Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Darkwing Duck
Character/Pairing: Drake/Launchpad, Gosalyn
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words June Bingo: Single Parent(s)
Word Count: 1,938
Date Written: 20 June 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
"I can't do this!" Drake says, stopping in his pacing to shake his head. His white feathers are clearly ruffled as he declares, "It's much too dangerous!", and immediately turns around and begins pacing again. His hands twist behind his cape. "She's better off in the orphanage. It's safer at least."
"DW," Launchpad asks, ducking down low beside him and eyeballing him in close consideration, "have you ever been in an orphanage?"
"Of course I have, Launchpad. Plenty of my capers have had to do with orphaned kids -- "
"That's not what I'm talking about. I mean, have you ever been in an orphanage? I admit the one Gos came from is better than most, but it's still not a good place for any kid. You're surrounded by other children, but you feel so alone." Drake whips his head away, and Launchpad knows he's hit a nerve. "It's worse than when nobody will play with you. The normal kids outside -- the ones you see with their families walking on the streets or in the park -- they don't even want to look at you, let alone play with you. And Gos didn't exactly fit in with the other kids at the orphanage."
"What am I supposed to do, Launchpad?" Drake asks softly, his thin shoulders sagging.
"Give her a chance."
"I have! And that's what I'm trying to do! Going after criminals at her age is -- "
"I didn't say give her a chance to be your sidekick, DW! Besides, that role's already taken -- by me! What I said is give her a chance."
"A chance to do what, Launchpad? If she's going to be around me, she's going to be around the criminal element! I can't possibly keep her safe from it all the time! She's much better off at the orphanage!"
"She's certainly safer!"
"What makes you think that? DW, even after we defeat Taurus Bulba, -- "
"You mean after I defeat him."
"Yes, yes, but the point I'm trying to make, DW, is even that's not going to guarantee Gosalyn's safety. Other people are going to know about her grandfather and his inventions, and they're going to come after her."
"What do you want me to do, Launchpad?" Drake demands, throwing up his hands in defeat.
"The right thing," Launchpad answers without hesitation, giving his hero more pause.
Drake turns around again, more slowly this time, and looks slowly up into Launchpad's face. "How," he demands, "am I supposed to do that?! The best I can do, LP, is the lesser evil!"
"Really?" Launchpad shakes his head in disappointment. "That doesn't sound like the hero I know talking."
"Tell me how I'm supposed to do it," Drake counters. "How can I possibly keep her safe and let her stay with us instead of sending her back to the orphanage? Our lives aren't safe, LP! The orphanage is the best place for her!"
"No," Launchpad argues, sounding far too much like Drake's own conscious, "it's not! You put her back in that orphanage, you're just asking for another villain to come swooping in after her! Her best chance is with us!"
"How is that her best chance?! We're in danger every day!"
"Yes, but at least we know the danger we're in, and you can keep an eye on her if she's with us! If she's not with us, and she's attacked . . . "
"Don't say it!" Drake snaps and turns swiftly away from him. He puts his hands over his ears, but Launchpad reaches out and gently pulls an arm down.
"Her best chance is with us, DW." He's shocked when Drake looks back up at him with actual tears in his eyes.
"I don't want to get her killed," Drake whispers, his lower bill quivering.
"You won't," Launchpad vows.
"What makes you so sure of that?! Our lives are dangerous, LP, much too dangerous for a kid! And I can't stop fighting crime! It's who I am!"
Launchpad stares at Drake in surprise. "You . . . thought about quitting?"
"Yes!" Drake throws his hands up into the air again. "Of course I did! Anything to keep her safe! I don't want anything to harm the kid!"
"Let's do what you always say to do," Launchpad says suddenly, stopping Drake from beginning to pace again and causing him to look up at him in curiosity.
"What? Get dangerous? That's what the whole problem is!"
"No! Let's consider what we know. Let's go over the facts."
"The fact is she's in danger every time she's around me -- "
"The fact," Launchpad counters, "is that she's in danger now because of her grandfather's inventions, and it's going to stay that way. Even after Bulba is locked away for good, there are others who will know who her grandfather is and what he did and who will come after her. If she's in the orphanage, we won't know when they come after her until it's too late, but if she's here, with us, with you -- "
"We'll know," Drake concludes for him, "and we can stop him. But . . . " His beak once more quivers. "I'm not cut out for this whole father thing. Just being around me will put her in danger."
"But it's danger you can fight, DW. The orphanage won't be able to fight anybody who comes after her. The best they'll be able to do is to call you and the police, and by that time . . . "
"Gos will be God knows where."
"Or they could have done something to her."
Drake gulps hard; his feathers suddenly look a shade whiter. "Hush your beak!"
"I'm just saying the truth," Launchpad speaks softly, shrugging. "We both know it. But if you're with her . . . "
"We can stop them." Drake nods. "But what about the rest?"
"The rest we'll work on as we go." Launchpad shrugs again, not knowing what else to say.
"We?" Drake whispers in surprise.
"Yeah. We." Launchpad looks at him, shocked and more than a little concerned. "I'm not going anywhere!"
"I wouldn't ask you to! I just . . . "
Launchpad gazes into his hero's troubled face and eyes. "You thought you were alone in this," he breathes huskily, his voice almost shaking.
Drake nods, his feathers ruffling again.
"I'm your sidekick! I'm not going anywhere!"
"You'll help me?"
"You were rather good with the McDuck boys . . . "
"Loved them like they were my own nephews." Launchpad lets out a low, shrill whistle. "And, boy, did we get into it sometimes!"
"But you kept them safe," Drake points out. "You kept them alive."
"I did." Launchpad nods. "And we'll keep Gos alive!"
"Of course together! DW, this is going to be the most amazing thing we've done yet!"
A visible shiver passes through Drake's feathers, but he nods. "With you helping me," he murmurs, "maybe this whole parenting thing won't be so bad."
Launchpad answers with determined belief, "It won't be."
"It's several hours pass her bedtime, and I know she's up there playing hockey. Let's go get her. Let's get . . . fatherly!"
Launchpad laughs, but he's hot on Drake's webbed feet as his hero leads the way. True to Drake's word, they find Gosalyn playing hockey in one of the long hallways of Drake's house. A puck passes right between their legs as they turn onto the hallway. Gosalyn starts to follow it right underneath them, but Drake grabs her shoulders. "Playtime's over for the night, young lady."
"But I was just warming up!"
Drake's skilled fingers deftly pluck the hockey stick from Gosalyn's hand. "No, you're not. You were just going to bed. You need to get your rest tonight if you're going to school tomorrow."
"School?" Gosalyn makes a face. "YUCK!"
"You've got to go to school," Drake starts. He almost stammers as he tries to think of a valid reason. "All good kids go to school."
"Who I said I was good?" Gosalyn mutters, folding her arms before her and looking crossed. She'd try to break away, but Drake still has her shoulder and is carrying her to the guest room in a rather tight grip. But then something dawns on her. "But you said school . . . "
"Yes, school. You've got to go to school in the morning."
"Not the orphanage?" Gosalyn whispers, not yet daring to hope.
Drake nods. "Not the orphanage, but we will go by there tomorrow and see about officially signing your adoption papers."
"DW -- "
"What?" Drake glances up at Launchpad, who quickly falls silent again. He's not at all certain that enrolling Gosalyn in school or even adopting her will be easy as his hero seems to believe it will be, but he's not about to argue the point. Now that he's got Drake ready and willing to adopt Gosalyn, he won't do anything to risk messing it up!
"N-Nothing. I . . . I was just thinking she might like a bedtime story." He watches as Drake carries Gosalyn to the bed and tucks her in, securing the covers around her. It won't be easy for her to get back out of bed with the way he's tucking the corners in around her, but again, Launchpad says nothing. Maybe it's for the best to tie the corners that way; after all, this is Gosalyn with whom they're dealing.
"Well?" Drake asks.
"Well, tell her a bedtime story!"
"Wait . . . " Gosalyn yawns. Both men peer down closely at her. "Does this mean I get to stay?"
Drake almost melts on the spot. "Yes. Yes, it does, or at least, we're going to try it," he adds hurriedly.
Gosalyn yawns again. "Is this going to be my room?"
Drake looks around at the guest bedroom. "If it's what you want."
"Yeah, but . . . " A third yawn, this one louder than the two before it, punctuates her words. "It needs a total makeover."
"Figure out what you want, and we'll pick it up tomorrow on the way home."
She grins wide. "Cool!"
Drake smiles, then looks up, expectantly, at Launchpad.
"Once upon a time, there were three young boys," Launchpad starts. "They were brothers, and they were into everything. They were playing hide and seek in a cave near their uncle's estate when they found a lamp."
"Was it a magic lamp?" Gosalyn yawns.
"You bet it was!"
She smiles, her eyes slipping closed. "I know exactly what I would wish for."
"What?" Drake asks gently.
She struggles to reopen her eyes. She peers sleepily up at him and Launchpad. "This . . . " She yawns again, and her eyes begin to slide shut once more. "This with . . . with . . . with both of you . . . " She falls asleep and immediately starts snoring.
Drake beams down at her and secures her covers once more. Then he and Launchpad tip toe out of the room, and he shuts the door securely behind them. "LP?"
"Yeah, DW?" Launchpad turns around and is surprised to find his hero gazing up at him with tears in his own eyes but a big, warm smile on his feathered face. "What?"
"Thank you!" he exclaims, throwing his arms around him and hugging him tight.
Launchpad looks down at him in surprise. This is a side of his heroic lover which he's never seen before. "You're . . . welcome," he answers hesitantly, wrapping his arms around him and hugging him back. There are unshed tears in both their eyes as they kiss this time, a silent, chaste promise that they are going to raise this child together and everything will come right in the end.