A/N: Hello everybody,

Um, I may have broken the, like, fourth rule of fanfiction...but as I was reading the guidelines, I saw that many fics I have read break some rule. I figured I'd be okay. If not, I'll rewrite a fictional character in, but it wouldn't be the same. Cross your fingers for me.


Disclaimer: Don't own Maximum Ride, or um, the non-fictional character I am stressing over. I think it would be safe to say his wife owns him.

Fang POV

I needed a coffee. Well, what I needed was a drink, but I was a few years young for that. I could actually have gone for a Bud Light. Is it called 'Light' because it's like, light as in low fat or light as in low alcohol? If the latter, I was so going for a heavy. I wanted to get drunk. But the point is, in the distinct lack of alcohol, I really needed a coffee. Like, really really.

Oh? You don't know what happened? You can't read minds? Isn't it sad that I half expected you to? And wasn't Robert Downey's blue bowtie at the Oscars a weird mixture of whoa, that's cool, he really pulls that off/OMFG that's sososo...um...striking? Out there? Weird?

...Just so you know, I was totally checking out the girls, not the awesome RDJ. And I didn't watch the Oscars. No, no, not Fang, no siree.

Oh, all right, but only because of the epic Battle of the Exes. Personally, I thought 'good for girls/yeah, good movie/fair point' for The Hurt Locker's win, but I really wanted Avatar to get it. I mean, there isn't a word for the epicness that is that movie. And...I've just totally gone off track. Apologies.

Anyway, we just had this huge creeptastic game of Cat vs. Mouse, Hide 'n' Seek and Tag with about a thousand DumbBots or whatever the hell they call them now, and I was so not stoked about it. But perhaps you need a little back story.

World was as is, since we had a hissy fit with CSM 'cause we felt they sucked for totally ditching us when this freakzoid evil scientist with a furry green face (I think we decided on his being a frog/Muppet. We called him Dr. Kermit) wanted to play Operation with us. And Go Fish, Snap! and sixty other games that could have a sinister twist.

Ooh, I just used the word sinister. Have you noticed in Max's books she never uses the word sinister? I bet you didn't. And now you're going to either furiously look through your copies and point out, 'uh, yes, Fang, there's a sinister in book 4, page 37' or Google it, and point out 'uh, yes, Fang, there's a sinister in book 4, page 37'. Then I'll go look for it and not see it again. And so the cycle continues.

Using the government pay for 'the care and upkeep of the genetically modified children' Dr. M bought a house in a forest. I can't think why she would do that. I keep scratching my wings on trees and this rat-thing is always attacking me. This happens to no one else. I don't get it.

Anyway, this house, apart from being in a forest, was the visual definition of 'awesomesauce'. It was on a huge block of land and had so many cool things I'm too lazy to list that I'm surprised nothing bad happened to it. Oh yeah, I forgot about the latest instalment in the Life of An-At-Least-Reasonable-Luck-Challenged Mutant Bird Freak. Which brings us to the actual event, methinks.

It was a sunny, happy morning. The birds chirruped, the rat-things did rat-things, the trees swayed maliciously at me, and Gazzy let off a stinker that forced those with nostrils to flee outside. Then we all fell asleep or something.

I know. My story telling skills are excellent. Now you know why Max writes the books. Actually, she can't tell stories either, so she gets James Patterson to write them. If only I could get a famous author to word this for me.

So anyway, we wake up, inside, which was about a seven out of five on the creepy scale (uh-huh, it's sooo creepy to wake up under a roof. Sigh. MLIA), because we were outside when we fell asleep. Gosh, that sentence just won't write properly. You'll just have to glean the information out of it and ignore the messy packaging, 'cause it's just not working for me.

Now for the first part that made me angry. We all had broken wings. Not Ella or Dr. M, obviously, but us bird kids. Our wings are sort of like arms, with the double bones of the 'upper arm' to the 'elbow' then to the double bones of the 'forearm' to the 'wrist', and then a 'hand'. Our 'hands' are nothing like real hands, FYI, I just needed a word. Anyway, one of the two bones in one of our 'upper arms' was broken clean in half, rendering us with the flying capabilities of a rock. And things such as cut telephone lines, drowned mobiles/laptops/radios, slashed tires, and missing knives had magically happened. Luckily Dr. M had some bandages to give our wings some rough support. But she had no drugs. Sorry, she had only five doses. Time to do some of that suffering in silence gig I do so well.

And then in my pain-induced haze I saw an ominous looking tape on the table. Can't believe we missed it. My first thought was, 'Damn, you bad guys are so out of date. You can make a man's face green and fluffy but you haven't upgraded to DVDs yet.'

"Uh, Max? Our baddies left us something."

"A tape? They can make a man's face green and fluffy but they haven't upgraded to DVDs yet?"

I'm not going to comment on that.

I moved over to our entertainment system thing, and searched for a VHS player. Miraculously, there was a dusty one pushed to the back behind this and under that. I pulled it out and shoved the tape in.

A robot glared at us. I understand that's not entirely possible, but this hunk of metal hated us with all its cold, non-existent heart. A- well, robotic voice rang out.

"Greetings, human-avian hybrids and their 'family', my name is 90210," Seriously? Its name was 90210? Is my life really that strange? Will I stop asking redundant and unnecessary rhetorical questions?

"And you are now part of a game. As you have probably found out, all contact with the outside world has been removed, and all exits of this property are barred. In five minutes forty-two seconds two hundred of my kind will storm your place of residence and destroy you. You can flee like the little birds you are, but there is no doubt you have discovered your broken wings, therefore rendering you unable to fly away." Oh noooo, I hadn't realised that, Mr. 90210.

"We will hunt you through the woods and we will exterminate you. You have no hope. Surrender is not an option. This is a game to the death. A test, if you will. You are at present monitored by several cameras, recording this trial. If you do not submit to tests in a lab, we shall bring the lab to you.

"Farewell and good luck." It chuckled evilly, with a metallic ring. Was the creepiest thing I ever did see.

"Well, we weren't going to surrender anyway. Game on," snarled I.

Following this rather used remark, a whole day of Jeopardy followed, involved the horses of the ranch next door, various roots, branches, bombs, and flying on broken wings. I, of course, being the only one of the flock who actually rode, had to not only catch the loose, halterless herd of horses, but I had to do the self-sacrifice thing and spare the others of the evil, wild, unstable, unstabled crazy horse of Zeus, and give them the actual rideable ones.

I had no problems with him until we were back in the paddock. A freaking DumbBot leapt out at us so Zeus jumped the fence. Bareback. And I stayed on. Call me sticky, whatever. But then Zeus played the rodeo bronco and threw me. In dust so thick the others couldn't see, I landed awkwardly on my ankle, got trodden on, vaulted straight back up on his seventeen and a half hands and jumped him back over the fence. Was that a cool manoeuvre or what? But that happened fairly early on in the 'game', so I had to hide my limp for nearly all freaking day.

Amazingly, we, like, killed the DumbBots. Except for about five, and they took off towards wherever the DBs lived. Watching them, I had a terrible, terrible thought. One of those you wish so damn hard you could unthink it, but you just couldn't. I shamelessly stole that quote from Max.

Sighing, I turned to Max. "We have to go after them, and get rid of the plant they came from. This can't happen again."

Remind me not to make a suggestion like that ever again. Max went off at me for 'unnecessary endangerment of the flock', 'recklessness', and 'stupidity'.

I, remaining perfectly calm but a little strained, said that it had to be done, and it had to be done now, because they'd be low on protection seeing as we just destroyed it.

I've never felt such fury blasted at me as I did then. I'll allow that it had been a trying day for Max, but I still felt she was being unfair. And besides, she got Patch, the easiest-to-ride horse that ever lived.

In a moment of supreme idiocy, I took off. Somehow I'd forgotten about the humongous pain in my wing and just took off. Biting back the foulest string of swearwords, I glared through the swirling haze of pain and found the direction the DBs went.

To Max's greatest fear and anger, Iggy and the Gasman came barrelling up, too, all drugged up and painless. I half-heartedly tried to persuade them to turn back, but they wouldn't hear any of it. It was only at this point I noticed they had tonnes of ammo stored on their persons and I realised their true potential. Basically, if I wanted to blow up stuff I actually needed stuff that blew up and those who could work it.

Wearily flapping, aching everywhere, I led the boys back home. Being us, of course we were successful, but I just couldn't muster up any enthusiasm. Gliding towards the yard, strained muscles pulling, I thought about just face planting in the garden and knocking myself out to avoid the wrath of Max. But no, I thought miserably, she'll just berate your broken, half-dead body as it lays crumpled in a dogshit. I had forgotten about Magnolia. I am certain we feed her too much.

As expected, Max came rushing out, and after worriedly checking over Ig and Gazzy, she raged on at me for at least twenty minutes. I just stood there, swaying with exhaustion, and took it, eyes shut. Yes, I had been stupid, reckless, an asshole, insubordinate, completely dumb, endangering the flock with no good reason, a bad example, a bad best friend, a bad right-wing man, a bad brother, a not good enough fighter, an unnecessary risk taker, and most of all, extremely thoughtless for making her worry, not just over me, but over Iggy and Gazzy, too.

At about the bad best friend bit I decided I needed a coffee. Now that brings us back to the start. Here we go.

I mumbled, very eloquently, "I'm goin' to Starbucks. Need a coffee."

And gracefully (in my friggin' dreams) jumped back into the sky. Knowing full well I was setting myself up for another verbal lashing, but just not caring enough to actually think too hard about that, I sailed into town. Dropping down in an alley, I made sure that no fangirls were around. A major downside of Max's books was that I had fangirls. A lot. You'd think that'd be a good thing, but oh no, it isn't. Just let me tell you about when- no, don't think about it, Fang. It's only bad memories. It's okay.

I stumbled into Starbucks, mindful of the fact that I was pale, swaying, drooping, limping, dusty, exhausted, had a blood-soaked bandage around my forearm, a split lip, a black eye, and various bruises. No wonder I was getting these strange looks.

I blinked at the pimpled kid with awful posture at the counter. I think he was twelve.

"Can I have an extra large, extra black coffee, please?" I amazed myself. I said 'please'.

"Um, how old are you, sir?" 'Ken' said in a cracking voice, indicating that perhaps he was a little older than twelve. I was so lucky. The whole voice crack thing missed me completely. I went from little kid to deep within a sentence and that was that.

"Uh, sixteen." Was that a usual question?

"I'm sorry, sir, we can only serve hot coffees to adults eighteen years and up. Please choose something else."

Is he freaking kidding me? Is this freaking happening? All I want is a freaking coffee. Since when do you have to be freaking eighteen to have a freaking coffee?

"If I said I had turned eighteen two weeks ago, would you sell me a coffee? I really need it..."

"Sorry, sir, that would be lying and against our policy. Please choose something else."

"Um, okay, what can I have that I don't have to be eighteen for?"

"Our famed Super Sleepless Shake is available to ages twelve to sixty. Only three dollars."

I frowned slightly. "Why does it stop at sixty?"

"Because the caffeine level is so high it has been known to cause heart attacks in people over that age."

Okay. 'I really need a coffee' or 'I don't want to die'. Not that I'm sixty.

'I really need a coffee' won.

"Sure. Thanks, buddy."

I watched him make it up, along with some other orders. He gave every order except mine a straw. Why he didn't give me a straw is beyond me.

Anyway, I numbly took it and my change, wondering when getting a coffee got so hard. I moved over to the straw dispenser thingy, thank heavens it was there, they must have seen me coming, and attempted to get a straw out. I got four all at once and caught my bandage on the stupid machine.


That was the contents of my brain as I just stood there staring.

"Hey, you look like you need a hand." Way to state the bloody obvious, dipstick. I half-turned and saw a man get up from his table and unhook me. He sort of looked familiar, which put me on serious red alert, but he seemed nice enough. Ah, I thought, they always do.

I gave him a small smile, and dumped my extra straws on the counter.

"Thanks for saving me from myself. It's been one of those days." Okay, I was exhausted and not quite there. You all know I wouldn't talk like that to a potential threat.

He raised his eyebrows. "I can see. Anyway, I had the same coffee problems with the same guy. He tried to tell me that I was for sure at least sixty-three. Do I look sixty-three to you?"

Somehow that earned another smile from me. He didn't even look forty.

Actually, he had some bruises.

"No, but you look beat up."

He snorted. "Says the kid who is for sure pummelled. But yeah, I might have had a run in with the ex-wife. She has a mean left hook."

Damn, he stole another smile. I think my guard is, like, malfunctioning.

"So what happened to you? I can see you're the famous Fang of the Maximum Ride flock."

Several nearby heads shot up. Alert, alert, cover is blown, cover is blown.

I gave him a meaningful look, and said in a careless manner, "Oh no, I get a lot of that, just a bit of a resemblance..."

"Ah," he said, winking. "I see." If he tapped the side of his nose I was going to burst out laughing so hard...

He motioned me to his table.

"Care to join? I want to risk death-by-caffeine in company," he offered with a grin.

I took the opportunity to study this strange man. He had dark hair, a beard and goatee thing going on, and he was fairly handsome.

Then I looked harder. Oh, you must be joking...

"You're Robert Downey Jr." I blurted out.

He studied me for a moment. "We want to keep it on the down low, yeah?"

"'Course. Fangirls are terrible." Wasn't my earlier chat about his blue bowtie a big bout of freaky foreshadowness? Ain't alliteration awesome?

He laughed. "Fanboys are worse. To see a man jumping and giggling is an instant day-ruiner."

I coughed. "I- I haven't actually had that experience before."

This Mr. Downey found hilarious.

"So what happened to you?" He asked.

"Good question, but first I need to ask you something. Why are you here, in this Starbucks, in Arizona? Don't you, like, live in Malibu or something?"

He smirked. "You know I live in Malibu?"

"...Research for Iron Man 2. Great movie, by the way. This goes no further. 'Sides, everyone knows you live in Malibu."

Still smirking, he replied, "I'm here to see the world. One state at a time."

"Part of your travelling plan?"

"Something tells me you have to read interviews to know that."

"...Research for Iron Man 2. Shut up. And now...for my day."

Two hours later, we were so hyper. Somehow one of us made the decision to go outside. It was one of those good/bad things, I think, because while fresh air was what we needed, it provided the opportunity to giggle at chewing gum on the sidewalk. And this conversation. This conversation should never have happened.

"You have a freaking rat-thing humping your leg."

"Fang, it's not a rat-thing. It's a...I don't know what it is."

"It's still humping your leg. Get it off."

"You seem more worried than me. Why don't you get it off?"

"You won't catch me near it."
"Why, yes, I have noticed you've been careful to put particular distance between it and yourself. It's just a rat-thing."

"Oh, it's allowed to be a rat-thing now, is it?"

"I don't know what to call it! It has a bushy tail, lives in a tree, and likes nuts is all I know. Why are you sniggering like that?"

"You're- you're not wrong about it liking nuts."

"...I am ashamed at you, Fang."

"Says the man who's letting a gay rat-thing hump his leg. Talk about calling the kettle black..."

"We've already involved PETA and gay rights activists so don't you dare mention 'black', we don't want to go there...and stop laughing! It isn't funny!"

"I can't even remember what rat-things are really called. There's one near my house that always attacks me. I still go, 'Oh, go away, you little rat-thing'. Any ideas?"


"An actual rat."

"A small dog."





"Foxes are red, dumbass."

"You said 'rabbit'. Do you see a fluffy white tail?"

"I once saw a man with a fluffy green face."

"Way to change the subject. And I don't actually want to hear that story."

"That's not even funny, and yet I can't stop laughing. Remind to never have caffeine again."

"Same here. It messes with my mind."

"Your mind's already messed up. You go and play people for money. Hm, taken out of context that could imply a less than honourable profession..."

"You have wings, bucko. Enough said."

"Fair enough. I still don't know what to call this rat-thing."

"Okay, little matey, get off my leg. I don't do interspecies relationships."

"Regarding that shiner one might disagree..."

"...Oh, okay, I'm all right now, that was just the funniest thing implied ever."

"And your little horny friend seems to be finished. I would burn those pants if I were you...That was the coolest grimace in the history of the world."

"Everything I do is cool."

"Right again, Mr. Iron Man. Sherlock. Lazarus. Oh, except for that one you really bombed out on. What was it called?"

"No comment."

"And I'm mistaken, sorry. Almost everything you do is cool. Letting a rat-thing hump your leg is just not cool. No way around it. Just not cool."

"It was less me letting it than it not letting me stop it from, uh, you know."

"Making sweet, sweet, furry love to your leg?"

"...That was a really awful remark. You should unsay it."

"Okay. 'Gel ruoy ot evol yrruf ,teews ,teews gnikam'."

"That would be so cool if you didn't just say 'gnikam'."

"I know. But otherwise my awesomeness shone through."

"Never underestimate the power of awesomeness."


"You- you just stepped in a dogcrap."

"...Sometimes not even awesomeness is enough. If you don't stop that infernal giggling in the next 2.43 seconds I swear to God I will-"

"You'll what? Wave your crappy shoe at me? ...Yuck, don't come near me! I was joking!"

"That was a total girl squeal."

"Was not."

"Was too."

"Was not."

"Was too."

"Was not."

"It was too, times infinity and beyond. Squared. Then cubed."

"Any proper mathematician would tell you that you can't times infinity by anything because it's already everything, and you can't times everything because infinity is already that."

"I do feel that sentence got away from you. And I'll let you know that you had me lost at the halfway mark."

"...Yeah, I got lost there too."

"Why? That wasn't even funny. Why did it make me laugh?"

"It's the caffeine."

"It's always the caffeine."

"...I don't like Elmo."

"Why would you even tell me that? But...I'm glad you think so. I don't like Elmo either."

"All his evil laughs, and that creepy nodding thing he does-"

"-I really don't know what prompted this-"

"-And his beady little eyes-"

"-I think you'll find his eyes are beads-"

"-His huge head, with that stern gash for a mouth-"

"-Who freaking cares, he's just a puppet-"

"-Made my boy cry when he was three-"

"-Oh my god, nobody even cares, shut up now-"

"-And to think that every little kid under six has an Elmo toy in their house-"

"-Good for freaking them-"

"-It's things like that that make me want to go mass murderer and kill all the Elmo toys. Pull off their floppy arms and legs one by one, pop their heads and pull the stuffing out, rip open their stitches..."

"...That was rather morbid. I think you should lay off the caffeine."

"...Yeah, I suppose. Why do you keep coughing and shifting uneasily and giving me weird looks like that?"

"I wonder why."

"I am so sorry. I didn't mean to spit on you while I laughed just then..."

"I'd hope so. Intentional spit is not good."

"...One might think you'd know a lot about spit."

"One may or may not be right about that."

"Ooh, mysterious. Does it get the girls?"

"It should, shouldn't it, but it doesn't."

"Bummer. Maybe it's 'cause you're talking about spit."

"That would probably be the problem."

"I think we should change the subject now."


"...Talking dogs."

"No. Don't go there. And don't raise your eyebrows like that. You don't want to know."


"Don't go there either."


"Did you go and buy a book 'Things to Not Talk to Fang About' or something?"

"That would have to be the lamest title for a book."

"Well, yeah, but that's kind of off topic."

"Actually, no I didn't. How about bombs? Why did you just grimace like that? Aren't explosions cool?"

"It's like you spent half an hour thinking, 'Hm, what topic would Fang really not want to hear about?'."


"Fine. We'll talk about-"

"-Moulting. Surely you moult?"

"...Okay, we'll talk about moulting. Why you'd want to is lost on me, but okay."

"Well? Talk to me."

"It's like, well, 'that time of the month'. For guys and girls. Don't look at me like that. Every year, for about three weeks, for me always in winter so I'm so freaking freezing, all our feathers fall out and regrow. It's really itchy, annoying, embarrassing, and totally not funny. And when it rains, the water, instead of rolling off the feathers, soaks your wings and makes you fall. That sucks more than you think."

"...I now get why you weren't fussed on chatting about moulting. It sounds so boring."

"Yeppers. I'm actually pretty tired now. That bench looks real inviting. What do you say?"

"I say yay!"

"I say, 'Boy, are you a weirdo or what.'"

"Heh, heh. Ohhh, I'm so tired. Like, coming off a caffeine high isn't cool."

"Nope. Okay, talk to you later. I am so shutting my eyes."

"Late afternoon, Fang, Late afternoon."

"You're a dork, you know that?"

"I was living quite a happy and contented life until you said that. Way to day-ruin."


You see? That conversation shouldn't have happened. And it didn't stop there. It was only fake drowsiness we felt; actually lying down and we were wide awake. But I can't really remember what happened afterwards, because it was like...blurry. I did have this feeling that something both big and bad happened...no matter. Anyway, finally dropping off on another bench, the story continues.

"Urgghhhh..." I groaned. If coming off a caffeine high was bad, then you can imagine the caffeine hangover.

"What was that noise? It sounds like you're dying," my oh-so-helpful companion inquired.

"I am dying."

"Well, you'd better stop dying very soon, because I spy someone with wings who isn't very happy. Actually, she looks as though you'd better start dying again to save time."

A dark blonde head with fiery brown eyes suddenly came into my field of vision. It was at this point I realised I was leaning rather heavily on Robert's shoulder.

"Oh shit! Max!"

"Hello, Fang."

"Judging by the icicles hanging off that greeting, you'll be dying in the next forty seconds of your own doing or not. Likely not."

I'd only known him for ten hours but I already knew that sometimes I wanted to strangle him.

"Just how exactly do you think I felt when, after a day like yesterday, you didn't come home?" Oh damn. It wasn't my fault I was off my face on caffeine.

"Bad move, Fang. Never piss off women." This was one of those moments I wanted to strangle Downey, in case you didn't get that vibe.

"Says the man with the black eye. Read: Don't listen to any advice he has," replied I, coldly.

"Well, it would do you good to listen to him. Perhaps you wouldn't be in this predicament now."

"Oooh, accompanied by an instant death glare. Nice knowing you, Fang." I hope he shrivelled under the look I gave him.

"Okay, I'm sorry, Max, but certain circumstances, namely an idiotic Starbucks employee, er, forced/rendered/induced my lateness."

"You're not seriously trying to tell me that because of a delayed coffee you couldn't get your ass back to Mom's place?"

"Not at all. I didn't even get a coffee. Apparently you need to be at least eighteen." And under sixty for some products. My god.

"That's alcohol, loser. Kids can get coffee. Give a dog five bucks and he can get coffee."

"Well, I did say idiotic employee. So he sold me a Super Sleepless Shake and didn't give me a straw. Then...oh crap, what's that you have there, Robert?" That had better not be what I think it is...

He froze, hand immediately going to his pocket. I couldn't recall him having those papers before. Then his eyes widened. Ooooohhhhhhh ccccrrrraaaappppp.

"...Adoption papers. I think I've adopted you..." I'll take note that Downey's face at this current time was as white as a sheet. Perhaps it would be fair to say so was mine.

"Can't be, isn't there, like, a huge waiting list thing to adopt a kid? And government papers and social security numbers and inspections and background checks and don't you have to be not out of it when you rock up at the adoption centre?" Voice, do as I command. Stay off the high notes.

"Presumably...maybe we were fast-tracked. 'Cause these are telling me I'm now the proud legal guardian of one Nicholas Ride-Downey."

This whole time Max did not speak. I joined her in her silence. So did Downey. And we stared in complete shock horror at those papers.

Finally, something seemed to occur to Max.

"You two were 'out of it'?" Were we ever.

"We may have had a couple shakes...or fifteen..."

"Fifteen? Fifteen? How did you have that many?"

"I don't know. After thinking a fourth was a good idea, I can't really remember anything else."

Max cracked up. Totally. I thought her guts were gonna start glooping out.

"You- you two got high on caffeine, and he adopted you?"

We shuffled our feet.

"Well...maybe...these papers seem to think so...I don't believe them though...surely even under the influence of caffeine we would not do something so stupid..."

After Max had ripped them out of Downey's hands and was waving them around in her laughter, I saw something on the back of one of the sheets. A transcript from our interview.


Then- oh, oh no.

Double damn.

This was the fourteenth line. 'Are you aware that this is a serious and life-changing decision? You aren't under the influence of anything, and you don't think that this is a stupid idea?' Our answer: 'No, course not, not a stupid idea at all, and it's plenty life-changing. Now gimme some papers and show me where to sign...'

I cannot even begin to comprehend what got into our heads.

Mission: Don't let Max see that transcript.

"Oh, ha! You had an interview? These were your answers? Ha!"

Mission failed.

Luckily, or, shall we say, unluckily (that was a total pun you'll have to come back and reread to get), we were saved from Max's exclamations of hilarity at our expense.

"Hey, you! I saw you wandering around earlier, looking, shall we say, as if you be requiring a stomach pump. Unfortunately, I was, shall we say, preoccupied with another law-breaker, and by the time I could come and have a little, shall we say, chat with you, you were gone," a copper sneered at us. I have no idea whence he came.

"Excuse me, sir, do you have a point to this? We are rather, er, consumed with another problem. Perhaps you could hurry this along a bit?" Downey asked hopefully.

He was met with a vicious glare.

"And what be your, shall we say, problem?"

"I've no inclination whatsoever to explain it to you, so with pleasant wishes, f- off."

I have this feeling that just won't go that Downey had gotten a bit frustrated.

"Now! That is no way to speak to an officer! Apologise immediately!"

"Of course sir, sorry sir, no harm intended," he replied, meekly.

Oh. I only just realised that Downey had slipped into an English accent. I think this was a clever ploy to shake any recognition.

"So what, exactly, had you two, shall we say, taken?" Our lovely friend inquired, with a hateful gleam in his eye.

I piped up, "About fifteen Super Sleepless Shakes, sir. And could we, if it isn't too much trouble, please not dwell on that as it's already giving us grief on behalf of Sarah over there?" Turns out I had a convincing English accent, too. Amazing.

Max nodded, very obviously stifling giggles. I hope to God she doesn't tell the flock about this. I hope to freaking God.

"Uh-huh. That is, I feel, shall we say, a load of bull. You had drugs."

Downey said scathingly, "Why, yes. The perfectly legal one of 'caffeine'. I imagine you've heard of it? It was rumoured that along with numerous doughnuts, police officers fancied a bit of coffee." I inwardly cringed. Downey, you are digging a hole that's getting harder and harder to get out of.

"I don't like your, shall we say, attitude. What's your name?"

"For god's sake, stop saying 'shall we say'. Of course we shall, you need not keep repeating it. And in several of your previous sentences it was not only incorrectly used, but unnecessary. So remove it from your, I'm sure, extensive vocabulary. As for your question, it is Richard. Richard Clayton."

The copper (Let us just make a note of the fact that I have nothing against our good policemen and women of America, but this one had a huge stick up his ass and was rubbing us all up the wrong way. We'll steadfastly ignore the innuendoes posed in that statement.) sucked in a huge breath, and his eyes widened in shock. I thought at the time it was because of the terribly game reply of Downey, but then I realised that stupid rat-thing was back. At his old games. I slowly shut my eyes, and dropped my head. I was sore, tired, with a massive headache, and the world was subjecting me to this. The word 'cruel' would not suffice.

Max had dissolved into laughter, Downey and the copper were staring in shock, and I just had a disbelief moment. Can't believe that this is really happening.

"Oh, for crissake, go away you little rat-thing," Downey sighed.

"I still can't remember what they're called," I sighed back.

"It's a squirrel. A squirrel, dumbass," said Max.


Excitedly I turned to Downey, and met his equally excited eyes. "Finally! I thought we'd never know!"

Eliciting several strange looks from those intimately present and those passing by, we stared with renewed interest at the SQUIRREL. I blinked when I realised how that would appear to people. I was not just a perv, but a gay animal perv. Could not do worse.

Coughing slightly, we shifted our gaze to the copper. He looked decidedly unhappy with the situation.

"Well, as it appears you aren't under any, shall we- influence, I will take my leave." Turning abruptly, he strode off. I am sure I caught a mumbling of 'friggin' hippies'.

Downey and I sighed heavily with relief. It was at this time I decided to point out his many failings as a human being.

Once my rather heated words were spent, number one on my list being 'You can't even get a girl; instead you get a male SQUIRREL', Downey turned to me and winked.

"You didn't die."

"...Okay, I've forgotten what that had to do with anything. Was it an in-house joke I didn't get?"


"Oh. Okay. Max, take me home. I have this, like, splitting headache, and I've just realised I can't move my wing. Nor foot, nor face, and definitely not my arm."

"You so deserved everything you got. But I have something for you. Here's FANG."

"What? Cool! Did I die?"

"I just said you didn't, dumbass. Nice to see how much you pay attention to me." Naturally, I ignored him. But that's the joke I didn't get. Obviously.

Flicking busily through it, I simulated cringing, gagging, and, well, more gagging.

I moaned, "Did bloody James Patterson have to write me so mushily? I would never say stuff like that. And what the heck? I giggled at hitting jackpot? I'd just take the money and fly. Oh no, the letter...Max, if you find a letter like that from 'me', it'll be a fake. Know that you should only expect letters like, 'Yo, I'm leaving. Fang, out', 'cause I hate writing. And I just happen to have the neatest handwriting of the flock. None of this hurried scrawl you go on about. Oh crap, I wore a freaking tux? To Total's wedding? And this Dylan's a freakzoid. I'm sorry, it'd take more than him to make me go get myself killed. Jeez, and to think the blog thing's still going. I never had a blog, and you know that. Some employee at Jim Patt's has suddenly decided he knows how I speak. Huh, yeah, right."

Downey and Max just watched me as I did my commentary thing. Max spoke up, "I noticed you consistently didn't mention Angel."

"I noticed, up till now, you hadn't either. And for the exact same reason. I can see it happening."

There was a dark silence as we collectively contemplated that statement. After a shudder, we brought ourselves back to the present.

"Oh well, sorry, Max, but that book is utter crap. Aside from one or two points I won't mention, everything was either a lie, completely far-fetched, or just plain stupid."

"It was good, though, wasn't it, Fang?"

"Yes. It was awesome. I think it is the best book your buddy's written with us ever. I loved it."

Downey grinned, and shook his head. Adequate reaction, I suppose.

And thus you have the results of...I don't know what to call it.

"Accident? Mistake? Disaster?"

A/N2 What did you think? This fic's my baby. Out of all my creations, I am most proud of this one. Now, I should've put this up top, but I'm too lazy to scroll back up as this is six thousand words (my longest published fic! Yay!), so here it is. I started writing it just after the Oscars, and finished after Iron Man 2 came out. You know, bulk of it before, finished after. Therefore, you would have noticed some offness. It's okay.