A/N: Oops! Forgot this one was missing the last chapter! Sorry!
Chester sat back with a sigh of relief. Finally. The cutter completed, he lifted it up and set the blade near the pipe, ready to switch it on and get the cutting underway. He looked back at A.J.
"This one, right? I don't wanna end up cutting power to half a city block just because our pal Undead Fred marked off the wrong network." the blonde told him.
"Yeah, that's the one." A.J. returned dryly and looked over at Cosmo and Wanda, one looking worried, the other in a black mood, simmering with barely masked fury while floating in the air. "Are you guys sure that Timmy's gonna be okay on his own? Wanda, you're usually the one to bug him until he lets you go along." The pink-haired fairy smiled weakly.
"He wished me to stay, so I have to stay." she replied, "I was going to go after him, but he called over the Phones and made the wish before I could take off."
"He didn't make the wish with me, so I'm going!" Cosmo declared and began flying off. He halted after a moment, then flew back, puzzled. "Which way did he go?" he asked his wife, lost. Wanda sighed and pointed at another direction. "Oh, so he's that way." he remarked and sighed, "It's dark over there."
The blade spun noisily as Chester began slicing into the pipe, squinting as sparks jumped off of it in a spray. If things were going well, Elmer would be cutting into the pipe on his end right then as well. Cosmo's earlier report was strange; toothpaste footsteps making its way towards them, smelling of mint. It was almost laughable. A toothpaste creature in the sewer, yeah, right. They didn't even have trouble with the Dimmsdale Sewer Gator; it never showed up, so what was something made of toothpaste gonna do to them?
He lifted the cutter once the line was cut and rubbed at his eyes under the protective lenses of the safety glasses. First cut done. One more and a nice twelve-inch section of the network connection would drop out and fall on the floor. Mission done, wham, bam, thank ye, Ma'am. Chester adjusted the glasses and moved the cutter over to start the next job.
"Even if you didn't get the wish, he said for both of us to stay here." Wanda argued with her husband.
"But I can't stay! I gotta go!" Cosmo whined loudly, "The thing made of toothpaste was made by a wish!" A.J. blinked at that and exchanged glances with Wanda.
"A wish? You mean we have toothpaste creatures running around down here that came from wishes?" the boy asked in concern, "What does that mean?"
"That might be what Bender and Wendell got from Remy in exchange for protecting the network connections down here! Remy would wish for toothpaste creatures and those two would use them down here!" Wanda exclaimed in realization, "We could all be in trouble!"
And trouble did come. As soon as the section of pipe Chester cut into dropped down to the floor, it rolled aside and was swallowed up by a large dollop of blue paste that just plopped down from a large figure in the shadows. The blonde lifted his glasses, staring over at the shadow in surprise.
"What the hell is that?" he asked shakily, turning the cutting tool to point at it. The rest of the group looked with him and blinked.
"It looks like... toothpaste?" A.J. remarked in a puzzled tone, looking down at the clump of paste on the floor. He lifted his gaze up at a pair of shining little eyes high above them. A huge smile, almost glowing white, suddenly broke through the shadow, giant teeth aligned in perfect rows gleaming at the two boys and fairy couple.
"Toothpaste Monsta!" a strangely comical voice bellowed throatily and the group shrieked in collective terror, racing away from the creature in a frantic dash for escape.
"Chip! Chip Skylark!" Timmy called out as he walked along the sewer tunnels, "Hey, it's okay! I'm a friend! I was sent here as part of Timmy Turner's last wish!" He sighed and shook his head. "I am never going to get used to having to refer to myself while pretending I'm somebody else. Especially when my real self is dead to the world." he muttered and tossed out a Light orb to continue lighting his path.
The mission should be fairly easy. Another few minutes and the two teams would be done, they would get out of the sewers, grab a bite to eat and see if Anti-Cosmo showed up with the other anti-fairies. He grinned suddenly; funny, he was actually looking forward to seeing him again. It used to be a sense of dread that came over him whenever a Friday the Thirteenth arrived, knowing that Anti-Cosmo and Anti-Wanda would be out there, scheming to plunge the world into eternal misery. He guessed that it was all that time spent having to live with the guy, actually getting the facts about how anti-fairies lived, understanding them better, that let him get the idea that they weren't bad because they chose to be (to some extent, because they liked being evil and all) but because they had to be. It was that whole balance.
"Does that mean I really do have darkness, if I can understand him?" Timmy worried suddenly and stopped to look into the sewer water at himself, clad in his usual stealth outfit, "I don't even dress like my old self half the time. Can a Hero be a Hero even with darkness in them?" He tilted his head, then shook it emphatically. "No. I'm a Hero and Heroes are always symbols of light and good. I don't have darkness, I don't have anything that could be bad in me. It all went away when I died." he told himself and continued walking, calling out Chip's name.
Another minute and he stopped again, hand lifting to cover his nose and mouth in disgust.
"Ugh! What is that? Smells like somebody took a lemon pop and threw up a gutful of cinnamon candy all over it!" he exclaimed and stepped back from the scented area. Something made a semi-wet sound under his feet and he looked down in a mix of alarm and additional disgust. Great, what did he step in? All over his high-tops, that smell was gonna stick to him for ages. He lifted a foot and shook it off, mentally wishing he had his half-ghost cousin's ability to turn intangible and just drop whatever he didn't want clinging to him.
Timmy blinked at the clump of half-yellow, half-red toothpaste that flopped off the sole of his shoe and splattered onto the concrete. Okay, so what the heck was that? Toothpaste? Down here?
"Chip." the brunet murmured in realization, "Of course! Chip Skylark won't go anywhere without a good supply of toothpaste to take care of his teeth!" He brightened. "I must be close by then!" he cried happily, "Chip! Hey! Can you hear me?"
Racing through the tunnel filled with that strangely horrific smell, Timmy made his way closer to what he hoped was the long-lost singer. There was something moving up ahead, a shadow of some tall figure that lumbered along down another tunnel. Eager to reach the figure, he pressed on faster, sending the Light orb ahead to illuminate the path. Once beyond the effect of the lemon-cinnamon mix, another scent tainted the air and Timmy skid to a halt, baffled.
"That smell. That's..." he murmured in sudden confusion, then fell into an instinctive crouch, both hands held out and holding several spheres of the Bulla Scintillare spell. Now he knew; there was a difference between mana and magic, each had a different scent. The scent that had been missing when the first Dark Spire fell was a mix of mana and magic together. The two of them mingled into a pleasant aroma, but this was a stronger scent. Magic alone had a fairly overpowering scent to it.
Whatever was around here was full of magic, and not enough mana to be truly alive.
"Not good. Remy has to be involved somehow." the brunet muttered as he moved forward carefully. A few more steps and... "Haaah!" Timmy yelled, jumping out from around the corner to see what it was that seemed to just trudge along.
A giant made entirely of red gel squinted at him, a massive grin filled with perfectly aligned teeth shining at him. Timmy froze in shock, staring up at it in disbelief.
"Toothpaste Monsta!" it barked out and guffawed loudly. The brunet found his voice, crying out in alarm as he leaped back, throwing both hands forward to unleash the combined spells on the monstrosity. The explosion of fire and toothpaste hurled him further back, landing him squarely in the water. He came up sputtering and paddled towards the edge of the floor, pulling himself up enough to cough and look around for additional creatures.
Sure enough, there were two more of the things slogging their way towards him, grinning maniacally as their shapeless arms swung back and forth at their sides, balancing them as they left behind footsteps of toothpaste in the wake of their staggered steps. Timmy sighed partially in exasperation. It couldn't be easy for him, could it? If the day wasn't complete for him without making Remy angry, then it wasn't complete for Remy until he found some way of screwing him over without even knowing it. He lifted a hand for another blast of Bulla Scintillare, then paused, watching in horror as the red gel of the first monster he blew apart oozed together and reformed into the creature. It was smaller than before, most of the gel had burned away or landed in the water and washed away, but it was there, grinning.
"What the-? That spell didn't work?" Timmy exclaimed and tried another spell, "Lustrare Spiralis!" The spiral of light and electricity sliced through the monsters, scattering the paste all over the walls and floor. Keeping an eye on the goo, he pulled himself completely out of the water, hoping that the spell took care of them for good and that he didn't smell as bad as he imagined from being in the sewer water.
Nope. The goo was moving towards each other again, merging and growing, reforming into the huge monsters once more. The brunet groaned and held out his hands for another spell. What was it gonna take to get rid of those things?
"Toothpaste Monsta!" one of them bellowed upon reforming and took a step forward.
"I knew I'd find one of you weirdos around here!" a second male voice declared and Timmy watched in awe as a laser beam of blue-white light shot in from nowhere and slammed into the trio of creatures. The three monsters splashed into the sewer water, flailing and wailing as they dissolved before his eyes. Standing there, staring at the melting creatures in shock, Timmy jumped at the touch of a hand coming down on his shoulder. He spun around, holding up an arm defensively. "Hey, whoa! Peace, little man; I'm not gonna hurt you." a young man told him gently, a kind smile on his face as he held up his hands. Timmy blinked, taking in the sight of what looked like a well-dressed homeless man. He wore a red jacket and jeans, a matching beanie hat pulled down on well-kept black hair. A satchel was slung over one shoulder. Another look at the man's face revealed friendly blue eyes and a neat little goatee on his chin that were both all too familiar.
"Chip? Chip Skylark?" the brunet whispered hollowly, staring up at the man in shock. The smile grew a bit.
"Oh? You've heard of me? I guess I'm not entirely dead to the music industry, huh?" the singer asked and laughed, "Wow! How much of a fan must you be to come all the way down here to find me?" Timmy returned the smile, laughing and crying all at once as he threw himself at the singer in a hug.
"Chip! You're okay! You're really alive!" he exclaimed joyfully. The singer looked down at him in confusion, returning the hug after a moment of hesitation.
"Uh, sure. Are you one of the crazed fans?" he asked, puzzled. The brunet stepped back, shaking his head with a grin.
"No, someone closer. Think about it. I'm the one who brought back your teeth when they were stolen that one time." Timmy returned. Chip blinked, thought it over, then shook his head.
"Nah. Can't be. Timmy Turner died four years ago." he remarked and the brunet smiled again.
"Do you believe in miracles?" he asked and the singer looked thoughtful before finally nodding, "Then believe in me. I really am Timmy Turner." He wasn't sure why he wanted to tell Chip right away who he was; maybe part of him deep down had finally given up on trying to hide himself from his friends. If they truly loved him, then when they knew the truth, they would side with him, join him in the fight to save the city. Maybe this was a way of testing the loyalties of his friends?
"Nah. Timmy wore pink, and that little hat that I always thought looked a little funny on him." Chip insisted and Timmy sighed. Maybe a little extra proof was needed?
"When I was ten, and alive, you were at my school play. You sang a song for me, told me to find my voice and everything." he told the man, "Well, I kinda found it after my death, but hey, better late than never, right? C'mon, Chip, it's really me!" He reached out, grabbed his hand and placed it on his head. "Okay, forget looking at me. Close your eyes and use your heart. Does it believe I'm Timmy Turner?" the young immortal asked.
"You're a very strange fan, but okay." Chip sighed and shut his eyes. And then a strangely familiar feeling crept over him, a sensation of hope, of instinctively knowing that if he could just hold on to that hope, that secret happy feeling, everything would be all right. The day would go on, life would go on; there would always be hope, there would always be a brighter day. Just hang on. The Heartbeat was there.
Chip opened his eyes, startled, and looked down in awe at the brunet looking back up at him.
"It really is you." he whispered, "Timmy! Little man! How?"
"It's a long story." Timmy returned in relief, "But it's good to have you back. There's a lot of stuff going on and..." A series of screams filled the air, echoing through the tunnels and making both the singer and immortal jump in fright. "What was that?" the brunet exclaimed in alarm and Chip gave him a sudden sharp glare.
"Did you bring other people down here?" he demanded and Timmy nodded quickly, "Then those monsters must have found them! Come on! We have to go and help them! If they get caught, they'll get taken to Bender and they can kiss their teeth goodbye!" He raced down the tunnel and Timmy shot after him, throwing out a Light orb to guide their way.
Tootie stepped back bit by bit, mind racing through the meager list of spells she had in her arsenal. She had combed through the disc that she had received from Timmy for more attack spells, wanting to do more than just heal the boy at the end of each fight. Holy Lance, Photon, Fireball, Lightning, among a few of the level-one spells she bothered learning; none of them seemed to do much damage to the strange gooey monsters that had slithered into her path from random tunnels and pipes. Well, it would blow them apart, but then they would reform and continue chasing her.
"Man, what I wouldn't give for a giant toothbrush weapon right about now." she sighed, lashing out with the Laser Blade. It swept through the belly of one and sizzled away a section of the creature's body. The top half dropped back onto the lower and the creature walked on, shorter by a few inches but generally unscathed. "This is so not fair." Tootie growled, hurrying back around a bend and halting at the sight of two more of the creatures, colored pale blue and dark red. The air smelled heavily of cinnamon, mint and baking soda, making it difficult for her to breathe.
These things had to belong to Bender and Wendell; only they would be crazy enough to be happy with monsters made entirely of toothpaste. And these things had to be made of magic, fairy magic, wished into service by Remy for the dentist duo in exchange for their work in protecting the underground network and locating possible fairy targets. She lashed out again in a fury, sick of the idea that the rich boy had so much advantage over them. Once more, the section was torn away with no effect, but this time Tootie saw part of the creature drop into the running water and dissolve into a bubbling lather that washed away to nothing. She blinked at it, then brightened.
"Of course! They're made of toothpaste! Water just liquefies 'em!" the Goth declared and swept at the creatures again, using the sword to knock as much of the monsters into the current as possible. Good idea, but it was slow going. The creatures were advancing faster than she could get rid of them, and the air was too heavy and thick with the perfumes of the various toothpaste monsters. She stepped back, mind growing dizzy with the lack of fresh air. What a way to go. Tootie uttered a soft laugh. Wouldn't it be a kick, to be killed in a sewer by something that looked like it was heaved out of a mutant Colgate tube?
"There they are!" a voice called out and a brilliant beam of light cut through the darkness of the sewer, sending the toothpaste monsters sprawling into the water.
"The air here is too full of this smell to breath well." Tootie could hear Timmy's voice wheeze, "Chip, check on Tootie for me. I need to do something about the air." The Goth lifted her head, looking up in faint surprise as the singer rushed to her and waved a hand before her face.
"How many fingers do you see?" he asked her.
"The fact I'm still alive to see anything is good enough for me." she returned with a grin, "It's good to see you're still kicking. So, you met my friend already?" Chip grinned back at her, nodding.
"Yeah, things definitely picked up for me now that Timmy's back in the game!" he remarked brightly and turned to watch the brunet stand near them, a look of concentration on his face, "But he's been doing some pretty weird things for a while now, like making lights out of nothing and having them float around and stuff. Don't remember him doing stuff like that as a kid." Tootie blinked as the air suddenly began to grow fresher, more easy to breathe. Standing up she looked around herself, then at the brunet, a faint realization dawning on her.
"Timmy? What are you doing to the air?" she asked him.
"Quiet. This is taking a lot of work." Timmy returned distractedly, "You okay?" Tootie huffed and folded her arms over her chest in irritation.
"First you tell me to be quiet, then you ask a question to hear my answer. Make up your mind!" she grumbled and the brunet opened his eyes, glaring at her.
"I was asking because I was worried. Excuse me for caring." he muttered, "I was converting the air to get you something fresher, but go ahead and choke on the old stuff." He flicked a hand upward and the heavy perfumes of the toothpaste scents flooded the area again. Chip immediately lifted a hand to his nose.
"Blech! I thought I'd never see the day I'd hate the smell of toothpaste, but ever since those things chased me down here, I haven't been able to stand it!" he complained, "Come on, little dude! Whatever you were doing before to help us out, don't quit now!" Tootie shrugged and shook her head.
"Fine, be a jerk. But thanks for the little bit of air you left behind." she remarked and touched fingers to the Fenton Phones, "Elmer, Sanjay? Romi? How are you guys holding up?"
"We've cut through the network pipe, but we picked up word from above that the anti-fairies are working double time. Also, Trixie reported that Timmy's team ran from their target point a bit ago." Elmer answered worriedly, "We tried to get in contact with them, but no one's answering and they seem to be running in one big group." Tootie gave the two boys with her an alarmed look.
"Timmy, you idiot, you left Chester and A.J. alone out there?" she yelled, "They're all running scared! What if they got attacked by these same things?" The brunet looked startled, jumping back from her.
"But I left Cosmo and Wanda with them!" he exclaimed and touched fingers to the Phones himself, "Elmer, Sanjay! You guys get out of here and head back to the street level! I'll take care of my team!" He looked towards his two friends grimly, "Okay, I'm going to have find the guys before this mission goes really bad. Tootie, get Romi back with you and tell Apollo to cover Elmer and Sanjay on their way back to Vicky and Trixie."
"But what about...?" Tootie began and tilted her head at Chip. Timmy lifted his hands helplessly.
"We don't have time to worry, and we don't have much of a choice. I'll track Cosmo and Wanda through their wands. You go back up to the surface with Chip, using Romi to protect the two of you." he told them and ran from them without another word. Tootie scowled and stomped a foot down on the floor.
"Geez! He makes me so mad sometimes! Who does he think he is, running off like that? He acts like the whole freaking world is on his shoulders!" she griped and looked up at Chip, "I'm gonna go follow him! The magic we use doesn't work on these toothpaste things, but I know another way to stop them!"
"Magic?" the singer echoed in confusion, "That's the weirdness he's doing? All right. Might not be a good idea for you to go, though. I can't put a girl in danger." The Goth stomped her foot again.
"I can do the same kind of magic Timmy can, and I carry a sword and dagger! I'm not some weak little girl, okay?" she griped and took a deep breath. "Romi! I want to make a wish!" she yelled and a blast of dark blue smoke erupted before them. The fairy hovered before her, startled to see Chip Skylark.
"Tootie, I'm not sure this is a good idea. It's risky enough having the Others and your sister know about fairies." Romi told her in concern. Tootie shook her head.
"We'll be okay for now. I wish that Chip Skylark was up on the street with Vicky and Trixie." she remarked and the singer shook his head emphatically.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hey, no way! I can't go up there and leave you and Timmy here to get taken out by those things!" he exclaimed. He ran a finger along his teeth, showing them to her. "If the stuff you do is magic, then maybe it's the same as what I can do with my Teeth Fu." he told the girl, "As far as I can tell, the light that comes from my shiny teeth is the only thing that can do any real damage to those toothpaste monsters."
"Oh, okay." Tootie sighed, "Romi, negate the wish. We'll go after Timmy together, but you have to be careful. You're not protected like we are." She lifted her arm and looked down at the band, "Fairy wand locator, locate subjects Wanda Cosma and Cosmo Cosma." The map bloomed into the air and scaled itself down until a pair of golden crowns blinked in the sewer map. "Okay! Let's go!" she declared and raced off with Romi and Chip following after her.
Surrounded by the creatures made of dental hygiene products, Chester and A.J. fought back as well as they could with the cutting equipment and laser rifles. Wanda fired bursts of magic where she could, sending everything from large dice to pieces of chicken after the creatures. Most of the toothpaste monsters were covered with random objects. After having run from a group of the monsters for the past few minutes, the team had found themselves cut off at one intersection by another group. With no choice but to fight, they stood their ground. Just beyond them, taking a greater amount of distance to keep the two boys and Wanda out of danger, Cosmo relied on the attacks that Wanda had warned him not to use. He couldn't really help it; they were something innate to him, far too useful, and he would risk everything to keep his family and friends safe. Besides, what was one or two rolls or blasts here and there?
"I don't see the point in doing this for them." the voice muttered in irritation as Cosmo spun in place, the green bladed wings on his back slicing through several toothpaste monsters at once.
"I care. That's all I need." the fairy returned under his breath.
"That's both irrelevant and idiotic. If you continue with this, I'll be forced to shut off your access to this power."
"You can't do that. Power's mine alone." Cosmo huffed out, falling out of the roll and looking around for more of the creatures, "I've got to protect Wanda... and the others... and Timmy most of all..."
"I agree to the continued protection of Timothy, but my ultimate priority is to you alone. The others mean nothing."
A cry sounded out as the remaining toothpaste monsters closed in on Chester, A.J. and Wanda. Startled, Cosmo looked towards them, then waved his arms in a panic. There were too many of the creatures and they were too close to the group for him to knock away with any of the magic attacks he kept hidden in his arsenal. He could try hitting them with some of the harder conjures, but there was the risk of screwing that up. There was always a risk of messing up when he was involved.
The monsters attacked, pelting the group with toothpaste as they brayed their laughter, giant teeth flashing light in the dim sewers. Chester knocked away globs of toothpaste with his hands, trying desperately to keep them from lambasting him and A.J. as the technical genius fired his rifle with little results. Wanda threw another set of randomly conjured items at one, then cried painfully as one large globule of paste slammed into her body, throwing her to the floor in a heap. Cosmo darted forward to her, cried in alarm as another shower of toothpaste filled the air, then found himself slamming the concrete as well, tangled in a mess of paste with both wings glued together.
"You see? This wouldn't have happened if you had just listened to me." the voice told him dryly as a pale green field of magic bloomed into a dome over him. Cosmo blinked dazedly at the shield, puzzled by its appearance. "Just stay put. It should be over soon."
"Dude, I'm not liking the odds right now." Chester grumbled to A.J. as the monsters pressed in further, "Man, if Timmy was around, we'd at least have one more target for these things to work on!" A.J. rolled his eyes and looked past the monsters in surprise, pointing beyond them after a moment.
"You wished for it! Look! There he is now!" the technical genius exclaimed, "Hey! Timmy! Help us out!"
The brunet raced in from down the sewer path, lashing back and forth at the monsters with the newest staff Caleb had given him, a slender violet rod that was called Hanuman's Staff. Who exactly Hanuman was was anybody's guess, and the android had not been in the mood for a history lesson. Either way, having the staff meant Timmy had a weapon, and he was flailing it about wildly in his attempts to drive the toothpaste creatures from his friends. The creatures turned slowly to deal with him as well, slamming huge arms down to try to take him out. One swung aside and connected, sending the brunet flying towards his friends with a startled, pained cry. Colliding with them, the trio fell to the floor and struggled to get reoriented. The monsters brayed in dimwitted triumph, collectively turning to face them again.
"Owww... Dude, that sucks. Those things would make it big as pitchers for the Yankees." Chester complained irritably as he tried to sit up. He pushed at the brunet lying across him, "Timmy! Get off! C'mon, we gotta get outta here!" A.J. blinked as he rubbed his head and paled slightly when he looked down at their team leader himself.
"That's not gonna be too easy. Wanda wasn't kidding when she said he couldn't take hard hits! Look!" he exclaimed, pointing at the arm that had taken the brunt of the blow. It was heavily bruised and seemed somewhat wrong. Timmy shifted and moaned softly as he finally shook off his dazed state, then immediately cringed and put a hand over the injured arm.
"Ow, ow, ow! What did they do to me? It hurts!" he cried, wailing louder when the African-American carefully touched fingers to the bruise.
"Broken. The hit must have snapped the bone." A.J. finally deduced and looked up at Chester, "What now?" The blonde squirmed free and stood, picking up the staff himself and wielding it like a bat.
"We're just gonna have to hold them off until he heals. Timmy, can't you use First Aid?" he replied and the brunet ground his teeth together, blinking back tears as he tried to straighten his arm with A.J.'s help.
"I don't have enough mana for it. I used up a lot trying to get past all those things out there... ow! Don't know how long... before I recharge..." he gasped in response and looked around himself, "Where are Cosmo and Wanda?"
Chester yelled suddenly and launched himself at the toothpaste monsters, swinging the staff to beat them back. The tunnels were becoming more crowded with each new group of creatures that tromped in, guffawing at the sight of them desperately trying to stand their ground. A.J. kept the brunet supported against himself, holding up his laser blaster as he fired in the direction of any creature getting too close to the patch of ground they currently held. Timmy growled in frustration, angry that he couldn't help until he had the strength to heal himself first. And Chester couldn't dodge hits forever; he'd just taken two glancing blows that knocked the wind out of him, even with the armor on and his own innate defensive skills. A solid blow, like the one that downed Timmy, and the Leader of the Others would be out of the game himself.
The group before them closed in, laughing, until the light of a blue-white laser cut through the mob of monsters, splattering toothpaste all over the walls and floor. The sewer water fizzled with the addition of so many tons of paste. Chester leaped back and looked around in astonishment, wondering briefly what had just happened before looking back at Timmy as he held a hand over his arm and murmured the First Aid spell softly.
"Was that you?" he asked of the brunet, "I thought you said you didn't have the magic power to do anything to those things."
"That wasn't me! That was Chip!" Timmy exclaimed in surprise, standing back up with A.J.'s help, "I thought I told Tootie to get him out of here!" He shook his head, exasperated. "Why doesn't she just listen to what I tell her? Is this some kind of punishment for something?" he complained as both singer and Goth arrived on the scene.
"We're here to save the day!" Tootie cried, Romi looking panicky as Chip pulled up alongside them both and smiled brightly, firing yet another beam of light at the horde of toothpaste creatures lumbering after the three boys from behind. Chester and A.J. jumped in alarm, staring first at the remnants of the monsters, then at the singer.
"Teeth Fu. I'm a master of it!" Chip declared with a grin, striking several of his old poses for the fun of it. The walls, covered in various colors of toothpaste, began taking on more shadows as yet more of the creatures began to trudge into the tunnels to take the place of their fallen brethren. Cinnamon, mint, lemon; the scents of toothpaste filled the air, making for difficulty in breathing as the group huddled close together, facing outward to take on the new threats.
"Wanda! Cosmo! Where are you?" Timmy called out again, searching the area frantically for his fairy godparents as the first few monsters lumbered into view, blocking off their escape routes. A blob of paste moved weakly and he darted for it, scooping it up and wiping the scented goo off of Wanda's form. She coughed, gagging on the thickly scented air, and her hair and wings were so badly coated, she seemed more like an oil-coated seagull than a battle-weary fairy. Nearby, the protective dome of green magic, also covered in colorful splatters of paste, fell and Cosmo got to his feet, trembling from the effort of moving despite the weight of the toothpaste clinging to him. Timmy gathered him up as well and hurried back to the rest of the group, a worried expression crossing his face as he recovered his place among them, facing the incoming horde of monsters.
"The light from my teeth can take care of a bunch of them, but not the whole army." Chip Skylark muttered under his breath to Timmy as he stood by the brunet. Tootie took up a place beside him as well, picking up on the words.
"But if we could dunk them all in water, they'll get wiped out in a flash!" she added in a whisper, "If we could just get out of here, I can make a wish for it." Romi nodded her head.
"I can't grant a wish that could endanger humans like that, so I can't do anything until we've escaped." she clarified, "But we're surrounded and they blocked the exits. We won't be able to get out and I won't be able to use my magic!" The brunet gave them a puzzled expression as his godparents tried to clean themselves up, groping almost blindly for their wands. After another moment to reorganize his thoughts and replay their words mentally, Timmy lit up in realization.
"Tootie! That's a great idea! We'll flood the sewers with water to wipe them all out! Once all the toothpaste monsters are destroyed, we won't have to worry about them blocking our exits and the sewers will be cleared for the next time we come down to cut the networks!" he explained in a rush.
"What? Wait, you wanna do that while we're still down here?" Chester cried in alarm, "Dude! We'll drown! Didn't you hear Tootie's fairy? She can't grant that wish while we're down here!"
"Trust me. I know how to keep us all safe." Timmy returned with a confident tone, then looked down at his godparents in his arms. "What happened to you two? Are you okay? Anything hurt?" he asked worriedly, "I'm gonna need your help with this, but I won't push you into doing anything until I know you're okay." Wanda put a hand to her head, laughing somewhat forcefully as she tried to salvage her hairstyle.
"Now I know what plaque feels like." she joked, "We're fine, Sweetie. It's gonna be harder to help while we're covered in gunk like this, though." She jerked her thumb over her shoulder. "We can't fly with our wings stuck together." Timmy looked up at the additional toothpaste creatures as they began closing in, teeth shining in the dim lights of the tunnel, then grinned.
"Well, don't fly." he remarked, "Just sit on my shoulders and get ready." The two fairies quickly scrambled to their places, still searching the gummy paste on their bodies for their wands as Chip bared his teeth at the first of the monsters hurling a fresh volley of toothpaste at them.
"Hurry up with whatever you're planning!" A.J. cried, firing rapidly on the monsters coming up behind them. Chester swung wildly at the incoming globules of paste with Timmy's staff, trying desperately to put his meager baseball skills to use somewhere. Romi fluttered about near Tootie, conjuring various items to throw at the toothpaste creatures in attempts to stall them.
"Hang on just a little longer! I don't have enough mana built up for Boltzman's Shield!" the brunet cried, hands held out before him as ribbons of shimmering color streamed around them from the paste on the walls, the water running beside them, the very air they tried to breathe despite the heavy perfumes of toothpaste.
"Found them!" Wanda declared as she pulled her wand free of the goop on her back, her husband tearing his loose from additional paste on his pant leg. The fairy couple lifted their wands in unison, poofing themselves clean instantaneously.
"We can't hold them off much longer!" Tootie cried, a circle of blue magic spinning at her feet as she aimed her dagger at the reinforcement monsters swarming the tunnel now, "Aqua Edge!" Disks of water rushed out from around her and slammed into one of the creatures, washing it away in a foamy demise. "The air's getting harder to breathe and we're losing ground!" she managed to choke out, eyes watering at the release of still more cinnamon scent into the tunnel. The beams of light from Chip's teeth were getting sporadic as he took longer breaks to rub at his face in pain.
"Smiling too big hurts, man." he groaned, "I can't keep this up forever!"
"Got it!" Timmy suddenly cried, "Boltzman's Shield!" The shimmering blue crystal bloomed between his hands and the cascading dome of mana rained down over the whole group, providing a welcome barrier against the growing number of toothpaste volleys. The brunet shut his eyes in concentration and the air within the dome suddenly began to grow fresh, no longer heavily scented and a relief to the lungs of everyone within it.
"An air pocket. Nice." A.J. commented, watching one of the globules of paste skim up against the dome and fly back, "The reflector shield does have its many uses."
"So we can breathe clean air again, but how do we get out of this mess?" Chester exclaimed, glaring out at the monsters, "There's no way Timmy can move this big a shield and keep fresh air inside it, all while running with us! That's too much for him to focus on! Hell, my brain can't handle that much thinking, and I got less F's than he did!"
"Don't need to move...!" Timmy managed to growl out, "Cosmo! Wanda! I wish... sewer flooded... water...!" In a flash, the fairy couple waved their wands, then clung to each other with eyes shut tight as a massive wave of liquid rumbled and rushed towards them, sweeping away the toothpaste monsters in a massive flood of scented foam. The group in the dome screamed in panic as the tidal wave of foam and water blasted over them. The shield held and the members of Team Turner uncovered their heads, blinking up and around themselves in awe. They were dry, they were breathing air, but most of all, they were still alive. Timmy sighed suddenly and sat down in an undignified flop, the crystal hovering before him as he bowed his head.
"Taking more focus... than I thought..." he mumbled tiredly. Tootie reached down and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"We can do fine with the air for now." she told him softly, "We'll let you know if it needs to be freshened again." He lifted his head and smiled at her in relief, then closed his eyes once more before opening them to look around himself more clearly.
"Well, that's one less untrained load on my mind." he remarked and blinked as he stared out at the strangely colored water, "Huh?" He peered at it suspiciously, then shot a look at the fairy couple as they hovered in the air. "I wished for water, guys! Why does it look green?"
"Water? I thought you said mouthwash." Cosmo remarked absently, "It seemed to do the same thing." The group sighed collectively in exasperation as the flood of liquid finally began to recede. Water or mouthwash, either one was sure to have cleared out the whole mess of toothpaste monsters. And, as a bonus, it probably messed up the exposed network connections even more.
A very successful mission.
When the whole of Team Turner was finally standing, mostly dry and collected, on the street, they were able to see first-hand what Trixie and Vicky had been watching for the past few hours. It looked as though a plague had descended upon the city of Dimmsdale, clouds of black-winged anti-fairies sweeping over them. Chester gazed up at them all, hands held up to shade his eyes.
"Geez, lookit 'em all. It's like the end of the world came or something." he remarked in awe. Timmy watched them with the group, faintly aware of the fact that Chip had seen a lot more of fairies and fairy magic than he really should have but hadn't really made any kind of fuss over it. "Should we run for cover before they hit us with bad luck or something?" Chester added worriedly.
"Eeks!" Andromeda suddenly squealed, flapping her arms excitedly, "There she went!" Tootie looked up at her, puzzled, and the fairy shook her head. "I saw my anti-self fly by. She scares me a little, but at least she didn't stop to bother us." she explained and hovered by her godchild, looking worried, "But it doesn't explain why all the anti-fairies are acting like this."
"Whoa. I've been left out of the loop more than I thought." Chip muttered, looking up at the mass of antis swirling overhead, "That's a lot of little flying people. Are they the same as the ones you and Tootie hang out with?" Timmy looked around again, walking forward as he scanned the skies.
"They're anti-fairies, opposites of fairies. We're supposed to meet one of them today." the brunet explained quickly, "He's kind of a friend of mine, though technically all anti-fairies are evil little guys and he's their leader." He looked up again, worried, "But he's usually in the middle of the mess, laughing his head off. I don't see him anywhere."
The black van pulled up by them and the doors opened, Trixie and Vicky jumping out to join the group for a report on how things were doing. The raven-haired Popular immediately raced for the team leader, throwing her arms around him in a hug as both Tootie and Chester looked on with faintly irritated expressions.
"You're okay! I'm so glad! What happened down there that got you and everyone else running around and...?" she began to cry, then paused and jumped back in sudden alarm, "You're soaking wet! What happened?" Timmy rubbed at his head sheepishly.
"I fell in the sewer water." he explained with a slight chuckle, then blinked as the girl wrinkled her nose. He frowned and huffed. "Well, I didn't do it on purpose." he added.
"Ah, well, I didn't mean it like that." Trixie stammered, "It's just that... well, what could have been mean enough to throw you in sewer water?" The brunet shrugged, but said nothing else, only turning away from her to watch the city and everything that was happening. She sighed again. Lost more points. Was she losing her touch, or was he really different from before? This wasn't good; how was she to get the best guy available if he was cooling down when it came to her?
All around the group, citizens raced about in a panic, followed by anti-fairies draining them of the black auras before flying off. Timmy tilted his head in confusion, then looked to his fluttering godparents for an explanation. Both Cosmo and Wanda looked surprised by the events, blinking in astonishment.
"What's going on? This doesn't look like the usual Friday the Thirteenth invasion." he asked the two fairies.
"They're gathering energy for someone. Lots of it." Wanda remarked in concern, "This kind of collecting looks pretty serious. One of the anti-fairies must have gotten seriously hurt or energy deprived."
"Can you tell who it is?" the brunet asked and both fairies shut their eyes for a moment, then shook their heads.
"Not Anti-Wanda; she's in good condition, but she's panicky. I'm still in one piece, so that's a sign that she's healthy." the pink-haired fairy returned, then looked to her husband. Cosmo remained silent, a frown on his face. "Cosmo, you're looking okay, so Anti-Cosmo should be fine too, right?" she asked.
"Maybe." he returned vaguely, "Not getting much." Timmy tilted his head curiously, then looked to the other fairies. Romi shook her head to signal that nothing was wrong with her, thus nothing was wrong with her anti-self. Apollo shrugged, puzzled but also healthy. His anti-self had to be fine as well if he wasn't struggling to stay airborne.
"Well, let's follow the antis and ask Anti-Cosmo about it. Maybe we can help." Timmy suggested hopefully and ran after one of the anti-fairies, calling out to it for directions. The other teens looked at each other, then raced after him, the fairies flying overhead to keep them somewhat safe as they searched for the leader of the anti-fairies.
The group reached a small, abandoned shop only a block away, a twister of anti-fairies spinning overhead as groups of antis dipped down before the building at random times. A cluster of antis were settled on the sidewalk, a mass of black bat wings and dark-colored clothes that all but obscured the view. Timmy ran ahead of his friends, waving his hand at the anti-fairies.
"Hey! Hey! Can one of you point me to where Anti-Cosmo is? I wanna ask him what's going on!" he yelled and the cluster scattered in a frenzy, flapping upwards like startled pigeons. One of them stayed where she was, her curled blue hair frayed from stress and anxiety as she knelt by the prone figure lying on a bed of blankets and pillows swiped from the abandoned shop. Timmy stopped short, staring down at them as the antis hovered around him, eyeing him warily. Wanda and Cosmo flew down by him, worried over why he stopped so suddenly.
"Oh." Cosmo murmured, catching sight of what his godson was staring at. He tilted his head, frowned again and turned his back on the group, a frustrated growl uttering from his throat. "You did something to me." he hissed under his breath.
"All I did was protect your mind and health. Blocking the synch was the only way. You should thank me; had it gone through, you would have been useless in combat for more than forty-eight hours." the voice returned coldly.
"Anti-Cosmo..." Timmy murmured in shock, kneeling down by the little anti, "What happened to you?" Battered almost beyond recognition, Anti-Cosmo lay silently on the makeshift bed, breathing softly as his 'minions' flew over him at erratic intervals, dropping shimmering clouds of black over him. Clothes torn, ragged, dirty, stained with long dried blood and ink; his monocle broken, shattered, the frame bent as it remained attached to its chain by a miracle; for a moment, the brunet was sure that the anti-fairy was dead. Timmy finally looked up at Anti-Wanda as she sat by her husband in tired tears. "Can you tell me what happened? What... did this to him?" he asked hollowly.
"It wuz horrible, ya'll!" Anti-Wanda sobbed out, lifting her hands to cover her face, "It wuz jest horrible! I was waitin' and waitin' and waitin' fer ages fer him ta come home and... and...!" She bawled louder and Wanda flew down to stand by her, hesitating for a moment before reaching out to hug her.
"It's okay. Calm down. Tell Timmy what happened." she whispered comfortingly. Her anti-self nodded, sniffling loudly as her makeup ran in messy black rivers down her face. She rubbed her eyes, then shrugged helplessly, shaking her head sadly as she looked down at her husband.
"He said some stuff, but ya'll know me; I can't keep all his fancy talk straight in my head fer too long." Anti-Wanda finally sighed, "Somethin' 'bout a plan and, uh, a war..." She shook her head, her mismatched teeth clenching together as she tried to hold back tears and talk at once. "Shoot, ya'll! I can't 'member it all!" she blurted, "But it was 'mportant!"
Timmy took in the sporadic information, then looked down at the anti-fairy, reaching out to carefully brush back his cobalt blue hair. He jumped back, startled, as Anti-Cosmo gasped suddenly and winced before slowly opening his eyes, one only partially open as the brunet made out a large bruise on the anti's cheek.
"Anti-Cosmo? Can you hear me?" he asked and the anti managed a small grin, sharp teeth glinting in the light of the lampposts around them.
"Not quite the reunion I had hoped for." he mumbled, "But then... I never thought... I'd be... discovered..." He trailed off and closed his eyes. "The note..." he whispered before falling silent. Anti-Wanda halted her sobbing and blinked in surprise before breaking into a huge grin.
"Oh yeah! That's right! Anti-Cozzie had me write down what he said when he finally showed back up at home!" she exclaimed happily, her previous sorrow forgotten in a flash at the thought of something she could do to help. She pat herself down, then pulled out a rumpled letter. "He taught me how to write, and he had me practice all the time." She held it up to Timmy, smiling. The brunet accepted the letter, then carefully opened it, puzzled by everything that was happening. Anti-fairies continued making their passes, dropping more energy down onto their leader in hopes of giving him enough to heal faster.
"A letter?" Timmy murmured, scanning the words quickly at first, then pausing as that sense of déjà vu returned again. The scrawled handwriting was familiar, as though he had seen it somewhere before. He shook his head, then read the letter again, more carefully as he picked out the messy words written by a frantic anti-fairy. "'They planned it all... A... setup. War is near. The Spires are... key... Stop...'" he read aloud and peered carefully at the words as the rest of the team caught up to him, clutching an assortment of hastily bought and crafted good luck charms to ward off the anti-fairies.
"Stop what?" Wanda asked, flying up to her godson as Cosmo lifted his head and looked back over his shoulder at them, a strangely suspicious expression on his face. "We're stopping the Dark Spires as fast as we can. What more does Anti-Cosmo want?"
"'Stop... destruction of Spires...'" Timmy picked out of the rumpled letter, "'Don't... show... truth...'" He tilted his head and finally looked up at his fairies. "Wanda, Cosmo..." he murmured, "What do we do? Anti-Cosmo got hurt looking for something that involved why I died. This is what he came back with." He shook his head slowly, confused. "Something's wrong with all this... and it's like the Spires are stuck in the middle of it. Destroying them is helping the fairies, but this says that destroying them is going to reveal a truth. Would that be bad? Worse than leaving the Spires up?" he asked them.
"The Spires... will show the truth...?" Wanda whispered and suddenly looked horrified, shooting her gaze at the silent anti-fairy lying on the on the sidewalk, "Who knows? Whoever did this knows?" She panicked, waving her arms. "Timmy! We have to stop destroying the Spires! Right now! No more missions!"
"What?" the brunet exclaimed in shock, "But if they stay up, Remy wins! The whole world will be covered in anti-magic and no fairy will be able to live here!" The pink-haired fairy smacked him with her wand.
"No more missions!" she snapped and turned her back on him, "We'll find another way to save the world, but we are not destroying the Spires!" Timmy stared up at her in alarm, then looked down at the letter in his hands, baffled. What was going on now? Everything was going well; the Spire connections had been cut, Chip Skylark was found and under Hounder protection, and then all this happened.
Who beat up Anti-Cosmo so badly that the entire Friday the Thirteenth was being used to restore his health? Why was he being told that destroying the Spires was going to do more harm than good? What truth was being hidden that had Wanda freaking out more than the time he wished himself into being the opposite of who he was? And why was she so intent on keeping it that way that she would let Remy and Crocker win?
"What's going on?" Timmy murmured again and looked up at the city skyline, taking in the view of the remaining Dark Spires from among the skyscrapers and the buzzing clouds of anti-fairies. This was one of those times where he wished he had a better way of thinking things out. Since the mission was successful, they should have bought plenty of time to destroy the next Spire. Time that would be needed to solve this new mystery, before anything more could happen to seal the fate of the world.
To Be Continued...