Okay, guys, so first of all—Chuck Versus the Other Guy? Totally awesome. The fact that I got to see it at Wondercon with two thousand other fans (including mxpw and Mikki13) was even more awesome. I've been browsing the ChuckTV forums lately, where people have started speculating about how Sarah would be acting now that she and Chuck are together. And every single time I read those posts I laugh to myself and think of Adorable Psycho. Once again, thank you, Wep. I love the AP universe.
Second: shameless self-promotion. I totally forgot to tack this onto the last chapter. Some of you may have seen it already, but if you haven't, you must check out Sarah's bad-assery and sexy bitchness. Because we all know that Sexy Bitch was meant to be her theme song, right?
Thirdly, thanks for waiting for this chapter. I have this thing where I start a story and somehow get stuck right in the freakin' middle of it without knowing how to end. It annoys the heck out of me. Luckily there are people out there who bug me to finish. Persistent motivation works wonders.
Finally (this is the last part, I swear), this chapter incorporates Disneyland's night show, "Fantasmic". If you've never seen that performance before, I've added Youtube links at the end of the chapter for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully my writing will do it at least some sort of justice.
Thanks to mxpw for beta-ing, as always. Now, onto the final chapter!
"There you are," Chuck said in relief, glancing up as Sarah dropped the colorful Disneyland plastic bag on the ground next to him. "You've been gone for over half an hour, what happened?"
Sarah groaned, pulling the Minnie hat off her head. "Sorry about that. It's like half the park suddenly had a craving for chocolate at the exact same time. Had to fight a crowd of overweight chocoholics to get what I wanted." She plopped down between his legs and leaned into his chest, dragging the bag into her lap. "On the bright side," she added brightly, "I got the last M&M's chocolate cup!"
Chuck stared as she pulled out a large cupcake liner, which was filled to the brim with solid milk chocolate and miniature M&M's, and began gnawing on it. "So," he said, "when you say you fought a crowd of overweight chocoholics, do you mean literally, or…"
"No one was hurt, if that's what you mean. One of them might have rolled a couple of feet, though." Sarah shrugged. "It's not like the kid needed any more empty calories. I did him a favor."
"Wow. Must've been crazy in there to have taken so long." Chuck said, nuzzling her neck. "Sorry you had to deal with all of that, sweetie. You should've called me, we could've switched spots."
Sarah stopped nibbling on her chocolate and hesitated. "Well, it didn't actually take that long."
"Really?" Chuck furrowed his brow in confusion. "What were you doing, then?"
Sarah fidgeted uncomfortably in his embrace.
"Oh, you know me. I can get…distracted sometimes."
Chuck opened his mouth to respond, then thought better of it. Sometimes it was best not to ask.
Carla Carlile was beyond the point of stressing. This was not happening. She quickly scanned the area for the twentieth time, double-checking the checklist tacked haphazardly onto her clipboard. The costumed audience before her did their best to look busy, readjusting their outfits and rehearsing snippets of choreography just to avoid the penetrating glare of Fantasmic's Show Director.
"For the last time," Carla bellowed through the megaphone, her hair a wild mess, "where the hell is Belle?!"
The group fell deathly silent. Somewhere amidst the mass of dressed up Disney characters, someone coughed.
Carla gritted her teeth. "There are over a thousand people out there waiting to see Fantasmic, and we're missing one of the most important characters to appear in the goddamned show," she said, her knuckles white around the megaphone's handle. She stared down the crowd for a moment longer. Then:
"Where's the understudy?"
A timid woman dressed as Tarzan's Jane raised her hand.
"Good," Carla said, making a quick note on her checklist. "You've got 40 minutes to get changed and be back here. Any later and you're fired as well."
"Welcome to Fantasmic!" the female voice boomed through the speakers on Tom Sawyer's Island, drowning out the cheers from the crowd surrounding the waterfront. Chuck gave a gentle nudge to Sarah, who was half-asleep against his chest. "Tonight our friend and host, Mickey Mouse, uses his vivid imagination to create magical imagery for all to enjoy!"
"I'm awake, I'm awake," Sarah said groggily, slapping Chuck's hand away when he nudged her again. "Stop poking me."
"Nothing is more wonderful than the imagination, for in a moment, you can experience a beautiful fantasy or an exciting adventure."
"You're gonna love this, I promise," Chuck said, the excited grin spreading across his face. "It's one of the best fireworks shows I've ever seen. If there's anyone who can waste thirty thousand bucks on extravagant nighttime entertainment, it's Disney."
Sarah spun around and gave him a scandalized look. "They spend thirty grand per show? That's completely ridiculous!"
"Well, yeah. It's the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate." Chuck rolled his eyes. "You're starting to sound like Casey."
Sarah elbowed him.
"But beware, nothing is more powerful than the imagination, for it can also expand your greatest fears into an overwhelming nightmare! Are the powers of Mickey's incredible imagination strong enough, and bright enough to withstand the evil forces that invade Mickey's dream?"
Sarah fought a yawn. "This chick is talking too much. And seriously? 'Strong enough and bright enough'? What are we, five?"
"Nooo…but there are a couple hundred kids here who are." Chuck slipped the Minnie hat back onto her head with a smile. "Come on, Sarah, embrace your inner child!"
"You are about to find out. For we now invite you to join Mickey and experience Fantasmic, a journey beyond your wildest imagination."
Sarah snorted. "Yeah? Well, I can think of something more Fantasmic than this."
Chuck stared at her in amazement. "Your puns are absolutely remarkable, you know that?"
"Shhh!" She whispered, waving him off. "It's starting."
Chuck suppressed a grin as Sarah leaned forward in anticipation, her eyes wide as she watched the live action flurry of Peter Pan aboard Captain Hook's ship. A gunshot rang out and she inhaled sharply; on the main mast's platform, the "wounded" minion plunged 70 feet into the dark waters below.
A little boy sitting next to them scrambled forward on all fours as Peter and Hook began a sword fight on a tightrope suspended above the ship. "Don't fall, Peter!" He shouted anxiously, clutching onto the bar fence in front of him. In Chuck's embrace, Sarah shook her head as well. A moment later, Peter shoved another one of Hook's men off the foremast's platform. The minion thrust his sword into the ship's flag, slowing his fall and landing safely on deck. Sarah nearly squealed with glee.
"One of these days I'm going to find some way to try that," she said brightly, leaning back into him as she pointed to the skull-emblazoned flag. Chuck laughed, until he realized that she was being completely serious. He masked the laugh with a cough.
"I, uh…actually prefer that you didn't, sweetie."
The lights faded out on the ship, and three platforms glided across the lake in a white-blue glow as the music transitioned into a ballad:
See it in your mind, and you can find
In your imagination
Tales of enchantment, beauty and romance
Happily ever after
Suddenly, Sarah went stiff in Chuck's arms. Bolting out of his embrace, she gaped in shock as one of the platforms lit up in color, illuminating both main characters of Beauty and the Beast while they danced to their theme song.
"Sarah?" Chuck leaned forward in concern. "What's up?" When she didn't answer, he looked at the platform again, confused. Then the pieces clicked together, and he gulped.
"H-honey," he stammered hastily, "don't do anything rash, I don't think that's her. This Belle looks a little different—"
Sarah whipped around to face him, a strange, undecipherable look on her face. "Are you sure? You can't be sure of that, Chuck." Then, without warning, she plunged a hand into her top and pulled out a miniature pair of binoculars, which she immediately pressed against her eyes. After a moment of intense examination, she dropped the binoculars with a nod of approval.
"Okay, you're right," she said, relaxing against him, "it's not the bitch after all. My mistake."
Chuck simply gaped at her like a fish out of water.
"W-where…how…" He motioned erratically towards the binoculars, eyes bulging. "Where did you get those?!"
Sarah offered a nonchalant shrug. "I'm your girlfriend. I prepare for anything."
Chuck took a moment to wrap his mind around that one. After a couple of seconds, he tilted his head toward her ear.
"You snuck your knife collection and gun through security too, didn't you?"
"Maybe," Sarah replied, then diverted her attention away from the performance long enough to add in a husky whisper, "you can search me later."
Chuck forced back the shudder.
"Now you will deal with me," Maleficent snarled, "and all the powers of MY IMAGINATION!!!"
With a wave of her wand, there was a blinding flash of light and smoke. The speakers boomed with the orchestra's frantic tempo as Maleficent rose above Tom Sawyer's Island in a red haze while green flames flashed across the water projection screens on the lake. Onscreen, Maleficent morphed into her dragon form with a roar, transforming the lake's water projection into a green inferno and illuminating Sarah's entranced face in an eerie emerald glow.
"Imagination?" the evil old hag from Sleeping Beauty asked mockingly onscreen before breaking out into an evil scream of laughter. She was joined by The Little Mermaid's Ursula and Fantasia's Chernabog. The music died down to a whine for one chilling moment as the red flames engulfed the water screens, and Maleficent's cackle heightened into insanity with the climactic rise of violins and horns.
Sarah literally gasped aloud and threw her hands over her mouth. Out of the shadows, taking up the entire front of the island, emerged a 45-foot animatronic dragon with glowing eyes. Maleficent's cackle became even wilder as her dragon form observed the crowd in a bluish-green haze; a second later, it opened its mouth and shot a real blast of fire into the water, which caught ablaze and rapidly spread across the lake towards the audience.
Chuck and Sarah leaned back as the heat hit them full force. Nearby, the little boy fell away from the bars and whimpered. Sarah sat in Chuck's arms, completely awestruck.
"It's on fire," she said in a hushed voice, eyes wide as she turned to him. "Holy crap, Chuck, the dragon set the lake on fire?"
Chuck grinned. "Fire-on-water effect. They've got natural gas lines running underneath the lake, and there are flamethrowers on the island that set them ablaze. Amazing, right?"
Sarah simply stared at him, another strange look on her face. Chuck gave a sheepish shrug.
On the island, Mickey marched up to the dragon with a magic sword in hand. "You may think you're so powerful…" he said, raising the sword. "Well, this is MY dream!"
The sword gave off a bright spark, sending a bolt of electricity into the dragon and incinerating it from the inside out. Maleficent screamed in anguish as the dragon began smoking; onscreen, Ursula and Chernabog were also destroyed in the same way. Their screams were so potent, even Sarah had the decency to cringe. With a final explosion of pyrotechnic sparks, the island dissolved into darkness, making way for Tinkerbell's onscreen introduction to the grand finale.
From the far right of the lake, the Mark Twain Riverboat glided across the river in a shower of glitter. In time with the music, the boat burst to life with Steamboat Mickey and 50 other beloved Disney characters celebrating on board. Sarah nearly squealed, bouncing in sheer delight.
See it in your mind, and you will find
In your imagination
Mysteries and magic, visions fantastic
Leading to strange and wondrous dreams
Dreams are make believe
But could they all come true?
The characters danced along with the music, brandishing ribbons and waving to the crowd as they passed by. Sarah actually began waving with the rest of the kids, glancing back at Chuck every once in a while to exclaim the names of her favorite characters aboard the boat. Then she saw Belle up front, and her expression immediately iced over.
"Slut!" She shrieked, flipping the princess the bird. "She cheated on you, Beast! That's right—t'was Skankiness that screwed the Bitch!!!"
"O-kay!" Chuck blurted, pulling Sarah back with a nervous laugh. "She probably can't hear you, hon, but everyone else sure can. Family friendly place, remember?"
Sarah glanced around at the glowering crowd around them and flashed a smile.
"Some imagination, huh?"
With a cheerful laugh, Mickey disappeared in a burst of sparks, glitter and smoke. The last of the fireworks shot into the air as the spotlights did a final sweep across the crowd; the island darkened for just a moment before lighting up with a blinding, explosive bang.
The audience burst into cheers and applause. Instantly Sarah was up, hauling Chuck to his feet before dragging him through the masses.
"Sarah, where are we—"
"That was inspiring," Sarah said without looking back. "So inspiring, in fact, that it gave me this fantasmic idea."
Chuck was thoroughly confused. And also a bit scared.
"Uh…what exactly do you have in mind?"
"On a rollercoaster," Sarah said aloud, marking a worn sheet of paper with a satisfying smile, "check." She folded it up and slipped it into her pocket, then stepped lightly off of the ride platform. Chuck came up behind her, hair mussed and breathing a little more than spent.
"How…" he wheezed, eyes wide, "how are you not completely exhausted from that?! I think I just broke a record!"
Sarah thumped him on the back. "Oh, sweetie. Practice makes perfect, that's all! And you were absolutely amazing. I'm proud of you." She glanced down. "Zipper's down, by the way. Here, let me get that for you—"
"No, no, I got it!" Chuck squeaked, halting in the middle of the walkway to pull it up. Sarah smirked.
"That was such a rush," she gushed, turning around and practically skipping up the ramp to SpacePort's exit. "For a moment, I thought you weren't gonna make it, Chuck, but you did and it was spectacular! There was a flash of brilliant light and everything!" She sighed happily and slipped her hand into his. "Top ten, definitely. I can't wait to go home and do it again."
Chuck managed to miss that last part; his brain had sputtered somewhere around "brilliant light". He jerked to a stop, pulling Sarah with him. His face drained of all color, noticeable even in the dim blue light of the building.
It took a second longer to register, but Sarah's reaction was nothing like Chuck's. With a delighted squeal, she charged toward the exit and into the snapshot preview area with boyfriend in tow.
"Sarah," Chuck said, looking frantically at the throng of people around them, "we really need to get out of here. If we get caught, we are totally—"
The next batch of pictures appeared on the large screens, and a collective gasp ran through the crowd. Scandalized parents quickly covered their children's eyes and hurried them away. A group of teenage girls in front of them turned away in disgust. Two particularly obnoxious college boys gawked at the screen for a few seconds before whooping and roaring with laughter.
"—screwed," Chuck finished weakly.
Sarah ignored them all. She walked up to the screen in an almost daze-like fashion and ran a reverent hand across it.
"Beautiful, right?" Chuck was next to her in three strides, already attempting to tug her away from the picture. "I know, honey, it's a great shot of…us…but we really, really need to go."
"But we need to buy it!"
"That's probably not the best idea—"
Suddenly the screen that was displaying their picture shut off. Chuck swore under his breath. Sarah finally registered what was going on and immediately took the lead. They were just short of running past the photo purchasing booth when:
Both Chuck and Sarah stopped short as a couple of burly-looking men in white long sleeves and fluorescent orange and yellow vests appeared before them, arms folded firmly across their chests.
"Hellooo, officers!" Chuck said a little too loudly, flashing a wide and all-too forced grin. Sarah sidled up next to him, an innocent smile also set in place. "What, uh…what can we do for you?"
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. Bzzzzzz—
"What now, Walker? Haven't you given me enough crap tonight?"
"Not nearly enough compared to all the shit you've given me for the past four years. Casey, I need a favor."
"Pass. I've covered my freebies for the week. You're on your own."
"Casey, I'm serious. I promise this has nothing to do with Chuck's constant stream of hos."
"Is it government-related?"
"Walker, I hacked into a high-level security system to give you intel on some chick who dresses like a Disney princess for a living. I didn't ask for details. I don't know what you did with her, nor do I want to. What more do you want from me?"
"I need you to be a friend."
"Are you high? What the hell are they giving you at that place?"
"No, seriously, I need you to be a friend and bail us out. We're in Disney Jail."
"You're in what?"
"You're shitting me."
"I'm not. It really does exist. And Casey, you will be shocked to know that they have some of the best security I have ever seen outside of the agency. They're not letting us go unless we get someone to pick us up."
"Chuck says Ellie and Devon's on call, and before you ask, no, we're not asking 'the little bearded man' to come get us."
"…Goddammit, Walker. I can't believe I'm doing this for you. You better have a damn good reason for getting yourself thrown in a fucking jail for Disneyland misfits."
"Because you're doing this for me, Casey, I'll spare you the juicy details just this once. Before you leave, though, do me one more favor? Still got the security system hacked?"
"Leave it open. They've got a Space Mountain souvenir that I plan on framing and putting on my nightstand."
"I'm never stepping foot into your bedroom, Walker. I don't even need to know what's in that picture to know that you're one fucked up woman."
"Thanks! I'll let Chuck know you approve."
"Go to hell, Walker."
Two weeks later…
Chuck sat at the table with the newspaper spread out on the table in front of him, a bowl of Cocoa Puffs in his hands. Just as he was getting into a particularly interesting article titled "Swimsuit models mysteriously disappear after visit to local Buy More", a sound resembling a screechy wail cut through his concentration.
"When out of the night the forces ignite to blind you with frightening speeeeeed…"
Chuck cringed at that last part. As much as he loved his girlfriend, she didn't exactly have the best singing voice. He glanced up to see Sarah emerge from the bedroom, wearing nothing but an old oversized t-shirt of his and a pair of boy shorts. Unsurprisingly, a white cord extended from her ears, plugged into the iPhone she was currently clutching like a microphone.
"You use your might to brighten the light, creating a night of wondrous dreeeeeeaaaaams!"
"Morning, honey!" Chuck bellowed over the high-pitched shriek, putting down his bowl just in case it cracked. "Still listening to that song?"
"It's my official wake up song," Sarah said proudly, tugging the earphones out of her ears. Her expression darkened considerably. "Of course, it's not like I'll be able to watch the show for a while, since we were fucking banned for five years."
Chuck nodded sympathetically, going through the motions. "I know, sweetie. Disney doesn't understand our expression of love, that's all."
"Exactly!" Sarah replied vehemently, plopping down on the chair across from him. "What the fuck are they calling 'public indecency'? That picture is a work of art!"
"And it welcomes you every morning on your nightstand."
"Thank you, Casey," she said, placing a hand over her heart.
Chuck grinned and pushed the box of Cocoa Puffs and milk towards her. "Breakfast?"
Sarah took one look at the box and visibly paled. "No." She shoved the box away, shaking her head.
Chuck stared at her, brow furrowed in concern. "Hey, are you okay? You look like you're about to throw up."
"I just…I don't know. Cocoa Puffs make me sick."
"But…you love Cocoa Puffs."
Sarah shook her head again and slumped against the chair. Chuck leaned over and rested his hand over hers.
"Hey, maybe you should go see a doctor or something. This is the third time in a week that you've felt nauseous like this. And, uh," he hesitated for a moment before adding, "maybe it's just me, but lately you've seemed a little more…tired…in bed."
Sarah's eyes flew to his. "What?"
"Or not! Or not! It's just me!"
The appalled look remained on her face for a split second longer before it was replaced by an altogether different expression. If it was even possible, Sarah went even paler. Abruptly, she stood up and made a beeline for their bedroom.
"Sarah—" Chuck began, but her voice cut him off.
"Bathroom, be right back!" With that, she disappeared behind the door.
Thoroughly confused, Chuck slowly pulled the bowl of cereal back into his hands and browsed through the newspaper. A few seconds later the bowl was on the ground, forgotten.
Burned Body Found in Disneyland's "Rivers of America"
Anaheim, CA — The burnt body of a missing employee was discovered at the bottom of Disneyland's "Rivers of America" last Friday.
28-year-old Melissa Hartmann was reported missing two weeks ago after she failed to show up for her performance on the nighttime show "Fantasmic". Hartmann, who portrayed the character Belle from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast", had last been seen walking back to her dressing room after a meet-and-greet session at Disneyland's newest attraction, "Beast's Castle".
"We don't understand how this could have happened," said Carla Carlile, Show Director of 'Fantasmic'. "She was one of our newest employees to perform on the show, and so excited to be a part of it. It was a mystery to all of us why she hadn't shown up. We never expected something like this to be the reason."
Hartmann's body was found at the bottom of "Rivers" just off the bank of the attraction known as "Tom Sawyer's Island". Investigators report that the body was severely burned, a result of "Fantasmic's" use of gas to light the lake on fire during performances. However, closer inspection revealed various stab wounds and cuts across the body, suggesting that the cause of death may have been a result of severe blood loss, drowning, or possibly both. A full autopsy report should be available within a few days.
"We intend to get to the bottom of this," said Thomas Stagg, Chairman of Walt Disney's Parks and Resorts, on Saturday. "Obviously the person who murdered Ms. Hartmann is smart. But we're *censored* Disney, and we're going to hunt this person down if it's the last thing Disney ever does."
Walt Disney Company, however, declined to comment, and the following day decided to drop the investigation altogether.
"Fantasmic" has been shut down until further notice.
Chuck nearly knocked his chair over standing up. He sprinted into the bedroom and slammed into the bathroom door.
"Sarah?!" He pounded once, twice, three times. "Sarah, Melissa Hartmann's death is in today's newspaper! You lied to me!! You told me that you accidentally gave her a heart attack then slit her throat for good measure!!"
He'd never been so angry with Sarah in his life. "It's bad enough that I let you off the hook with that kill, but this? God dammit, Sarah, this is taking it too far! What do you have to say for yourself?!"
The door to the bathroom swung open. Sarah stood there looking like a ghost, paler and sicker than he'd ever seen her. In her hand was a small stick; although it was shaking violently, the plus sign was clearly visible, practically screaming its joy to the world.
Chuck went weak at the knees.
Sarah slowly brought her gaze to his, her eyes glassed over in shock.
And thus ends Chuck and Sarah's Fantasmic Adventure. Hopefully I haven't completely ruined your views of the wonderfulness that is Disneyland. But hey, I haven't ruined mine, and I'm the one who wrote it, so… :D
Like I mentioned before, this throws us straight into mxpw's "Adorable Psycho Versus The Nine Months". Make sure to bother him about updating!
And finally, as promised, here's the link to "Fantasmic":
The entire show itself is about 22 minutes long, but the main parts I've referred to in this chapter are: from the beginning until (0:59) of Part 1, from (1:05) to (4:41) of Part 2, and from (1:03) to the end of Part 3.
Thank you all for reading! Up next—me attempting to finish off that final chapter of Closet Gleek! Whoo!