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A Swinger's Wish

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"Miss Jone? They've arrived," The guard said to the female bear.

"Finally," She said as she slumped in her chair in the interrogation room. It was a relief to get out of her cell, she had been getting really bored being cooped in it all day. Henry entered, carting Teddi in on her wheelchair. She still didn't trust her attacker. "It was nice for you two to take up my invite."

"I've actually been lookin' forward to this, Miss…um, we never did get yer name, did we?" Henry asked.

"Sorry. My name, Mr. H. Bear, is Delilah Jone," The slim she-bear answered.

"All right Delilah. By the way, y'all can just call me Henry," He said.

"Got it. So, where should we start at?"

"Well first off, I heard about what happened to yer grandfather last night when those guys tried to turn him in last night," Henry said. "I heard it took them a long while, but they captured him. However, they say he was more dangerous than y'all tried to be, in fact they had ta' shoot a tranquilizer to stop him! They stuck him in a more secure place, one that's more safeguarded than this one. So anyways Delilah, how did he, ya know, get ya in t' doin' this?"

"Well Henry, as I said last night it's a long story…"

"Well, we've got plenty of time t' hear it! Go ahead!"

"Well then, I'll start by saying that my grandfather as put me through hard labor and training for the past several years of my life. His goal was for me to take you out, Miss Barra."

"But why did have to do that to you?" Teddi asked. "If he indeed got rid of Georgette, then why didn't he ever try to go after me himself?"

"I'll get to that shortly," Delilah said, "But first it's best that I explain why he wanted to get rid of the Swingers in the first place. He told me it was because of something that your great-grandfather, Henry."

"And what would that be? Continue on," Henry said.

"He told me that his great-grandmother, Ursa, was the fiancée to Ursus H. Bear. However, he told me that Ursus suddenly started being mean to her, and had some other bears working for him send her far away so he could start an affair with another girl named Helene! Now Henry, don't you think that was a bit rash?"

Henry, who looked a bit disturbed when Delilah spoke of his grandfather like that, simply shook his head and said, "I'll keep my comments on that to muhself until after y'all are finished with yer story."

Delilah sighed and said, "Very well. After that, my stepfather told me that Ursa tried to get back at your grandfather. After he had constructed that theater of yours, she tried to get rid of Helene and destroy Grizzly Hall, but of course we all know she had no luck in that. She was exiled yet again, and she promised that someday, her descendants would get revenge on the children and followers of both Ursus and Helene! Well, all of Ursa's children led unhappy lives, and they blamed it all on Ursus. Following Ursa's wishes, they decided to get rid of anything that was part of Ursus and Helene's heritage, their children, the Big Time Swingers which Helene founded, Grizzly Hall and all who worked there. Fortunately, there were no successful attempts against Grizzly Hall, especially after Ursus' grandson George Henry Bear passed on due to natural causes…"

"He was my father, ya know," Henry said.

"I had the feeling he was," Delilah said. "Well, they just gave up trying to destroy Grizzly Hall since it was abandoned after his death, figuring the wooden structure would eventually rot and collapse since it was out in the middle of the swampland back then."

"Yeah, it was in purty bad shape when Wendell and I came back to it when I decided to take it over! Fixin' it up was real difficult at first, but when them Disney folks bought the land to build their park they helped with the reconstruction things went quite smoothly!" Henry said.

"Yes," Delilah said, "Grizzly Hall got off easy, but sadly the Swingers had no luck…"

"I get it now!" Teddi said. "You and your grandfather are descendants of Ursa! He must have somehow managed to sneak in during the Swingers' performances, and unhooked their swings! We realized that it might have been someone linked to Ursa all along, but no matter how secure the theaters were, they would sneak in and loosen the swings! They must have been trained to be stealthy, like you were! And here along I thought it was just a stupid myth!"

"Yes, sad to say. Thankfully the majority of the Swingers ended up with broken limbs, which scared a lot of the others and forced them to retire…"

"I know about that!" said Teddi. "But you still haven't said anything about Georgette…"

"All right, I'll get to that. He and my father were planning to get rid of the two of you during that show you did together. However, they had finished loosening only one swing, and then heard someone coming near the area. They quickly retreated and didn't have another chance to get back up there. Apparently, no one double-checked it before showtime, and I assure you know what happened."

Teddi shivered in fear as Delilah spoke this. She hated being reminded of it. "Well, as they were escaping my father slipped as they were trying to climb down from the roof of the building, and fell to his doom. My grandfather manged to retrieve his body before they were caught, and ended up burying him himself. He then came and took me away to his house hidden away in the mountains, where we stayed for several years. He figured that getting rid of one of you would probably drive the other one into retirement and thus would spell the end for the Big Time Swingers, so he decided to leave the survivor alone."

"And I would have resigned too, if Henry hadn't requested for me to be in his show!" Teddi said as Henry nodded.

"I know. Unfortunately, my grandfather got really angry once he found out you hadn't retired, and he got even angrier when he found that Grizzly Hall had reopened! He wanted to take out everything, the theater, you two, and all your friends. However, he also found out that you were now part of the Disney World complex, and he knew that it would be more difficult to pull off with all the added security. So he decided to leave the building alone and focus on getting rid of the two of you, the Last Swinger and the grandson of Ursus. However, he discovered he was becoming a bit crippled in his old age, and couldn't be as quick and cunning as he was in the past. Heck, he nearly killed himself when he was fleeing from the LaBruin incident, so he knew he couldn't do this on his own. He decided train me to be vicious and to help him carry out his plot, just as he did my father."

"So he dragged y'all into this!" Teddi said. "You poor thing, it must've been terrible being raised by…by that monster!"

"It was! He was really hard on me as he forced me to train through blood, sweat and tears! He was hoping that he would have convinced me to be as ruthless and vicious as he was. What he didn't know, is that I had developed a sense of justice, and I knew in my heart that what I was being taught to do wasn't right!"

"But if you did know it was wrong, why did you stay with him?" Henry asked.

"I tried running away from him once, but he found me, and severely punished me. Punishment isn't the correct word though, he tortured me until he felt like I had learned my lesson. I was really scared after that, and I never questioned him again, fearing he would do even worse things to me…"

Teddi gasped in horror, while Henry was stunned. "I…I can't believe that! I just can't believe that! It's bad enough with what he did what he did to the Swingers…but, treatin' y'all like that when you were young Delilah, it just ain't acceptable! No one should ever treat their kids like that, no matter what th' purpose is! And from judgin' y'all's slim appearance, Delilah, I say he didn't feed y'all that much either…"

"I'm afraid you have that right, Henry. When my father came up with the plan to sneak into the Disney area without too much trouble, he decided that the easiest way was to disguise me as a human tourist. That way, I'd have easy access to get to Grizzly Hall. However, my bear figure would give it away in an instant, so he needed to find ways to camouflage me. He started to cut back on my meals a lot so I would lose weight, so my slim figure would look more like that of a human's than that of a bear's. He also came up with the other factors that would make it work, and you've already seen them all; the latex human mask, the gloves, the blond wig, everything that would make the disguise look reasonable. I have to say that he did succeed at it, though, because I was in public for a long while in that disguise and no could tell I wasn't really human. It worked so well I was able to land myself a small job…"

"Which is where y'all got the money to pay fer th' trip!" Henry said. "Well, at least ya got it honestly. I would have thought yer stepdad would have had ya rob a bank or somethin'…"

"Unfortunately Henry, he ended up making me rob one when he decided I wasn't going to make the amount of money we needed fast enough. Besides, we wanted me to have a field test of my skills anyway before heading over here. I guess that's another offense I'll be charged with. Anyway, we used the money to book a long stay at the Contemporary, and I assume you know the rest…"

"So that's y'all's story huh? Well Delilah, I fell really sorry fer y'all bein' forced through all that! I have to say though, yer stepfather did lie to ya a bit on my grandfather's history though," Henry said as he walked up to Delilah and handed her several sheets of paper. They were dusty, worn, and looked like they were decades old.

"These old papers I hold in my paw happen to be a couple of pages from my great-grandfather's journals. I'm read them over many times, and I know them by heart. Accordin' to them, Ursa was a wicked lady who caused a lot of trouble for Ursus. It all started 'round May 1896. Ya see, after a long negotiation, he finally managed to get an agreement from a small town in Louisiana for him and all th' bears who followed him to create their own entertainment establishments. It was there where Ursus wanted to build Grizzly Hall, a saloon, a store, and a shootin' arcade, all to be run by him and his friends. It was his dream for bears and humans to work and interact with each other in a social society."

"Yeah, every bear knows all about how he accidentally ran into a theater and saw humans performing when he was a wild cub, had a dream about bears doing the same thing one hibernation, which inspired him to start actin' human. Yeah I know all that! But, what did Ursa really do to get him relied enough to send her away?" Delilah asked.

"Well ya see, Delilah, as I said before, Ursa was really wicked at heart, abusing her human abilities. The things she did were really horrible, so bad I don't want to talk about 'em. You can read about them right here, Delilah if you wish, but I must tell ya, it ain't real pretty!" Henry said as he handed her the page.

"All right. Where do I read at?" She asked.

"Right here," Henry said as he put a finger over the text.

Delilah then read over the page before gasping. "Oh, my goodness, Henry, you were right when you said she was wicked! I can't believe that she would lure the human children alone in the woods with her, go wild, hunt them down, and then…"

"Please, don't mention it," Henry interrupted. "Like I said I don't want to be reminded of all that stuff she did. And ya know what makes me angry about it? Ursus believed she actually enjoyed doing all those terrible things, that they gave her pleasure! That is just plain sickenin'!"

"Yeah, I think I am gonna be sick after readin' that! So what happened when they found out about it?"

"She blamed Ursus on it, that's what! Said that th' whole idea was his! Well, y'all can imagine what happened, the agreements Ursus made with the townspeople were off, and Ursus and all the bears with him found themselves chased out of the town! Which makes me really angry, Delilah, because it was Ursus' dream that all bears would use their new found intelligence wisely, and would use it to live in peace with the humans. Well, thanks to Ursa's actions, Ursus' dream was shattered, and it would be years until humans and bears lived in peace. I guess he must have known that, though, for after he had Ursa sent away he went ahead and built Grizzly Hall anyway two years later in the Florida swampland. He also managed to get the saloon in as well, right next door to the theater. It wuz durin' the construction is when he met up with Helene, one of the bears in Florida who wuz interested in Ursus' ideals. She too wanted to be a great actress for humans and bears alike. They got along together real well, and it wasn't before long that th' two started to become an item, and they were married a few days just before Grizzly Hall's openin'. I'm sure y'all know what happened after that…"

"Yeah," Deliah said. "Helene would go on and found the Swingers, which would later become a famous nationwide group of bear performers. Oh Henry, I'm so sorry about what happened to your grandfather. If I had known that Ursa was like that, I would have ran away from Grandfather and would have gotten help from the authorities! The main reason why I didn't was because I was angered by losing my father, and because I was taken away from my friends when my grandfather took me into isolation with him! I wanted to take my anger out on someone, and due to the lies my granddad told me I wanted to take it out on you! . But, after hearing the truth from you, I blame both him and Ursa for all of this!" Delilah started to sob. "Oh, if only I hadn't been so stupid…I wish I could just go back and fix everything. Oh, if only Ursa didn't go and mess everything up, Ursus' community would have worked out, there would have been no quarrel between the bears and humans, and I would have never ended up in this mess. Even though the Swingers would never have been founded if Ursus hadn't gone to Florida and met Helene…"

"I'm sure they probably would have anyway, though," Henry said. "But don't feel sorry, lil' lady. It may have taken a while, but Ursus' dreams eventually did come true. I mean, th' quarrel between the humans had eventually died down, shortly before Ursus passed away. And we've been entertain' thousands of humans every single day, just like Ursus had dreamed!"

"Yeah, but what about that complex Ursus wanted? That never got made," Delilah said.

"Funny y'all should say that. Shortly after our big success back in '71, the Disney folks wanted us to perform over in that Disneyland Park over in California. They even planned to dedicate a small area of the park to us! Well, bein' that th' opportunity wuz there, I helped them Disney folks design the area, includin' the areas Ursus wanted, a saloon separate from the theater, a tradin' post, an arcade, and a restaurant. Although they wouldn't exactly be completely operated by bears, I made sure that they would be at least maintained by one, and so I hired Rufus fer that. But th' point of th' matter is, Delilah, almost everythin's worked out fine, and I think I might be able to work everythin' out fer you as well."

"R-really, how?"

"Judgin' from yer past few words, I take it that y'all are sorry fer y'all's actions. I'm puttin' muh trust in y'all, and even though y'all will have to do some time in jail no matter what happens, I just might be able to help y'all get a better life."

"But how? After all those things I did, I'll be in for a rather long time in there, won't I?"

"I'll try to pull a few strings, and help y'all in yer trial. Hopefully I can get 'em to shorten yer sentence. I'll also be in the trial fer that evil granddad a'yers. I'll make sure they'll give that creep what he deserves! You won't have anythang to worry about after that. Although, y'all are too young to go out on yer own. So, once y'all have done all yer time, I'll be yer guardian fer a while. I'll give y'all a temporary job, as an assistant to Rufus, doin' some small work around the Hall. We'll need a little help after Rufus heads back to California when the Christmas season is over. Then in a year or so, I'll set y'all up at a nice lil' place of your choice in the country. There, y'all can settle in, and enjoy a peaceful life. Who knows, ya just might find everythin' you've been wantin' in yer life, maybe even a lover. It still ain't too late to find someone that's right fer you, Delilah. You'll have yer full life ahead of you!"

"You're doing that all for me? Why, why thank you, Henry! You don't how much it means to me…" She then sobbed with joy as she wrapped her arms around him.

"I understand very much," said Henry.

"Excuse me, Mr. H. Bear," The officer in the room said, "I'm afraid your time is up. I think we have enough info from her."

"No, wait, Henry, can't you stay here any longer?" Delilah asked.

"I'm sorry, Delilah," Henry said. "I know y'all are afraid of being here alone, and I wish we could keep ya company, but it's all outta my paws. Look, I'll be at y'all and yer stepdad's trials. Don't worry, though, everythin' will work out in the end."

"Your right, Henry," Delilah said. "Even if I have to stay in prison for a while, it'll be well worth the wait. And Henry, I've said this before, but…"

"What is it?"

"Thank you."

Henry smiled and nodded back as he pushed Teddi out of the room and Delilah was returned to her cell, wondering what she would do when she was finally out and free…

Several weeks had gone by. The number of full houses the Country Bears had each day had skyrocketed as the weeks until Christmas dwindled down. Both the trials of Delilah and her grandfather had come and gone. With Henry's aid, both trials seemed to go in their favor. Henry went true to his words, and managed to get Delilah's sentence shortened down to a few months. As Delilah had said earlier, she wouldn't mind the few months she would have to spend in jail, and thanked Henry for getting her through everything easier. The same couldn't have been said for her grandfather, however. Something about a cold day in a warm place suggested as to how long his sentence would be. Delilah was really grateful to hear this, knowing he would never harm anyone again. The one thing she had to regret though was not being able to spend Christmas with the bears, though Henry promised her she would be able to the next year, not wanting to make her feel bad about it. For that reason, he didn't tell her about the plans the bears were making for Christmas Day.

First off, the bears of course would take part of the day off of performing, so they could have time to relax, and be with their families and each other that morning. Besides, Henry had figured that the park would have little crowds that day anyway. After all, who would want to spend their Christmas morning in a theme park? It was Henry's opinion that everyone should spend the day with their family and friends. Late in the morning, the bears gathered at Grizzly Hall, to have a huge brunch. Afterward, the Performers and their families got together to sing carols. Not just the medley the bears performed in the shows, but many other classic holiday songs and hymns.

It was a time of great joy for them all, something that would become an annual event each Christmas day. Even Gomer joined in the singing. Even though he wasn't much of singer like the other bears, it didn't matter since they weren't concentrating on vocal talent, it being just a group sing-a-long. All that mattered was the joy and company. After that was done, Henry and Teddi left for a while to visit Delilah. Henry just wouldn't let her spent the entire day alone, and Delilah was really delighted for their company. It was just the thing she needed. When visiting hours had ended, Henry and Teddi returned to Grizzly Hall just in time for the bears' Christmas dinner. After the bears' stomachs were full (especially after eating a few pumpkin pies), they spent the rest of the evening performing for several crowds. The park was open really late into the night before it would close, so the bears did quite a few shows before they were able to stop. It didn't bother them none, though, for the huge crowds they had made it all worthwhile…

After the park had closed, and the bears finally managed to settle down, all of them finally ready to call it a night and have a good night's rest. All of them except Henry and Teddi that is, who went out to have a small moonlight stroll along the Rivers of America. They walked a slow, easy pace obviously; since Teddi was in a walking cast they kind of had no choice. The slow pace was fine with them though. The two walked down a wooden walkway over the river, and stopped in the middle of it to gaze out into the moonlight sky.

"Such a beautiful night, isn't it?" Teddi said in a small tone. Henry glanced at her for a moment and smiled.

"Not as beauty-ful as you," He said with a wink as she blushed. "Well, Teddi, it's been a big day…did y'all get everythin' ya wanted fer Christmas?"

"Even more than I wanted," She said as she kissed him on the cheek. As Henry chuckled, an all-too familiar half-awake female bear was watching it all from one of the front windows of Grizzly Hall. Trixie felt like throwing down her binoculars in anger, but she didn't want to wake the others, so she then quietly stormed out of the room, one thing on her mind. She didn't know when, she didn't know how, but someday she was going to tear that Swinger away from Henry, and one day he would be hers. Just someday…

As Henry and Teddi stood close together side by side next to the river, she looked down at her locket, and then gazed up into the sky. She wondered, did all of these events happen because of that wish she had made that night a few weeks ago? Or was it all just plain coincidence? A lot of changes did occur to her right after that. However, she knew that most of the new things that had happened would soon go back to the way they were. She knew that in a few days the Christmas Special would end and the bears would go back to performing the old Country Bear Jamboree show just like always, and they would go back to doing the same old songs they had done for fourteen years. Terrence would start dying his fur back to its original color, and her leg would eventually heal up and she would go back living at her house in EPCOT, eating at the same old places that she always had. All and all, things would be just the same, as they always were(until winter of course). But, for the first time, Teddi wasn't bothered by the same old routines. There would be something new among it all, Henry's love. Sure, she knew that by staying at Grizzly Hall, she pretty much forfeited the chance of becoming a drama actress. But with Henry's love making it all worthwhile, it didn't matter to her. All she wanted now was to stay and perform there, to be with him. It was that, she realized, the whole reason she had made the wish in the first place. Something that would make her life worthwhile. And now she had it.

As she continued to look the night sky, she rested her head on Henry's shoulder, with a hint of satisfaction in her smile. Her wish really had come true after all. Henry then glanced at her. He judged that Teddi must have been getting tired about now. Come to think of it, so was he. He felt like saying something to her along the lines of, "Are y'all tired? We better get a move on or we'll be out here watchin' the sunrise!" But he looked at her with her head placed on her shoulder, all peaceful and calm. He knew she was enjoying it, and decided not to break the mood. The two stood there for a while longer, watching the star-lit sky in the silent twilight…