And, we return to the general strangeness that is this fanfic. Things are starting to heat up in this chapter.

Chapter Twenty-Three: Dashed Hope

Dimension 52

It's not easy for anti-fairies to poof to other universes, and it's outright impossible for them to do it alone. Their bodies simply weren't strong enough to handle such a large burst of power. If you had told Anti-Cosmo that he and his wife would have to travel to another world to rescue their son, Anti-Cosmo would have rolled his eyes and told you to save such fantasies for your therapist.

Sadly, these circumstances were anything but normal.

Anti-Cosmo wasn't entirely sure where they were...assuming they were even in the right dimension. But, he wasn't really capable of pondering much at the moment. The huge outflux of magic had left him barely conscious enough to keep his eyes (slightly) open, and he imagined his wife wasn't faring much better. This wouldn't do at all. How were they supposed to find their child when they couldn't even move?

Suddenly, a brown blob obscured his vision. Mother of the Axolotl, he could hardly even see! Of course, that could have been because his monocle had fallen off his face.

"Whoa, you dudes don't look so good," the blob said worriedly. It sounded male, and it must have been stupid if it felt the need to inform him that they looked terrible. "Can-Can you talk, dude? Can you tell me what happened?"

Anti-Cosmo blinked a few times, feeling the fog lift itself from his mind. "And, why should I?" His voice was weaker than he'd wanted it to be, but at least he could speak.

Based on the brown blur's motion, Anti-Cosmo guessed that the creature was scratching its head. "Well, I saw you two in the grass behind my mansion-slash-makeshift-apartment-building, and you looked kinda dead. Also, the girl-dude may...actually be dead?"

Panic gave Anti-Cosmo enough energy to roll on to his side and look at his wife. Anti-Wanda was out cold, her head turned toward him and her mouth opened slightly. Fortunately, the steady rise and fall of her chest told him that she was alive. He reached over and gently shook her shoulder.

She moaned quietly and turned her head, muttering, "I wanna sleep forever."

"Oh, she's alive," the creature announced. "That's a big relief."

Strength slowly returning, Anti-Cosmo carefully propped himself up on his elbows - ignoring the soreness of his, well, everything - and felt the grass for his monocle. Once he found it, he placed it over his eye and finally got a decent look at the brown creature, who appeared to be an enormous anthropomorphic gopher. "Listen, you," Anti-Cosmo told it. "I'm going to ask you something, and I'm only asking nicely because I don't currently have the energy for violence and death threats."

"Blarg!" Anti-Wanda blurted out, now fully awake and unintentionally emphasizing her husband's words. "My body is painful!"

"Pay attention, dear," he told her gently. "This is something you'll want to know as well." His tone hardened as he returned his attention to the very confused gopher. "We're looking for someone. He is a small cubic boy with purple eyes and premature facial hair." Anti-Wanda immediately perked up. "Have you seen anyone like that?"

The gopher hummed in thought. "Does this dude have a deep voice and say a lot of loud, hammy monologues?"

Hope sprouted in Anti-Cosmo's chest. "Yes! Yes, indeed."

Anti-Wanda bolted upright and grinned. "H-Have ya seen hi- Oh! Oh, I sat up too fast."

"Uh, yeah, I saw him," the gopher answered wearily. "Some friends of mine were trying to help him get back to his dimension. They took the little dude to Mighty Med."

Mighty Med. Of course. That hospital had portals to a lot of dimensions, so it made sense that Foop would be brought there. Anti-Cosmo shakily stood up, feeling stronger but not quite well enough to fly. He offered a hand to Anti-Wanda, who took it gratefully and got to her feet.

Her pink eyes gazed pleadingly at the gopher. "Please take us to the portal there! Foop's our son!"

The gopher's beady black eyes widened in surprise. "Wait, you're- Oh, oh dude. Don't worry. I-I'll take you dudes there right now. My name's Larman, by the way."

"I'm Anti-Wanda," she introduced. "This here's my hubby, Anti-Cosmo."

"And, for the Axolotl's sake," Anti-Cosmo said, rolling his eyes, "please stop calling us dudes."

Dimension JET98

"I don't know about this," Horace said wearily. "I've never really trusted anti-fairies. How do you know this one isn't up to no good?"

Tad had suggested taking Foop to Mighty Med, claiming that the place had portals to several dimensions. This allowed them to accept patients from across the multiverse. Although the hospital did not have portals to every dimension, it was still a good place to start looking for Foop's world. So, now they were at the interdimensional hospital, and Foop was gazing at everything with poorly hidden childlike wonder and touching everything he could get his hands on.

Such as the stethoscope sitting on the reception desk, which he picked up and examined, asking, "Hey, is this thing meant for strangling or just shoving down people's throats?"

"Give me that!" the humanoid doctor snapped, yanking it from the infant's chubby fingers. "This is not a toy!"

Foop's matter-of-fact reply was simply, "When you're nine months old, everything is a toy."

"Horace," Ford began as Violet tried to keep Foop from pushing all the buttons on a defibrillator, "As Foop has just pointed out, he's a baby."

Nadia nodded in agreement. "Yeah, he needs to go home, be with his parents."

"And, how do you know his parents aren't involved with this?" Horace asked.

Ford immediately thought of Foop's earlier breakdown. He opened his mouth to respond, but Tad beat him to it. "Come on, Horace. What parents would let their nine-month-old enter a foreign dimension by himself?"

"And, how do you know he's by himself?"

Foop huffed, no longer interested in buttons (much to Violet's relief). "For badness' sake, man! If you know what's good for you, you hippocratic oaf, you'll return me to my world. Otherwise, word of your insolence will surely make its way back to my father, who, might I add, is the ruler of Anti-Fairy World-"

Horace's widened comically. "Anti-Cosmo is your father?"

"Um, yes." Foop was clearly surprised that the doctor knew his father. "Apparently, you know him."

"Do I ever!" Ford smiled. Perhaps now Horace would be sympathetic. But, then the doctor said to the infant, "Come along, little guy. Let's get you cubed."

Foop raised an eyebrow. "Say what now?"

Violet's weary response voiced everyone's thoughts. "Um, is that necessary?"

Horace sighed. "You're right. He's already a cube. It would just be redundant." He grinned. "So, we'll make him into a paperweight!"

"Or," Starclops drawled, "we could get him home so that he can stop asking us bleventeen questions."

Foop shrugged helplessly. "I'm a baby, and I've never been to another dimension before. Can you blame me for being curious? On an unrelated note, Starclops, are your points sharp enough to kill people? If so, I may need your assistance, come February 3rd. In my world, that's the beginning of Destroy the Weak Week."

Starclops nodded. "Oh yeah, I've accidentally killed people multiple times."

Tad made a throat-clearing sound. "Getting back to the matter at hand. Horace, would you please tell us how we can get Foop back to his world."

Horace scowled but hummed in thought. "Well, I can't stand Foop's father...but I'm afraid of what Foop's mother will do to me if she finds out I did nothing to help her son."

"Mummy can be feisty, when she wants to be," Foop commented.

"Fine," Horace conceded. "I'll help." He narrowed his brown eyes at the anti-fairy. "But, I'm watching you, anti-fairy."

Foop shook his head and laughed. "Look at you, acting tough. I don't think you truly know who I am. I am Anti-Poof Anti-Nebula Anti-Cosma. I am feared! I am despised! And, most importantly, I am wet! Someone change my diaper!"

Suddenly, a loud siren went off. The lighting turned red. Doctors and nurses scattered to the nearest exits, moving the patients they could and protecting the patients they couldn't.

The group let out surprised yelps and instinctively shrank back. Foop flailed his arms wildly and cried out, "Wailing sounds! Panicked crying! What's happening!?"

Tad was the first to recover from the shock. "What's going on, Horace? Are we under attack? Please don't say that's the fire alarm!"

To their immense surprise, Horace simply waved dismissively, as the siren's call faded away. "Relax. That was just a routine test."

The group let out relieved breaths. "A test of what?" Violet asked. "Smoke detectors? Burglar alarms?"

"A test to see how loud and panicky people get, when you set off a terrifyingly loud alarm!" They stared at him blankly. "What? I was curious." The alarm went off again. Upon seeing the group's annoyed looks, Horace stated, "That is an alarm you should worry about."


Oh, Horace. You're so casual about imminent danger. What set off the alarm? Review to find out!