Disclaimer: If you need any reminding, go re-watch "The Great Indoors. It will probably help in understanding some of the things that happen in here.

All characters of Phineas and Ferb are the property of Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, and Disney Channel.

The sun had set on another summer day, and Melanie sighed. The mayor of Danville had given her an enormous amount of paperwork to do, so she did not have any time to properly enjoy it. Perhaps she should be thanking the gods that rain had fallen for the vast majority of it. Heaven forbid one more beautiful day go by with her being cooped up in town hall arranging meetings and wondering when Roger was going to get back from his tee time.

Even now, Melanie had a stack of documents strewn around the dining room table, sorted in mounds of varying sizes, filled to the brim with numbers and signatures and, for some odd reason, a cod. She exhaled, tossing the fish onto a frying pan along with all of the food-related things she had found in the paper pile. At least she could make dinner for a few days.

She heard the squeaking of the kitchen door being opened and looked up. At the entrance was one tired child, drenched in sweat and red in the face. Dirt spots caked her clothes and her hair was a scraggly mess.

Melanie smirked at the newcomer. "Well, it seems like someone had an eventful day today."

"Can it, Mom. I don't think you would believe me even if I told you."

"I usually don't, sweetie."

The girl kicked off her shoes, throwing her satchel down in the process. "Well, at the very least I got a lot of new patches."

Melanie got up from her chair and walked over to her daughter, examining her closely. "Geez Louise, Adyson, you look like you've been trekking in a desert."

"Only partly," Adyson whispered under her breath.

"What was that?"


The woman got on her knee to get a closer look of the girl's face. Concerned, she put the back of her hand to her forehead. "You're burning up. I swear, the things that Isabella puts you through."

"I'm fine, Mom. I'm just...tired." Adyson sighed. "Today was pretty rough, though. Desert trekking, mountain climbing, fossil finding..."

"All that just today? Maybe I need to have a talk with Isabella about the troop workload."

"Well, we were at Phineas and Ferb's house and-"

"Ah," Melanie said, holding her hand up. "Say no more. I get it. I should have known it had something to do with those two. I hope you at least got another 'Help Thy Neighbor' patch out of it."

"Yup, I did." Adyson showed her sash to her mom, adorned with several of her new patches. "I may need a second sash just for the neighbor ones."

"We'll burn that bridge when we get there," Melanie replied. She cast a troubled look at her daughter. "I'm still worried about your head, Adyson. Why don't you go upstairs to shower and relax while I cook something up?"

Adyson recoiled, a panicked look on her face. "Oh man, do we have the fire extinguisher ready?"

"Ha ha, very funny, missy. That was one time."

"One time too many."

"Anyways," Melanie said, walking toward the cabinets, "I'll make something I know I can't mess up. How does grilled cheese sound?"

"That's fine, Mom." Adyson headed up the stairs, ready for some relaxation time.

Her mom grabbed a pan from the cabinet, her mind still on her daughter. It was a shame that she was so dedicated to her troop; it was not uncommon for her to come home in similar states like tonight. Melanie didn't like how it seemed Adyson was so overworked.

"Just like me," she mumbled to no one in particular.

The doorbell rang, knocking her out of her thoughts.

"Now who could that be?"

Setting her pan down, Melanie walked in the living room to the front door, peering through the peephole. Recognizing the visitor, she opened the door.

"Well, this is certainly a surprise. You just missed her; she got home a couple of minutes ago. Why don't you come in?"

Adyson opened the door to her room, wearing her red pajamas and a towel over her still wet hair. The shower had felt glorious for her beaten body, washing away the scum and dirt of the day's activities. However, what had done wonders for her skin had done nothing for her brain.

She had not told her mom the entire truth. Sure, she was tired, but it extended far past that. The events of today made it seem like a higher power was poking fun at her; overheating your body, getting swept away in a suddenly appearing river, and getting rocks (fake rocks, but still) dropped on your head was enough to drive anyone insane. For a headstrong, stubborn girl like Adyson, it only made her go crazy faster.

She flopped herself onto her bed, burying her face in her pillow. She immediately regretted the decision, as this not only brought her fever back into the spotlight, it sharpened the now bubbling headache in her brain.

Adyson flipped her head on her side, surveying her bedroom. It was a good thing that she had decided to go with deep purples for her wall color; she probably couldn't be able to bear being in a room with bright colors at the moment. She remembered going over to Katie's house one time; the yellows and light blues that adorned her room almost caused her to have a luminescent overload.

Carefully unwrapping her hair, she threw her towel toward her hamper. Due to her awkward position, she missed spectacularly, almost hitting her aquarium and its occupant.

"Sorry, Xander," she apologized to her pet lizard, who did nothing but blink in response. He was a birthday present from her mom last year, and while she enjoyed having someone to talk to, all he did was dart around his cage all day. Like Perry, Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus, he didn't do much.

Leaving her pet behind, her eyes continued their brief tour around her room. She had a lot of stuff in her room considering the fact that it was rather small. Her dresser next to her bed was decorated with her Fireside Girls patches and sash, albeit in a somewhat unceremonious fashion. Her rocking chair was in the corner behind it, full of pillows. She halfheartedly made a move to get up and go to it, thinking it would relax her somewhat, but her head was not having any of it.

Adyson reached out to her bedside window, sliding it halfway open. The cool breeze that blew through was a welcoming relief for her pain, although her mood was still souring.

She was tired of being tired. She wasn't even the second-in-command (that fell into Gretchen's territory), but it seemed as if she was working harder than any of the other girls. It wasn't their fault, she surmised, but her own. There was a reason why she was the previous record holder of getting the most patches in one day; her tenacity was constantly commented on by Isabella and the rest of the troop. The problem, they said, was that she had no restraint. She had to give everything one hundred and ten percent, no matter how mundane the task. And that's where the accidents came in.

The ability to hold in her energy was not a strong point of hers. Being a little bullheaded did not help matters. Stubbornness was practically a gene in her family line; her mother acted the exact same way with her job. Perhaps it was a good thing that she was an only child. She couldn't imagine having other siblings around the house burning out just like her.

Adyson heard a soft knock on the door, followed by the creaking of it being opened. She turned her head toward the window, depressed.

"You can just leave it on the dresser, Mom; I'll get to it in a sec."

"Well, ya might wanna eat it now, Sweets, or else I'm gonna eat it."

Adyson narrowed her eyes, surprised that voice would dare enter her domain. Her hand crept closer to the windowsill.

"Fine, I guess I'll just get started on ya-WHOA!"

The police baton whistled through the air, clasped in Adyson's grasp, but a stronger hand grabbed it, stopping it in its tracks.

"HEY! Ya probably should not attack me when I'm carryin' a tray full of food, Sweets."

Adyson sighed again. "Sorry...Buford." She raised her eyebrow at the bully, who was precariously balancing her tray in one hand and holding the business end of her baton in the other. "How did you get in here?" she asked cautiously.

Buford matched her expression, eyebrow arched. "The stairs. And the door."

"Hardy har har, Buford."

"Ya mom let me in," he explained. "She said ya'd just got home."

"Oh. OK then." Adyson glared at the baton, eyes narrowing even more. "You want to let go of my baton?"

"Only if ya don't smack me with it, alright?"


Buford slowly let go of the baton, uncurling each finger one by one. Once done, Adyson set it back on the windowsill while he set the tray down on her dresser.

"Ya know," Buford started, "I thought those things were illegal in the Tri-State Area."

Adyson turned back toward him, grinning. "They are. It's a perk of having a parent working for the mayor."

Pulling the rocking chair closer to the bed, Buford could only groan in response. "As long as ya don't use that during karate class. Who knows what would happen if ya had a black belt and a baton? Ya'd probably go to town on half the bullies in school."

"And they'd deserve it, too."

Buford shrugged. "Meh, valid point." He situated his tote bag in front of him, which Adyson had just noticed, and began to rummage through it.

"What do you have in there?" Adyson asked.


"Man, are you full of information tonight."

"I prefer to call it 'necessarily blunt'," Buford retorted. He cast a glance at Adyson, still going through his bag. "And I don't think you have any room to talk, Queen Sarcasm."

Adyson only rolled her eyes in response. There was no way she was going to have this argument with Buford, perhaps the only person who could out-cynic her.

A few moments passed before Buford sat back up, holding a blue bowl out for Adyson. "Here, take this."

She hesitated slightly before grabbing it out of his hands. "What is this suppose to be?"

"Soup," Buford replied as he pulled out a matching bowl from his bag. "Goes good with the grilled cheese."

Adyson held the bowl to her nose and sniffed its contents. "Is that...miso?"


"It's still hot. Did you heat it up before you got here?"

"No," Buford muttered, his head back in his bag. "Why do ya ask?"

Adyson raised an eyebrow at the bowl, wondering how it could-you know, maybe she was better off not knowing. "Oh, no reason."

He leaned back in the chair, balancing both the bowl and plate in his lap. "So...what's eatin' ya, Sweets?"

Adyson scoffed. "Why are you under the impression that I'm having a bad day, Buford?"

"Because ya just said it."


"And Isabella told me," Buford added, waving his phone for emphasis. "Yeesh, all those accidents in one day? Sure there's not a patch for that?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Adyson replied, looking out the window. "Trust me, I checked," she added quietly.

"Ya wanna talk about it?"

"What is there to talk about? Things happen. I had a bad day."

"Yeah, for a normal person. As we all know, though, ya not a normal person, Sweets."

Adyson did not reply, continuing to be very interested in whatever was outside.

"Besides, would ya rather talk to...that thing over there?" Buford pointed to the aquarium, where the lizard was running laps around his plastic igloo house.

"It's a salamander, Buford. You've heard of those, right?" Adyson said. "And his name is Xander."

"Xander? The salamander? Really?"

"Hey, it's a good name! It's distinguished."

Buford turned back toward Adyson, eyes narrowed. "If by 'distinguished', ya mean 'weird', then yeah, it is. What does he even do, anyway?"

"Not much. Sometimes when I get home, he's not even in the cage. It's like he's off doing other things."

"...Maybe he's playin' hooky with Perry. Off doing whateva' weird pets do."

Adyson drummed her fingers on her tray, contemplating her options. She could talk to Buford, the somewhat-considerate buffoon, or she could sit in silence and eat her food. Or she could take a third option and jump out the window into the cool night air, but since she was on the second floor with no means of landing safely, it didn't seem like the best course to take.


She glimpsed at Buford, who was leaning forward in his chair. She was surprised to see.. concern? Worry? She couldn't place it, but it was startling nonetheless.

"I'm not going anywhere until ya spill. Besides," he said, waving his spoon around, "It's not like this is the first time ya needed to talk."

Adyson looked down at her food, now feeling guilty. He was right; there were times before where they would meet up in the park at night and just talk about things. Buford would go on about his mom and various school problems, while she would chat about the troop and what "accidents" she had got into.

It was here where she learned something about Buford; the kid was surprisingly normal. Most of the time he succeeded in coming off as the bully everyone portrayed him to be: stand-offish, pushy, arrogant. Those few instances where he would sit in his swing at night and talk about family were the only spots where she saw different emotions: fear, anxiety, hope. She saw the same things that were in any normal kid.

So surely he wouldn't poke fun at her this time around, right? He didn't all of the other times.

"Yo, Sweets!" Adyson, now back in the real world, saw Buford still in her chair. "When I said I wasn't goin' anywhere, I meant it, but I'd rather ya say something before next week rolls around."

She smiled, running a hand through her hair. "You won't laugh?"

"Not if ya don't want me to."

Satisfied, she started, Buford leaning back to listen. For more than an hour, she went nonstop, rambling on about her problems that had happened in the biosphere and her general frustration with being in the troop. Buford, true to his word, sat attentively, not interrupting her save a few quips here and there.

Adyson scooped up the last of her noodles, finally finished with her rant. Buford stroked his chin, lost in thought.

"I may have a radical solution to ya problem, Sweets."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"Have ya every tried...you know...takin' a break?"

"A break? From the troop?" Adyson wasn't sure she heard him correctly. "I can't imagine doing that!"

"Well, it's either that or work yourself to death. Ya do wanna live to see high school, right?"

"Yeah, I do."

"Then you may wanna pull back a little bit, then." Seeing Adyson stare at him, he held his arms up in defense. "Hey, I'm just sayin'. Ya don't have to do anything. I'm just going off of what I'm seein'."

Adyson thought for a moment, taking in what Buford had said. She could certainly scale back on a few extracurricular things that she did, but the troop? She wasn't sure if she could do that.

"I'll...think about it, OK? Maybe I can relax and do some less stressful things for a while."

"There ya go. Now ya thinkin'."

"I can't make any promises, though."

"Not askin' ya to."

She gripped the sides of her head in exasperation. "I wish I could do something about this head of mine, though."

Buford set his bowl aside, then pulled his bag up onto his lap. "I did bring something that you could try, but it might be a little too much for ya."

"What are you talking about?"

He pulled out a brown bottle from his bag, tossing it to the floor in the process. "The ol' Van Stomm Remedy. Guaranteed to cure ya of your wares in no time flat."

Adyson perked up. "Well, give. I need it."

"Hold ya horses; I haven't properly disclosed the warning yet." Buford turned the bottle in his hands, then began to read aloud. "Side effects may include swelling, upset stomach, migraines..."


"Anxiety, fatigue, abnormal growth of toenails..."


"Inability to be fed after midnight..."

"Buford Van Stomm, give me the darn medicine or I'll give you some symptoms!"

"OK, fine. Geez," Buford relented, handing the bottle over to her. "Just take one, though; it's kinda strong for non-Van Stomms."

Adyson yanked off the top of the container. "Shush. I think I can handle it, Buford. I'm not a child."

"Could've fooled me," he murmured out of the corner of his mouth.

"What was that?"

"I said hurry up and take it so ya can feel better!"

Adyson felt one pill fall into her hands. She studied it for a moment and then popped it into her mouth, washing it down with her broth. Setting her bowl down, her impatience got the better of her.

"Why isn't it working, Buford?"

"Ya gotta let it work its magic, Sweets. Just give it a minute." Buford grabbed the empty bowl from her lap and set it back into his bag. Adyson, in the meantime, found that her headache was quickly dissipating.

"Oh man, you were kidding. This stuff is great." She looked out the window, her thoughts slowing to a crawl. In fact, she could feel the entire world slow down into a smooth doldrum. She didn't have a concern in the world.

Buford looked up from his bag and saw her eyes start focusing in and out. "Ya OK, Sweets?"

"Yes, I feel so...wonderful."

He got up out of the chair, now worried. "Are ya sure? Because ya look like you're about to fall off into La-La Land."

"I feel fine, Buford. Actually," Adyson clumsily got out of bed, a serene, glossy look going over her face," I feel exquisite."

"I don't think you can even spell that, Sweets."

"I can too...silly." She waved her arm at him, not caring at all about...anything, really. "It's e...x...um...q...uisite. There."

Buford mentally kicked himself, now seeing what the side-effects were of the family medicine in full effect. He did find it strange that the label didn't mention...inebriation.

He took another look at the bottle, wondering how the heck he was going to get out of this. It certainly wasn't his intention to have Adyson staggering around like a tranquilized horse; he just wanted her to feel better.

"Hey Buford. Buford. Buford. Buford. Buford."

Relieved of his thoughts, he noticed her poking his side, trying to get his attention.



His nostrils flared, giving off the impression of an angry bull. "I think you've had enough 'tea' for today, Ms. Sweetwater."

Adyson paid him no heed as a shocked expression came over her face. Buford thought for sure it was in response to his comment, but a second later he was proven wrong.

"Buford!" Adyson's eyes were wide with excitement. "When did you get here?"

"I've been here, Sweets! You're probably just hallucinatin' like the bottle...kinda said ya would."

"I am not hallucinating!" Adyson pleaded while clasping her hands together. She turned to the aquarium. "Tell him, Xander."

Buford narrowed his eyes at her weird behavior. He nevertheless said nothing, as it looked like she was having a 'conversation' with her lizard.

"See?" she wheeled back around, smacking Buford in the arm. "He agrees with me!"

"This is kinda like what Isabella said happened to ya in the bio-sphere today, only it was-"

"Shhh," Adyson whispered, putting a finger to Buford's lips. "I'm sorry, Xander, what were you saying?"

Now this was getting a little ridiculous. If he didn't stop her soon, she was going to do something really bad, although Buford, despite himself, was getting more and more amused by the second.

"Mmhmm. Yeah. Yeah. OK, I'll tell him," Adyson looked back at Buford. "Xander told me to tell you that you're being a giant doodyhead."

"Really? He told ya that?"

"Yup, and I believe him. Us friends have to listen to each other." Adyson sauntered over to the aquarium, wrapping an arm around it. "Me and him are tight. Like bros. Bros before-"

"Whoa, Sweets!" Buford yelled, stopping her in mid-sentence. "Language!"

"Hey, don't be jealous. We're bros too. We're friends." Adyson leaned back against the wall, obviously lost in thought. "We spend a lot of time together, you and I. We go to the park. We do stuff with Phineas and Ferb. Sometimes we're stuck doing the same project in school, but it's all good." She whirled her hand in a circle, trying to find more things to say. "I know...I know you're a good guy. You may try to fool everyone else, but you ain't fooling me! You've hung around me enough times to know that you can't!" Her finger was shaking as she pointed it at Buford. "Why else would you...would you..."

Adyson's speech slowed to a stop. Somewhere in the recesses of her mind the sound of a puzzle piece falling into place resonated. It was as if this moment was made to finally understand the truth.

"Hold on a second," Adyson said, leisurely walking up to Buford. "I just realized something."

"And that would be?"

"I was thinking something, and I thought it...and now I'm gonna say it."

"Wonderful, Sweets. Is it comin' out anytime tonight?"

"Just give me a second, weirdo."

Adyson stood perfectly still with her eyes looking at the ceiling. Buford couldn't imagine for the life of him what she was considering, but it couldn't be anything good.

"You like me."

Yup, nothing good.

"You...like me."

She looked up at his face, which was now turning an impressive shade of red.

"Oh my Gosh...I was just guessing. But it's...true, right?" She stepped up to Buford, now inches away from him.

"I...don't know what ya talking about, Sweets."

Adyson let out a very uncharacteristic chuckle. "Oh my gosh! It is true! You liiike me."

She walked her fingers up Buford's arm, who was now drastically trying not to lose his composure.

"You want to kiiissss me."

"AdysonRileySweetwaterIamnothavin'thisconversationwithyou!" Buford yelled as he grabbed her hand. "I need to figure out how to fix ya."

"I don't need fixing, Buford. I can see...everything," Adyson replied. She waved her free hand in front of her face for emphasis. "I can see my other hand. See? See?"

"Yeah, I see it, Sweets. I can also see ya need to go to bed. Like now."

She bit her lip, trying to do her best sad face. "I don't wanna!"

Buford sighed. "Well, I don't think ya got a choice in the matter." With that, he grabbed her and threw her over his shoulder, trying to make his way back to the bed.


And someone wasn't helping.

"Sweets! Do ya mind?"

"This is fun! Rollercoasterrrr!"

"Good grief," Buford said, fighting the urge to roll his eyes. He attempted to make haste across the room, but Adyson wasn't having any of it.

"You know what my room needs, Buford? Ponies. Lots of ponies. And not those silly little ones that you can see at the ranch. Purple ones. Green ones. Pink ones. Ones with rainbow tails."

"Thrillin'," Buford responded. "Any more random nonsense ya wanna talk about?"

Adyson did not reply, instead deciding to amuse herself by poking Buford in the back.

"Yo, A.D.D. Sweetwater! Try to pay attention here!"

" I am paying very close attention. To this wall."

"That's it! Ya goin' down!" Buford shifted her body so that she was now being carried baby-style, ready to toss her into her rocking chair.

"Wait! Waitwaitwait!" Adyson pleaded. "I have a...serious question."

"Are ya sure it's a serious one, girly?"

"It's totally, totally a serious question," she answered, waving her arms emphatically. "Look, this is my serious face." She steeled herself, then held her face in place in a determined, concentrated glare. "See, totally serious."

Another sigh escaped Buford's mouth. "Fine, let's hear it."

"Let's just say," she started, pointed a lazy finger at him, "Let's just say for a second you-" She suddenly stopped, looking strangely at her hand. "Dude, my fingers are huuuuge!"

"Focus, Sweets!"

"Oh, right!" She shook her head, trying to shake the cobwebs out of her head. "Let's just...say for a second...that you did want to kiss me."

He stopped in his tracks, afraid of the direction this was going.

" 'K."

Adyson stared into his eyes, her eyelids bobbing up and down in an attempt to stay conscious. Her next words were slow, almost slurred.

"Well...why don't you?"

Her grin was almost cheshire-like, too big for her face and too knowing for Buford's liking.

"Because...I wouldn't mind...if you did."

And with that, she flopped her head onto his chest, finally unconscious.

Buford stared at her for a moment, astonished by her words. He let out a shaky breathe as she curled up in his arms like an infant, not a care in the world.

"That," Buford whispered, finally reaching her rocking chair, "was way too close for ya own good, Sweets."

He set her down in the chair, moving the pillows to make her more comfortable. Her body laid motionless, nothing but the sound of her breath quietly filling the room.


And the groan from her mouth as she slowly came to.

"Oh man, what happened?"

Buford grabbed his tote bag, slinging it over his shoulder. "Ya went a little kooky for a while."

"Did I do anything weird?"

"...Nothing out of the ordinary."


"OK, you had a conversation with ya salamander and thought you were in Dinnah Bell's rollercoaster."

"Oh man." Adyson leaned back, her hand to her head. "Well, the good news is that my headache's gone. The bad news is that I'm really tired." She looked at Buford. "What the heck is in that stuff?"

"Family secret, Sweets. If I told ya, I'd have to kill ya."

"That's reassuring."

Buford repositioned the tote on his arm, looking wistfully toward the door. "Look, I'm gonna head out. My ma's gonna wonder where I've been. You need to get some sleep anyways. That's the best thing ya can do now. You should be able to manage that, right?"

Adyson nodded, her gaze toward the window again.

Buford put his hand on her arm, trying to give her a reassuring pat. "Don't worry, Sweets. You'll be fine. You always are." He took a step toward the door. "I'll see ya tomorrow, OK?" He turned toward the door, closing the distance in no time at all.

He had one hand on the doorknob when he heard her whisper.


He hesitated, not sure whether to acknowledge her question or not. It had already been an eventful night; he wasn't sure how much more he could take. Throwing caution to the wind, he decided to reply.



Buford turned around slowly. "Sweets, do ya need-whoa!" As soon as he had looked back, he saw that Adyson was not in the rocking chair but directly in front of him, eyes half closed. "How did ya do that? You were in the chair and now ya-"

"Buford," Adyson said. "Stop talking."

The next thing he knew, Adyson had her arms around his neck, pulling him into a hug.

Buford paused, surprised by the sudden contact. He knew for a fact that none of the side effects of the medicine included random hugging. He found, though, that he didn't particularly care at this point. He gingerly wrapped his arms around the girl, squeezing her back.

"Thank you for coming over," Adyson whispered.

"No problem, Sweets."

"Thanks for taking care of me."

"'Twas nothing."

"You didn't have to do all of this."

"I know."

Adyson looked up at him, eyes almost closed. "I'm not going to remember any of this, am I?"

"Probably not."

She laid her head back down on his chest, breathing slowly. "Then can we just...stay like this for a while?"

Buford grinned as he let his arms relax around her waist. "Whatever ya want, Sweets."

Moments passed like minutes. The bully, to be quite honest, didn't really know what to do. Here he was with a (formerly) delusional girl who was the bane of his existence. She pushed herself too hard. She shouted too much. She...well, she did a lot of "too much". He was used to that.

And now...it was the simplest of things that made him hesitate.

It was jarring, to say the least. The quiet ambience of the room was soothing his nervousness, though. Nothing but the sound of the rustling lizard and shallow breathing...

Wait a minute.


Buford leaned his head over and saw Adyson wasn't moving, her breathes becoming more steady and her eyes shut.


Yup, the girl was out cold. The medicine, he thought, must've run its course.

He carefully lifted her back up in his arms, similar to the position before. Admittingly, she looked a whole lot better sleeping now than she did unconscious earlier. Her hair was still a mess, but her face had a look of pure content on it. She nuzzled closer to his chest and let out a sigh, ready to go to sleep at last.

He went over to her bed this time, throwing her sheets aside and setting her down gently. He threw the covers over her, making sure they were tucked in. After a thought, he grabbed one of her myriad of pillows on her chair and gave it to her, happy to see she unconsciously grabbed it, pulling it close to her body.

Stepping back, Buford was content with his work. He, however, couldn't help but roll his eyes at the ceiling, watching the girl finally relax for what seemed to be the first time in an eternity.

"The things I do for ya, Sweets."

He peered at the aquarium, seeing Xander dart up the branch toward the wall of his habitat. "And you," he whispered, pointing a finger at the lizard. "Make sure she takes it easy for a while, all right?"

It blinked in response, showing no other acknowledgment.

Buford sighed, mentally catching himself. "And here I am, talking to a salamander. And they call her the crazy one."

He strode back toward the door, finally ready to get back to his own bed for the night. Turning the knob, he set one foot out-

"Good night, Buford."

He turned back, seeing her with one eye slightly open, a smile on her face. He couldn't help but match it himself.

"...Good night, Adyson."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Yes, I made Melanie Adyson's mom. It makes sense. The strange compulsion to work too hard. The stubbornness. The hair swoosh...thing.

Anyway, I first saw Melanie in the show and I'm like "That has to be Adyson's mom." The resemblance is just too uncanny.

The Adyson/Buford pairing is also interesting. They do seem to fit the classic archetype of two tenacious people who really deep down care for each other. Again, there's not much interaction between the two of them, and not a lot of background is shown about Adyson in general, but "The Great Indoors" gave a good insight into it, and I just had to run with the idea.

And Xander? He totally doesn't work for a secret organization. Yep. Totally doesn't.

There may be a small chapter after this one that takes place a couple of days after this event, but I may just end up nixing it. I'll go ahead and mark it as complete...for now. We'll see if I make any headway into that.

Read and review, if you like. Until next time.