The final three sat at the dining table, eating breakfast silently. By now, only three chairs remained at the table. Breakfast that morning was eggs and slightly burnt toast.

Ness sighed. "This is only reminding me of how much I miss Melissa."

The two boys nodded.

Ness and Ignacio made eye contact. Ignacio frowned and both turned their heads.


"Ness stood up Ignacio and almost cost him the challenge," Jasper said. "Apparently that's why they're fighting. It was kind of underhanded, but I don't know if it's worth this grudge. I kind of feel bad because...this might actually help me get into the finals."


The three continued to eat in silence.

"Congratulations Ignacio, Jasper and Ness!" Rhonda said over the P.A. "You are the final three! You've made it this far and you're almost there!"

The three couldn't help but smile a little bit to themselves.

"You have thirty minutes to get ready before today's challenge. Obviously, it's a big one. It's going to push you like no challenge has ever pushed you. So get ready."


"I believe there's an almost 14% chance of being in the final three," Ignacio said. "I actually made that! I'm here, three days away from winning this show. I joined simply because my modeling agency said they wanted me. I thought I should take the chance. Even with...recent events...I'm glad I did."


"Eeeeeeee!" Ness squealed. "I'm actually in the final three! Me! When I saw the Fizzled Fireworks I thought "I'm the first boot". Now I'm at the semi-finals! I do feel lucky I'm here, but I also know it wasn't just luck. Mostly because it's me."


"The final 3," Jasper said. He paused for a moment, reflecting. "I went from the third boot to the final three. Didn't see that coming, did you? I didn't. I'm a little upset I missed out on so much of the competition, but I did so much that I've had a great time."


"It's odd how attached you can feel to places," Ignacio stated. "The Pentagram is a sinister, tacky, eerie, ill-conceived, labyrinthine death trap...and yet I'm going to miss it. I know that's more the people and the experiences, but still."


"I sometimes think this hotel is alive and hates me," Ness said. "But, it feels more like home than home. Sometimes I wish I saw more of D.C., but there was so much going on in the hotel. I don't want to leave it."

She patted the seat, only for the cushion to fall out from under her, sending her to the floor.


"With how famous my brother and a few of my cousins are, I have stayed in a couple of hotels," Jasper said. "When they remember to book me a room. None of them are like the Pentagram. That's kind of why it's awesome! I stayed in a famous, haunted hotel! Not everyone will."


"I'm bias but my favorite challenge had to be the fantasy VR," Ignacio said. "I really need to play more video games because that was fun! The strategical elements combined with the world-building was addicting...if filled with holes. Nothing was more satisfying than beating that final boss. It's silly, but I hope my fellow orcs are okay. If you buy the game remember to help them."


"I don't know if I have a favorite challenge," Ness said. "The Animal Buddies was awesome because we got to meet all those amazing animals! The Zoobreak part was less fun. The crossover with Tides was so cool; I hope Andre is in the final 3 on his season. It was kick-butt to do classic challenges like the Wheel of Misfortune and especially the Awake-A-Thon. To not only compete, but win it? If my younger self could see me now…"


"Am I egocentric if my favorite challenge was one I won?" Jasper asked. "I mean the wedding challenge is from a classic season. It was so satisfying to solve all those mysteries...and spend all that time with Lita."

He blushed. "To win the first merge challenge, the same as the first ever Total Drama merge challenge? My inner fanboy died. Only thing better would be winning a challenge by defeating my older brother...oh wait, I did!"


"The people have been the best part," Ignacio said. "I made friends with people who like me for me and don't judge me. I have actual bros now! Griswold, Riley, Easton, Lita...I can't wait to hang out with everyone again. Even Kalino. For all that he did, I'm still glad we were friends."


"I made life-time BFFFLs on this show," Ness said. "Seriously, my roomies were the best. They were there for me when I needed it. Melissa too! I wish all four of us could have had a big sleepover. Then there's Griswold, Riley, and Easton. I was so lucky we were all a team. Ooh, and Mandy! I miss her too. I miss most people. Even if I wasn't close, it was still fun they were here."

Ness sighed and looked down. "I know everyone says we won't lose contact...I want to believe that, but people grow apart. I'm preparing for it. At least I'll have memories to hold onto."


"I know I don't stand out," Jasper said. "I certainly didn't with how colorful everyone here was. Wish I could be like that. I'm lucky I made a few friends. Tessa, kind of Vance and Diamonique, the other guys...and Lita. I'll never forget what she did for me."


"I never did figure out Rhonda's deal," Ignacio admitted. "I guess there is no greater secret to how she got this job, knows all those people or why we've never heard about her. She had connections. That's what you need in show business. Still, she and her minions are off. Even for me, and I know I'm an odd fellow."


"Rhonda may be the one person as unlucky as me," Ness said. "No one deserves that...but she isn't always pleasant. Sometimes she was nice! Usually with an ulterior motives, but still. I can admire how she hosted and kept this show running. That's not easy. As a fan you don't want a nice and sweet host, you want one who's dramatic. So I think in that sense...yeah, great host. Good host. Okay host."


"Rhonda?" Jasper asked. "I know she and her co-hosts didn't mean to cast me...but they brought me back. She's the reason I'm here and not Melissa. I owe her a lot for that. So yeah, I like her. ...I don't think I'd hang out with her, though."


"Jenny and Toby are more peculiar than Rhonda," Ignacio said. "That's what I should've been wondering. Who are they? Where are they from? Why are they always together? Is Toby actually Jenny's sidekick? Maybe if they were less annoying I would've been curious to ask…"


"I'm worried she'll see this," Ness said. "Then again, she avoids work like the plague. Let's just say I'm not a big Jenny fan. Toby's okay. Kind of mysterious and all his gadgets are cool. If he were nicer he'd be sorta cute. ...Were Toby and Jenny a thing? Are they related? ...Both?"


"Jenny voted to keep me too, so the same thing," Jasper said. "Although, she wasn't nice about. She's not nice about most things. She's outright mean and sadistic. My ears don't like her. I wouldn't be surprised if Toby's partially deaf. Actually, what's their deal? How did those two and Rhonda meet anyhow?"


Ignacio sighed. "I wish I could be happy I'm in the final three with Ness. I keep working up the courage to ask her why she lied to me...but I think she's avoiding me now. Regardless, she's incredible. Jasper is a lot cooler than you'd realize. Both are tough competitors...I don't know how anyone is betting on a winner."


"Jasper has won four challenges," Ness said. "I think that's close to, if not the most challenges anyone has won in a season of Total Drama! I'm scared of going against him. But as a fellow fan I respect it. I also know Lita's really fond of him, tee-hee. Ignacio...he's the smartest and sweetest guy I've ever met. I don't know if he'll talk to me after the show. I don't blame him if he doesn't."


"Ignacio is a genius," Jasper said. "Not to be petty, but it's unfair to be that attractive, physically fit and intelligent. Leave something for the rest of us."

He laughed, but it sounded forced. "Ness, you wonder if she was cursed as a baby. What's worse, being invisible or being known for being unlucky? Thing is, she's a lot smarter and stronger than you realize. People really like her too. I'm worried about going against both of them…"


"What will I be remembered for?" Ignacio asked.

A montage of all the times Ignacio lost his clothes played; taking off his shirt at the first challenge, the sandbag hook ripping off his clothes, melting the snow by stripping, the speedo bursting during the fashion show, his caveman costume riding up, and more…

Ignacio turned crimson. "Probably my...mishaps. Hopefully a few people remember me for my intelligence and other efforts."


"What will I be remembered for?" Ness asked.

A montage of all the times Ness was jinxed played; tripping on the penny as scarbs attacked during the first challenge, an escaped gorilla kidnapping her, having an allergic reaction so she was forced to wear a cone, getting hit with a stage light and then set on fire, a ladybug bathing in a pool of her blood next to her unconscious body, and more…

Ness rubbed the back of the head. "What else? Not that it matters. I knew if I joined this show my bad luck would be all over the cameras. I'd do again in a heartbeat."


"What will I be remembered for?" Jasper asked.

...

Jasper sighed. "No one will remember me for anything. After last challenge I realized something. I don't want to be nobody. This is my chance. If I win this show, I'm somebody. I'm not just some guy; I'm the winner of Total Drama Genesis. So I have to win."


The final three stood in the lobby. Rhonda smiled at them, somewhat generously yet somewhat sadistically.

"Welcome to the semi-finale challenge newcomers! If you remember, our first challenge was a test to see how you'd handle the elements of Total Drama. Since then you've been through a lot. You're almost at the end, but we want you to prove you should be here. Today's challenge is your final test."

The final three all gulped in sync. They shared a look, before glaring determined at each other.

"This challenge is overcoming your greatest weakness."

The three immediately dropped their composure.

"You three will compete in a challenge designed to test if you've really grown," Rhonda continued. "Each part of this three part challenge is a different test for a different newcomer. Whoever wins the most events wins invincibility, a guaranteed spot in the final two, the last stay in our penthouse suite and...a very big reward. You want it, trust me."

The three nodded slowly.

"Now then, to the theater!"

/

The newcomers and hosts entered through the backstage, where the still smoldered curtain was down.

"Through a random draw we've selected the order of challenges," Rhonda said. "First up is...Ignacio!"

The model's eyes grew wide, but he puffed out his chest. "No problem."

"Great," Rhonda replied. "Then...let's get started!"

The curtain rose and the lights flashed, revealing a packed audience. Rhonda ducked behind a podium, standing up in her lime green suit from the 'Dump The Chumps' challenge. On stage appeared to be three paths, like hop-scotch boards. At the theater's main entrance, past the audience, was a finish line. Around the finish line, fans were restrained by red velvet rope.

"Of course there's an audience," Ignacio groaned under his breath.

"Ignacio," Rhonda said. "Your challenge is about, being comfortable in your own skin. To that end, we'll be playing...strip trivia!"

The audience went wild. Ness and Jasper actually blushed, but nowhere near as bright a shade as Ignacio.

"It's simple," Rhonda explained. "I'll ask a question, first to raise their hand can answer. You get it right, you'll move forward a square."

She motioned to pathway on the stage.

"For each square, you have to remove an article of clothing. Get it wrong and you move backwards, getting dressed again. At the final square, you only have to answer one last question. Then you'll race through the crowd to the finish line...no covering up either."

This got a loud cheer from someone in the audience.

"Think you can handle it Ignacio?"

Ignacio nodded, but he was wringing his hands.

"What are the questions?" Jasper asked.

"All different subjects, from history to geography to even popular culture, randomly ordered. Now, let's get started."

The newcomers each took a row. Rhonda shuffled cue cards behind her podium.

"First question, who was our 21st president?"

The three stood silently. Ignacio scratched his beard before raising his hand.

"Chester Arthur?"

"Correct!"

The square in front of Ignacio lit up, reading 'shoes'. He kicked off his shoes, getting a thumbs-up from Rhonda.

"Next question. What part of the cell stores proteins?"

Ignacio's hand shot up. "The ribsomes!"

"Correct again!"

Ignacio beamed, stepping forward and removing his socks. "Piece of cake."

"What number of days do most months have?"

Jasper raised his hand right before Ignacio. "Thirty...one?"

"Correct."

Jasper fist pumped. He took off his shoes as he advanced.

"What is neutral on the PH scale?"

Ignacio's hand was waving before the question was finished. "7."

"Correct! Iggy is almost halfway there."

The model smiled. He quickly stopped as he removed his shirt and the audience sighed and wolf whistled.

"Ooh, another science question! What did Issac Newton discover?"

Ignacio started to raise his arm, but hesitated when he saw the audience watching him. Ness rose her hand instead.

"It was gravity, right?"

"Correct! Now everybody's on the board."

Ness beamed, removing her shoes and stepping forward.


"I should be excelling at this quiz," Ignacio said. "I know all the answers. Instead I choked. I tried to get in my model persona, ignore the audience...but I couldn't do that and focus on the questions. The audience was right there too. Judging me."


"Where was John Lennon from?"

"Liverpool," Jasper answered.

"Who painted the Sistine Chapel?"

"Michalangleo," Ness said. "Not the turtle."

Ignacio rubbed the back of his neck as his competitors were right behind him.

"Hydrogen is the first element of the periodic table," Rhonda said. "What is the second?"

Ignacio shot up his hand. "dioxide...I mean helium!"

Rhonda shook her head. "Have to go with that first answer. Come on Ignacio, dioxide means two oxygen atoms. Go back."

Ignacio hung his head in shame as he stepped back, putting on his shirt. The audience groaned as well. Ness patted his shoulder.

"Who in Greek mythology is the queen of the underworld?"

Jasper was the first to raise his hand. "Persephone."

"Correct. Jasper has taken the lead!"

Jasper smirked. He removed his shirt, blushing as some of the audience cheered.


"I can't believe people wanted to see me shirtless," Jasper said. "I should be more uncomfortable than flattered, but I'll take it."


"What was One Rejection's first hit?"

Only Ness raised her hand.

"I Wish You Knew You Were Cute!"

"Surprising no one, that's correct," Rhonda said.

Ness stepped forward, blushing she removed her shirt, revealing a bra with polka dots. Ignacio turned his head.


"I was choking," Ignacio admitted. "Even Jasper and Ness were doing it. Then...I closed my eyes. I thought about everything I did with Kalino, everything I've learned...and what it would mean if I went out like this."


Ignacio closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.

"Who is famous for making the 'pea plant experiment'?"

Ignacio opened his eyes. His hand shot up.

"Greg Mendel."

"Correct! We've got a three way tie people!"

Ignacio threw off his shirt as the audience cheered again. He looked straight past them, right at the finish line.

"What treaty ended War World 1?"

Ignacio raised his hand. "Treaty of Versailles."

"Correct again!"

The crowd roared even louder as Ignacio stripped to his underwear.

"Who does Darth Maul kill in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace?"

Everyone thought for a moment. The name was on the tip of their tongue, but Jasper was the first to raise his hand. "Qui-Gon Jinn?"

"That's correct!"

Jasper blushed a little as he took off his pants and the audience cheered again. He and Ignacio met eyes...before realizing how weird it was and looking away.

"It's a sexy showdown between Jasper and Ignacio. Let's get to it! How many years did the Hundred Year War last?"

Ignacio's hand was up in seconds. "116 years!"

"That is...correct!"

"What a misleading name," Jasper pouted.

The crowd cheered again. Ignacio hesitated, before pulling down his underwear. He took another deep breath.

Rhonda cleared her throat. "This could be the make it or break it questions folks."

She pulled out the next card. "A man has a dream where he is a butterfly and forgets he was himself. When he wakes up, physically he is himself. Was the man dreaming he was a butterfly or was the butterfly now dreaming he is the man?"

The three newcomers stared at Rhonda for an entire minute.

"...Really?" Rhonda asked. "Seems easy, but okay. We'll move on to the next question. What was the symbol of safety in the original version of Total Drama's first season, Total Drama Island?"

Before the question had even finished, all three hands were up in the air.

"We need a slow-motion recap of that."

Toby wheeled out a TV. As he replayed the clip, one hand went up slightly faster.

"Ignacio?"

"Marshmallows," the model replied.

"That is...correct!"

The crowd thundered with cheers. Ignacio held his head up as he jumped off the stage and ran. Ignoring the occasional fainting person, Ignacio crossed the finish line. The audience threw up their hands and squealed louder than a slaughterhouse.

"Yes!" Ignacio cheered, jumping in place. "I did it!"

Ness stared intensely, before burying her face in her hands. Jasper rubbed the back of his neck.


"Maybe we shouldn't have marathoned the original show," Jasper said.


"Ignacio passes his test," Rhonda said. "So let's move on to our next. You ready, Ness?"

Ness gulped. "What even is my greatest weakness? I have so many to pick from…"

"Maybe it's about keeping promises," Ignacio muttered.

Rhonda smirked. "You feeling lucky?"

/

The final three arrived at the Pentagram's grand casino. Rhonda seated them at a table with six chairs.

Jenny popped up, dressed like a casino worker. She shuffled a deck of cards in her hand...rather poorly.

Toby popped up next to her, wearing the same outfit, and snatched the cards. She glared, but started placing rows of black and red poker chips at each seat.

"Poker?" Ness asked. "Oh no, you mean…"

"Yup," Rhonda said. Ness, your challenge is about making your own luck. Your bad voodoo has hurt you, and wrecked this hotel, but can you conquer it? There's only one way to test luck, gambling!"

Toby started to deal cards.

"Wait a minute," Ignacio said, "There are more spots than us. Who else is playing?"

"Only the best poker players."

She whistled; three dogs trotted over. There was a black poodle whose fur made it appear he had a man bun and beard, a small Yorkshire terrier that tripped over her dirty blonde hair, and a mutt who...was um there. He had brown fur or something.

Each dog jumped up into a chair, panting and wagging their tail.

"Really?" Jasper asked.

"I'll have you know," Rhonda said, "that these three pups are co-stars of our good friend and previous celebrity guest judge Pal!"

"The dog who features in movies about sports?" Ignacio asked.

"Don't these dogs look familiar?" Jasper asked.

"You probably recognize them for their movie 'A Dog Plays Poker'," Rhonda said.

"Not what I meant," Jasper replied.

"Aww!" Ness said. "They're so cute!"

She held out her hand to pet the poodle, who bit into it instead.

"Oww! You're still cute, but owwwwww!"

Ignacio ran up and flicked his nose. The mutt released Ness. He and the other dogs growled at her.


"I get the feeling Rhonda invited poker playing dogs just because animals tend to hate Ness," Ignacio said. "As if the challenge wasn't hard enough for her...not that I care."


"We're play a few rounds of poker," Rhonda said. "Whoever has the most poker chips wins this round. To keep it simple, we're playing our own variation of five draw poker."

Each player picked up their hand of five cards.

"Here's the rules. One player will start by making a bet. Bets can be up to a thousand dollars in chips, so no one tries to bet everything too soon. Each player will then meet the bet or raise it. After all bets are made, everyone has to match the highest amount.

"After betting, you can discard up to three cards and be dealt replacements. Then there's another round of betting. That round, you can fold. You'll lose what you bet, but don't have to bet anymore. After that, everyone will reveal their hand. Whoever has the highest hand wins all the bets aka 'the pot'."

"What's a good hand in poker?" Ness asked.

"Essentially, the right combo of cards," Rhonda said. "Some combos are worth more than others. There's a cheat sheet to remind you."

Toby passed everyone a sheet. The dogs knocked the sheets aside, turning up their noses.

"What happens if you don't have chips to match a bet?" Jasper asked.

"Then you're all in, meaning you bet everything you have left," Rhonda said. "But if you lose, you can't play anymore rounds. Anymore questions?"

Everyone shook their heads.

"Great. Since Jasper is left of the dealer, he'll make the first bet this round."

Jasper shrugged and put out a single red chip. The mutt raised it by placing a stack of red chips. The newcomers raised their eyebrows.

/

After everyone matched the bet, they tossed out cards. Ness looked at her hand; she tossed out two cards and was dealt two more. She frowned; a one of clubs and a two of spades.

"I fold," Ness sighed, throwing down her hand.

At the end of the first round, the poodle won all the chips.

The following rounds weren't better. Ness folded again and again. The one time she did reveal her cards, a flush, Jasper played a full house.

Ness slouched, tossing up her cards.


"I was trying to fold often," Ness admitted. "I figured I couldn't win. If I folded I'd at least have some chips left...Then I noticed something."


Toby dealt a new hand. Ness looked at her cards; an ace of diamonds, a club of eights, a two of spades, a heart of threes, and a queen of hearts. As she looked up from her cards, she noticed the poodle lowering its ears. It raised the bet another stack of chips.

After everyone matched the bet, Ness discarded the eight and the two. She received an ace of hearts and club of threes.

"I fold," Jasper sighed. The Yorkie followed suit.

"...I raise."

Ness pushed forward a few black chips, raising the bet to what would be five hundred dollars. Ignacio scratched his beard. Studying his hand, he folded. The poodle growled at her, raising the bet to six hundred.

Ness pushed forward more black chips; the bet was seven hundred.

The mutt folded.

The poodle stared her down, but Ness met its gaze.

"Reveal," Toby said.

The poodle revealed its cards; only a pair of fours. Ness smirked, revealing her two pairs.

All the dogs started growling as Ness collected her winnings.


"Then I remembered," Ness said. "This challenge is making your own luck. I can't control my cards, but neither can anyone else! So I can't rely on luck? No different than any other challenge. To make my own luck, I'm going to have to outsmart my opponents. I have to read them! And what's easier to read than a dog?"


In the next round, Ness watched as the mutt twitched his nose for a moment. She looked at her own cards and sighed a lot.

The mutt raised the bet.

Ness looked at her own pile and shrugged, pushing forward more chips. She tossed away a card, but shook her head.

The Yorkie noticed, raising the bet another hundred dollars.

During the reveal, Ness revealed a flush. Everyone groaned as she giggled and took the pot.

/

In the next round, Ness smirked as she studied her hand.

Jasper raised an eyebrow. Her raised the bet two hundred dollars.

"Another hundred," Ness teased, throwing in extra chips. Everyone met her.


"I wasn't falling for that again," Jasper said. "Ness is obviously bluffing with a terrible hand. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice-"


Ness revealed her cards, four of a kind. Jasper sighed as his full house was blown down.


...Nevermind," he said.


The next round, Ness noticed the Yorkie's tail wagging when flipped its cards. She saw Ignacio scratching his beard.

She folded after the first round of betting. Come the reveal, Ignacio lost all his chips to the Yorkie.

/

By the thirteenth round, Ness played her cards. The poodle howled as she didn't have a hand, but won by having the higher card. She took the last of his chips.

"I think I could learn to like gambling," Ness admitted, surrounded by a castle made of chips.

Ignacio and Jasper shared a look; the model only had half a stack and Jasper almost double that.

"That's enough poker."

Rhonda walked back in. All three dogs whined, but the hostess shook her head and shooed them. With their tails between their legs, they sauntered off.

"By a large margin, Ness wins the challenge!"

"Woo-hoo!" She cheered.

Throwing up her hands, she knocked over the table. "Uhh...I'll clean that up."

"No time," Rhonda said. "Because we have one final test for our last newcomer."

Everyone turned to look at Jasper, who tugged on his shirt collar.

/

It was getting dark as the final three entered a seedy-looking bar.

"For this challenge we needed the right audience and the right place," Rhonda explained.

A crowd of people were hollering as curtains at a stage parted, revealing…

"A karaoke machine?" Jasper asked.

"Jasper, your challenge is about finding your voice. You struggle with being noticed, remembered and heard. For this challenge, you are going to have to get people to notice you, to really see you and hear you."

"Sure," Jasper replied. "Not like I've been trying to do that my whole life…"

"See," Rhonda said. "I even noticed your lips were moving, but I heard nothing. For this challenge, you'll each perform here at Okie-Karaoke Artichokie, a wonderful karaoke bar-"

Rhonda was interrupted by two large men wrestling on stage for the microphone.

"Give me that Lee! It's my turn! I'm singing Numa, Numa!"

"You only sing it in English Dan! No one wants to hear Numa, Numa in English!"

"No one wants to hear you butcher Celine Dion but we let ya!"

The crowd started cheering as the two started biting each other.

"Dang it! I can't get anymore blood on that stage."

Ignacio raised an eyebrow. "This was the only place that would let you film."

"...Yeah," Rhonda admitted. "You three will each pick a song from a selection of popular karaoke hits we actually got the rights to. The audience will choose whose performance they enjoyed most."

Jasper was breaking into a sweat.

"We'll go in order of the challenges; Ignacio, Ness and finally Jasper. No repeat songs either."

The three nodded and made their way backstage.

/

"Alright losers," Jenny announced. "Our first singer is that Chilean hottie! With brains, brawn and booty, it's...Ignacio!"

Ignacio walked out on stage. He forced a smile and winked, causing a few girls in the back to giggle.

A familiar, new-wave 80s song started. A cowbell dinged. The stage lights were bright pops of yellow and pink. The audience was already clapping as Ignacio started singing…

"If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says,

Fifteen miles to the...

Love Shack! Love Shack, yeah."

Ignacio bopped his head, occasionally clapping with the audience. He gave a neutral smile and tossed off his hoodie, revealing a button-up shirt underneath. Slowly, he undid the top button.

"The love shack is a little old place where,

We can get together!

Love shack baby!

A love shack baby!"

/

From backstage, Ness fanned herself.

"Why does hot guys singing always get me?" she sighed. "Not that it matters…"

Jasper groaned. "He's going to win! The song, unbuttoning his shirt...he's actually using his sex appeal!"

Ness nodded. "He's put on his model smile. It's a smart move."

"We can't compete with that," Jasper said. "So he wins. Final three challenges are usually automatic eliminations, which means if I'm the only one who fails their final test...I'm gone."

Ness patted his shoulder. "You don't know that. You don't know if Iggy will win either."

The crowd let out massive cheers as Ignacio tossed his shirt into the crowd.

Jasper gave her a look as she sheepishly smiled.

/

"You're what?

Tin roof...

Rusted!

Love shack, baby love shack!

Love shack, baby love shack!

Love shack, baby love shack!

Love shack, baby love shack!"

Ignacio bowed. They cheered and roared, one girl even fainting, as Ignacio walked back stage. As soon as he did, his smile dropped. He ran right into Ness.

"Oh...sorry."

"Um...here."

She held out his red sweatshirt.

"I grabbed this, just so you wouldn't have to be shirtless," Ness admitted. "You...you were really cool out there."

He gave a soft smile and passed her the mic.

/

"That performance was okay if you like cooties," Jenny said. "Let's give it up for our next singer. She's a category five human disaster. Is she supernatural or just suck at life? Probably both! It's Ness."

Ness glared at the redheaded co-host, before giving a small wave to the audience.

"I'd like to dedicate this song to someone special," Ness said. "Someone who means a lot to me, whose been there for me...and deserves to be treated better."

A slow, eighties guitar riff started, before drums started to kick in. Dim purple lights shone on her.

"I never meant to cause you any sorrow...

I never meant to cause you any pain...

I only wanted to one time to see you laughing….

I only wanted to see you,

Laughing in the purple rain.

"Purple rain, purple rain…"

A few of the audience members started to tear up as Ness sang.

/

From backstage, Ignacio watched Ness' performance.

"Did she...did she dedicate this song to me?" Ignacio asked.

Jasper gave him the most confused look.

"For a genius, you can be kind of dumb," the boy said. "This is an apology song. Ness is trying to say she's sorry."

Ignacio rubbed the back of his head. "I should talk to her after the challenge."

Jasper stuck his head out of the curtain. The audience was feeling sad, some wiping their eyes on their sleeves and blowing their nose in napkins.


"Between Ness singing an apology love ballad and Ignacio's stripping and dancing, I knew I was done," Jasper admitted. "How could I outshine them? I can't outshine a shadow. I know because people would pick my shadow before me in gym class. Still, if this is it I have to give it my all…"


"If you know what I'm singing about up here

C'mon, raise your hand!"

Ness tripped, but played it off as though as she sliding forward. Most of the audience had raised their hand.

"Purple rain, purple rain

I only want to see you

Only want to see you

In the purple rain."

She bowed her head. The audience burst into applause. By now, a few audience members were waving their lighters.

Ness curtsied and made her way backstage.

"Boring," Jenny yawned. "If you thought that was a snoozefest, it's got nothing on our next singer. It's Jude...err Jasper!"

/

Jasper awkwardly side-stepped on stage. He gulped before taking the mic in his hand.

"Um, of the songs we could pick I like this one."

An audience member coughed loudly.

Jasper closed his eyes.

A jaunty, catchy, almost jazzy nineties song began to build. Bright, green lights shone on the stage.

"We'll be singing, when we're winning," Jasper sang. "We'll be singing..."

The song dropped. Jasper started banging his head as he belted the chorus.

"I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!

I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!

I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!

I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!"

The audience had started to chant with Jasper as he pumped his fist.

"He sings the songs that remind him of the good times.

He sings the songs that remind him of the better times.

Oh Danny boy, Danny boy, Danny boy…"

Smirking, Jasper jumped off the stage onto a bar. He motioned the audience to join him in as he chanted the chorus.

"I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!

I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!

I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!

I get knocked down, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!"

Backstage, Ness and Ignacio couldn't help sharing a smile as they tapped their foot along. Even Jenny was headbanging a little.

"I get knocked, but I get up again,

You are never gonna keep me down!

I get knocked, but I get up again.

You are never gonna keep me down."

Once again, the crowd burst into cheers as Jasper finished his song. For the first time, he opened his eyes. He blushed, but made a rock-on sign and banged his head to the audience one last time.


"That. Was. Awesome!" Jasper shouted. "So much fun! Why don't I do more fun things like that? They were really feeling it! I may not have won, but I didn't go out with a whimper. That's not so bad."


Outside the Okie-Karaoke Artichokie, as patrons stumbled in and out, the final three were lined up.

"It was close," Rhonda said. "Extremely close, but based on average score of all the surveyed patrons...Jasper won!"

Jasper's eyes grew wide. A few passing patrons "Woo-hoo" 'd as they passed.

"I did?" Jasper asked. "How?"

"The audience said you didn't have a great singing voice or dance moves," Rhonda admitted. "They probably wouldn't pick a singer like you...but when you sang that song they felt something."

Jasper smiled a little. "Really?"

Rhonda nodded. "One lady said she heard a guy who had been through it all. One guy said they heard someone who wouldn't quit until he was done. You didn't say it, but they knew you were fighting. They heard your voice."

Jasper was beaming now.

"Congrats final three! You all pasted your final test. You should feel super proud."

The three newcomers all shared a smile, but it quickly changed to a look of confusion.

"So then...we all won?" Ness asked.

"Is there a tiebreaker?" Jasper asked.

"Is the final challenge now with all three of us?" Ignacio asked.

"Oh gosh no," Rhonda said. "Do you think we have the budget to make the finale between three people? Especially after the royalties for that music! This challenge has a winner."

"Who?" all three asked.

The hostess smirked. "If we only wanted you to overcome your weaknesses, why would we have everyone compete? Each place in each challenge was worth points; first place got five, second place got three, and last got none."

"So...whoever did best overall got the best score," Ignacio said.

Rhonda nodded. "Which means our winner, with a guaranteed spot in the final two is...Jasper!"

The brunette boy looked as though he was about to faint. "Me? I'm in the finals? ...I'm in the finals! YES! WOO!"

Jasper started to jump up and down.

Ignacio and Ness shared a look.

"So...who goes home?" Ness asked.

The hostess grinned even more. "Remember that reward I mentioned for winning the challenge?"

Jasper stopped jumping. "Oh, yeah. Is it some kind of advantage in the finale?"

"You could say that," Rhonda replied. "The reward is that tonight, only Jasper will be voting."

"Wait, you mean I pick who I want to compete against in the final two?"

"Exactly! You'll cast the sole vote tonight, determining which of your former teammates goes home and who will be your final competition. You have a few hours to mull over it.."

Jasper rubbed the back of his neck and forced a smile at the other two. They forced a smile back.


"I'm going to the finals!" Jasper cheered. "Winning this challenge feels amazing! That's five! Five wins! That's a new record! I'm glad because if I didn't win, I doubt Ness or Ignacio would've taken me. Sure, they were mad at each other...but they like each other. Now...I could actually win. I could be the winner of Total Drama."

Jasper stared off into space, happily sighing to himself. After a moment, he shook his head. "But there's one last challenge. So I have to decide; who? Ignacio or Ness? Ness or Ignacio? This is a two million dollar decision."

He looked directly at the camera. "No pressure."


Ness and Ignacio sat in silence in the dining room.

Finally, the model cleared his throat. "I don't want our time on this show to end like this. I'm sorry I hadn't-"

"-No, don't be sorry," Ness said. "I'm sorry! I feel so terrible for lying to you last challenge. You didn't deserve that."

The short girl looked at the floor. She looked up as she felt Ignacio touch her shoulder. He smiled at her.

"I appreciate you dedicating your song to me," he said. "I don't want to be mad at you. However, I don't understand why you lied to me in the first place. Was it that important to win? I thought we could win together."

"It wasn't about winning the challenge," Ness said. "I wanted to go with you at first...then I felt stupid. So I ran like a dumb coward."

"Why did you feel stupid?"

Ness shook her head. "Like I could actually go to the prom with you. In real life, you'd never ask me. I was embarrassed to be asked out of pity…"

"Just like your last prom," Ignacio recalled.

"Yeah," Ness said. "I just felt foolish for wanting to go with you and being excited and then...acted stupid."

"Ness, I want to go to prom with you," Ignacio said. "A real prom! It'd be fun. I like spending time with you; you're sweet, kind, and surprisingly perky for everything that happens to you. I wish I could be as positive with my mishaps."

Ness glomped Ignacio in a hug. "Promise me we'll hang out again after the show."

He hugged her tighter. "I promise. Ness, I've been waiting to tell you, but-"

"-Uh, hey guys."

The two looked up to see Jasper standing in the doorway.

"Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt," the brunette boy said. "Wanted to let you know, I'm still not sure what I'm doing. I thought maybe, you should tell me why I should take you to the Final 2. If you want to come separately to my room, there's still time."

"One of us will be there soon," Ness replied. Ignacio nodded.

Jasper gave a thumbs-up and walked off.

"It sucks I didn't," Ness said. "But if I won, I'd probably have taken you."

Ignacio chuckled. "I was just thinking the same thing. We promised earlier we wouldn't throw the game away for each other."

Ness nodded. "We'll both keep fighting. Say whatever you want to convince Jasper; I will too."

The two gave each other a tense smile.

/

Jasper sat on the bed as Ignacio paced around the room.

"I think Ness is the bigger threat," Ignacio said. "She's dangerous when underestimated. She's managed to think her way to victory or close several times. It's...super hot actually..."

"Ignacio is way tougher," Ness said, later in the same room. "He's a genius, he's supernaturally attractive, and in good shape. He'd smoke anyone in the finals."

"She and I have both won two challenges," Ignacio admitted. "She's survived three tiebreakers though! That's dangerous. Not to mention she won our team the Awake-a-thon and the scavenger hunt."

"True, we both won two challenges," Ness continued. "I only won one because I had a reality show veteran as a partner. Capturing the horse wasn't skill based. He lead an orc army and dominated the prom challenge. He's a triple threat."

"The eliminated newcomers will support her," Ignacio stated. "A lot of people love her. Most of the Fireworks, plus Melissa and her are close. Melissa will convince plenty of Eagles to support her. The Eagle boys are probably mad I failed the boys' alliance."

"Everyone likes Ignacio," Ness said. "Sure some people will pity me, but they respect or like him more. The Fireworks or Kalino and his guys' 'll still support their bro. I'm sure a few girls will pick him just because he's attractive."

"I guess I seem threatening," Ignacio said. "The actual results say otherwise. Ness has a better track record, a better social game, and is a fan too. You know how determined that makes someone."

"We know I'm unlucky," Ness said. "I hope it doesn't, but my bad luck could cost me the challenge right away. Ignacio? He'll win all the support, then dominate the challenge. I hate to say it, but he's playing to support his family. That's motivation we can't beat Jasper."

After each said their final words, Jasper nodded and thanked them. He sat alone on his bed, staring at the ceiling.


"I kept thinking and thinking," Jasper said. "I counted supporters on my fingers, imagined possible final challenges, tried to remember every challenge so far...I'm not sure I have the right answer, but I have an answer."


At the Haunted Internet Cafe, the final three sat at one table. The model and the jinx watched the nobody head into the computer booth. In less than a minute, he walked out. They shared one last look at each other.

Toby walked from behind the counter, carrying a tray with only two cups. Rhonda approached her podium. She smiled for a second.

"Today's flavor is lemon zest," Rhonda said. "The first cup goes to our first finalist. Kudos Jasper."

The brunette boy smiled. Rhonda motioned him to come over. He nodded, approaching the podium and taking his cup.

"Since Jasper made the decision, it's only fitting he gives out the last cup. Jasper?"

The brunette boy nodded. "This was tough. I'm not excited going against either of you. Still, I had to make a choice. I'm sorry."

He grabbed the cup. Holding it out, he added, "I'm giving this cup to…"

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

"...Ness."

The dirty blonde let out a gasp. Instead of taking the cup from Jasper, she turned to Ignacio. She glomped him tighter than she ever had.

Jasper mouthed sorry to the model. Ignacio forced a smile and shrugged.

"You were an amazing competitor Jasper," Ignacio said. "I wish I got to know you sooner in this game."

Ignacio embraced Ness. She had started to cry in his jacket. "It's okay, I promised I'll see you after the show. I'll see you at the finals before then. I'll be cheering for you in your section."

Ness forced a laugh. She gave a soft smile and looked up at Ignacio. "Don't let Carla or any other person take away that you're the best."

Ignacio grabbed Ness' hands in his. "Ness, earlier, what I wanted to say to you…"

"...I know you can win this."

He hugged her one last time. Waving goodbye, he exited the Revolving Doors of Shame.

Rhonda raised an eyebrow, but shrugged. "Now, we have our Final 2! Jasper and Ness, who'd have thought?"

Rhonda motioned to the two, who were sipping their cups of coffee.

"There can only be one winner! Who will win it all? Who will lose it all? How? There's only one way to find out. Next time; Genesis ends."


Author's Note

And the semi-finals are over! The final three always feels like a really big deal in Total Drama, so it was exciting to showcase one here. I hoped the challenge worked. Figuring out everyone's 'weakness' was pretty obvious and figuring out a way to test that, and for them to win, was pretty easy. I really liked it and giving these characters one final moment to show-off.

I liked writing all the individual challenges pretty well. I love random trivia, so that was fun. I know nothing of poker, but I did some research and hopefully the challenge makes sense to anyone who does know poker. Also hope everyone got the dogs were meant to be similar to our final three.

I thought about doing parody songs for the karaoke challenge, but I thought it would distract from the message of the song. For reference, Ignacio sang Love Shack by the B-52s, Ness sang Purple Rain by Prince and Jasper sang Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. Tubthumping is actually one of my favorite songs. I hope Jasper's win made sense. Yeah, he's normally invisible, but his desire to not give up came through in his performance. I feel like karaoke, and live music in general, sometimes just touches people.

The opening confessionals were based off a similar scene in Island's final three episode. Also really fun!

Sorry for anyone who was rooting for Ignacio to win. He was a fun character to write and it was fun to play with the hot guy archetype with him. His crush on Ness is also very adorable. I think I'm a lot more high on that ship on a re-read. In early drafts, Ignacio was not meant to make it this far. He was an early merge boot, the usually the first boot. But his character and storyline grew and I think he worked to make it this far.

The final two are officially Jasper and Ness! Most original readers predicted a Jasper and Ignacio finale, which makes sense, but I had been planning a Jasper and Ness final two for along time. I won't get too much into why now, but I think they work.

Next time, the finale! It'll be the longest chapter in the story, but it's the finale so it should be. I'm really excited to share it!


Appendix: Elimination History

Bethany (Eagles)- 22nd

Diamonique (Eagles)- RETURNED

Jasper (Fireworks)- RETURNED

Tessa (Fireworks)- RETURNED

Zipporah (Fireworks)- 21st

Hayden (Eagles)- 20th

Frannie (Eagles)- 19th

Aiden (Eagles)- 18th

Pascal (Fireworks)- 17th

Easton (Fireworks)- 16th

Seraphina (Fireworks)- 15th

MERGE

Cynthia- 14th

Griswold- 13th

Xidorn- 12th

Diamonique- 11th

Lita- 10th

Weston- 9th

Kalino- 8th

Tessa- 7th

Vance- 6th

Riley- 5th

Melissa- 4th

Ignacio- 3rd