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My short stories from

I've spoken with a few DW fans who have had problems with, so I'm posting two of my short stories on here for them.

A/N: This is the first DW story I've ever posted and is the prequel to the trilogy BeecroftA and I have been working on. Binkie's part takes place during the events of my longer story, "My Daughter, My Life." Darkwing's part takes place during the conclusion of the same story.
"Neighborly Secrets"

Binkie bustled around in the kitchen. Honker had left earlier that afternoon to go help Gosalyn with a school project. Binkie had just finished baking some bread, so she gave him a snack and reminded him to pack his things in case he stayed overnight, as he usually did.

This morning had been rather uneventful, with Honker reading the news section of the paper while Herb looked at the comics and sales ads. Tank had, as usual, shoved Honker's beak in his plate and she had mildly chided both children while cleaning up the mess. She wasn't even aware of the danger her family had been in, as she was too busy in the kitchen to watch the news and she never bothered to read the paper. Too dreary for her taste!

Right before dinner, she glanced out the window, wondering if Honker was still at school. The lab had closed an hour ago, so she expected the kids to come home soon. But she decided that Gosalyn had probably gone to a video arcade or talked Honker into seeing a movie and so would not be back until later.

Dinner was quiet, with Herb watching TV and Tank shoveling food into his mouth. Binkie cleaned up the leftovers and absently put everything into the refrigerator, before remembering she was trying to avoid having too many leftovers.

They were going to be gone for a week, which was too long for bread to sit out on the counter. Oh dear. She really needed to get out of the habit of baking every day. She had too many leftovers for even Herb and Tank to finish in a couple of days.
"Oh my, we'll never finish all this before our trip to Trudy's." She said aloud. "I wonder if the Mallards would like some..."

Binkie hummed a tuneless melody while packing a shopping bag full. Going next door, she knocked and waited, eyeing the dark windows. Nobody answered, but that didn't surprise her.
"Well, they probably went out to dinner. I should just come back in the morning. Still I'd hate to waste all this fresh bread, and I know how much Gosalyn and Launchpad love my baking. I'll just let myself in this once and surprise them! That ought to take that scowl off of Drake's face."

Binkie went back for the spare key to the Mallard's house and went in. The residence creaked ominously as Binkie peered around on her way to the kitchen.
"My stars, I never realized this place was so...gloomy! Maybe a woman's touch would brighten things up a bit."

She set her armload on the table and went back home to pick a few roses and daisies from her garden. The flowers made a lovely centerpiece with the spare vase she'd been planning on giving to her sister. After placing everything neatly on the table, she glanced around at the house.
"That's better, but it's going to take a little more freshening up to really feel like a home. My, won't Drake be surprised! " Giggling to herself, Binkie went to look for a mop and cleaning supplies.

Going to the hall closet, she was surprised to find the door locked. Her key didn't fit into the slot. Unabashed, she checked other storage areas for supplies. It did occur to her that it would be just as fast to get her own supplies from home, but she'd wanted to snoop around since the Mallards renovated last month. They'd rebuilt practically every room in the house at least three times, but had done such a nice job painting and picking out furnishings that she hardly saw the changes.

Climbing the stairs, Binkie continued her quest for cleaning supplies. Since nobody was home, she might as well take the opportunity to help out around the house. She checked behind a door upstairs. Perfect! A duster, mop, broom, and disinfecting supplies sat below a shelf loaded with towels.

As she walked through the empty hall with supplies in tow, she glanced at the other doors. One was the bathroom (not in too bad a shape but definitely could use some touching up), and the other three were bedrooms. The one at the end of the hall was closed. The one on her right was open all the way, showing her Gosalyn's things, and the left door was slightly ajar.

Binkie suspected this was Drake's room. She had always been curious about their broody neighbor. He was such an interesting person.

Drake never told them anything about himself, other than introducing his unusual girlfriend and asking the occasional favor for his family. He was nice enough to let her family come in and watch "Pelican's Island" rerun marathons with Launchpad, even though he himself showed no interest in the series. Plus, he'd gone camping with them, taken the kids out for movies and entertainment, and he helped Herb with anything from leaky faucets to changing oil in the car. Even Tank got along with him... as much as Tank got along with anyone. Drake could always be counted on to support anything the Muddlefoots asked him to, be it the latest Quakerware or school fund raisers.

Binkie couldn't think of a nicer neighbor to have than Drake. It was a shame that he wasn't a bit more forthcoming. Surly he wasn't hiding anything malicious in his room. Curiosity drew her inside. She hated to think of it as snooping, but seeing the bed unoccupied, she set her things down and walked around.

The curtains were drawn, but the sunny wallpaper with little purple diamonds was bright enough to bounce light around and let Binkie see everything. There was the neatly made four-poster bed, a wardrobe, a closet, and two bed stands with a lamp, clock, and a picture of Drake and Gosalyn. Not much else. The corners of the room were empty. It lacked anything that felt personal.

Binkie's eye was drawn to the wardrobe. Curious as to why someone would need two storage spaces for their clothes, she went over to the furniture piece and touched the door. It clicked and swung gently open. She flinched. She really shouldn't be here. This was Drake's private space.

She took in the line of boxes on the four shelves and shrugged. She wasn't about to go through the boxes. There were too many to casually count. She decided she had snooped enough and was about to close the door, when her hand bumped a loose panel on it. Something whirred and clicked inside.

Alarmed, she shut the door quickly. She would have left then if a light hadn't flicked on in the closet across from her. Binkie wasn't about to waste electricity, so she rolled the sliding door open and looked up at the bulb. No string to pull. She fumbled for a switch. The light went off on its own. Now Binkie was quite confused, but as long as there was no sign of her intrusion, it didn't matter.

Before she slid the door back in place, she glanced up at the neat line of pressed clothes, wondering why Drake liked such unusual colors. Everything looked nice on him, but she wondered if his choice of pink button-down shirts and green sweater vests had to do with his mother's taste or because he liked watermelons. The only other colors on the rod were the heavy teal sweater Drake wore in cold weather, a housecoat, and the Hawaiian shirt he wore for summer barbecues. Sandals and boots sat neatly on the floor.

Binkie started to close the door when two things caught her eye. One was a white square on the shelf and the other was a flash of pink tucked at the end of the clothes rod. Having an eye for fabric, she noticed it was a different material from Drake's usual cotton and polyester garments. This was silk. How odd.

She drew it into the light and gasped. A cape! Not just any cheap drugstore Halloween costume, but THE cape of Darkwing Duck! It was attached to the trademark double-breasted coat. The broad brimmed gray hat hung from a loop attached to the hanger.

Binkie was startled, but quickly talked herself down. Of course Drake had this. She remembered him wearing it once to a school costume ball. He'd looked quite dashing in it. She'd almost believed he really was Darkwing Duck, but Herb had assured her Darkwing was much taller and not nearly so...well, stocky. Catching her breath, she pushed the costume back in place. She was mainly surprised to find the costume hanging so neatly in his wardrobe instead of sitting folded in a box with other Halloween decorations.

Binkie glanced at the other object that had drawn her attention. The white rectangle on the shelf. Perhaps it was a diploma. Drake was clearly intelligent. Maybe he was too modest to display his Bachelor's Degree.

Binkie reached for it and found several envelopes, all the same size and addressed in the same formal script. She turned on the lamp and studied them. One had "Muddlefoots" addressed on it. Thinking Drake had gotten an early start to his Christmas mailing, she glanced at the other envelopes. One was for Launchpad, one for Morgana, and the last was addressed to Gosalyn. But why would Drake address an envelope for people living in his house?
Intrigued, she opened the unsealed envelope addressed to her family.

"Dear Muddlefoots,
"My thanks go out to you for all the help and kindness you have bestowed on my family, both when I asked for it and when I didn't deserve it. I'm grateful for the open hearts you've shared with Gosalyn, showing her what a real family really looks like."

Binkie blushed and chuckled to herself. Such kind words! She knew Drake wasn't as coarse as he came across sometimes, but she'd never have guessed Drake was capable of being so generous in his praise. She read on, ignoring the scratched out lines. Clearly this was only a first draft and never meant to be read by her in its current state.

"I must impose upon the goodness of your family one more time. As I am no longer able to fill the duties of a parent and friend to my beloved Gosalyn, I must ask if she may join your family. That is, of course, if she is up to the idea.
"Launchpad is more than capable of looking after her when she's older, as is my dear Morgana, but right now, Gosalyn needs a family. She still needs the support of friends, but more than that she needs the comfort that only a parent can give a child. That soft word or special touch that helps ease the pain. I can only imagine what she's going through, having already lost so much..."

The next few lines were scratched out, but Binkie could still read them.
"…She needs someone who will shelter her from the world's darkness.
"I'm afraid that, as much as I've tried to protect her, Gosalyn may be in danger. My enemies will hunt her down to get their revenge on me. Under my name, or Launchpad's, she'll never be free from the shadows that haunt her. If she stays with you, she might be able to evade their villainous plans..."

"Oh my stars! Enemies? Now who would want to hurt Drake? He's such a kind soul...although that temper does get him in trouble sometimes. Why can't men just apologize when they make a mistake and get it over with?"
Eager to see what the last paragraphs said, she continued reading.

"Please, when you hold her, tell her that I love her, now and always. Tell her that she will never be invisible or alone. No matter what happens to me, I will be near, watching over her. Make sure to tell her that she is not to blame for anything. I never regretted adopting her and I wouldn't change anything about her. She is perfect as she is; a beautiful young lady with the heart and brains to make an impact. I'm so proud of her...
"No matter what she chooses in life, she'll succeed as long as she follows her inner star. A star you helped kindle, neighbors. Again, thank you for your help and I wish you all well.
Your neighbor and friend,

Drake Mallard

P.S. Honker is welcome to sort through my books and gadgets. May they serve him well."

Binkie wiped a tear out of her eye.

"Bless him. He loves that darling girl so much. Why it's no wonder he lets Gosalyn get away with so many things! Such a sweet man."

Tucking the letter back in place on the shelf with the others, she gently eased the door back in place, turned off the lamp, and headed out of the room. She nearly stumbled on the mop and quickly gathered the cleaning supplies. Feeling like she'd already infringed too much on Drake's privacy, she put everything back where she'd found it and headed home, still wiping her eyes.

Determined to make that house feel like a home, Binkie gathered her own supplies and got to work on the first floor. She mopped the kitchen, dusted the picture frames, scrubbed the counters, and polished the faucet. She checked upstairs again and tackled the bathroom, freshening it up with another bouquet from her garden. Though she was tempted to clean the bedrooms as well, the letter weighed too heavily on her mind for her to go near that door again.

She hadn't learned anything new about Drake as she had hoped, but she did see a new depth to his character and felt respect blossoming within her. At the same time, the danger the letter implied seemed like a cloak had been cast over the house. No wonder it felt so gloomy! Drake believed he and Gosalyn were being targeted by someone who bore a grudge. Even the light of love could not dispel so much darkness. And yet, such love would keep the shadows from taking over their lives and their home.

Binkie finished the housework and took her supplies home. Still feeling like she needed to do something, she went up to her own bedroom and opened a hope chest. Finding what she was seeking, she carried it back to the Mallard residence and set it on the couch. She locked up and went home to bake some cookies and make lemonade, setting aside an extra pitcher and platter.

Going up after "Home Makeup," Binkie glanced out the window at the silent residence next door one last time before bed.

"Don't worry, Binkums. I'm sure Drakester just took the kids out for another late movie. Little Honkster will probably spend the night, bein' all considerate and such…" Herb patted Binkie's arm.

"Oh, I'm sure you're right, Dear. I just wish Drake would tell us where he goes at such times so we know how to get in touch with him. Oh, well. We'll just have to give Honker an extra hug in the morning."

Honker returned half an hour later and Binkie went down to check on him. He looked exhausted, like he always did after spending all day with Gosalyn.

"Honker, Dear, I'm surprised to see you up this late…"

"Sorry, Mom..." Honker could barely hold his head up. Binkie smiled and ushered him to the kitchen table.

"Oh don't be silly, Dear. I'm happy to see you, of course. Now, you sit down and let me fix you a snack before you fall over. So, how was Gosalyn today? Did she finish her project?"

"Huh? Oh, yes. It took a long time and she was pretty upset, but everything worked out in the end."

"Well good. Here you are." She set a steaming plate of pot roast and buttermilk bread in front of him.

"Thanks, Mom," Honker muttered, exhaustion evident in every line of his posture.

Binkie watched her weary son force several bites down with a glass of milk, but it was obvious he wasn't going to finish it. Sending him off to bed with a kiss and hug, she put the leftovers away and again glanced out the window. Still no lights. Maybe the Mallards were already asleep. Well, at least her boy was home now and she didn't have to lay In bed listening for him all night long.

The next morning, she took the pitcher of chilled lemonade and the platter of cookies over to the Mallard's and hopefully knocked on the door. Still no answer. Letting herself in as before, Binkie put the lemonade in the refrigerator and topped off the cookie jar, leaving a plate of extras on the table to welcome the Mallards home. She sighed and glanced around. She didn't know what the Mallards did when they disappeared like this without a car, but she hoped that the finishing touches she'd left in their home would brighten their day when they got back. She glanced at the needlepoint pillow she'd placed on the couch. In soft script, the message read "Good friends are like stars. You can't always see them, but you know they are always there."


Earlier, while Binkie and her family slept, a mile away, a cool pair of blue eyes watched the security footage. He had hidden cameras and silent alarms all over his house and everything Binkie did was on tape. He was tired and sore from his dealings with Quackerjack and working with the Justice Ducks to save the city from watery peril. Honker had been instrumental in solving the worst of the crisis and Darkwing had sent him home via the spinning chairs in the tower. The rest of his family had not wanted to leave his side just yet. However, staying awake was more of a chore than Launchpad and Gosalyn could handle and they dozed off in the blue chairs minutes after waving goodbye to Honker. Morgana followed Darkwing up to his crime monitor and rubbed his shoulders, watching the security footage with him.

As he watched and rewound the clips showing Binkie cleaning various rooms and setting things up nicely for his family's return home, Darkwing pondered his choices. Should he confront Binkie for snooping through his things and find out exactly how much she knew? Or should he thank her for the food and the free house cleaning? One thing was certain. He'd have to keep a close eye on Mrs. Muddlefoot from now on, else she may realize the costume in his chiffarobe was for more than dress-up at parties.

Morgana leaned over to plant a kiss on his head and he patted her hand. It was difficult leading two lives, but until Drake Mallard stops living on Avian Way, and Darkwing Duck stops patrolling the city, he would have to balance friendship and secrets. As long as both mallards had loving friends, life would go on as normal.

Too tired to go up to his bed in the loft, and unwilling to displace his snoring sidekick from the spinning chairs, Darkwing, Gosalyn, and Morgana snuggled on the couch and fell asleep. He was awakened a mere three hours later by the flashing lights of his silent alarm again. He grudgingly left his cozy spot on the couch and blearily trudged up to the computer console. Seeing it was Mrs. Muddlefoot again, he wiped his hand slowly down his face. When was he going to get a break?

He was tempted to use the chairs and meet her at the door, but exhaustion won out. He simply settled in his chair and followed the proceedings. He smiled appreciatively when he saw the goodies she left for him and his family and watched her leave, glad that she hadn't pulled off anymore surprises. He scanned the interior of his home and paused on the living room camera feed. He remembered Binkie putting something on the couch in there yesterday and was curious to see what it was.

He zoomed in on the pillow she'd left behind and smiled. He couldn't have agreed more with the sentiment expressed on that simple pillow. Whatever the future had in store, he knew that a little bit of kindness went a long way. And Binkie Muddlefoot, eccentric as she is, had proven the epitome of kindness today.

"Thank you, Mrs. Muddlefoot," Darkwing murmured softly.

He turned off the warning light in case Mrs. Muddlefoot chose to invade his home's privacy some more and yawningly returned to his girls.

Gosalyn and Morgana had not been disturbed by the alarm. They were sleeping peacefully with their heads inches apart. There was just enough space between them for him to squeeze in without bumping against them. He smiled warmly and eased back into the vacant space, taking a moment to readjust the blanket around Gos' and Morg's shoulders.

Eek, Squeak, and Archie blinked at him drowsily from Morgana's coiffure. Darkwing wasn't sure when or how exactly they had gotten here, but he guessed they had ridden back with Morgana after she teleported back from her house with protein shakes for him, Gos, Launchpad, and Honker. He signaled for them to remain quiet and eased his sore body up back into the sofa.
Morgana sighed and leaned up against him suddenly. Darkwing fleetingly wondered if he'd disturbed her, but evidence that she was still asleep became prevalent when she uttered a soft snore.
Gosalyn was still sawing logs on his other side, her head thrown back against the sofa. Her beak was slightly ajar.
Launchpad's accompaniment to the atonal music of slumber was still in the background.

Darkwing sighed and drifted off, a peaceful smile on his beak. He was home.

The End

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