I Can't Believe We're Doing This
Summary: Title says it all. Co-authored by Torilei and HaloFin17. Not a typical fanfic from us by any means, but this is such a common idea, we decided to try it out and have some fun with it, too. So do join us and laugh with us as we laugh at ourselves. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: It's always depressing to say it, but we don't own anyone or anything related to "National Treasure".
Authors' Note: Yes, it's true. The unthinkable has occurred, and Tori and Halo have been "sucked into" National Treasure, which means that these new "characters" we're introducing really are us. They definitely aren't Mary Sues, as they aren't Oxford-educated or drop-dead gorgeous, and they don't have any dark secrets and/or traumatic pasts. I'm honestly even reluctant to call them OC's because they aren't original characters that we made up on our own. They're just us. They can only say or do what we truly would say or do. Our standard while writing this whole fic has been to ask ourselves, "Ok, is this something I would really say/do?" And so we go from there, and hopefully the rest of you will get some good laughs out of this along the way, as well. And while this may not be a serious fic for us, like all our others, it's still written to the very best of our ability. Enjoy!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
The sun was just beginning to set over a beautiful summer day in southern Wisconsin as two good friends returned to the younger's home after a long day of fun and laughter spent together. The both headed to the refrigerator for a bottle of root beer, their shared favorite, and plopped down next to each other on the couch.
While they could not see much of a resemblance themselves, the two young women had often been told that they looked very much alike. They were both brunettes, although the elder's hair was a bit shorter, were approximately the same height with the same slender build, wore glasses, and had contagious smiles. That was where the comparison ended, as far as they were concerned, but they still delighted in calling each other "my long-lost twin," despite an age difference of over three years.
"So," Tori breathed, "what do you want to do now?"
Haley glanced at her watch. "I don't know. But it's only nine o'clock, so we've still got a couple hours before I need to head back to Chicago. You got any ideas?"
Tori thought on that a moment, then suggested, "Well, we could always watch a movie."
Haley grinned. "How about National Treasure, since we've both been writing fanfics for it so much lately?"
"I might've guessed you'd pick that," her friend laughed while going to retrieve the DVD. "Which one do you want – the first or second?"
"The first one, please!" Haley called back. "I still haven't quite gotten over the fact that they didn't bring Ian back in the second one."
Tori shook her head as she returned with what was surely one of her own favorite movies. "I don't mind which one. Riley's great in both of them! But I do agree Ian was a better bad guy than Mitch." She stuck the DVD in the player and returned to the couch with Haley. "I'm surprised you don't have your own copy of this yet, Halo."
Haley chuckled. "For as much as we talk about it, I am, too. But I'm pretty sure I'll be getting it for my birthday tomorrow – I'll have to let you know for sure. And thanks again, Tori-kins, for letting me come up here for the day."
"Of course! My mom and I are always happy to have you here, and besides, I wanted to celebrate your birthday, even if it is a day early. Do you have any big plans for tomorrow? Turning twenty-one is pretty special."
"No, nothing too big so far that I know of," Haley replied with a shrug. "Right now, I'm thinking I might just ask my family to take me out for dinner and buy me drink. What else am I supposed to do when my twenty-first birthday is on a Sunday?"
Tori laughed. "I don't know, but I'm sure you'll figure out something and have lots of fun no matter what it is."
"I just can't believe how fast everything goes," Haley elaborated. "I mean, I'm turning twenty-one tomorrow! And you – you'll be starting your first day as a high school senior in just a couple weeks! How does this all happen so fast?"
"I don't know, but it's too late to stop it now. Oh here," Tori said suddenly, turning her attention back to the DVD menu, "there was something else in the special features I wanted to show you while you were here."
"Cool! Is it more of Riley's clue-solving game? That was fun last time."
"No, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure it was something else." She continued to flip through the Special Features menu, frowning when she still didn't find what she sought.
"Hey, what's that?" Haley abruptly asked.
"That little symbol down there in the bottom right-hand corner?"
"I don't know. That's weird – I've never seen it before."
Haley leaned forward excitedly. "Let's try it! Can you select it?"
"Yeah, here we go." Tori pushed the button to select the mysterious symbol, and suddenly…
Everything was white. And cold. Very cold.
"Tori?" Haley called out, too shocked to think about anything else. "Tori, please tell me you're still here."
Tori tapped her friend on the shoulder. "Yeah, I'm here."
Haley whirled around, surprised but ecstatic, and hugged her tight. "Oh, thank goodness! But what happened?"
The younger girl shook her head and looked around them, rubbing her bare arms as she felt them already going numb. "I have no idea. All I know is that one second I was holding the remote, and then the next, it was gone. But where in the world are we? This place looks kinda familiar."
"It looks like the Arctic." That sank in, and the girls froze, this time not from the cold.
"Oh no, Halo – you don't think…"
"No," Haley stated firmly, catching her friend's drift. "No. That thing with girls getting sucked through the TV and into the movies only happens in those lame OC romance fics, and I'm telling you, it's NOT possible!"
"Then why are there a bunch of guys digging up an old ship over there?" Tori pointed, and Haley turned, her jaw dropping.
"Oh my gosh, this is really happening. Tori, we're in the movie!"
"I know, I can't believe it! And look – I think I see Riley. This is so exciting!"
"And there," Haley pointed, "it's Sean Bean, I mean Ian, in the white coat! Oh, if only Olive could see me now…"
"…she'll be wild with envy when I tell her about this."
"What?" Haley finally turned serious again, seeing that her younger friend had done the same.
"Haley," Tori began earnestly, "before they see us, we need to promise each other that no matter what happens, we will not let them know that we know this is all just a movie, and that we know what happens in the end."
Haley nodded her complete agreement. "You're right. Otherwise they could extract information from us and ruin the whole plot."
"Exactly. So you and I will just have to go with the flow and pretend like we have no idea what's going on."
"Deal," Haley concluded. "Pinky swear?"
Tori nodded, and the two girls locked their frozen pinky fingers together in the binding pact.
"Well, you know, it could be worse," Haley remarked, casting a sidelong glance at her friend. "At least we aren't stuck in Mission: Impossible."
Tori's eyes narrowed dangerously, but just as she opened her mouth to utter a scathing retort, she was ever-so-rudely cut off.
"Who the devil are you?"
As one, the girls snapped their heads around to behold Shaw, Ian, and Ben Gates striding toward them. It must have been Shaw or Ian who had spoken first.
"Well, I think they found us," Tori whispered as the men drew nearer.
Ian was eyeing them suspiciously, and Ben looked simply dumfounded. "How did you get here?" he asked, bewildered. "And why are you dressed for summer?"
Haley spoke first. "You know, that's a darn fine question. We were just trying to figure it out ourselves."
Ian stared at them blankly. "You mean to say that you've no idea where you came from, or how you got here?"
"Nope," Tori answered both succinctly and truthfully. "We seriously have no clue how we get here, and believe me, we'd like to know."
"So, you've got amnesia, then?" Shaw proposed.
Haley glanced briefly over at her companion, then replied, "That's a definite possibility. Hey, who knows? Maybe we were part of some top-secret science experiment for the government, and when the whole thing went bad, they wiped our brains and dumped us off here?"
Tori bit back a giggle, knowing that Haley was just trying to think of anything that might explain their presence. But also understanding that something more realistic was now called for, she stepped back into the conversation. "Or maybe our sightseeing plane crash landed, during which we hit our heads and then wandered over here aimlessly?"
By now, Shaw was gaping at them in dumb shock. Ian groaned and gingerly rubbed the bridge of his nose with his gloved hands. They really didn't need any more people involved in this matter, but what else was to be done?
Beside him, Ben sighed and finally voiced the inevitable. "Well, I suppose we can't just leave you two young ladies out here to freeze to death, even if it's clear you do have some serious mental issues. Come back over by us."
"Thank you!" both girls chorused, not caring in the least that he had just blatantly questioned their sanity. After all, could they really blame him?
"I'm Ben Gates, by the way" he said, introducing himself. "That's Ian Howe, and Shaw."
"Nice to meet you guys! I'm Haley, and this is my friend, Tori."
"A pleasure," Ian drawled, nodding somewhat in their general direction.
"Um," Tori called after Ben's back, "do you guys have any extra cold-weather gear? I think I speak for both of us when I say my toes about to freeze and fall off."
"Yeah, we've got extra stuff," the lead treasure hunter answered, "but it'll probably be too big for you."
"That's okay, we'll take it!" Haley piped up.
Ben chuckled. "Well in that case, go see Riley over there, and he'll set you up with whatever we've got."
At the mention of Riley's name, a shy smile crept onto Tori's face – a smile which quickly turned into a fierce blush when Haley playfully elbowed her in the ribs and winked at her when she looked back.
"Good morning, ladies. I'm Riley Poole, and welcome to the Arctic Circle."
Just a short time later, the girls were arrayed in a variety of men's cold-weather clothing – knit hats that came down almost over their eyes, fur-lined coats that were far too long, and heavily-insulated boots that were far too big. But at least they were warm now.
Thankfully, the guys were mostly done with their excavating when the girls arrived, so it was only a few more hours until Ben called out, "Ok, this is it! Let's go!"
"Yeah," Powell shouted in response, "bring us back some treasure!"
"Treasure?" Haley echoed, maintaining the appearance of ignorance. "You guys are seriously up here looking for buried treasure? I always thought you were supposed to go to deserted islands in the Caribbean for stuff like that."
"Not us," Ben retorted, laughing.
"Can we come in with you?" Tori asked eagerly.
Ben sighed. "I suppose. Why not? Just don't get in the way."
"Oh, don't worry," Haley assured him, exchanging meaningful looks with Tori. "We won't interfere."
But as they started making their way down into the ship, Haley leaned over toward her friend and whispered, "Tori, are you sure you want to do this? I mean, you do remember what happens in this part, right?"
"Of course I do, and we both know it turns out fine. Now come on, and don't worry about it." She gave her companion a friendly pat on the shoulder as they followed Ben and the others deeper into the ship's interior. Both girls later agreed that it was actually much creepier than the movie had made it look, with the ghost-like frost that coated everything and the eerie stillness that hung heavy in the air.
Riley moved off to the side to explore something or other, but he soon leapt back in a panic when he moved aside one of the swinging hammocks to reveal the dead body of a frozen sailor. And in his frantic hurry to distance himself from the well-preserved corpse, he ended up staggering back right into Tori. The laughing seventeen-year-old was promptly knocked off her feet, and Riley followed straight after so that the two of them collapsed onto the hard floor in a mess of tangled limbs.
"You handled that well," Ben blandly remarked when the two of them had regained their composure. Haley rushed over to help pull Tori to her feet, giving her friend a subtle wink and a wicked smile. Tori flushed, despite the cold, and stuck her tongue out at the older girl. Haley just giggled in reply and moved along.
Ben soon led them to the cargo hold, and inside were lots of barrels filled with (surprise, surprise) gunpowder. Ian was the first one who hadn't already seen the movie to identify the black, powdery substance. Ben Gates looked awfully disappointed for a brief while, until he discovered the barrel being guarded by the ship's now-frozen captain. And so The Pipe was brought forth.
"What is it?" Riley pressed impatiently. "Is it a billion dollar pipe?"
"It's a Meerschaum pipe," Ian informed all of them with a smile. He seemed to truly appreciate the artwork of it all. "It's beautiful."
"Yeah, and look at the detail of the scrollwork on the stem."
But the techie was still unsatisfied. "Is it a million dollar pipe?"
"It's another clue. We are one step closer to the treasure, gentlemen." Ben then proceeded to remove said pipe stem, eliciting quite a panicked response from Riley who exclaimed, "Careful, don't break it!"
But Ben paid him little heed and soon had the engraving from the stem displayed on paper for them all to see, the glistening letters written in his own blood. He read the inscription aloud:
"The legend writ, the stain affected,
"The key in Silence undetected.
"Fifty-five in iron pen,
"Mr. Matlack can't offend."
"It's a riddle," he mused, and Haley had to bite her tongue to keep from blurting out, No, duh! But soon Ben was pacing the length of the cargo hold, speaking his thoughts aloud as his scathingly brilliant mind worked to decipher the clue. "Unless, the key in silence could be…"
"Prison," Shaw cut in, sounding as though he'd just had a major breakthrough. Riley, however, was not impressed.
"Albuquerque. See, I can do it, too. Snorkel!"
"That's where the map is," Shaw growled at him before turning back to Ben. "It's like you said, 'fifty-five in iron pen'. 'Iron pen' is a prison."
But Ben brushed away that idea, preferring instead to pursue his own theory about iron gall ink.
In the meantime, Haley leaned over toward Shaw and in a lame attempt to cheer him up, whispered, "I thought it was a good idea." He actually deigned to acknowledge her comment, to which she responded with an encouraging nod. She always did have a soft spot for the "bad guys."
Just then, Ben's train of thought finally led him down the right road, and he arrived at the inevitable conclusion that was the crux of the entire movie: a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
Riley shook his head, as though rousing himself from a trance. "Wait a minute, Ben, there's no treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence."
"Yeah, that is pretty hard to believe," Tori chimed in, striving to sound as amazed yet skeptical as the rest of them. "I mean, wouldn't someone have found out about it before now?"
Ian spoke up from where he sat. "It's quite clever, really. A document of that importance would ensure the map's survival. And you said there were several Masons signed it, yeah?"
"Yeah," Ben confirmed. "Nine, for sure."
"We'll have to arrange a way to examine it, then."
The treasure hunter shook his head as he sat down beside his partner. "This is one of the most important documents in history, Ian, they're not just gonna let us waltz in there and run chemical tests on it."
Ian's patience was visibly wearing thin. "Then what do you propose we do?"
"I don't know!" Ben exclaimed, equally aggravated with the apparent hopelessness of his situation. His hands were tied now. What else was he to do?
"We could borrow it," Ian suggested softly after a moment's pause.
Ben's gaze hardened. "You mean steal it?"
"No, borrow it," Haley spoke up excitedly; she'd always wanted to use this line here. "Borrow it without permission, but with every intention of giving it back, savvy?"
And despite the mounting tension of the situation, Tori had to clap a hand over her mouth to stifle a giggle, afterwards muttering something about Jack Sparrow and Bruckheimer films.
Ben shook his head again and turned his attention back to Ian. "How?"
"We all have our areas of expertise," the blonde Englishman began slowly. "You don't think mine are limited to writing checks, do you? In another life, I arranged a number of operations of…questionable legality."
Now it was Haley's turn to choke back a laugh. That was probably her and Olive's favorite line of the entire movie! But when Ben still refused to cooperate with Ian, even after Shaw's rather explicit confirmation, she just couldn't resist stepping in with another speech she'd always wanted to deliver at this scene: the Speech in Ian's defense.
She began, "Ben, I think it's pretty clear now that Ian's going to steal the Declaration with or without you, so why not let it be with you? Let him arrange to 'borrow' it, and you can be the one to examine it and make sure it's properly handled. I mean, you guys could practically steal this thing and give it back when you're done, without anyone ever knowing who did it! And where would be the harm in that? Come on, Ben, Ian may be British, but he's not gonna tear up or burn up the Declaration of Independence. Have some faith in the guy already! You wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for him."
"You know," Tori spoke up, addressing Ben and Riley who were both trying hard to ignore the look of smug satisfaction on Shaw's face, "I hate to admit it, 'cause I'm on your guys' side, but…she does have a point."
"No," Ben stated again, as adamant as ever. "Ian, I'm not gonna let you steal the Declaration, and no one's going to persuade me otherwise," he added with a dark glance at Haley. She didn't care. He'd never been one of her favorite characters, anyway.
Ian was speaking quietly. "Very well. In that case, all you're going to be from now on is a hindrance." He then offered a minute nod toward Shaw who immediately drew out his gun and pointed it at Ben.
"Quiet, Riley," Ian snapped. "Your job's finished here."
Tori had ducked unashamedly behind Riley when the gun came out, and Haley was lingering back behind Shaw, as far away from the line of fire as possible. Unfortunately for Tori, she seemed to have forgotten that the gun ended up being aimed directly at Riley. Perhaps it was the unreal excitement of being able to stand right next to him that made her forget?
Suddenly, Ben lit the flare, and everything proceeded as the girls remembered from the movie, although they both still caught their breath when Ben threw the flare at Shaw, only to have Ian snatch it up. What if he'd dropped it this time? But it didn't really matter, as his sleeve caught on fire almost immediately thereafter, and in the blink of an eye, there was light and fire everywhere.
"Get out, Shaw!" Ian yelled at his right-hand-man as they both backed away toward the cargo hold entrance. Shaw backed straight into Haley, whom he grabbed without a word and shoved out the door.
"Bye, Tori!" Haley called after her friend as she was pulled away. She knew Tori would be fine if she stuck with Ben and Riley, but she truly hadn't expected to be dragged away herself by the other side. Hmm, isn't this how it usually goes in all those fics, though? she pondered to herself. But there wasn't time for much else.
Ian came dashing out behind them, bolting the door as he went with a bitter exclamation of "Fool!" Then it was a race back up to the top of the ship and as far away from it as possible. Shaw darted out ahead of them, screaming at the others standing nearby to "Move! Get out!"
Haley followed, yet it wasn't long before she started falling behind. It was almost impossible to run in those heavy snow boots that were too big for her to begin with. But as Ian passed by her, he grabbed her arm and quite literally dragged her after him toward the big snow vehicles. He opened the door and unceremoniously shoved her into the back while Shaw jumped into the driver's seat. They sped away, and the other men in the second vehicle followed, struggling to put as much distance between themselves and the volatile vessel as possible.
Meanwhile, back in the belly of the ship, Ben had discovered the smuggler's hold and called for Riley and Tori to join him. Riley grabbed a hold of Tori's arm and pulled her forward with him, dodging sparks and flames as they went along the way. Ben frantically ushered them down into the hold and jumped in after them, pulling the door shut behind him. He then led them down a narrow corridor until they came to another barricaded room.
Ben shoved them inside of the closed space and onto the ground, bolted the door behind him, and finally dropped down himself, doing his best to shield both Riley and Tori for when the concussion came. The braced themselves…
And The Charlotte exploded.
Authors' End Note: And, as always seems to be the case in such fics, the first chapter is the most outrageous and unbelievable of all. Don't worry, we know how insane it all is. But it will get better – trust us! Obviously, reviews aren't the main objective of this story, as the whole thing is essentially one big inside joke between Tori and myself. But still no flames, if you please, as this fic is purely for fun and by no means a serious literary endeavor. For a more accurate assessment of our writing skills, please feel free to check out our profiles for our other more serious fanfics. Thanks, everyone!