What Happened in Vegas...

by Yahtzee

The early morning light played upon the ripples of the pink sheets, illuminating the outline of a sleeping woman's legs. David Addison awoke slowly, his consciousness (such as it was) arising from depths that only a combination of sleep and champagne could create. He noticed the outline of the sleeping woman's legs first - this was David, after all. Second he noticed that, instead of his own scratchy sheets or the carpeted floor of his office, he was lying upon satin.

Nice stuff, satin. However, it wasn't nearly as nice as the outline of those legs. Dave swam backward through memory as he tried to remember just how he'd ended up here -- beside –

"Mr. Addison?" Miss DiPesto clutched the satin sheets around her. "What are you doing here?"

"Me? What are you doing here? What are you doing naked?" He paused, lifted up the sheets around him and made a small, yipping sound. "What am I doing naked?"

"Well, there's an obvious answer, but I don't remember going to the doctor, do you?"

"That ain't the obvious answer I was thinking of, Agnes."

The events of the previous night began to come back to him, in blurry slow-motion, like John Madden's instant replays of particularly stupid calls during the Packers games. Drinking, sure, he remembered drinking - a lot of drinking, apparently –

"Wasn't there something about a casino night?" Miss DiPesto asked, tilting her head to one side. "At the bar? Yeah - Vegas Casino Night. And you were going to meet Miss Hayes there, but she sent me to tell you she couldn't."

"And then I told you to have a drink." Dave grimaced. His hangover, which had apparently overslept by a couple minutes, awoke like a sledgehammer behind his eyes. "Maybe that's not all I told you to have. Oh, brother."

"I don't think your brother was there," Miss DiPesto said earnestly. "Not unless I had even more to drink than I think I drunk." She frowned. "I think."

Dave pushed himself back against the headboard, calculating ways to get to the bathroom without forcing her to see him naked, and even more importantly, without seeing her naked in return. "You seem to remember more of this than I do. Sorry about that, since this seems like a perfect time for amnesia."

"Oh, it's okay. I don't remember that much. I just remember - we were talking about terrorists. Something about terrorists."

Okay, Dave thought, I am going to have to give up the booze and start living straight. Because clearly I have lost my ability to have a good time. Tragic, but you gotta face facts.

"Wait, I've got it!" Miss DiPesto's face lit up. "We were talking about how they say a woman over 30 is more likely to be killed by a terrorist than get married! I was worried, but you said it was crap."

"Crap it most certainly is, unless the lady over 30 goes around cuttin' off terrorists in traffic. She does that, all bets are off. But that doesn't explain how - why - we -"

Dave's voice trailed off as he saw the champagne chilling in a nearby ice bucket, and the large floral arrangement on the table.

"This is a really nice hotel." Still, apparently, not grasping just how embarrassing all this was, Miss DiPesto calmly studied their surroundings. "Do you think we get cable?"

But then her eyes went big - well, bigger - and Dave knew she'd seen what he'd seen: the shiny banner around the flowers that said WELCOME TO THE HONEYMOON SUITE.

"Honeymoon?" Miss DiPesto whispered. Then she grabbed a slightly crumpled piece of paper from the bedside table. "Mr. Addison, is this - it looks like a license!"

"Please tell me that's a fishing license. A driver's license. A liquor license?" He could use some more liquor right around now.

She shook her head, frizzy hair flopping all around. "It's a marriage license! I think we must have - I think we're -"

He grabbed the license for himself and wished like hell he couldn't believe his eyes. "Married?"

 

*****

"Married?" Maddie stared at the now very crumpled piece of paper on her desk. "You and Miss DiPesto -- got married?" 

"Married. Hitched. Tied the knot, right around my neck, Maddie." 

David was pacing in front of her desk, wearing only a half-buttoned, mysteriously stained shirt, boxer shorts decorated with smiley faces, and some five o'clock shadow with a couple extra hours tacked on. He had marched into the offices of the Blue Moon Detective Agency just like this, attracting absolutely no attention from the staffers, a jaded bunch who well remembered the Sombrero-and-Jockstrap Incident of 1984. Maddie, severe in matters of business dress, was just about to insist that he find a pair of slacks or at least a bathrobe when he showed her the marriage license for Agnes DiPesto and David Addison.

"There's no such thing as a married detective!" David protested. "It's not right. Does Baretta go in for his-and-her cockatiels? No! Does Ironside have a sidecar on that wheelchair? No! On Vega$, do you ever see Dan Tanna stop cruising the Strip so he can be home for dinner with Mrs. Tanna? Absolutely not!"

"What about Nick and Nora Charles?" Maddie asked reasonably. "They're married."

"The Thin Man? Those are old movies. Way old! Before color, unless Ted Turner's gotten to 'em recently. I'm talking about our era, our genre."

"There's Jonathan and Jennifer Hart --"

David waved this aside. "Different network. No, Maddie, the detective's life is a lonely one." He sat on the edge of her desk, beside her, slipping his arm around her shoulders. Filled with danger -- risk -- long, hard nights on stakeouts -- long, hard nights with your partner --"

"I don't think you should be promising long OR hard," Maddie said, with a glance in the direction of the boxer shorts, "now that you're a married man."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm not married. At least, I'm only temporarily married. We can get one of those annulment things."

Maddie folded her arms. "I don't think you can do that if the marriage has been consummated. Was it?" 

"Honestly? No clue."

"Waking up naked beside someone in bed is usually a clue, Addison. If you haven't gotten that clue, maybe it's just as well I didn't come to Casino Night."

Clutching what remained of his hair, David pleaded, "I don't remember! And I don't think Miss DiPesto remembers, either. That clue is one she never got in the mail. She'll tell the judge no nookie was nooked. Presto changeo, we're back to being swinging singles."

Unlike most of David's plans, this one seemed as though it might work. Maddie nodded. "Looks like we can get you unhitched without a hitch. Is Agnes at the courthouse now?"

"Huh? No. At least, I don't think so. I got the hell out of there, left her some cab fare -"

"Very romantic."

"This isn't about romance, Maddie! This is about tequila and what it can do to a sane man's mind."

"Or, in this case, to yours." She sighed. "We have to find Agnes." But as Maddie stood up, she noticed that Dave was turning a shade of pea green that would even have disgusted the peas. "On second thought, I'll find her. You get - some coffee. And a shower. Maybe a new personality while you're at it."

"Some coffee and a shower and I'm a whole new guy," David promised. "Michael Douglas. Phil Donahue. Maybe even Ray Charles, if you play your cards right."

Maddie smiled despite herself as she collected her clutch bag and sunglasses. "I'll sit this hand out." 

 

*****
 The honeymoon suite at the hotel had been vacated, and Maddie therefore drove quickly to Miss DiPesto's apartment, ready to offer up hangover remedies and sympathy, and perhaps, as a purely academic exercise, to find out if Miss DiPesto remembered any of the particulars of the night before, such as what might be beneath the smiley-face boxer shorts.

What she wasn't ready for was to be greeted with an overjoyed hug.

"I'm married!" Miss DiPesto said, beaming. "I never thought I would be a bride. I'd kinda given up, you know? Well, maybe you don't know, what with being a gorgeous talented supermodel and everything."

"Agnes --"

"It was so romantic!" Miss DiPesto led Maddie into her apartment, which was decorated in a strong ferns-and-cats motif. "I know we didn't have a big ceremony or anything, and I don't really remember much of it, but -- I'm married!"

"Yes, Agnes, you are." Maddie blinked, realizing only now just how much trouble they were all in - especially David. She glanced at the glass-topped table, which was piled high with note cards dedicated to the glory of Ziggy. Following her gaze, Miss DiPesto laughed and held one of the cards up.

"I'm writing everybody I know. I thought, since we eloped, maybe we could have a nice party afterward. Like a reception? And we can have a limbo contest just for Mr. Addison!"

"Shouldn't you be calling him David? I hear a lot of husbands and wives are on a first-name basis these days."

Miss DiPesto did not seem to hear this. "Here, listen to what I wrote for the invitations:

Join us for champagne and hors d'oeuvres at the Radisson Sincerely yours, David and Agnes DiPesto-Addison."

She beamed again. "I'd really rather have it at the Hyatt, but nothing rhymes with Hyatt."

"I see your problem." The most troubling part of all this was that Maddie DID see Agnes' problem, more clearly than Agnes did herself. She'd always known that Miss DiPesto's relationship with reality was more of a passing acquaintance, but before it had always seemed whimsical. Now, it bordered on the tragic. "Listen, I don't want to upset you, but - have you thought about this?"

"The Ziggy cards? I thought maybe they wouldn't be formal enough."

"Not them. Well, yes, them too - but that's not what I'm talking about. I mean, have you thought about what it would mean, being married to David?"

"Sure! I mean, not exactly, but I've thought about being married. You get a house with a picket fence, and you have babies, and sometimes you start wearing matching outfits on vacation."

"That's my whole point. You're talking about an ideal of marriage, not the reality of being with one person forever. Particularly THIS person."

"You don't like Mr. Addison? I mean, I know you guys fight a lot, but I always thought - well, actually, when you came over here, I thought you might be kinda mad at me. For stealing your man." She lit up with excitement. "I stole somebody's man! I mean, sorry."

Maddie was far more insulted by the idea of Agnes DiPesto stealing her man than she ought to have been, but the shame she felt didn't take away the sting of the idea. "Trust me, I have no man to steal. Mr. Addison is free for the taking. In fact, we might pay someone to haul him off." She sighed. "But I like him just fine."

"Well, if you like him, why don't you think he'd make a good husband?"

"It's not that, either!" In some ways, it was that - David Addison wouldn't know what to do with a picket fence, beyond fooling the other kids into painting it for him. But Maddie had a point to make, if she could just get to it. Having a sane conversation with Miss DiPesto was a bit like trying to drive straight in a rink full of bumper cars. "I just never thought that you were in love with David, or that he was in love with you. Love's important, don't you think?"

Miss DiPesto thought about this. At least, Maddie thought it was thought. The distant gaze and half-open mouth might signify something else: confusion, distraction, an incipient rhyme ... with Miss DiPesto, it was hard to tell.

At last, Miss DiPesto said, "It all comes down to carrots."

"He bought you a ring?"

"No, not the K karats, the C carrots, the kind you eat."

Maddie waited for the logic of this to reveal itself to her. Unsurprisingly, it did not. "I know I'll regret asking this, but - carrots?"

"I'm allergic to them. If I have even a single bite of a carrot, I swell up and turn orange."

"Ugh."

"Ugh is right. And last night, one of the last things I remember is going through the buffet line. This guy was giving me a salad with carrot shavings on top, and before I could even say anything, Mr. Addison told him to get me a new salad. I wouldn't have stood up for myself, you know? I'm not so good at that."

"Yeah, I know."

"But Mr. Addison, he stood up for me. He made sure I got my salad with no carrots at all. And he remembered that I was allergic, so he was looking out for me. Then I think he barfed in the croutons, but that doesn't really count. It can't be all bad, can it? Somebody who'll look out for you?"

"Well, that's part of it -"

"I look out for him, too. I always have. So, I figure it won't be that much of a change, really. Except - do you think he'll want to live at his place? I'm not sure about that moose head he's got on the wall."

"It's not so much the moose head as the ladies' underwear he has pinned to the ears." Maddie folded her arms and considered what Agnes had said for a few moments. Wasn't that the most important thing, really - taking care of each other? Was it possible, just possible, that Miss DiPesto was correct? 

"Oh, listen, at the reception - I was thinking we could do karaoke." Miss DiPesto smiled. "You know how much Mr. Addison loves to sing."

"Yeah, he does." Maddie realized that, even in some bizarre parallel universe where she might possibly, maybe have considered, for one nanosecond, marrying David Addison - she'd never have let him sing karaoke at the reception. And he would adore that. Her mind made up, she took Agnes' shoulders in her hands. "By the way, I didn't say so before, but -- congratulations."

"Thanks." Agnes gave her a little hug in return, then continued wandering around her apartment, humming the "Wedding March."


 *****
 The scene at the Blue Moon Detective Agency was tense.

David stood in the doorway. At the opposite end of the office stood Herbert Viola. Each man was motionless, hands at his sides, while the other staffers all cowered behind their desks. A low, wavering note played.

"What was that?" Viola said, twitching but never taking his eyes from Dave.

"A low, wavering note. Like Sergio Leone used in all those Clint Eastwood spaghetti Westerns. It's used to indicate a face-off."

Viola scowled. "This is fanfic, not TV. We don't have Foley guys!"

"Apparently we do today." Dave risked a step forward. Some of the staffers gasped and cowered even lower. "Herb, buddy, old pal, I know how you're feeling -"

"You married my girl!"

"First of all, pal, she ain't your girl, unless MacGilicuddy lost this week's coin toss."

"She broke up with MacGilicuddy two summers ago! I was going by tonight -"

David shook his head and made the football referee sign for a dropped pass. "No can do, buddy. Agnes DiPesto was in play!" As Viola began to swell up with anger, Dave quickly added, "Besides, I'm about to fumble. This is just a - temporary thing."

"Since when is marriage temporary?" Viola demanded.

"You never heard of Liz Taylor?"

Viola had heard of Liz Taylor, and had, in fact, entertained some not-entirely-wholesome daydreams about her while watching the commercials for White Diamonds perfume. But before he could deny this fantasy and get back to the point of the argument, the agency's door swung open to reveal Maddie Hayes, dressed in a lilac suit and clutching a tan clutch bag the way good receivers clutch footballs.

"Addison!"

"You rang?" David said, in a fair approximation of Lurch.

"In my office!" She marched through, more like a linebacker than a receiver now. Maybe it was the shoulder pads. David shrugged and followed her, slamming the door behind them just so the staff would be reassured that everything was getting back to normal.

"We need to talk." Maddie sat behind her desk, steepling her hands as if they were about discuss some of her stupid business crap, like spreadsheets and budgets and stuff.

"All the time in the world for you, Miss Hayes." Dave put his hands on the desk and leaned forward, thinking that he looked a bit like Paul Newman in "The Hustler."

Maddie thought he looked more like a gorilla leaning on his knuckles. "I talked to Agnes, and I think - I think you two should try to work it out."

Indignant, Dave gaped at her. When gaping provoked no response, he blurted, "Whaddaya mean, work it out?"

"I mean, work it out, David. Find a way to make your marriage succeed!"

"My marriage?"

"Yes. Your marriage. You can't hide from this anymore! After Vegas Casino Night, you got married."

"No, after Vegas Casino Night, I got a hangover. This one's just lasting a real long time." He ran his hands through his hair; it had already been sticking out in several different directions, but now it became positively wild. "Maddie, you can't be serious! Me? And AGNES?"

"Why not Agnes?"

"Why not Agnes? C'mon, Maddie --"

"Just because Miss DiPesto doesn't look like one of the girls in the magazines you keep under your sofa cushions --"

"Found those, huh?"

"--doesn't mean she wouldn't make an excellent wife. She's smart --"

"Agnes believed in the Tooth Fairy until 1982!"

"--and she's kind, and she's good to everyone who comes in here, and she thinks the world of you, David. How many women can you say that about? I'll tell you: not many."

David wanted to tell Maddie she was wrong, but the weird thing was, she wasn't wrong. That had never happened before, Maddie Hayes being right about something, but apparently nothing was so weird it couldn't happen once.

Agnes DiPesto really was kind, and sweet. Yeah, she dressed in terry-cloth jumpers and bought posters of kittens, but –

"She dresses in terry cloth and puts up posters of kittens!" David protested. "We're nothing alike!"

"Which is too bad for you, Addison."

"Maddie -"

"Uh-uh-uh!" Maddie's face took on that regal, magazine-cover look that said arguing with her would do about as much good as arguing with a magazine cover. "I'm not saying it's guaranteed to work. Maybe it's not even likely. But - she's happy, David. Really happy. I doubt you've ever made anyone that happy before in your life."

David hung his head. "That's not nice, Maddie," he said, quietly. "Mostly because it's true."

Her voice was softer when she answered. "Just talk to Agnes. That's all I ask. Just try."

"Wouldn't it be better for the agency to just buy me a ticket to Reno?"

"Talk to her! Out! OUT!"
 
 *****
 David drove to Miss DiPesto's apartment in a foul mood. He was angry at Maddie for being so obstinate, Agnes for being both overly romantic and a cheap drunk, Viola for acting like this was David's fault somehow, and - above all - at the writer of this stupid story.

"Is this plot something you dreamed up 'cause you heard Maddie and I were fighting? You wanted to give me some scenes with somebody else?" Dave glared at the ceiling of his Chrysler. "This is fanfic! You don't need the actors to get along! Heck, you don't need no stinkin' actors! So back off, okay?"

The author was unmoved by his pleas.

David sighed and kept going. Not even the soothing tones of the Delfonics in his tape deck could make the trip any easier - though the music mysteriously followed him through the lobby, in the elevator and up until the moment he knocked on Miss DiPesto's door.

She opened it and smiled. "Hey! I was wondering if we would live here."

"That is so not how I was wanting to start this conversation."

"Come on in! I made dinner!" Agnes took him by the hand and led him inside the apartment. Yeah, there were lots of ferns and lots of cats - but David found himself noticing other things more. Like, for instance, the smell of beef stew. Really good beef stew. And was that an ice-cold wine cooler she was putting into his hand?

A weird feeling overtook David, something he knew he'd experienced before but couldn't quite name. It was nice and warm and snug, if maybe a little tight, kinda like a sweater that shouldn't have been washed in the HOT cycle - what was it?

And then he realized that it felt a lot like coming home.

Slowly, David kissed Agnes' cheek and sat at the table. She served dinner up quickly and cheerfully, then took her place opposite him. Though she was smiling broadly, he thought he could see concern in her dark eyes. "I guess you've been wondering where I was," he said.

"I figured you were probably sleeping it off," she said happily. "Was I right?"

"Yeah."

"Yay me!" As soon as Agnes was done congratulating herself for a good guess, she became more serious. "I realize that we need to have a talk."

"I guess we do -"

But before David could continue, before he could say any of the clumsily sincere things that had wriggled their way into his mind during the past three minutes, Agnes said, "I want a divorce."

"What?" David was sure he hadn't heard right. "You want to divorce me?"

"Don't get me wrong, Mr. Addison! You're the greatest boss ever, and I wouldn't ever want to work for anybody else, except Miss Addison, or maybe Oprah." She tugged awkwardly at her dark, curly hair. "But I don't love you. And love's important. I do want to get married someday, and I guess I'm not getting any younger - though I never understood what that meant. Nobody ever gets any younger, except that weird kid Mork and Mindy had, you know?"

"Uh - yeah -"

"Still, no matter what - Mr. Addison, I just don't want to settle."

"SETTLE?" David jumped up from the table, outraged. "You would not be settling for David Addison, young lady. Look at all this!" He gestured in a wild sense that somehow took in his clothes, his body, his love of Motown music and other, more intangible qualities.

She gazed at him, somewhat dismayed, then shrugged. "I'm not feeling it."

"Apparently you were feeling it last night!" David pointed toward the bedroom, or what he thought might be the bedroom, anyway. He'd never been to her apartment for more than a couple minutes before. If that door led to a broom closet, hell, they could do it in there, too. "What say you feel it again and see if you change your mind?"

"Mr. Addison, please." Agnes drew herself up, all dignity. "I understand that you feel rejected. But Blue Moon allows no sexual harassment."

"Are you kidding? ALL WE DO is sexual harassment!" Rejected? Rejected! By Agnes DiPesto! David couldn't take it.

This humiliation had to end. And the only way it could end - yeah, it was drastic, but he'd do what he had to do.

"That's it," he muttered. "I'm getting the hell out of this story."

Agnes frowned. "Huh?"

"This story. This fanfic. It does NOT reflect well on me. Do you have any idea how pathetic it is to be a character in fanfic and not get laid? That's all they do, for Christ's sake!"

"I thought you believed in God, Addison." Maddie said. "Should you be taking His name in vain like that?" Then she stopped and stared. "Wait, what am I doing here? I wasn't in this scene."

"That's just it," David said, putting one hand on Maddie's shoulders and the other on the arm of the equally puzzled and equally displaced Herbert Viola. "Scenes are different, in fanfic. It's all just mushed together on the author's hard drive. You know how we sometimes just run off the set when the episode's not going our way? Well, if we want to break out of this story, we've gotta get through the hard drive first! Are you with me?"

"Let's give it a try," Maddie said as she pushed up the sleeves of her jacket.

Agnes shrugged. "Okay by me."

Viola looked worried. "What if the author writes mpreg?"

"We gotta take our chances." David took out his Ray-Bans, slipped them on and said, "Go!"

**SSSSSZZZHZHZHZHHOOOOOOOOOMMMMM**

"I've about had it with you, Sawyer." Jack stepped closer, so close he could smell the sweat on Sawyer's skin. That, and the scent of the sea, and something sweet - coconut milk, maybe, something that clung to Sawyer's lips –

"What's the matter, Doc?" Sawyer tilted his head. "What is it you think you've had with me?"

Jack couldn't speak. His heart was in his throat, his pulse taking him over.

In a low croon, Sawyer continued, "Because I bet you ain't had it yet. Why don't you take it now?"

Then Agnes DiPesto burst out from behind a palm tree, shouting, "I think we're on Gilligan's Island!"

"What the hell --?" Jack began.

"Holy shit." Sawyer balled his hands into fists. "It's the Others!"

"I don't know what others you're talkin' about, pal." David stumbled forward, noticing happily that he was now wearing a Hawaiian shirt. "But man, am I glad to see you."

Jack and Sawyer stared at each other as Viola appeared, then Maddie, who was stumbling awkwardly through the sand in her high heels, grumbling something about a long-ago cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

"This is even weirder than the polar bear," Jack muttered.

"Don't mind us!" Miss DiPesto said. "You guys just go back to doing whatever you were doing, shirtless and sweaty in an isolated jungle glade!"

They looked at each other. Sawyer shrugged. Then he grabbed Jack by the arms and –

"Oh, no, no, no!" David shouted. He looked about wildly, seeking an escape hatch; one was of course not far away, but had David gone through it, he would only have found Hurley eating the last of the potato chips. "A slasher!"

"Horror movies?" Maddie said. "Where?"

"I mean, the author is a slasher! Nobody is safe!" David put his hand over his eyes and began stumbling into what he hoped was the distance, feeling in front of him with one hand. "Viola, don't even look at me, man! Any gesture, any glance, ANYTHING, and we're instant Friends of Dorothy."

"Who's Dorothy?" Viola said.

"Hell, even I know who Dorothy is." Sawyer looked disgusted.

"Just trust me on this!" David yelled. "Don't look at it, Marian!"

Viola cocked his head and smiled. "How did you know Marian was my drag name?"

"It's started already. We gotta get out of here!" David willed them all to jump –

**SSSSSZZZHZHZHZHHOOOOOOOOOMMMMM**

"Yes, Triceratops, I will crush you." Wash steered the toy triceratops towards its doom, in this case a plastic brontosaurus he'd named Douglas. "I will crush you beneath my large and mighty feet."

Then something slammed into the hull of the ship - no, not the hull, but the floor –

"We're in space!" Miss DiPesto cried. "This is going to be just like Star Wars!"

Maddie sighed. "Point me toward Harrison Ford, then."

"Me too," Viola said dreamily. The slashiness was still at work.

Wash stared at the six strange visitors - two shirtless, sweaty men and four people who were less sweaty and more clothed - and wondered if he'd lost his mind. Then he remembered that he'd lost his mind a long time ago and wondered what in the world came after that. Whatever it was, he'd just gotten there. 

"Uh, are you part of Blue Sun?" he asked.

"Is that like the Grateful Dead?" Miss DiPesto asked.

"We're off the island," Jack whispered. "Oh, my God. We escaped."

"Yeah, genius, now we're in space," Sawyer retorted. "You want to explain to me how this is any better?"

Jack considered it. "Ana-Lucia's not here?"

"Okay, good point," Sawyer conceded.

Wash decided he should mention the most important facts first. "By the way, if you mess with this ship or anyone on it, my wife will beat you up. And I will watch with considerable satisfaction."

David glared at Maddie. "And you act like marriage is a good thing."

"Now, what do you reckon we have here?" Mal said, striding into the cockpit to examine their new guests. "Looks like we got ourselves a passel of stowaways."

Viola whispered, "I think we're in a Bonanza fic."

"Okay, we are STOPPING this before we get to Hoss slash." David stood in the middle of the cockpit and said, "Clearly, none of us knows how to finish this, least of all the author."

"I know what I'd like to finish," Sawyer said with a sidelong look at Jack.

"No slashing!" David yelled. "We're gonna close this the way we always do when we run out of story."

Maddie groaned. "You don't mean -"

"Yeah, I do." David pointed toward the sky - a nebulous concept, in space, sometimes literally - and said, "Hit it!"

The song "Shout" began to blare loudly from every corner of Serenity, and any protests Wash and Mal would've made instantly dissolved as they were overcome by the wild desire to dance. They were on their feet in seconds, boogieing down beside Jack and Sawyer, Agnes and Viola, and Dave and Maddie. Even Jayne danced with his air rifle, Matilda.

A little bit softer now - SHOUT –

"I have to hand it to you, Addison," Maddie called over the music. "Everything worked out for the best."

A little bit softer now - SHOUT –

"Trust me," Dave said. "Next week, when the credits roll, it'll be like none of this ever happened."

A little bit softer now - SHOUT –

"So, Agnes," Viola said, trying to sound suave, which is not easy to do while doing the hula in a Hawaiian shirt aboard a spaceship. "Now that you're single again -"

A little bit softer now - SHOUT –

"Buy me dinner," Agnes said, an impish smile ruining any chance she had of sounding severe. "Then we'll talk."

A little bit louder now - SHOUT –

Maddie was still dancing for all she was worth, but she'd begun to look worried. "When does this end, again?"

A little bit louder now - SHOUT –

"As soon as we hit a good spot to freeze-frame!" David called out to everyone: "Strike some poses, y'all!"

A little bit louder now - SHOUT –

Jack and Sawyer tried to end the story on a passionate kiss - or, maybe, they just kissed for the hell of it. The author was tempted, but kept typing.

A little bit louder now - SHOUT –

Wash smiled broadly. No go. He held up the plastic dinosaurs beside his face, hoping to increase visual interest, but still, the music played on.

A little bit louder now - SHOUT –

Now desperate, Maddie cried, "David, what are we going to do?"

"I dunno, Maddie. Maybe we gotta jump to the next thing on the author's hard drive –

**SSSSSZZZHZHZHZHHOOOOOOOOOMMMMM**

The hard drive folded in upon itself, vanishing down in the opalescent swirls of the Pensieve. Snape stared down at it, appalled.

"I thought I'd exorcised the memory of that ghastly story forever," he muttered, drawing out his wand. "Obliviate!" 

 

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