Looking around, he blinked. "Oh good, still me " He paused. "But what do I do?!"
He flinched when a few of the wolves got close enough for him to smell their breath. Opening an eye, he glanced over at his left hand, wiggling his fingers lightly. In an instant, he pulled away the bloodied sash and dug into the wound.
Something glowed as he tugged slowly, pulling out what looked to be an ornate, two-ended flashlight with no bulbs. With a few snarls, the creatures momentarily backed off.
"Lemme be! Frivolous Philosophy
" Clutching it tightly in his right hand, he pressed the side of his left hand toward the opposite end. "
Whimsical Rodule!" Pausing again, he drew his head back and blinked. "What the heck's a 'rodule'?"
When the monsters pressed forward, he twitched. "Okay! Not questioning the weird name! Or whatever the heck it is I'm doing to do this!"
Turning, he swung an arm up, pointing one end of the thing toward the ceiling. "C'mere, Wanda!"
"Timmy!" the pink-haired fairly exclaimed, dropping down toward him and straight into the odd baton, save for her curl.
"Whoa, are you okay?"
"Just keep going!"
"Okay, okay!" Swinging the thing in a straight line across, then up, he continued "Wish with all your might, Mechika Boola!" Swinging down, he traced a glowing vertical pink ring. As it flipped itself, he spun once, sending it spinning like a hula hoop from which it travelled back up toward the fairy-filled end of the Rodule. It hung there until he shouted "Go, Magic Circle!" and sent it flying toward the creatures.
The ring seemed to pin on one of the towering beasts, spinning around it again like a strange energy hoop. Tipping forward on one foot, "Salagagoola, dreams come true!" he thrust it at the targeted pig-faced wolf.
Beginning to wobble, the circle's form wavered before suddenly expanding and snapping back like a rubber band, imploding in on the monster and taking it with it in an explosion that the boy quickly whirled around and crouched away from.
Slowly turning back around to see the damage done, Timmy snorted. "Cool! Let's see Supercalifragi-whatever do THAT!" Turning the Rodule upside-down and gently sliding his fairy godmother out, he cradled her gently in his arm. "No, really, are you okay?"
"I will be when everything stops spinning!"
"Yeah, that happens
The blow had bowled most of the others over for now but it also seemed to have jarred loose the door behind him, which creaked open.
"Focus your energy, Dithering Haze!
Go, Spectral Circle!"
A green ring came flying out of the space with all the gusto Timmy's had. It locked onto another monster, spinning in its swing.
"Phantasmagoria, dreams come true!" Likewise, the creature exploded from the implosion, causing the now-taller-brunet to leap out of the way.
"You okay, runt?" asked the now-shorter brown-haired boy as he emerged from the room. His left hand looked wounded like Timmy's, though there were still bloodstains down his arm. He clutched a similar thing in his right hand, though it had a slightly different design, complete with strangely jutting handles.
The now-taller boy only dove at him in a tight hug. Withdrawing, he said "Yeah, I'm fine you look hurt."
"I'll be all right
looks like we found our Eleventh Hour Superpower, huh?"
"Whatever it is but it seems like it's working!"
Both boys faced the remaining monsters, some filling the place of those obliterated. The humans widened their stances, standing elbow to elbow.
"Ready to make it work s'more?"
Raising his weapon, Danny shouted "Lemme see! Profound thought! Cogitant Rodule!"
Meanwhile, at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, tucked away behind the Hard Rock Café façade, the Four Guys, Five Dudes, Sages, Consulship plus Satiric Luminat, Those Two Guys, Goddess Tara, and Grey sat around a table on the patio. The evening air was still faintly humid as the sun set on the horizon.
" Jones began, pausing as he lightly swirled his Glenlivet, "I was going to suggest a conference call, what with the damn half a day's worth of flight time but I'm glad I came. It's good to see you all in the real world."
"We've only been a team for, what, the past couple days?" David piped up, raising his glass, "But hell, here's to four years of putting up with this crap! And the next
Grey glanced at him. "Nice."
"Well, I "
Grinning she added "Hey, I'm kidding, relax!" giving him a light slap on the shoulder.
Setting his fork down on the edge of his salad bowl, Mike said "Y'know, it's been crazy, but
if I hadn't gotten dragged into it, I wouldn't have gotten to know you all. Not this well. So
I kind of appreciate it for the hell that it's been
nice. Weirdly nice."
"Here, here!" chimed Dixon, raising his glass. "Pass that bottle down this way!"
Simon said nothing and grabbed the Rémy Martin by the neck, handing it over.
"I really don't think you guys should be getting plastered," Strong noted.
"Nonsense," Dixon said quickly, taking a sip, "Alcohol only affects the waking consciousness."
"Can you blame us?" MacFarlane asked, cradling his Jack Daniel's before tipping it back again.
Butch said nothing, rolling his eyes before sipping his Arnold Palmer.
"So did Lisa ever tell you where she got the music box?" Emerson asked, leaning forward to look at Kaufman.
"Yeah yeah, she said it was in a cave," David replied, turning to him. "And I was supposed to find it but we took so long, whoever's in charge of that, they were gonna take it out. She said they said 'Hey, other people have magical items to find, too'."
"In the Dream☆World right?" Dana asked.
Kaufman blinked. "Well, yeah
no, Carlsbad Caverns."
yeah," Carvey echoed, "Hey! I woke up able to convince Linus and cat-boy over there that I was the President's wife for three whole minutes!" Marmel leaned forward briefly and flipped him off. "And Mikey can run a marathon if he wants. Nothing's real anymore, man
"I think reality is what we make it," Michael mused, idly twisting his fork in what remained of his grilled vegetables.
"Really? Is that the moral? Tell us, O Wise One
" Harrison said, tipping back his Stella Artois.
"You've definitely had too much to drink."
"You definitely need to shut up."
"MY LINE," Downey Jr. said with a thumb at himself, aiming an index finger at Ford. "You shut up."
Sighing, Dave spoke up. "Look, as long as we don't get turned into puppets and no one suspects us of murder, we'll be fine."
Having finished carefully plucking all of the Gorgonzola out of his Romaine, Fox looked up at him with a raised eyebrow. "
the hell did you just say that?"
"Yes, I 'the hell' just said that," Boreanaz said, though also raising a brow.
"Do you like Italian?" Cage piped up.
"Shut up," Leo said, taking a final bite of his Tuna Sashimi.
"Substance, people, substance," Daran said calmly.
"This coming from Invisible Dad?" Nic said.
"Oh my god, shut up."
Rob sighed, sliding his face into his hands. Eccleston gave him a pat on the shoulder; then looked up. "All right, so what's our plan of attack?"
"I'll tell you later," David said, grabbing his glass, "But for now, let's enjoy the night air, huh?"
"If you insist."
"We're eating again?" Grey asked, as they sat around an equally large table on an eerily similar patio off Inyure's sidewalk café.
"Well, why not?" Kaufman said, "I figure this makes it official."
"Makes what official?"
relaxing before the last battle. The very last battle, I mean."
"Works for me!" Mike said, muffled between a mouthful of the marbled strips of chicken that he slurped like Japanese noodles.
"Y'know, Timmy and Danny are still in there," Tara noted.
"I know but Mizraie won't kill 'em, she can't."
"So was Joe Gillis," Seth said, almost bitterly, glancing away.
Breathing heavily as the last couple of Circles blew away the remaining monsters, Catch Twenty and Twenty-One stood facing the girl in the red button-down dress.
"Even if I'm dead, I won't stay here with you, Mizraie," Danny said, brows lowering as much as a human's could.
"You will. You'll have no choice."
The now-shorter brown-haired boy smirked. "Chalk it up to Marty's great writing but I've heard more than once that 'You'll I'll always have a choice'." He paused. "And I choose to get outta here. Even if it's as a ghost, haunting my friends. Anywhere but here. Anywhere but with you."
"Maybe you can't, but I can! And I will!"
"And maybe you don't have any friends anymore but I do! And I'm gonna go play with 'em now
" Danny shook his head lightly, flinching, blinking and glancing down, clutching his head. "Whoa, déjà vu
"You won't do anything
" Mizraie said, with more breath than voice.
"Danny!" David cried.
In the moment that the now-shorter brown-haired boy turned his head, the Megiddo girl aimed her gun. The now-taller brunet lunged at her and grabbed the gun, but got rammed with the butt of the gun, doubling over.
The air felt heavy and thick as Danny stood, staring at Kaufman, who stared back at him, eyes stuck wide. In a sort of cartoonish moment, the man let his gaze fall to where red began to seep onto white and blue.
it's just a dream
it's just a dream
" David choked moments before his legs buckled, reverting to his plain clothes.
SHIT! "MASTERRR!" the now-taller brown-haired boy bellowed, diving for the man, kneeling and reverting as he did so, grasping Kaufman's hand in his own again-rectangular fingers.
"DAVID!" hollered Grey likewise, dropping to her knees.
"Ow," David weakly clawed his fingers around his ear, grunting "I've been shot I'm not deaf." Wincing, he coughed.
" she said, putting a hand to her mouth. Lowering it, she smiled sheepishly. "I guess you can hear me, then, huh?"
"Where is your Keith now?" Mizraie spat. Grinning wildly, she added "When he dies, you'll disappear completely
Turning with another glare, Danny swore he hear her say something more in a barely audible hiss.
just like I did."
Strong hadn't moved, seemingly transfixed, lips twitching as her eyes welled, uttering a whispered sob. "
"It's just a dream
" Kaufman repeated, staring at the ceiling as his eyes slowly hazed, twitching skull-ward. Flinching again, he said "Gracie, I'm so sorry
Henry, I'm so so sorry
I love you
"No dammnit," the once-again-black-haired boy mumbled, tightening his grip as his lids drooped. "Hang on, Master
" Closing his eyes, he took slow, deep breaths. His outline began to glow, then at its brightest, faded.
"Now you'll never be able to go back," the girl said plainly.
David sat up slowly with another cough, rubbing the spot on his chest. Doing a double-take, there was nothing there.
"Maybe that's why I'm here," Danny said, picking himself up, "Maybe it is my time maybe you were right."
Mizraie rolled her eyes. "Oh great, another one with a Christ complex."
The 'toon glanced back at Chris. "Nah, more like
a Time Lord complex," he said, smirking at her. "Besides, as long as David's alive, I'm alive. So
it makes sense, right?
and after that, well
I've had a good run, I can't complain. People'll still remember me."
"Nooo, Danny!" Timmy said, reverting as he latched onto the boy's arm, now clinging to it with both arms and legs tightly. The goth girl clung to his other arm, her jaw on his shoulder.
"Sam?" Danny turned. "Okay, NOW I kind of forgot you were here."
Suddenly, the girl in the white-collared dress lunged at Kaufman, her fingers sinking into his throat as she grasped it. "You'll have no legacy if he's silent!"
Half-cringing, David clutched at her arm, managing to say "Now you're stooping to your dad's tactics which by the way, don't work!"
"Don't they?" Mizraie said in her father's voice, before transforming into the emperor himself. "They seemed pretty effective last time I checked!" Nails pushing deeper, he closed his fingers tightly and withdrew his hand.
Kaufman thumped back to the floor as Megiddo cradled a glowing blue ball in his palm. Giving it a crushing squeeze, he tossed it aside like a crumpled newspaper ball.
Suddenly, all heard a slap as it struck another palm.
"I'd say you throw like a girl, but that would be OBVIOUS!" came a familiarly affected snark.
Hartman grinned widely. "Jeff!"
"Told you they were coming," Welker echoed.
"Cutting it a little close, aren't you?" Norris asked, though smiled.
"We didn't miss our cue, did we?" Peter shot back.
"Hey, it's Drunken Master Shifu!" Dana said with a point as Bieber emerged from among the six.
"A Juggler, a Weaver, and a Tailor Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker," Mathis III said, "Gang's all here."
Tossing the spherical energy from hand to hand for a bit, Dunham wound up like a baseball pitcher and aimed at David. "Catch!"
Kaufman nodded, struggling to his feet and leaning forward with hands outstretched. The thing made another smack as Mizra reached his arm in its path and caught it again.
"You can't even use that ridiculous 'Star Box' without this
" the emperor sneered.
"Hey, tall, dark, and outdated," Fox began, hoisting up the anivice, "Been waiting to say this but I can, and I will! ANISOUL CHAAARGE!"
"Guess that's MY cue!" Danny said, glancing down at himself, "Heh." Prying the smaller boy off of his arm and stepping forward he made a leap into the radiating light. "GAETAN, SHINKA!
As the radiating glow faded, the boy touched and skidded down. He wore his ghostly garb, though his hair was black, his eyes blue to match the fire at the tips of his two long fox tails. A red-and-white ornamental rope hung snugly in a bow around his neck.
"Finally, something to justify the promo art," he mumbled.
"Whoa, dude!" Tucker said, pointing, and turning to Sam. "You think he looks kinda weird without his outline, too, right?"
"I think he looks fine," the goth girl said without missing a beat. "Whoo, go Danny!"
"Thanks, Sam," Conlaodh said, turning and lunging for Megiddo. Tail-fire blazing, began firing off blue-hued ecto-blasts. The emperor dodged them easily, though, it seemed.
"I don't think so," he said.
"Can't believe I'm saying THIS," Mike muttered, then stared straight at Mizra with a howl of "What the hell is that?!" and a point past his shoulder.
"I'm not falling for that," the emperor said flatly.
"Nobody was asking you to."
Sage Rickey made a dive for the anisoul, clutching it though Mizra turned, still gripping it. "I don't think so!" he echoed, though releasing it when Conlaodh fired a double-thick beam at his back. "AAaah!"
"Not too hard!" Tara bid with a lurch.
"What are you talking about?" Fox asked, turning to her.
"David, catch!" D'Shon Collins echoed, rushing toward him and throwing the energy ball the rest of the way.
Leaning forward with jaws open this time, David caught it in his teeth, then wrapping his lips firmly around it and swallowing hard.
"Wow, that sentence is gonna be career-ruining out of context," Downey Jr. said, turning to Dave. "Nobody hears this stuff? Really?"
With a now-audible grunt, Kaufman gave his throat a rub and pulled out his Soul Box. "DREAMING! Four Guys, Heads UP!" With a glow of his own, he'd regained his striped shirt, as crisp and clean as it ever was. Clutching the Dharma Rod in his hand, he swung it in a now-rote pattern. "Persist, paternal love! Attack Stick Dharma Rod!
One-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, outta here! Four Guys, Fatherly Vigilance
" He drew a family of four, father, mother, daughter, and son, unashamedly. "AFFECT!"
Megiddo turned to catch it in time, holding it steady; then also flinging the attack away. Gun appearing in his hand, he turned back into the girl.
"Is anybody else REEEALLY creeped out right now?" Nic asked, looking around.
"Hey, we turn into different people all the time, doesn't seem to faze you guys," the boy in the red beret noted.
you normally don't get a sex change," Cage expounded.
"Heh-hem," the pink-hatted one piped up. Dude Nicolas glanced at him.
"And what's wrong with that?"
Shrugging, Nic insisted "I'm just sayin'."
"Sayin' what?" Sam asked, brow raised.
SAYIN'!" Cage echoed, with an emphatic fling of upturned palms.
"Nononono you are not David Schwimmer," Barto said. "You cannot just 'sayin'."
"Guys!" David cried, gesturing "Battle, here! Focus!" Pausing, Danny caught his eye as the 'toon smiled, giving his head a tap with a finger. "
Gritting her teeth, Mizraie aimed her shotgun with a roar and began firing off bullets in a flurry. Everyone and every'toon ducked. When they rose, monsters of all shapes and sizes began to appear, growling and looming. The girl, however, darted away out a back door and up a spiraling staircase.
Strong simply watched her go. Suddenly, Veronica spoke up.
"Go! Follow her!" Tara turned.
"We'll take care of these guys! Go, finish this!" Fahn urged.
With a more convicted nod, Strong said "You're right, no matter what happens, it
As she trailed off, Sam wrapped her arms around Conlaodh seeming to revert him with a hug. "No matter what happens," she echoed, "We'll be with you. All of us."
"Yeah, man!" Tucker added, giving Danny a hearty slap to the back.
way to ruin the moment, Tucker!"
The dark-skinned boy jabbed a thumb over his shoulder. "Hey, while you're bein' sappy, Mizraie's getting away. Isn't that what you came here for?"
The black-haired boy and the goth girl exchanged a glance. "He's got a point," Danny said with rising pitch. He withdrew, feeling Sam lightly clutch at his arm until his fingers slipped from hers. "C'mon, runt!" he said, grinning at Timmy, and pulling out the shiny silver heart-shaped thing. "Let's Be!"
"Anisooooul Realization!" the brunet finished, prying out his.
They'd transformed by the time they reached the door to the upper terrace. Mizraie was waiting at its edge, stance widened, gun barrel dropped to the stone. Out of breath, she looked a bit ragged.
"Stop running!" Steve shouted, grasping the doorframe, "Jeez, first you attack us and then you run away? Make up your mind!"
"So are we gonna see a Stage Two really soon?" the now-shorter brown-haired boy asked, looking at the now-taller.
Tearing at her hair, the girl screeched. Megiddo and Mimzie appeared by some sort of odd mitosis, whereupon the three stood side-by-side. Then they merged back together, rising into a towering column of dark energy.
"Yep, right now," the brunet said with a point.
"All right, this is what we came here for!" Leo said, widening his stance. "Let's do it!"
"But who starts?" Ford asked.
Spreading his arms, right palm inward to the ground, his left outward to the sky, MacFarlane shouted, "Progress is born of courage!"
Nothing happened. Seth turned his head. "Hey, cat-boy! A little help, here?"
"Call me that one more time, I swear to god
" Marmel growled, though he plied his goalpost replica again, this time letting it hover in the air upright in front of him before slamming flat palms against it, releasing a gush of multihued energy that blustered past Consul Fact.
Faith assumed his position. "Be joyful in hope!"
get shit done!" Steve uttered.
Regardless, the Consuls locked elbows. "Ex tempore
Rob and Boreanaz joined hands.
"O powers of deduction! Glimmer of hope!"
"Lead these two minds on a path to a solution!"
"Those Two Guys, Spiraling Mystery BALLYHOO!"
The Five bound their bows inward like swords. "We, fine gents, solidly determined!
Five Dudes, Col Legno Semplice!"
'Ford' raised his steering column and yet another 107E. "The power of evil and bastard editors shall be engulfed in a polished frame! Ford Prefect, Anglia Goosnargh!"
Kaufman wielded the Rod, reciting the words as easily he would his own name. "Four Guys, Fatherly Vigilance
"Four Guys, SIGINT Dissemination!"
"Now it's our turn!" Rickey said. The Sages all tapped their throats, lifting their hands high in unison.
"Voicecatch Mixer!" they called, and true to form, the energy that rose from their palms combined, shedding its glow to reveal what looked to be a small sound board.
Suddenly, Cosmo and Bosworth popped up, flailing as they exclaimed "Now it's time to try the Sages' new power!"
seriously, guys, you don't have to do that every time," Daran noted, though he simpered.
"And I've got the battery! Narf!" Pinky added, holding up a coin cell.
Frank glanced at the taller Rob, brow raised. "The Mixer doesn't take batteries." Paulsen shrugged.
"Don't look at me!"
Clasping their hands together now, D'Shon Collins, Norris, the taller Rob, and Welker all chanted "Mixing Desk, Mixing Desk, Power of God!"
Rickey adjusted the settings, pushing sliders and turning dials. It began to glow more brightly, as did the four of them. Making the sign for 'voice' for the umpteenth time, they added "The voices ringing out across the world Voicecatch Over-The-Top Session!" Their uniforms looked somewhat regressed, fancier and longer-tailed, with turn-of-the-century accoutrements.
After a brief pose, the Mixer let off another flash. The Sages slid into another position as it rose above their heads, Daran and Rickey hoisting their mics high while Frank and Paulsen held their items out at arm's length. "Voices, boom confidently!"
The Mixer then expanded in a blink to a towering glow of light energy behind them, which took the shape of a woman with long flowing hair. The Sages swung their mics and subwoofer in a strategic pattern, calling "Voicecatch Harmonized Overlap!" as they oriented themselves and their weapons in the same direction as the others.
"You couldn't have done that all BEFORE? Or SOME of that before?" David said, glancing over his shoulder. "Jeez, killed the pacing
Tara closed her eyes as the somewhat-morphous energy passed through her, taking her with it. Turning her head and smiling with a hand raised as if in a wave, she swept on forward with the rest of the attacks.
"Wish with all your might, Mechika Boola! Go, Magic Circle!"
"Focus your energy, Dithering Haze! Go, Spectral Circle!"
Now the attacks united proper Strong's aura included , barreling at the dark whorl. However, what was left of the merged Megiddo clan struck back with a blast of its own to match. They collided violently, but held in a stalemate.
"I'll beat you!" a strangely discordant voice rang out, "I'll beat you and leave nothing behind!"
"We're leaving nothing behind anyway!" MacFarlane shouted above the gale of their energies, "Doesn't mean jack squat in regards to what we do with our lives!"
"Even when you're at the bottom, doesn't mean you're out! If you can crawl, you can walk you can find a way up!" Rob chimed in equal volume.
"And even if the world does end, so to speak, you still have all of your fond memories!" Jones added. "You can always find happiness in something new!"
"No matter how much you or your ego gets bruised, you just gotta keep going!" Kaufman shouted.
DiCaprio blinked, glancing over his shoulder. "What, I don't get a speech? Lame!"
"We've got a lotta time ahead of us to meet new people and get better at what we do best!" D'Shon Collins finished with gusto. "I don't know about you, but I'm not gonna let anybody any thing, any word, get in my way!"
"Ridiculous!" came the unearthly grating voice again, "You can work your whole life toward something and die alone, poor and miserable!"
Eyes shining with a bit of green, Danny yelled up "Maybe! But if you've done something important, to yourself or to somebody else, then it's not worthless! It still means SOMEthing! It makes a difference!"
"If you care about something or somebody, then you don't let anything stop you!" Timmy reiterated loudly. "Whatever happens, however bad stuff messes up, you don't let it weigh you down! STOP TAKING EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLYYYYY!"
Something snapped. In a good way, so it seemed. The tones and hues of the castle and everything around it seemed to get brighter, the fabric of reality the Dream☆World at least, that they knew warped, weaving and stretching.
" AAA "
"Why are we yelling? Aaa "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
" AAA "
The now-taller brunet ended on a frustrated-sounding screech. Wavering as well now, the whorl seemed to echo it. Finally the dark energy was ripped clean apart, dissipating into the brighter bluer sky.
Where Mizraie and Mizra and Mimzie had once stood, another figure collapsed to its knees, head forward, its shoulders in a hunch. Its long red tresses pooled around it on the terrace.
"Who is THAT?" Danny asked.
!" was all David offered.