The sky was filled with stars that night. The clouds that had rolled in the same morning and brought rain were gone by evening and by the time the children were tucked in and sound asleep, the stars and the moon had come out again, casting the city of Hearttropolis in a peaceful silver dreamscape. Most lights in the downtown area had been put out, allowing the suburbs to be soaked in the beauty of one of the summer's last nights.
And just as they normally did on a night such as this after a busy day, Alvin, Simon and Theodore climbed up onto the roof of their home and lay down, staring up at the infinite void above them.
"So, that's it?" Theodore said after Alvin had explained to them how the events of that day. "They never caught the guy?"
"We caught him, but a little too late," Alvin replied. "Dictator had already gotten to him by the time we arrived."
Simon looked at his brother as he hugged his waist. "And he never said anything?" he said softly.
Alvin sighed. "He
grabbed my shirt collar," he whispered, "Pulled me towards him, and before he died he whispered in my ear
They're alive. They are waiting where time does not move." He closed his eyes. "That's the last thing he said to me. But those words were nothing but riddles to the FBI or to Hearttropolis Police, so we were forced to
close the case again."
Simon noticed how heavy Alvin's voice was when he spoke those last words. Pity weighed down over his heart; he knew how much the case had meant to his brother.
"I was this close, Simon," Alvin added through the lump in his throat. He held up his fingers and measured the air. "This close. So close to finding out what happened to the Chipettes. After so many years
I could have solved the case and brought the girls home. Brittany, Eleanor
maybe even Jeanette. I could have given Claire, David and AJ their moms. Maybe Theodore and Eleanor could finally settle down and start a family of their own. But not even my gift could be of any help this week." Alvin sighed heavily and placed his hands down over his chest. "Our lives as single dads would be over and we'd be a family again
like we were before they disappeared. But Dictator destroyed our only lead, our only key to knowing what happened to our wives. And now the case has gone cold again, and the only thing I'm left with is another riddle." Tears filled his eyes as he stared past the stars. "I just want to hold her again. As much as we fought and were at each other's throats, I would never ask to marry another girl. Brittany was mine; we had everything going for us, for our kids
for the whole family."
Theodore hugged himself and let out a shaky breath, and Simon looked up at him as he let out a soft whimper. "What I'd give, just to hold Eleanor again," he said. "To hear her voice encouraging me to be who I am because that's who she loved. To sing with her while we cooked
If the Chipettes were here again, we'd be one
big happy family
They fell silent for sometime after that. Simon looked at his little brother for a moment longer and then looked at his elder brother. Within a week, he had watched them both grow hopeful that the case would be solved. The days went by and Alvin remained optimistic. He was sure he would solve the case and bring home their wives. Never had he seen Alvin that determined to solve a mysterynot since their childhood.
And then that day had arrived, and just when Alvin had uncovered the one person who witnessed seeing Brittany and Eleanor appear and disappear into thin air again, he lost it all; all because of a gunshot by the city's enemy. Had he perhaps been a few seconds earlier, he could have built a shield strong enough to protect the turtle.
Now they were back to square one, with no leads, no evidence
only a riddle that left them even more confused than before.
Simon stared at his hands as the ocean breeze blew through his hair. He knew how it felt to lose his wife, to feel like the world was coming to an end. For years as children, he had been the responsible brother, the one in control of the situation and the one whom Theodore, and even Alvin, would turn to for support, backup, and comfort. Whether his answers were wrong or right, Simon had a voice that could reassure both his younger and older brother, no matter the situation. When he had been the one to feel lost, hopeless, alone when he lost Jeanette, it had been Alvin and Theodore who held out their arms for comfort. Even after a few months of depression and mood swings, of no singing or working, Simon had never once lost the support of his brothers. They reminded him of the good times he had had with Jeanette, of the good times they had all had together, and the good times they could still have. They reminded him that he had a five-year-old son at the timewho was now eight, pressing onto ninesomeone worth living for. They had brought him back out of the darkness and brightened up his life again.
And now, here they were, at the end of a suspenseful week of waiting for Alvin to come back from the police station with positive news, day after day
and ending with nothing. Empty handed. Alvin had given his whole to solve this case, to find their wives, but it was not meant to be. What they had all hoped would be a happy ending to a treacherous story only took a horrible turn at the very end.
If there was ever a time his brothers needed to hear him say something, it was now.
Simon took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. "There's still hope, guys," he said, as Alvin and Theodore looked at him. Simon did not return the stare and continued to study the stars. "There's still a chance. He said that they were still alive. That means that they're still out there." He paused for a moment before continuing: "I don't
I don't know about Jeanette, but I'm more than positive that Brittany and Eleanor are still alive. We just have to stay positive." He looked at Alvin and grinned pitifully. "You did your best, Alvin. That's all that matters. You can't expect to solve every case like that. You did what you could, and that's what counts. You're just a chipmunk; not a miracle worker."
Alvin stared back in silence before looking at his hands.
"Just because you're the most popular cartoon singer on Earth, you're a cop and a race car driver, and the leader of the Guardians of Unity, it doesn't mean you can do everything." Simon looked away and chuckled. "Remember when we were kids, how you used to wake me up and sometimes Theo, in the middle of the night, just to blab about your crazy ideas and who was next in our neighbourhood to be deemed a werewolf or a vampire? They were crazy deductions and theories, yet you set out to prove me wrong. Most of the time, you succeeded. But even when you didn't, you never got discouraged. You'd have another shot at being the troublemaker." Simon closed his eyes and smiled. "Think of this case as one of those theories you couldn't prove. Think of the case going cold as if Dave was grounding you again. If you keep that in mind, you'll be back to your old self tomorrow morning." He looked at Alvin again. "That's what Brittany would want," he added in a whisper.
Alvin bit his lip.
"And Theodore, keep your chin up," Simon went on, looking at his little brother this time. "You always got scared of the silliest things. You were afraid to be sucked down the drain when we'd let the water out of the bathtub. Your innocence is as much a burden as it is a blessing. Don't let your fears of not seeing Eleanor again hold you back. Keep hoping, keep praying. We'll find them again soon." He raised his hand and held it out over his head. "As for a family, that's what we are, guys; ever since Mom had to give us up and dropped us off on Dave's doorstep. We've been brothers since birth. Despite getting on each other's nervesor Alvin getting on ourswe've always stuck together, through thick or thin. God only knows how lost I would be if I didn't have brothers like you. That makes us a family. With or without our wives. And we'll be a family until the very end of time. We're the Chipmunks. Alvin, Simon and Theodore Seville. And nothing in this world or the next can ever change that."
Alvin and Theodore looked at each other for a moment before finally, after what felt like hours, they smiled. They both held out their hands and placed them in Simon's, grasping each other's as tightly as they could.
"We're the Chipmunks," Theodore sang softly, soon accompanied by his brothers; "Comin' up stronger than ever before; we're the Chipmunks
" He looked at the one in red. "Alvin
" Alvin added, looking at the one in blue.
Simon smiled back and then looked at the one in green. "Theodore," he finished.
"I don't think I'd want it any other way," Theodore whispered. "I'd still love it if our girls were here, but I don't think our family would be complete if we weren't together."
"All for one and three for all, right Theo?" Alvin said with a grin.
They let each other's hands go and folded them behind their heads instead. "You'll see, guys," Simon whispered as a falling star shot across the sky; "we'll see them again."