Puberty comes easy to no one. An adolescent would have trouble with the myriad of changes to their body even in the most orderly and peaceful household, so when three triplets are not only going through puberty together , but also live in the most adventurous household under the sun, how do they fare?
Dewey Duck’s puberty experience was exciting. New voice? New muscles? New feathers in weird places? A litany of other bodily changes? It was like becoming an entirely new person!
Every day held something new and exciting for Dewey, and he was thrilled to know he was becoming an adult. While he often paraded around McDuck Manor shirtless, showing off the new-found adult feathers growing on his face, chest, and underarms, he truly found joy in the changing of his voice. An avid singer, Dewey always had fun belting out whatever came to his head, no matter who was around.
The first time his voice cracked, he had been singing briefly at the dinner table. Although Huey outdid Dewey in terms of sheer vocal ability, no one could match Dewey’s enthusiasm. While singing particularly passionately, his pitch suddenly slipped out of his control and skyrocketed upward briefly before cutting out from his throat. Slack-jawed in confusion, he slowly looked at his mother. The two shared a moment of shock, before simultaneously bursting into laughter. Della was so excited; her children were growing up. She’d loved how Dewey in particular was handling it.
“DEWEY!” Della would holler from the kitchen as she was baking, eliciting a response of quick footsteps all around her until her son appeared in the doorway, clad in only a towel, fresh out of the shower.
“Just...one more time.”
“Again, mom?! This is only the millionth time today!” Dewey groaned, knowing full well what she wanted to hear.
“Please? Just once!” she begged. He could never say no to her.
“Fine. ONE more time.”
Dewey proceeded to launch into an exaggeratedly low-pitched rendition of the chorus of “Stand Out” by Powerline, to show off his “Deep Dewey” voice. Despite the frequent cracking, Della was left in stitches, and gave her son an ovation for his performance. She would deny it, but she did indeed request it again soon after; it was simply too precious to her.
As much as puberty was changing him, this was the same old Dewey. Yet while he was making the best of his lot, not all of the triplets were having such a positive experience.
Louie Duck’s puberty experience was mortifying. Already an emotionally sensitive little duckling, the frequent and intense mood swings that puberty brought on made it orders of magnitude worse. Louie could go from annoyed to furious to sobbing in under a minute, exemplified when one day, Donald asked him for smartphone help.
“Why do you have to ask me, old man?! Get someone else.” he aggressively snapped, shocking his uncle. Louie didn’t usually get mean like this.
“Oh, sorry I bothered you, but it’ll just take a second…” Donald backpedaled, trying to avoid a fight.
Louie got up from the hammock he’d been resting on and approached his uncle confrontationally.
“What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand? Get lost!” he yelled, poking a finger in Donald’s chest.
What had gotten into his nephew?
Donald ignored the hostility being hurled his way. “...Llewellyn, are you okay?”
Louie’s anger immediately dissipated. He could already feel his eyes watering and beak trembling. Why’d he have to use that name?
Donald set his phone aside and opened his arms as invitation to his nephew, smiling. Without a second thought, Louie dove into the embrace, sobbing into his uncle’s shoulder and apologizing profusely.
“Must be another mood swing. Poor fella…” Donald lamented to himself as he comforted his baby, rubbing his back lightly. He himself certainly had experience with mood swings.
Not to mention the acne . Louie’s face started breaking out in inflamed patches of whiteheads, often leading him to wrap his face in his hood so no one could see. Dewey would swear “he didn’t even take it off to shower.” In reality, that wasn’t the truth, but it was close. He took it off only to shower and when he would spend time with Uncle Scrooge. Having been a public figure and an adventurer for a very long time, Scrooge was in the know of a multitude of shadow tricks and optical illusions to conceal his own appearance and draw eyes elsewhere, useful for avoiding paparazzi or distracting someone like Flintheart Glomgold. Louie would utilize these tricks to “hide” his acne from everyone who wasn’t Scrooge, essentially. As he put it, “Scrooge is so old he’s definitely seen people way uglier than me in his life.”
While puberty had sprung itself upon Louie with no warning, upending his entire life in the process, not all of his brothers were so unprepared.
Huey Duck’s puberty experience was...complicated, but it was supposed to be straightforward. Whereas his brothers hadn’t internalized what would happen when it struck, Huey had prepared himself. Once Donald had given his kids “the talk,” he had bought them more reading material on puberty and adolescence so they could further their knowledge on their own. As he put it, “I sure am glad you boys are the same age. I couldn’t imagine giving this talk three times!”
Where Dewey was excited by the thought of his new muscles impressing everyone, and Louie’s apathy prevented him from thinking too much about it while it wasn’t actively happening, Huey had gotten to reading more about the subject. Ever the bookworm, he also scoured the Duckburg Library for more material.
Once he started getting rougher adult feathers in strange places and found that his clothes started to smell quicker with a more pungent odor, he knew exactly what was happening. The acne breakouts he suffered; the way his voice seemed deeper every day; the pains he occasionally felt in his limbs — these were all things Huey expected.
Because he’d researched the topic, he also knew why puberty was happening to him and his brothers: to transform them from children into adults, which also involved sexual maturity. Huey was aware of what would be happening to his body in that regard, as well as those of his brothers’. The triplets had been nude before each other many times, sharing a bedroom for their entire lives, and it never gave any of them pause for thought.
As puberty started, however, they began to cautiously peek, each wondering who was growing adult chest feathers, who had acne on their backs, and of course, who was... biggest . Not that any of the boys would mention this to each other, but they all did it. Huey thought he was ready as ready could be for the biological phenomenon known as puberty, but he seemed to have gaps in knowledge. No book he read mentioned what to do if you had the smallest manhood out of you and your brothers. Was he doing something wrong? Was it his diet? Did he have an illness? Was he simply a “late bloomer,” as he had read? What was the problem?
The question kept Huey up at night. He correctly surmised that if he was sneaking peeks at Dewey and Louie, they were doing the same to him. Did that mean...they knew he was the smallest? Did they make fun of him behind his back? He thought better of his brothers, but his paranoia increased daily anyway.
He stopped changing in front of them, opting instead to use the bathroom to change. He also eschewed taking showers with Dewey and Louie like they used to in favor of waiting until he had privacy, or using a different bathroom. This was a change that particularly baffled the other triplets: group showers were something they’d done as long as they could remember, and it had turned into somewhat of a bonding experience for the three of them. Even when they moved into McDuck Manor and no longer had to share the houseboat’s cramped shower, they were so used to spending the time together that they ignored their Uncle Scrooge’s suggestion to “just use one of the other blasted bathrooms.”
Often while his brothers slept, Huey would instead write his questions down in his notebook, trying to find answers in his reading material.
Diet? - No, I eat the same things Dewey and Louie eat.
Not enough exercise? - Dewey’s constantly active and Louie barely ever is...doesn’t make sense.
Illnesses? - Got a clean bill of health at our last checkup.
Late Bloomer? - Not likely, my testicles wouldn’t have developed by now if that was the case. I also wouldn’t have a deeper voice like Dewey, or smell as bad as Louie does.
He’d drawn an ‘XD’ face next to that one.
Genetics? - Not sure about Uncle Scrooge, but Uncle Donald is definitely bigger than me...maybe I got the short end of the stick. Is that how it works?
Frustrated scribbles followed.
As puberty continued for Huey, he found himself more and more anxious around Dewey and Louie. The last thing he wanted was to break up the tight-knit bond between him and his brothers, but he might have been heading that way. To Dewey and Louie, he’d suddenly closed off to them; their once-enthusiastic big brother who loved to spend time with them had suddenly been spending a lot more time by himself: alone in their room, reading; alone in the yard, observing space through his telescope; alone in the TV room, idly watching sci-fi movies.
Huey lamented his solitude; he missed his brothers and how they used to do everything together, but he could barely bring himself to look them in the eyes anymore. Since Dewey and Louie had given him space without a word, he also assumed no one had noticed his withdrawal from family life, but he was wrong. One person in particular had been keeping a careful eye on him, and it broke his heart to see his nephew sequester himself away from his siblings.
Huey was alone in his room, reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while sitting criss-crossed on his bed one sunny Saturday afternoon, when he heard a knock on the door.
Huey grumbled, sure it was Dewey getting a baseball to toss around, or Louie getting tanning lotion. He was ashamed of his reaction to the thought of his beloved brothers, but he figured it was better to push them away than to open up. Readjusting his hat, having pushed down the brim to shield his eyes from the sun shining through the window, and bracing himself to be as standoffish as possible, he pulled open the door hard, to be met with the sight of…
“Uncle Donald? What’s up?” Huey asked curiously, standing in the doorway.
“Huey, can we talk? Can I come in?” Donald softly spoke.
Huey had a hunch about what the topic of discussion might be. “Um...yeah, sure.” he agreed nevertheless as the two made their way to the bottom bunk, and sat down side-by-side. The triplets had long-since deemed Louie’s bed to be the spot-of-choice for “Uncle Donald Talks,” as it was the most accessible seating in the room.
“Are you...doing alright?” Donald started worriedly, putting a hand on his nephew’s shoulder. “You used to want to spend every second with your brothers, but it seems like now you’re...ignoring them.”
He knew him too well.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Huey lied, not wanting to address the elephant in the room. That he was in fact ignoring his brothers.
“Okay... It’s just a little weird to me that not long ago, you’d cry if you were away from Dewey and Louie for too long. That just...changed, and quickly, too.” He hoped he’d be able to get Huey to open up to him. It was clear he was going through something, but what was it?
“C-come on, Uncle Donald, I wasn’t that attached to them…” Huey tried to play off the accusations, but his father figure was unfazed. “Everybody needs alone time, right?”
His uncle gave him the same look he’d given all three of them since they were kids — the one he always expressed when he knew he was being lied to. Huey knew his charade was done for. He couldn’t bear to face Donald; he instead cast his eyes downward.
“Look, if you need time to yourself, that’s fine. But just know that your brothers miss you…a lot.” Donald admitted, squeezing his shoulder a bit for emphasis.
“I was going to talk to you about it at some point anyway, but Dewey and Louie both begged me to figure it out, since they don’t think you’ll talk to them. They want to spend time with you. They don’t know what happened.”
“My brothers missed me? Even when I’ve been ignoring them...they still wanted me to be there?” Huey thought to himself. Maybe he was imagining the disconnect between him and the other two…
“So, what do you want me to tell them?” Donald questioned, to no reply. Instead, he felt Huey’s body trembling beneath his fingers. Lifting his chin with his other hand, Donald was shocked to be met with his nephew’s suddenly tear-stained face. “Huey? What’s wrong?”
“Tell them...tell them I’m just not big enough to hang out with them!” Huey sputtered through his tears, reprimanding himself for letting something so stupid get in the way of his siblings’ love.
The comment threw Donald for a loop. “Not…’big’...enough?” he questioned, perplexed.
Huey nodded quietly. His uncle took a moment to contemplate what that could possibly mean.
“...Are you talking about your ding-dong?” Donald cautiously asked, hoping he was in the right ballpark. It was the only thing he could think of, given the phrasing Huey had used.
“Uncle Donald, please just call it a ‘penis.’” Huey insisted, flustered. “I want to normalize the anatomical term.” To him, referring to body parts as they were , as opposed to using nicknames or euphemisms, alleviated much embarrassment when discussing said parts.
“Okay, your... penis .” Donald cringed a bit at using the word. “You’re saying it’s too small to spend time with your brothers? Are theirs bigger?” He held back his laughter. While to him, it was a ridiculous thing to worry about, it was gravely serious to his nephew. He knew acting like his concerns weren’t worth taking seriously would only exacerbate the situation.
Again, Huey only nodded, and Donald heaved a hefty sigh. This wouldn’t be easy.
“I don’t know how I can prove this to you, but trust me when I say: they don’t care.” he reassured. “Maybe they’ve noticed yours, maybe you’ve noticed theirs. It’s okay. I promise you, they still love you just the same.”
Huey looked up at Donald with watery eyes. “But they know it’s...small... Won’t they laugh at me and just hang out with each other? Am I not good enough?”
“Huey, my boy...you’ve seen me naked, right?” Donald asked. There was little modesty for him and the kids in his houseboat due to how small it was. “You know my ding-dong-”
“Penis.” Huey interjected. Donald rolled his eyes.
“Yes... that ...it’s kind of curved. Just how I was made, I guess.” he shared, scratching his head. He never did have great luck. “When I was in the navy, we only had communal showers. I’m sure plenty of others saw it, and how it was different, but no one treated me badly because of it.”
Huey sniffled. “Really?” He never saw any reason to treat his uncle differently, he just had the parts he had. But for some reason, he couldn’t believe other people would act the same way.
“You bet! There are some people who might make fun of you for it…” The world wasn’t full of nice people, and he had to prepare Huey for that. “But people who aren’t immature will love you for who you are. And I can assure you: your brothers do, too.” he finished, smiling at his nephew.
“Well, now that I know what a penis is for...what if it never gets big enough for... that ?”
Donald knew exactly what he was referring to. “Oh Huey, believe me, I guarantee your...penis size is just fine as is. The percentage of people who are actually ‘too small’ is very, very low.” He hoped appealing to Huey’s sense for probability and real-world statistical examples would do the trick.
“...Okay, I believe you.” Huey finally concluded, smiling back.
“That’s my boy!” Donald cheered, wiping the tears off of Huey’s face. “Besides, you’re not even finished with puberty yet! You might grow to be even bigger than Dewey or Louie! But if you don’t, that’s okay, too.”
“I think I should talk to them myself, then. Sounds like they miss me.”
“Aw, Huey!” He embraced his nephew in a tight hug and gave him a kiss on the forehead. “I think that’s a great idea.”
Huey’s heart felt like a jackhammer as he meandered nervously towards the backyard door. He could see them both through the windows: Louie sunbathing next to the pool with a cold drink in his hand; Dewey dripping with water from constantly jumping into the pool, often splashing his brother in the process. As he approached the doorknob, he visualized his Uncle Donald motivating him earlier: “they still love you just the same!”
He could do this.
Upon entering the sundrenched backyard, he was greeted by two familiar voices — they did sound happy to see him. Dewey climbed out of the pool, charging towards Huey for a wet hug, while Louie slowly arose from his chair and moseyed on over to the group embrace.
While ruffling Huey’s hair, Dewey shouted, “I’ve missed you, big bro!” Dewey shouted, ruffling Huey’s hair.
“Where have you been, man?” Louie supplied. He in particular had been incredibly hurt when it seemed like Huey was ignoring the two of them, not that he’d ever show it.
“Actually, I wanted to talk to you guys about that…” Huey admitted quietly, gesturing for them all to sit down on the steps by the door. “Do you promise you guys won’t make fun of me for this?”
“‘Course, dude, why would we make fun of you?!” Dewey sat down, slinging an arm over his knee. “We’ve all done embarrassing things before, me way more than either of you guys.” That elicited hearty laughs from his brothers.
“Come on, just tell them! What’s the worst that could happen, other than all the bad things that could happen? ” There it was, his overthinking tendency rearing its ugly head again. Huey took a deep breath to steady himself before starting.
“Okay. The reason I’ve been staying away from you is because I thought you’d laugh at me for being...small.” he mumbled, eyes fixated on the ground. His siblings took a second to try and surmise what he was getting at.
Dewey was the first to pipe up. “Huh? Small? What do you mean, you aren’t that short!” Easy for him to say; he’d had the first major growth spurt out of the three of them and stood almost a clear head taller.
“He’s talking about his dick, dude!” Louie corrected loudly, making Huey cringe.
“Louie, don’t call it that, you know he hates it!”
Just like old times.
“C’mon, don’t fight! The last thing I want is to drive you further away.” pleaded Huey. The others quickly silenced themselves when they noticed just how deeply this seemed to affect him.
Louie tread lightly, “Is...that true?” He wasn’t sure he bought the explanation given, but Huey wasn’t one to lie to his brothers.
Huey nodded, sniffling a little bit. Dewey put a hand on his back, in an attempt to make him feel better. “Look, Huey, it’s really not that small.” he blurted absentmindedly.
Huey was mortified. “You’ve seen it?!”
“I mean, yeah, we’ve been changing in front of each other and showering together for as long as I can even remember. You’ve seen mine, haven’t you?!” Dewey chuckled. He loved Huey to death, but sometimes he really over-thought things.
“I’m not even huge anyways, I’m like, the national average. I measured.” Louie deadpanned, eliciting sideways glances from his siblings. “What?! Don’t tell me you guys haven’t at least thought about measuring yours! Besides, why would we stop hanging out with you just ‘cause of your dick size?”
The repeated vulgarity earned Louie a punch in the shoulder from Dewey. “Sorry, your penis size?” he repeated in a mocking tone.
“I don’t know...I guess I just thought you’d make fun of it since it’s...the smallest. I was embarrassed to even talk to you guys.” Huey hid his face in his hands. “Ugh, I’m so stupid.”
“Aw, man, you’re not stupid.” Louie soothed, trying to comfort him.
“Yeah, you’re definitely the smartest one of the Duck Boys .” agreed Dewey with a wink. “This whole ‘puberty’ thing isn’t easy for any of us. We’ve just gotta get through it...but we can get through it together.” He wrapped his arm around Huey’s shoulders.
“Yeah, and we don’t want to do it without you, no matter what you’ve got.”
That did the trick, and the triplets soon found themselves embracing each other tightly. The relief of tension from Huey’s entire body was nearly audible, and he roared with joyous laughter, squeezing them even tighter. “I love you guys...I’m so lucky to have you.”
“I love you, too...but you’re choking me--” Louie complained. Huey quickly loosened his grip, apologizing.
“From now on, I'll always be open with you guys. I know you’ve always got my back, and I’ve always got yours.” he promised, eyes once again welling up at the sheer love he felt in the moment.
His brothers echoed in unison, “Always.”
When three triplets are not only going through puberty together , but also live in the most adventurous household under the sun, how do they fare? Not too badly, as it turns out.