To Boldly Flee
(A Nostalgia Critic Crossover)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I know, I know… This chapter took way longer than I'd intended. But with Real Life and working on making this chapter exactly how I want it, writing too more time than I'd planned.
Hopefully, however, you all were able to get aquainted with the Nostalgia Critic. If not…you will be confused. But if you go to You Tube and look up 'To Boldly Flee' it will help you understand this a lot better.
Now, since this is what I would call a tertiary crossover, I am posting it as a separate story. But the regular chapters will be starting up again after this when I'll be covering the episode 'Season 7—Time For a Wedding!'
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Fiona asked as she, Sam, Castiel, and Jo headed towards Chicago, Illinois in the Impala. "I mean, shouldn't Dean be here?"
"Dean's got the twins to take care of… and Ziva," Sam replied as he took the next highway exit. "Besides… it sounds like a standard case of ghost possession."
Jo watched Sam for a while and finally asked, "So this guy used to be a friend of yours?"
Sam nodded, thoughtfully. He remembered Doug Walker from school from school—a dorky kid but incredibly creative. A few days ago, Doug had called saying that there were some weird things going on around Chicago. Sam had listened and after a while, agreed to check things out.
Getting to a modest-looking house in a quiet neighborhood, Sam pulled into the driveway and parked.
Once out of the car, the group headed up to the front door where Jo knocked before waiting for an answer.
When the door opened, Sam looked at his old friend. "Hey… it's Sam?"
"Yeah, come on in," Doug—aka the Nostalgia Critic(A/N: I'll be abbreviating NC periodically, by the way.)—said, after a moment of recognition. "Sorry about all this. Some jackass got the feds to put me under house arrest and now I've got this stupid ankle bracelet." Looking at Sam and the others, he added, "By the way… Just so you know I go by the title 'Nostalgia Critic' now. You can just call me 'Critic', though. Everyone else does."
"Okay," Sam said, not sure what to make of that news. Indicating the others, he added, "This is my wife, Fiona—better known as Fi—Jo Harvelle, and Castiel, former angel of the Lord. We just call him 'Cas'."
The Critic raised an eyebrow at that and looked as Castiel. "Angel of the Lord, huh?"
Castiel nodded, his expression deadpan. "I was temporarily stripped of my powers after I opened a gateway to Purgatory. It was against my will, but I was punished all the same."
"Long story," Jo interjected. "So what's the weird stuff you called about?"
NC felt slightly better talking about his current crisis rather than getting to conversations about angels and Purgatory and so he went through the story—Malachite's Hand, the death of Ma-Ti, and everything in between. When he finished the story, he asked, "So what do you think?"
Sam, Jo, Fi, and Cas exchanged looks, none of them knowing what to say. Finally, Jo said, "Ma-Ti from the 'Captain Planet' cartoon died and you cremated him before putting his ashes in an oatmeal canister and hurling him into space."
"Yeah, and now he's back and haunting me," the Critic replied. "I mean, it seems like he took over one of the other reviewers on my website. And before that I got this weird phone call from some British chick asking me if I wanted to sell my soul to bring Ma-Ti back and become supreme ruler of the entire internet."
Sam's brow furrowed at that and he asked, "This woman wouldn't have given you her name by any chance?"
NC nodded and replied, "Bela. Why? You know her?"
"We've met," Sam said, his expression dark. Looking at his wife and friends, he added, "Guess she's a crossroads demon now."
"And us without the Colt," Fi threw in, although she did feel better knowing that both she and Sam had their demon-killing knives.
"Oh, thank God you're home!" exclaimed a man with short, dark brown hair and wire-rimmed glasses. He also wore a fedora and a brown jacket which was worn over a green t-shirt and a flannel long-sleeved shirt. "Mechacara's loose and he just tried to kill me…again." The guy looked from the Critic to the others, completely confused. "Who the Hell are they?"
NC looked from his fellow reviewer to the others and explained, "Linkara, this is Sam, Fi, Jo, and Cas. They're here to help figure out what's going on."
"Uh-huh," Linkara said, doubtfully. "So what is going on, Critic?"
By the following morning, most of the reviewers of the thatguywiththeglasses dot com website had gathered in the Critic's basement thanks to a teleporter NC had stolen from Dr. Insano—something which had required a fair amount of explaining for Sam, Fiona, Jo, and Castiel.
"So this demon is pulling the strings and making all of this weird stuff happen?" Nella, a close friend of the Nostalgia Chick, asked, curiously, looking at Fiona.
"We think this is caused by someone manipulating fandoms, plotholes, and possibly the time-space continuum," Linkara explained, looking over at the former angel and demon hunters. "Possibly by using supernatural means along with science fiction."
"What kind of 'supernatural means'?" asked one of the other reviewers—a guy named Paw. "And what does this have to do with that spacial anomaly we found?"
One of the girls—a taller young woman with dyed-red hair named Obscurus Lupa—asked, "What spacial anomaly?"
Paw began to explain about what he and a few of his fellow reviewers had discovered while Sam looked at Fiona. "We're going to need help… A lot of help," Sam said, quietly.
When her husband gave her a meaningful look, Fiona nodded and said, quietly, "Gabriel."
"You rang?" the archangel said, cheerfully as he popped in accompanied by Abby Scuito and very pregnant Celeste.
"Yeah, we've got a really weird situation going on," Jo said, sitting down in front of the Critic's computer.
The Nostalgia Chick(A/N: I'll be nicknaming her 'NChick' btw) gave a dry laugh and muttered, "No kidding."
The Critic held up both hands to stop any more comments as he said, "Look, the point is that whatever is going on is affecting all of us. Spoony is somehow being possessed by Ma-Ti and that—whatever around Jupiter is going to keep getting bigger."
"So what's the plan?" MarzGurl asked, not liking the set up on this. It sounded suspiciously like when the Critic had come up with that harebrained scheme to take over that micro-nation or the quest for the gauntlet—Malachite's Hand.
"Well, it's obvious, isn't it?" Paw replied. "We've got to go into space and find Ma-Ti and that demon chick."
There was a collective silence for a moment until another reviewer spoke up. "Yeah, hate to be the downer here," the Cinema Snob said after a while. "But we've got three big problems. One—We don't know where Ma-Ti is or how to find him. Two—we know nothing about fighting demons or anything else that's out there." Looking at NC, he added, "And three—Unless I'm mistaken, you can't even leave this house."
But to Gabriel, that didn't sound like a problem. On the contrary—he smiled as he raised his hand and snapped his fingers, enjoying the look of confused astonishment on everyone's faces as the house was transformed into a slapdash spaceship.
NChick looked around, impressed, but she frowned as she looked at NC. "Okay, now we're got the ship but won't going on this adventure violate your house arrest?"
"Why?" the Critic said, smugly as he sat down in the newly created captain's chair. "I'm not leaving the house. And hey—we've got our own team of demon killers," he added, gesturing to Abby, Gabriel, Celeste, Sam, Fiona, Jo, and Castiel.
"One of whom is about ready to pop," Bennett the Sage pointed out to the very pregnant Celeste. "Excuse me, but who are you anyway?"
"Celeste DiNozzo," Celeste replied. "Angel of the Lord and currently 8 and a half months pregnant," she added, sitting down slowly. "And I gotta say that I do NOT understand why humans go through this on a regular basis."
Paw, who had been sitting at what seemed to be the propulsion and navigation station, spoke up, "Critic, we're ready to go."
"Then let's go find this anomaly," NC said with a nod. "Engage!"
On another spaceship orbiting Jupiter
Bela Talbot could not believe that Crowley was doing this to her. She was a thief, not some stupid science fiction nerd!
What was worse was that she was working under the orders of some mysterious master calling himself The Executor who seemed to be incredibly fond of spewing 'Star Wars' quotes every other word he said.
"So what are we after anyway?" Bela asked as one of The Executor's minions passed her.
The minion—Floyd—looked around before whispering, "A plothole. A source of limitless possibilities and story arcs. With it, The Executor can make the world into anything he chooses and there will be no way to stop him."
Bela let Floyd go but her curiosity was now piqued. This plothole seemed to be incredibly powerful and potentially priceless. If she could somehow harness this anomaly's power then there would be no end to her power. She'd even be able to take Crowley's place as the Ruler of Hell… Or better yet, she thought, a smile on her face… She could become the new God.
"Ms. Bela," another minion said, tentatively. "The, um… The Executor wishes to see you."
Bela held out a hand and flung the minion against the far wall. "I've got a better idea," she said, gleefully. "You tell him that I am in control now."
"Then you should know that the critics are no longer in Earth's atmosphere," Floyd said, nervously. "They, uh… turned the Nostalgia Critic's house into a spaceship and are now heading for one of Jupiter's moons—Europa—and the plothole."
But Bela wasn't perturbed by this news. Instead, she ordered, "Follow them. In the meantime, I have a coup to stage."
The Executor was oddly amused by the fact that Bela wanted to take over. "I knew you were the one to stand by my side in this endeavor. Crowley chose his apprentice well."
Bela didn't even bother to hide the smug self-satisfied smile on her face at those words. She could see her plan coming to fruition even now. This Executor or whoever he was practically trusted her for no other reason than she was currently Crowley's right hand—something that she had spent her entire tenure in Hell working on.
"Now," The Executor said, getting down to business. "What can you tell me about the Nostalgia Critic?"
Bela kept her expression neutral as she replied, "We're in pursuit of your silly collection of internet critics, but we may have a larger problem than them."
"Such as?" The 'Star Wars' wannabe asked.
"Your little group of critics are working with a trio of demon hunters and several angels—including God's favorite celestial being," Bela explained. "And trust me—if God finds out you are trying to kill Celeste, he'll kill you."
The Executor paused for a long moment. "Well, shit. That's going to fuck up my plans."
Aboard the USS Exit Strategy…
In the garage of the house/spaceship, Sam stood over the trunk of the Impala taking a mental inventory of the weaponry collected.
"That's a lot of weapons," Luke Mocherie said as he walked up to Sam, looking at the trunk of the classic car.
"Tools of the trade," Sam replied, shrugging as he picked up his favorite gun and checked the clip. "Everything to kill werewolves, ghosts, demons, vampires… Just about anything."
Luke didn't like the sound of that and trying to cover how afraid he suddenly felt, he looked at the box of charms and amulets Sam had withdrawn before closing the trunk. "What's all that for?"
"Well, we don't know if Bela is the only demon we have to worry about," Sam explained as he handed one of the charms to the kid. "This will keep any other demons from possessing you and the others."
As the two entered the main part of the house, they nearly bumped into CR who had been running to the garage to find them. "Hey, your friend, Celeste, just started going into labor!"
Sam handed the box off with directions to pass the charms out to everyone and he hurried up to the spare bedroom where Fiona, Abby, and Jo were being shooed out of the room by Cas and Gabriel.
"Sorry guys," Gabriel said, quickly, sounding nervous. "Angels only right now."
Heading back to the living room where the navigation, weapons, and communications equipment was set up, Lupa and MarzGurl looked up when they saw Sam and his friends. "How is she?" Lupa asked.
Sam shrugged as Abby joined Paw who was watching communications. "No idea. Gabriel and Cas kicked us out of the room."
"Why would they do that?" NChick asked, frowning in confusion.
"There has never been a report of an angel being pregnant before," Sam explained. "And trust me—you don't want to be in the room when angels go nuclear."
The critics in the room all exchanged looks and after a minute or two, Cinema Snob raised an eyebrow. "You're telling us that you basically got the equivalent of a nuclear bomb in this house?"
"Except this explosion likely won't be destructive," Jo said, hopefully.
Although in truth, no one knew what would happen when Celeste finally gave birth. But when Anna had torn out her angelic grace and fallen from Heaven, not only had she been reborn to a mother who couldn't get pregnant, but her grace had led to the creation of a hundred-year-old tree in Kentucky.
But before anyone could say anything else, a bright light filled the house.
Shielding their eyes from the intensity of the light, all activity stopped until the light faded.
"Everyone okay?" The Critic asked, looking around at his crew. When everyone confirmed that they were okay, he looked around. "What the Hell was that?"
There was a chirp on the communications network and a moment later, Gabriel's voice came over the speaker. "So who wants to come and say 'hello' to Grace Kelly DiNozzo?"
NChick, MarzGurl, and Lupa quickly followed Fiona, Abby, and Jo to the bedroom and they stopped when they saw Celeste holding her baby daughter in her arms.
"Oh, my God, she is so cute!" Lupa exclaimed when she saw the infant. "Congratulations!"
"Thanks," Celeste replied, sounding seriously tired.
"Uh, guys…" JesuOtaku said as she came into the room, pointing at the window. "What exactly is that?"
Everyone looked at the strange anomaly which seemed to be getting closer and closer.
Fiona turned to Gabriel and Castiel and was about to tell them to stay with Celeste when shouts came from downstairs. Recognizing Sam's panicked voice, she raced down and stopped dead when she saw both Anna and Lucifer standing in the living room. "Oh, crap!" she exclaimed, taking in the presence of the two.
"Second that!" Paw said, looking at his screens. "We've got an urgent transmission coming through."
"From who?" NC asked, not liking the prickling on the back of his neck.
Paw looked dubious as he replied, "Dr. Insano."
The Critic thought for a few moments, knowing full well that everyone was watching him for clues on what to do. Finally, the Nostalgia Critic said, "Put him on screen."
Paw did as directed and a moment later, the crazed mad scientist appeared on the monitor.
"Where the Hell are you people?" Insano demanded. "I have been trying to track you down for the past two days!" The critics looked confused at that and when no one said anything, the mad scientist let out an exasperated sigh. "I am not trying to kill you! In fact, I am trying to save your lives!"
NC seemed even more perplexed by that news and after a moment he asked, "Save us from what?"
"From the plothole," Insano explained. "It is a device through with story inconsistencies and gaps in logic may charge through, invading our world! It can also shift perception and reality making the impossible possible!"
"Which is how Lucifer and I got out of Sam's head," Anna deduced.
"I'm sorry… Lucifer?" Lupa said, hesitantly. "As in… the Devil?"
Lucifer smiled sinisterly. "Come on, don't hold that against me. I'm harmless! Sure, I could torture you in unspeakable ways, but I promise you can scream as much as you want."
Everyone backed away from Lucifer and even on the TV monitor, Dr. Insano looked suddenly panicked. "Uh, close the plothole, destroy the enemy and don't call me, I'll call you!" With that, he signed off.
"Well, he was a lot of help!" Phelous groaned. "How are we supposed to stop a plothole?"
A musical reviewer, Todd In The Shadows, turned to the others and said, "Someone slap him and then let's try to figure this out."
"I love it when you take charge like that," NChick said with an adoring smile that didn't even fade when Todd pushed her off of him.
Fiona looked at Sam warily before turning her attention to Lucifer. She wasn't worried about Anna but the Devil himself was another matter all together.
"Wait a second!" Nella exclaimed, excitedly. "Maybe we can use the plothole to our advantage."
"How do we do that?" Phelous asked. It was bad enough that all this crap was going on but now the Ruler of Hell was there which automatically made everything a million times worse.
But Nella wasn't deterred as she grabbed Sam's gun from the waistband of his jeans and fired at Lucifer who seemed stunned before falling to the ground, apparently dead.
"You… How did you do that?" Abby asked, not quite sure what was going on. Actually, given that her parents had been hunters she was used to the weird and unusual. But the past few years, the bar just seemed to be going higher and higher.
NChick looked at her best friend and cohort and then at Lucifer's dead body. "You just shot the Devil!"
Nella beamed and replied, "Yes, I did! When Insano was talking about the plothole, I realized that since reality and sense didn't matter that getting rid of our friend here would be a snap."
"In that case," the Nostalgia Critic said, reclaiming his seat in his captain's chair. "Someone get rid of the body and then let's go investigate that plothole!"
Bela sat in her appointed chambers on the star ship studying the profiles of the internet critics she'd been instructed to eliminate.
She knew about the Winchesters and their friends but these reviewers and critics were a total mystery. But she also knew that everyone had their price and as a crossroads demon Bela would be able to manipulate each and everyone of the reviewers to get what she wanted.
The reviewer named Spoony was being carefully guarded aboard the Nostalgia Critic's house ship, and while The Executor wasn't really objecting to the situation, he had made it clear that Spoony was a pivotal part of the endgame—whatever that was.
There was the Nostalgia Chick who had a monumental crush on Todd In The Shadows who, in turn, was madly in love with Obscurus Lupa.
Love was a powerful motivator for crossroads deals but the more Bela considered the circumstances, the more she understood that she needed an even more powerful motivation. She needed someone desperate enough to make a deal yet arrogant enough to think that they could outsmart and/or double cross her.
Continuing to scroll through the profiles, Bela stopped at one particular name. A critic who seemed to be extremely full of himself and while he did have the appearance of enjoying his work as a critic, he had much, much higher ambitions of being a true filmmaker.
Now that she had her target, the only question would be how to get him alone on this ship. But after contacting one of the minions, she sat back in her chair and smiled to herself. The Cinema Snob would be transported directly to her and she had no doubts that she'd be able to convince him to turn to the dark side.
When the Snob arrived a few hours later, Bela was in her chambers, sitting on the chaise lounge she'd been given to sleep on.
"Hello, Bradigan," Bela said with a seductive smile as she studied the man before her.
"How do you know my real name?" Cinema Snob asked, suspiciously. He looked at the young woman sitting on the lounge and he couldn't help mentally undressing her.
Bela could tell that her target didn't trust her, but she could also tell that the young man very much wanted to sleep with her. "I know a lot of things about you, Bradigan," Bela purred as she stood and approached him. "I know that as much as you claim to be happy being a mediocre filmmaker and an internet critic, deep down you long to be something far grander."
The Snob couldn't find his voice as he considered that. "And you can just make that happen?" he asked, doubtfully. Oh, he'd been warned about the fact that demons could make deals, but until now he hadn't really believed it.
"Standard crossroads deals are only 10 years," Bela replied, calmly. "But if you make a deal with me, I'll give you twice that." Circling the Cinema Snob, she went on. "Think about it… You could rank with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron... Or if you want to branch into comedy I could introduce you to Mel Brooks. And just think… you could be the one to make the next great animated movie that could put Don Bluth to shame."
The Snob couldn't help but think over the offer being presented to him. Fame, fortune… everything he had ever dreamed of. And yes, it would cost him his soul in 20 years, but that was a long ways off. But was there something else that the deal would cost him much sooner? "And besides my soul, what do you get in return?"
Bela shrugged as if the cost was of little concern to her. "You hand over your friends—Spoony and the Nostalgia Critic. The others are free to leave." Seeing that her target was wavering on accepting the deal, she went on. "If you like, I'll give you, say… 48 hours to consider my offer. You can go back to your friends and come to some sort of arrangement."
Cinema Snob couldn't think of anything to say about the offer presented to him but it was the final part of the crossroads demon's offer that really grabbed him.
"And if you say 'yes', I'll even bring in your lady friend," Bela said, sweetly. When she saw the Snob's eyebrow rise in puzzlement, she clarified, "Your fellow reviewer… MarzGurl?"
The Snob stiffened at that, even as he ran through the possible scenario in his mind—Fame, fortune, and the girl he'd fallen deeply in love with? He couldn't turn that down. It was his entire future on a plate… How could he possibly refuse?
Arriving back at the Critic's ship, the Cinema Snob didn't say anything as he headed into the kitchen where he found MarzGurl helping Luke Mocherie and Gabriel with sandwiches. Looking at the young man and the archangel, the Snob said, "You guys mind giving us a few minutes?"
Luke looked totally confused—as did MarzGurl—but Gabriel knew the look in the other man's eye only too well. "No problem," the angel said, simply, as he led Luke out of the room, each of them with a tray of food.
MarzGurl raised an eyebrow in puzzlement, not sure of what was going on. "You okay?" she asked, cautiously. "I mean the others were pretty much convinced that you'd betrayed us all and—"
"Would you go out with me?" Cinema Snob asked, looking at her.
"Huh?" MarzGurl asked, completely caught off guard by the question. It wasn't like she hadn't thought of it every now and then, but… "Where'd that come from?"
"Kaylyn," Brad said, dropping the girl's internet name in favor of her real name. "I like you…a lot. You're smart, witty… Beautiful… And when I was over with that demon—Bela—she made me an offer. But I'm ready to tell her 'no deal' if there's even a chance you'd go out with me."
The reviewer and fan of Don Bluth just stared for a moment as she thought about the situation. Brad—the Cinema Snob—was willing to turn down a deal that would likely get him everything he'd ever wanted…just to be with her. Kaylyn didn't know what to say in response, except… "Soon as we get back to Earth—You're on."
When the soon-to-be couple entered the living room, the Nostalgia Critic looked from one reviewer to the other, especially when he noticed that the two were holding hands. "When did this happen?" He asked, confused.
"About 2 minutes ago," the Snob replied, looking at Paw. "Hey, Paw. Hail the other ship, will you? I've got a message for them."
The rest of the reviewers along with the hunters looked nervous at that but Paw did as instructed and suddenly on the screen, Bela appeared looking surprised. "Bradigan… I didn't expect to hear from you so soon. Ready to turn in your friends?"
"I'm declining your offer," the Snob replied, simply. "I'm not making it that easy for you to destroy my friends." Looking over at Luke who was manning the weapons consol. "Give 'em everything we got," he directed.
Luke beamed and nodded. "Yes, sir!" After a moment, he sent every available weapon in the arsenal towards the other ship.
"Now," Cinema Snob went on. "Let's go check out that plothole."
As the hodge-podge group stared at their destination, the Nostalgia Critic felt a growing sense of…something. It was hard to define and he couldn't help but feel that inside he would find the truths he'd always sought.
"You know the interesting thing about destiny," Celeste said as she approached the Critic, her baby in her arms. "—is that it's never really what you think it is." Looking at the plothole and then back at NC, she added, "I think the real question you're asking yourself is why you? Why now?"
The Critic thought about that for a long while before he came to his conclusion. "I can't pull the others into the plothole, can I? I have to go alone…don't I?"
Celeste shrugged lightly and smiled. She, too, sense there was something more in the plothole and her curiosity would only be satisfied once she knew what was in it. "Not alone."
Inside the Plothole…
For some strange reason, the inside of the hole looked normal. The Nostalgia Critic seemed confused that he found himself sitting on his own couch next to Celeste who seemed equally confused. "Where are we?" the Critic asked, confused.
"I have no idea," Celeste replied, looking around as well. Spotting a laptop computer she opened it and her eyes widened as she saw the MS Word document. "This is…"
"Really weird…" The Critic concluded.
The two stood quickly when they heard someone walking through the house and as the figure walked into the living room brushing his teeth, he stopped, staring at the two people standing in the room. "Oh, my God," he said around his toothbrush.
"Who are you?" the Nostalgia Critic asked, looking at himself.
Doug Walker looked a bit unnerved by the situation and he replied, "I-I'm the writer."
Celeste looked from one man to the other and asked, "The writer of what? What's going on?"
Doug frowned again as he looked at Celeste, confusion etched on his face. "Who are you?"
"Celeste DiNozzo. I'm an angel of The Lord." She seemed even more perplexed when Doug raised an eyebrow at her last name.
"You're not part of my script," Doug said, frowning again. But thinking for a moment, he retrieved his computer and after a moment or two he brought up a website and handed over the computer. "I think you're part of hers."
"'And Fi Makes Three' by The Lilac Elf of Lothlorien," Nostalgia Critic read as he slowly sat down in a nearby chair. Celeste read over his shoulder and he went through the story.
"The Nostalgia Critic was a character I developed for an online media show," Doug explained as the two characters read the fanfiction. "And somehow… you became more evolved than I could have ever imagined. The whole show and the characters that came from it… you all became so much more than the actors that portrayed you."
"So what about me?" Celeste asked, not sure of what to think about all this.
Doug shrugged. "I only skimmed the story because the story author made a mention on one of my FaceBook posts that she was working the Nostalgia Critic into her story line. I mean, it's nothing incredible but it's not a bad read. Little too Mary Sue-ish sometimes, though."
"So…what now?" the Critic asked, thoughtfully. "How does the story end?"
Pointing at the front door, Doug explained, "Through that door is the real world. If the two of you go through it, you'll no longer be just characters. You'll be in charge of your own destiny."
There was a long silence as The Nostalgia Critic considered his choices but before he could make his choice, he needed to say something. Turning to the plothole, he said, "Ma-Ti, I know you can hear me somewhere in there. Whatever you think you think you're going to accomplish with this…this isn't going solve anything. I know I was an ass to you before and I didn't understand then what I do now."
"And what is that?" Ma-Ti asked, derisively.
"That heart isn't just about making people feel better," NC replied. "I-I always thought that it was a useless power. That you were useless. But it's about something more. Something greater than yourself. It's about fighting on even when you have nothing left to give because you have something to fight for."
"Believe it or not," Celeste added. "…I know how you feel. No one listens to you. You get cast aside for those with more deserving gifts. Ma-Ti, my specialty is healing. It's helping people overcome the hurt and pain in their lives. But in all the thousands of years I've been doing this, I didn't let anyone heal me. Because I didn't realize that I was hurting, too."
The Critic thought of the last time he saw his friend before he died—lying on the ground, dying, because he'd sacrificed his life to save friends that had never given him anything. "Ma-Ti, you were the best of all of us. Sure, you were pissed off at the world but you still had hope for it. Don't give that up now."
Even though he wasn't sure how exactly to deal with the present situation, Doug considered the characters he'd written—characters that had now become real—and he said, "We all have a destiny. We all have a path. Ma-Ti, your fate was supposed to just be saving your friends. But now… I think you're meant to do something even greater."
"What are you talking about?" The Nostalgia Critic asked, confused.
Doug looked at the character he'd created and at the plothole. "If you leave, Ma-Ti—if you move on—the plothole will destroy us all. Right now you're the only thing keeping it stable."
Ma-Ti was quiet for a moment and he found himself thinking about his choices in life. And more to the point his choice at this moment. "I'm sorry, Critic."
"There's nothing to be sorry for," The Critic assured him. And as he said the words, a strange glow seemed to envelop the whole room, blinding everyone for a moment before fading.
When the glow had subsided entirely, the Nostalgia Critic saw that they were still in his house—at least he hoped this was his house—and the other critics and reviewers were present.
"What just happened?" Paw asked, looking around and noticing that all the equipment had vanished. "Why are we back?"
"Ma-Ti," The Critic replied, simply. Looking at his friends, he smiled warmly.
"So what happens now?" The Cinema Snob asked, looking at the others. They'd defeated their enemies and closed the plothole. So what lay ahead for them all now?
But the Critic didn't have an answer for him. That was the question, after all.
"We do what we always do," Spoony replied, sagely. "We review. We embrace the good and bring the bad to light. Just like before."
"Sounds like fun," The Nostalgia Critic said, enjoying the idea. It was a second chance and a new opportunity to embrace his life. This was what he was made for and he wouldn't have it any other way.