A/N: I have NO idea what brought this on.  I don't even LIKE Lupin the Third.  But, well, here it is.  Enjoy.  Or flame.  Whatever.

Disclaimer: I don't own or have anything of any meaning to do with Lupin the Third.

            Lupin laughed down the cliff.  "C'mon, Pops, you can do better than that!"

            Zenigata started scrambling upward in a manner reminiscent of a crazed goat.  "Lupiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!  I'll get you, you bastard!"

             "Sorry, Pops, I don't have the time today!"  Lupin's laughter was replaced with a worried look, though, when his gaze met a group of very offended men on the top.  He looked to the men on either side of him.  "Jigen?  Goemon?"

            "Right." Jigen said.  Goemon merely nodded, and they both peeled off and up. 

            Lupin, meanwhile, was left to do his one- handed dance, a task made more difficult by the bulging bag in the crook of his right arm.  There was a smile lurking somewhere in the corners of his mouth, though; he enjoyed this high- adrenaline life he'd both chosen and been born into.  His right hand grabbed his gun. 

            Time seemed to slow down for Lupin as he saw what happened next. 

            He aimed at one of the men.

            Fujiko popped up from behind him, out of nowhere, and delivered a strong blow to the back of his head with the butt of her gun.  Lupin was momentarily puzzled; Fujiko usually preferred no contact when she was being violent.

            The gunman, set off balance, discharged his gun randomly.  Lupin, seeing the direction the gun took, managed to avoid the bullet. 

            There was a startled cry from below him that merged with the falling gunman's screams.  Lupin turned.

            Zenigata was falling downward, blood trailing behind him from a nasty- looking wound in his chest.  Then, surprising Lupin, Zenigata stopped yelling and grimaced instead, turned so he was diving headfirst (prompting Lupin to shout, "What the hell are you doing, old man?") toward the ground.

            A few minutes later, Zenigata caught up with the falling thug, gripped his shoulders, and used him as a shield as they both smacked the ground.

            Even so, the impact knocked Zenigata off the man and he rolled at least thirty feet before being forcibly stopped by a rock. 

            Lupin flinched in sympathy and turned his attention to climbing upward.

            Fujiko reached a hand down for him. 

            Lupin, safely delivered to the top of the cliff, stayed on his knees.

            "What's wrong?" Fujiko asked.

            Lupin sniffled.  "Poor Pops!"

            "What?" Fujiko's pretty face wrinkled in confusion. 

            At his tearful gesture toward the edge, Fujiko peered down.  "Oh!"

            Jigen and Goemon joined her. 

            "Poor Pops!" Lupin wailed again.  "That bullet was meant for me!"

            Fujiko huffed in a very put- out way.  "I suppose you're going to want to help him."

            "He's alive?" Lupin bounded up.

            "I'm not sure."

            "Oh." he slumped again.

            They slipped, slid, and skidded their way back down the cliff in between the moments where they actually had a grip on the rock.  Lupin was the first to reach Zenigata's side and tearfully checked for a pulse.  Upon finding one, he did an impromptu dance that cut off abruptly when Zenigata stirred.

            "Pops?"

            "Lupin." the other man muttered.  His eyes laboriously pried themselves open.

            "Closer."

            Lupin eagerly edged nearer Zenigata.  "Here?"

            The Inspector's hand flicked briefly up his sleeve and, albeit considerably slower than usual, slapped a pair of handcuffs on Lupin.  "Gotcha."

            Lupin gave him a sad smile.  "Yeah, Pops, you got me this time."

            "We've got to get him to a hospital." Fujiko muttered to Goemon. 

            "We have to get him up the cliff and to the car first." he replied.

            "Shit."

            Goemon started back up the cliff while Fujiko made bandages out of Zenigata's ever- present trenchcoat.  A while later, Goemon clambered back down with a handmade stretcher.  "We can put him on this."

            "How're we going to get it up the cliff?" asked Jigen.

            "We could harness ourselves to it- one above, two beside and one below as spotter." Lupin suggested.

            So they did.  Goemon volunteered himself as being the one above, Fujiko and Jigen took their places beside Zenigata (who was securely lashed to the stretcher and muttering God- knew- what to himself), and an eagle- eyed Lupin was below.  It seemed to take an eternity, and did take an impressive assortment of curses from Jigen, but they eventually made it up and loaded Zenigata into a spacious "land yacht" that a wealthy man out for a country drive generously "volunteered." 

*

            It was a day later when Zenigata woke up.  "Nurse!"

            A frazzled woman strode briskly into his room.  "What's wrong?"

            "Where's Lupin?"

            She immediately brightened.  "Oh, he had to go, but he left you a letter-"  Having left the room to retrieve the letter, she missed a rather impressive hissy- fit from Zenigata. 

            "Here it is!"  She left him alone to read it.

Dear Pops,

            I'm really sorry I couldn't stick around, but I got a whiff of something delicious…  and they said you'd be fine.  Besides, I couldn't lose the opportunity to get a head start. 

            Despite our history, I'm truly sorry you got shot.  That bullet was meant for me, and I feel horrible over it.  Well, not- so- horrible- when Fujiko does that

            My best to you, old man.  Good luck!  Tell you what, I'll give you a clue and we'll call it even.  Ready?  Here it is: "whiff of something delicious."  Knock yourself out!

Sincerely,

Lupin the Third

            "DAMMMMMMMMMMIT!" Zenigata howled, crumpling the paper in his fist and throwing it at the wall.