Dewey groggily rubbed the sleep out of his eyes as he sat up in bed. Though he was normally the one full of boundless energy, he still needed to sleep, especially after that harrowing trip to Mt. Neverrest. Four days later, and he was still exhausted. He was, however, a very light sleeper, so it was no surprise that the rather loud, harsh, barking-like noise coming from nearby woke him up. He grabbed his phone and looked at the time. 12:01 a.m.
"Ugh, seriously?" he groaned as he started to hesitantly pull back the covers, which were the only thing keeping him from freezing to death in the mansion. But he knew he would never fall back asleep as long as he kept hearing that noise. Which is why he needed to go investigate it. Grabbing the flashlight he had stashed under his pillow and mentally preparing himself for the blast of cold air that would soon be greeting him, he flung of the covers hopped out of bed.
He shivered violently as his feet touched the ground. The wooden floors were so cold that he felt like he was standing barefoot on an ice skating rink instead. He flicked on his flash light and shrugged on the sweater that he had left hanging at the foot of his bed. "Seriously, Scrooge? Would it kill you to turn up the heat just a little?"
The large, empty rooms of McDuck Manor made it extremely cold during the winter, and Scrooge was far too frugal to turn the heat up past sixty degrees Fahrenheit, despite the desperate pleas of four young children.
"We have blankets for a reason," he told them when the first snow fell in mid-November. "You all should be grateful that the heat's even on. When I was a lad, blankets were all we had to keep us warm, and we survived."
Dewey heard a sleepy groan from his right, which caused him to shine the light in that direction. Louie was sitting up in bed, glaring at him. "What are you doing out of bed? It's like midnight"
"I heard a noise." Dewey replied.
Louie groaned again. "Dude, there's a weird noise like every night in this creepy old mansion. You've never investigated them before, so why start now?"
Before Dewey could respond, the barking-like noise that had woken him up started again. Louie's face furrowed in confusion as he got out of bed and walked over to the noise, which was coming from Dewey's left. The middle triplet followed his younger brother. Louie crawled onto Huey's bed and started shaking him. "Huey! Get up!"
"Go back to bed Louie," Huey mumbled, not even opening his eyes. The noise started up again as the older triplet began coughing roughly.
"Are you sick?" Dewey asked as he flipped on the light.
Huey sat up as his coughing fit came to an end. There was no use for him to pretend that he was still sleeping. He tried clearing his throat as he shook his head. "I'm fine. Now go back to sleep."
But Huey didn't sound fine. His voice was soft and raspy, as if his throat were sore. Louie placed a hand on Huey's forehead. "You're not fine! You're burning up!"
"It's just a little head cold from the other day," the older triplet responded sleepily, referring to the failed Neverrest expedition. Neither Dewey nor Louie believed it for a minute.
During the winter, Huey was always the first to get sick, so this wasn't surprising. But he had a bad habit of trying to brush off whatever illness he was suffering from as nothing more than a cold. And the worse the illness was, the more likely it was for Huey to continue to insist that he was perfectly fine and that it would go away in a few days.
"I'm going to get Uncle Donald," Louie stated as he got off of Huey's bed and began to dart towards the door.
"No!" Huey cried before grabbing his aching throat, which only confirmed for the other two brothers that whatever he was suffering from was not just a cold. "Uncle Donald has enough to worry about; therefore he doesn't need to know about this. I'm fine! It's just a cold. It'll go away in a few days."
"The last time you said that, you had mono." Dewey pointed out, referring to the instance last winter which had ended with Donald taking Huey to the emergency room after he went a whole week without eating due to be so sick. "Besides, what if you need medicine? We're not old enough to buy it."
Louie nodded his head in agreement. While normally neither Dewey nor Louie had any problem hiding stuff from their uncle and going behind his back, there were just some lines that not even they crossed. And after last year, they both had made a silent agreement that they wouldn't hid it from Donald the next time Huey fell ill. They both felt awful knowing that Huey had been seriously ill and could have recovered sooner had the two younger triplets not agreed to keep it a secret from their uncle.
Besides, Donald always found out about this kind of stuff anyway. It would be less painful to tell him now rather than to wait and let him figure it out for himself.
But Huey was stubborn. "This is actually a cold this time. Uncle Donald doesn't need to worry about something as stupid as a head cold. Besides, he just got a new job. And you know if he knows that I'm sick, then he'll take time off, which will create more things for him to worry about."
Donald never discussed finances with the boys, but the three of them figured that because their uncle had a hard time holding down a job, many of which were often low paying, their uncle was constantly worrying about the families finances. And while living with Scrooge offered them more security, Donald was stubborn (the boys had to learn it from somewhere). He refused to be completely dependent on Scrooge. Just because they had reconnected, didn't mean that had automatically erased whatever had caused their relationship to deteriorate in the first place.
Dewey sighed. "But he doesn't have to worry about that kind of stuff anymore. We live with Scrooge McDuck, the richest duck in Duckburg."
"Richest duck in Duckberg who can't be bothered to turn the thermostat up a few degrees." Louie mumbled as he sat back down on the edge of Huey's bed. He figured it wasn't worth standing until he and Dewey had convinced Huey that they needed to tell Donald.
"Besides," Dewey continued, ignoring Louie's jab at Scrooge, "Uncle Donald will worry more if you're seriously sick."
Donald had lectured Huey over and over again (every time he did this, actually) that the boys were his number one priority. If one of them was sick, he wanted—no, he needed to know. Their uncle said that he would never forgive himself if something bad happened to one of them. But still, like uncle, like nephew. Huey remained insistent every time he fell sick that Donald not worry about him, just like the way that Donald was insistent that the boys not worry about him.
Huey shook his head before breaking out in another coughing fit. A look of worry flashed on both the other brothers' faces as the older triplet began wheezing. Louie started to rubbed Huey's back, something that Donald would do when the boys were little.
"It's okay," Huey rasped as he shrugged Louie's hand off. "I'm fine. I just need to go back to sleep."
"But-" Louie began to protest, but Huey cut him off.
"I said I'm fine! Go back to bed! Both of you!" he snapped.
Both Louie and Dewey flinched at Huey's raised voice. He had crossed his arms and started glaring at them. His attempt to seem stern in his disheveled, sickly appearance would have been funny in any other circumstance, but neither of his brothers found it humorous in that moment. Huey wasn't a hothead like their uncle, but his temper could be almost as wicked as Donald's when he was set off. And while it normally took a lot to anger the usually level-headed, older triplet off, his fuse was noticably shorter when he wasn't feeling well.
Louie held up his hands in surrender as he headed back to his own bed. Dewey did the same as he grabbed his pillow and blanket, intending to sleep on the couch because he knew that he'd never sleep through Huey's coughing fits. Not wanting to be left alone in the room with their sick brother, Louie did the same.
This seemed to pacify Huey since he relaxed a little, but his brothers couldn't help but notice that he began to rub his temples, almost as if he had a headache as well. Dewey and Louie exchanged a look and nodded in silent agreement. They were going to tell Donald, whether Huey liked it or not.
"But why wouldn't he want your Uncle Donald to know?" Dewey and Louie had clued Webby in on their current predicament. They hadn't gotten a chance to inform Donald yet because he had left before anyone in the mansion was even awake, leaving a note saying that he was visiting some old friends for the day and wouldn't be back until the next morning. So, they figured they should warn Webby.
Louie shrugged. "He's always been like this. He claims it's because he doesn't want Uncle Donald to worry."
"Well, then we'll just tell your Uncle Scrooge!" Webby exclaimed. It was an ingenious plan, if she did say so herself. That way Scrooge would be able to take care of Huey, and Donald would never find out that Huey was ever sick in the first place.
Dewey covered her beak and gestured for her to quiet down. "Are you crazy? Huey will kill us. And then Uncle Donald will find out and kill us for not telling him first."
"Besides, Uncle Scrooge won't even turn the heat up past sixty degrees. Do you really think he's going to spend any money to take Huey to the doctor or get him medicine?" Louie added.
"Well..." Webby started. She actually thought Scrooge would want to take care of his sick nephew. After all, it was like Scrooge McDuck was a different duck when it came to his family. Before, he was closed off and grouchy all the time. Now, he was back to adventuring and just seemed to be happier overall since he reconnected with Donald and the boys. "Maybe he would if he sees how sick Huey is."
Louie snorted. "Right because Huey so isn't going to be acting like he's perfectly fine when Uncle Scrooge and Uncle Donald are around. Huey can be a world class actor when he wants to be. Who do you think is the one that distracts Uncle Donald when we plan something? Scrooge will take one look at Huey and never suspect a thing."
"Where is Huey, anyway?" Webby asked.
"Probably still in bed," Dewey said as he looked at a nearby clock. It was 8:00 in the morning. Huey was normally an early riser. He hated straying from his strict schedule. For him to be sleeping in... well, that was another indication of how sick he really was.
Just then, Scrooge entered the living room, looking refreshed and ready for an adventure. "Are you all ready?"
"Ready for what?" Louie whispered to Dewey.
"Oh, you mean ready to head to the Cave of Wonders?" Webby asked excitedly. She turned to the two boys. "Remember, we said we were going to go today? They say that the cave shows you your worst fears, and if you survive, then spirits that reside in the cave will show you something amazing."
"Is it treasure?" Louie asked eagerly.
Webby just shrugged, before beginning to bounce on her heels eagerly. "I always wanted to know what it would be like to face my worst fear. I wonder what my worst fear even is?"
"Yes, yes," Scrooge said idly. "Now we need to— Wait a minute. Where's Huey?"
"Oh!" Dewey exclaimed as he quickly thought of an excuse to give his great uncle. "I think he went with—"
"Here I am, Uncle Scrooge," Huey's hoarse voice said softly as he walked down the stairs, gripping the railing so hard that all the color had left his knuckles. His cheeks were red and feverish and his hair was plastered to the feathers on his forehead by sweat. His hat was on lopsided and he appeared to be trying to hide the fact that he was shaking.
Dewey and Louie groaned. The last thing Huey needed to be doing was dragging himself along on a mission. Despite what he kept insisting, he didn't have "just a cold." He really needed to be sleeping. At home. He probably even needed to be going to the doctor. All the two younger triplets could hope for is that their great uncle saw how obviously sick the older triplet was and make him stay home. Or better yet, just cancel the mission all together. Dewey and Louie didn't mind spending one day in the mansion, and they were sure that Webby wouldn't either. They could all play "death darts" or something while Huey slept.
"You alright lad?" Scrooge asked, a hint of concern in his voice.
"Yeah, I just h-have a little bit of a cold," Huey replied groggily. "But I'm ready to go."
Scrooge didn't really buy it, but who was he to be the judge of how sick the duckling actually was? He didn't exactly have any experience with children. If Huey insisted that he was fine, then maybe he was. "Alright then, we better get a move on if we want to be back before dark."
Webby, Dewey, and Louie all exchanged a look. There was no way that taking an obviously extremely sick Huey on a mission was a good idea.
Huey shivered under the flannel blanket he had found on the plane. In all honesty, he would have been perfectly fine sleeping all day. He had absolutely no energy whatsoever, a combination of running a fever (101 degrees Fahrenheit, he checked when he got up) and having thrown up everything he had eaten over the past two days (not that anyone needed to know that little piece of information). But Uncle Scrooge wanted to go on an adventure, and if he wanted to keep up appearances that everything was alright, then Huey had no choice but to tag along.
Hiding the fact that he was sick had been far easier in the mansion than it had ever been in the houseboat. In fact, he was actually surprised that it had taken Dewey and Louie two days to figure it out and that Uncle Donald was still in the dark, so to speak. All he had to do was hole himself up in Scrooge's library or sleep in one of the many guest bedrooms throughout the mansion. The adults in the house must have thought he was causing trouble with his brothers and Webby. And Dewey and Louie would have told Webby that he must be bothering their Uncle Donald or reading or something. It was perfect really.
And Donald remaining in the dark about Huey's illness was a stroke of luck that possibly would have been out of Gladstone Gander's reach. When his brothers woke him up at midnight, he thought for sure that they were going to tell one of their uncles or Beakley. Then there would have been no avoiding Donald's coddling.
"Uncle Donald has other, more important things to worry about," Huey thought as he pulled the blanket tighter around his shoulders. Though Huey knew deep down that he should tell his uncle before he got too sick and that his uncle wouldn't hesitate to drop everything and take care of him, he just couldn't bring himself to bother Donald. "This isn't that big of a deal. You have to learn to take care of yourself anyway, Huey. Everybody gets sick. It's not like the flu ever killed anyone. Okay, except for that time in 1918 and in 1957 and 1968 and 2009 and that time before people knew how to actually treat illnesses and literally every other year... But it's fine! Riding it out makes you tougher, right? And besides, Uncle Donald does it all the time and he's okay. I bet M-"
He cut himself off before he could even go there. Of all the days to think about her, today was not it. He had too much to worry about without dealing with that touchy subject. He needed to focus on getting better, getting done with this mission, and keeping the wool pulled over his uncles' eyes so that neither of them ever found out that he was even sick in the first place. After, and only after, he did that, then he could try and sort out his feelings on the eternal enigma that is his mother... eventually.
Each of the three triplets felt a variety of feelings when it came to Della Duck. Dewey, Huey knew, idolized her to a certain extent and wanted to find out more about her. Louie never talked about her with anyone, which meant that the youngest triplet was probably conflicted on the matter. And Huey himself was... confused. She was a source of potential chaos in the family, and Huey just didn't know how to feel about her. Or rather, he felt too many things about her to even make sense of his feelings about the mother he never knew.
He loved her because she was his mother, but he didn't know if he actually loved her or if he only loved her because he was required to. He was angry that she left them and their uncle, but he felt guilty for feeling that way because he didn't know or understand the circumstances behind her leaving them. He also wanted to know her, but at the same time, he didn't want to know anything about her in case he didn't like what he found out. Most of all, he was scared of her. He was scared of the answers to all of his questions that involved her.
What if she wasn't this great person that everyone who knew her thought she was? Did she love them? Did she even want them? Why did she just abandon them? Where is she? Is she dead? Is she alive? Would she have been a good mother? If she's alive, what would happen to Uncle Donald if she were to waltz back into their lives tomorrow? He was the one who loved and raised them their whole lives while she was M.I.A. Would he just be pushed aside? Would Uncle Donald and Great Uncle Scrooge go back to hating each other the way they had been for ten years? What would happen to Huey and his brothers?
The whole situation involving his mother was just too complicated, and Huey didn't want to deal with it. Ever. And being as sick as he was, just made the whole idea of sorting out his tangled feelings about Della even more unappealing than it usually was.
"—ing? Huey!" a voice shouted, interrupting catching the young duck's attention. Preparing himself for the nausea that would soon come, he sat up and looked at his Uncle Scrooge, who had been calling him.
"What?" he asked deliriously. His headache and his fever made everything seem so surreal... and was it just him or was the world spinning?
"I asked if you're alright lad. You're looking a little green around the gills." Scrooge replied, looking slightly concerned, though it wasn't overtly obvious.
"Um... Y-Yeah, Uncle Scrooge! I'm okay," he replied, plastering on a fake smile that wasn't convincing at all.
He could've sworn heard Louie mumble something that sounded suspiciously like a swear word, calling Huey's bluff. Scrooge himself didn't look convinced, but the old billionaire decided not to comment on the fact that his great nephew was blantantly lying to his face. "You sure? I can always have Launchpad turn the plane around, and we can come back another day."
"N-No, I'm sure." Huey assured him. He knew his great uncle wasn't buying it at all. He wasn't a confident liar the way Louie was, and he was even worse when he wasn't feeling the greatest.
Scrooge just raised an eyebrow. "If you're sure then." He turned to the other kids. "We'll be landing soon, so brace yourselves."
Huey curled himself back up in his seat and shivered. He felt so awful. He didn't even know that it was physically possible for anyone to feel as horrible as he did. It was amazing that he wasn't in the bathroom puking his guts out. He just wanted to go home and sleep. But if he backed out now, that would be admitting to Scrooge that he was sick, which meant that Donald would find out and freak out.
Dewey was trying to tell him something, but he couldn't make out what his younger brother was saying from the pounding in his head. Huey just pulled the blanket up over his head. Suddenly, the plane landed with a thud, causing Huey to curl up into an even tighter ball in order to prevent himself from vomiting.
He could already tell that this was not going end well.
The cave was dark... and cold. It was colder than the mansion, which was something that none of the kids ever thought possible. Huey had his blanket from the plane wrapped tightly around his shoulders, but it admittedly wasn't doing much to warm him. Scrooge had given him an odd look when he saw that Huey was still carrying the flannel blanket, but he was thankful that the old duck let him keep it because was freezing. It shouldn't have been possible for him to be so cold considering the fact that he was sweating buckets and he was pretty sure that his temperature was still over a 100 degrees.
"Now I know how atoms feel in Bose-Einstein Condensate." he mumbled deliriously, referring to the fifth, relatively unknown, and most mysterious state of matter that occurs around zero Kelvin, a.k.a "Absolute Zero." Leave it to Huey to make a comparison to something sciency while he was miserably forcing himself to trudge through a dark, creepy cave. The fact that the comparison really didn't make a whole lot of sense only went to show how much his fever was starting to addle his brain. It was only a matter of time before he started hallucinating.
The cave itself was nothing special, despite the fact that it was rumored to be full of malicious spirits. Scrooge and Launchpad had taken the lead. The other three kids had tried to keep Huey in front of them, but he quickly fell behind. Any other time, he would be fascinated with the stalagmite and stalactites, boring the others to death with facisnating facts like if any of them touched one, it would stop growing, but he just didn't have the energy. Dewey, Louie, and Webby had been glancing back to make sure Huey didn't fall behind, but they quickly got distracted and forgot to check on him.
"There's nothing in this stupid cave," Huey thought miserably. "Can't we just call it quits and go home? I just want to sleep."
Scrooge was droning on about something, and Dewey and Webby were both eagerly pointing out the stalagmites they wanted to climb on. Had Huey been feeling better, he would have scolded them because that would have disrupted the cave's ecosystem, and he was pretty sure there was a rule in the Jr. Woodchuck guide about not destroying delicate ecosystems. He didn't even bring that along with him. Louie meanwhile was talking eagerly to Launchpad about the potential treasure that awaited them when the faced off against the evil spirits. The voices echoing off the walls of the cave only made the pounding in his head more intense, which made him feel even more nauseous (something he didn't understand because he had literally nothing in his stomach).
The headache combined with the lack of energy, the fever, and the low blood sugar that came from either throwing up or not eating anything for the past two days made him feel like he was going to pass out. He stopped and leaned against the cave wall. The world was spinning faster than it had been on the plane, and his legs were shaking so badly that he felt like his knees would buckle any minute. He shivered and yanked the blanket tighter around his shoulders, though he knew it wouldn't do much to help him.
"Okay!" he cried mentally. "I can't take it anymore! I admit it! I'm really, really sick! I just want Uncle Donald... He'd know what to do..."
His beak began to quiver, and he felt tears slipping down his feverish cheeks. He knew he only did this to himself. After all, he had lied about how sick he actually was to his brothers, hid the fact that he was even sick from his Uncle Donald, agreed to go on a mission that he knew he was physically unable to do, and refused to back down, even though Scrooge had given him plenty of opportunity to do so. He had probably seriously endangered his health— after all, people literally died from influenza. But most of all, knew Donald would be extremely disappointed with him, especially because they had gone through this cycle dozens of times.
"Uncle Scrooge!" Huey sobbed hoarsely, causing his family to turn towards him and see that he was pathetically leaning against a damp cave wall, sobbing like a baby. Crying had made his throat feel like it was on fire, but he didn't care. He just wanted to crawl into bed and never come out. "I admit it, okay? I'm really, really sick! I have been for like two days! I really thought I could do this, b-but I can't! I just feel so awful, and I want to go home! I want Uncle Donald!"
Another coughing fit hit him, worse than the ones that had kept him up all night. It was one of those ones that made him feel like he was going to hack out a lung. It would be absolutely unbearable if he developed an upper respiratory tract infection on top of whatever he already had. He grabbed his torso underneath his blanket as the coughs rattled his frame and began to rock himself back and forth to try and comfort himself. He was faintly aware that Scrooge was saying something, but he couldn't make it out. He felt like somebody was jackhammering his brain, that's how bad his head hurt. His stomach felt like it was flipping over and over again. It was all he could do to keep himself from vomiting.
Somebody placed a hand on his forehead, but he couldn't make out who it was. Everything was just so blurry. The edge of his vision started turning black, and next thing he knew, the world went dark.
"Honestly," Donald growled as he placed a cool, wet rag on Huey's forehead, causing the young duck to shiver, "I go out of town one day, and I come home to this."
The duckling was running a 103 degree fever. If it were any higher, Donald would've taken him to the emergency room... again. Hopefully, he could avoid that, but he would make sure to monitor it throughout the night.
As soon as they had gotten to the plane, Scrooge called Donald and told him to meet them back at the manor. Donald of course was in a frenzy when his uncle told him that Huey had fainted and was extremely ill. He was fully prepared to rush his nephew to the emergency room, but Scrooge convinced him not to be so hasty.
"I gave the lad plenty of opportunity to back out, but he just wouldn't do it," Scrooge retorted. "He's stubborn, just like she was. At least he knew to quit before it was too late."
"If you knew he was sick, why didn't you put an end to it?" Donald demanded, trying to keep his temper. Huey—one of his boys—needed him, so the last thing he needed to do was go off on his uncle. "You're the adult! You could've said no!"
Scrooge opened his mouth to retort, but quickly closed it. He let out a huff of frustration because his nephew was absolutely right. Huey was in no condition to leave bed, let alone venture in to a dark, damp, cold cave. Not canceling the adventure was a mistake that had nearly cost him another family member. And Scrooge would never forgive himself if he lost another.
"And would it kill you to turn up the heat?" Donald ranted. "The last thing I need right now is for Huey to get pneumonia on top of whatever he already has. After dragging him into some dank cave in the middle of winter, it's the least you can do!"
Huey moaned and dissolved into another coughing fit, as if to emphasize the point that the cold house was only making him sicker. Scrooge winced guiltily. It did sound like the boy was developing an upper respiratory tract infection on top of whatever illness that was ailing him. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to turn it up just a notch?
A hesitant knock on the door interrupted Donald mid-rant. Both of the older ducks turned and saw the other three kids standing in the door frame. Dewey cleared his throat awkwardly. "Uncle Donald, i-is Huey okay?"
Though it wasn't obvious to the untrained ear, Dewey sounded like he was on the verge of tears; however Donald was able to easily tell that it was all his nephew could do to keep himself from breaking down. Neither one of the triplets like it when one of the others was sick. And having watched someone break down and faint like Huey did in the cave couldn't have been easy for Dewey or Louie or even Webby to see.
"He'll be fine," Donald assured him, though he was also trying to assure himself too. Dewey quickly looked away, in shame, Donald could tell. He was an expert at reading his boys. Louie appeared to have developed a sudden interest in the carpet, as had Webby, since both of them refused to look at anything else, meaning that they were in on this as well. And if Dewey and Louie had known Huey was sick, then it was no surprise that Webby had known too.
Now that he thought about it, Donald realized that he should have known something was up. Huey had taken to hiding in one of the mansion's empty rooms, as if he were purposely been concealing something from his family. He made himself a mental note about that for future reference. "How long has Huey been sick?"
Unsurprisingly, Dewey cracked immediately. Donald knew that if his nephew was feeling guilty about something, then Dewey couldn't resist spilling his guts, so to speak, in order to relieve that guilt. "Louie and I only found out last night! Huey woke me up with his coughing, and he kept trying to insist it was a cold, but it was obvious that he was really, really sick. And we were going to tell you, honest we were, but you left before we could! And we were just going to tell Uncle Scrooge that Huey had left with you this morning so he could've stayed in bed, but then Huey came down the stairs, and-and— I knew he was really sick, but I didn't think he was that sick!"
"He said he has been sick for two days," Webby added.
"We should have woken you up last night, but we thought that it could wait," Louie said guiltily as he pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his head to try and hide. Louie usually wasn't easy to guilt, but if he did something that put his family in any kind of danger, then he would immediately be overwhelmed with guilt. And obviously failing to inform Donald of Huey's condition had put his brother in danger. "But he was so insistent that it was just a cold. He kept saying that you had more important things to worry about."
Donald sighed. This again. It seemed no matter how many times they had this conversation, Huey still continued to insist that Donald never find out about any affliction. The oldest triplet was notorious for trying to downplay serious injuries and illnesses as nothing in order to try and keep Donald from worrying. Of course, that only made Donald worry more than he normally would because if something was seriously wrong, Huey wouldn't admit it until was too late or too obvious to deny.
Cut that obviously needs stitches? "It's just a paper cut, Uncle Donald." Mononucleosis? "It's just a head cold, Uncle Donald." Broken wrist? "I just bumped into the table and bruised it, Uncle Donald."
"We're so sorry, Uncle Donald!" Dewey sobbed. "Huey could have, like, died, and it would have been all our faults!"
Donald beckoned the other three children over and pulled them into a hug. Dewey buried his face in Donald's shirt and started to cry harder. Donald rubbed his back gently and started to shush him. "It's not your fault. None of you did anything wrong."
He couldn't help but glare at Scrooge as he said this. While Donald blamed himself for this, he would be lying if he said he didn't think his uncle was also at fault. After all, Scrooge had all but admitted that he knew Huey was sick, and he still dragged him along on whatever adventure he had planned. Like Donald had said, Scrooge was the adult; he knew better.
"Come on, Dewey." Donald said as he broke the hug and put his hands on his crying nephew's shoulders. "Everything's going to be okay. Please calm down before you make yourself sick."
Dewey sniffled and started to wipe the tears from his eyes. Scrooge put a hand on Webby's shoulder to catch the kids' attention. "Come on, you lot. Why don't we go downstairs and ask Beakley if she'll make some tea."
"But what about Huey?" Louie asked as he looked over at his brother's shivering frame. The older triplet looked smaller than usual, but that was probably because he had curled himself up in an attempt to feel warmer.
"I think your uncle's got this under control." Scrooge assured him. "Besides, the last thing we need is for the rest of you to fall ill."
"Yeah, go on." Donald said as he nudged them out the door. He gave his uncle on last look that said their conversation wasn't over before returning to Huey's side. Donald tenderly stroked his feverish forehead and wiped his sweaty bangs away from his eyes. He grabbed the rag and dunked it in the water before placing it on his nephew's forehead, sighing as he did so.
"What I am going to do with you?"
Huey always had weird dreams when he was running a fever. He could vividly remember a really bizarre one from when he was five that involved one of his uncle's friends from Brazil singing something in what sounded like French to the tune of "Your Cheatin' Heart." Which is why it wasn't too much of a surprise that he found himself back on the houseboat, staring at a unknown, but very familiar duck.
"M-Mom?" he asked in confusion.
Standing before Huey was his mother, Della Duck, dressed as she was in the picture of her shoving Uncle Donald's face into their birthday cake. She smiled kindly at him and nodded, as if to confirm that it was really her. Huey shook his head in disbelief. Of all the days to dream of his mom, it had to be today. One would think that dreams of his mom would be pleasant, but that that couldn't be any farther from reality. Every time he saw her in his dreams, it always ended badly. He just hoped that wasn't the case this time because he didn't think he could handle the emotional fallout that usually followed a dream like that.
"Why now?" he demanded. "Why are you here?"
Della frowned. "What's wrong, Hubert? Aren't you glad to see me?"
Huey couldn't help but wince when he heard his name escape her lips. The fact that she used his full first name—she always addressed him by that, at least in his dreams—only showed how disconnected she actually was from his life. The tension between mother and son was so thick that somebody could have easily sliced through it with a butter knife. Huey didn't know what to say to his mother. What do he say to someone who walked out of his life before he could even remember that she was there in the first place? What should he say? She knew absolutely nothing about him, and he knew nothing about her. Really, while she was his mom and he was one of her sons, they were nothing more than strangers to each other.
"Where's Uncle Donald?" he finally asked, avoiding her uncomfortable gaze. He could remember that he wanted his uncle—his actual parental figure.
His mom—no, Della's frown deepened as she let out a disheartened sigh. "I don't know. I suppose he's with you."
"Y-You know this is a dream?" he inquired curiously. Could this actually be her? Now that he knew that Scrooge often dealt with mystical objects, it may not be too much of a stretch to think that his mom was reaching out to him from wherever she was. Or did his subconscious just know that Donald would come rushing to his side?
Della chose to ignore his question. "After you all hatched, Donald was never far from you boys." She cracked a small, sad smile. "You were more his boys than you were mine. The way he used to hover over you, wanting to shelter you from the world, would have made you think that he was your parent instead of me. But I suppose you already see him in that light."
Huey looked away guiltily. He didn't want to hurt Della's feelings—in dreams or in real life—but he just felt no attachment to her. He hadn't for a long time. And it was too late for her to form any sort of parental bond with him and his brothers. She would be more like Scrooge or Gladstone: a relative that loves them dearly, but will never have any kind of parental relationship with them. She had missed so much that had happened in the triplet's lives. And she was going to keep missing out on their lives. He didn't know why she left, but she still did. And no matter what her reason was, Huey didn't think that it would be justifiable enough. At least, he didn't think he'd be able to ever justify it.
When Huey was little, he used to imagine what it would be like if Della suddenly reappeared. He always thought that he would run into her open arms and hug her as tightly as he could, never intending to let her go. He used to hope that she would comeback from wherever she was. After all, she was only gone, Uncle Donald had said, and gone didn't mean that she was dead. But as the years went on, that hope faded little by little until it was completely gone.
Huey wasn't stupid. From the very limited pieces he and his brothers were given, he was able to put together the puzzle that was his mother and had figured out that their relationship with her would not have been the same as their relationship with Uncle Donald was. Della was a daring adventurer who was always seeking the next thrill. And from the few stories he heard from relatives other than Donald, Huey knew deep down that she would have never given up that life, not even for them. Yes, she would have loved them, but she wouldn't have been a parent to them. And if she were to waltz back into their lives tomorrow, he knew that she wouldn't be a consistent presence. And from the subtle ways that Donald and Scrooge acted when the topic was even brought up, she probably had a hand in her own disappearance.
"I don't understand," Huey whispered tearfully. "Why did you have to leave? Do you even love us?"
Della looked away, almost as if she was ashamed of something. "Of course I did, b-but I— I— You just wouldn't understand."
"Then help me understand!" he snapped angrily. "You're the one who left! You abandoned us! Do you even have any idea what that did to Uncle Donald? What about Uncle Scrooge? What about Dewey and Louie? Did you even care about any of them?" He let out a desolate sob. "What about me? I don't even know how I should feel about you! How could you just leave us?"
"Hubert—" she started, but he cut her off.
"Don't call me that! My name's Huey, and you'd know that if you were actually here!"
"Just let me—"
"It's like you don't even care how much hurt you caused! Uncle Donald and Uncle Scrooge ignored each other for ten years because of you! Because what ever happened to you created hard feelings between them! Uncle Scrooge locked himself away in a mansion and made himself miserable for ten years! Uncle Donald has struggled to take care of me and Dewey and Louie all by himself, something I know he wasn't even ready for! And here you are, probably not even actually here, refusing to even try and defend yourself! I hate you! I hate you for what you did! I hate you so much for leaving!"
He said it before he even realized it. He quickly slapped his hands over his mouth, as if he could force himself to swallow the words that had just escaped his lips. His eyes widened with horror at what he had just told his mother—even if she was only a figment of his imagination. His legs began to shake as his brain went into panic mode. "I didn't— Mom, I'm so— I just— I don't—"
He dissolved into tears. He cried because he felt so guilty for being so angry at his mom. He cried because this dream was actually a nightmare. He cried because his uncle had already been hurt so much, and he was going to be even more hurt that Huey had hidden how sick he actually was. He cried because he had lied to his great uncle and probably scared his family to death. But most of all he cried because his emotions were such a mess and he didn't even know where to begin to even try to untangle them.
Della sighed as she walked over to him and knelt down to his level. She placed a hand on his shoulder and nudged his chin up so that his eyes would meet hers. She gave him another sad smile as she brushed his tears away. "Huey, there are things that are too complicated for me to explain right now. And you wouldn't understand if I told you because your Uncle Donald and Uncle Scrooge haven't told you about— This was a mistake." She shook her head as she cut herself off, before taking a deep breath and continuing. "Look, I don't blame you for being upset with me. I even understand if you hate me. I know you want answers, but I also know that you wouldn't trust me if I told you. But I promise, one day it will all make sense."
Huey sniffled. His anger was still burning fiercely deep in his chest, but his other emotions had started to overtake him. "Why does everything have to be so complicated?"
She laughed, but not unkindly. "I don't know. Life just is complicated."
"I-I don't h-hate you, Mom," he told her in a small voice. "I just... I'm just so angry at you, a-and I don't know how I should feel about you. But I dont hate you... At least, I think I don't hate you."
She squeezed his shoulder gently. "I'd be angry at me too if I were you. I'm not going to tell you how you should feel about me, that's for you to decide for yourself when the time is right, but you need to talk to your uncle about me. You can't just bottle up your feelings just because you think you have to be the strong one. It's not healthy, and you're not that much older than your brothers that you need to put on the show that everything's alright. You're still just a kid, Huey. Let yourself be one."
Huey sniffled and wiped his runny nose on his shirt. Had he been up to it, he would have shared the fact that a person's nose ran while crying because the lacriminal duct (aka the tear duct) ran from the lacriminal glands to the nostrils, which caused the excess tears to also flow out the nose. But now wasn't the appropriate time to share a science fact. Della smiled softly and rubbed his shoulders to comfort him. But her movements were hesitant and uncomfortable, as if she didn't know what she were doing.
An uncertain look appeared on Della's face, as if there was something that she was thinking about doing, but she just shook her head. Apparently, she had decided against it. "I have to go now. Knowing Donald, he's probably extremely worried about you. And whether this is real or not, Huey, just remember what I told you about bottling up your feelings."
"Will I'll ever see you for real?" he asked hesitantly.
She just shrugged in response as she stood up. "It's time to wake up now."
Donald breathed a sigh of relief as he checked the thermometer. Huey's fever finally broke, which meant that Donald could rest a little easier knowing that he most likely wouldn't be rushing his nephew to the emergency room, at least not because of a fever, which was always a good thing. Now hopefully he could get Huey to eat and drink something.
It was past midnight, and he had long shooed the other kids, who kept insisting on checking on Huey, to bed. He also had to wave off Scrooge and Mrs. Beakley, who were both concerned. Donald was still seething with anger that Scrooge thought it was a good idea to take Huey out when he was so sick. And now, he was probably going to have to deal with two—no, three other sick kids (he sometimes forgot to include Webby in his count because it takes some time to get used to having an extra kid around, but she was one of his kids too). But left it to his stingy, selfish uncle to not care about the consequences of his actions.
Maybe that was a bit harsh. Scrooge did seem genuinely remorseful about the whole situation. He just didn't have any experience with children. Donald knew his uncle loved the boys, but Scrooge wasn't used to the responsibility of caring for children's needs. Donald himself was in the same boat ten years ago, and it took a lot of getting used to. He still didn't know how he would've gotten through that rough time without the help of Goofy and Mickey, the ones he went to when he needed a babysitter or advice, and even Panchito and José, who used to call him weekly to check in to see how he and the boys were doing.
Deep down, Donald knew that he couldn't stay mad at his uncle over this because he knew he didn't really blame Scrooge. But that still didn't mean he wasn't upset. Huey could've gotten seriously hurt, or worse. And like every time Huey fell sick, Donald needed to have another conversation about why his nephew needed to stop hiding illness and injuries from him.
"U-Uncle D-Donald?" a small, soft voice said, interrupting Donald from his thoughts.
"Huey!" he cried, scrambling to the edge of the bed. "How are you feeling? Does it hurt? Where does it hurt? Do feel like you're going to puke? Are you—"
"I'm f-fine, Uncle Donald," Huey told him as he slowly sat up in the bed. He winced and grabbed his forehead, cradling it in his hands.
"You have a headache?"
The duckling just nodded. His small frame—was he also so small?—started shaking as he began to sob. "I-I'm sorry, Uncle Donald! I didn't think I was that sick, but I am! I'm so sorry!"
Donald sat down bedside him on the bed, his anger completely evaporating as he wrapped his arms around his nephew. Donald was always a hothead, he knew that. His temper and extremely short fuse had gotten him into trouble more times than he could count. Many things set it off, and very few things could stop it, but there was always one thing that could quell his rage, and that was when one of his boys needed him to be there for them.
"It's okay, Huey," Donald told his nephew as he pulled the duckling into his arms and began to gently rock him back and forth, something that never failed to calm Huey when he was a baby. "You have nothing to be sorry for."
"Yes I do," Huey responded despondently. "Now you have to worry about me on top of everything else."
Of course that's what it was. That's what it always was. Donald tried to make sure the boys knew that if they needed him, he would always be there. He wanted them to come to him with all their problems, no matter how busy Donald was. But Huey wasn't a stupid kid. None of them were. They all saw how Donald struggled hold down a job, constantly worrying about where their next meal was coming from. Which lead to problems like this.
Donald sighed, "Huey, I already worry about you and your brothers. You three are my number one priority."
"'But' nothing," Donald scolded gently, cutting the young duckling off. "You boys are my number one priority, period. It doesn't matter if I'm employed or not, or if the house boat needs repaired, or whatever. Those things can wait. But your health and safety comes first. That's why if you're sick, I need to know."
"But you always tough it out," Huey replied as he sniffled.
"That's different." Donald said as he repositioned his nephew so that they were facing each other. He subconsciously winced as he found himself staring into Huey's eyes. The kid's eyes were full of misery and pain, indicating how sick he was. But there was something else there, something that the older duck couldn't quite place. Donald placed his hands on Huey's shivering shoulders—but whether the gesture was to steady himself or steady his nephew, he didn't know. "I'm the adult, and you're the child. You and your brothers are my responsibility. When I'm sick, there's nothing you can do for me; I have to take care of myself because that's part of being an adult. But when you're sick—when you're really sick, I need to know so I can take care of you. I don't want you to suffer anymore than you have to, and you don't have the resources to take care of yourself. And that's okay. You're still a kid."
Huey didn't like this answer, Donald could tell. But he could also tell that being sick wasn't the only thing bothering his young nephew; however, he knew better than to pry. Huey had a hard time opening up to begin with, hence the reason this situation was even occurring. To goad his nephew intospilling his guts, so to speak, would only make things worse. If and when the oldest triplet wanted Donald know what was bothering him, he would have to be the one to willingly hand that information over to his guardian whenever he was ready to.
"It's not fair," Huey mumbled miserably. There was a storm brewing behind his eyes, one that he was struggling to contain. Huey was usually the reserved one of the three boys. He was the one that kept it together out of the belief that his brothers needed someone to turn to for comfort, and that he needed to be strong for their sakes. But right now his guard was down, and it was only a matter of time before he cracked. He clenched his hands into a fist. "Did she even think about what she was doing? Did she even think about the consequences? Did she even care about any of us?"
"What are you—"
"I hate her!" he sobbed. The walls he had been hiding his emotions behind finally began crumbling down. "I hate Mom for what she did to us! For what she did to you!"
Oh. So that's what this was about. Donald was at a loss for words. Deep down, he had always know this day was coming, and there was no avoiding it. But he never expected the conversation about Della to be started by Huey. If anything, he expected it Dewey, who was so much like her, that it was painful at times. Still, he wasn't ready for this conversation to happen.
"Huey..." he said hesitantly, reaching out to comfort his nephew. But Huey shied away from Donald.
Donald felt resentment towards his sister. This was all her fault. The boys needed their mother, and she had left them, essentially leaving them orphans. If Donald hadn't been there to take them in, they probably would've ended up as wards of the state. And who knows what would have happened to them? That scenario often haunted the older duck's nightmares.
If she was here, he'd kill her for hurting his boys. Della had known exactly what she was doing when she—
"I don't blame you if you hate me, Uncle Donald," Huey whispered softly, interrupting Donald's thoughts. The young duck had drawn his knees to his chest and started to cradle them. His eyes were wide with sorrow and remorse, which had mostly hidden the pain from his illness that had been swimming in them earlier.
Donald sighed and placed a comforting hand on his nephew's shoulder. "I don't hate you Huey. I could never hate you or your brothers."
And that was the truth. No matter how much they drove him up the wall with their pranks or how much trouble they got into, he could never, ever hate any of them. He loved them more than anything in the world. He loved them more than he had ever loved anyone else, including his sister. They were his boys, and his love for them was absolutely, 100% unconditional.
"B-But she was your sister, a-and-and—"
"She was my sister," Donald agreed, "and I hate her too."
Huey's eyes widened in shock at this revelation. He seemed to be trying to figure out if Donald was serious or not, but the older duck wasn't bluffing.
"B-But how can you hate her?" Huey asked in confusion. "She's family."
"I hate her in the exact same way you do," Donald replied. "What she did, leaving you boys, was unforgivable. I should have talked to you all sooner about her."
"Did she even love us?"
Donald had to swallow the lump in his throat. The answer to this question was tricky. He couldn't speak for his sister, but he was pretty sure that she did love the boys; however, she wasn't the maternal type. He saw it from the moment Huey hatched. While she would coo over them and gush about all the adventures they were going to have, she just didn't have that instinct needed to take care of a baby, let alone three babies. There were many things that Donald could remember about her lack of a maternal instinct, but the straw that broke the camel's back was that time he went over to the dingy little apartment they were living in, and discovered that she had left the three practically newborn ducklings all alone while she went on an adventure with Scrooge.
It was almost like she didn't understand that she needed to make sacrifices because she had three new lives depending on her. In all actuality, they were nothing more than baby dolls to her. If that would have changed as they grew older, Donald didn't know, but what he did know is there was no room in her life for three babies. Her lifestyle wasn't suited for motherhood, and she would not have given that up for anything, not even her own children. That is why Donald always had the inkling suspicion that he would still be raising them, regardless if Della was around or not.
"She loved you," he told his nephew. "But, I don't know if she loved you the way a mother should. Y-Your mom...she wasn't the maternal type. So while she loved you, it was more like the way Scrooge or Gladstone loves you."
Huey looked away. Donald believed that deep down, his nephew had already figured that out for himself. Carefully, he nudged Huey's chin so that they were eye-to-eye.
"Huey, I can't tell you how to feel about your mom. I don't blame you for being angry—you're allowed to be mad. But just know t-that I'm always here if you need me."
"I-I know that, Uncle Donald," Huey said, his voice cracking as a new wave of tears threatened to begin flowing. He wrapped his arms around Donald's waist and snuggled closer to him.
The older duck reciprocated the hug fiercely. "I love you, Huey."
"I love you too, Uncle Donald."
Donald smoothed Huey's hair. Della was a complicated topic. One that none of them were truly ready to talk about yet. There were so many things about the whole situation that were too complicated for the boys to understand because they were so young. They had also just connected with Scrooge, and Donald didn't want to talk about Della out of fear that it would damage the boys' relationship with his uncle. But, Donald understood talking about her couldn't be taboo. She was their mother, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie had every right to know about her.
Donald had avoided the topic for so long, justifying his choice by saying that the boys were too young to understand. But, not talking about her had created a lot of problems. He had a feeling that the whole "collapsing in a cave due to illness" thing probably stemmed from something that was bothering Huey about the situation surrounding his mother. And there were probably things that Dewey and Louie hid from him that also came from the whole Della situation.
None of them had a chance to mourn, and that needed to change.
"Feeling better?" Donald asked cautiously as he broke the hug.
"A little," Huey replied meekly. His voice was a little raspy. "Everything just kind of hurts. And I feel a little dizzy."
"How about I go get you something to drink?" the older duck offered. His nephew's blood sugar was probably ridiculously low and he was probably dehydrated, especially if he had been vomiting for the past two days.
"Maybe a little juice or something?"
Donald nodded as he got up. Huey laid back down as the older duck left to go get him something to drink. He was fast asleep by the time Donald returned about ten minutes later. He smiled fondly as he watched his nephew's chest slowly rise and fall. It had been a long time since he watched any of his boys sleep.
He carefully set the glass of juice on the nightstand, leaned down, and gave Huey a kiss on the forehead. Though he didn't want to, he carefully shook the duckling awake. "You need to drink, Huey."
Huey sat up and rubbed the sleep from his red-rimmed eyes. He grabbed the glass from the night stand and slowly gulped down its contents. Donald knew he'd need more to make up for the past two days, but that should be enough to hold him over for a few hours until Mrs. Beakley made breakfast. Statisfied that Huey seemed to be doing better, Donald turned to leave so he could sleep on the couch.
"U-Uncle Donald?" Huey said hesitantly. Donald turned to acknowledge him. The duckling's cheeks were flushed bright red, causing the older duck to be concerned. Had his fever returned? "C-Could you maybe sleep next to me? Ju-Just for tonight?"
Donald smiled and motioned for him to scoot over. The boys would often run over to his room in the middle of the night for various reasons, but the nights of them cuddling up next to him because they had trouble sleeping had become few and far between as they grew older. Still, he never refused their requests to sleep next to him.
Huey cuddled up next to him. His skin was still a little feverish and his breathing was still slightly labored, but Donald wasn't concerned if his nephew was contagious or not. Right now one of his boys needed him.
"Goodnight Uncle Donald. I love you," Huey mumbled as his eyes fluttered shut.
"I love you too. Goodnight Huey." Donald replied as he pulled his nephew closer to him.
There was still so much that needed to be addressed. He still needed to figure out how he could get it through the duckling's head that he needed be honest about his health. They still needed to talk about Della. They needed to heal. But that could wait. Because right now, sleep was the most important thing.
But no matter what, they were going to sort out all of the issues together.
This is a long one, so brace yourselves
So, I headcanon at least one (if not all) of the triplets struggling with their emotions surrounding their mom. I mean, how can I not? Having lost a parent at a young age (albeit a way, way different circumstance), I can personally say that I've went through some of the same emotions that Huey went through after my father passed away, particularly the anger part. Anger is so common because they're supposed to be there and they're not. Losing a parent, no matter what age, is something that you just never get over. Heck, my great grandpa died in 1966 and it took my grandma like 30 years to even sell his house after she inherited it because he asked her not to (she also brought up that he would have been 130-something around Thanksgiving and constantly talks about the patriotic Slovenian-American he was almost every time I see her). My mom still laments over the fact that my grandfather walked her older sister down the aisle, but he died in 1981, almost 10 years before my mom even met my dad. I got my State FFA Degree in May (an accomplishment I share with my father and his older brother), and I couldn't help but wish that my dad was there. The list just goes on and on. That reminders that they're not there and they should be are always there, whether it's 1 month, 1 year, 6 years, 10 years, 30 years, or even 50 years. And it makes you angry.
And while the anger at them may mostly quell over time (with occasional reappearances), the hurt and the grief that arises from losing a parent—whether they walked out or they died—just never goes away, and it manifests itself at random times. I read stories about dads or father figures, and I start to cry because I want my dad to come back, and I know that he never will. Or I see something like "Iowa is one of the top producers of swine in the US" (you'll see eventually if you follow my other story), and get upset because he loved working with pigs. Or I randomly think about everything he's going to miss out on. It just hits you when you least expect it. I guess that's why I love the new Ducktales so much—despite the fact I was never a Mickey Mouse and Friends fan—because I love Donald as his nephews' father figure, and I miss my own. That's also why, in my statealia story, that I write America as a good dad, despite the fact that I know deep down that it is extremely out of character for him because I want to see my dad in him. Similarly, I would imagine that the emotions that come with Della's absence would hit Huey, Dewey, and Louie at different times in different ways.
But back to the Della, it is most logical that the boys will have a variety of feelings about her. They never knew her, and from our understanding thus far, she and her disappearance are never talked about to them; therefore, they've never really had a chance to mourn the mother they never knew. There is no closure for them because they don't know why she left or what happened to her. And if she comes back, it will only open up those wounds because, how could she just leave them? And she's missed so much, that it will be hard for her to have a parental relationship with them because she'll be constantly trying to make up for lost time. She might be their mother, but Donald is the only parental figure they've ever known. In a way, if she does really come back, she'll be more like an aunt to them than a mother—she loves them, but she's not their parent.
I apologize if the characters seem a little OOC. This is my first Ducktales fic, and I'm still getting used to writing these characters. As I said, I never really liked Mickey Mouse when I was a kid (I know, I know; don't kill me), and I always associated Donald Duck and his family with Mickey Mouse, so I have never seen the original Ducktales and never read the comics. I'm only going off the new Ducktales right now (and I love it; Donald is a precious treasure that none of us deserve).
Also, I don't know the usual body temperature or inner facial anatomy of a duck, and I don't feel like looking it up. They're anthropromorphic ducks, so let's just assume that their anatomy and physiology is more similar to a human's than a duck's in that way. Actually, their anatomy would have to be a lot more like a human's than a duck's for them to be doing human activities (can you guess what class I'm currently taking?). I only ever need to know human anatomy to get through nursing school, so if you have a problem, PM me and we'll talk about it.
By the way, I watched The Three Caballeros for the first time (for research purposes for this story) and it was a gem, to say the least. In other news, I never need to drop acid (not that I was ever planing to) because I know what an acid trip feels like now. I'm not knocking it, I actually found it pretty funny, but it was kind of bizarre and a little hard to follow, in my opinion. Wouldn't make past today's censors at Disney, for sure. José Carioca, by the way, is my new favorite Disney character (move over Aurora and Mulan) because he's a suave, well dressed, cigar smoking green parrot from Brazil who speaks Portuguese, sings, sambas, and practices black magic. What's not to love? Especially considering Disney would never create a character like him now a days (the whole cigar smoking and "black magic" part wouldn't get past the censors, at least, not easily). So, I can now incooperate the other two caballeros into any future Ducktales stories.
End of long author's note. As always, please leave a review to let me know what you guys think. Thank you all so much for your support. You guys are the real gems. And Merry Christmas! Or Happy Holidays, if that's your thing! Either way, I wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season!
P.S. Expect more Italian in my stories since I finally took a proper Italian class (because it will help me out as a nurse, I told my academic advisor). ;)