Launchpad had never, in 30 years, had a Valentine's day where he wasn't single. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying- Launchpad had had many significant others and (almost) all of them were good relationships that lasted as long as they could, then ended on good enough terms when they needed to end. He just couldn’t ever hold on to anyone until February 14th. It had been several years since he’d actually paid any attention to the Lover’s Holiday (other than to take advantage of lowered candy prices, that is). He wasn’t adverse to it, or bitter about it. He actually found that it was a wonderful day to prove your affection to people you love, and he had no shortage of people to love, but one way or another, it was just another day on the calendar, not to mention that his friends and family were well aware of how much he valued them. Simply put, he had nothing to prove.
The realization dawned on him early in the day while driving Mr. McDuck to the office.
“Good Morning, Launchpad,” Mr. McDuck chirped, sliding into the seat with admirable grace for someone of his age.
“Morning, Mr. McDee!” Launchpad replied, chipper as ever.
“Any plans for today?” Launchpad frowned.
“Oh, you know, for Valentine’s day! People do still celebrate Valentine’s day, yes?” Scrooge added as an afterthought. Launchpad’s brows knit together in thought.
“Oh! I guess that is today, huh?” Scrooge chuckled.
“Nothing special then, I assume,” he remarked.
“No, not really! Well, now that I think about it, I might see what cheesy romance movies are on tonight, but aside from that, it’s just another Tuesday for me!” Scrooge nodded.
“Not a bad idea, lad.”
“You know, Mr. McDee, I’m a bit surprised you aren’t against the whole Valentine’s day thing,” Launchpad noted, turning his head towards his employer.
“And how’s that?” Scrooge asked. Launchpad shrugged.
“I don’t know, you kind of seem like one of those ‘it’s just big businesses making loads of money’ type people.” Scrooge smirked.
“Oh, it is. I- Launchpad, eyes on the road if you don’t mind!” Launchpad narrowly missed veering onto the sidewalk.
“Sorry, Mr. McDee!” Scrooge rolled his eyes good-naturedly, more than used to his chauffeur's distractedness.
“As I was saying, Valentine’s Day is every bit the corporate conspiracy people think it is, but I just so happen to be one of the businessmen who profit off of it. Not to mention that it’s rather sweet, I’ve always thought.” Launchpad smiled.
“It is, huh?” He promptly crashed into a bush. “We’re here, Mr. McDee! Have a good day!” Scrooge unbuckled, tipping his hat.
“You too, Launchpad. See you in a few hours.” Scrooge shut the door behind him.
It was on the way back to McDuck Manor whilst pondering past Valentine’s days that Launchpad had the epiphany and here we are, pulling into the driveway and crashing into Della’s tool cabinet that Scrooge could never find a place for but couldn’t bring himself to give away.
“Minimal damage!” Launchpad whooped, pumping his fist.
The kids were all super in the Valentine’s day mood. Webby had dug up a line of glowing pink and red orbs on a string that were probably cursed but definitely pretty and now they hung above the staircase in Christmas light-like fashion, further decorated by bright hearts the boys had cut out. It was obvious which were Huey’s (cut with precise and symmetrical attention to detail, the guidelines still barely visible), which were Dewey’s (huge, rounded off, and blue with cartoonesque highlights), and which were Louie’s (hastily done and cockeyed but covered in gold glitter).
“Like it, Launchpad?” Webby squealed. “We did ‘em ourselves!”
“She told us she wouldn’t let us sleep until we helped her decorate,” Louie clarified from the couch, not looking up from his phone.
“I like it,” he said.
“Oh yeah! Hey Launchpaaad!” she sing-songed. “Somebody left something for you!” Launchpad frowned.
“For me? At the Mansion?” Webby shrugged.
“Said he didn’t know where you lived. By the way, he looked really nervous. It’s probably suuuuper romantic!” she grinned. Launchpad chuckled.
“You have Valentine’s day on the brain.” Webby giggled and ran away, jumping on the couch to Louie’s annoyance. Launchpad smirked, ripping open the dark purple envelope with his name on it in white crayon. Curiosity piqued, he gently took out the handmade card (lavender construction paper decorated with little drawings of airplanes) and read it to himself.
The Sunchaser is red,
Your hat is blue,
I have great time
Heroing with you!
My costume is purple
I think we can agree
Would you maybe wanna
Go out tonight with me???
He hadn’t realized that he’d been holding his breath since the second he’d seen Drake’s handwriting which it obviously was, a borderline messy cursive scrawl that he would recognize anywhere.
“HE’S BEEN HIDING IN THE KITCHEN SINCE HE SHOWED UP!” Webby cried. A clatter of pots and pans confirmed this.
“Crud, crud, sorry!” Drake peeked his head around the corner bashfully. Launchpad stood there with his mouth slightly ajar for longer than he wanted to, but there he was. Just standing there looking all nervous and cute in the black retro Darkwing Duck shirt Gosalyn had gifted him (that Launchpad had paid for) for his birthday. Launchpad had no idea when he started thinking things about Drake’s cuteness, but it’d been some time.
“Hey, Drake,” he breathed.
“Oh my gosh, will you two kiss already?” Louie cried. The two turned bright red.
“I, uh-” Drake spluttered.
“I- I mean-” Launchpad stuttered. Webby grabbed his huge wrist in her tiny hand, dragging him over to the kitchen.
“I think the word you’re looking for is yes,” she said. Drake laughed nervously.
“Oh, don’t f-force him to-” Launchpad leaned down with a small smile and tilted Drake’s head up with his big hand. Drake grinned as Launchpad’s lips met his.
So it was Valentine’s day and not only was Launchpad no longer single (which, in this particular relationship, was a long time coming)- he was going out to dinner in a nice restaurant with the man he’d had a crush on for longer than he could say, and vice versa. On the ride there that night (in a limo that Mr. McDuck allowed him to use), Launchpad realized he had been wrong about how he saw Valentine’s day. He had nothing to prove, but he didn’t do what he was doing out of the need to prove anything. He was holding Drake’s hand because he wanted to, and Drake wanted to, and it felt perfect.
From that day forward, he was never single on Valentine’s day again.