The Past is a Different Country
Be warned, I think I spot an emotional rollercoaster ahead
Chapter 1: The Paparazzi Attack
Dewey made his glaceless way downstairs, bouncing off a wall as he followed the smells and sounds of breakfast.
He entered the dinning room and was immediately sure Louie was up to something.
If bumping into a wall hadn’t woken him up, he was now.
“Good Morning” he sang out cheerfully. Scrooge smiled at him and gave him a nod, uncle Donald waved but didn’t look up, Huey’s and Webby’s greetings was just as cheerful and Louie grinned.
Not his usual smirk, but a grin. There was an air of affected innocence surrounding him and as Dewey studied his brother he became sure Louie feeling rather pleased with himself.
Louie was definitely up to something.
Dewey gave Huey a questioning look, who gave him a clueless smile, then Donald, who was half heartedly making notes and referring to his phone, Webby who was talking at Huey, then finally to Scrooge, who seemed to already be halfway through the Duckburg Times.
Alright. No one else had noticed Louie was up to something. Time to distract.
Dewey served himself some porridge, upending the pot of honey, sneaking glances at his Uncles. Huey gave him a look, his eyes rolling upwards, before pushing a large glass of milk towards Dewey. Webby gave him an amused look, and she paused in her tale, perhaps sensing the mood in the room had shifted.
Dewey grinned at them he set the now empty honey pot down, and glanced at Louie. Louie considered him, and pushed the peanut butter his way.
“Dewey. Fruit.” Uncle Donald directed, waving his pen towards the bowl of fruit.
“Peanut butter counts.” Dewey waved his spoon.
“Peanut butter? On porridge?” Uncle Scrooge pulled a face, putting aside his newspaper “Really lad?”
“It’s good.” Dewey through a sticky mouthful.
“It’s disguising.” Webby exclaimed.
“What do you like Uncle Scrooge?” Huey piped up.
“Salt. Or a little cheese.” Uncle Scrooge declared.
“Eww!” Dewey pulled a face, as Louie dropped out of sight.
“Sweets are all well and good, in their place” Scrooge began a lecture.
“It’s breakfast!” Dewey interrupted. “It’s meant to be sweet!”
“And that will hardly going to carry you through the day lad!” Scrooge rose from his chair.
“Dewey!” Dewey stood on the chair so Scrooge couldn’t loom over him. “My name is DEWEY!” No one else seemed notice the door opening.
Scrooge paused. “Dewey.” He conceded, face pulling tight, “I didnae mean…” He paused again.
“Dewey. Fruit.” Donald said, glaring at Scrooge. “And sit down. Both of you.”
Distraction successful. Dewey grabbed some blueberries and kept his head down, grinning into his porridge.
Louie had better share.
Louie ducked out of the dinning room, tucking his hands in his pocket, tugging at the plastic envelope hidden there.
He needed somewhere private to hide and well lit enough to read. The mansion had more than enough of the first, but the second was harder, what with most of the unused rooms being shut up.
But Louie has planned ahead, scouted the lay of the land, finding an unused bedroom with a window seat. He settles in behind the curtains certain that no one is going to find him. (Except Webby but she’s wouldn’t be looking for him for a while)
Huey would cut it open, Dewey would tear into the envelope, Louie traces along the seams and pulls it apart where it’s weakest.
His heart is beating a little fast, but his hands are steady as he turns the glossy magazine over. He’s on the front cover.
“What is it like like living with the Richest Duck in the world? An exclusive interview with Louie Duck, nephew of the renowned Scrooge McDuck.”
Louie grins. It’s a good photo. But did Fergus keep his word?
He opens up the magazine, checking the contents. And pales.
‘The mysterious disappearance of Della Duck.’
‘The most likely heir to the McDuck Fortune’
‘Donald Duck, respected war hero or lunatic?’
It goes on and on, Louie shakes as he turns the pages, it’s his family, he recognises names and pictures. He doesn’t know these stories. His stomach twists and he wants to throw up.
How much did uncle Donald hide from them? Why do strangers know more about his family than he ever did?
Water drips onto to page as he opens the article on his Mom, the writing is too blurry to read. There’s a picture of his Mom climbing into a small aircraft.
This is bad. This is wrong. He made a mistake. He didn’t know they were going to do this.
He can’t breathe. The room is too dusty.
He wants Uncle Donald.
Huey was totally up for a day entertaining himself. He had plans. Louie had vanished, and Dewey had grabbed Webby for more exploring. There’s pieces of his model aircraft scattered all over his desk and he’s carefully checking he hasn’t lost anything in the move to his new bedroom when something breaks his concentration.
He tilts his head and listens.
Oh. Oh no. His heart sinks. He was really looking forward to working on his model. He hopes Dewey and Webby haven’t gotten into something dangerous. (Again)
He sighs, knowing he’s not going to rest until he finds the source, and drops the pieces he’s holding back into the box.
It’s louder outside his room, and coming from above, so he silently makes his way to the staircase.
He doesn’t have to go far.
Louie’s curled in a ball, arms wrapped around his knees. He’s sobbing and Huey settles down next to him. Louie tries to talk, but nothing is coming out.
Huey rubs his back and waits for Louie to calm down enough to speak.
Instead, a crumpled magazine is shoved at him.
“Mom?” Huey stuttered, his heart clenching, clinging to Louie as he reads the article.
It’s horrible. There’s dozens of digs against Uncle Donald and Scrooge. It’s a full out attack on their family. Huey is shaking.
He growls, and for a moment all he wants to do is tear the horrible magazine to pieces and set them on fire.
“We’re telling Uncle Donald” Huey declares, dragging his brother to his feet and half carrying him down the stairs. It’s a good thing Louie’s his height because he’s barely able to support himself, they’re both shaking so hard.
Donald thinks he’s having a good day. His CV has gone off to a dozen different job adverts, and he’s already had a response from two, one asking for references and another asking if he’s available for a phone interview.
Uncle Scrooge almost apologised. (He’s getting better at it.) And Mrs Beakley is having a day off, so Donald gets to cook lunch and dinner today.
He’s anticipating the look on his Uncle’s face.
Then he hears it.
“Uncle Donald!” Huey sounds strident, his voice wavering.
The hob goes off. The lid is placed on the sauce pan. He’s pretty confident he’ll be able to salvage it.
His boys need him.
They look a mess, Louie is pale and clinging to Huey, half hiding behind his brother, his breathing coming in shaky gulps, Huey is shaking, his hands clenching around the lump of glossy paper in his hand.
“What’s wrong? Where’s Dewey?”
“They printed trash about Mom!” Huey wails, shaking the paper, a magazine Donald realises, catching sight of a familiar photo.
There’s a chill seeping into his bones, his hear shutters and everything goes grey and muted. He can barely understand what Huey is saying, and Louie is just repeating I’m sorry again and again.
They hurt his boys.
Scrooge is interrupted from his research by the familiar sound of a McDuck (or in this case a Duck) losing his temper.
“By Dismal Downs, what now?” He utters, deciding to investigate before Donald broke anything and give his nephew a good shaking if need be.
What he sees is unforgivable, the lads look terrified, and he yanks his nephew up. “Look at them” He hisses.
“Uncle Scrooge, it’s not Donald’s fault.” Huey pipes up, there’s a thunderous expression on the lad’s face, the first warning sign that Huey is on the verge of displaying his own version of the McDuck temper. He holds something out, and Scrooge drops Donald to take it.
Smoothing out the much crumpled paper he immediately sees the problem. “I’ll handle this” Scrooge growls.
“No.” Huey said, folding his arms “First, I want to know what really happened when Mom disappeared. Not the lies they printed”
“Agreed” Dewey said, dropping down from his perch in the rafters, Webby just behind him.
Scrooge glances at Donald. It’s his decision.
“Alright.” Donald slumped, defeat written across every feather. “Alright boys.”
“You didnae need to lad.” Uncle Scrooge accent thickened.
Donald gave him a look. “They deserve to know.”
“I was there too you know.” Scrooge presses, but there’s an undercurrent of uncertainty in his voice.
Donald looks at him, and for once there’s none of the barely hidden resentment in his gaze, only grief deeper than the marine trench and their shared burden of guilt.
The silence between is heavy, and the kids inch closer to each other. Louie’s tears have dried, he’s starring at the floor and leaning on Huey. Huey has a protective arm around Louie, but his eyes are stormy, Dewey’s landed on Louie’s other side just in front of his brothers and is bouncing from foot to foot, and Webby is watching with wide eyes, her hand twisted in Dewey’s tee. They can’t help the undercurrent of excitement and dread rolling off of them.
Until Donald speaks.
“Can you tell it Uncle Scrooge?” Donald’s voice is flat, a little bit angry, but mostly hurt.
Scrooge flinched back from the open disdain.
“I can try.” Scrooge comes back with, the closest he can admit to that he’s as unready to face this memory as Donald. His hands tighten on his cane, recognizing that this could be the start of an old argument, one he’s not sure either of them will walk away unharmed from.
“Alright.” Donald looked away.
“Alright” Scrooge echoes, not sure he’s heard right. “Into the study with you lads, I’ll put the tea on.”
“Webby too.” Dewey says, clutching her arm.
Scrooge nods. “I shalt tell this tale again.”@donaldtheduckdad and so it begins
Part 2 can be found here: