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Before we start I'd like to say that all mistakes in this are mine and mine alone. That's including spelling and medical terminology. Also I don't own DW, Gos, or Launchpad. All others I do. And please review.
Remembering the Ones We Love pt.1
By: Dawn Powell
For the past week the city of St. Canard had been plagued by a major crime wave, run by the biggest names in the business, Bushroot, The Liquidator, Megavolt, Quackerjack, and let's not forget the head of the gang, Negaduck. They were slowly draining the money out of all the major banks leaving them without enough money to run all the big companies.
That was until Darkwing Duck started working overtime. St. Canard was his city and he considered himself it's sentinel. If it took him wairing himself raggid protecting he thought of it as part of the job.
There was one little girl that didn't see it that way, though. Gosalyn Mallard understood her dad's position, but that didn't mean she had to see him lose himself over it. And if one was to follow a certain duck home they would see just how far she was willing to go to keep him safe.
"But, Dad! You need to slow down. You're this close to..." Drake Mallard aka. Darkwing Duck held up a hand, stopping her in mid-arguement.
"Gosalyn, I know what you're going to say. It's the same thing you've been telling me for the last three days. That I need to get some rest, yadda, yadda, yadda. And I completely agree with you, but how am I going to get any rest with those freaks out there trying to take over my city, piece by piece? Tell me that, Missy." He paused for a minute and took a good look at Gosalyn's face and saw just how his words affected her. More tenderly he continued. "Look, I'm sorry, Gos, but this whole thing's been taking it's toll on me and it's left me a bit grouchy."
"Tell me about it. Getting no sleep for three days does tend to do that to a person." She felt she had the right to be a bit cross too. It wasn't like she was getting a heck of a lot of sleep either. Not when her dad was out there risking his neck for people that probably didn't care.
Drake started to say something when what she had just said rang through his foggy mind. "What did you just say?"
Gosalyn thought back what she said, trying to come up with that bit of information he was seeking. "Um... Getting no sleep for three days does tend to do that to a person?"
"That's it. How did you know that I haven't slept for three days? It's not like you've been up with me." As the words past his lips his mind came up with a scenero that could explain how his daughter got that information. Only one person could have told her that...
"Launchpad told me."
Drake turned to glare at his sidekick, who was trying his hardest to blend into the wall behind him. "Oh he did, did he? Well, for your information I have slept." He turned back to face his daughter and saw the disbelief in her eyes.
In a hard voice she asked him the question he hoped she wouldn't think of. "When?"
He had to tell her the truth. If he didn't she would see right through it. "Um... A few minutes here and there. Look, I'll make you a deal. Let me finish patrolling tonight and even if nothing comes up I'll take the next couple of days off and spend them resting. Deal?" He held out his hand to seal the deal.
Reluctantly, she took it. Really she didn't have a choice. After all he was the adult and she was only a little kid. Giving a sigh she repeated his last word and added a few of her own. "Deal. But than do I really have a choice in this?" After letting go of his hand she crossed her arms tightly across her chest.
He bent down and kissed her head. "Nope." With Launchpad following closely behind him he hopped on one of the transporter chairs.
As Launchpad walked past her, she grabbed his arm and told her dad. "Why don't you go on ahead, Dad. I need to ask Launchpad something before you go on patrol."
Drake looked over at the two trying to figure out what was going on with his daughter. When he failed to figure it out he just gave her his usual farewell. "Alright. I'll meet you at the tower, LP. Don't worry, Gosalyn, I'll be home in a couple of hours." And he hit the statue's head, activating it.
Nervously, Launchpad faced Gosalyn. "So what did you need to ask me?"
"Actually, it's more like a favor. Could you keep close to dad tonight? I know you always do, but tonight don't leave his side for a minute. You and I both know he's exhausted and when he gets that way he tends to make mistakes. So can you do that for me?" She looked at him with pleading eyes.
At her request Lauchpad's nervousness disappeared. Giving her a tired smile he agreed to do that for her. It was the least he could do after all they've given him.
"Thanks, Launchpad. Now you better get going before dad decides to come back and get you."
"OK. I'll see in the morning then." He sat down in the seat Drake had just vacated.
"Bye, Lauchpad. Please be careful out there." She gave him a small wave before turning away from him. Behind her she could hear him quietly promise that they'd be careful and the whirl of the chair as he left.
With his disparture a new uneasiness settled into the pit of Gosalyn's gut, and for a brief moment she considered following them that night. She threw the idea out of her mind. If she were to follow them it wouldn't do any good, her dad would drop her off at home and they'd be back to square one. No, she decided to stay home for once. So she plopped down on the couch and tried to watch some TV. Even her favorite shows couldn't hold her attention for long so she decided to go upstairs and get some rest.
Meanwhile at the tower Drake, dressed in his costume, was quickly wearing a path in the floor. "Where's Launchpad? He should have been here by now." Just then he heard the sound of the chair. Just as it slowed to a stop Darkwing felt his foot start to tap impatiently on the cold floor.
Even before Launchpad could get himself out of the chair, Darkwing pounced on him. "So did Gosalyn give you her instructions? That was what she did, wasn't it?" He didn't wait for Launchpad's answer. "Don't bother answering I already know she did."
Launchpad sighed. He could tell this was going to be a long night, Darkwing was in one of his moods. He hoped that they would wrap this case up soon so he would unwind. "DW, she's just trying to keep you from getting yourself killed. If that happened then what would she do?"
For a moment Darkwing's face softened at the thought of his little girl being alone in the world. Then it hardened again. "I'm a grown man for God's sake. I can take care of myself. I don't need someone telling me when to go to bed. I left those days a long time ago. Now come on. We don't have time to waste. Negaduck and his gang are out there ruining my city." His cape went flying over his shoulder as he spun around. If he had been listening closely he would have heard Launchpad say under his breath, "Maybe it's time someone did tell you what's good for you."
Outloud he tried one more time to get his friend to take the night off. "Are you sure you want to go out tonight?"
Darkwing gave out an exasperated sigh. "Launchpad, I already told you I'm fine. You don't have to worry about me crashing the Ratcatcher. Jeez, you're getting to sound like Gosalyn. I didn't know I had another worry wart in the family." He hopped on the bike and waited for Launchpad to get in the sidecar. Wearily, Launchpad got in and Darkwing started the bike and they roared off into the night.
For the first time in a week St. Canard was quiet. To Launchpad it was a blessing but to Darkwing it was a danger sign. He believed in the saying, 'The calm before the storm,' and to him this night was that calm. He didn't like it.
It wasn't until 7:00 that morning before Darkwing had had enough patrolling and decided it was time for them to go home. He called over to Lauchpad to tell him of his plans only to find him fast asleep in the car next to him. His weary expression turned soft as he watched his friend sleep and he felt bad for how he treated his only family earlier.
With the combination of exhaustion and the mixture of feelings, Darkwing wasn't paying that much attention to his driving and never saw the cat until the very last moment. Slamming on the breaks spinning the bike. While the bike was in midspin Launchpad woke up. He only had time enough to let out a strangled cry as he was thrown from the bike, landing in a pile of garbage bags.
Darkwing on the other hand wasn't so lucky. He was still trying to get control of the Ratcatcher as it went around and around. Darkwing let out his own cry of fear as the bike slammed into a light pole, sending him flying. As he flew through the air he could hear Launchpad yell out, "DW!" and then everything went black as his head made contact with the wall of a building.
Launchpad couldn't believe it. One minute he was sleeping peacefully and the next he was in a pile of garbage while Darkwing was laying not ten feet away, unconcious. He started clambering his way out of the bags all the while yelling at Darkwing.
Finally he was able to free himself from his binds and he rushed over to his friend. "DW?" Bending down he placed a hand on Darkwing's shoulder and gave him a gentle shake, trying to wake him up. "Come on DW. Wake up. You gotta wake up." Still Darkwing laid there, oblivious to what was going on around him.
Frantically he looked around the small crowd that had gathered at the scene, searching for help. He leaned back on his heels, "Please someone. Help us." He pleaded with them. Someone, he didn't know who, pulled out a phone and dialed 911. Launchpad could hear the guy with the phone try to ask him questions but he could answer them. His mind was blank except with a single thought, 'Hang on DW. Just hang on.'
After what seemed like hours, but in reality was only a few minutes, an ambulance pulled to a stop in front of the scene and the paramedics quickly took in the scene. They were soon joined by two squad cars. As Officer Richard Stewart climbed out his vehicle he took in the scene and gave out a low whistle. To him it seemed that if anyone got out of that one alive they were damned lucky. The bike that crashed was literally wrapped around the pole.
Quickly he went up to the group of witnesses standing off to the side. "OK, can someone tell me what happened here?" All at once ten voices blasted him. He held up a hand trying to get them quiet. Finally he had to bring his fingers to his lips to give out a shrill whistle. Finally he got them to settled down. "Let's try this again. How about we start with the caller. Are they still here."
A tall business man stepped up. "That would be me."
Stewart pulled out his notebook from his breast pocket. "Alright then, tell me exactly what you saw. Starting from the beginning please."
The man took in a deep breath, "We...Well, those two men over there," he nodded to where the paramedics were working on Darkwing. "...they were riding along in that bike when all of the sudden a cat darted out in front of them. He..." he pointed at Darkwing again, "slammed on his brakes and the bike started spinning. The first time it spun the passenger was flown from his seat, landing in those garbage sacks. The driver was still on it when it hit the light pole. That's when he himseld flew off and hit the wall. That's it. Are they going to alright?" The man knew that he would be hearing the sound of flesh meeting brick for a long time after that night and the thought of that made him shiver.
Stewart saw the tremble go through the other man's body and he reached over to pat his shoulder. "I'm sure they'll be fine. Tell you what, I'll go over and find out how they're doing and I'll come back and tell you."
The man looked gratefully at him. "That would be great. Thank you."
Stewart gave him a reassuring smile. "You're welcome. Oh, one more thing, is there anything anyone wants to add to this statement?" Everyone shook their heads. "OK then, I'll be back in a fw minutes." He gave the group one last look before he slowly made his way over to where the paramedics were working on Darkwing.
As he went up to the group he called out the head paramedic by name. "Hey Steve."
Steve Winslow's head snapped up at the sound of his name being called. When he saw who it was a tired smile spread across his face. "Hi, Richard. Some night huh?" He looked back down, finishing up putting a collar around Darkwing's neck so they could get him on a backboard and transport him to the hospital.
"Yeah, it is. So's how's are boy doing?"
Steve frowned. "Well, the good news is that his vitals are stable, but he's not responding to any outside stimulation."
"So what exactly does that mean?" He'd heard this many times, but never really knew what it meant.
"It means he could have head injuries. We won't know for sure until we get him to the hospital and have the doctor look at him."
"How about the other guy?"
"He's got a few bruises and scratches, but other than that he's fine. Have you talked to him yet?"
"No, I was going to do that after I talked to you. Why?"
"I think you may find this pair interesting." He made a gesture at the figure below them. That's when Richard got his first good look at the victim.
"Oh my God. Don't tell me that's who I think it is."
"Bingo. It's Darkwing Duck. Look would you mind giving his partner a ride to the hospital after you get done talking to him. We have to get Darkwing out of here."
"All right. I'll see you later. Take care of him would you. He may be a pain in the ass sometimes but he's helped us out more than some people want to admit. I'm not naming names though."
"Will do, Richard. Don't worry he's in good hands." Steve turned to the other paramedic and nodded, indicating that he was ready to go. "See ya later." And they were off.
Launchpad tried to follow them but Richard stopped him. "Excuse me. I need to ask you some questions."
He shook his head vigorously. "What? No, I can't right now. I need to go with them."
Richard repeated Steve's words back to Launchpad. "Don't worry he's in good hands. I knew the paramedic and he's one of the best."
Launchpad wasn't listening. "But DW needs me. What if he wakes up?"
Richard placed a hand on his arm trying to calm the other man down. "He's going to be OK. I'll take you to the hospital and along the way you can answer some of my questions."
Launchpad's shoulders sunk in defeat. "OK."
Richard smiled, usually it took more than that to get a person to leave the other when they were hurt. "Good then. Why don't you go ahead to my car and I'll be there in a minute. There's a couple of other things I need to take care of first." Launchpad only nodded and slowly made his way for the squad car. Richard watched him for a moment before he turned back to the small crowd he had talked to earlier.
They pounced on him like lions pouncing on a gazelle after stalking it. "How is he? Is he going to be OK?" The questions came fast and furious.
He held up his hand in a pathetic effort at silencing them. All he managed to do was get them to mute their voices to a soft hum. "I'm sorry, but I really don't have anything to tell you. At this time the paramedics don't know for sure what's wrong with him. Now if you'll excuse me." He turned on his heel and left, leaving the crowd behind him dumb founded.
Just as he was reaching his car another officer came up to him. "Is it true?"
"Is what true?"
"Was that Darkwing Duck in the accident?"
Richard rubbed a hand over his face. "Yeah, it's true."
The other officer got a big grin on his face. "I always knew that guy was going to get himself killed one of these days. He's always getting in the way."
Richard had to fight the urge to grab him by the collar and yell at him. Instead he stood up straighter and glared at him. "Look, he may get in the way sometimes, but he does a hell of a lot of good for this city. Look at all he's done for it. Do you think you could do what he does? Go after some of these freaks that we have? Huh? Do you?" The officer lowered his eyes in shame. Richard smirked at him. "I didn't think so. If you want to do some good, go grab your partner and get some of these people out of here. Now get going."
"Yes...Yes, sir." The officer went off to find his partner. Richard let out a sigh and climbed into his own car. He was surprised by the sight that greeted him, Launchpad was silently starring out the windshield into nothing. His eyes made Richard think of someone in a trance. They were wide and glassy.
Richard wasn't sure what to do, so he did the only thing he could think of. Gently he shook Launchpad's arm and calling out, "Hey Buddy. Are you alright?" When he didn't get a reply he tried it again, this time a little harder. It was just what Launchpad needed to snap him out of his trance.
The first words out of his mouth were, "It's my fault."
"Yes, it is. I should have been the one driving. DW was too tired. He'd been working so hard at trying to stop this crime wave."
His hand paused just above the shift stick. "You didn't know this could happen. By the way, I never did catch your name." He put the car into drive and headed in the direction of the hospital.
"It's Launchpad. Launchpad McQuack."
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you Mr. McQuack. I'm Richard Stewart." Launchpad's foggy mind started spinning from the sudden change in conversation.
"You can call me Launchpad."
Now that he was talking he had some questions of his own that he would have liked to have answered. "Um...Exactly what did happen? I was pretty much out of it."
"As far as we know Darkwing had swerved to miss a cat and lost control of the bike you were riding on. The bike spun around a couple of times, knocking you off. Then the bike and your partner hit the light pole, flinging him off." Launchpad kept nodding through out the narriration. That last part he remembered. As for when he flew off that part was only a vague memory. His mind had still been clouded with sleep.
"We're here." Richard pulled into an empty slot and turned the car off. Launchpad hadn't realized that they were that close to the hospital. He reached over and grasped the handle, but was stopped by Richard's voice. "Is there anyone else that I should contact? Any other family?"
Launchpad thought for a minute. Drake didn't have many friends and even if he did there was no way that he could contact them without risking the revealing of Darkwing's true identity. The only one left was Gosalyn and he had to do that one himself. "There's a little girl that's close to Darkwing. She should be told."
"OK. What's her name and address and I'll go tell her what had happened."
Launchpad shook his head. "No, I'll tell her. It's best that she hears it from me. But first I need to get in there and find out how he's doing. There'll probably be paperwork for me to fill out. I'll go when I find out more."
Richard looked at his watch. It was only fifteen till eight. It had seemed much later than that. His shift had ended at 7:30, but he didn't have to heart to abandon the poor man next to him. Later he would say that's why he made the offer that he did. "Look, I just got done with my shift a few minutes ago and I really don't have anything to do at the moment. If you want I can take you to go talk to her."
Launchpad was shocked. This guy was offering to play taxi for him? "Oh, no. I couldn't ask you to do that. What about your wife. She's probably wondering were you're at."
"No problem. I'm not married and really, I don't mind. Unlike some people that I work with I have respect for what you guys do for this city and just think of this as my way of saying thank you."
Launchpad was still hesitant. Finally he gave in. "OK. I'd appreciate that. I guess I better get in there and get those papers filled out. Were you going to come in with me?"
"Uh no. I have to get the car back and sign out. I've had to fill out those papers before and I know that they'll take you awhile. How about I meet you in the waiting room? In about about half an hour?"
"Sure. I'll see you then." He opened the door and got out. "Bye." The door shut behind him.
As he entered the emergancy room of St. Canard General Launchpad's nose wrinkled up at the smell. No matter how many times he had come in here before he would never get used to that smell. Sometimes he wondered how the doctors and nurses did it. This wasn't one of those times. His thoughts were with his friend who was in there somewhere.
He marched up to the front counter and got the nurse's attention. "Excuse me. Can you tell me where I can find Darkwing Duck?"
The nurse looked over her glasses at him. "And who are you?" Launchpad sighed. He didn't have time for this. He needed to know how his friend was.
"I'm Launchpad McQuack, his sidekick. I was in the accident with him. Now can you tell me where he is?"
The nurse remained unimpressed. "He's in trauma room one." Launchpad turned to go find it. He got as far as two steps before he was stopped. "But you can't go in there. The doctor's are working on him now. If you would like you can have a seat in the waiting room and I'll have a doctor come out and talk to you shortly. And while you're waiting we'll have you fill out these forms." She thrust a bunch of forms through the window. He snatched them and headed for the chairs that she pointed out. Taking out a pen he started the tedious job of filling out the medical forms.
Twenty minutes later Richard showed up. "How's it going, Launchpad?" He sat down in the seat next to him.
Launchpad looked up at him and rubbed his eyes. "Not bad, I guess. Ever since I got here I've been filling out these damn forms. I'm on my last one right now."
Richard shook his head in pity. "I'm glad I'm not in your place. Has a doctor been out to talk to you yet?" Launchpad shook his head. "OK. I'll be right back. I'm going to see what I can find out." He got up and walked to the nurses counter. Launchpad saw him pull out his badge before he turned back the form he was working on.
A few minutes Richard came back and sat down. Launchpad looked up hopefully. "Well, I managed to talk to one of the doctors and he said that they just moved him upstairs for observation. He has a pretty bad concussion, a couple of broken ribs, his backs pretty bruised up from hitting that wall, and his left wrist is broke. They wanted to give him some pain medication, but they didn't know how it would effect him with his concussion, so for the moment they're keeping him as comfortable as possible. He's still knocked out so they're not sure if there is any brain damage, but they said that it's very unlikely that there was." He gave Launchpad a moment to let the information sink in before he went on. "I told the doctor that you were here, but was going to be leaving again to go pick someone up and he said that was fine. So if you're done with the forms we can go get your friend."
"So he's OK then?" Richard nodded. "I'm done here. Let me give these to the nurse and we can get going." He got up and with more energy then he thought he had rushed over the desk and gave the nurse those dreadful papers. "I'm ready." He went through the enterence door with Richard following close behind.
"So where exactly are we headed for to pick up this mysterious person?" Richard tried to crack a joke but Launchpad was too tired to really catch it.
"She'll be in school by now, so we should try there first. St. Canard Elementary."
Richard halted in midstep. "You mean we're going into a school and pratically kidnap a girl because her friend is hurt? That's crazy. I'm a cop, I can't be doing that. What about her parents?"
"You're not the one that's going in and getting her, I am. I'll call her parents later to tell them what has happened. They won't mind." He didn't mention that she had only one parent and he was the in the hospital.
Richard still looked doubtful. "If you're sure. Come on I'm parked over here." They found the car and got in. He started up the car and soon they were on thier way. Richard tried to start a conversation with Launchpad, but soon realized that it was useless. Launchpad was off in his own little world. So the rest of the ride was spent in silence.
As soon as the car stopped in front of the school Launchpad was out the door. He was grateful for the ride but the piting looks Richard kept shooting his way were just too much to bear. He needed to be strong to tell Gosalyn the news that would hurt her. It was this way everytime her dad got hurt on the job but this time it was too close.
Just as he was about to open the door to the school Launchpad paused. He remembered this place. It was brand new when he started here, the old one had been getting old and they needed more room for the growing population. Thinking about those times sent a shiver running up Launchpad's spine. He never did like school. The other kids would make fun of him for being clumsy and not all that smart. Just being in front of this door brought all those times back and that was the last thing he wanted to think about at this moment.
Finally he gave a great sigh and without looking back, opened the door. Stepping through the door was like stepping into the time top and being sent back in time to his childhood. This just made him move faster through the halls of St. Canard Elementary.
At last he reached the office he knew so well. It was one that he spent a lot of time in when he was little. It was the principal's office. Now if the just going through the front door made him think he was in a time warp this place made him feel like he was that ten year old kid again.
This time instead of taking a deep breath before steeping into his past he barged right in and got the surprise of his life. The old school secretary, Mrs. Shaw, was still there, just as he remembered her. She had a few more wrinkles and a few more gray hairs but she looked just the same.
"Mrs. Shaw? Is that you?" The question came out in a great rush.
Mrs. Edith Shaw looked up from her typing to see who was calling her. She figured it was a teacher or a student, not the man that stood in front of her. The man she remembered as little boy with gentle eyes. She could still see that the gentleness hadn't left them even after all these years. "Launchpad McQuack! What on earth are you doing here?"
"How did you know it was me?" He was baffled. He hadn't seen Mrs. Shaw in years, yet she knew exactly who it was.
She laughed at his puzzlement. "How could you think that I could possibly forget you? It's not every year that I have a little boy come in here with the same striking red hair and those sparkling blue eyes. Except the last time I saw you you were no taller than my waist. Boy, you sure have grown up. I bet the ladies just swoon over you, don't they?" Launchpad's eyes widened and a deep blush crept up his face. She have expected him to start shuffling his feet and say, "Auh, shucks." Just like he did when he was a kid. She decided to let him off the hook. "So what brings you here, Launchpad?"
He nervously cleared his throat. "Uh... I was wondering if I could speak to one of your students."
"Why Launchpad, I didn't know you had a kid."
The blushing started again. "I...I don't. It's one of my friend's. We were involved in an accident this morning and I came to tell her."
Mrs. Shaw's face fell. "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Is he going to be alright?" She was always saddened to hear of someone she knew getting hurt.
"Yeah, he just has a few bumbs and bruises. But I thought I should come and tell her."
"Of course you should. What's her name and I'll have her paged."
Mrs. Shaw paused. "You know the Mallard's?" Without waiting for a reply she whirled around to face the computer. "Let's see. What room is she in?" She punched a few keys and got her answer. "Ah, here we are, room 214." She then spun her chair to the intercom and pushed a button. "Mrs. Wagner, can you please send Gosalyn Mallard to the office. And have her bring her stuff." She let go of the button and turned back to Launchpad. "She'll be down in a minute. So tell me what you've been up too."
"I became a pilot. For awhile I was working for Mr. Scrooge McDuck in Duckburg. Then I moved back here." He continued on telling her what he's been up to while they waited for Gosalyn to come.
In room 214 the kids of Mrs. Wagner's class was busy copying their spelling words off the board. That was except for Gosalyn and her best friend Honker Muddlefoot. They were busy discussing what could have happened to her dad. Usually he was home before she left for school but that morning she didn't see him or Launchpad. Honker had been trying to convince her that everything was all right, but she knew something was wrong.
"Maybe he just fell asleep at the tower. It wouldn't be the first time." Honker said in between words.
Gosalyn just waved the suggestion away. "Launchpad would have called me. I told him last night to take care of dad. Maybe they were in an accident and both of them were hurt. No one would know to call me."
Honker got ready to give her a reply, but was interrupted by the intercom. "Mrs. Shaw, can you please send Gosalyn Mallard to the office. And have her bring her stuff."
Gosalyn turned frightened eyes on Honker. "I knew something was wrong. I could feel it." Honker just reached out and patted her arm.
As she walked out the door a kid yelled out, "Hey Gosalyn! What did you do this time? Break another window?" and started laughing.
Mrs. Wagner gave the boy a stern look before following Gosalyn out into the hall. "Wait up, Gosalyn." Gosalyn stopped and turned to face her teacher. "Did you want me to have Honker bring you your homework?" Gosalyn just nodded. "OK. We'll see you later then." Mrs. Wagner watched as the young duckling slowly walked down the hall.
Her feet made no sound as she padded down the hall and for once she wished she wore shoes. If nothing else it would have been for just the sound of the rubber heels making a squeaky noise with every step. It would have helped her keep her mind off the possibility that she would lose someone else she loved.
Finally she made it to the office and prepared her for the news she was about to hear. Gosalyn knew that she could turn back, maybe leave the building, then she wouldn't have to face another loss. But she knew that wasn't an option and hesitantly she opened the door.
Both Mrs. Shaw and Launchpad looked up as they heard the door open. In came Gosalyn with tears in her eyes. "He's dead, isn't he?" What little control she had diminished as the tears started to flow. The two adults shared a quick glance before Launchpad got on his knees so he could look at Gosalyn in the eyes.
He opened his arms wide and Gosalyn flew into them. His sleeve muffled her quiet sobs. Finally he pulled away from her and the look on her face hurt him more than the accident did. His own tears were shed from his eyes. "Oh, Gosalyn. He's not dead. But, It was my fault. I should have been driving." He bowed his head ashamed.
Gosalyn's tears slowed to a trickle as she saw her pain reflected in Launchpad's eyes. Gathering her strength she asked, "Tell me what happened."
Launchpad gulped down hiccups as he told her of the accident. When he was finished he looked back at Gosalyn waiting for her to point an accusing finger at him. Instead she came up to him and gave him a hug. "It's not your fault. You didn't know what was going to happen. So stop blaming yourself. It was an accident."
"I know, but I can't help but think that if I had been driving we wouldn't have had that accident."
Mrs. Shaw cleared her throat behind them and they jumped at the sound. They had completely forgotten her. Wiping the tears away, Launchpad climbed back to his feet. Sheepishly, Launchpad apologized for making such a scene. She just waved it off. "Don't worry about it dear. It happens even to the best of us. I suppose you would want to get going then, huh?"
"Yeah, we should. Our ride's waiting. Would it be too much trouble getting Gosalyn out?"
"Not at all, just sign her out. And when she comes back we'll need a note. That's it." She got out a blue notebook and had Launchpad sign it. "You're all set, Gosalyn, we'll see you in a few days. Launchpad placed a hand on her shoulder and without saying anything else they walked out the door.
"Launchpad? Who's that?" Gosalyn asked as they walked to a car parked by teh sidewalk. "Our ride." As the pair got closer, Richard got out and came over around the car to face them. Launchpad decided he should be the one to make the introductions. "Gosalyn, this is Richard Stewart. Richard this is Gosalyn Mallard."
"So you're the one we've come to kidnap? It's a pleasure to meet you, Gosalyn." He reached out his hand.
Taking it, she looked up at Launchpad in confusion. 'Kidnap?' Launchpad gave her a small smile and a shake of his head. He'd explain later. "Yeah, same here. So are we going to the hospital now?"
Launchpad looked at Richard apologetically and turned back to Gosalyn. "Yeah, we'll go take you to see him. Come on." The three climbed in the car and soon they were off.
To distract herself from the seemingly endless ride she let her memories carry her back to one of the happiest days of her new life. The day Drake Mallard rescued her from the orphanage.
* 'Darkwing's dead and it's all my fault.' A single tear slowly rolled down her beak as she sat curled up in an old bed. In the next room she could hear Mrs. Cavanaugh talking to someone.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Mallard, but she doesn't want to see anyone. She's had a rough couple of days. But the it looks like you've seen better days yourself."
"Oh, you mean the bandages. Well, I always seem to have trouble making breakfast." Gosalyn's ears perked up at the familiar voice. 'Could it be? But how?' She crept closer to the door so she could hear what was being said better. "I always forget the milk." It was him!
Gosalyn jerked open the door and ran to the male duck standing with Mrs. Cavanaugh, hugging him tightly. He let out a slight moan at the pressure being added to his injured ribs, but still he returned the embrace. In a voice only meant for him she whispered in his ear, "You're alive! But how?"
Voice equally soft he whispered back, "That's a trade secret." Louder for Mrs. Caravaugh benefit, "Watch the ribs, kid!"
She let go, startled. "Oh! I'm so sorry."
He gave out a soft chuckle. "That's alright." He than turned to Mrs. Caravaugh, "Would it be OK if I take her for awhile. I thought we could go house shopping."*
Launchpad's voice cut through her memories of happier times. "Gosalyn."
She gave her head a little shake. "What?"
"We're here." He gave her a small grin.
"Oh, OK." She opened the door and hopped out.
Launchpad followed her example. Leaning in, he asked Richard, "Are you coming in with us?"
"No. I've got some other stuff I need to do. Besides it doesn't look like you'll be needing me hanging around. Go on before she gets in." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. Taking out a business card he passed it over to Launchpad. "Here's my card. If you need anything just give me a call."
Launchpad glanced down at the card before looking back up at Richard. "Thanks for everything. We'll see you later." He pushed away from the car and followed Gosalyn into the hospital. In the background he could hear Richard's car start up and leave the parking lot.
Launchpad found Gosalyn waiting for him by the front entrance doors. "How are you holding up, Gos?" He could see that in the last few minutes' dark circles appeared beneath her eyes.
She turned her sad eyes on him. "OK, I guess." She paused for a moment trying to decide whether or not to tell Launchpad the truth. "No. I'm not holding up OK. I'm sick and tired of having to come here. When is it going to end, Launchpad?"
"I don't know, Gos. Maybe it will never end. Because if it did, then it might be the end of him. I just don't know." He laid a hand on her shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Come on. Let's go see where your dad is." Using the hand on the shoulder he steered her towards the front counter.
This time a kindly older woman in a volunteer's jacket was sitting there. "Um...Excuse me."
She looked up at them. "Yes?"
"We were wondering if you could tell us where Darkwing Duck is."
"Sure. Just let me take a look here." She ruffled through some of the papers stacked in front of her. "Ah! Here we are. Mr. Darkwing is in room 302. Take the elevators to the third floor. It should be only a couple of doors down on the left. If you have any problems ask one of the nurses. They can tell you where you need to go."
Launchpad nodded his head. "Thanks."
"Here we are, third floor. Now what room was that again?" Launchpad knew exactly what room it was, but he was trying to get a response out of Gosalyn. She was being too quiet and he was getting worried.
"It was 302, Lauchpad." There he got his answer.
"Hee.Hee. I guess my mind's elsewhere today. Let's go see if we can get in to see your dad." They stepped off the elevator and turned to the left.
The room itself was easy to find and as the were approaching it a doctor walked out the door. "Doctor?"
Doctor Spaniel heard his name being called from behind him. When he turned to see who it was he saw the man that was asking about his famous patient earlier. "Yes?"
"Is this Darkwing Duck's room?"
"Yes, it is. But I'm afraid you can't go in there."
It was Gosalyn's turn to take over the conversation. No one was going to keep her from seeing her dad. Not even this doctor. With a hard edge to her voice she asked, "Why?"
If Dr. Spaniel was shocked about Gosalyn's tone he didn't show it. "Becuase of his condition I'm only allowing family in to see him."
"What condition? I was told that he was fine." Launchpad moved to stand behind her. For now he was happy to let her do the talking.
"Before we get into anything may I ask just who are you? And what is your relationship in regards to my patient?"
"I'm Gosalyn Mallard and this is Launchpad McQuack. Launchpad is Darkwing's sidekick and I'm a close friend of his. We're all the family he has. Launchpad had to marvel at how easily Gosalyn told that half-truth. If he had to do it he would have started babbling.
"Fine. Mr. Darkwing came in here with a pretty bad concussion, a few broken ribs, and a broken wrist."
Gosalyn was getting even more impatient. "We already know that. You said that because of his condition you were only letting family members go in. What is this 'condition?'
Dr. Spaniel took off his glasses and gave her a really good look. Finally deciding that there was no easy way to do it he gave her the cold, hard truth. "Mr. Darkwing has a form of amnesia called a dissociative identity disorder. What that means is that he has formed another personality, so to say."
"So you're telling me that Darkwing is not Darkwing anymore, but another person?"
"Something like that. Ever since he's woken up he's been answering to the name Drakey and he's been asking for his mom. So my guess is that either his new personality is that of a child or his real name is Drakey and most of his adult life was erased by the concussion. Take your pick." Gosalyn's face paled at the thought that her dad didn't know her anymore. What would she do?
"Doctor, can you give us a moment?"
"Sure. I'll be in the lounge getting coffee if you need me." He turned on his heel and walked down the hall. Launchpad and Gosalyn watched until he was far enough away that they wouldn't be overheard.
"Gosalyn, what are you thinking?"
"I'm trying to decide if we can trust him enough to tell him the truth."
"You know we can't do that, Gosalyn. Your dad wouldn't like that."
"What are we supposed to do? He's pretty much figured it all out. Even of he doesn't know it." She lifted a finger to her chin. "I need to get in there to talk to dad. Maybe I can help him get some of his memory back. I've heard somewhere that if a person with amnesia is around familar things they can start to remember. That's what we need to do."
"I don't know, Gos. What if we get caught?"
"We won't, because I'm going in alone. You stay out here and keep a look out."
"I don't know about this, Gos. I think we should wait for the doctor to come back."
"I can't wait, Launch. I'm going in." And before he could stop her she slipped through the door.
Drakey Mallard heard the voices out in the hall and was wondering what was going on. He knew he was in the hospital, just not what for. He tried asking for his mom but the doctor said she wasn't there and then he left.
When the door opened a crack and Drakey thought that maybe his mom had finally come or that it was the doctor, but not the young red head that carefully slipped in. He knew her. They'd met not too long ago, but she had another person with her then.
"Gosalyn? Is that you?"
Gosalyn's eyes widened. The doctor had been wrong, her father did remember her. "Dad? You remember me?" She then noticed that they had left his mask on but had taken off his costume and put him on a hosptial gown.
Did she just call him dad? "Gosalyn, why'd you call me dad? I'm not your dad."
All her hopes crashed through the floor with that one little phrase. How could he remember her if he wasn't Drake? She thought back to what the doctor said, 'His adult life could have been erased.' That gave her an idea, "Hey, Drakey?"
Drakey gave a sigh of relief. Gosalyn didn't think he was her dad anymore. "I thought that was you when you walked through the door. So where's Darkwing?"
Gosalyn had to come up with something quick. "Um...He couldn't come. Secret super hero stuff. Do you know what happened to you?"
"No. All I know is that I woke up here and a doctor told me I had been in an accident. Do you know what happened?"
Just then there was a knock on the door and they both turned to see if someone was going to enter. Instead there came a muffled voice, "Gos, the doc's coming back."
Gosalyn turned back to Drakey. "I have to go. I'll be back though. Promise you won't tell anyone that I was here."
Drakey held up three fingers. "Scouts honor." She slipped back through the door and came face to face with the doctor.
"Just what do you think you were doing in there? I told you I'm only allowing family members in there."
Gosalyn shot Launchpad a glare before turning it on the doctor. "And I told you that we are the only family he has. I have every right to see him."
"That wasn't good enough. Now I'm going to ask you one more time, "What were you doing in Mr. Darkwing's room?"
Gosalyn fell back to the wall and sighed in defeat. Shooting another glance at Launchpad, this time a sad one, she said to him, "I'm sorry Launchpad. I don't see how we can get around this." Launchpad hung his head down. He knew what Gosalyn said was true but he still felt as though he was betraying Drake.
He could only say, "If it's what you must do."
Dr. Spaniel was getting confused. "What are you two babbling about? Get around what?"
"Doctor, is there somewhere that we can talk privately?"
"Sure. The lounge was clear when I left we can go in there."
As soon as they got in the lounge and seated, Spaniel demanded his explaination. "Can I have something to drink first? It's a long story and I don't want to have a dry throat while telling it." Launchpad got up and got a Koo-Koo Kola for her from one of the machines in the room. She gave him a smile as he handed it to her. "Thanks." She popped open the can and took a long drink from it. "OK, now I can start. First off what I say never leaves this room. If certain people got ahold of this information it would put our lives in danger. There are people out there that would do anything to get it. Got it? Also there are somethings about Darkwing that I can't tell you, for safety reasons." She waited for his reaction.
He gave a firm nod. "Yeah. I got it."
"Good. The reason I feel I have the right to Darkwing's room is that I'm his daughter. Well, his adopted daughter. He saved me about a year ago and took me in. Ever since then I've been Gosalyn Mallard." As she told her tale Dr. Spaniel leaned in as if he was afraid that he would miss something important.
Dr. Spaniel pushed away from the table, but stayed in his seat. "That's quite a story. If what you're telling me is true than there's no reason for you not to be allowed in there. I'll tell the nurses that you and Launchpad have full access to the room for the night. If all goes well, I plan on releasing Mr. Darkwing...ur...Mr. Mallard in the morning. I would release him tonight but because of the concussion and the memory loss I would like to keep him under observation for the night."
"Fine, fine. How long will this last?"
"The amnesia? I don't know. I don't think anyone could tell you exactly that for sure. Sometimes the person could be like that for a few hours or for the rest of their lives. No one can really tell."
"What about being in familiar surroundings? Doesn't that help?"
Spaniel folded his hands and placed them on the table. "As I just told you, no one really knows. There have been some reports that being around people or things that are familiar can stimulate their memories. But nothing is known for certain."
Gosalyn copied his gestured. "Is there anything that you do know for certain?"
He shook his head. "No. It's just a matter of time."
It was Gosalyn's turn to push away from the table. "Well then, I guess we're done here. If it's all right with you I'm going back in to see my dad."
"Hold on a minute. When you were in there earlier what did you say to him?"
She shrugged, "I just asked him if he remembered me. Why?"
"I was just wondering. How did you address him?"
"What do you mean?"
"What did you call him?"
"I called him Dad."
"How did he react?"
Gosalyn's shoulders heaved as she let out a sigh. "He told me he wasn't my dad." Launchpad looked on in horror. Up to this point he thought the memory loss wasn't that big of a deal, but when Gosalyn said that DW doesn't remember that she was his daughter he knew it was serious.
"Did he tell you what his name is?"
"No. Why are you asking me all these questions?"
Dr. Spaniel put his hands up, trying to calm her. "I'm just trying to get an idea of what we're dealing with. I only have a few more questions, then you can go back in. When you asked him if he remembered you what did he say?"
"He said he did." Her voice grew a little louder as her impatience grew.
"Last one. Do you know why he remembers you but not as his daughter?"
"No. I don't. Now if you're done I'm outta here." She rushed out of the room before Dr. Spaniel could open his mouth to ask anymore questions.
Gosalyn didn't stop running until she was back in front of Drakey's room. Pausing only long enough to catch her breath she barged through the door and come face to chest with her dad. "Da...Drakey! What are you doing out of bed? You should be laying down."
Drakey looked at the little girl in front of him in confusion. He reached down and cupped her face and lifted it so her eyes looked into his own. In a soft whisper he asked her, "Gosalyn, what's happening to me?" For that moment she could believe that he was that ten year old boy again.
Before she knew it her arms were around his waist giving him the biggest hug she could manage. "I'll tell you everything in a moment. Right now we need to get you into bed." She dropped her arms and circled him to get to the bed. Patting the thin pillow she said, "Come on Drakey. If you be a good boy and lay down I'll tell you what you want to know."
He was still reluctant. He wasn't all that tired and he didn't want to lay down. What he really wanted was his mom and the truth. Finally his desire for the truth won and he laid down on the uncomfortable bed. "Tell me what's going on around here? I heard some of the nurses talk outside me door and they said that Darkwing Duck was here. Then when I went into the bathroom I saw in the mirror that I was wearing a mask like his. Am I him?"
Gosalyn sighed and hopped up on the bed so she was now sitting next to him. She quickly glanced at the door to make sure they weren't being overheard and then answered one of his questions. "Yes, you're Darkwing Duck. They kept the mask on you so you're secret would be safe. The doctor that's treating you now knows. I had to tell him. He was getting suspicous the first time I came in. Launchpad and I were told that only family members could come in, but I had to see you so I told him. I'm sorry."
Drakey's eyes got as big as saucers. This was so cool! He's Darkwing Duck, a super hero! Then some of the rest that she had said sunk in and he became confused. "You lied to the doctor? And who's Launchpad?"
'OK, Gosalyn, back up a little. Remember you're dad is now mentally a ten year old boy.' Trying not to get to frustrated she tried to explain the situtation. "I did not lie to the doctor. We are a family. I'm you're daughter and Launchpad... well Launchpad is your sidekick, roommate, best friend, and foster uncle to me. He's a lot of things rolled up in one."
Drakey nodded his head in new found understanding. "Oh." Then his head jerked back. "What a minute. You said you were my daughter, does that mean I'm married?" The thought of having a wife gave him the willies.
Gosalyn grinned at him. "No, you adopted me about a year ago. My real parents were killed when I was little. I went to stay with my grandfather. A few years ago he died. Then you came into my life and the three of us have been together ever since." She looked at the door as she told part of her life history. She turned back just in time to see him stiffle a yawn. "It's time for you to go to sleep now. I'll tell you more in the morning when we spring you from this place. OK?" In reality she wasn't giving him a choice, but it would work better if he thought he had one.
Drakey scrunched up his beak. "But I don't wanna go to sleep. I'm not tired." Another yawn escaped.
"Then what was that?" Drakey blushed. "I thought so. I'll be back in a little while. Will you be all right here?"
Drakey snuggled underneath the thin blanket until all Gosalyn could see was his head. "I think so." He paused, taking in a deep breath. "Gosalyn?"
Gosalyn laid a hand on his head, giving him a pat. "Yeah?"
"What's going to happen to me?"
"What do you mean?"
"What if I never get my memory back? Who will be Darkwing?" His voice cracking in fear.
Gosalyn briefly closed her eyes. "I don't know what will happen. But I do know you will always be Darkwing. No one can take your place. Now get to sleep and I'll see later." She brushed her hand over his eyes, closing them. He fell asleep instantly.
Before she stepped back out the door she took one last look at her father. He looked so innocent almost as if he were that little boy that he believed himself to be. "I love you, daddy."
end of part one