Title: Charlie the Unicorn and the Power of Rock
Fandom: Charlie the Unicorn (web series)
Characters: Charlie, Pink, Blue, special guest stars
Warning/Spoilers: eldritch horrors, parody, rickrolling
Word Count: 2300
Summary: A primordial horror kidnaps Pink and Blue, and Charlie decides it’s time to get his TV back.
Notes: Written for Yuletide 2011.
Once upon a time in a beautiful forest, full of birdies and squirrels and little foxes, there lived a unicorn named Charlie. Now, this unicorn was a rather grumpy unicorn, not least because his friends Pink and Blue tended to play tricks on him to make him do things he didn’t want to do, like rescue a damsel in distress or give them his kidney. But as it had been rather a long time since Charlie had heard or seen Pink and Blue, he was feeling quite mellow and wanted to take a nap on his comfortable blanket. (It would have been better if he had his TV on, to keep him company while he dozed, but Pink and Blue had taken that, too.)
An ethereal voice floated through the forest, disembodied but nonetheless familiar, carried on a riff played by an Eighties-style synthesizer. Charlie groaned. He should have known it would never last.
“What do you want?” he growled, but when he lifted his head neither Pink or Blue were anywhere to be seen. “Did I just dream that?” he asked the forest, and then answered himself, “No, dumbass. A dream about those two would be a nightmare. Be glad that’s all it was.”
He lay down his head again, and again the voice sounded, “Charlie…Charlie…” as if coming from very far away, followed by the merest echo of a cheery pop tune.
“WHAT?!?” Charlie got to his hooves and had a good look around the forest. Nothing to see but trees and squirrels cavorting and birds tweeting and bugs chewing. All very normal. The forest recovered from that last fire quickly—too quickly. Not that Charlie was asking. “If this is your idea of getting a game of hide-and-seek started you’ve got the wrong guy.”
“You weren’t counting, Charlie…”
Well, that settled the question of who the disembodied voice belonged to. “Are you trying to haunt me now? Is that what this is?”
“Save us, Charlie,” quavered the voice.
“Yeah, save us…”
“Save us from the evil monster…”
“The evil monster of wrong…and evilness…”
“No,” said Charlie and lay down again on his blanket. “I don’t see why I should do anything for you two. All you do is make me miserable, either to steal something from me or to use me in one of your wacky adventures. Well, I’m done. You got yourself into trouble, you can get yourself out.”
“He has us, Charlie…”
“He wants us, Charlie…”
“Wait, is that how we sound?”
“Yeah, it’s kind of cool, isn’t it? Like we’re in an echo chamber.”
“Echo, echo, echo,” said Pink — or Blue, it was hard to tell without their stupid faced around to differentiate between them — and Pink-or-Blue’s words echoed back, “Echo, echo, echo…”
Both unicorns giggled. Without their bodies around, and with the echo effect, it was pretty freaking spooky.
Charlie sighed, giving up on the idea of sleep. “All right. Who has you?”
“He’s never going to give us up, Charlie…”
“He’s never going to let us down, Charlie…”
“He’s never going to run around, Charlie…”
“Oh, God,” groaned Charlie, “they’ve been rickrolled.”
Round about the time Pink and Blue reached the chorus again, it occurred to Charlie that now was a perfect time to get his TV back. The only trouble was he wasn’t sure where Pink and Blue actually lived — if, as he often suspected, they were actually demon spawn from Hell sent to torment him for eternity, they didn’t need an actual house, but just existed on some plain where they could pop in and out of his life as they saw fit.
But they had to have put his TV somewhere. It was an actual TV, not an idea of a TV.
He ambled through the forest in the general direction Pink and Blue usually appeared from, hoping to find a sign indicating the way or a friendly wildebeest who’d point him in the right direction.
The disembodied voices followed him, no surprise there. “Charlie, Charlie…we’re no strangers to love, Charlie…”
“Yeah, love…when you rescue us, we should all make out!”
Charlie ignored them as best he could. It wasn’t like they were suffering or anything — having to listen to RickRoll’s lone hit over and over didn’t count as suffering, right? Not anything more than what they deserved, anyway.
“Charlie,” said one of the voices, finally breaking away from the lyrics. “Hey, Charlie. Charlie. Hey. Charlie. Hey, hey. Chaaaaarliiiiiie.”
“What?” Charlie said.
“Where are you going, Charlie?”
“Are you coming to save us, Charlie?”
“I don’t think you’re coming to save us, Charlie.”
“I, uh,” said Charlie. “I’m looking for you. How’d you get into this mess, anyway?” Distraction tactics!
“We were singing, Charlie.”
“We summoned him, Charlie.”
“We know the rules, Charlie.”
“A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of, Charlie.”
Charlie sighed as they started telling him the song again, but it least it stopped them from asking questions.
After the third iteration, and no closer to figuring out where they lived than he’d been before, Charlie said, “Hey, you two, where were you when you, uh, summoned him?”
“Near the rift, Charlie.”
“The rift between worlds, Charlie!”
“The horror, Charlie. The horror. The horrible horror.”
Charlie said as patiently as he could, “And how do I find the rift between worlds? Is it near your house?”
They both laughed. It echoed against the trees and was still freaking spooky. “We don’t have a house, Charlie.”
“We live anywhere we want to, Charlie!”
“Yeah, I figured,” Charlie muttered. “So where—”
“The claws!” shrieked one of the voices, and then they both shut up for a while.
When it was dark Charlie stopped for the night and considered his options. He could get back to his place easily enough, but then he’d lose ground and time, and he’d missed every new episode of Project Runway for months already. It would take weeks to catch up.
Well, was he a unicorn frolicking in his very own forest or wasn’t he? He was. And he could damn well sleep wherever he wanted, rifts or ethereal voices or evil monsters of wrongness and evilness be damned.
Charlie flopped down onto the grass and curled up until he was comfortable, shut his eyes and settled in for a long, interruption-free snooze…
When a spotlight clanged on, hot and bright around him.
“Oh, God, what now?” Charlie muttered and opened one eye.
A group of enormous fruit had gathered in front of him. Some had maracas, some had banjos, some had bongos, some had tambourines, and all of them had expectant expressions.
“I’m not singing,” Charlie informed them, so of course the fruits — a kiwi, a banana and a Satsuma — with the tambourine began to beat them, and the fruits with bongos — two oranges and grape — began to bang them, and the ones with maracas — a plum, a lemon and a cherry — began to shake them, and the ones with banjos — a raspberry, two figs and a pear — began to pluck them, and they all began to sing.
What did they sing, Gentle Reader? It was the best song ever written, of course. It was haunting and plaintive, as plaintive as something with a melody carried mostly by banjo can be, and it begged Charlie to rescue Pink and Blue, because Pink and Blue loved him more than anyone else in the vast forest, they were always trying to entertain him, and wouldn’t he repay their kindness by rescuing them from the horror that was the RickRoll?
Of course, such a song can never be transcribed, recorded, repeated or recreated, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
The most important thing, of course, was that in the last verse the fruit made this promise: if Charlie rescued Pink and Blue, they’d give him back his TV.
“Promise?” said Charlie, not believing it for a second. He’d been screwed over before by singing food.
“We promise!” chorused the fruit, at which point they exploded. Even their explosions were in harmony. It was really quite moving. Seriously, you should have been there.
Well, okay, then. Charlie knew what he had to do. He had to rescue Pink and Blue from the evil RickRoll and get his TV back. And there was only one way to summon the evil RickRoll.
He had to sing.
Charlie took a deep breath, made sure there was no one around to watch him (except for the smoldering piles of ash that were the fruit orchestra) and croaked, “Um…we’re no strangers to love…you know the rules…and so do I…”
A light appeared between the trees. A mere flicker at first, it gained strength as Charlie sang, until as he reached the chorus, “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…” it made a great crackle in time and space and opened to reveal the doorway to a different dimension, so powerful, so foreign, so alien, that to look within it might drive a man mad.
(Probably a woman, too. But not a unicorn.)
“Help us, Charlie, help us!” screamed Pink and Blue from within the rift, and Charlie saw them within the multi-colored shimmering light, across a plain made of nightmares and mudkips, bound to mountains so enormous that their peaks were lost in clouds with rope so strong it would take ten thousand monkeys ten thousand years of gnawing to break the first strand. Towering over them was the mighty RickRoll, a redhaired Englishman in a yellow overcoat, his tentacles glistening in the alien light.
“Charlie! Charlie!” screamed Pink.
“What?” yelled Charlie.
“Charlie! After you help us, we can make out, Charlie!” screamed Pink.
“Not on your life!” yelled Charlie. He now had a dilemma. He’d gone into this without hope of success or even a plan, and now that he had the rift open, with the mighty Rickroll gibbering and drooling at him (with echoes of “Never gonna give you up…never gonna let you down” between every mrgle and flibble) he had no idea how to defeat him.
The ghosts of the fruit orchestra suddenly appeared before him, and they informed him, in a chorus so harmonious that angels wept with envy at its beauty, that you defeat the evil RickRoll the same way you defeat any piece of bubblegum pop: WITH THE POWER OF ROCK.
“But I don’t know how to rock! I can’t even play a ukulele!” yelled Charlie. “Hooves!” He held up his hooves to illustrate.
The ghosts of the fruit orchestra told him he could summon any band, living or dead, broken up or still together, that he wanted in order to defeat the evil Rickroll. All he had to do was name them.
“Name them, Charlie!” screamed Blue.
“Yeah, Charlie, name them!” screamed Pink. “Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!”
“What?” yelled Charlie.
“I like Ke$ha, Charlie!”
“You would,” muttered Charlie, and then shouted, for all the heavens and earth and forests and cities and underwater places to hear, and probably some volcanoes, and maybe even in the Returns line at every Wal-Mart, “I name…the Foo Fighters!”
Again the sky crackled as it burst apart, and a rift opened in between the trees to deposit the Foo Fighters between the two rifts. They took one look around and knew immediately what to do, because Dave Grohl is that awesome — they took up their instruments and began to rock.
They rocked for Pink, they rocked for Blue, they rocked for everyone who hates your guts, they rocked for the mountains and the valleys and the seas, they rocked every broken dream and shattered heart, they rocked for every cutting word, they rocked for the unsung songs and the unwritten books, they rocked for the best the best the best of you, they rocked for every whispered confession and clasped hand, they rocked for the lovers, the dreamers, and me.
And probably for you, too.
And they rocked for Charlie.
They rocked so hard and so perfectly that the evil Rickroll shrank into a tiny, tiny eldritch horror, and its claws stopped clacking and its jaws stopped clicking, and it withdrew back into the rift and its own horrible dimension of one-hit wonderdom.
The unbreakable ropes fell away from Pink and Blue and the vast mountains disappeared. “We’re free, Charlie!” they cried in joy.
“Yeah, yeah, just get out of there!” said Charlie, and so they ran across the nightmare plain and out of the Rift just as it snapped shut forever.
They all stood there for a minute, even the Foo Fighters.
“Charlie,” said Blue. “Charlie. Charlie.”
“What?” sighed Charlie.
“We should definitely make out,” said Blue.
They all ended up at the Waffle House, even the Foo Fighters, and had waffles and hash browns and really good bacon, the crispy kind with pepper at the edges.
Charlie said, “Why did the RickRoll take you in the first place?”
“Oh,” said Pink, “he wanted your TV. But we said, ‘No! That’s Charlie’s TV!’ So he got mad and kidnapped us.”
“You’re going to give me back my TV now, right?” said Charlie, and the Foo Fighters all looked ready to take up their instruments again and ROCK for the sake of Charlie’s TV.
Pink and Blue looked at each other.
“Um,” said Pink.
“Er,” said Blue.
“Guys,” Charlie growled, “or girls, I can never tell, what’s wrong with my TV?”
Pink and Blue looked at each other again. “Your TV,” said Pink.
“Kind of,” said Blue.
“Broke,” said Pink.
“We might have thrown it off a cliff,” said Blue.
“Because we couldn’t get it to show the last episode of Project Runway,” said Pink.
Charlie closed his eyes and sighed.
Dave Grohl said, “You have to admit, man, that’s kind of rock’n’roll,” and the other Foo Fighters nodded in agreement.
“But it means I don’t get my TV back!” yelled Charlie, and they all patted his back soothingly.
But it turned out okay in the end, because Pink and Blue made Charlie pudding, and they all ate it, even the Foo Fighters. You can’t be mad when there’s pudding.
And they all lived happily ever after.
…at least until the adventure of the Platypus King and the Enchanted Frappucino.
I actually have a soft spot for Rick Astley and don’t think he’s evil at all. I do think, however, that the Foo Fighters rock.
“Sing!” by My Chemical Romance
“The Best of You” by the Foo Fighters
“Rainbow Connection” by the Muppets
“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley