By Kim McFarland
This is meant to be inserted in the final act of part 2 of "Darkly Dawns The Duck," DW's origin episode. It happens right after the Ram Rod explodes, and before we see Gosalyn in the orphanage. I always felt that they skipped over a few things in that episode...
The sound of the explosion died away. Gosalyn and Launchpad still saw the flash of light and heard the roar in their minds as they stared at the wrecked top of the St. Canard Tower.
Just moments before, Darkwing Duck had been battling Taurus Bulba and his minions. Taurus' airship had fallen into the bay and exploded, the Waddlemeyer Ram Rod was no longer in his hands, and Gosalyn was safe. But Taurus and Darkwing had been fighting on the roof of the tower, right next to the Ram Rod when it overloaded. Then they had disappeared in the flash of light.
Gosalyn broke the silence. "NOBODY could've lived through that." she said softly. Launchpad closed his eyes and shook his head. The afterimage of the explosion flashed beneath his eyelids. "Sure he did." he said unconvincingly.
"Yeah. Right." she murmured.
He said, "C'mon, let's get you back home." Then he flicked a few of the Thunderquack's controls and brought it in for a landing.
Once on the ground he sought out one of the police officers that had arrived on the scene. He led Gosalyn by the hand to a squad car and said, "This is the little girl Taurus kidnapped. Could you see to it she gets back to her home?"
"Sure thing." Reluctantly Gosalyn got into the back seat of the car. The policewoman asked, "You were up in that airship - did you see if there were any survivors?"
Launchpad glanced at Gosalyn. She was sitting quietly in the car, staring numbly at the back of the seat in front of her. He said in a low voice, "If there are they won't be up there. Not after that blast."
She nodded. As she took out her radio microphone and spoke in police jargon Launchpad took a last look at Gosalyn. "Cheer up. Everything'll be OK. DW's fine. You'll see."
She looked up and smiled weakly. He patted her on the head, said "See you later." and left, feeling like a liar.
The streets around the base of the building were littered with debris. If there were any survivors, that's where they would be.
If there were any survivors? Gosalyn had said it out loud; it would be impossible for anyone to have lived through that.
But Darkwing Duck could have, couldn't he? The impossible is what heroes do! He had to have survived! He just had to!
Launchpad looked around. The police were picking around the rubble, obviously not expecting to find anything salvageable. Desperately he joined their effort.
After some minutes he saw what looked like a bit of fabric. He stooped down and brushed off the cement dust that had settled on it. It was purple. And it was poking out from under a pile of debris-
Quickly he tore through the ruins. He uncovered more of the purple cape - and, under that, a very battered- looking duck.
Launchpad shook him by his shoulders. "DW? You all right? Say something!"
Darkwing's eyes fluttered open. Hoarsely he muttered "OK, Mom, I promise won't stand up on the roller coaster again." and passed out.
"Mr. Duck, you have a visitor."
He looked up. "I do? Send him in."
Launchpad walked in. "Howdy, DW!"
Darkwing was surprised. "You? How'd you find me?"
"I saw which hospital they brought you to."
"I mean, haven't they taken any special security measures?"
"You know. Top secrecy or armed guards or something."
"Nope." Launchpad shrugged. "Nothin' that I could see, anyway."
Darkwing scowled. "And I thought that was what was keeping the media away."
"Oh, never mind."
"Well... I know you were great."
"So, you gonna be OK now, right?"
"Yeah. But now I know what a jigsaw puzzle feels like." An arm and a leg had been broken, his ribs had been cracked, and he had bruises and abrasions where he had never known he had places.
Launchpad glanced at the chart attached to the foot of the bed. "'Dark W. Duck'?"
"Secret identity, remember?" He grinned faintly when he remembered the arguments that his refusal to give up his mask and legal name had caused.
"Say, Launchpad, did you really build The Thunderquack?"
"Yeah. Well, it wasn't only me. I had a lot of help from an old friend of mine, Gyro Gearloose. He's an inventor. I thought the ship up, and he made all the gadgets and stuff in it. Built the hull myself in the foundry. Can't tell you how long I spent hammering it into shape. Better workout than a gym, though, and a lot more fun."
That explained Launchpad's build, Darkwing thought. The duck looked as if he could bench-press a small car. "Fun? It sounds like a whole lot of work to me."
"LP - why'd you build it? I mean, I know I'm your idol and all that, but you'd never even met me, for cripes sake!"
"Well, um, I was hoping I'd meet you... and, anyway, it kept me busy." "Don't you have a job or anything?"
"Well, I have a job, usually... but the jobs I've had since I moved here have been, well, just jobs... And the hangars where I live, well, they're sorta out in the middle of nowhere."
In other words, Darkwing thought, you built it because you have no life. Charitably he refrained from saying this out loud.
"So, DW, whatcha gonna do next, after you recover?"
"Oh..." Darkwing looked away. "Well ... I got a letter from some Government agency. They say they want to make use of my 'unique talents'..."
"Great!" Then Launchpad noticed that Darkwing did not share his enthusiasm. "Ain't'cha gonna do it?"
Darkwing shook his head. "I think I'm just gonna shuck the whole thing."
Launchpad was shocked. "What? You gotta be kidding!"
"Oh, come on! I've been Darkwing Duck for years now, and what has it gotten me? Very familiar with the insides of every hospital and police station in St. Canard. What's the point?" "But you make a big difference! St. Canard NEEDS Darkwing Duck!"
"The police don't think so." he grumbled.
"Well, they're wrong! Who else coulda taken out Taurus Bulba?!"
"True..." He paused, then shook his head again. "But what've I got to show for myself? The newspapers call me 'dark wing duck', like something you'd find on a Chinese menu. I spend all night running around in a costume - a handsome one, but still! I live like a bat in a tower. The only people I know at all are the police, and they think I'm a nutcase."
Launchpad said softly, "You saved that little girl's life."
Darkwing's pity trip came to a screeching halt. "...I did, didn't I?"
"Yeah. She's safe at home 'cause of you, DW."
Darkwing was quiet for a minute. "Yeah. I guess so."
Launchpad said, "The newspapers don't all misspell your name, and the ones that do will get it right once you really show 'em what you've got!"
"C'mon, think about it! After Taurus, they GOTTA take ya seriously-"
"The only things those pencil pushers take seriously can be bought at Plunkin' Doughnuts." Darkwing growled.
"-plus, now ya got The Thunderquack and me in your corner."
"Yeah ... "
"Um, well, anyway - when you gonna check outta here?"
"I don't know. I could leave now if I wanted to."
"Then what's keeping you?"
"I guess I'd rather just stay here. The shape I'm in, I couldn't drive if I wanted to."
"Well, shoot, I'll take you home."
"Back to the tower? No thanks. I'd rather just stay here."
"Why the tower? Don't'cha have a home?"
"Just the tower."
"Then where do you live when you're not Darkwing Duck?"
"Darkwing Duck is all I am." The thought suddenly struck him as depressing.
To break the uneasy silence that followed Launchpad said, "That little girl you rescued - you oughtta let her know you're alive. She thought you'd bought it."
"Yeah... I guess I could pay the orphanage a visit..."
"She lives at the St. Canard orphanage."
"She doesn't have any parents?"
Launchpad shook his head sadly. "No kid should have to grow up without a family." "Yeah." Darkwing had a thoughtful look on his face. He realized that he really did miss the little terror.
Launchpad put his hand gently on Darkwing's shoulder, bridging the space between them, and said softly, "DW - Look, why don't I drive you back to the tower. Or wherever. Heck, if you wanted to you could stay with me. You don't wanna stay in this hospital, do you? If you need help, well, I can take care of ya."
"Yeah, it is dull here... I guess I had better get out of here. If I have a thermometer stuffed in my bill one more time I'll go nuts. And I need to show you Darkwing Tower - sidekick." A grin spread across Launchpad's face. "All right, DW!"
"But first, there's a few errands we'd better run."
"Sure. Like what?"
Darkwing reached under the bandages on his head and looked at the window beside his bed. His reflection looked back at him as he removed his mask, revealing a face that he had not seen in years. Too long.
He turned back to Launchpad. "I have a life to set in order."
All characters copyright © Disney. Story copyright © Kim McFarland. Permission is given by the author to copy this story for personal use only, provided no changes are made to the story or the credits.
The inspiration for this was the Eagles song "Desperado", by the way.
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