Disclaimer: All the characters, places and concepts mentioned on the cartoons Darkwing Duck and Ducktales belong to the Disney Corporation and are used without permission. I am in no way receiving any monetary gains of any kind and have total respect and love for the Disney characters.
This story is part of the continuity that my fan fictions follow; it happens after my fiction titled 'trials and tribulations' and nearly all of it after the first two chapters is a flashback that happens before Darkly Dawns the Duck the first cartoon arc that introduced out favorite caped and masked Disney duck hero and his world of adventure.
It is my version of the story of Gosalyn's life and some of Drake's before she was adopted by Drake Mallard and he became the caped crime fighter Darkwing Duck. Any characters that were not mentioned on the show are my creations (by and large they are relatives of Morgana Macabre and people related to Gosalyn or her Grandfather; either by blood or because of his work) as well as filling in various pre cartoon villains and background.
In my version of the Duckyverse, the people are the same ages as they were in the cartoon, but it is far more current as far as technology and almost all if not all of the cartoon episodes have happened before I started Monoculo's Mistake which is the first story of mine chronologically speaking. I am totally open to suggestions and I appreciate the reviews and private messages. All I ask that you contact me to ask permission before using any of my original characters in a story of your own. Enjoy my version of Disney's ducky-verse, thank you; your friend Irual.
Gosalyn Mallard usually raced home from school because she couldn't wait to get rid of her homework and other school stuff so she could play games or practice sports or even better, accompany her Dad on patrol in St. Canard and learn the skills she would need to take her place beside her father as a crime fighter and shadowy protector of the city when she got old enough. She had been doing so fairly regularly ever since he had agreed to teach her how to fight evildoers and solve crimes just before her birthday back in April, but today was a little different.
The ten year old, red haired duckling stomped into their fairly modest home at 537 Avian Way. She was breathing hard since she had run slightly ahead of Honker from the corner, her shirt and socks were stiff and irritating her skin and feathers and she couldn't stand the itching anymore. Shedding her backpack and spilling books and papers down the hallway as she dashed up the stairs to her bedroom; she shut the door with a bang.
Honker Muddlefoot, her foster brother and best friend came in the front door a minute or two later. Launchpad McQuack, their Dad's best friend, soul brother, sidekick and their housemate; heard them come home and came out of the kitchen stirring a bowl of cookie dough. He had tied an apron over his aviator's pants and had on a chef's hat and oven mitts.
Smiling in his good-natured way he asked Honker, "Hiya Honkman, How was school today?"
Honker sighed as he glanced up the stairs and surveyed the bits and pieces left in Gosalyn's wake; then he smiled at Launchpad, "We did pretty well today Launchpad. Gosalyn was very…disciplined."
He looked appreciatively at the cookie dough in the large mixing bowl Launchpad was holding and reluctantly added, "I'd better get my room organized and finish as much of my assignments as I can. I have the feeling that Grammy Jo is going to call as soon as she finishes talking to Mr. Mallard and Principal Farnsworth."
As he ascended the stairs, a pointy nosed, sleek head poked its way out of the partially fastened backpack slung over his shoulders. The silvery grey fur that covered the familiar spirit's body was accented by several black markings and he had a mask-like look very reminiscent of the houses resident hero's since his bright golden eyes were nestled in a solid dark strip of fur that also wrapped his ears.
His neck and belly were covered by a much lighter set of colors that shaded from smoky grays along his back all the way to ice like white underneath his belly. The fox like creature was unusually silent; ordinarily he made a great many physical noises to communicate with everyone in the family. He was a good barometer of Honker's moods and devoted to his bond mate, but like most KIN he only spoke mentally in words, to his chosen Honker and to other KIN of course.
His name was Fenrick and he gave Launchpad an encouraging and deliberate wink as he and Honker headed for the boy's bedroom. Fenrick had seldom left Honker's side since bonding with the then suicidal child after he had been assaulted and abused and had escaped to Darkwing Tower and been saved by the combined efforts of the Justice Ducks and the KIN earlier this summer.
Launchpad was surprised at this response from Honker, to what he had thought was a fairly innocuous question and although the fox's wink DID make him feel a little less apprehensive; Launchpad HAD hoped that today had gone well for the kids. He looked forward to the day they would want to spend some fun time with him again without everyone being so cautious.
That was why he made his offer before homework swallowed them, Launchpad missed the easy friendship he and Honker had shared. Launchpad sighed as he looked up the stairs at the trail of debris; even Gosalyn was having trouble dealing with all this. Her issues were more about adjusting to their new living arrangements though and so were not really about Launchpad although they were certainly just as important as Honkers.
This summer had been very difficult for everyone and the emotional fallout was still tender for the whole family. LP had more than a sneaking suspicion that Gos desperately wanted to demand more time and attention for herself, but she was too fond of Honker to want to hurt him; much less pressure her dad.
Morgana had returned to her house for a few days to catch up with what was happening back home at Castle Macabre, and Launchpad knew it was up to him to carry on trying to help everyone get back to normal. Since LP figured Gosalyn needed some adult style attention and a sugar bribe never hurt, he was determined to make the offer one she would find hard to refuse.
Undaunted by Honker's self discipline he called up the stairs to Gosalyn; "Hey Gos, I'm making a practice batch of my soon to be famous double candy fudge delight cookies. Do you want to come down and help me test the batch? I made extra dough!"
Muffled by the closed bedroom door Gosalyn's voice sounded strange, but what she said was even stranger, "No thanks Launchpad, I'm not hungry."
Surprised by this response, since Gos was no where near the scholar Honker was; and with her active, sports oriented activities her appetite tended to rival his own. Launchpad started to go toward the staircase since his hard won instincts as a caregiver were now whispering to him.
However, the smell of burning cookies and the stream of smoke that threatened to set off the smoke alarm AGAIN; made him reshuffle his priorities and turn to hurry towards the stove instead. If there had been more trouble at school the last thing Drake needed was another false alarm citation from the fire department, those weren't just embarrassing; they were expensive.
Launchpad sighed and called over his shoulder to the ducklings and Fenrick, "If you change your mind it looks like I'll be making a few more batches so just come on down, okay Gos? And Honker, that goes double for you and your buddy. All work and no cookies make ducklings too serious and I need taste testers. I want to enter the Christmas cookie contest that is being put on by the PTA. I need to perfect my recipes now; after all, I can't expect to impress the judges with anything less than a really great cookie."
If either of them made a reply to this brave sallie Launchpad didn't hear it because he was busy trying to pull the burned batch of cookies out of the oven and opening the kitchen window to let the smoke out. About a half an hour later Launchpad was pulling a fresh cookie sheet out of the freezer and loading it with dough rounds when he heard the distinctive sounds of the spinning chairs activating in the living room.
A few minutes later Drake Mallard dressed in his suburbanite disguise of a peach colored shirt and green sweater vest came into the kitchen. Launchpad could tell Drake was still tired, even though he made a real effort to move with his usual energy. Drake's feathers actually looked a little dull and his eyes were puffy, those small signs of stress wouldn't ordinarily be that much of a warning as far as the state of Drake's health was concerned; but to the devoted and on edge Launchpad they were a conspicuous sign of how stretched thin his best friend was.
Sniffing appreciatively at the warm cookies on the cooling rack, Drake smiled at Launchpad and said, "Hi LP, It looks like your recipes are turning out better this time. At least nothing is on fire…. Listen LP, I just wanted to say thanks, I don't know what I'd do without you and Morg to help me and the kids with well, everything…."
Drake's voice trailed off slightly at the end of the last sentence and he looked a little off balance as he stood just inside the kitchen and tried to pretend that he wasn't upset.
Launchpad grinned self-consciously and offered gently, "It's okay Drake, you KNOW how much you and the kids mean to me, and Morgana has really grown on me over the last few months. I think your asking Morgana to marry you was one of the best decisions you have ever made, for all of us. She loves you and the kids as much as I do, don't worry…we'll get through this DW."
Determinedly Drake repressed a shudder and ignored the horrors his memory bought to mind as he thought back over the recent past and determinedly fought off another spate of guilt. Launchpad looked a little uncomfortable, clearing his throat unhappily as he too repressed his feelings about the last few weeks before turning back to the cookie sheet and loading it with little balls of dough. Drake started to reach for a cookie and paused as he saw the crushed up red candies mixed into the treat.
Seeing Launchpad's hopeful look at this interest in his dessert and trying to change the mood, Drake forced an eager expression on his beak, smiled bravely and asked, "Mind if I try a sample?"
Delighted at this interest in his sweet confections and glad that Drake seemed to have gotten his appetite back; Launchpad grinned and slid the next batch of cookies into the oven before saying, "Heh, help yourself Drake, I need to borrow your taste buds. The Christmas cookie contest is in a couple of months and I want to impress the judges so I need to perfect my recipes now…."
He paused and added just as Drake bit into one of the cookies, "Careful, those are hot."
Poor Drake, he sputtered as he choked and felt as though his mouth was on fire. The crushed candies were atomic fireball jawbreakers and were super hot. He struggled to swallow and grabbing a glass he filled it with water to try and counteract the painful candies.
Gasping he drank then panted," Wow LP, you weren't kidding."
Drake went unsteadily to the refrigerator and got out the milk. Pouring a large glass he drank it down to finish squelching the heat on his tongue.
He offered, "Maybe you should tell them those cookies are for the naughty kids and make something a little less painful for the nice judges Launchpad."
Launchpad chuckled a little and offered Drake some of the other cooled cookies on the counter. "These are the candy cane and lemon drop ones DW."
Drake cautiously ate one of the fudge & candy cane ones and found them much more palatable. As he chewed he glanced around the kitchen in surprise and asked, "Say LP, where are Gos and Honker? I would have thought they would be making themselves 'useful' helping you taste test these…Or did they already fill up and go outside for the afternoon? Gosalyn HAS been stuck in a classroom all morning after all."
Launchpad paused for a minute and then said, "Now that you mention it, Gos was acting kind of strange; she ran straight up to her room even after I told her about the cookies. Honker said he was going to organize his room and get a head start on his schoolwork in case his grandma came over, but I made sure to tell him to come try a few of my test batches; he needs to lighten up a little more."
He glanced at the kitchen clock and offered, "Maybe you should check on them, I thought they'd come down for a sample or twelve by now DW."
Nodding decisively Drake went toward the doorway calling back over his shoulder, "You're right LP, I'd better check on those two. I thought they weren't home since no one came down when I got here, but it definitely seems as though something's up. Principal Farnsworth called me and it looks as though I seriously need to rethink public school this year."
He lowered his voice more and added quietly before heading up the stairs, "I don't want to chance upsetting the kids anymore than they already are but…I'll fill you in on some options I thought of at the lair and we can talk to Morg and decide after we discuss it okay?"
Concerned, Launchpad nodded before turning back to his baking. He only had a couple more trays to set into the oven and then he'd finish putting the dishes in to soak before going upstairs to help Drake with the kids, unless he called sooner. A few minutes later, Launchpad ignored the yawning pit of emotions in his stomach as he finished cleaning up and determinedly moved upstairs to see what he could do to help.
Honker surveyed his room quietly, He smelled the cookies baking downstairs and he felt tears well up as he faced the fact that it was Launchpad and not HIS Mom baking up a storm in the kitchen. Honker tried to focus on a sense of satisfaction since his bed was neatly made and all his reference materials were organized.
It was hard to feel anything positive though; especially after the day they had had but he knew even without prompting from Fenrick that dwelling on the bad things that happened would only make dealing with them harder. He turned on his I pod stand and put the classical play list on shuffle before turning to his work station.
He sat at his drafting board and began to sketch out a few of his preliminary ideas for a new ability enhancing set of gauntlets and body armor to use when they patrolled the city or when he and Gos were learning skills they would need as Justice Ducks. Learning had always been a source of great comfort and healing for him and even though he'd been unpopular before, and even bullied; this year was turning out to be even harder than he'd anticipated; in spite of warnings from the school councilor and the S.H.U.S.H. trained therapist.
He quickly hid these ideas under one of his drawings that was a weapon mount design for one of the towers of the lair as he heard the spinning chairs activate in the living room. He DID have his computer tower and a copy of Photoshop as well as his stylus and tablet for drawing. For his preliminary designs though; he preferred to start with a pencil and drafting table until he worked with it some, then Honker transferred the design digitally to work out the actual physics and other scientific requirements his drawings needed to become prototypes and then working equipment.
Honker knew Mr. Mallard had spent most of his extra budget for the last few weeks absorbing the expenses of the trial and the legal issues for becoming his guardian as well as turning this room into a bedroom for him. That was why Honker hadn't said anything about his electronic needs yet, but once things settled down maybe Bolt could mention to Darkwing about needing a memory upgrade. Gyro might even let him have a copy of his blueprint boilerplate program if Bolt asked.
Mr. Mallard, Morgana, Launchpad and Gosalyn had been supportive and kind all summer and Mr. Mallard had turned his study into a midsized bedroom he'd custom outfitted for the ten year old when he'd been moved into their lives as a permanent family member just after Honker's parents had been incapacitated but it was hard not to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes the tears helped, but Honker doubted the problems he'd had at school today were going to resolve themselves; not unless something changed and crying wasn't going to change anything….
Honker sternly forced his tears down and focused on the physics and design of his idea so he could face Mr. Mallard without upsetting his guardian any more than he already would be. Principal Farnsworth had called the adults involved before allowing Honker and Gosalyn to come home and knowing how protective Mr. Mallard and Grammy Jo were, it wasn't likely that they would let things lie.
Honker sighed as he fought to suppress his anxiety at the thought of causing more problems for his guardian, or even worse having Grammy decide that Mr. Mallard was being overwhelmed or something. Honker suppressed a slight shudder at the thought of having to leave the Mallards; consciously he KNEW it wouldn't happen but his fears refused to listen to logic.
Honker didn't dare ask the therapist or anyone from S.H.U.S.H. for any legal information. Not with his regular schooling going so badly, it would send up red flags and cause more trouble and that was the last thing any of them needed. Honker DID wish he could read over a copy of the court order that had made Mr. Mallard his legal guardian; knowing the details might quiet some of the shakes in his middle, but being a minor made those kinds of requests difficult to grant unless somehow Director Hooter let Bolt see it.
Setting that thought aside for the moment, Honker concentrated on closing off his emotions so he could appear calm when Mr. Mallard or Launchpad came to check on him. Then he shuffled his advanced physical science text to the top of his stack of textbooks so he could open it and look like he was studying for one of his college prep courses instead of panicking. He had to admit he was kind of glad Morgana had gone to her house for a few days though, she and her familiars were impossible to fool. They always seemed to know when he was feeling bad and he didn't want to face that just now.
Fenrick hissed disapprovingly as he felt his precious bond mate try to cripple his emotions again, 'Honker, you know that doing that isn't good for anyone. Drake is strong and kind, he will be more upset that you are hurting yourself than he would be by your admitting your pain and fear to him, Morgana or even Launchpad.'
Sighing Fenrick purred like a cat for a moment thinking over the days events before continuing, 'There is more to this situation than just some ill mannered brats who need a hard nip or three; Mr. Mallard and Morgana were talking before formal classes started and I think maybe….'
Bracing himself Fenrick shook his fluffy coat and fluffed his fur to settle himself, 'Never mind for now; school will work out. If you really think it would settle you to read those papers, I'm sure we can figure out a way to see them. Take some deep breaths and relax, there is no shame in feeling Honker. And don't be overly concerned about those children. Those are hardly the only children in the world, and just because you were randomly assigned to be in the same schoolroom as they were doesn't mean they are your only choices after all.'
Fenrick slid his way out of the backpack and jumped lightly up onto the sideboard of the workspace built into the drafting table. In a blink he curled his way around the slender duckling's shoulders crooning soothingly as he felt Honker's emotions surging and knew they were overwhelming him again. His fluffy white tipped tail flirted with Honker's glasses as Honker sniffed and reached for a tissue. In the past couple of months, so much of his life had changed that sometimes the duckling felt as though he'd never be used to it or safe again. He KNEW how lucky he and Tank really were though, most minors in their position would have been dumped in foster care with strangers in spite of their parents wishes at least temporarily, more likely for months or even years.
Instead, Mr. Mallard had been immediately appointed his legal guardian and Tank had been safely given to their maternal Grandma and Grandpa. The Spoonbills had come back to St. Canard as soon as they had been contacted by Director Hooter and had been moved into the empty house directly behind the Mallards. Honker had to admit that he still flinched when he saw their RV parked in his old yard. His Grandparents had been traveling snowbirds for years following the warm weather and traveling all year.
After the trial in Duckburg and the resulting publicity from Scrooge Mc Duck's involvement even just peripherally, and with all the hoopla over the Justice Ducks apprehending Uncle Frank and his 'businesses', and with their parents both ending up hospitalized; Grammy Jo and Grandpa Artimus had decided to stay as close to the Mallards as they could; especially after Director Hooter had explained everything to them about his being Bolt.
Tears ran unnoticed down Honkers soft feathered cheeks as he remembered how stunned Mr. Mallard had been when he'd realized that Binkie and Herb had known about his crime fighting alter ego AND their son's involvement in the Justice Ducks for well over a year and that they had appointed him legal guardian for their youngest son and a god parent for their oldest. Honker had always known that his parents loved him and he had suspected that they knew more than they admitted, but what he truly regretted was that he hadn't had the chance to trust them officially with his 'heroic' side.
Hugging the soft furred creature to him Honker straightened his slumping shoulders and asked tentatively, 'Are you SURE you are meant to stay with me Fenrick? I mean I'm not anything special…I don't have any Magic or…'
The fox redoubled his wordless reassurances and said firmly, 'you ARE special dear one. You and I were meant to be and I for one am very glad that you and I are so well matched. Physics and the other Normal sciences are fascinating and make much more sense to me than all the stuffy boring things that the others in the litter found so enthralling. Together we will do great things and help others to do the same.'
Honker felt his pain ease and a smile tug at his beak as his friend continued earnestly, 'Drake loves you as do the others and you KNOW that Drake doesn't love easily or lightly.' Fenrick paused in his pep talk as he heard Mr. Mallard coming up the stairs.
Drake had the capacity to move silently of course, but knowing how fragile everyone was; Drake was careful NOT to frighten either of the children. He wanted to be sure they knew where he was and that they could count on him so his webbed feet were easily heard as he moved upwards.
In spite of his misery about his parents and Tank, Honker had to admit that Drake and the rest of his new official family were not just welcoming him completely, but they made every effort to include him; even if he still felt awfully shaky about it. Maybe if he asked Mr. Mallard, he or Darkwing could help him figure out something to help him feel more secure.
Tucking that thought away for later, Honker sighed and made sure his tears were wiped away. He knew that Mr. Mallard would check on Gosalyn first since her room was closest to the stairs and she hadn't really spoken to Launchpad. He was very glad he would have a few more minutes to get himself settled before either of the adults came to check on him. Taking a few more deep breaths, Honker turned resolutely to his desk. He seated himself back at the workspace and carefully tucked Fenrick onto his beanbag cushion as his desk lamp's intense light shone down on the brilliantly sparkling twist of chain that was wound around his right wrist.
Gosalyn's bracelet had split itself and attached to him during the trial, and ever since then he had to admit, it had been easier for them to use her snow globe together; and Fenrick was very pleased about how much more sensitive his bond mate was becoming to Magical Power. Honker shivered, this time with delight as he contemplated the chain and felt a subtle tingle at the base of his skull as Fenrick reared up on his back paws to get a head rub.
Caressing the foxes ears gently Honker said out loud this time but quietly, "I'm sorry to keep doubting all this Fen, but it all seems so strange…."
Fenrick's eyes gleamed as he chuckled at Honker and added, 'don't worry dearest, relax and learn and all your troubles will fade and become more manageable. Worry makes them larger and harder to face.'
Principal Farnsworth sighed in frustration as Penelope's parents dragged their daughter out of her office and started home. The only one still waiting now was Tank Muddlefoot. His grandfather was coming to get him and bring him a clean shirt since his was a total disaster.
The mostly dried pink paint on his hands and shirt HAD seemed to be damning evidence against him until she had gotten the whole sequence of events and heard everyone out and as far as she was concerned Tank was a hero and deserved to be told so now that all the other children were gone.
Gently she spoke to the duckling who jerked in the chair at the sound of her voice, "Even though you skipped your last class and left the sixth grade center grounds without permission, I am very glad you were there to help your brother and Gosalyn Tank."
He sighed gloomily but straightened in his chair and looked at her instead of at his toes, which was an improvement as far as she was concerned. Just then Artimus Spoonbill came in the front door of the elementary school looking rather grim and carrying a small satchel.
He nodded kindly to Tank and gestured with the bag, "Tank, change your clothes in the bathroom here and we'll discuss your truancy when we get home. Grammy Jo is waiting outside, and I'd like to thank Principal Farnsworth while you are changing."
He winked at Tank encouragingly and offered, "Buck up a bit son, Jo and I love you and she's so glad that you and Honker weren't hurt she's barely breathing any fire now."
He smiled charmingly at Principal Farnsworth and offered a hand as he continued with a smile. "Jo and I appreciate all your help Principal Farnsworth. Tank really doesn't need any more involvement with the police and such just now and as it turns out his being there was a fairly good thing and all; but you can be sure that we take this VERY seriously and Tank will think twice before he tries to skip school again."
He sighed and looked sad for a moment and said much more quietly, "I am sorry it took us so long to come, we didn't mean to impose on you or anything but Joanna was talking with the Doctors about Herb and we couldn't get away until they finished showing us the tests results and then Drake called us and well…."
Principal Farnsworth nodded reassuringly and smiled at Tank as he emerged from the bathroom, "I DO understand Mr. Spoonbill really and as long as Tank doesn't make a habit of skipping school I'm sure things will work out. Tank, I hope this is the only time we will meet like this, but I am VERY proud of you for doing the right thing and helping Gosalyn and Honker."
Artimus ruffled Tank's head feathers gently, ignoring his slight involuntary flinching and said kindly, "Come on my boy, it'll be easier to face her together, and Grammy wouldn't thank me for saying this since I DON'T want to encourage things like skipping school but…Principal Farnsworth isn't the only one who's proud of you. You did the right thing helping those two, the thing we are going to punish you for is leaving school. You understand that right?"
Principal Farnsworth felt her heart lighten a bit as she saw Tank's head come up and he walked out the door looking ahead of himself, not down at his toes and that WAS a good sign. So was his reply, hesitant as it was; "Yessir, I'm sorry grandpa."
Artimus replied as the door swung shut, "I know you regret getting caught Tank, and I hope you decide that its not a good idea to do that kind of thing, I'm not as young as I used to be. Holding back your Grams is getting to be a bit of a chore what with everything going on and all. We DID get permission to visit your Mother the first of the week but we won't mention the circumstances of this little incident to her alright?"
Tank nodded vigorously and agreed as he gulped and waved to the dynamic and vivacious lady who swept up to them on the sidewalk. Grammy Jo Spoonbill was as slender as her daughter Binkie and it was clear where Binkie inherited her forceful and take charge attitude from as she dragged Tank to her motorcycle and handed him a helmet as she helped Artimus with his, taking the opportunity to kiss him gently.
Her cashmere scarf was in fact identical to Launchpad McQuack's and it fluttered back in the breeze as she started her powerful machine. Her vest and black leather jacket had various patches denoting different bike events from around the country on it and her pert tail peeked out of her chap covered pants, a fact for which Artimus was grateful as he settled comfortably behind her on the custom built two seater trike.
Gosalyn was more than a little upset. Usually it didn't matter to her that she only had her Dad and Launchpad to talk to about things but…after what had happened at school she wasn't sure what to do. Her Dad was the masked mallard, the clandestine government operative, the caped crime fighter extraordinaire, Darkwing Duck and even though that was a secret; he was still the coolest most awesome dad EVER. He was even engaged to the MOST incredible person Gosalyn had ever met.
His fiancé was Morgana Macabre, and aside from being beautiful, strong and caring she was also real live Mage born and she could do actual fairy tale type magic. Gosalyn sniffed and scrubbed her hands over her beak, she really, really needed a hug. Since Principal Farnsworth had called dad and he hadn't been home when they had gotten there though Gosalyn was a little worried.
Her dad had rescued her from Taurus Bulba after Bulba's goons had killed her Grandpa. Then he'd adopted her as his daughter, with him and Launchpad they had been a happy family for over a year and a half now and Gosalyn KNEW her daddy loved her no matter what that pink piglet said.
Even though this summer had been really horrible for poor Honker, and she admitted; the trial, the reasons for it; and the consequences of it had shaken her badly. His being chosen by a Magical familiar, shaped like a fox had been one of the neatest things she had ever seen; But after what had happened at school today, well…somehow even that didn't make up for his losing his parents, and it definitely sucked having to share her dad sometimes. Remembering that hideous pink clad piglet Penelope Hogthrob and how mean she and her friends had been Gosalyn forced down a surge of anger, pain and raw envy as she tried not to cry again.
Feeling guilty and even more miserable at this attack of jealousy over Honker's friend Fenrick and feeling hollow and sick as she struggled with her need for her dad's attention and affection. Gosalyn sniffed a little and tried to wipe the tell tale tear tracks off her cheeks with her hands. She stared miserably into her magical snow globe that Morgana had given her for her tenth birthday without really seeing it.
The globe, her cell phone and her Spell Chain bracelet were her favorite birthday presents and at least two of the three were on her person most of the time. The globe tended to stay in her room though unless she was practicing with it in the living room with Dad or Honker; and Gosalyn often gazed into it for fun and the comfort watching over her dad on patrol brought even when she was alone.
Usually the globe showed a scene of the Audubon Bay suspension bridge and had smaller areas that represented the other areas of the city of St. Canard. When Gosalyn held it and concentrated, the globe could show her close up live images of the city and her loved ones too. Even though she didn't notice anything she WAS holding it in her left hand, this was the wrist that had her bracelet on it and the snow globe reacted to her distress by flickering wildly and zooming through a great many images; none of which Gosalyn saw.
If she HAD been paying attention, she might have seen that several of the images in the globe were mages familiars like Grimm, Kaa, Raa and Mossie. They were the familiars of Mintaka and Lucidia, Morgana's Aunt and her mate. There were also several familiars she wouldn't have recognized as well as scenes of landscapes she had never been to and people she had never met but this wasn't something she was used to at all.
Recently she'd been experimenting and had discovered that the globe could show her places or people that she didn't know, although that was MUCH harder to do and wasn't nearly as clear or reliable as looking for her Dad, Morgana or the other people she usually saw within it's depths. She had been waiting to tell her dad and Morgana about it until things had settled down at school. Now that didn't seem as though it was likely and the timing hadn't seemed right to talk about something so different without both Morgana and Dad.
The beautiful mage-born sorceress had gone back to her house for a few days before school started and Gosalyn had been shocked by how much she had missed Morgana since then. Gosalyn had been even more disturbed by how lonely and useless she felt when she heard her Dad or Launchpad trying to comfort Honker as he struggled with his pain and she didn't want to put any more pressure on them but….
Last night, Gosalyn had surprised herself as well as Morgana, Archie, Eek and Squeek by accidentally hearing them talking in her head while she had been looking for Morgana's house in the globe. Morgana's house tended to move when she was not at home so finding it wasn't always as easy as you would think for Normals. Gosalyn HAD been toying with the idea of going to Morgana's and hiding there to avoid school, but she had decided that leaving Honker to face the others alone would have been cowardly and one thing Gosalyn had NEVER been was a coward.
It had been so cool to do something on her own that was so well…Magical, and Morgana had been so happy about it that it had almost made up for having to go to school the next day. School this year was turning out to be much harder than Gosalyn had expected and not really because of class work. As far as Gosalyn knew, Morgana hadn't told Dad about that, not yet anyway and Gos figured that it would be better to wait until Morgana brought up the subject since Dad expected unusual things from his fiancée.
Gosalyn had protected Honker last year and some of the other kids too when a small ring of bullies had begun systematically forcing the smaller weaker children to supply them with pocket money and doing their homework as well as taking their clothes and books. When they had finally been exposed and expelled Gosalyn's teachers and coaches hadn't SAID anything, but she'd known that they respected her and her dad after that.
The last few months of third grade had in fact been great, once their injuries had healed and they had taken some tests for Dr. Bellum and the school councilor she and Honker had had both been very popular even with kids who hadn't been involved. Since Honker had been able to concentrate on learning again, he'd even tutored her so she could understand division and several of her science projects had gotten B's and C's without Honker doing them for her. She HAD felt guilty and unhappy after she had realized that she had been slacking off and getting Honker to finish her assignments and that was as bad as the bullies she had fought. The good thing about that though was she and Honker had made up before the whole curse thing had happened in May, so it had been awesome.
Since the start of classes though this year though, it was a different story all together. Most of the girls at school this year had snubbed her one way or another and even the boys had acted weird which just fueled her need to show them she was better than they were at the sports they tried to exclude her from. Gosalyn had already found out about Soccer team try outs and Baseball as well as Basketball, but none of them were starting until next week.
That meant that Gos had been unusually isolated and forced to stay closer than usual to groups of non athletes, and the experience hadn't gone well at all, for anybody. She took off all her clothes and hid them in the bottom of the dirty laundry basket. She didn't dare take a shower now, there wasn't time to get the faint pink stains off her feathers at her neckline or the area now outlined by a number one from where the paint had soaked through around the stitched patch on the front of her shirt.
If she was lucky, dad would be distracted by Morgana or maybe by a S.H.U.S.H. mission; and by the time he loaded the washer she could 'forget' how she'd been held down and had the front of her shirt soaked in pink paint, at least the dark pink fruit punch stains on her socks and sneakers would likely come out. Her feathers didn't itch now that her shirt was off and the cooler air circulating on her plumes felt great but Gosalyn knew she didn't have any time to waste.
Gosalyn winced a little as she felt the telltale soreness of bruising on her arms and legs from where the other children had held her down so they could humiliate her but as both an athlete and as a Jr. crime fighter, she was used to hurts like these so she ignored them. Hurrying in case Launchpad got finished with his baking and came upstairs, Gosalyn went to her closet to get out another one of her purple basketball jerseys, just then the spinning transport chairs activated in the living room which meant Dad was home.
In a real hurry now Gosalyn grabbed the first purple item of clothing she saw and after swiftly pulling it over her head and snatching up clean socks and a dry pair of sneakers she hopped up on her bed and tried to think of a way to distract him. Principal Farnsworth had offered to call Dad and have him bring her some clean clothes, but Gosalyn knew how little sleep her dad had been getting and had instead put on a brave face and insisted on facing her tormentors as she was and finishing out the school day in the sticky, paint smeared shirt and socks.
Principal Farnsworth had been doubtful until Gosalyn had pointed out that facing those girls and proving that they hadn't won by finishing out the school day was the best way she could prove to them that it wasn't worth it to pick on her. Penelope and all of her friends had been kept after school and Gosalyn knew that Principal Farnsworth had called Dad anyway, but she HAD made her point in spite of them and she and Honker had hurried home rather than face Honker's grandparents since they were coming to pick Tank up from the office. Honker's grandparents were really nice but…Honker hadn't wanted to face them so Gosalyn had begged for the chance to go home and get cleaned up and had taken Honker with her.
Gosalyn knew Honker was grateful for the reprieve and she HAD been glad to help him but dad should have been home before now, this wasn't working out at all! Gosalyn sniffed a little and tried to wipe the betraying tear tracks off her cheeks with her hands again as she tied her sneakers.
She knew Dad had been really slacking off on his patrolling and other Darkwing activities since they had gotten back from Duckburg, but that was okay since the Fearsome Five had been unusually quiet lately and he was needed at home.
Since Director Hooter knew what had happened to Honker and his family, Darkwing and the rest of the Justice Ducks were on medical and legal leave until the end of September. Even so, Drake still spent a lot of time at the lair researching things and monitoring criminal activities and stuff especially in the last couple of days while school was in session but that wasn't going to help Gosalyn distract him now.
Knowing Dad, he was sure to come up to check on her and Honker once Launchpad told him they were home. She heard him coming up the stairs and frantically dug around in her dirty laundry pile at the foot of the bed to try and find something to wipe her beak on. If Dad caught her blubbering like a baby he'd freak out for sure, and she definitely didn't want to admit how much today had bothered her and not just for Honker's sake either.
Just then she heard a gentle knock on her door, "hey Gos…" the door opened a little and her dad continued. " Can I come in?"
Hurriedly she blew her nose on one of her socks and tried to look as though she hadn't been crying. Grabbing a comic she hid her face behind it.
Not realizing she was holding it upside down in front of her face, or that she had grabbed a lilac colored tunic style outfit that sported a soft loose turtleneck and was flared out like a dress instead of her basketball jersey; Gosalyn answered in what she hoped was a normal enough voice. "Sure Dad, I'm just looking over my comics."
Drake on the other hand went in expecting SOMETHING to be wrong, after all it was very out of character for Gos to avoid the chance to gobble sweets. Even if they were Launchpad's recipes, she had a very sturdy constitution and a child's delight in getting to eat extra dessert.
In fact Launchpad's more adventuresome experiments were usually met with enthusiasm not trepidation from Gosalyn, especially since she had developed a definite fondness for Morgana's cooking and the food served at her restaurant The Shadow Chateau in the last few months. So for her not to be involved in his dessert experiments up to her pigtails was a real red flag to Drake's overactive parental paranoia.
For his part, Drake hoped this incident wasn't something Gos was going to have trouble letting him comfort her over. Granted, school had just started this week and the kids were in fourth grade this year and so had a new teacher as well as new classmates; and Gos was usually very independent but…. Even though Gosalyn was definitely NOT an enthusiastic scholar, having trouble at school after only three days was a difficult thing for him to accept especially since Gos wasn't used to this kind of social persecution on top of everything else that had gone on.
Drake spared a tiny thought for Principal Farnsworth as he contemplated their conversation earlier. Then he got a good look at Gosalyn's face and his heart stuttered in his chest as he took in the level of her distress. She had wet trails running down her cheeks from the tears she was trying to hold in and her adorable little beak was trembling.
Stunned Drake started to panic he hadn't expected THIS; but then he got a hold of himself and sat carefully on the side of the bed. Smothly he reached into the pocket of his sweater and pulled out a tissue.
Gently wiping her cheeks he held the now damp tissue on her beak and offered gently, "Here Gos, blow,"
She obeyed and after tossing the tissue into the trashcan by her desk he held open his arms for a hug. She was clearly a little embarrassed at having been caught crying, but as she glanced shyly into his face all she saw was love and concern. Encouraged she flung herself into his sweater and began to cry again. Holding her against him and rubbing her back Drake could feel her shaking a little from the force of her hurt even though she was being remarkably quiet otherwise.
Gently he whispered, "Go ahead Gossie, just let it all out then…if you want, you can tell your Daddy what's wrong."
To his shock she began to cry a little harder, tiny sobs and hiccups interrupted her tears as she tried to say something but it was all mixed up and didn't really make any sense. All he could make out was something about how she loved him and that girl was wrong, but it still hurt….
Completely confused, Drake rubbed her shoulders a little more before picking her up off the bed. He DID notice that she was wearing one of the outfits that Mintaka had made for her to wear while they had been in Duckburg for that whole trial mess. His sharp eyesight and keen observational skills had picked out her usual outfit half hidden in her laundry basket, but as he moved she panicked a little and hearing the fear in her voice made his heart twist in an ugly way so he didn't ask why she had changed clothes just then.
It WAS very unusual for Gosalyn to voluntarily change clothes after school, and since she tended to get pretty dirty as she played; Drake seldom insisted that she do so. Seeing her in her dress, told him that there was far more to the days events than a simple fight at recess and he had the sinking feeling that Principal Farnsworth had left out more details than he'd initially suspected and he wished heartily he'd obeyed his first instincts and gone to the school when she called instead of waiting to talk to Gos and Honker; but there was no help for it now.
Instead he decided to focus on getting Gosalyn to tell him about what had happened to her, that way he could tell her about what he'd been researching at the lair and see how she and Honker felt about his idea, he didn't feel that comfortable having Gos and Honker in public school anyway. It was looking as though all his concerns had been on the money, from what he had gathered, their schoolmates were entirely too well informed for this behavior to be accidental.
Right then he was glad he had Gosalyn to take care of because if he had been able to, he'd have been half way to the school to find out exactly what went on there. This kind of behavior was a deliberate attempt to persecute Gosalyn and Honker and it couldn't be allowed to continue. His little spitfire had been reduced to panicked tears by SOMETHING and usually it took a super-villain just to make her pause for breath. With her this upset, there was no telling what kind of emotional mess Honker was in.
Launchpad came up the stairs to check on things and stopped in shock as Drake went past him carrying Gosalyn. Setting her on the vanity in the bathroom he gestured to his dumbstruck best friend.
Quietly he asked, "Launchpad, get me a soft washcloth from the closet and wet a corner for me okay?"
Launchpad scrambled to do so and finally found his voice, truly concerned he asked, "What's wrong with Gos DW?"
Drake looked grim for a minute but his expression softened as he gently washed Gosalyn's tears away. "I don't know LP but I'm going to find out."
The phone at the bottom of the staircase rang stridently but Drake made no move to answer it so Launchpad hurried to pick up the receiver. He came back a minute later and said, "That's funny they hung up."
Drake felt a gentle surge of energy from the Spell Chain around his neck that caused his plumage to fluff. Since he was still washing Gosalyn's face the resulting static like reaction in his feathers transferred to her just a tiny bit. Gosalyn gasped and giggled as the tickly sensation disturbed her feathers and made her hair stand up a little but neither of them were hurt at all by this strange phenomenon.
Just then there was a gentle jingle bell sound that came from the bathroom medicine cabinet. Startled Launchpad opened the mirrored door and saw nothing unusual. There were the bottles of over the counter painkillers, the jumbo box of Band-Aids and antiseptic. The partially used tube of feather fixative the extra grooming oils and gauze and tape and all the other detritus from the last time Drake had patched up either himself, Launchpad, Gosalyn or Honker.
Launchpad had his own store of medicine downstairs just as Drake kept emergency supplies packed in the med kit in his closet. This was the public bathroom that they let visitors like Honker's Grandma see. Of course Honker knew about the rest, but…Drake and Launchpad didn't want to appear anymore conspicuous than they could help so the extras stayed hidden unless they were needed. Especially since Honker's Grammy Jo tended to sweep in and 'rearrange' things on a semi irregular basis.
Honestly this wasn't quite as intrusive or random as it sounded, Grammy Jo Spoonbill and her husband Artimus were completely cleaning and renovating the house next door and they had placed all of the Muddlefoot's things in a huge storage POD. Neither Honker nor Tank had wanted to enter the house again once they had admitted what had happened to them, and given what had gone on; and what had happened to their parents, no one really blamed them. But that DID mean that Grammy Jo used the renovations as her excuse to work off any excess stress and when she ran out of things to fix or clean, she tended to check on Honker and his foster family and 'help' them.
Then there was the jingle sound again which jerked Drake out of his thoughts and back to the present. Drake sighed sounding almost relieved and said quietly, "its Morgana LP, shut the mirror so I can talk to her okay?"
Launchpad looked surprised but he nodded and shut the medicine cabinet door saying, "Sure thing DW."
As the mirror swung shut the pretty face of Morgana Macabre appeared on it. In her hair were her spider Archie and Eek one of her bat familiars. Squeek her second bat shaped familiar chirped hopefully at the three ducks in the mirror as he sat in his sling wrapped around her torso. Ever since Drake had asked Morgana to marry him and they had become officially engaged, Squeek had been far more gregarious to all three Normals even getting Launchpad to hold him and let him ride around on LP's flight cap on occasion since Squeek was still injured.
Even though he was still not fully recovered from the injuries that he'd suffered back in May, Squeek was a great deal better. He was in fact back to about eighty or ninety percent mobility. Squeek's pain was intermittent now and he could even fly a little in a pinch although that DID hurt a lot.
The four of them were shocked to realize that Gosalyn was so upset. Squeek used his other sight to look at her, and became even more upset as he realized that the duckling weeping into her father's sweater was suffering from fresh emotional wounds.
Quietly he offered, 'Morgana, Gosalyn BELIEVES those awful children, at least a little.'
Offended Archie spoke next as he watched Gosalyn's aura flux in the mirror, 'That's true as far as it goes. But I think it's her fear of not actually being Drake's child that is influencing her to believe that.'
Eek snorted and offered, 'But Brother, that's ridiculous! She IS Drake's child and….'
Morgana shushed all three of them gently and took a deep breath as she spoke to her familiars, 'That's IT, Archie dear you are a genius! For some strange reason, Gosalyn doesn't realize that Drake is her father and because Drake had to indenture himself to adopt her when her maternal line was killed, he doesn't realize she doesn't know. Well we can fix that. I AM glad Fenrick contacted you and told us some of what happened Squeek dear. This way we can have everything prepared by the time Drake brings the rest of the family here. I KNEW I should have stayed at Drake's but…."
Eek offered swiftly, 'Seeing to it that no one interferes with Honker and Fenrick IS important and keeping up with the rest of the family back home takes a lot of energy without the house wards and the magically imbued mirror Morgana.'
Archie and Squeek agreed, 'Don't Fret.' 'It will all work out Morgana…we just need to convince Drake to bring everyone here tonight so we can take care of them and Drake can replenish his energy. He and Launchpad need rest as much as the children do.' 'Yes, things will be much simpler once you and Drake are formally Oathed, the wards will meld and we won't have to worry about more than one set of defenses once we all live together.'
Slyly Archie added, 'it will do you good too Morgana, you need to touch Drake…your energy replenishes faster when you relax with him and you haven't slept well since we came back to the house.'
Eek ignored her blushes and chirred before offering, 'we have much to do to get ready for them, I'll talk to the guardians and arrange a dramatic and distracting spectacle to greet them.'
Morgana choked on a laugh as her bat swooped away; sometime's her familiars were almost too overeager to help, but remembering Gosalyn's hurt Morgana didn't try and change Eek's plan.
Gosalyn needed something to distract her from what had happened to her today. With the child's fascination with Magic in general and her delight in the elements of darkness and creepiness Morgana knew that the area she had claimed here in St. Canard, while small; was certainly big enough to give Gosalyn some of the distraction she needed.
Here is the first part of the set up and I DO hope people enjoy it and continue on. Also I hope I inspire the reader to review and offer feedback of a constructive and generous nature thank you Irual.