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There's Always a First

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“There’s a first time for everything!” Launchpad pulled Gosalyn close as they sat in the backseat of the McDuck limo. She leaned into the hug for a second, before half pulling away to look up at Launchpad, her eyes squinted. She stared at him for a couple seconds, and Launchpad could see the gears turning inside her head. He just knew that whatever words came out would be worth hearing - not that any words his daughter said weren’t worth hearing.

“Wait just one second, dad,” Gosalyn squinted further at him, but Launchpad was more focused on calming down the explosion of heartbeats that felt like they were going to make their way out of his chest. It still wasn’t quite settled in that he did, indeed, have the most amazing daughter life could offer him now. A brilliant, spunky, wonderful daughter, who was currently tearing apart the piece of wisdom Launchpad thought he was imparting upon her, “Of couurse there’s a first time for everything, because if there wasn’t, then it wouldn’t happen, and we wouldn’t talk about it, because it wouldn’t have happened or have to happen. If something has ever happened, it’s had a first time, because you can’t have a second without a first…” 

“Wellllll,” Launchpad drew out the single word into a hum, if only to buy himself time to think of what to say to her. She was right, of course, but Launchpad knew just being right wouldn’t help her take the first step into a new situation. He had to think of something more than just telling her she was right - something that would help her jump headfirst into a world unknown to her.

“You’re right,” he said, immediately wanting to slap himself in the face. How could she be so eloquent, but he just bumbled through his words -- especially around her and Drake. He blamed his darn sentimentality though - he couldn’t even hear his thoughts over the rage inside his chest. Instead of going crazy over it though, he just poked Gosalyn right on the tip of her beak and said, “But Pumpkin, it’s still a first for you, and that’s what’s important. I mean, for example, during my first crash, I was terrified… I screamed a little… or a lot… And I panicked, a lot. And this is kinda like that for you,” Launchpad saw Gosalyn start to squint at him again, and he quickly tacked on, “Not that I think my brave little girl is gonna scream or cry over such a little thing… I’m just saying it’s okay to be scared.”

“I’ve been scared before,” Gosalyn replied matter-of-factly, “And I know I’m not scared now, just... maybe a little nervous…” She leaned in to hug Launchpad again, “It’s just….”

Gosalyn trailed off, snuggling deeper into the hug. Launchpad wrapped both of his arms around his daughter, completely engulfing her in pure hug. They sat in a comfortable quiet as he waited for her to get her thoughts together, the silence only broken by Launchpad humming the Darkwing Duck theme song. Launchpad would much rather let her take all the time she needed to think things through, even if they’d end up a few minutes late to dinner. Dinner could wait, but his daughter’s comfort could not.

“The first time I met you,” Gosalyn piped up after a few minutes of her starting and failing to get her thoughts across. Her words were far from her usual bolstering confidence - instead, between each word, she paused, as if she wasn’t sure if she should scrap it all and start over again. She managed to finish off her sentence by spitting out, “I thought you were a weirdo.” Launchpad mock grabbed his chest, mumbling something about betrayal, but Gosalyn just grinned a little before stretching out across the backseat, using her dad as her backrest. “And the second time I met you,” she giggled a little bit, “I thought you were a cool weirdo.” Her words came out all in one cohesive stretch that time, save for one little interruptive giggle.

“Yeah, well the first time I met you,” Launchpad replied, reaching down and tickling her sides a little bit, “I thought you were the bravest little girl I’d ever met. Even braver than Webby and the boys combined.”

At the mention of the adventurous second family of Launchpad’s that Gosalyn had heard so many stories about, but had yet to meet, she tensed up again. She didn’t mean to, honest. She didn’t even want to, but it wasn’t a voluntary action… “What if the first time they meet me,” she started, “What if, well, what if they think I’m a weirdo?”

“Then the second time they meet you,” Launchpad replied, “They’ll have to think you’re a cool weirdo.” Launchpad could just see the scene that would play when they entered the mansion. He knew that the boys were interested to meet the girl they’d heard so much about, and Webby was already convinced that they were going to be the best of friends. Gosalyn, on the other hand, was nervous, considering her track record with the kids at the orphanage, her school, and pretty much everywhere else. The athletic kids called her a nerd (Launchpad called her a scientific genius, which she always brushed off with a blush) and the brainiac kids called her a brute (Drake always told her that they were intimidated that she had the best of both worlds). 

Gosalyn sighed, nestling deeper into Launchpad’s side, “I’m not ready yet.” If not for the complete silence in the limo, her words would have been lost, but they were out in the open where no one could take them back, no matter how desperately she wanted to. She didn’t want to make it sound like she didn’t want to meet them… It was just…

“What about the first time you met dad?” Gosalyn forced her words out in a quickly spoken mess. Anything to cover up the silence that her dad had been let growing since her last statement. 

Launchpad immediately broke out into a huge grin when she asked that question, “Well, the first time I met your dad... ” He paused a second, his grin somehow managing to get bigger, “Actually, the first time I met myself, we watched Darkwing Duck together allllll night.”

Gosalyn leaned forward from her comfy spot nestled under his arm to cock her head at him and give him that same squinty look from earlier, “Well, we’re going to have to talk about that later,” she said, leaning back down, “What about the first time you met Dad . Don’t you dare act like you don’t know what I mean either, mister!” Gosalyn crossed her arms in a huff, but Launchpad could see the ever so slight smile creeping across her beak.

“Well, the first time I met your dad, I fainted on him!” Launchpad gave a hearty laugh before adding, “We were both waiting to meet the original Darkwing Duck!” Launchpad tried his hardest to keep his smile plastered across his face, not wanting to let his daughter know the dark details that surrounded the rest of that day. Before she had the chance to ask any further questions though, he sprung one of his own, “Well, what about the first time you met him?”

“The first time I met dad, I punched him right in the gut!” Gosalyn threw a couple of mock punches, “But he didn’t even get mad! Or, well, not too mad… But, I thought he was worse than a weirdo! So you won that one!”
“And then, I got to meet you!” Launchpad was the definition of cheerful. There was nothing that could have prepared him for the joys that that eventful day had added to his life. There Drake was, completely overwhelmed by the feisty redheaded girl who was absolutely, positively talking his ear off with questions on if he was really a superhero (“I am the terror that flaps in the night!), if he was Gizmoduck’s sidekick (“That hack? No way!”), if he handmade his costume (“A hero is versatile in his skills!”), and if the new guy in front of her was half mountain (“I ask myself that question every day of my life.”). She had his cape wrapped around her body, dragging it across the dirt behind her, and causing Drake to have a cow in the process (“The dry cleaning bill!!” He had exclaimed, pointing down at her as she stuck her tongue out at him). Launchpad could see why she’d thought him a weirdo though, because his first words to her were, “Woah, woah, woah, don’t tell me she can fly a plane too!”

“Guess we already went over that one,” Gosalyn stared forward from her spot leaning against the mountain of a man who was her dad. When a peacock flew past her view out the window, disappearing further into the mansion grounds, she blurted out, “What about the first time you came here?”

“Well, I was walking back to my apartment, and just so happened to walk by this realllllly angry scottish guy--

“Waiiit! How did you not recognize Scrooge McDuck? He’s on the news like, all the time?” Gosalyn interrupted Launchpad, moving as if she were going to pull away and face him, but flopping back down immediately and pulling his arm over her instead.

“Duh, I don’t watch the news,” Launchpad replied, “Unless it’s Darkwing themed news! Do they have that? Maybe I should watch the news!” 

“Uh, no dad, they don’t have that,” Gosalyn giggled and pulled both of her arms around his larger arm, “So if you didn’t know him, why’d ya even speak to him?”

“He spoke to me!” Launchpad stared up at the mansion before saying, “I was walking home because I’d just lost my other job, but luck was on my dinner plate that day, or, uhh, however you’d say that. The old man stopped me, asked me if I knew how to drive, and I’ve worked for him ever since!”

“Did you know how to drive?” Gosalyn asked, not a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

“Not even a little bit!” Launchpad exclaimed, “That one was pretty much a first for me too. I knew how to fly a plane though, so I figured cars were easier, y’know?”

“I hope you know that’s going on my ‘bad decisions’ list,” Gosalyn replied, pulling a little notebook out of her pocket. When Launchpad cocked his head at her, clearly about to hit her with one of his trademark, ‘Buh?’s, Gosalyn said, “Dad’s always telling me I’m irresponsible when I forget my homework, so I made a list of things you guys do that are worse!”

Launchpad reacted much better than Drake had, breaking out in laughter, “Sweetie, wanna get dangerous?”

“What are you planning?” Her tenseness was gone, a smile replacing it as Launchpad opened the door that he had been leaning on.

“Well, you gotta catch up to me. There’s a first time for everything, and since it’s your first time at the mansion, you also need a first time driving! I bet you won’t even crash!” Launchpad held the car door open, ushering his daughter out.

“Daaaaaad, I’m ten,” Gosalyn giggled, but Launchpad wasn’t deterred. He swooped up his daughter, climbed into the limo, and buckled the seatbelt over the two of him.

“Now, since your feet aren’t long enough for the foot buttons, you just grab the wheel!” With a smile plastered across both of their faces, they drove in the gate (After Beakley questioned Launchpad’s choice of a driver at the gate box), crashed directly into the fountain, and ran up the door to the mansion, finally ready to have one big family dinner.