(A/N: Well, this is it – the extra-long final chapter. Thank you to everyone who's been enjoying this fic; I hope you like it! About Miguel and Tulio's surnames…I pulled them out of my ass, though I do think I took Tulio's from another author who used it, because I liked it. But I think they work. It's not like it really matters anyway. Enjoy!!)
Part 8: I've Only Ever Wanted Adventures With You
"An Ultimate Comeback! How come I've never heard of this?"
"How should I know?" said Tulio. "I just think we better go about making one." He pointed to the list of ingredients and Guybrush and Elaine craned back in to read them.
"A piece of rubber tree - "
"I am rubber, you are glue!" said Guybrush mockingly.
" - a golden chain and - the hair of God?"
"We don't know either," Miguel admitted.
"There's a patch of rubber trees a little ways away from here. If we book it we can get there, make the Ultimate Comeback and get back before it gets too dark."
Tulio opened his mouth to agree, but then something occurred to him. "Uh...can we stop somewhere and bathe first?"
Sp they set out toward the rubber trees by way of the river, and when they got there they politely split up to avoid seeing each other. At first, the men all went one direction and Elaine another, but she paused a minute and looked back at them, devious.
"Guybrush," she said pointedly. "Why don't you come...this way?"
"Yes ma'am," he said immediately, face falling into a slack grin. "Uh, catch you in a minute, guys." He followed eagerly after her, leaving the two of them chuckling as they stripped down.
"Something on your mind, Tulio?" said a very naked Miguel with a very naughty smirk on his face. He darted into the water, and Tulio barely managed to get out of his pants before chasing after. He was very glad to discover that the water was freezing. (And free of piranhas.)
Miguel lay almost completely into the water, rinsing the bark and dirt from his hair. "It's hard to believe we've gone through all this," he said.
"What do you mean?" said Tulio, who was Not Looking.
"The pirating, the voodoo, the - adventure," Miguel clarified, sitting up, splashing the frigid water everywhere. Drops of it collided with Tulio's back. "I've missed this," he said softly. "I've only ever wanted adventures. With...with you."
Tulio had to turn around. "It's...pretty nice," he admitted, although whether he was talking about adventuring or about the view he currently had of Miguel even Tulio didn't really know.
Then suddenly they were kissing again.
Tulio really had to figure out how this kept happening.
"Mmm," murmured Miguel, "I've missed this as well."
"Since just this morning?"
"Absolutely." He tugged Tulio back in for more, and there was more, much more, and - Tulio was very glad that the water was freezing. And that he was waist-deep in it.
"H-hey now," he finally managed, "we're in this river because we're supposed to be getting clean."
"Spoilsport," said Miguel, but he let Tulio pull away and wash the fruit stickiness from his hair - the texture and the cloying smell were really starting to drive him insane - and then they got out, kissed a bit, dried off, kissed way more than was necessary, and put their clothes back on to go meet up with (what Tulio assumed were the similarly occupied) Guybrush and Elaine. By that point, he needed a moment or so away from Miguel, so when they reached the rubber trees and Guybrush said he was going to go look for a decent log, Tulio offered to search with him, leaving Miguel and Elaine to try and figure out the oddball part of the spell.
Guybrush seemed strangely friendly with Tulio. He didn't object to it, but it still began to bug him after a while. "So...we ditched you."
"Yeah, you did," said Guybrush, still unnervingly nonchalant. "Is this one too lumpy?"
"Better not risk it." Tulio kept checking the trees and fallen logs, but he pressed the issue. "We ditched you, but...you're not pissed at us?"
"I am a little disappointed," said Guybrush, "but I think what you're not getting here, Tulio, is that I'm a pirate. A pirate that you may have noticed has to hire on new crew members pretty often. I've had people turn mutinous on me over artistic differences before. Compared to that, an enormous mountain of gold seems like a pretty good incentive."
Tulio smiled, almost laughing. "Yeah, I guess you've got a point there."
"Besides," said Guybrush, hefting up a thinner but sturdy bough he'd deemed worthy, "you came back."
They were almost back to the spot where they'd left the other two, having carved out a thick, round slice of their chosen log to take back with them, when Miguel came rushing up to Tulio, bustling with excitement. "We've got it!" he cried, jostling Tulio's arm.
"What, what, what?"
Miguel grinned at him. "The hair of God, Tulio, the hair of God!" He paused for dramatic effect. "Well, we were gods once, weren't we?"
Tulio's eyes lit up, albeit a bit dimly. "That's so ridiculous that it might actually work!"
So they ran back to Elaine, and quickly set about assembling their Ultimate Comeback. Guybrush stripped the chunk of rubber tree wood of its bark. Tulio and Miguel each cut a skinny clump of their long hair off, and Elaine took it all and deftly braided it together. They attached it to the golden chain that Miguel had stolen from LeChuck's treasure keep, and it was just long enough to wrap around the circumference of the log twice.
Tulio, who'd been holding it, felt a brief sizzle of catalyzing voodoo. "It worked!" he marveled, realizing he'd barely been expecting it to.
"Yes!" cried Miguel.
"Now, it says here we need something to channel the force of it with - a crystal or a gem or something, for it to focus through," said Guybrush. "Elaine, honey, I hate to ask, but..."
She looked at him for a split second, then realized what he was getting at. "Oh - fine. But if you lose it or it breaks or something, I'm picking out the new one, because I really don't trust you not to muck it up again." And she tugged off her wedding ring and slapped it into his hand. He carved a little notch into the flat top surface of the Ultimate Comeback and wedged it in by the band, so the big blue diamond was glinting out.
"Well, let's fire this baby up," said Guybrush.
"Now? What for?" asked Elaine, raising an eyebrow.
"We need a test run," he said. "I'm not going back in there with another supposedly mighty voodoo force that doesn't do anything."
"Here, why doesn't Elaine test it out?" suggested Tulio. "That way you can go ahead and use the real Ultimate Insult against her, because she's immune."
"Totally what I was thinking. Here, up in this clearing, out in the open."
They positioned themselves accordingly and Guybrush took up the Ultimate Insult. Almost immediately he flung out some of its power, but nothing happened to Elaine. Tulio, standing next to her to help in case something went wrong (Miguel was likewise posted by Guybrush), nudged it a little with his elbow. Guybrush tried again, but on Elaine's end there was still no reaction.
After a minute he stopped and called out to her. "Elaine? What's going on?"
"I don't know!" she said. "It's like - I can feel it trying to work, but it isn't working."
"We got all the parts right," said Miguel.
"Well, mostly - we still don't know if you two really counted as gods. Maybe that's it," said Guybrush.
"No, I felt it go together," insisted Tulio.
"It isn't like that, anyway," said Elaine. "Not - not like a ship with no sails, but like no wind in the sails."
"Pirate analogies," Tulio quipped.
"Let me see it," Guybrush said, and he crossed the few paces between them, with Miguel right behind him. At the latter's approach, it buzzed a little in Elaine's hands.
"Something's happening!" she exclaimed.
"Give it here, then," said Miguel, and he took it from her. In his hands it sizzled more strongly, especially when he held it slightly to the right.
Tulio, ever the tactical mastermind, was still pleasantly surprised when it suddenly all clicked together.
"...Guys. That's it."
"What?" they all asked at once.
He took a deep breath and set about trying to explain. "You know how you always seem to come up with the perfect comebacks - the, ah, ultimate comebacks if you will - like, a week too late?"
"Oh, man, yeah," said Guybrush.
"So what?" said Elaine.
"So, you're sitting there wishing you could go back and say 'Oh, yeah? Well...'"
"Yeah..." prompted Miguel, but Tulio could feel Elaine catching on.
"So if you could predict the future - "
"You could access those comebacks exactly when you needed them!" she cried.
"I see, I see!" said Miguel. "The ability to see the future is the Ultimate Comeback!"
So he pulled out their voodoo canister and, as quickly as possible, popped off the lid and stoppered it with the conveniently similarly-sized Ultimate Comeback. At once Elaine's wedding diamond started glowing a fluorescent purple, and the Comeback in Miguel's hands and the Insult in Guybrush's repelled themselves like the matching ends of magnets. Miguel spaced out for a moment, eyes glossing over just a bit, but then turned to Elaine with an odd look and grinned.
"...I knew this thing would come in handy," he said.
And so this time, they were ready.
Miguel and Tulio leapt in first, knocking down the skeleton pirates that got in the Threepwood-Marleys' way. They darted through afterward, all the way to LeChuck's shack with the hole in the roof, brandishing the Ultimate Comeback ahead of them as they ran.
"Okay," said Guybrush, "now we're here to stop you." He pointed the Comeback at the glowing Insult-LeChuck like a firework rocket, with Elaine clinging tightly to his back like before.
"I can't believe ye dared show yer face here again, Threepwood!"
"I can't believe you dare show your ugly mug anywhere," he shot back.
"Arrh, your wit be merely that of a grade-schooler!"
"At least I managed to pass grade school."
"You...fight like a dairy farmer!"
"How appropriate! You fight like a cow!"
"You - yer a big old bed-wetting doody-head!"
As he went on, Guybrush's eyes turned brighter and brighter purple with the spell, till he was shining with defensive rage and the air between him and LeChuck bristled with derogatory voodoo. Night fell on the camp as they fought, and then suddenly, it was over.
"Yes," Guybrush barked defiantly, and LeChuck let out his same old tired defeated scream before bursting into a shower of...
Well, of gold, silver and bronze coins, proportionate to the colored parts of him.
Guybrush and Elaine looked at one another. "Well that's convenient."
Outside, all the reanimated skeletons suddenly...deanimated, mid-onslaught.
At the door to LeChuck's cabin, the victorious four shared hugs, kisses, and cries of triumph.
Down in the treasure keep, they hauled out as much as they could carry and more.
On the opposite edge of the campground, Miguel and Elaine found the giant transport cart.
On the way back, Tulio found the matching bracelets.
Back on the beach, they divided the gold in half.
In the morning, all of it - and the ship, and Tulio and Miguel - was gone.
There was a note sitting in the sand outside Elaine and Guybrush's tent, written in Tulio's narrow looping hand. Guybrush picked it up and read it:
Sorry about all this, wrote Tulio, but you understand, don't you? Nothing personal...it's just you really don't need it nearly as much as we do. Don't take it too hard. We'd love to stay friends. --TR
Guybrush shook his head as he read it. "After all this," he muttered.
"Wait, look!" said Elaine suddenly, for she'd been walking around to the back of the tent, into the jungle a bit, and had found several dozen crates and chests of treasure set half-hidden in some bushes - along with a second note in Miguel's chicken-scratch.
Sorry we had to take the ship, but hopefully this is good enough. Tulio doesn't know yet, but I just couldn't let him do it. I worked this out to be three-fifths of it - since you'll be plundering for three soon, after all. Cheers, Miguel
Elaine smiled, defeated, shaking her head too. "So I suppose he predicted that."
"Predicted what? What does he mean, for three?"
"Guybrush," she said, "I'm pregnant."
"Did I tell you, I saw in the future that Elaine's going to have a baby?" said Miguel, gazing off the side of the ship at the ocean as they floated out into the sunrise.
"Oh, no," commented Tulio from the helm, gazing off to the side...at Miguel. "Well, congratulations to her."
"It's a girl," he said. "But I didn't tell her that."
"I wonder if she's already pregnant, or if they, ah, haven't gotten around to that just yet."
Tulio left the helm to stand at Miguel's side, leaning slyly on the ship's railing. "Well, if I were Guybrush...I'd be working on that right now."
Miguel turned slowly to him with a sidelong glance. "I believe I like the sound of that."
But they didn't really act on it. Instead, Miguel just held his arm out over the sea, admiring the glint of his golden bracelet in the new sunlight.
"So does this make us...hitched?" he said with a silly grin.
"As long as we don't have to hyphenate it," said Tulio, fidgeting at his own wrist. "Rodriguez-de la Garza is almost crazier than Threepwood-Marley."
"Well who says your name has to go first?"
Tulio returned to the helm, and they sailed onward.