A/N#1: I don't own anybody in this, despite all the bribes I've sent to Joss Whedon and Universal Studios.
The door crashed to the floor, and Jo moved forward to go through it.
"Jo-" Jack put his hand on her arm. "-this is my battle."
"That's a bad idea," she argued.
"Jo-" he started, but she cut him off.
"Anything you can shoot, I can shoot deader. I can shoot anything better than you," she sang defiantly, her arms crossed.
"Oh! You've seen 'Annie Get Your Gun' too? Did you like the part where-" Fargo started excitedly. Jack never took his eyes off of Jo, though.
"She's my daughter," he said quietly but firmly.
Jo stared at him with narrow eyes for several seconds before relenting.
"Fine, but just know, I've got your back."
"We've got your back," Allison corrected her.
The others nodded in agreement.
Feeling touched, Jack strode quickly through the doorway to the monster's hideout.
"Dad!" Zoe shouted. An unsightly shiny red monster waved a hand, and a gag appeared in her mouth. Allison gasped. Fargo went pale. Henry and Zane looked shocked. Taggart seemed nonplussed, but then again, he was Taggart. Jo's eyes widened a bit, and Jack could tell she was angry at Zoe's silencing. He felt the same.
The lobster look-alike was seated upon a fluffy maroon sofa and seemed amused by their reactions. He was leaning his head on his hand.
"You spent so long at the door, I was worried you chickened out and weren't coming." The demon laughed cruelly.
"Oh, yeah?!" Fargo retorted. "Who are you supposed to be? The Thinker?"
"The name's Sweet, Lord of Cantus Terram." Sweet's smile resembled a shark's. "You must be the great and powerful Sheriff of Eureka. I've heard so much about you."
"Let my daughter go," Jack demanded. If looks could kill, the demon would be a smudge on the floor.
"I'm thinking… no." Sweet was obviously enjoying playing with them. "She's mine now. The only way you're getting to her-" He smiled menacingly. "-is through me."
The intro to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" started to play and Jack began to dance like the King of Pop. He moonwalked several feet and then spun on his heel and, pointing an accusing finger at the demon, began to sing.
"Don't have to tell you don't you come around here, don't want to see your face, you better disappear. The fire in my eyes should tell you really clear, beat it. Just beat it." Jack did several more Michael Jackson moves. Behind him, his friends danced in sync.
"You better run, you better leave while you can," he continued. "Don't want to see no blood, but I will kill you, man. You think that you're tough, better leave while you can. So beat it. Don't go making me mad!" He and his crew continued to dance in the unique style of the King of Pop.
"Just beat it," Jack sang.
"Beat it," his friends echoed.
"Beat it," Jack rejoined.
"No one wants to be defeated," Jack took over again. "We'll show you how funky and strong is our fight. It doesn't matter that you're wrong, I'm right. Just beat it."
"Beat it," the backup sang.
"Just beat it, beat it," Jack sang again. "Just beat it."
"Beat it," they echoed.
"Just beat it, beat it," Jack sang. "I'm gonna get you. Better leave while you can. I can take you, boy, man-to-man. You wanna stay alive, better do what you can, and beat it! Just beat it.
"I will fight you, and I'm really not scared. You're playing with your life. This ain't no truth or dare. I'll kick you and I'll beat you. Not gonna play fair. So beat it. Don't go making me mad!
"Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it. No one wants to be defeated. We'll show you how funky and strong is our fight. It doesn't matter that you're wrong, I'm right. Just beat it, beat it. Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it. Just beat it."
They danced around until he got to the last line. When he sang the final word, Jack stopped and pointed at Sweet. His friends folded their arms and leaned toward him.
"Beat it," Jack said. He folded his arms as well, and they all glared at the demon.
Sweet threw his head back and laughed.
"Well, you can certainly sing and dance." He raised an eyebrow and grinned like a shark. "But can you fight?"
His minions leapt forward and started to dance-attack them. Jack and his friends dance-attacked back. They were holding their own, but it was clear that they wouldn't be able to fight for long.
Sweet laughed again.
"Well you're a real tough cookie with a long history of breaking down criminals just like me. That's okay, let's see how you do it. Put up your dukes, let's get down to it." The demon's minions continued to attack the team, and it showed. They were slowing down and clearly couldn't take much more.
"Hit me with your best shot," Sweet continued. "Why don't you hit me with your best shot? Hit me with your best shot. Fire away!" Sweet sang to the tune of "Hit Me with Your Best Shot".
He finished singing, and the minions drew back leaving the humans panting from the exertion. After a moment, Jack caught his breath and looked up to give a menacing glare to the monster who had taken his daughter.
"You want me to hit you with my best shot, huh? Fine. Have it your way. Taggart, now!" Jack shouted.
Taggart, who had disappeared out of the door in the middle of "Beat It", now reemerged. He was followed by a flock of chickens, who immediately streaked towards the demon and his minions with piercing, electronic shrieks. Jack and his friends flung themselves behind shelter, and Zoe gasped behind her gag and managed to hurtle her body behind a pillar. She knew, after all, just what these chickens were capable of.
Sweet had just enough time to raise an eyebrow before the chickens were upon him. They scratched and pecked at the minions, and then, as soon as Zoe and all the others were safely tucked away, exploded with enough force to devastate the sofa Sweet had been lounging on and much of the floor. Smoke and debris filled the air, and Jack took advantage of the chaos to make his way to where Zoe was hiding. He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her away from the wreckage and out of the warehouse.
When they were several dozen feet away, he, Zoe, and all the others stopped and took a breather. Jack untied Zoe's hands and pulled the gag off of her. Immediately, she flung her arms around him and wept.
"Oh, Dad," she sobbed. "I'm so sorry."
"Hey," Jack answered softly. "It's alright. I'm just glad you're-"
But in that instant, Fargo gasped.
"Jack!" Jo cried out in warning. But it was too late.
Suddenly, Jack was no longer holding his daughter but the empty air. He whirled around to face the warehouse and found himself facing the grinning red face of Sweet, flanked by all of his minions. They didn't even look scathed. They were completely untouched, down to their crispy-clean clothes.
One of Sweet's minions was holding Zoe with his hand over her mouth. Jack balled up his hands into fists.
"Sheriff," Sweet chided. "Bombs? Really? I'm surprised at you. I heard you were tough and dangerous. But I guess I was wrong."
Elton John's music began to play in the background.
"''Cause can't you see, I'm still standing, as well as I ever did," Sweet sang smugly, a huge grin on his face. "I'm a true survivor, and I've still got your kid. I'm still standing, des-pite your best try. Gonna make this girl my wife, if you wouldn't mind. I'm still standing."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Allison and Jo sang as backup.
Jack gave them a furious look. "Who's side are you on?" he asked incredulously.
The women both looked a little horrified with themselves.
"I'm sorry, Jack!" Allison said quickly. "I don't know what came over me!"
"I do," Jo said, shooting an angry glare at Sweet.
He just kept smiling and singing. "I'm still standing," he sang again.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." This time, Zoe and Fargo sang the backup, but Jack ignored them. He only had eyes for the thing who had taken his daughter.
Sweet's grin grew even wider at their anger.
"If that's all you've got, then I'm afraid I must be off," the demon started smoothly, half-way turning to leave.
"Let her go! Let her go," Jack sang suddenly, taking a step forward. Everyone gave Jack a surprised look at the Disney tune making its way out of his mouth, but he was too furious at Sweet to care. "Don't hold her back anymore! Let her go. Let her go! Bring an end to all this horr'r. I don't care if you get away! This can't go on! And you know that I'm gonna save the day!"
He finished, letting the final notes hover in the air.
Sweet gave him an appraising look. He sighed and shook his head.
"A heart-wrenching appeal," the demon acknowledged. "But I'm afraid I'm going to have to refuse. You see, when your daughter summoned me to this earth, she entered a binding contract that allows me to take her back to my world if I choose to take her, and there really isn't anything any of you can do to stop me," he explained.
"Wait, you mean the reason you kidnapped Zoe is because you think she's the one who summoned you here?" he exclaimed.
Everyone stopped and stared at Fargo.
Sweet moaned "Not again!" under his breath, but everyone was too focused on Fargo to notice.
"Fargo," Jack said slowly. "What are you talking about?"
Fargo totally blushed.
"Um, well, you remember how you said a few days ago that you wanted a quiet Christmas with singing and presents and stuff?" he began nervously.
Sweet face-palmed, and Jack's mouth dropped open.
"Are you serious?!" Jack shouted at him. "What part of people randomly bursting into flame sounds quiet to you?!"
"I didn't know that was going to happen! The texts I found only said that it would cause those in its proximity to randomly sing and dance! It didn't say anything about spontaneous combustion! I thought it would be a fun little mystery for us to enjoy over the holidays! I never thought for one second anyone would get hurt!" he exclaimed.
"Fargo! Didn't you learn anything about messing around with artifacts after that little fiasco with your video game?" he snapped.
Fargo flinched again.
"I really thought I'd done enough research on it this time!" he protested, before shrinking back as Jack's glare intensified.
Jack stared for a moment longer and then sighed and shook his head.
The sheriff turned to address Sweet who had been watching the conversation with a resigned expression.
"Well, there you have it. Zoe's not the one who summoned you, so you have no grounds to hold her," Jack said wearily, hoping the demon would just give her up at that point without any further fighting. He had a sinking feeling that he wouldn't be able to stop Sweet if he decided to leave with her anyway.
"And, um, does this mean I have to go back to your realm?" Fargo asked nervously.
"No, no, I won't take you back to my realm," Sweet said with an eye roll. He fixed Zoe with an intense gaze. "Are you sure you don't want to come back with me, sugar? I promise, you'd have a blast."
He took a deep breath and upbeat music began to play.
"Our life would be so awesome!" he sang. "Our life would be so cool if you married me. Our life would be so awesome, it'd be like a dream! Life would be much better if we stick together! Side by side, we could rule forever. Let's party forever! We can reign, me with you, you with me. Singing in perfect harmony! Our life would be so awesome, if you married me."
Zoe gave him a cold look.
"Did you really think singing the most obnoxious song ever from the Lego Movie was going to convince me to come to your dimension with you?" she asked scathingly.
He smirked a little.
"Not really. I just did it as a special favor for The Author," he explained. "She wanted to annoy her siblings who are going to read this."
Everyone froze and gave him a startled look. The Author's mouth dropped open, and she gave a little squeak of surprise.
Taggart shot him a furious look.
"Shut your mouth!" he snapped. "You weren't given authorization to break the fourth wall! This isn't that type of story!"
"Oh, who's it going to hurt? The normals will forget in a moment anyway, and it's not like any of the readers will care," he said disinterestedly.
Taggart frowned, but said nothing more.
Jack looked from back and forth between the two of them with a confused look, not understanding what had just happened. The rest of the group, Sweet and Taggart notwithstanding, had similar expressions.
Taggart glanced quickly at their faces and spoke up before they could comment.
"So, Zoe, you're really not going to be swayed by his beautiful serenade?" he interjected. "I thought it was really heartfelt."
Everyone gave Taggart an annoyed look, and immediately, all memories of Sweet's slip were forgotten, though The Author, still seething, certainly wouldn't be forgetting any time soon!
Sweet grinned at them all.
"Well, if I can't convince you to come with me, then there's no reason for me to keep hanging around," he allowed.
In that moment, the air was filled with the sound of Rick Astley's best known song. Sweet snapped his fingers and was instantly dressed in a black and white striped shirt, a black blazer and smart black dress shoes with white pants. He danced around for a moment before singing "Never gonna give you up. Never gonna let you down. Never gonna run around and desert you…" before turning into a ball of light that swirled around their heads, leaving a sparkling trail, before disappearing altogether. His voice faded away with him, until they were left looking up at where he'd gone in silence.
Allison was the one who finally broke the silence.
"Did we just get rickrolled by a giant red lobster-lookalike?" she asked incredulously.
Henry shook his head in disbelief. "And here I thought I couldn't be surprised by anything anymore," he said ruefully.
"Well, he's actually more like a crab than a lobster in appearance," Taggart began with a thoughtful tone. "Particularly the male of the species, as they have larger chelae."
"But he didn't have chelae," Zoe said in confusion. Jack gave her a surprised look. "What? I take biology!" she said defensively.
"Oh, of course he doesn't actually have chelae, but the suit is indicative of them," Taggart replied cheerfully.
They lapsed back into a slightly bewildered silence for a moment, before Jo turned to Jack.
"So, what do you want to do now?" she asked.
Jack hesitated and looked at the faces of his friends surrounding him.
"Is anyone else feeling one last song coming on?" Zane asked the group.
They all nodded in agreement.
Quiet music began to play in the background.
Fargo began to sing slowly.
"Where do we go from here?" He waved his hand in a sweeping motion in front of him, then trailed off as he noticed the rest of the group staring at him incredulously.
"Am I the only one feeling that one then?" he asked with a nervous chuckle.
The music changed to the much more festive, upbeat tune of Weird Al Yankovic's "It's Christmas at Ground Zero".
"It's Christmas in Eureka," Jack sang. "There's music in the air."
Allison took over singing from him. "The sleigh bells are ringing, and the carolers are singing while some people are lit on fire."
"It's Christmas in Eureka," Jo continued, before turning to glare at Fargo. "The button has been pressed."
"I didn't actually press a button!" Fargo injected.
"Not this time," Zoe countered.
"And we all know from this whole show that Fargo is a pest," Henry went on, ignoring Fargo's interruption.
"Everywhere people were just dropping while singing and dancing like crazy." Zane joined in.
"Luckily, we're experts at show stopping," Henry added with a grin.
"That crustacean man can't change my destiny," Zoe sang.
Just then, Taggart interrupted.
"I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay," he sang.
"Taggart, you aren't even Jewish. What are you talking about?" Jack replied.
The dog-catcher shrugged.
"Sorry mate, I'm a bit of a Straight No Chaser fan meself. Guess I just got caught up in the moment," he responded.
Everyone gave him a weird look, but went on.
"It's Christmas in Eureka," Jack continued. "Now the hoofer's gone away. It's a crazy truth, without a big fluke, it wouldn't be our holiday."
Everyone nodded in agreement and they sang the last two lines again together.
"It's a crazy truth, without a big fluke, it wouldn't be our holiday!"
The music in the background faded away, and they all turned to regard each other.
"I'm sorry for summoning that guy," Fargo said regretfully. "I just wanted to give us all a fun Christmas break, but I ruined it instead."
"I'm sorry, too," Zoe broke in. "I know I shouldn't have taken that necklace from Fargo's office, but you were so busy with your work, Dad, that I thought the only way to get your attention was to become part of your work. I thought you'd look into the disappearance of the necklace and get mad at me. I never thought taking it would get me into trouble with a crazy song demon.
Jack raised an eyebrow.
"You took something from the head of Global Dynamics office and didn't think it may not be as innocent as it seemed?" he asked rhetorically, but then relented. "I'm sorry, too, baby. I know I've been busy with my work lately, and I haven't been spending as much time with you. Tell you what. No matter what happens on Christmas Day, I won't leave the house. Deal?"
She nodded and hugged him.
"Um, speaking of Christmas Day," Fargo began, glancing at his watch. "It seems like it is."
Jack looked at him in confusion. "What are you talking about?" he asked.
Fargo showed him the watch's display. "See for yourself. It's after midnight, so technically it is Christmas Day."
Everyone took that in for a moment.
Jack turned to the group.
"In that case, why don't you all come over to my place for some cocoa and eggnog?" he suggested.
With that, everyone joined Jack, Zoe, and I for a late night Christmas celebration. There was music and presents, food and laughter, and Mrs. Fredrick dropped in for a surprise visit to Fargo to impress on him, once again, the importance of leaving artifacts alone. And so, in the end, despite the kidnapping, despite the spontaneous combustions, despite the exploding chickens, everything turned out alright in the end, and a Merry Christmas was had by all.
A/N: Well, there you have it. The last chapter. I originally wrote this over several years, and looking back at the first chapter makes me realize how much I've grown as an author. Thank you so much to everyone who read, reviewed, or recommended this story. I had a blast writing it, and I hope you all had fun reading it. I really-
*door creaks open*
Sweet: Hey, Izzy.
Izzy: Oh, come on! What are you doing here again? I posted the story! What more do you want from me?!
Sweet: Well, for one thing, I thought that we had a deal. You were supposed to post this last year! Or did you forget that the consequences of a late publishing was death by dancing? *gives menacing glare*
Izzy *glares back in return*: Just try it, buddy. You're in my world now, and I'm not afraid to kick your can if I need to!
Sweet *glares for another second before relenting*: Fine, I'll let you get away with it this time, but only because you're my favorite author. But just out of curiosity, what made you wait until now to post instead of putting it up earlier?
Izzy: Well, I was originally going to write an alternative ending before posting, but I burnt out last year and never really recovered so I just put it up like normal instead. But anyway, while we're on the subject of frustrating things, what was that little stunt you pulled with breaking the fourth wall?! This is not one of those frivolous stories where that's okay, and I most certainly did NOT give you permission to do that!
Sweet: What's the big deal, Author? So I mentioned your existence, so what? The norms have all forgotten it already, the dog-catcher already knew, and I'm pretty sure your readers are aware of you. So, where's the harm?
Izzy: I'm the one harmed! Yes, the normal characters will not retain the memory of my existence, and, yes, the special characters like you and Taggart might already know, and sure, my readers already know I'm here, but that doesn't mean they don't care! When characters go and break the fourth wall without permission from The Author, it makes the writer look weak, like they can't control what their characters do and don't do! And they're right! You don't seem to care what I tell you to do or not! You just run around willy-nilly, breaking the fourth wall and invading my author's notes without a thought as to what I think! I didn't see you pulling this crap with Joss Whedon!
Sweet: Gee, I'm sorry I bothered you so much! If it makes you feel better, I promise not to break the fourth wall in any of your stories again.
Izzy *huffs*: Well, if you're going to behave like this every time, I don't know if I want to write any more stories with you in them.
Sweet *in a slightly hurt tone*: Hey, that's a little harsh, don't you think? I did apologize.
Izzy *relenting*: Well, okay. We'll see. Thanks, by the way, for singing that "Everything is Awesome" parody for me so that I could bug my sisters. I know it must have been hard to force yourself to sing something based on that horribly obnoxious song.
Sweet: It was a struggle, but I managed. Speaking of, I'm still waiting for you to fulfill your end of the bargain.
Izzy: What do you mean?
Sweet: We agreed that if I sang that song for you, I would get to do a big, show-stopping number. I haven't done anything like that in this chapter, now have I?
Izzy: Well, what do you want me to do about it now? It's too late, isn't it? The story's over. The only thing left is this author's note, and I was just about to wrap it up.
Sweet: Then I'll sing in the author's note. *notes Izzy's look of surprise* Listen, kiddo. Who do you think I'm performing for? The other characters? *scoffs* Yeah, right. What do I care what they think? When I sing, it's not for those norms, it's for the readers. So, what does it matter if I sing in the story or the author's note? Either way, the right people get to enjoy it..
Izzy: Um, well, okay, if you really want to. How are you going to do it?
Sweet: Just sit back and enjoy the show.
Just like that, there appeared an image of Sweet, sitting on the same chair he'd been lounging on in the warehouse. He was surrounded by big black musical notes, and in front of him was a black music stand. In the image, Sweet was playing the fiddle enthusiastically. The image's background was white with gray squiggly lines all over it. The words "Summary Songs with Sweet" were written in large letters on the right of the screen.
A disembodied man's voice suddenly began to speak. He said "And now it's time for Summary Songs with Sweet. The part of the show where Sweet comes out and sings a Summary Song."
The image on the screen faded away and was replaced by Sweet sitting in the chair from the warehouse, smoking a pipe and reading a newspaper.
The narrator continued. "We join Sweet today as he catches up on the daily news in Cantus Terram, the greatest dimension that ever existed."
"Thanks, Archibald. I'll take it from here," Sweet said, as he folded up his paper and looked up at the audience. "I'd like to share with you all a little song I've been working on. So, without further adieu, I give you "A Demon Went to Eureka".
There was an enthusiastic round of applause from the audience, and the image on the screen changed once again. This time, the scene was replaced by a stage. Large red curtains were drawn back to reveal Sweet standing alone, holding a beautiful wooden fiddle.
When the applause died away, he began to play the opening music to Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".
Then, he opened his mouth, and this is what he sang.
A Demon Went to Eureka
A demon went to Eureka
Looking for a girl to steal.
He was in a bind,
'Cause he'd been tryin' to find
A bride since he'd lost the Key.
When he came across a young girl
Who looked like she was cool.
And the demon knelt,
And he seemed heartfelt,
As he said "Girl, won't you join my rule?
"I bet you didn't know it,
But I've looked for one like you,
And if you'd care,
To see my lair,
I'll make a bride of you.
"Now I'll make a deal with you, girl,
So, find a champion to fight.
If your guy can sing,
I'll ditch the ring,
And you won't end up in white."
Well in strode Zoe's daddy,
To wipe away Sweet's grin,
Said, "I'll take that bet,
You're gonna regret.
This town's the best that's ever been."
Jack-y do the do-si-do and sing with all you've got,
'Cause hell's broke loose in 'reka and there's a demon to be fought.
And if you win you get to save Zoe's precious soul,
But if you lose your daughter's got to go!
He danced fire in the warehouse,
Go, child! Go!
The demon wants a girl to join his show.
Chicken look'n pretty. She's gonna blow!
Taggart does your dog bite?
No, bud, no.
The demon read the bylaws,
And he knew that he'd been beat.
He blew a kiss to Zoe,
And made for his retreat.
Zoe said, "Demon, don't you come back,
Don't you ever try again.
We warned you once, as my dad said,
This town's the best that's ever been.
With a final flourish of his bow, Sweet finished the song, and bowed multiple times as the audience gave him a standing ovation and threw roses to him.
Izzy: Wow, Sweet. That was pretty impressive, I've got to admit.
Sweet: Thanks, Author.
Sweet *sighs*: Couldn't we just stop at the "well done"?
Izzy: Sorry, it's just… Well, your song wasn't very accurate to what happened in the story…
Sweet *throws his hands up in the air*: Is that all?! Do you really think Charlie's song detailed exactly what happened between Johnny and the devil? My version of the tale was closer to the actual events of the story than his yarn was by a mile! Besides, haven't you ever heard of poetic license?!
Izzy *holds up hands in surrender*: Okay, okay! I'm sorry I brought it up!
Sweet: Apology accepted. *looks at watch* Anyway, that was all I wanted. I'm afraid I got to go now. Bye, sugar. Don't be a stranger. *tips hat that just appeared on head and fades away into golden sparks.*
A/N: I don't think I'll ever get used to that. Well, that's all from this story. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you have any questions, or if you noticed any mistakes, or if there were any parts you liked, or if you're breathing, feel free to leave a review! This year has been rough, but we made it through. Have a great Christmas and a great New Year. Goodbye!