ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2011-04-22 10:34 am

Fake News/Pet Shop of Horrors: Disney Magic

Title: Disney Magic
Rating: PG
Series: Pet Shop of Horrors/Fake News
Pairings/Characters: Jon, an Olberclone, D, ???
Disclaimer: #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. PSoH is not mine.

For [community profile] hc_bingo; master post with card. Takes place in the Eagle of Hermes universe, in the summer of 2009. Illustration here.

Mirror on the AO3.

Still trying to figure out how to bond with his newly adopted daughter, Jon takes her on what should have been a magical vacation. But when she gets overwhelmed by the heat, they end up taking refuge in a shop that looks mysteriously off-brand. Featuring quotes from Special Comments, various takes on mermaids, and a special appearance by T-chan while trying to be inconspicuous.

On the way out of the presentation, which distilled a ninety-minute movie to ten minutes of clips and a song but was at least courteous enough to spray them with water during the sea battle, Miranda declared, "That story promotes violence against women."

Two months after signing the adoption papers, Jon sometimes despaired of ever getting through to the young Olberclone. One day they could be having a discussion about politics and media so insightful that Jon almost forgot she was eight, and the next she would go off into a tirade about him being "the worst person in the world" because he refused to let her have ice cream for breakfast.

A comment like this, though, could go either way. It was the kind of thing that might well be logical, and even if not, still at the calm stage where he'd had some success at talking her down. All he had to do was hear her out.

"I never thought of The Little Mermaid that way," he admitted, as they strolled past yet another of the gift shops that lined the Disney paths. "I mean, obviously they killed Ursula, but she was the bad guy."

"She was bad to Ariel, but Thomas Jefferson wasn't nice to everyone either, and it was okay when he overthrew a tyrant."

"Come on, Mandy, the king wasn't that bad. He was a little strict with Ariel at first, but he learned his lesson. Anyway, do you really think she wouldn't have been a tyrant herself? She was trying to usurp the throne, not abolish the monarchy."

He didn't offer to define any of the words (after the first dozen scornful looks, he had finally absorbed the idea that Miranda had a more sesquipedalian vocabulary than the average third grader), and Miranda, sure enough, didn't ask him to. "The good guys didn't abolish it either. And how come the mermaids had to be a monarchy in the first place?"

"I guess because Ariel wouldn't be a princess if it was a democracy."

"Can so. The sign at the store said any girl could be a princess."

"That's because the sign at the store was trying to get parents to buy their little girls Ariel dresses."

Miranda hmphed. "They still could have made the story different. The usurper could have been a man, and the rightful ruler could have been Ariel's mom, not her dad, and it would have been fine!"

Jon's train of thought nearly jumped the tracks. Oh. This wasn't the "my programming is acting up and I need help to keep it from getting out of control" conversation; it was another branch of the "why I'm never going to call you Daddy" conversation.

"I guess it would have," he stammered. "Although I'm sure Ariel loves the family she has right now, and would be sad if the story changed on her."

He was rewarded with a look of withering disdain from behind the frames of Miranda's cherry-red glasses. "She's not real, you know."

Parades, Miranda decided, were not the worst thing in the world.

For one thing, they were loud. And not in the way the shout-offs had been, where she and all the other kids were crowded into a room to yell themselves hoarse; that was exhilarating, but always left her burned out afterward, in a way she didn't really understand. This kind of loudness was about yelling with people, not at people.

For another, if you got tired, you were allowed to sit down.

Miranda didn't realize how important that last part was until about half an hour after the parade was over, when she was following Jon down a sun-beaten path. She had wanted to go to the teacup ride next, but it was a longer walk than she realized, and the afternoon was only getting hotter.

Maybe they could pause. Just for a minute....

No! You didn't get anywhere by standing still. You had to lean forward.

Although it wasn't easy when the ground seemed to be tilting on its own....

"Whoa there!" exclaimed Jon, as Miranda stumbled. "You okay? You...oh, geez, honey, sit down. Over here in the shade, come on."

He took her hand and guided her to the edge of the path, where a raised bank of trees provided spotty shade, and the curb at the edge had enough room to sit before being roped off. Miranda was too dizzy to do anything but follow his lead, sitting heavily down while he dug through the shoulder bag.

"See, this is why I wanted to put your hair up this morning," he chided, retrieving a water bottle with a peeling label and twisting it open. "It's a scorcher today. Here, drink this. I know you want to see everything, but you have to pace yours—ooh. That's not good."

Miranda watched in bewilderment as the bottle spun slowly on ground, sloshing lukewarm water across the cobblestones. Hadn't she taken it? Had it slipped out of her hands...?

"I'm fine, though," she insisted through shallow breaths. "'M not even sweating."

Jon grabbed the water before it could spill too much. "That just means you're dehydrated. We'll go somewhere air-conditioned in a second, okay? But first you need to get something to drink."

The heat was everywhere, a physical presence that she was practically swimming in. Water sounded nice, but if she couldn't hold it...and it was so hard to think. She reached instead for some of words that weren't hers, but had been grafted onto her soul in such a way that she knew them to be true. "You can hold that canteen up and promise it to the parched nation."

"Sure thing." He knelt by her side and held the bottle to her lips, tipping it upward slowly enough to let her gulp it down. "We're kind of in between attractions right now, and it looks like the major stores over here are closed for renovation. But I think we're close to the Hall of Presidents, and that should be nice and cool. Does that sound good?"

Admittedly, Miranda had really, really wanted to do the teacups. On the other hand, the Hall of Presidents was on her list too, and and it would be utter, blinkered idiocy to "stay the course" at this point. "Uh-huh."

"Oh, good." Jon waited until she had drained the last of the water, brow furrowed with concern under the shadow of his Mets cap. "Do you feel up to walking?"

"Uh-huh." Miranda got to her feet, grasping one of the poles that held the rope fence for support.

Then she swayed, and slipped, and would have hit the ground if not for Jon.

"Change of plans," he announced, swooping her into a princess carry. The bag slumped forgotten at his feet as he stood. "I see an open door right down the road. We're going there."

Jon holding Miranda

Jon took two steps into the shop, waiting for the usual blast of aggressively chilled air. What he got instead was only cool in comparison with the heat outside, and scented with a smell he didn't recognize. Great. He had found the one building at Disney that wasn't climate-controlled within an inch of its life.

"Oh, dear," said a delicate voice. "You don't look well."

An equally delicate shopkeeper all but materialized in front of them. He was holding a spray bottle, and didn't stop to ask before showering them both with a fine mist of chilly water.

"You're a lifesaver," sighed Jon. "Listen, point that thing at her, okay? She's not doing so well in the heat. It's a good thing you had that handy."

"I wouldn't be without it," said the man primly. (Or was it not a man? Not that guys couldn't wear lipstick, but Jon had a hunch it was against the Disney dress code.) He set about spritzing Miranda from forehead to shoulders; she closed her eyes as the spray moved across her face, droplets running down her glasses. "Misting is an excellent way to promote healthy preening behavior in birds, especially when they're molting."

"Uh, sure." For the first time, Jon looked at the shop itself. There didn't seem to be any live birds; his ears picked up a sound that might have been distant chirping, but that was probably a tape. Stuffed birds, on the other hand, it had in plenty—as well as stuffed lizards, snakes, cats, dogs, and larger creatures that were probably magical hybrids of some kind. None of the vast ensemble were characters he recognized, though he was hardly a Disney expert. And all were set in a décor that would have fit better in the China section of Epcot than the Magic Kingdom.

His daughter groaned and pointed blearily in the direction of what looked like a fluffy pink goat. Or possibly a yak. "That one moved," she accused. "'S got teeth."

"It's just a toy store, Mandy," soothed Jon. Oh, god, she was hallucinating. This was worse than he'd thought. "Everything's going to be fine. Just try not to move. Listen, uh...."

"D," said the shopkeeper, now calmly misting Miranda's knees.

"Dee," repeated Jon. "Dee, do you have a place she can lie down? I need to call park health services. Unless you have a panic button that'll get them here faster."

Dee looked sharply over at the cash register. The movement reminded Jon of nothing so much as when his old cat used to randomly sit bolt upright and stare at nothing. Although even his cat hadn't had mismatched eyes....

But the smile that followed was normal, almost gracious. "Someone has already pushed it," he said pleasantly, spritzing Miranda's pink flip-flops. "In the meantime, I know just the place. Follow me."

He led Jon to the back of the shop, pulled aside a section of drapery, and stepped into a hallway that looked way too long. Must have been part of the network of backstage passages the staff used to deliver food, pick up trash, and catch a quick smoking break while still dressed as Cinderella. Right?

Jon managed to keep telling himself that until Dee opened the next door.

"Aggressively chilled" didn't begin to describe it.

The water rolling down Miranda's skin was both the most refreshing thing she had ever felt, and no help at all.

It was hot. She was feverish, her head pounding, Jon's embrace increasingly intolerable even though her limbs were too limp to carry her themselves. She was certain the rose-furred yak had really smiled at her, until colorful fractals began whirling at the edge of her vision. There was no justice in it. Even her own senses were deserting her.

When the door opened on a lake, rocky shores leading down into mirror-blue waves with snow-capped mountains in the distance, she hated that she couldn't trust it to be real.

"I see a lake," she said out loud. It hurt to speak with her throat so dry, but it was her only hope—he had disagreed with her on lots of things, but he never lied to her about the facts. She could...she trusted....

"And mountains?" he replied. "Yeah, I see them too."

"Immersion in cold water is one of the most effective ways to lower core temperature," added the other man. She tried to look at him, but the pattern on his cheongsam made her dizzy. It looked like the butterflies were moving. "She should be carried in quickly. If you're worried about your clothing, I would be willing to take her."

"Don't want 'im," pleaded Miranda. She wanted to go in the water, but not with the butterfly-man. Only with....

"It's okay, honey. I won't let anything happen to you."

Dee's enigmatic expression looked almost amused, raising every one of Jon's hackles.

"Don't look so smug," he snapped. "I'm sure you have me pegged as only human, but if Mandy gets so much as a scratch, there's someone else I'll send after you. Someone I have a contract with, who's a lot more powerful than I am."

"Oh, I know," said Dee. "Why do you think I haven't tried to sell you anything?"

Jon had a feeling this wasn't a shop at all. It would explain the lack of logos and name tags, not to mention price tags. "And if we leave here thinking everything's fine and it turns out a hundred years have passed in the meantime...or, uh, if there's anything else you know perfectly well we wouldn't expect...."

Dee sighed, with remarkably human exasperation for...whatever he was. "My dear pundit, the only danger currently facing your daughter is that she will not cool down fast enough. The mountain air is doing her good, but the water would be better. You have signed no contract; there will be no price. So, much as I would love to stand here and discuss proper mermaid legends with you all afternoon, it really would be best if you took her in."

Little waves lapped at Miranda's shorts and the ruffles on her shirt, her long twists bobbing around her face. She could feel a larger, greyer T-shirt billowing up under her; comforting arms kept her from sinking. The icy cold made her shiver even as it only seemed to go skin-deep, the pounding heat persisting down to her bones.

"Gonna be okay, sweetheart." The low litany of comfort had been going on for several minutes now, not saying anything new but soothing to hear nonetheless. "I've got you. I know it's cold, it's really cold, just a few minutes longer, okay? You're gonna recover just fine. And then you'll have a great story to tell your friends."

Miranda shuddered. "Don't have friends."

"Give it time. You'll make some."

He said it with quiet confidence, like he didn't have to think about it at all. As if he wasn't always arguing with her about things. Or as if it didn't matter that he was, because he had confidence in her no matter what.

A stray current jostled loose one of her sandals. Miranda cried out and opened her eyes; through her fogged glasses she caught a blurred flash of pink as it tumbled out of reach. "My shoe!"

"Shh. It's just a shoe. We can buy you new ones."

If she hadn't been so dehydrated, Miranda would have burst into tears. Her head hurt and everything hurt and she was tired and sick and wanted to go home, only she didn't have a home, not really, any more than she had friends or parents or a soul that wasn't altered or so much as her own pair of stupid flip-flops.

"Oh, honey, I'm sorry." He brushed a kiss against her forehead as she quaked with dry sobs. "I could try to go get it, but then I might lose you. And I can't get a new you."

"C-could so," choked Miranda. "'S lots of us."

"Lots of Olberclones, maybe. Doesn't make you like a pair of shoes. You're my daughter, Mandy, and I couldn't replace that for anything."

He couldn't watch Dee while keeping tabs on the vast expanse of water, so Jon chose to kneel with his back to the rocks. This plan failed to account for the fact that he would spend most of the time with eyes and ears for nothing but his daughter.

Someone must have come to the shore during that time, because all at once Dee announced that the medical professionals were waiting outside. And when Jon climbed up onto the rocks, sopping from the chest down and with an equally soaked but finally calm Miranda in his arms, the shopkeeper had exchanged the misting bottle for a Lilo & Stitch-themed juice box.

"You'll need to replenish your fluids and sugars," he explained, handing it to Miranda. "One of my associates retrieved it from your bag. not recognize the animal pictured."

The girl's hands were shaking, and there was no way Jon wasn't taking her straight to the doctor, but his heart lifted when she took the drink easily. "That's Stitch," he said, as she gulped down apple juice. "He's a, alien, I think."

"A genetic experiment," chimed in Miranda, speaking around the neon-blue straw. "Created by an alien scientist from the planet Quelte Quan. He was programmed to destroy cities, only Lilo taught him about family."

Dee's mismatched eyes brightened. "Fascinating creature. I shall have to see about getting one."

Jon thought about trying to explain that some fictional beings really were fictional. His plans were stymied when Miranda jabbed a finger at the water. "Daddy, look!"

He looked. There was a splash near the shoreline and a flicker of iridescent scales, and a pink sandal went flying out of the water to land drippily on the rocks near their feet.

"Clever fish," stammered Jon, gawking.

"Wasn't a fish," said Miranda happily, as Dee retrieved the shoe and handed that to her as well. "Didn't you see? Now that was a real mermaid."
blam: (Default)

[personal profile] blam 2011-04-22 03:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh my God, this is way too adorable.

(Also, let's pretend I didn't nearly fall out of my chair when I realized a Fake News/Pet Shop of Horrors crossover existed. FANTASTIC.)
politicette: (Default)

[personal profile] politicette 2011-04-22 07:47 pm (UTC)(link)
AHHHHHH of course Miranda would love Lilo and Stitch :33333

And I have to say that even though I have no idea what's going on with any of these crossovers, this was still very delightful and creepy. :)
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2011-04-22 09:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Awww this is too sweet!
queenfanfiction: (News KO omg!)

[personal profile] queenfanfiction 2011-04-23 06:34 am (UTC)(link)
...You do realize that now you must write more Jon&Mandy fics, y/y? XD (Or, god forbid, I might write it. Just minus the PSoH crossover.)

*smishes Mandy* LEAN FORWARD LOLOL. I want to adopt an Olberclone, dammit! Why do some things have to be *fictional*??