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The Guardians of the Disney Dimension

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"Come on! Rise and shine!" A middle aged woman walked into a bedroom and opened up curtains as a young man groaned.

"Do I have to?" the young man moaned as he pulled his sheets higher over his head.

"No, unless you want to miss your visit to Disney World. I know how much you've been looking forward to a day in the Magic Kingdom with your friends…" The woman sat down on the young man's bed.

"I'm fine, Hannah." He groaned.

"Come on, Dustin. You need something happy. I know you're hurting after you didn't get that grand slam last night, but moping about it won't help anything."

"I know, Hannah."

"Come on. Tim and Jason are just as upset…"

"They scored last night. I didn't. It was on me and I failed."

"Dustin, it's not the end of the world. You've got another game next week. I can't believe I have to say this to a 17 year old, but would Evan Longoria mope after a loss?" Dustin merely grunted. "No, he wouldn't. He'd get over it and play again the next day or season."

"Evan Longoria hasn't been through what I've been through."

Hannah got up from Dustin's bed. "How do you know?" She asked as she left. Dustin pulled the sheets from over his face and ran his hand through his long brown hair and sighed.

Downstairs, Hannah had just arrived in the kitchen. She sat down at the table next to her husband and on the opposite side of the table to her teenage twin sons who were eating cereal.

"Is Dustin coming down at all today, Mom?" one of them asked.

"Probably not, Tim. He was crying last night, I heard him. He woke me up you know."

"Boys! It's up to Dustin if he wants to get up or stay in bed and mope. Don't push him down further than he already is." Muffled loud rock music suddenly started playing.

"God, not this!" Tim said pushing his cereal bowl in front of him and put his head down on the table in his arms.

"It is." The other boy said. Putting his head in his hands. "Why, oh why, Tim, did I recommend he watch The Departed?"

"Jason, it wasn't you, he just liked them anyway." Tim said without lifting his head.

"But since he watched that movie it's been slightly more… obsessive." Jason said.

"Hang on, what are we talking about here?" Hannah asked her sons.

"Dropkick Murphys." They said in unison.

"Right now it sounds as if he's playing Wheel of Misfortune." Tim said.

"No way. That's Loyal to No One." Jason said.

"Dude, are you deaf? Can you hear a banjo? Five bucks says it's Wheel of Misfortune."

"You're on!" the boys dashed from the kitchen table to their bedroom where Dustin was curled up in fetal position on top of the sheets in his bed.

"Dude, where's my 5 bucks?" Tim asked after realizing he was right about the song. Jason reluctantly reached inside his pocket and gave his brother a crumpled up 5 dollar bill. Tim grinned cockily as he went to turn the music off.

"Get up." Jason said.

"Go away, Tim." Dustin said.

"It's Jason."

"Whatever."

"Dustin, we're not in any way identical." Jason began. "Oh my God, you're not even looking at me, are you?"

"At least show us the courtesy of… You know… Pay attention!" Tim rambled. Jason threw a blue t-shirt, a Tampa Bay Rays jersey and jeans at Dustin before throwing boxers and socks.

"Get dressed. We're going to Disney World today.

"I'm not going." Dustin said moving to lie on his other side.

"Really? What shall I tell Frankie and Pedro?"

"Anything. I don't care."

"Dustin, there's only one thing that can cure you of your funk and that's Disney." Tim pulled the blanket from under Dustin. "I'm sure of it. Now get up." Dustin grunted and Tim and Jason left their bedroom and made their way back into the kitchen.

"Mom, you can't baby someone like Dustin. He needs firm direction." Jason said as he picked his cereal bowl back up and dumped the contents into the garbage disposal.

"He definitely needs that trip down to Disney World and if I have to drag him there or not, he's going." Tim said also tipping his soggy cereal down the garbage disposal.

"I know Dustin's been through a lot…" Hannah began.

"I know you do, Mom. You did kind of adopt him." Jason said. "He was Tim's friend. You didn't have to."

"I felt I did. And I also feel he's much better off with us than with his parents." Dustin walked into the kitchen carrying his Rays jersey. "How are you feeling today, Dustin?"

"You know how I feel." Dustin said, his head hanging down.

"You'll be okay." Tim began. "The Magic of Disney makes everything okay!" he said with a wide grin on his face.

"How can you just… Be happy?" Dustin asked.

"Easily!" Jason said as he turned the radio up. Pharell's song Happy was playing and Tim, Jason and Hannah started dancing around the kitchen and clapping along with the upbeat music.

"Cam, you gonna sort these guys out?" Dustin asked the twins' father.

"I'm quite enjoying the song myself, Dustin." He replied.

"That was Pharell Williams with his infectious song Happy, which is celebrating its fifth week on top of the Billboard Hot 100! Here's Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen with Good Time!" The radio presenter said and Good Time started playing. Tim turned the radio down slightly.

"Come on, Dustin, you can't say you don't feel more happy now." Jason said, folding his arms.

"Slightly." Dustin opened up a cupboard. "Now are we gonna go get Tyler and Pedro or what?" He said pulling out a bag of Funyuns.

 

"Are you seriously wearing that?" A middle aged man asked his teenage daughter.

"What? It's a Red Sox jersey, you played for the Red Sox, you shouldn't complain." She said in her thick Bostonian accent, twirling around so he could clearly see the name YOUNG and number 52 at the back of the jersey.

"If you're gonna wear a Sox jersey, at least go for Ortiz, Pedroia, Varitek, Wakefield-anyone's but mine." He said sternly.

"Oh come on, Dad."

"Frankie, I mean it. I don't want anyone knowing I played for the Red Sox. I came down here for a fresh start after Bobby Valentine took over…"

"So not because the Grapefruit League comes down here for Spring Training?"

"That's also why the name change. Now go change the jersey, Frankie." Frankie went upstairs grumbling as there was a knock on the door. Her father answered. It was Dustin, Tim and Jason. "Hey boys." He said.

"Hi Mr. Horton." They said in unison.

"Tyler ready yet?" Jason asked.

"I'll go check now, boys. Please, come in." He let the three boys in, but only Jason and Dustin entered.

"I'll wait out here, thanks." Tim said as he sat down on the front step. The girl's father shut the door and went upstairs.

"Frankie?" He asked as he pushed his daughter's bedroom door open.

"Dad, why can't I tell anyone? I mean, I can understand if we were in New York, but this isn't Yankee territory. It isn't Rays territory. It's an NBA city-Magic territory."

"I only want to protect you."

"I'm 18, Dad. I don't need protecting."

"While you're under my roof, you need protecting." He opened his daughter's closet door and pulled out another Red Sox jersey. "What about this one, Jason Varitek? He was your favorite next to me, right?"

"Yeah, Dad." She said in monotone. "Those are some of my best friends down there-well, not Tim-and they don't even know my name!"

"Just roll with it, Frankie. Just like I go by Stan, you go by Tyler. It's not ideal, but there you go."

"God, I wish you'd've listened to Clay!" She snapped as she snatched the jersey from him.

"Buchholz had some crazy theories, like the one where I was wrapping you in cotton wool." She rolled her eyes that her father could really be so oblivious. They both left her bedroom and went downstairs.

"Ready to pick up Pedro?" Dustin asked her.

"Oh yeah." She smiled.

 

A Hispanic teenager sighed and shook his head as he made his way down the stairs of his house. He found his younger brother asleep in front of the TV. As there was nothing on but static, he figured that his brother fell asleep earlier when there was something on the TV. He pried the remote from his sleeping brother's hands and changed the channel to WESH-2NBC's Central Florida affiliate. As Jason Guy talked about a car accident on the I-4, the young boy stirred and grunted and a panicked expression flooded the teenager's face.

"Enrique?" The little boy said sleepily, rubbing his eyes. "I thought you were in Texas Tech?"

"I'm not Enrique, Mateo. It's me, Pedro." The teenager said without looking at his brother.

"Pedro? What are you doing up so early?"

"I'm going to Disney World, remember."

"What?!" Mateo almost shouted "Without me?"

"And it's not that early. It's half 8."

Mateo angrily sat on the couch next to Pedro. They both heard their parents come down the stairs and enter the kitchen. A little boy ran from the kitchen and into the front room.

"Santiago!" Pedro hissed. "What are you doing?"

"Hide me! I ate all the bags of chips last night! Mom and Dad will kill me!" He crouched down behind the couch

"For God's sake, Santiago! Own it! I'm not going to be responsible for you and neither will Mateo!"

"Sorry, Pedro. I lost my tooth too." Santiago stood up and produced his tooth to Pedro.

"Both of you, get to your rooms! Mom and Dad are going to blame me for this!" Their parents walked through to the front room.

"Pedro!" His father yelled.

"Dad! Santiago ate the chips! He and Mateo have been up all night!" Pedro turned to his younger brothers. "Own it, guys." The boys looked sheepish. "Santiago!" He called out. The 7 year old boy stepped forward.

"I ate all the chips last night."

Mateo also stepped forward. "Last night, we watched Nightmare on Elm StreetThe Thing and The Exorcist-the director's cut."

"I didn't mean to." Both boys looked sheepish.

Their father sighed. "You might as well have breakfast with me, Pedro and your mother. But when you're back from school, you kids are in so much trouble." There was a knock at their front door.

"I'll get it!" Pedro shouted as he ran to the door and opened it.

"Pedro!" Dustin shouted.

"Bro! What's up?!" They pulled each other in for a 'man hug'.

"Not much." Dustin began, but was interrupted by Tim.

"He's been moping over the loss."

"Ah. He just can't let a loss go. He'll never go pro with that attitude." Pedro said, shaking his head.

"Eh." Jason shrugged. "Tom Brady manages."

"Tom Brady has a week to get over losses. If Dustin wants to play pro baseball, he has less than a day..." Jason was interrupted by Dustin.

"Excuse me, I'm right here." Dustin said, raising his arm.

"Yeah, let's go. Disney World might be good for you, Dustin." Pedro said, grabbing his backpack from beside the front door.

"I don't know. I've been so often, I'm starting to get skeptical." Dustin looked at the floor.

"I'll see you later tonight, Mom!" Pedro shouted as he shut his front door. "Come on. It doesn't matter how often you go, the Disney Magic is always there." He said as they all made their way to Cam's car.

"I'm not sold." Dustin said as everyone piled into the car.

"Suit yourself." Pedro shrugged and Cam drove the car away.

 

After around an hour of driving, Cam let the teenagers go at the Transportation and Ticket Center. They would have to make their own way to the Magic Kingdom by monorail or ferry.

"Alright boys and girl, stay safe. I'll pick you up at 8." Cam said.

"Alright, Dad. I'll call you when I call you." Tim said.

"Dustin, try not to be so cynical."

"I'll try, Cam." Dustin said, slinging his backpack over his shoulders.

"I want you to do more than try."

"Don't worry, Dad, I'll make sure he has a great time." Jason said, glaring at Dustin.

"Thank you, Jason. Be safe kids." Cam said as he drove off. The kids all waved after him and Dustin started walking out of the parking lot.

"Dustin, where are you going?" Jason said, running after him.

"I'm going to the park. I'm gonna get today over with."

"Come on, man. Don't be like this." Pedro begged.

"I'm not doing anything. Well, I'll ride Big Thunder Mountain, but I can't guarantee I'll enjoy it this time."

"Oh, Dustin." Tim shook his head. "You can't ride Big Thunder without liking it."

"We'll see."

"How about we take the monorail?" Jason suggested.

"Yeah, that'll save us a bit of time in the park. We can take the ferry back." Tim said. "What do you think, Dustin?"

Dustin jerked his head around. "What?"

"We're going to take the monorail." Pedro said.

"We're taking the monorail?" Dustin asked and Pedro nodded. Everyone made their way to the monorail station. As the monorail was currently in the station, there was no line and they all got straight on the monorail. As the five teenagers boarded, an authoritative voice then said over the intercom "Please stand clear of the doors. Por favour mantenganse alejado de las puertas." And just like that, the exit doors closed.

Guests still entered the monorail, but were told to step back when the monorail pinged again and the authoritative voice again said over the intercom "Please stand clear of the doors. Por favour mantenganse alejado de las puertas" and the doors closed. After a brief break, the intercom voice spoke once more. "This monorail offers express service to the Magic Kingdom. If you're travelling to EPCOT, Disney's Contemporary, Polynesian or Grand Floridian Resorts, please exit at this time. Separate monorails from this station service those locations. For assistance, please ask a monorail host or hostess. As you board, please continue moving all the way across your car to make room for everyone. Please offer available seating to those needing special assistance. If you're standing, please hold into the handrails and stay clear of the doors. The monorail will depart momentarily for the Magic Kingdom. Thank you."

Though most of the teens had heard those words many times before, it still made their spines tingle when they heard them being spoken. Dustin looked around the car, bored as the monorail started to move. He was sharing his seat with Jason, Pedro and Tyler and a family. Tim was sitting opposite Tyler and glaring at her and he shared his seat with another family. It was no secret that Tim and Tyler really hated each other, but were here together for the sake of Dustin, Pedro and Jason. The intercom voice kept talking. "Welcome aboard the Walt Disney World Express Monorail, your 'highway in the sky' to the Magic Kingdom. For those of you standing, please hold onto the hand rails throughout our journey and stay clear of the doors." Nobody was standing in Dustin's car. "For the comfort of others, no smoking pleaseThank you." Dustin rolled his eyes. "We're now circling the Disney created 7 Seas Lagoon."

"Actually, Disney Imagineers moved the lake so they could create the Magic Kingdom where the lake was. Technically, not Disney created, but Disney moved, yes." Dustin told the others, making use of the random fact the intercom spouted.

"They moved a whole lake?" Tyler asked incredulously.

"Yeah."

"How?"

"I don't know, I think they drained it-God, I don't know. All I know is that Disney had the lake moved."

"Cool."

Dustin looked outside the window at the lake thinking to himself, 'just how did they move it?' while below him moved speed boats and the ferry boats transporting people to and from the Magic Kingdom. He saw swooping birds and caught a great view of the Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa as well as the unused for years Discovery Island.

"We are now entering Disney's Contemporary Resort." The intercom voice had startled Dustin from his musings. Dustin looked out the window once more and saw they were speeding past a white blur. He looked out the window on the other side and saw what he had expected to see the first time around, a monorail station that they were just speeding by. He saw a sign for Chef Mickey's and just as soon as they were in there, they were out. "We're now passing the newest addition to Disney Vacation Club, Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort." Dustin looked and saw a rather odd shaped circular building with like a tunneled bridge connecting it to the Contemporary Resort. Behind it was a lake. He simply thought how expensive it must be for tourists to stay there and shook his head.

"Great view, right Dusty?" asked Tyler, enthusiastically. Dustin cringed. He hated his nickname of 'Dusty'.

"Glad we're locals! How expensive must that be?" Jason said, gesturing to the grand building.

"God, I don't know and I sure wouldn't like to find out either-unless I were rich!" she said, laughing.

"As you approach the entrance, please keep your party together and have your tickets ready."

Pedro pulled a piece of card and a pen from his bag and marked the card. He then shoved the pen and card back into his bag.

"What-uh... What the hell was that Pedro?" Jason asked inquisitively.

"Monorail watching. We're on Monorail Black, so I ticked it off. There's the other 11 monorails also on my grid. I hope to see them all." Pedro said, shoving the paper back into his bag.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are approaching our station at the entrance to Main Street USA-gateway to the 6 themed lands of the Magic Kingdom. Smoking is not permitted at the Magic Kingdom, except in designated areas-please consult your guidemap or ask a Cast Member for locations. If you're standing, please hold onto the hand rails and stay clear of the doors until the monorail stops completely and the doors open. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Magic Kingdom Monorail Station."

"Okay guys, everyone got their tickets?" Jason asked, afraid that someone had forgotten and would be denied entry.

"Yeah!" They all yelled back at him.

"Okay, just making sure." He said.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please collect your belongings, watch your head and step and take small children by the hand. We hope you enjoy your day at the Magic Kingdom." As everyone stood up to leave, Tim offered his hand to Dustin.

"Come on, you heard the PA guy, take small children by the hand!"

Dustin played along weakly and took Tim's hand. "As long as you get a stroller for me in the park!"

As Dustin let go of Tim's hand, everybody laughed and the spiel continued over the intercom. "As you board, please continue moving all the way across your car to make room for everyone. Please offer available seating to those needing special assistance. If you're standing, please hold into the..." The spiel stopped momentarily as the doors opened. "...handrails and stay clear of the automatic doors. They will be closing in a moment. Thank you." Most people on the monorail didn't even stay to hear the rest of the spiel. They darted off to the bottom of the incline before the bag search. Dustin and his friends ran off to the bag check area. Dustin took his bag off his shoulders and opened it ready while he waited for a young family ahead of himself to be searched.

"Thank you! Have a nice day!" The family walked off and Dustin placed his bag on the checking counter. "Hello!" said the bag checker. Dustin noticed her name tag-Muriel.

"Hi!" he said back, not wanting to seem rude.

"You a Rays fan?"

"Big-time."

"Who's your favorite player?"

"Longoria."

"That's my son's favorite player too. He's a big Devil Rays fan, like you."

"They're not the Devil Rays any more-haven't been since 2008. They're just the Rays now."

"Oh. I didn't know. Well, they'll always be the Devil Rays to me!" The old lady finished searching Dustin's bag. "Thank you-and have a brilliant day!"

"You too Muriel." Dustin could sense the falseness in the old lady's demeanor; however, she worked for the Disney Corporation. He just grabbed his bag and walked over to his friends. "Shall we go in now?" he asked, slinging his bag over his shoulders.

"Yeah, we probably should." Tyler said, holding her ticket against orb like machine with a Mickey Mouse head. The Mickey Mouse head turned green and she ran into the park. "Come on guys! It's Disney World! It doesn't bite!"

Jason was next to cross the invisible portal between the real world and the Magic Kingdom. Tim and Dustin went the same time. Pedro was last through and they all walked to the park. Dustin stopped to pick up a park map from the entrance to Main Street and ran to catch up to his friends, already by the flag pole of Main Street USA.

"My God." Said Tyler, staring at Cinderella Castle. "It's all so... Wicked! It's wicked awesome! Dusty, I love it!" Crowds were moving up and down Main Street USA, Ragtime music was playing and people were coming in and out of shops and away from and into new lands. Tyler looked at Dustin and hugged him-tight. "Dusty, I... I never want to leave!"

"Glad to hear it." Dustin said sarcastically." As he and his friends continued down Main Street USA.

They passed the Emporium and Tyler dived to look at the displays in the windows. "Look! Aladdin!" she screeched excitedly. In the display, Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie were floating happily over Agrabah. Tyler looked at the next display and ran to it excitedly. "Beauty and the Beast!" She pressed her hands against the glass and peered down at Belle dancing with Beast in the famous ballroom dance scene from the film Beauty and the Beast. Lumiere was there as well.

"Come on, let's go!" said Jason after about five minutes had passed. He grabbed her arm and pulled her away. "This ragtime music is killing me." Tyler reluctantly went with him-that was until she caught sight of the next window display.

"Pocahontas! She's my favorite!" She dashed to the Pocahontas window display and reached into her small purse for her camera. She took a few steps back and took a picture of the Pocahontas display. In the display, Pocahontas was in a canoe on the river with Meeko at the front and Flit flying next to them, taken from the famous Just Around the Riverbend sequence. "I just love this display guys! It's the best!" Tyler kept her camera and happily skipped down Main Street USA until she spotted the Starbucks sponsored Main Street Bakery. "Oh my God, guys! We have to go in there!"

"What on Earth for?"

"I've heard about their cinnamon rolls and their chocolate cake and their cupcakes and muffins..."

"Yeah, we get it, just choose one thing or you'll be sick on the rides." Said Jason, cutting her off.

They all entered the bakery and saw a long line. "Damn Starbucks." Pedro muttered as everyone but Tyler exited the store again. The inside of the store was amazing though, it was so elegant with the chandeliers and the tiled floor-okay the fans took away some of the magic, but at least the air con wasn't obvious. They waited outside for five minutes before Tyler ordered a cinnamon roll and a piece of chocolate cake 'for the road'. She left eating the cinnamon roll and saw Casey's Corner.

"What's that?" she asked, pointing at Casey's Corner. "I don't recognize the Disney movie."

"It's from an old Disney cartoon based on the poem Casey at the Bat." Pedro answered.

"It later featured in the Disney cartoon compilation movie Make Mine Music." Added Dustin. "It's one of my favorite old Disney cartoons beside Steamboat Willie."

"What happens? What's it about." She asked, with a mouthful of cinnamon roll.

"It's about a baseball player called Casey and he's a great batter-think Babe Ruth." Tyler scowled at Dustin and he remembered the Curse of the Bambino. "I mean, think... Uh... Think Ted Williams. And in the end, his ego gets the better of him."

"Like A-Rod!" Tyler smiled, shoving the last piece of her cinnamon roll in her mouth.

"Yes, exactly." Dustin nodded, smiling at the analogy.

"They had a sequel." Pedro piped in. "Casey Bats Again, but it isn't as good."

"Essentially, Casey's now retired after his incident at bat. He has a family and they all play baseball because he taught them." Dustin said half-heartedly.

"So, you wanna go to Casey's?" asked Jason.

"Sure. Why not? What do they sell there?"

"Baseball snacks. Hot dogs, fries, nachos, crackerjack-you know, ballpark food!" Pedro said excitedly.

Tyler threw her hands in the air "Let's go then!"

They crossed the road to Casey's and Tyler became fascinated with a statue of a baseball pitcher. She pulled out a baseball and her camera from her purse. She hands the camera to Dustin and said "Take the picture Dusty!" She then formed the exact same pose as the statue and Dustin took the picture. Each of the friends took turns taking pictures with the statue and eventually moved on the other statue, which was one of a batter. Tim pretended he was throwing a pitch to the batter statue and Dustin took the picture with Tim's camera. After a few minutes with each statue, the friends entered Casey's. The inside resembled an old saloon. Mudville pennants were on display. There were hardly any queues and were served immediately. The cashier was wearing a baseball uniform as her work uniform.

"Hey! What can I get you young baseball fans?" she asked, noticing the friends' hats and jerseys.

"Can we get 5 hot dogs and 5 fries?" Dustin asked.

"Sure you can, anything else?" The cashier asked.

"No, thanks." Dustin said as the other four teens all shook their heads.

"Okay, 5 hot dog meals-that'll be $40 please."

Dustin pulled out his wallet and paid the cashier. While they waited to receive their food, Tyler noticed the menu above her.

"Is that Casey?" She asked, pointing to the character on the menu, getting ready to swing the bat from a ball by the pitcher-on the other side of the menu.

"Yup. You can see the arrogance and nonchalance in his face." Pedro, pointing to Casey's face.

As they received their order, the cashier reminded them to have a nice day. They made their way to the condiments table and grabbed salt, pepper, forks-and for Tim, sauerkraut-and went to sit outside and had a good view as they ate of what was around them; Cinderella Castle, the Partners statue, Crystal Palace restaurant, Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, Tomorrowland, the rest of Main Street and the crowds. They ate in silence, enjoying the ragtime music, Tim and Tyler, once again, trying to stare each other down. Dustin got up and grabbed his bag once he was finished.

"Guys, wait me here. I've got my BlackBerry in case we lose each other, but I need to use the bathroom and the nearest one's in Tomorrowland."

"Great Dusty, try not to be so long."

"Don't worry! I won't!" Dustin slung his bag over his shoulder and ran across to Tomorrowland. He crossed the bridge and he heard a futuristic version of Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow as he passed Stitch's Great Escape and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. He didn't really have to go to the bathroom, he lied, but he wanted to go to Mickey's Star Traders gift shop to buy a present for Tyler, if he didn't do it now, he might never get to do it-or to tell Tyler how much she means to him. The music transitioned from Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow to something more peaceful, yet still futuristic sounding as he turned the corner and passed Merchant of Venus. All of a sudden he saw a young girl of around 9 years old with jet black hair run in front of him. She had candy all stuck in her hair and a Twizzler was holding her hair in a ponytail. She hid behind a corner and it was evident she was scared so Dustin wanted to get the child back to her parents as soon as possible. He looked around the corner to see the child cowering in fear with her mint green hoodie covering her hair. She was also wearing a two layer brown skirt-which reminded Dustin of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup-mismatched leggings that resembled candy canes and black boots. He realized, she was dressed like Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph.

"Are you okay?" asked Dustin, crouching down so he made eye contact with the child.

"Just leave me alone!" the girl sniffled, holding her head down, ensuring they didn't make eye contact

"What's the matter?" he asked, putting his hand on her shoulder. "Did you lose your mom or dad? Do you need help finding them?"

"No." She sniffed. "I'm an orphan. I don't have a mom or dad. The closest I have is Ralph."

"Is Ralph your brother?" Surely she didn't mean... Wreck-It Ralph?

"No. What does it matter to you anyway?" she asked, defensively.

"I want to see you safe and well. How old are you?"

"Nine."

"That's why I need to find your guardian. Nobody under 14 is allowed here alone."

"They'll make an exception for me."

"Why? Because you're dressed like Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph?" Now Dustin was the one getting defensive.

"No!" she yelled pulling down her hood. Dustin gasped and fell back in disbelief at what he was seeing. "Because I am Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph!"