Chapter One Hundred and Thirteen: Pulling Together

 “And the evidence
goes into the, evidence box, and the rejects go into the, waste
bin…” Belle sang as she sorted out her desk. It was that kind of
Friday afternoon, where nothing new really happened but you still had
to look busy.

“You seem cheerful.”
Helen walked over and looked over at Belles desk.

“I'm gunning for the
International Acting Award this year.” Belle replied. “This place
is so depressing since Giggles took out the main chandelier.”

“I know. I swear if I
ever get a hold of that brat…” Helen looked murderous. Belle
sighed and went back to her sorting, hoping like mad the guilt didn't
appear on her face.

“MASTERS! Can I see
you in my office please?” Judith Jofrey called out.

“Oh Belle, you're in
for it now!” Helen gasped as Belle got up.

“I'll be fine.”
Belle said shakily.

“Are you sure? I can
come in as a witness for you.” Helen offered.


“I'd better go it
alone. Thanks Helen.” Belle tried to smile as she walked to the
office of Judith Jofrey.

“Good luck Belle!”

“Don't let her
intimidate you Belle!”

“Remember to take
notes in case it needs to go to HR!”

“You haven't done
anything wrong!”

It was heartening to
have her coworkers believe in her…until you remembered most of them
were Death Valley Mobsters.

Belle walked into
Judiths office and closed the door.

“Take a seat.”
Judith offered. She wasn't sitting at her desk, but rather at a
little coffee-table she had set up in the office for more causal

Belle sat in one of the
comfortable chairs. Judith offered her a biscuit and some tea, and
she accepted. Once the tea was poured and everything was settled,
Judith began.

“I'm going to come
right out and say it. I'm pregnant with Daniels baby.” Judith said.

Belle had to keep
herself from squealing.

“You can relax,
unlike Jones office, there's no way to listen in to conversations
here. I made sure of that.” Judith smiled.

CONGRATULATIONS!” Belle squealed out in one breath. “When are you
due? Does Dan know? Is he excited? Are you moving in together? Is it
a boy or a girl?”

Judith laughed. It was
a natural, happy laugh that Belle had never thought Judith had been
capable of. “I'm a little over a month along, so we don't know the
sex just yet. Dan knows, in fact, I wanted to talk to you about

“Is he still in a
funk?” Belle asked. “We wanted to give him some time off from the
Knights to try and clear himself up, and instead he's acting like the
Knights kicked him out.”

“He's been happier
since he learned of the pregnancy though, which is where you come in.
I want all his friends to know about the pregnancy, and have a small
party to celebrate.” Judith said. “Help him reconnect to his true
self. I worry that his family connections could rear their heads and
take advantage while he's down and out. Much like you're family
connections are trying to take advantage of you working for the

“What is UP with
that?! I think it's blatantly obvious that there's no way I'd be a
Haunted Maze Trouper. How'd they even get the name Haunted Maze
anyway?” Belle said, annoyed.

“They know that
you're ahem, friends with me, and that your father recently became a
Councillor. They want to make sure they can leverage the Council
through those connections, in case Mayor Jones gets out of hand.”
Judith told her. “That's how your father finally got into a
Councillor position. Of course, they have no idea that you're the
town vigilante.”

“How do you KNOW all
of this?” Belle asked incredulously.

“Because I'm still
very close to Demons office, enough so that I have enough information
to piece together what's happening.” Judith replied.

Belle grinned. “Answers
a lot of questions. Anyway, I'll talk to the Knights and we'll try to
set up a party for Dan. They really, REALLY miss him.”

“I bet they do.”
Judith smiled.

“I mean, they REALLY,
REALLY, REALLY miss him.” Belle said.

NO PLAN, AND NEARLY GOT US ALL KILLED!” Sunny screamed at Sammy,
who also had his hackles up.

screamed back.

Context: Sir Hyper had
led the rushed defence of a pharmacy against a pack of Haunted Maze
Troupers. It hadn't gone well until Chuckles and Giggles had stepped

Now, the screaming
match at the tip.

“The leadership of
this group is appalling.” TJ grumbled.

“Well I didn't see
YOU doing anything!” Tammy fired.

“It's not his job!”
Petunia shot back.

As the yelling got
louder, Chuckles and Giggles flew in.

“You wanna tell them
about Dan NOW?” Chuckles looked at the carnage, thinking a hot
chocolate and a good movie was a better option.

The whole Last Order yelped.

Chuckles and Giggles
took a second to compose themselves.

“I spoke to Judith
yesterday at work. She and Dan are having a baby.” Giggles pulled
off her helmet.

Four gobsmacked Knights
glared at her. Sunny just looked at Belle with wide eyes.

“Did I say something
wrong?” Belle asked.

“OUR Dan knocked up
the sister of Mobster Marion?!” Sammy cried.

“I mean, I'm happy if
he's happy…?” Sunny mumbled, looking confused.

“He's an idiot! What
did he go and do that for!?” Petunia groaned. “Way to give Marion
a path straight to us!”

“Hey, to be fair I
work under Demons nose all day and he still has no clue at all who I
am off the clock.” Belle pointed out.

“Working for someone
is different than being family!” TJ roared.

“Ahem.” Sunny
cleared her throat.

Suddenly things got
very, very, VERY awkward.

Sunny…” Petunia mumbled.

“But you don't
consider Demon your family, do you?” Tammy asked.

“I still speak to my
Mum sometimes. She likes to see Melody.” Sunny said quietly. “We're
not close at all, but she's still my Mum, to a point.”

Sunny looked close to
tears, and the old scar under her eye stood out. Belle rushed to hug
her and Charlie scowled at the rest of the Knights.

“If Dan is happy, I'm
going to be happy for him. We should be encouraging love, not
breaking up families. I just keep hoping one day what I say will get
through to Mum and we'll have another ally.” Sunny kept back the
tears, and buried her face in Belles shoulder.

“Way to go guys.”
Charlie folded his arms and glared at the Knights.

All of them looked

“We should throw a
small party for Dan.” Sunny suggested. She looked at Sammy.

“Yeah, he'd like
that. He'd be part of us again.” Sammy gave her a timid smile.

“Belle, you could
talk to Judith about having it at her place right?” Sunny asked. “I
don't think Dan would come to a party if we hosted it.”

“Good idea.” Sammy
said. He and Sunny smiled at each other awkwardly.

“Okay then.” Belle
sighed. “Anyway, Dad should be here soon, let's go Charlie.”

Belle and Charlie
walked away, leaving the Knights feeling rather subdued.

“I guess we've been a
little stupid recently.” Sammy started.

“Yeah. Especially us
leaders.” Sunny replied. She sighed. “I guess I really can't
understand how you guys feel. I love Dan, and I the respect I have
for him…but I didn't grow up with him as my leader.”

“Yeah, you got the
short end of the stick there.” TJ patted her back.

“I think we're all
pretty upset about Dan leaving us in the lurch, and we took it out on
each other.” Tammy piped up.

“From now on, I think
we should take a minute to talk to each other first.” Sammy
suggested. “Not just us leaders either. From now on, we protect
Pleasantville with a plan – OUR plan.”

He grinned at Sunny,
who grinned back.

“Now, can we talk
about Dans party? I mean, he's going to be a Dad!” Petunia said

The Knights quickly
busied themselves with organising a baby bash – a bash to hopefully
get their beloved leader back.

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