A/N: Inspired by a conversation with Nemi the Nen some time ago. Some adult themes.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
"Did you see that?" Kitt's face was still flushed with excitement. "Talk about teaching them a lesson!"
"I would rate our collective performance today as superlative," Parmon said, raising his long arms in a stretch. "Thanks to today's efforts, the four of us should have now moved into third ranking in the Crew of the Year competition, a previously unheard of achievement for a new crew."
"And don't forget we stopped those four dragon thefts," Lance added. "That was drac!"
"Did you see Moordryd's face when we discovered that theft right after disqualifying the Dragon Eyes? He looked like he was about to cry!" Artha grinned. "Serve him right for pulling that dirty trick in the race."
"He's not so bad if you get to know him a little," Lance supplied. "But I'm glad we saved those dragons."
"Yeah. You did good, little bro." Artha reached down to ruffle his hair as he squirmed away. "We all did good."
"So what's your next move, stableboy?" Kitt asked. "We're not going to just go home and sleep now, are we?"
"Well, it is kind of getting late..." Artha shivered as a cold wind blew through the Down City alleyway.
"I think Kitt is entirely correct. A celebration of sorts should be in order." Parm took out his VIDDphone and began punching numbers into it. "Thanks to today's winnings, we can afford...thirty drakkals' worth of fun, and I calculate that our team bonding dynamics will be increased by a factor of at least one point two."
"Just thirty, huh?" Artha raised a hand to his chin and squinted into the sky in contemplation. "What's cheap enough for the four of us?"
"Pizza!" Lance grinned. "I want mine with extra scalesauce."
"I want vegetarian," Kitt said.
"Okay, I'll go for vegetarian too, but with extra chili," Artha said.
Kitt grimaced. "Yick. How do you eat that without burning up?"
"I'm all about hot stuff." Artha grinned at her.
"None of you like anchovies any more?" Parmon sniffed as they all shook their heads. "Your tastes are despicable." He dialled more numbers into the VIDDphone. "Very well. One anchovy with extra scalesauce, one vegetarian, half with extra chili, half mild, comes to eighteen drakkals delivered."
"I don't like anchovies," Lance said. "Make ours half-and-half too."
"You ate them last time we ordered pizza, Lance," Parmon told him. "I'm sure your digestion will be perfectly capable of handling..."
Lance folded his arms. "No. Just because I'm a kid doesn't mean I don't eat."
Parm sighed. "All right. Twenty drakkals delivered, then. Shall I place the order?"
"Sure," Artha told him. "What are we going to do with the rest?"
"It's not like there are that many fun places open at this time...well, not fun for kids, anyway," Kitt said.
"We can rent a VIDDVD," Artha said. "Relax a bit for once."
"What about a nice documentary?" Parm asked. "Bio Logie's award-winning March of the Wild White Dragons was only just released on VIDDVD, and I hear it's..."
Kitt cut him off. "C'mon, Professor, we're looking for some entertainment! I vote for something with lots of action. Rocky Racers Four or something."
"Yeah! Or Dragonator Two. I still haven't seen that," Artha said.
"Yeah. Something with lots of blood and gore and violence." Lance added. "Drac!"
Parmon stared at him. "Lance, are you sure your father would approve...?"
"Don't get so uptight, Professor," Kitt told him. "He'll be fine. So where's the nearest VIDDVD place?"
"Well," Parm told her, tapping more buttons, "not many appear to be open at this time of night, however there is one merely a few blocks away from us. Shall we?"
"Just a few blocks, huh, Professor?" Kitt said sweetly.
"I merely thought we'd enjoy the scenic route," Parm replied, sticking his nose in the air and as a result nearly tripping over a loose cobblestone.
"Yeah. Great sense of direction there, Parm." Artha laughed.
"I do not—oh, never mind!" Parm pointed above them, to where in the dark and twisting alleyway words could just be made out on a dirt-encrusted sign. "Here we are. Mal's VIDD Store. Cheap prices."
"Let's go in before it shuts!" Lance said.
"Actually, if you would care to read the sign, Lance, it's open all night," Parm said. "It's a shame you three neanderthals appear to ignore every word I say as you focus on such trivialities as anchovies and VIDDgames..." He paused, looking around for his audience. "Wait for me!"
"Mal" was apparently lounging behind a desk, smoking a cigarette and paging through a magazine. He barely looked up at the four as they entered, taking another drag and blowing more smoke into the dark store.
Parm coughed as he took his first breath of the air, clutching his chest as he struggled to regain his breath.
"C'mon, Professor, it's not that bad," Kitt said, giving him a hard slap on the back. "Breathe through your mouth."
"I'm trying! I had scathma as a child, if you must know. I'm delicate."
"As a black-influenced dragon wearing level seven Green shielding gear," Kitt muttered. "I think the boring section might be over at the back there," she said more loudly, pointing.
"Thank you," Parm said huffily. "Allow me to discover something enlightening for us to view."
"Can we get this, Artha? The Yu-Gi-Dragon movie?" Lance waved a brightly covered VIDDVD in his brother's face. "All the kids at school talked about it when Dad wouldn't let me see it."
"I dunno. Is 'Raiders Of The Lost Draconium' somewhere there?" Artha took the VIDDVD from Lance and paged through the movies himself. "Hey, there's a 'Buzz Dragonyear' collection here. I used to love those old two-dees. And 'Dragon Racer Pat'. Wow, it's been years. This shelf doesn't have much, though…"
"Yeah, most of the kid stuff's old," Mal said, finally raising his head to pay attention to his customers. "You know this isn't a kids' place, right?"
"I'm not a kid," Artha said. "We're racers having a night off. Academy racers!" he lied. "Slumming it."
"Sure look like kids to me." Mal shrugged, and returned to his magazine. "Hey, like I care."
"Hey, this one looks like Moordryd." Lance waved another cover in the air, which displayed a young white-haired man on the front.
"'Father And Son.'" Parm took the VIDDVD from him, turning it over to read the back of it. He visibly paled.
"And here's one with Pyrrah! 'Dragon Flares Gone Wild XXVII'. Can we get this one, Artha?"
Artha stared at the cover. And kept staring.
"Ease off, stable boy." Kitt sidled over to him and punched his arm. "How did you think the seventy-something Crew members who don't race earn cash?"
"What?" Artha grabbed the VIDDVD from Lance and shoved it back on the shelf. "Kitt, this is…you know…"
"Porn. Yeah. Actually I had a small part in XXVI. Just as background in the lava pit orgy scene, nothing major. Come to think of it, your…"
Artha reached for the 'Father and Son' VIDDVD. "Is this really Moordryd?"
"Nah. Daddy's too rich for him to do it, but everyone thinks he lives up to the Eye stereotype, if you know what I mean."
Artha looked puzzled. "No, I don't."
Kitt reached up on the shelves for another VIDDVD, and passed it to him. "Just think of this as a free education, stableboy."
"'Hard Bright Eyes'," Artha read. "Um, Kitt, this is…guys…"
"Yeah. The crew with all the slinky guys." Kitt made a gesture with her wrist. "It's all stereotype. Like, Kudgyl and a couple of others in the Will and Grip are always ranting about how it's hard for them to get guys interested. But I know for a fact Eyrth and Punchh have been together for years, and there's no way Stonne's straight…"
"Okay, Kitt." Artha's skin appeared to have turned a rather fetching shade of green. "Okay."
"And the Fish get a bit of it too—their best selling series is Slippery Fish In Hot Water, and everyone knows the puns—but Pyrrah's the one everyone thinks is easy. That's one of the reasons why I didn't want to join her crew," Kitt continued. "Yeah, it's great they're so popular, but people think things, you know?"
"'Revenge of the Almighty Phistus'." Lance read another title from the shelf. "Hey, they spelled the name wrong."
Parm snatched his finding away from him. "Lance! You should definitely not be looking at this section!"
"But it's fun! Hey, look, there's one about us over there!"
Artha turned in shock. "What? 'Connie Does Penn Stables'?" He grabbed it from the shelf to stare; the cover was adorned with Tyrannis Pax wrapping his tail around a familiar-looking man in a large red wig. An extremely familiar-looking man…
"What?" Artha almost screamed, causing Mal to look up for a second. "My father made these?"
"He only had, like, two dragons. How did you think he paid the bills, stableboy?"
"No! No, no, no. I'm not going to believe it." Artha roughly shoved the VIDDVD behind a pile of several others, grabbing another at random. "Hey, check this one out. Big Brown Riders With Big Brown…okay. Eww."
"I wanna see the one with us in!" Lance said. "Wait till I can say we're movie stars at school!"
"Lance, that would be exceptionally inadvisable," Parm said. "Now go over there and find…find 'The Adventures Of Winnie-The-Yellow-Bellied-Newt' if you can. Shoo!"
"Why won't you let me see?" Lance looked up at him like an eager puppy.
"Because it's—because it's for older people," Parm told him.
"I'm older! I help you save the city all the time!" Lance stuck out his bottom lip in a pout. "Don't be mean."
"Artha, I think we should just pick something and get out of here," Parm muttered. "I think Lance is overtired."
"I heard that!"
"Yeah, okay. Hey, what about 'Dragon Flares Gone Wild XXVI'? Just for fun?"
"Only if I can get 'Hard Bright Eyes'," Kitt replied. "What? I'm allowed to like it."
Artha grimaced. "I don't think I could sit through that."
"So don't, stablebrat."
"I have deduced there is only one solution." Parm closed his eyes, reaching out his hands in front of him and walking five steps ahead to the more innocent section of the store. "I randomly choose…this one." He grabbed the nearest VIDDVD and hurried over to the counter clutching it. "Just this one, please. We'll pay straight from our account."
"Yeah, yeah, okay." Mal slowly stubbed out his cigarette on the magazine, and dialled in the fee. "Due in two weeks. Late fees two drakkals a day."
"Thank you very much! Now let's go," he said. "No more wasting time here!"
"Come on, Lance," Parm said, harrying him away like a mother water-newt. "Artha, put down 'Aerial Action'. Kitt, leave 'Hard Racing' alone. We are leaving. Now."
"Oh, great. 'Dragonets In Pyjamas'. 'Hard Bright Eyes' at least has some plot. See, this mysterious Dragon Priest zaps them all with a mind control ray to make them lose their inhibitions and then they…"
"Kitt, I strongly suspect that plot is not quite what motivates you."
"Yeah, so? We could still have got 'Kill Word' or something."
"A random choice was clearly the fairest option. I'm sure we can have a lot of fun watching it as a group, and we certainly don't want to waste our drakkals by not viewing it at all. In an entirely unrelated matter, I've just realised I'm rather terribly tired and will be leaving early."
"And I just remembered I've got to do homework. Lots of homework."
"Yeah, I just remembered I have a race tomorrow too. Looks like stableboy's going to have to fill us in later."
"Wait. It's Parm's fault this time. I am not watching 'Dragonets In Pyjamas' on my own."
"It's highly unethical to play what is colloquially known as the 'blame game', Artha."
"Yeah. You need to set me a good example."
"What they said, hero boy."