest for the time being.

Meanwhile, Huey and Dewey have been conversing on how to stabilize Scrooge’s possibly broken leg. The eldest triplet had found two fairly straight branches on the way back and had brought them along with the thought of this in mind, “Alright, the idea is this: we use these two branches to keep any potential bones that might be broken or fractured in the right positions. It’ll also help keep the leg stable and prevent any further injury.”

The middle triplet nods, “Seems simple enough. Tell me what I need to do.”

The two work together to tear a pillowcase into small strips of fabric a few inches wide and the same length as the original casing. When they have a total of seven made, they slide each strip underneath the injured leg, trying to move the limb itself as little as possible. Once placed, Huey lines a stick on either side of the appendage the long way. The sticks begin just at knee level, and end just above the ankle, “I’ll keep the branches in place, you tie everything together. Remember, it has to be tight to be stable.”

Dewey recognizes his brother is giving him a warning. Tying the makeshift splint together could be painful, and he’s currently sitting next to the uninjured leg. If Scrooge lashes out, Dewey will be caught in the crossfire.

The boy takes in his positioning, looking to his right at his great uncle. Webby and Donald are setting out the supplies. They’re rinsing the blood off their dirtied hands with bottled water and afterwards use the hydrogen peroxide to try and clean up as best as possible. They wouldn’t be sterile, but at least they wouldn’t be as soiled while trying to stitch up the lacerations. Though with all this happening around him, Scrooge’s eyes are on the blue lad at his feet. Whether he had heard what the two were talking about over the chatter of his niece and nephew can’t be known. Maybe he’s not even aware of what’s happening, or that he’s looking directly at Dewey, but he says nothing.

The blue garbed boy looks back to his task at hand. If he gets kicked, so be it. He has a job to do, and he’s going to do his best at it. He takes both ends of the first strip of fabric that sits around the ankle and starts to tie. He pulls tightly at the ends, making the sticks press snugly against the limb.

Huey watches the old miser out of his peripheral vision, just in case the other decides to even change position. But he doesn’t move a muscle, so Dewey continues to the next tie. The second and third each go without incident. At the tightening of the fourth tie, the oldest triplet can see the rich duck’s eyes widen suddenly. The branches are now starting to put straightening pressure on the bones inside. But still, he remains silent, though he is hyper focused on what the middle triplet is doing now.

Huey turns his head ever so slightly in their patient’s direction, not to look at him, but to give Dewey a warning that he has started to react. The blue nephew catches his movements and ties the next strip cautiously as it’s now directly over the bruised area. He reminds himself that the ties must be fitted snugly to provide stability and pulls the ends, drawing the branches even closer around the leg.

At the sensation, Scrooge barely manages to stifle the end of a shout, resolving to growl instead at his great nephews, eyes still boring holes into them. His good hand having shot out to grab at Donald’s arm just above the wrist, who squawks in surprise and pain; he needs to squeeze something, to distract himself from wanting to shove the tiny duckling away. Scrooge’s left leg bends up in reaction, but he restrains it from moving any farther, gritting his teeth. Only two more. Only two.

The middle triplet flinched away at his uncle’s outburst, afraid of an incoming kick in the ribs, but when it never came, he saw it as his opportunity to continue. He moves back to his previous position, Huey following him. He too had moved briefly at the movement.

They move to the sixth tie, Dewey once again reminding himself to be tight with a deep breath. He crosses the two over, one under, and pulls with all his might. Scrooge’s flinch moves him slightly, and the strained cry reaches his ears, as well as his uncle’s whose arm is being tightly squished. Dewey may have to make another splint after all this.

At the sounds of distress, Louie peeks over the edge of the balcony. His great uncle is now completely stripped of clothing, how and why that happened, he doesn’t want to know. But there’s a new sling around the other’s neck, and it seems much better than the previous.

Huey and Dewey are carefully poised at Scrooge’s right leg, his left having now drawn up, leaving his foot pressed tightly against his rump. Webby sits on his left, needles and bandages are laid out next to her; Louie definitely doesn’t want to see what she’s going to do with those. Donald sits on the other side, one arm in Scrooge’s clutches as he beats the ground with his other fist, holding back his pained cries.

“Everything ok down there?” The youngest triplet is almost afraid to ask.

The female duckling yells up at him, “Everything’s fine! Just putting a splint on Mr. McDuck’s leg!”

The pilot winces in sympathy behind him, “Sounds like it hurts! Poor Mr. McDee.”

Louie looks back at Launchpad, “...H-he’ll be fine...how long has it been?” He’s eager to change the subject, not wanting to think of the alternative.

The pilot looks back at him for a brief moment, “It hasn’t even been half an hour! Still got a ways to go...unfortunately.”

The nephew flinches at another pained shout, moving back to his previous seat next to the pilot. He leans his head on a hand with a loud groan, “Ugh, this is gonna take forever.”