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Finn's Battle

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Chapter 1: Ambushed
“Meet me by the Sorcerer’s Hat inside Hollywood Studios tonight at closing time. Don’t crossover! Come alone and tell no one of this meeting. We have much to discuss. From, Wayne.”

Finn read the note he found in his locker several times trying to interpret its meaning. Why did Wayne want to meet up with him tonight? There had been no word from the old man in several weeks, which meant that Finn and his fellow Keepers had been able to get back to their normal lives. The Overtakers, Disney villains determined to take over the parks, had been strangely quiet, and Wayne had seen no need to have them crossover on a nightly basis.

“Why doesn’t he want me to tell the others?” He mumbled to himself.

“Who doesn’t want you to tell us what?” inquired Amanda.

Finn jumped a foot in the air. Sometimes, he found his girlfriend’s ability to sneak up on him to be…creepy. He wasn’t sure if it was a Fairlie power or just part of her charm.

 

“Nothing!” he explained, turning around to look into her beautiful brown eyes while stuffing the note from Wayne into his jacket pocket. “Just a conversation Philby and I had last night. Guy stuff, you know?” He smiled unconvincingly, but Amanda decided not to press him.

“Come on,” she said, taking his hand, “You promised to walk me home.”

Later that night, wearing a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses, Finn entered the turnstiles of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park was nearly empty; most people were enjoying the last showing of Fantasmic, and on top of that, it was Labor Day weekend, one of the least crowded times of year for Disney.

Finn tried to blend in as much as possible. His disguise almost landed him in trouble when he and Amanda snuck into the Magic Kingdom back when he first became a DHI. If caught by Park Security, his family would lose their lifetime passes and his DHI would be terminated. Finn didn’t want to risk that. With the Overtakers growing in numbers and strength each day, he couldn’t afford to get cocky. As the leader of the Kingdom Keepers, he would never forgive himself if something happened to his friends.

Knowing that the park was getting ready to close, he decided to put his plan into action. He ran into a nearby men’s room and locked himself in one of the stalls. Hearing someone come in, he jumped onto the toilet and held his breath. To anyone who entered, the stall would appear to be empty.

“Is anyone in here?” a rough voice echoed in the tiled room.

Finn didn’t dare to answer him. After a few anxious seconds, the guard turned off the lights, and the restroom was plunged into total darkness. A moment later, Finn heard the man leave the area.

That was a close one! he thought.

One hour later, Finn determined it was safe to leave his hiding place. He jumped down from his perch and waited for the tingling sensation in his legs to subside before finally unlocking the door and leaving the restroom.

A sense of unease suddenly came upon Finn as he walked down the darkened street of Hollywood Boulevard. No matter how often he and his friends crossed over into the parks at night, he still had not gotten over the eeriness of the parks when the lights were out and the guests had left.

Finn was so immersed in his own thoughts as he walked past the shops that he didn’t realize that he was almost at his destination. Coming back down to Earth, he refocused on his mission and looked up at the Sorcerer’s Hat.

The massive structure served as a hat and trading pin shop that was popular among the guests that visited the park. Standing at 122 feet, it was one of the tallest structures in the park.

Finn cautiously approached the Sorcerer’s Hat. Wayne was nowhere to be found. Feeling the hair on the back of his neck stand up, Finn looked around the perimeter of the shop hoping to get some knowledge of the whereabouts of his mentor.

“Wayne? Where are you?” he whispered apprehensively.

“Stupid boy! Did you actually think that old fool sent you here?”

Finn whipped around. He was staring at two dozen Green Army Men, all of them pointing their guns at him. Standing front and center was the Evil Queen from Snow White, who stood facing him with her arms folded across her chest, smirking evilly. The color drained from Finn’s face.

“What’s the matter boy? Cat got your tongue?” the Queen asked. She slowly lifted her arm.

Sensing that she was about to cast a spell at him, Finn suddenly found his legs and turned to run towards the shop. He had barely run two feet, however, when more Green Army Men showed up to block his path, also with guns raised. He was completely surrounded.

“Nowhere to run, Kingdom Keeper!!”

Knowing the Evil Queen was right, Finn slowly turned around, got down on his knees, and placed his hands behind his head. The Queen raised her arm again and sent a spell towards him. The last thing he remembered before the spell reached him was being chained up by two of the Army Men. Then, everything went black…

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Imprisoned
Darkness.

Total darkness.

That’s how Finn would have described his surroundings when he finally roused himself from unconsciousness. The room he was in was pitch black and unimaginably cold.

He tried to move his arms so he could warm himself up, but they wouldn’t move. Glancing down at himself, he noticed that each of his wrists was cuffed in heavy manacles that glowed green and were chained separately to the wall behind him. His ankles were similarly trapped in front of him.

Great. Just great. I should have known the note was a trap! He thought to himself. Wayne hasn’t contacted me in weeks, and even if he did, he would never tell me to come to the parks in my human form! I have to try to find a way to escape before the Goon Patrol shows up.

Finn closed his eyes. He tried to let go of his fear. He didn’t know why he hadn’t tried to go All Clear before he had been captured. Not that it would have done him any good since he had had dozens of guns and an evil witch focused on him at the time. But he was alone now…

Out of all of the Kingdom Keepers, Finn was the only one of them who had completely mastered changing from being a human to becoming his DHI. He first realized this unique skill by accident during his early Keeper days. The result was still far from perfect. Finn could only remain in his DHI state for a minute or two before becoming exhausted and returning to his normal self. It also was not an easy task to remain completely fearless during the transition; one second of fear interrupted his hologram and would make him part DHI, part human kid.

If he could become his DHI now, he could use it to rid himself of his chains and walk through the walls of his prison. Hopefully he could avoid any OTs along the way and run back home before his parents reported him missing.

ZAP!!

“AHH!!” Finn screamed.

The chains still held him tightly, and the bright green light that radiated from the metal slowly faded back to their original state.

He couldn’t go All Clear!

“Poor child!” said a sickly sweet voice somewhere in the darkness. “Did you honestly believe it was going to be that easy?”

Finn opened his eyes and looked up at his captor.

Maleficent, the evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty, stood in front of the now open doorway, her magic scepter now the only source of light in the tiny cell.

With great difficulty, Finn slowly managed to pull himself to his feet. He was breathing heavily as he glared angrily at the witch. She smiled triumphantly like a predator catching its prey.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the so called leader of the Keeper brats! So glad to see that you received our invitation! I trust your accommodations are to your liking?” she cackled evilly, gesturing to the room around them.

Finn didn’t answer. He wasn’t about to give Maleficent the satisfaction of knowing that he was finally in her clutches. He would have loved to tell his enemy where she could shove her ‘accommodations’ and her scepter…and maybe her pointy horns as well…

“Queenie said you refused to answer her questions. Never mind. We have ways of making you talk.”

Finn thought his heart was going to burst out off his chest. Was she seriously talking about torturing him? He shuddered at the thought.

Finding an ounce of courage, he forced himself to look defiantly into the fairy’s green face.

“You will get nothing from me! My friends will stop all of you! You will never win!!”

Maleficent suddenly reached out and grabbed him by the chin, her long fingernails piercing his skin as she made him look into her eyes. Finn let out a tiny whimper of pain.

“Oh, but that is where you are wrong, my sweet!” she growled dangerously. “We have you as our prize. It is only a matter of time before we have complete control of the idiotic dreamer’s world!”

“NEVER!!” Finn bellowed, struggling against the chains that bound him.

“It has already begun. Soon, the Kingdom will become the place where nightmares come true, and evil will reign supreme once more! I hope you live long enough to see it!”

With that, she released his face, throwing him down on the floor as she did so.

“Mark my words, Finn Whitman! You and your pathetic friends are about to become nothing more than distant memories.”

And the fairy left the dungeon. Finn heard her order the guards to keep a close eye on him before the door to his cell slammed shut, leaving him alone in the darkness once more.

Finn held his head in his hands. He was trapped, he couldn’t go All Clear, and no one knew he was missing. But he refused to give up hope. He would find a way to escape from his hellhole of a cell and contact the other Keepers to tell them what happened. Or he would die trying.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: The Vision
The boy was slowly walking around the Sorcerer’s Hat calling out for Wayne…Suddenly, he turned around to see the Evil Queen and two dozen Green Army Men standing behind him…He tried to run away, but was quickly surrounded by more soldiers…Realizing that there was nowhere to run without being shot and killed, the boy fell to his knees in surrender and placed his hands behind his head…As two of the Army Men chained the boy’s arms behind his back, the witch cast a spell on him…He fell face down on the pavement, unconscious…The vision shifted…When everything came back into focus, the boy was chained to a dungeon wall…He suddenly yelled out in pain when he tried to change into his hologram…Maleficent was laughing at him….She knew he was helpless….The dream slowly faded along with the fairy’s evil cackle until there was nothing but darkness…

Jess shot up in bed and immediately reached for her dream journal. She started sketching the cell she had seen Finn chained in, not wanting to leave out any details.

She had just finished the drawing when Amanda woke up. Without hesitation, she handed her sister her journal.

“I had another vision.” she said. “A very vivid one, and you’re not going to like it.”

Amanda stifled a yawn as she looked at the drawing. Still half asleep, she asked, “Why? What’s wrong?”

Jess took a deep breath and whispered sadly, “Finn has been captured by the Overtakers.”

At her sister’s statement, Amanda suddenly became on high alert.

“Finn??!! Captured?? It can’t be true!! How?? When?? Which villain??” she nearly sobbed.

“Shh!! Calm down!!” said Jess, “You don’t want to wake her up do you?” She gestured to their still sleeping roommate, the only other occupant in the room.

Amanda shook her head and concentrated on her breathing so she could think more clearly. After a few more tense moments of silence, she was finally able to listen to Jess as she told her story. She gasped when she heard about Finn sneaking into Hollywood Studios, nearly screamed when she learned how he had been ambushed and captured at the Sorcerer’s Hat, and finally started crying silent tears when Jess described how he had been imprisoned and threatened by Maleficent.

It was only when Jess had finished unfolding her vision that Amanda found her voice.

“W-We have to rescue him!! He is danger!! Who knows what the Overtakers are doing to him!!??” she pleaded with Jess.

“I know, Manda,” Jess soothed, “We will find a way to save Finn. But we have to be smart about it. If we just rush onto the battlefield, we might end up trapped the same way he is now. Who knows what would happen to him then?”

Amanda nodded. “We need a plan. And we can’t do this alone.”

Reaching for her phone on her bedside table, she quickly sent out a group text.

Mandapanda: Finn captured by OTs at Studios. Jess had vision. We need to meet.

Four replies came almost as soon as she pressed send:

Finn’s house tomorrow at noon. We’ll get our leader back. Contact his mom ASAP!

Hands shaking, Amanda sent a text to Mrs. Whitman’s cell phone…

Mrs. Whitman had of course been worried when she didn’t find Finn in his bed the next morning. Unlike her husband, however, she was aware of her son’s life as a Kingdom Keeper, and reporting that he had been captured by a group of Disney villains who were trying to take over Walt Disney World would have landed her in the nearest mental hospital.

She had a feeling that her son was in trouble the previous evening when he immediately went to bed after dinner. Soon afterwards, as she was doing the laundry, she checked the pockets of the jacket she had seen him wearing to school that day. Call it mother’s intuition, but she couldn’t help but sob silently to herself as she worried about what her only son was going through. Therefore, she wasn’t surprised when, at 6:30 the following morning, she received a text from Amanda.

Mrs. Whitman hastily answered:

Found note in Finn’s jacket. It was a trap! Get here as soon as you can. Find my son!

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: A Plan of Attack
Later that same afternoon, Mrs. Whitman answered the front door to find the six remaining Kingdom Keepers standing solemnly on the doorstep. With a sad smile, she invited them inside where the kids made themselves comfortable in the living room.

For several minutes, no one spoke, each of them lost in their own thoughts as they wondered what horrors Finn was going through. They looked up when Mrs. Whitman returned from the kitchen carrying a tray of chocolate chip cookies and steaming mugs of hot chocolate. After a few more anxious minutes, Mrs. Whitman finally broke the silence.

“I found this in Finn’s jacket pocket last night,” she said, passing the note to Maybeck, who sat beside her. “Does it mean anything to any of you?”

One by one, the Keepers read the note, shaking their heads in response to her query. Finally, it was Amanda’s turn. She immediately covered her mouth in shock and started crying again.

“What’s wrong, Amanda?” asked Willa, concerned.

“Th-That must be the reason he was acting so strangely after school yesterday!”, she sobbed, “I saw him stuff something in his pocket, but I didn’t ask him anything else about it! It’s my fault he was captured!”

“No, Amanda! It’s not your fault at all!” Philby assured her. “He thought that Wayne sent the note. We haven’t heard from the old man in a long time, and the OTs obviously knew that Finn would do anything Wayne asked him to do!”

“It must have been an OTK that planted the note in his locker”, growled Maybeck, “It’s the only explanation!”

“It doesn’t matter how the note got there!” exclaimed Charlene, “Does anybody have any bright ideas about how we’re going to rescue him?”

“As a matter of fact, I do”, Professor Philby said, “We’re going to crossover tonight.”

Over the next half hour, the Keepers began piecing together their rescue strategy. They had no idea where Finn was being held prisoner, but everyone agreed that since he had been captured inside Hollywood Studios, then that was as good a place as any to start. Philby suggested that they all go to bed at 9:00 that night. He planned on making the DHI server cross them over about one hour after the park closed. Once inside, the Keepers would pair up and start searching a different area of the park. If they hadn’t found Finn by midnight, they would immediately sneak over to one of the other parks.

No matter what happened, they would not give up their search until they found him. They planned on enlisting as many Characters as possible to help them in their mission.

Finn never gave up on his team. They were not about to give up on him.

Finn is strong. He won’t give in to the Overtakers. Philby thought.

“Hang on, Whitman,” said Maybeck, “We’re coming!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: The Face of Evil
Moments after Maleficent left, Finn heard the door of his cell open again. A pirate entered the room, carrying a tray of food.

“Room service for our honored guest!” the pirate sneered, bowing to Finn mockingly, “We can’t have you dying on us ahead of schedule now, can we?”

Finn had to admit he was a bit hungry. He hadn’t had anything to eat since before he snuck into the park the night prior. There were no windows inside the room where he was being kept, so he had no way of determining how much time had passed since he had been captured.

The pirate set down the tray beside Finn, gave him a sinister smile, and left the dungeon.

If he was going to attempt escape again, Finn was going to need his strength. After his meager meal, which consisted of a salty, thin broth, a small piece of day old bread, and a glass of water, he began trying to go All Clear again.

Just as it had happened before, the chains on his wrists and ankles glowed brightly, and sent a shock of pain through his body. Finn bit his lip, refusing to cry out. After another agonizing minute, the pain subsided. Finn gasped for breath and leaned against the cold dungeon wall.

There’s got to be a way out of here! The others have probably realized what’s happened to me by now! I can’t give up yet!

Taking a deep breath, he prepared to try again…

Time passed slowly for Finn. He had tried several times to go All Clear and break free of his chains, but they refused to yield! It looked like he was going to have to trust his friends to find him before it was too late. No doubt Philby had already thought of a plan, which would mean the other Keepers would probably try to crossover tonight in hopes of finding him. He hoped that his DHI would work as well. Maybe he could find his friends searching somewhere in the park for him and he could tell them where he was being held. Hopefully, he could find them before the Overtakers did…

The sound of a key turning in a lock interrupted his thoughts. He opened his eyes to see Cruella de Vil and her henchmen, Horace and Jasper looking down at him.

“Well, it’s about time!” Finn exclaimed sarcastically, “I called for extra pillows an hour ago! I’ll be telling your manager about your appalling service!”

“That time has come sooner than you think, my young friend!” Cruella informed him, “The boss wants to meet you personally!”

With a nod in his direction, her goons lifted Finn to his feet and began detaching the chains that held him to the wall. Finn starting struggling as a new set of manacles was clasped onto his already sore wrists, but his captors were too strong for him. Finished with their work, they each grabbed one of his arms tightly and followed Cruella out of the cell.

Finn took his first look of his prison as the trio of villains half led, half dragged him down the seemingly endless hallway. Cobwebs covered every inch of wall and furniture. A sign in front of the elevator read: OUT OF ORDER. USE SERVICE ELEVATOR. He barely had time to register where he had been kept the entire time when Cruella opened the door to the dimly lit library and the four of them entered, closing the door behind them.

Finn was immediately shoved to his knees in the center of the room. The library had obviously been enchanted in some way, because there was no way you would be able to fit hundreds of people in such a small space and still have plenty of room.

Finn had never seen so many Overtakers together in one place! It seemed like every Disney villain ever created had decided to come to the party. Captain Hook…Lady Tremain and her evil daughters…Pete…Frollo…Maleficent….even Darth Vader and several stormtroopers were standing in the crowded room.

Finn was terrified.

“Finn Whitman! We meet at last!”

A tall figure with blue flames for hair and skin as gray as Death itself made his way to where Finn was kneeling on the floor. He was dressed in long black robes and was being followed by two small creatures who looked just as intimidated as Finn felt.

Scared out of his wits, Finn stared into the face of Hades, the God of the Underworld.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Speak of the Devil
So Hades is the leader of the Overtakers? Who knew? I never would have guessed it! Although, I guess it makes sense with him being a god and all that. Wait until the other Keepers hear about this! That’s assuming I get out of here alive….

A hundred different thoughts raced through Finn’s mind as he attempted to make sense of his present situation. Every fiber of his being told him to run out of the room, but what good would it do? Even if he managed to make it out of the room in one piece, he was still imprisoned in the enchanted manacles. As if the chains alone weren’t enough, the OTs outnumbered him at least three to one. He was completely out of options.

The hopelessness must have been showing on his face.

“That’s right, Kingdom Keeper!” Hades confirmed with a sickening grin. “There is no escape! You have meddled in our plans for the last time!”

The room echoed with the villains’ laughter. Finn decided to go to plan B: he was going to bluff his way out until the other Keepers arrived.

Summoning what was left of his courage, he slowly got to his feet. The Overtakers immediately drew any and all weapons they had and pointed them directly at Finn. Their message was clear: try anything and it will be the last thing you ever do!

“I wouldn’t get too excited, Double Ugly! My team is strong. We have an army of our own, and we will defeat you! All of you!!” he looked at all of the OTs standing around the room, many of them were already laughing again. “It wouldn’t be the first time it happened!”

At his outburst, Hades’ hair turned an angry red and smoke blew out of his ears. A moment later, he regained his composure and waved a lazy hand to someone standing behind Finn as his hair changed back to blue.

The next thing Finn knew, he had been roughly pushed back down onto his knees. Someone he couldn’t see grabbed a handful of his hair and placed a sword at his exposed throat.

“Let’s get one thing straight, ‘kay kid?” the god of the underworld began, “You are unarmed, outnumbered, completely at our mercy, and your friends have no idea where you are. If I were you, I’d be feeling a little scared right about now.”

“I’m not afraid of you, Hades! I’m just waiting for the campfire to start!” Finn answered. “And you’re wrong: my friends are coming for me, and when they do, you’ll all be sorry!”

“We’ll see about that, boy! In the meantime, I’ve had about enough of your voice.”

Finn struggled again as a rag was shoved into his mouth and tied around the back of his head.

“Well, as much fun as this has been, I’m a busy guy and we have a world to take over! But, not to worry: my secretary can help you schedule your next appointment! Take him away!”

Finn released a yell that was unheard through his gag before being pulled to his feet once more and dragged out of the library. The hallway was filled with the Overtakers’ laughter that mocked him all the way back to his cell, where he was chained back to the wall and left alone in the darkness.

For the first time since he had been captured, Finn allowed the tears to fall.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Search…
“Ok, does everybody remember the plan?” Philby asked the moment they all crossed over into Hollywood Studios.

“We’ve been over it a dozen times!” said Maybeck, rolling his eyes. “We get in, find Whitman, take out as many OTs as necessary along the way, and meet back at The Great Movie Ride to Return!”

“Are you sure that Finn’s DHI will crossover as well? I mean, what if the Overtakers find out what we’re up to?” Willa whimpered.

“We have to have a little faith, Willa.” Charlene comforted her friend. “Finn has always been there for us. Now it’s our turn to return the favor!”

“As heartwarming as this is, we don’t have a lot of time, people!” Amanda reminded them. “The longer we sit around and talk, the longer Finn remains a prisoner! What are we waiting for?”

The other Keepers slowly nodded in agreement and they all began to pair up. Willa and Charlene turned left towards Star Tours and the Echo Lake area of the park. Amanda and Jess headed past The Great Movie Ride, deciding to check the attractions in the Animation Courtyard. Phiby and Maybeck immediately ran down Sunset Boulevard, hoping to check out The Tower of Terror for their missing friend.

Philby just hoped they weren’t too late.

Meanwhile, Finn had fallen into an uneasy sleep. He had a feeling that his friends had crossed over into the park in an effort to rescue him. If he was right, he would wake up somewhere in the park as his DHI and find one of them searching nearby. He could then tell them where he was being kept and they could all escape before the Overtakers even knew he was missing. Somehow though, he doubted it would be that easy…

Maleficent peered into the barred window of the cell. Seeing her enemy fall asleep at last, she smiled evilly.

“Alert every villain at our disposal!” she ordered the guards on duty. “We’re about to have some extra guests!”

Maybeck supposed he would never get over the silence of the parks when he was crossed over. No sound could be heard, not even the sound of airplanes flying overhead. It was a creepy thought when you expected to see a Overtaker around every corner. Maybeck shuddered at the thought of what they could be doing to Finn. If he was even still alive…

The sound of a gate opening in the distance and hundreds of voices yelling made the two boys stop in their tracks.

“The Overtakers!” exclaimed Philby, “They must know we’re here to rescue Finn! Take cover!”

Quickly, the boys hid in the darkness between two shops just as the Overtakers came around the corner and reached the spot where they had been seconds before. After the last villain ran past them, Maybeck let out a sigh of relief and turned to grin at Philby.

But Philby was nowhere to be seen.

“Where did you go, Professor?”

“Me? I’m right here! Where did you go??”

“Thank the Lord for DHI shadow!!” cheered Maybeck.

“There will be time for praise later. We have a job to do!”

The boys quietly continued down the street. They hadn’t gone far when there was movement in the bushes ahead of them. Still in DHI shadow, the boys each took a side of the bush.

As one, the Keepers jumped the figure who was hiding, not caring if they were friend or foe.

“Ouch! OK, you got me! Geez, you call this a rescue?”

Finn was being held in a headlock by Maybeck, who quickly released him when he realized who was speaking.

“Whitman! You’re alive!”

“In the flesh!” their leader grinned, glancing down at the blue outline of his hologram, “Well, sort of!”

“It’s great to see you, Finn!” said Philby, “Where did you come from?”

Finn pointed down the empty street in the direction the Overtakers had come from.

“The OTs have provided me with a wonderful five star room at the Tower of Tower. It’s got four dungeon walls and even comes with a set of chains! The service could use some work, though. I had a little talk with the head boss today.”

Maybeck and Philby stared at him in shock at the news.

“So, you’ve seen the leader of the OTs?? Who is it?” Maybeck demanded, balling his hands into fists.

“You’re not going to believe this bro: it’s Hades!” replied Finn.

“The dude with the funky hair from Hercules?”

“That’s him. Where are the girls? How’s Amanda?”

Philby, who was already in the process of texting the rest of the Keepers, gave him a small smile.

“She’s fine. All of the girls are safe in other areas of the park looking for you. We’ve been worried sick about you ever since Jess told us about her vision of your capture. You said the Overtakers had you chained up at Tower of Terror?”

“Yeah. The chains are enchanted somehow, though. I- I can’t go All Clear! Please tell me you have a way of getting me out of here!” Finn pleaded.

“Hmm. You need a way to Return to your body while we head to your prison to rescue you?” Philby inquired, holding up his smart phone with a grin, “Guess what? There’s an app for that, courtesy of yours truly and a certain Imagineer!”

Finn had never been more excited to hear Philby’s good news.

“Catch you on the flip side, then!”

Philby tapped a key shaped icon on his phone. Seconds later, Finn’s hologram disappeared.

“The girls are going to meet us at Finn’s location. Let’s go get our leader back!”

Soon after Philby pressed the send button on his phone, four different cell phones vibrated in the darkness. Each one contained a short, but effective message:

Philliup: Finn held at Tower of Terror. DHI worked. Meet us there. Stick to the shadows!

As the girls turned to head back the way they came, they had no idea they were being watched. The lone Green Army Man reached for the walkie talkie on his belt.

“Echo Lake to Base: the enemy is heading your way.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: …And Rescue
Twenty minutes later, the six Keepers rendezvoused at the entrance to The Twilight Zone Terror of Terror. A sign with a picture of Mickey Mouse dressed as a bellhop stood in front of the gate:

The Hollywood Tower Hotel is closed for refurbishment. Please drop in again soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.

“Well,” Willa sighed, “That explains why the Overtakers chose this attraction to keep Finn prisoner!”

“Never mind that now,” Philby began, “Were you successful in recruiting any Characters in case we need to fight our way out of here?”

“Willa and I found a few Jedi, Indiana Jones, and a few of the characters from Toy Story Mania, plus a few of the classic Disney characters as well,” informed Charlene.

“We managed to convince Ariel, Eric, and King Triton to help us. Captain Jack Sparrow says he will come as long we provide him with rum afterwards,” Amanda added.

“And we have the Characters at Fantasmic standing by waiting for the first sign of trouble. Now all we have to do is get Whitman out of the park before he becomes a permanent resident of the Twilight Zone!” Maybeck finished. “What could possibly go wrong?”

“I wish you hadn’t said that,” groaned Philby.

Finn woke up feeling happier than he had been in more than 24 hours. His DHI had worked and his friends were on their way to rescue him! He knew he could count on them.

His happiness was short lived when he realized that he was not alone.

Maleficent stood regally in the tiny cell, flanked by two pirates who had their swords drawn.

“It’s show time, my sweet! I think there are some people who want to see you!”

Philby knew something was wrong almost as soon as they entered the lobby of the Tower of Terror. The attraction was completely deserted! There was no sign of any OTs in the area. Surely they should have run into some kind of trouble by now?

His heart sank when they neared the small room at the end of the hall.

The cell was empty.

“Looking for someone?” asked a voice from directly behind them.

As one, the six Kingdom Keepers turned around. At least a hundred Overtakers stood blocking their only exit, Maleficent and Hades directly in the center.

Maybeck stepped forward, ignoring the weapons that were pointing straight at him and the others.

“What have you done with Finn?”

“Don’t you worry about your friend. He is perfectly safe! But, maybe we can help ease your minds!” the fairy said with mock concern.

She gestured to the large group behind her. The villains moved aside as two pirate guards made their way to the front of the mob dragging a prisoner between them, swords pressed to his throat.

Finn, hands bound behind his back and gagged, looked at his friend’s scared faces. He shook his head vigorously, trying to get them to understand what he was trying to say:

“RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: Hollywood Brawl
“Let him go, Hades!!” Philby ordered angrily.

“Hmm,” the lord of the Underworld said thoughtfully, “I’d love to do that, I really would. But, sadly I can’t! You see, your friend here is my bargaining chip. As long as I have him, I, that is we,” he gestured to the villains around him, “have the advantage.”

“And what would that advantage be?” Charlene wanted to know.

“Why, having you out of our way, my dear!” Hades grinned maliciously. He walked over to where the pirates still held Finn and grabbed their leader by the face. “Finn here believes that if something happens to him, the six of you would continue to fight, but I think we all know better than th-“

“NOW!!” Maybeck yelled.

Amanda, who had stepped forward while Hades had been talking, used her Fairlie powers to push the crowd of villains in front of them. The invisible force knocked all of the Overtakers off of their feet. Only Finn remained standing.

“RUN!!” screamed Philby, grabbing Finn.

All seven Kingdom Keepers immediately ran as fast as they could down the long hallway, past the library, through the attraction lobby, and out of the front door. They didn’t stop until they were safely outside the front gates of the hotel.

Slowly, the Overtakers began pulling themselves to their feet. Hades’ hair turned red as blood as he glared at his army.

“GET THEM!! BRING THEM BACK TO ME!!”

Safely hidden in the shadows of the theater that housed the Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage show, Philby finally removed Finn’s gag while Amanda pushed again to release the manacles on his wrists. His arms finally free for the first time in nearly two days, Finn pulled all of his friends into a huge group hug.

“I knew you guys would come for me!!” he exclaimed, releasing them at long last and planting a kiss on Amanda’s lips.

“Of course we did!! You didn’t think we were going to abandon you, did you?” replied Jess.

“That’s right, Whitman!!” Maybeck added, “You’re our leader!! We weren’t going to let you rot in there!”

The happiness of their reunion was cut short as the Overtakers began running down the darkened street of Sunset Boulevard. The Keepers watched them silently, hardly daring to breathe.

“Come out little Keepers!!” came the drawling voice of Captain Hook, “Come out and play!!”

“Did you not like our generous hospitality?” hissed Jafar, “So disrespectful of you, children! Where are your manners?”

“Show yourselves, or you will not like the consequences!!” Judge Frollo said. “You have to the count of three, and then we will start destroying every inch of your precious park!!”

The Keepers stared at each other in shock.

“We can’t just surrender!”

“ONE!”

“They’re bluffing! They want to control the parks, not destroy them!”

“Are we willing to take that risk?”

“TWO!”

“We don’t have a choice!”

“But we were chosen to protect the parks!”

“THR-“

“Alright!!”

The Keepers emerged from their hiding place. The seven of them stood in a straight row that stretched along the width of the street. Finn was front and center, glaring daggers at the OTs.

For several long minutes, the two sides just stared at each other, waiting to see what their opponent was going to do.

Then the cavalry of Characters ran out of the Fantasmic amphitheatre and all hell broke loose.

In one swift movement, the two armies charged at each other. The battle would later be known as the Hollywood Brawl amongst the various Kingdom Keepers fans. Stories would be told and legends would be born. Rumors would spread about how Finn Whitman single-handily defeated the most powerful Disney villain of all…

Finn was taking on Hades, somehow managing to dodge every hit the god threw at him and even landed several of his own.

“I knew I should have killed you when I had the chance, boy!! You and your friends have been nothing but thorns in my side since the beginning!!”

“Give it up, Hades!!” Finn countered, “I told you my team is strong!! We will never be defeated!!”

“You might want to take another look at your friends, you pathetic child!”

At his words, Finn turned to see how the rest of the battle was going. His heart sank when he saw that six Green Army Men now held his friends captive. Directly in front of them, Maleficent and the Evil Queen had their arms raised, ready to release deadly fireballs and spells.

“NO!!”

The two evil witches released their spells…

Time seemed to slow down for Finn. Without thinking, he ran towards the group, ready to defend the other Keepers. His team…his friends…his brothers and sisters had sacrificed so much to rescue him…he was not about to watch them die!

Bolts of green energy flew from the Evil Queen’s fingertips just as fireballs as big as hubcaps flew from Maleficent’s.

Finn focused on his friends as the familiar tingling sensation took over his body. After being locked up for so long, he had almost forgotten how it felt to go All Clear. His DHI pushed its way to the surface until he was finally 100% hologram.

He had barely made the transition when the spells hit him squarely in the chest. His DHI failed and he fell to the ground, unconscious.

He wasn’t breathing…

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Home
The sudden silence that followed Finn’s sacrifice was deafening. There were no celebrations from the Overtakers, no cries of sorrow from the Characters, not even screams of pain from the Keepers. Only silence.

Then, the Keepers found enough strength to break free of their captors and run to where their friend laid on the cold, hard pavement.

“FINN!!”

“Come on, buddy, you got to get up!!”

“Don’t do this, Whitman! Not after everything we’ve been through!!”

“We couldn’t save him!”

“We failed!”

“It’s over!”

Maybeck stood up ready to take his fury out on the people who had hurt his friend.

But the street in front of them was almost deserted. The OTs had fled. Only the Keepers and the Characters remained, the latter now forming a circle around their fallen comrade.

“How are we going to explain this to his mother?” cried Willa.

“We’ll tell her the truth: Finn gave his life to save ours. He died a hero.” Philby answered.

“Perhaps I can be of some assistance?” a quiet voice asked.

The Keepers looked up to see who had spoken. Rapunzel, the princess from Tangled , had stepped forward in the inner circle of the DHIs.

“Please, Rapunzel,” pleaded Amanda, “Can you save him like you healed Flynn?”

“I can try,” replied the princess, already placing her long golden hair across Finn’s chest. “Stand back, please. I need some room.”

The large group did as she asked, silently praying that their leader would pull through. Rapunzel closed her eyes and her hair started to glow as she sang:

Flower gleam and glow,
Let your power shine,
Make the clock reverse,
Bring back what once was mine,
What once was mine!

As she finished, her hair stopped glowing. Everyone watched with baited breath.

At first, nothing happened. Every person in the group hung their heads sadly, tears falling once again down each face.

“Wh-Why are you all crying for? Did we lose the battle?”

Finn was grinning up them, alive and well, as if he had just been taking a nap.

“FINN!!”

“You’re alive!!”

“Sorry to disappoint you guys!” he said. “Where did the OTs go?”

“They fled when you jumped into the crossfire,” explained Jess, “I guess they thought you were dead and didn’t see the point in sticking around.”

“Speaking of sticking around,” Philby pointed out, “It’s after midnight. We’ve succeeded in our mission, so we better Return. Finn, Wayne is waiting for you at the front entrance to the park. He will take you home.”

“We will make sure you get to the meeting point safely, my young friend,” one of the Jedi volunteered with a bow, “We owe you everything for what you and friends do for the parks.”

“Thank you,” Finn replied.

After exchanging their many goodbyes, the Keepers left their new friends and walked back down Sunset Boulevard, towards The Great Movie Ride. Once outside the attraction, the six DHIs stood in a straight line facing their friend.

“Thank you all for what you have done. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.” Finn said with pride in his voice.

“Thank you, Finn: for believing in us.” Philby smiled, “See you soon.”

And with one final look at his fellow DHIs, Philby took the Return out of his pocket and pressed the button…

Mrs. Whitman hadn’t slept in what seemed like days. She was too worried about her son and wondering if the other Keepers had managed to save him. It was a good thing her husband was on a business trip and her daughter was at a slumber party. She would rather not bring the two of them into the situation at hand.

She had just started drifting off into sleep on the sofa when the doorbell rang. All thoughts of rest forgotten, she jumped to her feet and ran to the front door, nearly pulling it off the hinges as she did so.

When she saw the young boy on the doorstep, she burst into tears. Her son was alive, and although he looked hungry and tired, he appeared to be unhurt.

“Hi, Mom.”

Mrs. Whitman pulled him into a bone-crushing hug, and brought him inside the house. She made him his favorite meal and sat down at the table to listen as he told his story.

He was home. And she couldn’t be happier.

Chapter Text

Epilogue: Legacy
One week later, the seven Keepers crossed over into the Magic Kingdom. The park had been closed for two hours when they woke up in front of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Quietly, the DHIS made their way across the street to the Main Street Fire Station.

Wayne ushered them inside the apartment almost as soon as Finn knocked on the door. He waited until they were all seated in the parlor before speaking.

“Glad you got my message.”

“I’m just glad this one was actually from you,” Finn began, “I do not want a repeat of my last surprise party!” He shuddered. The event still gave him nightmares. He hated to think about what the Overtakers would have done to him if his friends hadn’t shown up when they did.

“So, what’s up with the emergency meeting?” Philby asked the Imagineer.

Wayne was silent for several heartbeats. He stared into each one of their faces as if trying to decide the best way to begin his tale.

“It’s time that I told you about the history of the Kingdom Keepers.”

“Umm, we already know about that,” Maybeck reminded the old man, “Disney came up with the idea of having hologram teen guides in the parks, the five of us auditioned, and we got the parts. It wasn’t until we started crossing over into the parks at night that we learned about you, the OTs, and actually took on the name! The rest, as they say, is history!”

“I mean the real history of the program, Terry,” said their mentor quietly, “Do you really think that you were the first ones chosen to protect the parks?”

“You mean that there were others before us?” asked Willa, shocked about what she was hearing.

Wayne nodded, then walked over to the bookcase on the nearby wall and picked up a small, black book. He opened it up to the first page and showed the inscription to the kids.

This journal belongs to Walt Disney

“This was Walt’s journal that he kept during the late 1950s until his death in 1966,” explained Wayne, “He was the first Keeper, along with his brother, Roy.”

At this last statement, Wayne pulled a old black-and-white photograph out of his wallet. The Keepers gathered around to get a better look. The yellowing photo showed a group of men standing in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland. Standing front and center was a older man in his sixties, with a thin, gray moustache and a smile that could brighten up anybody’s day:

Walt Disney.

“The original Kingdom Keepers! Walt and Roy formed them soon after Disneyland opened. That was the first time the Overtakers tried to gain control of the parks. Maleficent was the most powerful villain at the time.”

“Who were the other men before they became Keepers?” Charlene inquired, “This man,” she pointed at what appeared to be the youngest man in the picture, “looks familiar.”

“I would hope he does, Charlie! That’s me, not long after I became an Imagineer! I was 22 years old at the time; fresh out of college!” Wayne grinned. “These were a few of the Imagineers who worked on Disneyland, and later, Walt Disney World.”

“Wow!” the Keepers all said in unison.

“But, what does this have to do with us?” asked Finn.

“Walt had the unique ability to see into the future. He would have very vivid dreams- just like Jess’s visions- and make them into a reality. He created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was stolen from a rival studio, and dreamed up the idea of Mickey Mouse while coming home on the train. The idea for the theme parks came to him while he was on an outing with his daughters. He even dreamed about all of you!”

The Keepers looked perplexed at this statement.

“That’s right. Walt had a dream that the seven of you would be chosen to be the DHIs! He knew there would come a time when the OTs would attempt to regain power over the parks, so he gave his closest Imagineers- myself included- instructions about how to create the servers and get in contact with you.”

“So, he knew about us before we even born! How awesome is that?” grinned Maybeck, “We were handpicked by Walt!”

“And it looks like I’ve made the right decision!” said a voice from directly behind Wayne.

The Keepers’ shock grew tenfold as they stared at the new speaker, unable to speak.

The tall man with the thin, gray moustache and the smile that could brighten up anybody’s day stood in the open doorway of the kitchen.

“Hello, Keepers!” he said, “You can call me Uncle Walt.”

The End…?