Disclaimer: As we all know Disney owns their characters but they don't let these out to play anymore so those of us who love them (like me) borrow them without permission. I am making no money from this at all the only benefits I receive are feedback from readers, practice and hopefully improvement of my writing skills and getting these plots down on electronic paper after 17 years in my head. Please review generously and thank you for sticking with this story all the way to the end. You readers are great! Your friend Irual.
Fenton Crackshell was a very worried fellow as he watched his friends and teammates Darkwing and Morgana being wheeled out of the ruins of a warehouse near the airport in Duckburg. Fenton was still dressed in the Gizmosuit and with Drake, Launchpad, Morgana and the children all out of commission; it was up to him to take care of the rest of the team. He hadn't forgotten the chilling suggestion by that S.H.U.S.H. agent earlier either. Before he resumed his life and duties as Fenton, Gizmoduck was going to need serious reassurances from Director Hooter.
It was either that or the Justice Ducks were going to have to go into hiding until Darkwing recovered enough to come up with some safeguards for them all. With these things in mind, he moved to Neptunia and Steggmutt and started to speak to them. They were looking worriedly after the stretchers and none of them moved until the Healer and Lucidia Macabre disappeared in a flash as they used their strange portal ability to take Drake and Morgana to St. Canard.
Director Hooter came back inside after seeing them and the Thunderquack off and approached Gizmoduck. His eyes held a shadow of concern that became a bit more obvious as he gazed at the rest of Darkwing's teammates and friends. Clearly this sordid affair had been far more damaging than it would appear at first glance.
Bracing himself Director Hooter cleared his throat and waited for them to acknowledge him before saying, "The Mage Mintaka is escorting the Thunderquack, Launchpad and the Jr. Justice Ducks to their secure location. I won't bother to try and tell you all not to worry but Darkwing would not want us to forget our duties and responsibilities so…."
To Director Hooter's surprise, Gizmoduck politely interjected, "Speaking of duty and responsibility I wish to lodge a serious protest on behalf of the Justice Ducks."
Thinking Gizmoduck was going to say something about Drake and Morgana Director Hooter asked, "I will be more than glad to address your concerns Gizmoduck. Unfortunately though, my time is not my own. I need to meet with the leader of Morgana's people and then fly directly to Washington but when I return to St. Canard, you, Darkwing, and the rest of the Justice Ducks will be my first priority. Is this acceptable to you?"
Thinking hard for a moment Fenton nodded and gestured to his two remaining teammates before saying. "Darkwing trusts you and being in Mr. McDuck's employ; I understand time management but this isn't something that can be put off. Once you have reviewed Special Agent DD's report contact me and I'll come to you but I won't risk Neptunia or Steggmutt until we talk. Wingy would never forgive me…or himself."
Hooter was more than a bit startled at this and started to ask for clarification but Gizmoduck had already rolled unsteadily away taking the other two with him. First Agent Grizzlikof was overseeing the withdrawal of S.H.U.S.H. from the area and Council-head Bellarmine really was waiting so James sighed and made a mental note to debrief Special Agent DD himself on the flight to Washington instead of leaving it to channels. As he walked over to begin the formal declarations with the Mage-born's leader, Hooter sent a text to Benji knowing she would make all the arrangements.
Neptunia wasn't stupid, she knew Gizmoduck had a reason for getting them all out of there and acting so cold to Hooter so she held her piece while Gizmoduck sought out his other boss; but the tin plated duck had better explain things and soon or she was going to make him regret it. Giz was acting as though they were still under attack or something and that was enough to make her nervous. Until she found out what was really going on though, it would be smartest to watch the others backs and get back to Audubon Bay as soon as possible. None of the land dwellers would stand a chance against her in the open ocean.
Scrooge was waiting just outside the parameter that S.H.U.S.H. had set up earlier with Sarah Bellum. The multi Billionaire watched with interest as the special transport truck that held three of the Fearsome Five started back toward St. Canard in the midst of a convoy of other S.H.U.S.H. vehicles. Dr. Bellum had quietly mentioned that the other two members of the gang were being taken to a special holding area and after they were treated, they would all be transferred to the super villain prison until they were brought before a judge.
Fenton cleared his voice and spoke as Gizmoduck to his employer, "Mr. McDuck sir, I'd like to ask for the rest of the day off to see to my teammates."
Seeing his bosses face and understanding that Mr. McDuck was less than pleased with how things were turning out, Gizmoduck offered, "With a corresponding pay cut of course."
Scrooge started to act upset at still more time wasted and even worse the fact that Giz was trying to push himself to take Darkwing's place. He saw the damages to the Gizmosuit and even though Fenton's teammates had been medically cleared Fenton hadn't.
With this in mind, Scrooge offered, "Aye Laddie. See Gyro aboot the damages so I ken bill those bureaucrats. And Lassie," he added turning to Dr. Bellum, "I'd take it as a personal favor if you'd look him over and let me know when he can be cleared to come back to work at his ACTUAL job."
Looking every bit as stern and hard beaked as only Scrooge could he turned to face the nonplused armored hero and added, "I'll expect you promptly then and NOT before. In fact, unless something out of the ordinary turns up I think it would be best if I spent time with me financial team. I'll have to contact my accountants and lawyers anyway once we discover what happened to the database at the bin. Take care of yourself Gizmoduck."
Turning to his waiting limo and the impassive Duckworth who was holding the door open Scrooge demanded, "Take me back to the bin Duckworth. I'll contact Gyro and Fenton in a couple of hours but I need to survey the damages and then we need to get back to the estate. The boys will be getting into mischief and Mrs. Beakley will need our support."
Duckworth replied, "Very good sir." and went to start the engine.
Before the car drove off though Scrooge's window rolled down and the gathered Justice Duck's got a glimpse of the tired, worried duck behind the crusty exterior. He smiled faintly and said quietly, "Don't forget Steggmutt you and yon feisty Lassie are always welcome at the estate just like the rest of your friends. Be sure and tell Darkwing to contact me when he…well when he can. I have a few things to tell him too."
Steggmutt smiled gently and offered, "Don't you worry Mr. Scrooge, We'll come visit as soon as we can. Tell Webby I can't wait to have another tea party."
At this Scrooge looked as though he was trying hard not to laugh but he managed well enough and rolled his window back up as the limo drove off.
Monoculo Macabre had pulled himself together once Lucidia had let him know that Morgana and her familiars were all still alive. He was torn between fury, disbelief and stark, raging terror though since Lucidia insisted that bringing her home would be the worst thing that they could do. Then she had cut off all communications with Morgana's house in St. Canard when Monoculo had tried to convince her otherwise.
Lord Macabre ignored the rest of the family since they were all stable and were recovering well from what they had experienced. The memory of what had happened would remain, and served as a beacon to the family to show how important it was to support each other as well as proving that Morgana was the best and rightful heir to the power of the clan. No one doubted his choice now, what little he had been allowed to SEE had shown him that Morgana had drawn on the strength of her Normal to help her survive.
IF Monoculo wanted to be honest, he had to admit that there was more to the boy than his insufferable ego and appalling ignorance but…. Monoculo sat brooding in his study while the council wardens currently in residence, Envy and Spite saw to the arrangements for the council session being organized in the great hall. Granny and several of the other cousins had recovered enough to follow his instructions and had checked on the allied creatures and send word to Clan Macabre's allies but after that, Monoculo had withdrawn to brood.
Geier, Monoculo's familiar was anxiously watching his chosen from his hiding place in the rafters of the study. The room was naturally gloomy and shrouded in cobwebs and shadows. Since Charity Macabre had finally crossed over, Geier had been hoping Monoculo would admit to his mistakes so the two of them could be together again, but so far that hadn't happened.
The familiar sighed and contemplated his reflection in one of the shields hanging from the ceiling. Geier shook his feathers and spread his wings before floating quietly out the large window in the outer wall of the study. The turkey vulture had been freed from his geas and had returned to the mortal plane, but Monoculo hadn't even noticed his return.
Geier wasn't discouraged yet, even though it had been almost four and a half months. The bird-like creature knew that their situation was very much improved from what it had been for the past twenty years, even-so it was time to give his oh so stubborn partner another nudge in the region of his conscience.
Just as he soared out over the moat to exercise his wings, Monoculo's travel mirror activated and the frightened and exhausted form of Genevieve Plasimeaux staggered into his study clutching her twin girls under her cloak. Senior Warden Rue and his partners rushed in to protect the Lord of Clan Macabre and stopped short as they realized that the 'dangerous intruders' were an unconscious female and two tiny girl children cowering just in front of Monoculo.
Felicity, Genevieve's cat shaped familiar purred reassuringly from her place crouched protectively on the twins. Her soft white fur and long graceful tail were a gentle counterpoint to the rattle of feathers and scratch of talons from Geier as he swooped in and landed on Monoculo's desk.
The stunned Lord managed to step around his desk and kneel to offer a hand to the cowering children but when Geier landed on the desk, Monoculo realized that his familiar had forgiven him for trying to keep Charity from crossing over the veil of death and returned to him. Overcome with the joy of being reunited, Monoculo actually reached to offer his arm to Geier and his familiar nodded to Felicity before turning his attention to his wayward chosen.
The deep, graveled voice of Monoculo's soul kin sounded in his mind for the first time since he'd performed the proscribed binding spell and his heart gave a lurch as the large bird stepped calmly onto his chosen's shoulder just as he used to. 'Chosen, they will suffer much and die horribly without the protection of a strong, well balanced clan.'
Geier hated to push Monoculo so soon but he understood that he needed to make his point while he had the chance. This being so he spoke again, 'Their karmic debt is nearly balanced by ours my chosen.'
Knowing what he had to do to, Monoculo answered out loud so the warden's would witness it, "Clan Macabre will take on the burden and the joy of them. Their lives and ours are one."
Thoroughly caught off guard the Wardens chorused, "Heard and Witnessed Lord Macabre."
As they did so, the castle itself shifted slightly and other members of the clan filed in. Clearly they already knew what had happened, because none of them acted surprised; instead they began to make preparations to accommodate their newest member's needs. Cousin Clyde scooped up the limp hen while Envy and Spite comforted the twins with soft words and a very gentle soothing spell designed to let them rest and eat while their mother recovered. Lucidia was by far the most experienced healer that usually resided in the castle but that didn't mean she was the only one.
Granny let out a cackle and summoned her cauldron to begin mixing up a restorative in the fireplace and Monoculo surrendered to the inevitable as three other Macabre's came in his study and began clearing the furniture. Warden Rue tried to maintain his composure but…Monoculo's calm acceptance of the loss of his study and the wholesale absorption of three dependants into the clan; by surprise no less was making him a little dizzy.
The sudden appearance of the bird shaped kin that was crooning and cuddling with Monoculo was also a bolt out of the blue but Warden Rue decided that it behooved him to try and get some answers before contacting Council-head Bellarmine. All the realm knew how Monoculo ruled his family and clan with an iron determination unmatched outside the mage-born clans but from what he had just seen, there was much more involved than just appeasing Monoculo's temper and disposition for the rest of the Macabre's.
Leading the way out of what used to be his study and moving upwards to the next floor of the main keep; Monoculo gestured politely to indicate their destination had been reached. Warden Rue stepped into the now open door to find the former study downstairs was being recreated at an impressive pace.
Offering the senior warden a seat beside the hearth Monoculo nodded to Envy and Spite who had followed at their Lord's heels carrying the children, "When Genevieve awakens have her come to me. In the meantime be sure and find out what the girls like so we can have rooms prepared for them. The defenses are strong in the rooms downstairs but until we can give and receive blood marks from them and assess the soul debt, it will be best if Genevieve and her daughters stay in the castle proper."
Stroking Geier who was rubbing his bill against his chosen and humming approvingly Monoculo actually broke into a rueful chuckle as he offered, "Lucidia most likely SAW something to this effect and that's why she left Genevieve the offer of our mage signature and the protection of the clan. But it's still going to take time and work to iron out the details."
Spite nodded and offered, "Leave the details of the girls up to us Uncle. Beaker and Tumbler say that the twins have soul kin but they are terrified to show themselves on this plane. Once Father and Mother settle Morgana and her bonded, we'll get to the bottom of this."
An irritated frown crossed Monoculo's face but before he could say anything Envy chimed in boldly as she carried one of the four year old girls toward the door following Spite's retreat, "Drake IS Morgana's Uncle, and Morgana is HIS."
Monoculo's face set in familiar, angry lines and he started to retort but Geier's feelings stopped him as Envy continued in a more circumspect tone, "I know you wanted to be certain of her choice but…."
Tumbler rose over her chosen like a shadow instinctively shielding Envy before Monoculo relaxed and sighed, "Don't rub it in girl child…even I can't deny fate forever. There isn't anything I can do to change what has happened, but that doesn't mean I have to like it OR HIM."
Fenton sighed; Dr. Bellum had taken the masked hero protocols seriously and had spent the rest of the day sequestered in Duckburg performing various tests on him and finally prescribing a paid week off for Gizmoduck to allow his bruises and sprained ribs a chance to heal and to let him rest before meeting with Director Hooter.
His objections fell on deaf ears especially when Gyro put in that he was going to need that long to repair and upgrade the Gizmosuit. The mild pain killers and anti inflammatory she had proscribed meant that Fenton would be needing the time off too since medications could affect his concentration.
Gandra had been very understanding when her beloved Fenton had finally been allowed to escort her home from the hospital. Because Dr. Bellum had been so through it had taken almost two hours for his exam but Mrs. Featherstone and Gandra had refused to leave without Fenton.
This meant that Fenton had time to think over and decide how to investigate a minor mystery. Scrooge was carefully ignoring his accountant's injuries and had actually authorized him to have his paid vacation time upgraded and paid sick days until after Gizmoduck was cleared for active duty again. Fenton had tried to talk to Mrs. Featherstone but the determined old lady ignored his attempts at subtlety.
She simply patted his arm as she went in her door and offered, "Gandra dear, after you and Fenton have a chance to talk you can come to me. I'll speak to Mr. McDuck and let you know when he want's us back at the bin."
Glaring good-naturedly at the bemused couple on her doorstep she finished, "Now then young ducks, I expect you to make the most of this opportunity. An old lady like me has few pleasures, and helping along romance is one of them so toddle along now and let me take a nap."
Closing her door she left them to continue and so Fenton had taken Gandra home. He had been sorely tempted to mention why he was bandaged, bruised and on medication, but Gandra had assumed he had tried to get to her through the malfunctioning traps and Sarah Bellum had let her think so in order to protect Gizmoduck's secret identity.
After a passionate goodbye and a promise to call her tomorrow, Fenton went to the First Bank of Duckburg and tried to match the mystery key he had gotten in his previous bonus envelope with one of the safety deposit boxes there.
To his surprise he HAD remembered correctly, his savant-like ability to calculate and count anything also meant he had near perfect recall once he concentrated. Wingy's insistence on Gizmoduck's learning to meditate and do some yoga had resulted in a measurable improvement in Fenton's mental abilities too and that was why he had decided to try this bank first. After all if he had been wrong, he would have tried others until he found the right one eventually; but this meant he could save time and his energy since the first batch of pain killers was wearing thin and he needed to get home and check on M'ma.
After being admitted to the box vault, Fenton opened the safety deposit box and frankly felt faint. Inside were two black velvet ring boxes and an envelope. Taking them out with hands that shook Fenton put the ring boxes in his vest and quietly opened the envelope and read Mrs. Featherstone's elegant old fashioned writing. 'My Dear Fenton, Enclosed you will find the engagement ring that Mr. Featherstone got for me when he returned from the war and we began out married life together these many long years ago. I have also taken the liberty of giving you our wedding bands since I exchanged mine for a widows band once my grief faded and only the joy of our love remained.
I realize that I am busy bodying and you can replace these and I'll never say anything to Gandra, but…life is too short and uncertain to put off love for the 'perfect' time to arrive. Tell Gandra how you feel and let her make an informed decision about whether or not to be a full time partner in your life my boy. If you DO decide to talk to her, I'll expect an invitation to the wedding and to hold your children, my one regret is that Mr. Featherstone and I lost our son so tragically early. I have often thought that his untimely death was one of the reasons for my dear husband's frailty and final illness. But that is neither here nor there of course. Forgive an old lady her rambling.
I pray for you every day and now that I have met your friends I have added them to my thoughts and prayers too. I'm sure the angels of heaven keep you, but a little extra faith can't hurt. Your friend, Angelia Featherstone.
P.S. Breathe Fenton!
Startled Fenton took a deep breath and laughed as he saw just how well Mrs. Featherstone had anticipated his reaction to her incredible generosity. Tucking the note and the ring boxes in his front vest pockets he replaced the safety deposit box and exited the bank.
He had a lot to think about before he called Gandra tomorrow. Before he used Mrs. Featherstone's gifts he needed to come clean with Gandra and let her decide if she could handle his Heroic side. If not then S.H.U.S.H. would block the knowledge and he would have to let her go so she could find someone else. His heart gave a lurch as he faced that truth head on for the first time, but it wouldn't be fair to ask her to share his life and not tell her about Gizmoduck.
Suddenly feeling all of his injuries and utterly drained Fenton went to the trailer park and fell into an exhausted sleep. He didn't realize it at the time, but M'ma was actually paying attention to him and not her cable and she was very upset at the evidence of his injuries. M'ma looked for the Gizmosuit, she was going to use the elbow phone to call Scrooge McDuck and give him a piece of her mind, but Fenton hadn't brought the briefcase home! Really worried M'ma decided to ask Fenton a few questions once he woke up and went back to her program.
Here it is, the end of the road at long last, please read and review and Let me know of any unsatisfactorily resolved issues since I don't have a beta. Also keep in mind that Commitment Commencement happens about six weeks or so after this and I am going to be resolving some things in it. Like Gandra's decision and the little tidbit with Dr. Bellum in the very early part of the story is also scheduled to be a clue for a future fic called Gosalyn's Past.
I hope this has been a worthwhile story and that people will want to read the others. PLEASE don't hesitate to Private message me or e mail irual Comcast. net just take out the unnecessary spaces.
Thanks for sticking to the conclusion (since DW and Co. are not finished with me it can't be the end)
Your friend Irual