Chapter Thirty-One: Joe vs Johannas

Daniel looked at Tammy. She was out for blood. It was up to him to make sure she didn't-

“OW, OW, OW, OW!” Daniel limped away as Sunny lifted her finger to the sky. “THAT WAS NOT LBW!”
“It would have hit the wicket if your fat knee hadn't been in the way.” Sunny pointed out.
“I think you guys are cheating.” Sammy pouted.
The game of cricket at the tip had taken a turn for the nastier. Charlie was certain that bats were going to start flying shortly.
“What,” Petunia narrowed her eyes. “Did you just accuse us of?”
“You heard him!” TJ fired.
Tammy shot the filthiest glare she could at him.
“Guys, let's just take it easy. It's just a game of cricket.” Charlie tried to calm everyone down.
“If you guys think for a SECOND that we're going to let you get away with SLANDER, you have another thing coming.” Sunny and Petunia stood on either side of Tammy.
Everyone jumped a mile. Belle ran over, waving wildly.
“What did I miss?” She asked breathlessly as she hugged Sunny, Tammy and Petunia.
“Dodgy umpiring.” Daniel muttered earning him three dirty looks.
“Hi Belle! Nice of you to drag yourself away from your studies and grace us with your presence.” Charlie scowled at her.
“I have to keep my grades up otherwise I'll get kicked out of my course!” Belle protested.
“Why is it so important that you stay in that course for? Aren't we your friends?” Petunia asked.
“I'm doing it so that I can start making changes around here! The Council is so corrupt that any time the DVM mess up they only get a slap-on-the-wrist sentence and no one does anything about it!” Belle explained. “There's no point in us saving everyone if the same threats just keep coming back again and again!”
“That's what my grand-father said, and you disagreed with him.” Charlie said coldly.
“No, your grand-father wanted to kill them outright. That wouldn't have changed anything, because the same threats still would have kept coming. You saw that Demon came along when we managed to put Marion and Revolver away for a little while. The only thing that will fix the crime problem in Pleasantville is the constant application of tough penalties for those who disobey the law!” Belle moralised.
“Or you just can't tolerate the fact that I have a girlfriend now and you're jealous.” Charlie bit.
Belle was furious. On one hand she couldn't exactly deny the accusation. On the other hand, she HAD been studying to some effect, having gotten very high marks in all her courses and almost completely securing her path to the very best scholarship, thus Charlies words rankled her right to the core.
So she insulted him back.
“If anyone is jealous Begly, it's YOU. You're jealous that my high intelligence and hard work has finally paid off and you're going to be left in the dust. The only reason you've kept up with me all these years is the stupid Improbability Clause, and even that seems to be failing recently.”
This infuriated Charlie no end. The Improbability Clause was a sore point with him at the moment, so naturally he fought back too.
“How's being smart working for you, all alone and forgotten?” He snapped.
“Forgotten? YOU'RE the forgotten one, when's the last time Chuckles saved anyone?”
“You think you're SO much better than me because of that stupid suit?!”
“Plus the fact that I'm smarter than you.”
The Knights of the Last Order slowly backed away. This was nothing like their little spat over the cricket. This was a real fight between the two best friends.
“Charlie, maybe we'd better head off?” Sunny tried to take her boyfriends arm, but he brushed her off. He was livid.
“I can't believe you. You've changed.” Charlie said coldly.
“You've changed too.” Belle shot back icily.
Everyone was thankful when Daniels phone rang.
“Johannas? Demon's lost control of him? How?” Daniel spoke to the person on the other end of the phone. “Right, we'll be there.”
He hung up. “That was my Grandad, Johannas has gone berserk again. This time he's strapped himself up with explosives and is threatening to blow up Pleasant Gardens Shopping Centre.”
“I'll handle this.” Belle rushed to get changed.
“No, WE will handle this. We're a team, remember?” Sunny tried to pull her up.
“Let her do what she wants, it's the only way people will notice her. Especially with her head constantly in a book.” Charlie snapped. He stormed off angrily
“Charlie no!” Sunny tried to pull him back. “Sorry guys, I'll have to sit this one out too.”
“No problem.” Daniel sighed, watching the pair head off.
“Charlie, we really should head back and help. They're our friends.” Sunny tried to persuade Charlie to turn around.
“What's the point Sunny, we'll just be playing second fiddle to Miss Perfect over there.” Charlie snapped.
“You're just upset because you've had a fight, you'll get over it.” Sunny tried. “If she got hurt because you weren't there you'd never forgive yourself.”
“It'd serve her right.” Charlie muttered.
“Charlie, don't be like that! She's your best friend!” Sunny stood in front of him.
“WAS my best friend. I don't know her anymore.” Charlie tried to step around her. Sunny grabbed him around the waist and held him.
“I don't think she's changed at all. She was always pretty studious even before she started uni.” Sunny kissed him. “Try to understand where she is right now.”
“I've tried but she's not helping!” Charlie protested. Sunny sighed.
“You two can be so stubborn.” She rested her head against Charlies chest.
Charlie looked back towards the impromptu cricket pitch, where Ruby Giggles had just taken off with the other Knights of the Last Order in hot pursuit. He scowled and continue to walk in the opposite direction.
He wasn't going to concern himself with her.
“Chuckles and Giggles should be here soon…I hope.” Peter Masters ducked behind a clothes rack with Lara close beside him.
“This one is your brother-in-law?” Lara asked quietly as Johannas stalked around angrily, waving a shorn-off shotgun around.
“Yeah. Bastard killed my sister.” Peter grimaced. He looked towards another clothes rack and saw his father and brother looking pretty ticked off.
“What are YOU doing here?!” Peter mouthed silently.
“Dancing the can-can, what do you THINK we're doing?!” Bill mouthed back angrily.
“No need to be a smart-arse!”
“No need to be a dumb-arse!”
“Do you guys always argue?” Lara whispered, looking amused at the silent exchange.
“It's our thing.” Peter shrugged.
“I'LL KILL YOU ALL! I HATE YOU ALL! TELL ME WHERE JESSIE IS!” Johannas screamed, firing off the shotgun.
“In the ground where you put her.” Joe growled under his breath.
“In the ground where YOU put her!” A loud yell was heard.
“YOU.” Johannas spun around. Ruby Giggles was floating just above the ground.
“Me.” Ruby Giggles replied. “And I'm going to stop you.”
“You can't stop me from finding Jessie.” Johannas grinned his sick grin.
“Jessie? You MURDERED her, remember?” Ruby Giggles groaned, readying a Ruby Shard in her hand.
Johannas looked troubled.
“Murdered. Murdered her. YOU MURDERED HER!” He screamed. He flew at Ruby Giggles, who threw the Ruby Shard at him. It hit his arm, making him drop his detonator.
Joe suddenly bolted out of his hiding place and grabbed the detonator. With his good hand, Johannas fired off the shotgun wildly, making some of the innocent shoppers scream.
“Oh man…!” Ruby Giggles tried to fly at Johannas, but he fired at her and she had to dodge. She looked out of one of the windows and saw Sir Lionheart and Sir Hyper outside.
“We need to get everyone out of here!” She called to them. “Pa has the detonator, I don't think Johannas can hurt anyone at the moment!”
“Right!” Sir Lionheart nodded. Ruby Giggles formed a Ruby Shield and took on Johannas while the Knights of the Last Order cleared the civilians out.
A swift kick from Johannas winded Ruby Giggles, giving him enough time to attack Joe and try to get the detonator back.
“Forget it!” Joe shoved the younger man down easily – although old, Joe was still large and dangerous.
“Dad, c'mon, give the detonator to Ruby Giggles and let's get outta here!” Peter begged.
“GO!” Joe barked in a dangerous tone. Bill and Peter always obeyed that tone. Peter grabbed Lara and the three quickly got out of there.
Joe glared at Johannas. The man who had brutally murdered his only daughter. In a way, he felt some pity for Johannas. He obviously had mental issues that had never been tended to. Another blow against the Pleasantville City Council – there had never been a mental health facility here. If you wanted a psychologist or psychiatrist (or even simple counselling) you had to travel south to Brisvegas.
But that would never make Joe forgive the man for what he had done. He shoved the younger man away again, allowing Ruby Giggles to grab him.
“Now to quiet you down.” Ruby Giggles formed another Ruby Shard and prepared to stab Johannas with it. Crazed and furious, Johannas grabbed her hand and forced it back onto her.
Ruby Giggles hadn't been expecting that. The Ruby Shard pierced the Ruby Suit, causing a the Suit to malfunction. Ruby Giggles screamed in pain as her body was flooded with the Ruby power.
“NO!” Screamed Joe. Johannas grinned, and was about to fire his shotgun on the wounded Ruby Giggles when the gun was struck out of his hands!
“CHUCKLES!” Joe cried.
Chuckles swung one of the Arm Scythes at Johannas, who dodged and kicked him in the shin. While Chuckles was stunned, Johannas turned his attentions back to Joe.
The two men began to struggle over the detonator, Joes age finally catching up with him.
“Get Belle out of here!” Joe roared at Chuckles.
“NOW.” Joe bellowed. Chuckles grabbed the now unconscious Ruby Giggles and ran out of the building as fast as he could.
Now it was Joe vs. Johannas. Johannas finally managed to ease the detonator out of Joes hand. Grinning, he grabbed the older man around the waist.
“DAD!” Screamed Peter in agony. There was a loud explosion inside the building, and both Peter and Bill knew they'd never see their father again.
White. Bright white. Breathlessness.
The end.
Two sets of footsteps. Coming for him. Coming to get him and take him away.
“I tried my best. Am I forgiven?”
The two sets of footsteps came closer.
“Forgiven? Joey, you have nothing to be forgiven for. If anything, we should be begging your forgiveness.”
“We're sorry Joey. For all the rubbish we put you through.”
A smile.
“You two are idiots.”
“C'mon Joey, they're all waiting for us.”
“Yeah, let's go!”
And the three friends were reunited, and everything was okay.

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