(Word of warning: This is long. 14 pages by my count, please take it in stride.)

Chapter Twenty Three

The Beginning of the End

The night was dissolving around the city. Atop a condemned building, far from the life he once had, a lone figure stood awaiting the first rays of the sun. His liquidized face lined with a frown, he blinked at the lingering shadows. Perhaps the day would wake him from this madness; maybe the sun would reveal this to be nothing more than a nightmare. Things like this didn't happen; the only explanation was that the worst night of his life was not real.

He had gotten used to the drippiness and altogether wetness of his new form. He was surprised at how much he could do, what he only had to think about to accomplish. Despite his familiarity with the way he felt, he couldn't bring himself to look in a mirror. He didn't want to see the face that brought people terror; he didn't want to see what she had done to him. Felicity. He had tripped her, watched her slip and fall. Heard her head collide with the floor, the stumble rendering her unconscious. He had stood over her still form, his body literally boiling with his anger. And yet… He sighed and his eyes searched the skyline to predict where the sun would appear. He hadn't done it. He couldn't even bring himself to touch her. He had murdered every person who saw him on the way home, destroyed every soul in the bar, and he couldn't kill the only person who deserved it? He was crazier than he thought. It would only be a matter of time until his murderess reported him to the authorities, until they found the bodies. What was he supposed to do now? He considered throwing himself over the side of the building. Morbidly he figured that he wouldn't be able to kill himself that way as long as he remained like this. There was no escape for him, no reason, no where else to turn.

"Well Bud, it seems we've both had an interesting evening." Came a dark conversational voice from behind him.

"Mr. Glomgold?" He watched the in focus young man approach.

Glomgold was wearing a smart black suit and was lighting a cigar as he closed the distance between them. He looked so out of place here on this collapsing rooftop. How did he know where he was? How did he know what had happened? Why was he so calm when faced with the monster he had become?

"You know, I think the new look suits you." The cruel blue eyes locked onto him and looked right through him, "She made you drink the whole thing didn't she?"

"You knew this would happen!" He flared as he rose up menacingly, looming over the cool headed Glomgold.

"Hardly. If you had done what I told you, this probably never would have come to pass. But I guess since she was so bent on having her way she would have lied no matter what you did." He exhaled the gray smoke and it blew away on the chilly air. "Well, at least that's behind you."

"What do you mean?"

"She's dead. I thought you would have heard by now."

"Dead?" He repeated flatly, but he reverted to his 'normal' height. "That's not true, I didn't kill…"

"Have you ever heard of Darkwing Duck, Bud?" Glomgold interrupted him, stopping his stride, a few steps separating them.

"T.. the lunatic in the cape?" He asked, the question had disarmed his aggression and only instilled confusion.

"That's the one. I hate to be the bearer of bad news…" He swore a smile almost crossed the duck's face. "… But that 'lunatic' broke into your home late last night. She didn't stand a chance. They had a hard time identifying the body after what he'd done to her…"

"Liar! You really expect me to believe this bullshit!"

Glomgold took a newspaper out from a pocket on the inside of his jacket. He coolly unfolded it, regarded the front page casually, glanced up at him, and turned it over. The bold print of the headline nearly made him loose his composure, which would have resulted in a very shocked puddle.

Millionaire's Widow Found Murdered in Her Home.

He could do nothing but stare.

"Call it karma." Glomgold 's eyes traveled him. "What's your next move?"

"I…" He looked at the black and white photograph, a black shroud covered her, but her golden hair, matted with blood, had escaped it and was curling out on the floor around her. He just couldn't wrap his head around this. She was dead. Killed by Darkwing Duck? Why? He shook his head heartbroken. "I don't know."

"Well judging by what happened in that little slummy bar, I'd suggest you come up with something quickly." Glomgold tossed the paper into the puddle that encircled where the watery dog stood.

"How do you know all of this?" He nearly growled.

"It's all part of my business Bud…"

"Stop." He snapped suddenly. The blue eyes slid evilly onto him, he could swear the temperature dropped ten degrees. "Don't call me that… I'm not Bud Flood… not anymore." He heard his gargled voice state miserably. "He would never do anything I have."

"So then what should I call you? Old Drippy?"

The creature that used to be a man scanned his transparent hands. His mind recalled the last conversation he would ever have with his wife.


"The Liquidator huh?" Glomgold spewed out a thoughtful cloud of smoke. "I like it. So then Liquidator, I have a little proposition for you…"

The sun finally peaked at them between the surrounding skyscrapers.

It had been a couple hours since Morgana and Drake had come back to the house on Avian Way. She had transported them to the Tower, where she helped him change out of his tattered costume, and she gratefully put on some of his spare clothes. Once they were set they started their return to his home. Gosalyn had attacked them the second they set foot inside the house. Drake painfully returned the child's embrace, the relief in his eyes twinged with a look Morgana couldn't really pin point. It was sad, like he had just worked out an idea in his head but didn't like the way it turned out. Launchpad was present as well. It seemed that Fenton helped them duck out under S.H.U.S.H.'s noses when the situation was cleared up. It was a risky thing for the duck to do, and she was sure no one appreciated it more than Drake, whether he would admit it or not. The house was in shambles, even though the duo had been trying to clean it up, there was just too much damage. The handy McQuack had managed to put all the doors back on their hinges but the massive holes in the walls and scorch marks were beyond conventional repair. Before Morgana wasted her returning magic on the house she healed Drake and got him to bed. He was in a dead sleep before his head hit the pillow. She fought the urge to curl up beside him and fall into a dream. Instead she set about restoring the destroyed house.

It was disturbing to think that just a month earlier she had to do this same exact thing when Quackerjack had come here for Gosalyn. This time, however, the damage was ten times worse. The harm inflicted here was caused by Magica; Morgana couldn't help but think this was the last bit of magic the woman had conjured. It seemed so sad, she never thought she'd feel sorry for the vile woman, but no one deserved to die the way she did. Her thoughts wandered as she caused the beams to line up again with a tap, would the last spell she cast be as futile and self serving as this? She shook the thought out of her head as Gosalyn came up to her offering her services. The girl was so very eager to help but had an adorable tendency to slip into sleep mid sentence. Since she hadn't had a chance to set the upstairs right she sent the little girl to sleep with Drake. She sighed to herself, she had hoped to fall asleep beside him but at this rate it looked like that wouldn't happen.

Honestly, she wasn't too eager to close her eyes; she knew that the horrible images Negaduck had imprinted her with would be inescapable in her slumber. Her stomach still tied into knots when she thought about him, she had seen what he was capable of. He was terrifying. She didn't dwell on him long because unlike Gosalyn, Launchpad was very set on helping her. They hadn't really had much of a chance to talk in the past, in fact she barely knew the man. They worked together, his craftsmanship excelling where her weakened powers were sub par. She mostly listened to him talk about many things. He told her McDuck and the children were safe. Louie would be spending the night in the hospital with Scrooge diligently at his side. While Gizmoduck took the other two back to the rest of their party at the hotel. She noted the pleased tone he used when he spoke of them; he was very fond of them. He also told her that Gosalyn had gotten Dewey's belongings and given them to Fenton to deliver to Scrooge. It was after a few tiresome hours of work that she found he was wearing down. She sent him off and quite unexpectedly she found his arms around her in a strong hug.

"Thank you Morgana. If Drake didn't have you who knows what would have happened…" He said sadly. "Thank you for saving him and Gosalyn… and me."

She patted his back with a soft smile and he released her. His chestnut eyes held all the gratitude she needed.

"He saved me first. You all are helping me find something I didn't know was out there for me, and with out you I might not have found him at all. So I should thank you too. Thank you for being his friend, and taking care of them both."

He laughed and slapped her shoulder lightly.

"No problemo! Hey I'll be back later, hold down the fort for me? And try to get some sleep okay?" He flashed her his genuine smile and went on his way.

The house was almost completely restored and she was too drained to carry on. It was nearing seven in the morning when she sat on the couch. Her entire body ached. Negaduck was still out there, who was he? Hooter seemed convinced he wasn't Glomgold… but she wasn't so sure about that. Why was he the spitting image of Drake? It was like he was his shadow. All the evil and darkness Drake was lacking was rolled up into this volatile man. Could it be they were twins? She sighed heavily, that just didn't feel right. She could still feel him, like he left a cloud over her dulling her unnatural senses. Surrendering to the fact she would not find any answers in her own mind she curled up on the couch's soft cushions, sleep claiming her instantly.

Drake was violently awoken by the harsh ringing a phone. Reluctantly he opened his eyes. He was exactly where he was when he fell asleep, for a change. He let out a relieved sigh and noticed Gosalyn was passed out snoring lightly beside him. The phone screeched again and he grabbed the receiver.

"…'llo." The 'he' was lost to his grogginess.

"Mallard!" Shouted a loud rancid voice so shrilly it made him wince. It was a voice he knew as the owner of the Scrap yard he worked at. The angry man continued, "So ya are alive! Good I would have hated to miss the opportunity to hear you beg me not to fire your ass!"

"… Go ahead." Drake held the phone away from his ear as a wave of earsplitting profanity spewed through the speaker.

"I'm not kidding you little maggot! You haven't been to work in two days!"

"It's fine. I hated that job anyway." There was a long pause on the other side of the line. He closed his eyes again, he knew it was reckless and stupid to quit. But really, after what he had just been through, thinking about what awaited him, that crummy job was the least of his worries.

"W…well you're fired then."

"Okay. Have a nice day." He slammed the phone back on the cradle with out opening his eyes.

It was no surprise to him that he was still tired. He had no real idea how long he had gone with out sleeping, he had Magica to thank for that. But now that she was dead he had hoped he'd be able to just have a normal dreamless sleep. Instead, he found himself spending time in the asylum in his nightmares. Only this time he was completely alone. No Negaduck, no Quackerjack, no one. He just had his thoughts to keep him company and he really wanted to avoid thinking. But it was impossible.

He had raked his brain for any clues that would help him remember the blank spots of his memory. The answers were there, he knew it. They just didn't want to come to him, so he had to pour over what he knew. The images Morgana had revealed to him the month before, the old duck with the beard, there was also the vague memory of the man who had dropped him off at the orphanage. He couldn't remember what he looked like, but he felt that they had a strong bond… maybe he was an uncle or something? His parents were dead. He knew that. They were killed, then there was a girl… his sister. He didn't know what happened to her. After he had his fruitless mental searches he fell prey to the silence. He was forced to think about what he had tried so hard not to. The events of the last half of this year, Negaduck had admitted to orchestrating it all. He had been pulverized in the effort to help Gosalyn and her grandfather, had to hold his own against Taurus Bulba and Bushroot. Negaduck had been watching the drama unfold; he gave the order to his agent to kill Professor Waddlemyer. The image of the little girl he loved, in an uncharacteristically pink dress, weeping over the lifeless form of her last blood relative in her arms was one he would never forget. Negaduck had done that. He had killed an innocent man without even lifting a finger. But at the same time he had rescued him. When he came to his crashing rest on the fire escape after the ramrod blew up, Negaduck had come and had him safely deposited in the hospital. When he had regained his senses he was not dressed as Darkwing, that must have been where Negaduck got the template for his costume.

Now that he knew the truth it only made his survival bitter. Negaduck had saved him that night for the soul purpose of having more time to torture him. Drake had adopted Gosalyn, pulling her unwittingly back into his cross hairs, and then he met Morgana. Negaduck had been looking on as he started his life as Drake Mallard, knew where he lived, who his friends were, and sent Quackerjack after them. Again he was terribly beaten, only he had Morgana to speed up his recovery. That was the only thing Negaduck hadn't planned on. Morgana was still with him; no doubt the devious double had expected her to choose him instead.

But whatever wrath he had unleashed in the past, Drake knew the retaliation to what had just happened would be ten thousand times worse. He returned his thoughts to the present and opened his eyes to watch the sleeping child beside him. She was almost killed last night. He was powerless to help her. Never again. She would not be used as bait anymore. He knew what he had to do though it broke his heart to do it. But he had hurt too many people.

Morgana roused from her light sleep filled with the horrors Negaduck had unknowingly shown her. She blinked around, her racing mind recalling she was safe, that she was at Drake's house. Someone was walking around upstairs; she could sense him like gentle flame of a candle moving through a dark house. She straightened herself out and eagerly awaited the sound of his feet descending the staircase. Her breath caught in her chest, she was afraid. What if it was Negaduck instead? What if the goodness and warmth in his eyes were replaced by the evil that shone in the one who resembled him? What if he had been imprinted with the cruelness of his look alike? Was it possible that he absorbed his missing negatrons? The footfalls came and she felt light headed with the effort of holding her breath. He came into her sight, her heart rising despite her fear. He looked emotionally beaten, and though her magic had cured the injuries that had plagued him she couldn't help but notice he moved differently. Her magic couldn't undo what had been done to him; it only sped up the months long healing process to a few minutes. There was a stiffness to him that she suspected wouldn't be dispelled by any amount of magic. His eyes finally met hers and the breath escaped her in a rapturous sigh. There he was, her Drake, how she would always remember him. Passionate, kind, and tragically beautiful.

Before she could stop herself she ran to him. The moment he had passed the last step he was assaulted by her embrace. Being so close to him, being cradled in his arms she felt the negatrons recoil and start to hasten in their fading. For the first time since they had been reunited they were alone. Her head swam with things to say, her heart wanting to burst with this small joy. All the confessions, proclamations, apologies and speeches were silenced when he spoke first.

"Well… good morning to you too!" He smiled and looked around them. "Hey, you fixed up the house it looks great."

"Drake what are we going to do now?" She breathed. His blue eyes slid back to her after a crestfallen blink.

"I suppose you don't mean for me to answer 'eat breakfast'."

"We've got to act fast! Strike first if we can! We can't just sit back and wait for this all to happen again!"

"I know I screwed up alright!" He flared shortly and pulled away from her to head for the kitchen.

"No I didn't mean it like that!" She gave chase. "I just meant that we…"

"Morgana… there can't be a 'we'."

She stopped cold in her tracks. He was putting on a pot of coffee, not facing her. She had tried this with him before, tried to tell him she wasn't interested, that they weren't meant to be. This pain she felt now, it was what her words must have felt like to him. Only she knew how he really felt.

"I won't let you push me away Drake Mallard."

He shook his head hurriedly as he turned to her she saw the apology on his features. He looked like he hadn't gotten a moment's rest.

"No, no I'm not talking about 'us'." He sighed and leaned against the counter. "Morgana, I need you to do something for me."

"Anything." She swept over to him, the tingling warmth of his power caressing her feathers.

"I need you to promise you'll do it." He said firmly as he rubbed his sore looking eyes.

"I won't agree to anything until I've heard it." She matched his firm tone.

"So much for 'anything'…" he shook his head with a light laugh. "I want you to take Gosalyn and stay far away from me."

"What! No!"

"Don't you see? He'll just come for her, come after both of you again! I can't loose…" He stopped his stride broken with sadness. "I can't loose you two."

She took his face in her hands.

"You won't."

The doubt that she had tried to hide from him was called out by his serious eyes.

"Morg, we both know he weakens you, if he got either of you again he'd hold on hard."

"I won't leave you here alone to face him!" She fumed.

"It's the only way and you know it." He smiled weakly. The action pulled her heart down like a lead weight. She didn't want to condemn him.

"Where would you banish us?" She said curtly. She knew he was right, but she wasn't about to agree to his plan. How could he expect her too?

"Away. I can't know. Don't even talk about where you're going, he'd find out if I knew… I know he would. You have to go somewhere we've never talked about, a place only you know. Somewhere safe."

"He'll try to find us even if we go."

"You're probably right, which is why I have to try and confront him as soon as possible."

"You know that this 'great plan' of yours is suicide don't you?"

"It's the only way."

Morgana couldn't help but desperately grasp for reasons why they had to stay.

"Well what about Launchpad? Why is he any different?" She blurted out jealously.

"He's not. He's got to go with Mr. McDuck back to Duckburg."

"Drake I won't leave you to be a martyr!"

"You'd rather be here to watch?"

She couldn't deny it anymore. She had been useless when Negaduck had her and the thought of being that way again petrified her. As much as she loathed the idea to leave him she knew it wasn't as far fetched as she made it seem. He must have seen the defeat in her eyes because he drew her into a heart shattering hug. Negaduck had expected this, she was sure of it. He knew it would tear Drake apart to send away the people who loved him. The people who made him Drake.

"Please, don't tell Gosalyn why I'm staying behind. She wouldn't understand." He whispered.

"Dad!" Cried a panicked voice from upstairs and a frantic pair of feet thundered above, making their way quickly through the house. Near the speed of light Gosalyn appeared in the door way of the kitchen clutching a baseball bat. The anxiety drained from her face as she gave Drake a warm smile. "Oh there you are... I was afraid you ran off again." She propped the bat against the door frame and sat merrily at the table smiling at them. "So, I don't have to go to school today... right?"

Drake laughed.

"No, I think you're off the hook for a while."

"Cool beans! I wonder if Honk can skip school too..." Her plotting was interrupted and she blinked at him. "Hey, are you supposed to miss this many days of work?"

"Ah... actually, I got fired." He admitted bashfully.

"Figures. You miss work for something important and you get canned." She grumbled. " Well what are we gunna do now?"

Morgana looked at Drake who met her eyes with a silent sadness he hid from the girl. She turned her attention back to the little girl.

"You and I are going on a little trip Gosalyn dear." Morgana said sweetly.

"Keen gear! Are we going to see the guys at the circus! I'd love to show them my new slap shot! I call it the Gosalyn Grinder!" She announced loudly, then realization dawned on her. "Wait... what about dad?"

"He's going to catch up to us in a few days. As for where we're going... well..." She sighed lightly. "It's a surprise."

"So... does this mean the bad guys win?"

"No." Drake poured himself a freshly brewed cup of coffee. "We've just got to lay low and let things settle down for a bit before we try anything."

There was a knock on the front door, Drake looked quickly to Morgana who didn't share his worry.

"It's probably Launchpad," she offered.

He set down his untouched mug and moved through the room, Gosalyn at his heels. He reached the door and opened it. His eye level was greeted by a well polished top hat.

"M... Mister McDuck!" Drake stammered at the man and his small entourage.

"Morinin', uh... might we come in?"

Drake moved aside as Scrooge entered the house followed by Fenton and Launchpad. Scrooge looked around the house idly until his eyes met Gosalyn. His old eyes crinkled fondly.

"Ah lassie if ye wouldn't mind th' children would love te say goodbye. They're out in the car. Louie would hate not seein' ye."

Drake noticed a strange set of looks fly between Gosalyn, Fenton, and Launchpad. She looked pleadingly at LP, like she wanted nothing more than him to either forbid it or accompany her. Launchpad gave him an odd look, almost frightened but didn't give into her silent request. He'd have to get to the bottom of this later.

"Go on Gosalyn." Drake could see that visiting the children was not the only reason Scrooge wanted her to leave the room. She trudged out of the house as if he had sent her off to her own execution.

"So, Mr. McDuck what brings you here?"

"Ah'm on my way back te Duckburg but I couldn't leave without thanking ya."

"Don't. It was my fault this happened in the first place."

"Aye. That may be true but, thanks to ya an' Fenton ah've managed to see mah boys an' Webby in one piece in the end."

"It's not over yet." Drake sighed.

"What's your next move?" Fenton asked.

For the first time since they met, Fenton looked healthy. It seemed as if sleep hadn't been as unkind to him as it had to Drake.

"Actually, I was kind of hoping to talk to you about that." Drake locked eyes with Launchpad and the pilot must have predicted his intentions because resistance burned in his eyes. "Launchpad, you can't stay here, not in Saint Canard. Mr. McDuck, would you consider re-hiring him?"

"Nuh-uh! No way Deedubleyuh! I know I've been a knuckle head but I'm not going anywhere!"

"LP, they were going to kill you. You know that right? I can't give him the chance again."

"Sorry but that choice is mine."

"Launchpad..." Fenton interrupted. "Maybe you should consider it. I mean, no offense but, this isn't your fight."

"As long as my friend is fighting you better believe I'm gunna be involved!" Launchpad stated flatly. Drake sighed.

"He's making us go too Launchpad..." Morgana came up beside Drake. "... Gosalyn and I. As much as we want to stay, … how can we? We'll only be used as ammunition."

"But..." Launchpad struggled, his motivation broken knowing that he wasn't the only one being cast away.

"We'd love te have ye back, even if it's just fer a little while lad." Scrooge interjected kindly.

"Oh and don't worry Launchpad, believe me if Drake gets in trouble I'm not going to sit back and do nothing. Can I assume you're with me on this?" Morgana smiled and Launchpad nodded determinedly. Drake just shook his head.

"Yes! And Gizmoduck will always be there to answer your call friend." Fenton extended a hand.

Drake took in the friendly face and smiled gently as he shook the offered hand.

"Thanks, but I think he'd just cramp my style." He teased.

"You have a style? I thought you just flailed around like that on impulse." Fenton smirked. "I mean it though, if you need me I'll be there."

"I'll keep that in mind."

"Well I think we should get on the road..." Fenton nodded to Morgana in parting then looked at the stone faced McQuack, before he walked toward the door.

"Hey, don't sweat it LP, you know me I'll be alright." Drake didn't believe a word of it but, the doubt couldn't be heard.

Without warning he was pulled into the barrel chested bird's arms. The force had been so unexpected he "oof"-ed, Launchpad had him in a severe bear hug.

"You better be okay, I still owe ya!"

"Bye Launchpad." Drake smiled weakly as his friend released him and followed Fenton out of the house.

"I'll see ya later!" Launchpad smiled as he closed the door.

He stood still for a moment. It really hurt. He knew it would but not, this much. Launchpad had been his friend, he was the first person to pursue him, make him take notice of the faces he blocked out when he was Darkwing. The night he met him, he almost didn't look at him. He took out a small band of thugs that were attacking a woman and set to blow the mechanic's drunken brains all over the alley way. Back then, he was fighting just for the sake of fighting, hoping to find comfort or purpose in knowing he was helping people. He would arrive quickly, lend his aid and disappear just as fast. But when he saved him, the first thing he noticed was the stunned eyes the duck had fixed on him. He'd grown accustomed to looks like that, after all he was in a costume beating up street punks, but something made him delay his retreat. The first thing his friend had said to him was: Are you real? He wasn't sure why, but it struck him funny. He had laughed, a pure laugh, a sound that he thought had died inside him. After that day, he found that the eager McQuack would show up in that alley in hopes of finding him there. When he confronted him, to tell him to get a life, Launchpad told him he wanted to work for him, that he wanted to repay him for saving him. Being confronted with a sober duck with such a serious pledge, made his defenses fall slightly. It was Launchpad who got the ball rolling. After he'd agreed to confide his hideout's location and became friendly with the pleasant McQuack, he was not as lonely as he had been. If he hadn't met Launchpad, he would be nothing, he'd be the same old blind Darkwing running around empty and alone. Now as he sadly looked at the door he had a terrible feeling in the pit of his stomach that he'd never see his best friend again. It was with that thought, that he realized that Scrooge was still there and he pulled himself out of his thoughts.

"Mr. McDuck?"

"Ah know ye were aware of th' bounty ah placed on ya." Scrooge said plainly. "But I dinnet think ye knew about th' reward ah offered fer the return of mah Dewey's things." He pulled out an envelope and held it out to him.

"I can't take your money sir."

"Good. Because ah'm not givin' it just to you. It was your daughter who put the box in me hand. It's for both of you, ah dinnet want to hear yer excuses. Ah'm only tryin' te make yer lives easier, th' only way ah can." He put the envelope in Drake's hand and the old man fixed him with a heart warming gaze. He put his hand on Drake's shoulder.

"Thank ye Darkwing, an' you too lass." He looked at Morgana. "I cannet say how grateful ah am that fate brought us together."

"Mr. McDuck..." Morgana sounded hesitant. "Dewey... he wanted you to know he loved you very much, that he'd been watching over all of you. But, he's gone now, he's moved onto a better place."

Scrooge blinked slowly and a small smile passed his face.

"Aye. There were times when ah knew he was there... an' Launchpad an' Fenton saw him yesterday..." He let out a weak breath. "Thank you."

"He was a very special child, but you still have three more waiting for you."

"Ach. That ah do!" He said pulling himself together. " Well ah wish ye luck an' safety. Yer a friend of Scrooge McDuck now, so if ye need us please don't hesitate te ask." He tipped his hat formally and left the house.

Drake moved to stand in the open doorway. He saw the children out by the car, Louie sitting snugly inside covered in bandages. Honker had wandered over, ready for school, to say good bye to the children as well. Launchpad currently had Gosalyn in an embrace that he'd never seen them share before. She would never be able to deny the fact that Launchpad loved her after the crushing hug and teary eyes he showed her now. Webby looked away from Honker and saw him, she waved happily. The two boys followed her lead and waved at him merrily, he returned the favor hoping he didn't look too melancholy. A soft hand took his and the wonderful tingle ran up his arm. He noticed Fenton was talking to the woman named Gandra, as he got into the limo. Morgana was looking at her intently, he recalled what Magica had done.

"That's the real one... I didn't kiss her..." He said cautiously. Morgana laughed.

"I know. It's just... I know how she feels. The one she loves is always in danger, but she can't help him. I can aid you darling, but she just has to sit and wait for news to come her way. All she can do is pray, she must be so sad."

Drake watched the couple in the car, Fenton said something and she playfully hit him in response. He'd never thought about that before. Gosalyn made her way back to the house to join them as the rest of the McDuck clan made their departure. They waved as they were whisked away in the lap of luxury to their safe mansion, far from the dangers that lurked around this house. Honker trotted up beside Gosalyn, apparently prematurely waiting for the school bus.

"Aren't you coming to school today? They've been asking why you keep missing classes..." Honker asked her, a bit of worry in his artificially magnified eyes.

"Nah, Dad said I could stay home, plus Morgana's taking me somewhere." Gosalyn responded.


"I dunno."

"When are you leaving?"

"Uh, hey Morgana? When are we leaving?"

Morgana looked at Drake, he sighed lightly.

"Today." He said flatly.

"B...but Gosalyn..." The Muddlefoot flustered.

"Don't worry Honk, we'll be back... hey! I've got an idea! Maybe you can come with us!"

"NO!" Morgana shouted startled, then blushed immediately. "I...I'm sorry Honker, but... it's all very complicated..."

"It's okay, my parents are having a family reunion next week... I wouldn't be able to go anyway."

Drake shuddered at the thought of more Muddlefoots. The bus rolled to a stop in front of the house and Gosalyn initiated their secret handshake. Honker followed along though it looked like he'd rather have gotten a hug. He was a smart kid, he could tell when something was wrong. Drake just hoped Gos wouldn't catch on until she was safely away. Honker ran to the bus and stopped to look back at them before he climbed aboard. Gosalyn waved to him until the bus was gone, then turned to Drake and pointed to his hand.

"Hey, what's in the envelope dad?" Asked the curious red head.

"Nothing. Now, I think you should go pack up. You don't want to be late."

"Okay." She ran into the house and tore up the stairs.

Drake had forgotten about the reward, he moved inside after Morgana and closed the door tightly.

"Are you going to open it?" She asked him.

"I don't know."

"Then I will!" She smiled and snatched the envelope from him. She tore it open and stared at the small piece of paper. She blinked, let out a small laugh and handed the check to him.

He had to take hold of the banister to stay standing. Did he mean to write all those zeros? Drake swallowed hard as he gawked at the brittle little sheet that was worth more money than he'd ever be able to make at the Scrap yard. He felt his hands shaking and heard Morgana laugh warmly. The clunk of a suitcase being dragged down the stairs wrenched him out of his shock. He put the check in Morgana's hand and closed his hands around hers.

"Don't let her see it, you should open a bank account for her and don't let her touch it."

"Drake, we're not leaving forever, and this is your money too..." She said her happiness dimming slightly.

"Morg, you'll be all she has if something happens to me. If it's too much tell me now..."

"Dark, you know I love her... but you shouldn't talk like that."

"What are you guys doing?" Asked a suspicious Gosalyn as she dragged the suitcase roughly down another step. Shirts were sticking out between the zipper and it looked like it was packed with enough junk to last her a life time. He was sure she had just dumped a few drawers in there. He smiled, he was going to miss her so much.

"Need help?" He asked as an ungodly bang announced another step descended. He didn't wait for an answer but climbed up to meet her, taking hold of the heavy bag. "What did you put in here bricks?"

"Nah, my hockey gear, some roller blades, my catcher's mit and ball, oh and some clothes I guess..."

"You guess?" He smiled as he lugged the bag to the bottom of the stairs.

"So... are we going to drive to the surprise?"

"No, we're going by magic." Morgana smiled lightly.

"Awesome!" Gosalyn whooped as she seized the woman's hands. "Are we going now?"

"I..." Her eyes rose to meet Drake's sad nod. "I want to talk to your dad for a second before we go... but then we'll be ready okay?"

"Okay! I'm gunna eat somethin' I'm starved.." Gosalyn walked into the kitchen and closed the door behind her.

"You're really serious about this?"


"Drake, I have something to tell you..." She moved over to him, the peaceful calm that being near him brought her was not dulled by their impending parting. "Dewey, when I saw him last... he said..." She searched his tired face. The boy had said the truth would change him, that he'd never be the same.

"What?" He asked her.

"N... nevermind." She breathed and reached into the pocket of the pants he had given her to wear. "I got something back that I didn't know you'd lost..." She put the Macabre pendant in his hand, the gold emblem standing out brilliantly against his white feathers.

"Where was it? I realized it was gone when..." He paused and met her eyes. "He had it, didn't he?"

She nodded lightly, to which he rubbed his eyes miserably. He was so distraught, so exhausted, it felt like the world was falling down on top of him. He was only reminded further of what he had to loose when she kissed him softly. He looked at her, no words coming to him. She was leaving, and like he had with Launchpad, he felt that he would never see her again. It was hard enough to say good bye to his friend, but he couldn't even find an optimistic lie to leave her with. Anything he would say would only make their separation worse. To add onto his grief he also had to deal with Gosalyn. When he said good bye to her and gave her a hug, her arms wrapped around him tightly. There was something in the way she squeezed him, it felt like she was holding down angry tears. She knew, he should have known better than to think she wouldn't catch on. She didn't say what he thought she would, in fact she kept up her act, maybe thinking that if he thought she didn't know he wouldn't worry so much. The two girls stood before him, and with one last sad glance at him they were gone with a wave of a hand.

He sat down on the couch slowly. He was alone. Completely. It was something he had strived for in the past, but now he had to fight the urge to cry. Whatever was going to happen... he was going to meet it. Going to fight it alone, no one else was going to be hurt because of him. Darkwing Duck had to take control... before the world crumbled around him, even if it meant Drake Mallard's happiness was destroyed. This was it, there was no turning back. This was the beginning of the end.

The End.

(To be Concluded in Trials of the Hero)


Darkwing Duck, Ducktales and all related characters are © Disney


A few things to address:

Bud Flood er… I mean, the Liquidator- in this chapter he does not use his trademark advertising lingo, I have reasons. Let's just say his mind hasn't really started "deteriorating" from his transformation, so he can still carry on normal conversations. So never fear Licky fans, he'll be shelling them out next story. (Also Duncan's a crafty bastard ain't he? Darkwing murdered Felicity? I think not.)

Darkwing's decision- I think he should have done this sooner. Don't think he's being stupid, because when you think about it, it is just who he is. If he would take a beating for a child he barely knew, he certainly would face death alone rather than have his family harmed.

Duncan/Negs- Hehe. Fearsome Five.

Other characters: Don't worry, just because DW made them leave they won't be absent in the story to come. (Well maybe McDuck and the kids will be, but as it stands now, Giz will surely make another appearance.) But Morgana and Gosalyn are in it just as much, if not more than this story. As for where they went… well, that's my little secret. ;D

Anyway, This is it! You made it! Only one left to go! I'll admit my progress on it is almost non-existent, but that'll change as soon as I work out the timeline problems in my head. And writing out of sequence really doesn't help me at all. As I have been doing, I'll leave you with a teaser summary:

Mere days after their encounter, Negaduck and Drake are back on their feet and out to strike first.

Negs, finally has had enough of Drake. He's ready to set his master plan in motion but only after deploying his new "fearsome" operatives to save a familiar face from a "shocking" execution.

Drake is forced to move on by himself, find out what the strange liquid that inhabits his body is, discover the secrets of his past, and manage to stay among the living. But when the answers all start falling into place, the outcome is not what he expected. The truth threatens to destroy him, and faces from the past come back with a thirst for revenge. Will the only solution not only claim the lives of the city's villains but, her champion as well?

Find out in the last installment.

Trials of the Hero