Yes, yes. After a long absence, I'm back. And with content! And apologies. I'm probably going to abandon 'Best Laid Plans'. Why? I've writting myself into a corner; one, I'm following an actual episode so it's getting too rigid for me. Two; it's really hard for me to write Tripp. Writing someone that age is hard! Lame excuses, but that's all I have. I honestly tried to finish it, but it was getting too aggravating. So, here are the options: I have this nice new shiny fic! It's basically going to be a series of one shots/two-shots that are loosely connected. So, no linear story line, just a collection of short-medium stories. This first one is going to be four chapters and after that, if people want me to keep writing, I will. If not, well there's a nice little story here that will remain. Regarding 'Best Laid Plans', I can either delete it, cos that thing is not going to be finished unless some miracle happens. Or I can leave it there and post the loose ending. Okay, on with the stories. More later.

Part one

First meetings and getting to know one another.

Seeing New York in person was a lot different from seeing it on TV. For one, it was massively huge, making one feel ant-like in comparison to the towering buildings. The noise was crazy, like someone turned up a stereo and left it on. Plus all the people running around was weird. Even though the streets were emptier now at night, it was definitely different from the gray dullness of Cleveland, Ash Tyler decided as he watched a rat sneeze wetly nearby. Currently, he was sitting on a dirty curb between a group of pigeons and a strange man who kept inching closer to him while muttering under his breath. "Hey, speak up. I can't hear you when you're whispering-"

"It's mine-you can't have it!" The man gave Ash a nasty look before twisting the other way. "Skinny alien…think they can fool me…"

Ash scooted closer to the pigeons and looked at the building behind him. Richard 'Burger' Pitt, best friend and currently missing in action, was suppose to have the key to their new apartment five minutes ago. Instead of being inside, safe and away from pigeons and weirdos.

"Dude-" A loud voice called. Ash grinned now and got to his feet, seeing a stout, heavyset blond bounding over to him. He was twirling something shiny around his finger as he stopped in front of Ash. A key was dangled in front of Ash's face for a moment. "Got it, bro. Let's move in!"

Ash felt excited again, no longer annoyed about waiting outside. If his dad could see him now-he and Burger, small-town kids in the big city and pursuing their dreams…his dad would probably roll his eyes, actually. Ash shrugged mentally and began hauling his stuff from the beat-up car they drove in. "Help me out-my drum kit's gonna be a pain-"

"Them aliens are getting' fat now-"

"Excuse me?" Burger frowned at the man was glaring at them.

"Dude, forget about it-" Ash rolled his eyes and managed to heft all his bags into his arms.

Both of them were weighed down with their luggage by the time they reached the elevator. Burger smacked the up button and they leaned heavily against the wall, waiting for the doors to 'ping' open. They've must have been waiting awhile because Ash managed to doze off for a while before Burger shook him.

"I think the elevator's broken…" Burger groaned as he mashed his thumb against the grimy button. When the button refused to light up, he sighed. "Now what? We got to go up to the top floor with all this…"

"…I have an idea."


"This was a good idea," said Burger cheerfully as he swung his last suitcase up on the landing ahead. They decided they best way to go about moving their things was throwing, kicking, slingshot-ting the bags up the stairs. "I'm ahead, dude! I'm winning-"

"I thought we said it wasn't a race!" Ash complained as he kicked one of his duffle bags ahead. "No fair…

"Suck it up," said Burger, though not completely unkindly. He stepped back a few paces before charging an overstuffed duffle and punting it up to the next landing. The bag rolled back down loudly, deciding not to stay up in its new place. "Man…"

"Hey! Quit stomping about!"

The stairwell door flung open and they looked down to see a boy about their age. He was looking at them blearily, his wavy brown hair was tousled mess obviously from sleeping. After a moment of staring, he strode over and his eyes scanned the scattered bags. "It's past midnight, you know. People are trying to sleep."

"Err…sorry," said Ash, feeling a little sheepish. He thought they might have been loud, but they had to get the bags up somehow. "The elevator's broken-"

"Yeah, I don't care." The other boy looked at them angrily, his long arms crossed against his chest and his eyes narrowed. He glanced at the luggage on the floor again then back at them. "Are you lot moving into a flat?"

"Huh?" It seemed even Burger didn't quite understand what the strange youth was saying. "We're moving into the apartment on the thirteenth floor."

"Yeah, yeah-I figured." The boy frowned and nudged a beat up duffle with his foot. "What are you idiots doing? Throwing your parcels up the stairs?"

"Well…yeah." Burger bristled at the mild insult and glared at him. "How else are we going to get all this up thirteen flights?"

"Man, you lads are hopeless. I'll show you-"


"I'm Derek, by the way," informed the boy. He helped them rig a crude sleigh out of a small bookshelf from his own apartment. The bookshelf was laying flat with the luggage placed neatly inside the shelves. Ash was in front, dragging the contraption up the stairs by a set of cords. "I'm in 704 with another guy."

"That's cool-" Ash grunted loudly as he struggled to pull the shelf up the last flight. He supposed it would be less heavy if Derek wasn't sitting in one of shelves, riding along. "Uh, do you think you can help me pull?"

"Where's the large one? He can help you pull," said Derek, dismissively. A groan from behind made him turn around to see Burger pushing the 'sleigh'. "Oh, yeah…"

"So, can you help-"

"Oh! Here we are!" Derek said suddenly. He hopped off the shelf and opened the stairwell door to reveal a narrow hallway. "There's only two flats on this floor. They use to be offices or something."

"Yeah, we wanted something private," explained Burger as he joined Derek in the dark hallway. "We don't want to bother people."

"Clearly." Derek replied, his eyebrows raised slightly. He frowned at the duo, making them slightly uncomfortable. The boy pursed his mouth before turning on heel and walking to the other end of the hall. "Anyway! Let's get all this rubbish inside."

With Burger unlocking the door and Derek…not doing anything, Ash was left to haul the heavy load into the apartment. The doorway was too narrow, Ash found as he fought to angle the bookshelf through. It was at least twenty minutes before he managed to get the wide load inside and he immediately flopped onto his front, exhausted.

"Oh…dude, you just could've unloaded the stuff from the hall." Burger stood above Ash, frowning at him. Ash merely wheezed at him in response, too winded to use words.

"Ooh, you have a big apartment!" Derek seemed somewhat jealous as he wandered around the space. It was a little rude that Derek was now wandering from room to room, inspecting everything. "Two bathrooms! That's nice…My place only has one."

"Yeah, well, we're splitting the rent so we can afford it." Burger shrugged as he unzipped his one of his suitcases. The one with the chips inside it. "And this area's not totally expensive."

"Mm-hmm."

"Dude, what's with your voice by the way?"

Ash looked up from the carpet, curious as well. "Yeah, you talk funny."

"I'm English." At the dull silence, Derek rolled his eyes. "British. I'm from England."

"Oh! Like The Beatles!" Ash said happily. His smile faded a little at the face Derek made at him. His smiled faded more when the boy picked up Burger's bass case and opened it. "Uh-"

"Yes, exactly like The Beatles," snorted Derek as he experimentally held the instrument in his hands. "'Cos, you know, everyone from England is like them. Like you Yanks and Elvis-"

"Hey! That's mine-" Burger shouted, rushing over and snatching the bass away. "Dude, don't they teach you to keep your hands to yourself in England?"

"I was just looking," defended Derek, putting his hands on his hips. "If you don't want people looking, you shouldn't leave your things laying about."

"It was in the case!"

"Laying around."

"What are you talking about?" Burger blinked, realizing Derek had wandered off, effectively abandoning the argument. He looked around to see Derek on the floor, unpacking Ash's drums. "Dude! You're doing it again!"

"Are you lads in music?" asked Derek, ignoring Burger. He tapped a drumstick against a stray cymbal idly. "What sort of music? Not marching band right? That would actually explain alot-"

"Uh, could you not-" Ash crouched down in front of Derek and plucked the drumstick from him. When Derek reached for the other one, he immediately snatched it up. "They don't like to be touched."

"Oh. I just wanted to look." Derek looked at Ash, pouting a bit. "It wasn't like I was going to break them."

For some reason, Ash felt a bit flustered with the way Derek was looking at him. When he couldn't pin-point why, he shoved a drumstick into Derek's hand to make it stop. "Alright…"

"So, uh…you're into music too?" asked Burger, attempting to try and diffuse the awkward atmosphere.

"Actually, I'm here for the Juilliard summer program." Derek looked vaguely smug as he resumed pulling out the rest of the drums. "I'm gifted."

"Ooh, what did you get?" Ash asked, curious, his earlier embarrassment forgotten. He was sort of envious. He wanted gifts too. When Derek looked at him strangely, he tilted his head. "Well, what did Juilliard get you?"

"You're sort of stupid, aren't you?" Derek's tone had an odd tone of sympathy as if he was offering condolences. Ash didn't have anytime to retort when Burger shoved Derek in the shoulder. The Brit stumbled a few steps to the side and looked rather scandalized. "Hey!"

"Don't call him stupid, man!"

"Well, don't push me, 'man'!"

"Don't call me 'man'-"

"Burger, you call me stupid too-"

"Shut up, Ash!" Both angry youths shot at Ash, stopping their yelling match for moment. They both glared at each other.

"Whatever, this is stupid-" snapped Derek, stalking to the door. He shot the boys a dirty look and sneered slightly. "I have better things to do than hang around a couple poofters."

"Hey!" When the Brit stopped and turned to glare back at them, Burger flipped him the bird. "Go drink some tea you jerk!"

Ash winced when Burger slammed the door. He could hear another door slam and stomping as Derek presumably stormed back to his own apartment. Ash looked at Burger as they slowly moved to unpack. "Go drink some tea?"

"Yeah." Burger looked pleased with himself as he lifted the bookcase upright. He looked at it for a moment for pushing it against the wall. "We're keeping this."


By the next evening, Ash and Burger had mostly put the odd confrontation behind them. More so Ash. He wasn't that angry to begin with, just confused. Derek was interesting and sort of funny (at least the way he talked was). Burger was less forgiving, still stewing over the fight in the morning. Thankfully (and predictably) dinner had him forget about the incident. Or at least, he was too busy thinking about what they were going to do about dinner.

There was no food in the apartment. Just a cockroach sitting peacefully in the back of one of the cupboards and suspicious lump of black fuzz in the fridge. Ash landed a job at a record store prior to moving, but wasn't going to start until next week. And the landlord came by earlier (under the guise of seeing if they moved in alright) to collect the month's rent. Now they only had three quarters, one dime and six green pennies.

If they had at least another three dollars, they could get hotdogs and that was better than nothing. And definitely better than attempting to eat the mysterious black fuzz (which Burger threaten to do if they didn't eat soon). So currently, the pair was in the process of tearing apart the apartment for loose change. Ash was dumping out their luggage, throwing clothes around. And Burger was caught under the couch after somehow burrowing himself underneath.

Ash stepped over the lump of Burger on the floor and began taking the cuisions off the couch. "C'mon, Burger. Don't just lay there-"

"A lot of thumping going on up here. Again." Derek's voice startled Ash as he jolted and spun around. The other boy was standing in the doorway looking mildly annoyed. Ash frowned back at Derek as he wandered in. "What are you lot doing now?"

"We're trying to find two more dollars for dinner," said Ash, answering for Burger as well (the bassist still had his head caught under the couch). He watched as Derek walked over to the stuck bassist and gave him a light kick. Clearly, Derek was not taught boundaries as a child. Ash intervened and got between them to help Burger out from the furniture. "We didn't have any time for food shopping yet…"

"Well, I have food in my flat," said Derek in disinterested tone. "If you lads are hungry or whatever."

Despite the Brit's bored and uncaring attitude, there was a tiniest hint of an apologetic tone. Ash was going to smile at him and accept the pseudo-offer but the couch suddenly flipped over and he found himself painfully pinned to the floor. "O-ow, ow, ow-"

"What kind of food?" Burger asked, brushing himself off. "A lot?"

"Lots of Spam…" Derek frowned and looked around Burger at Ash's squirming form. "I think your friend is-"

"Awesome! We love Spam!"

"Spam and eggs?"

"Spam, eggs and Spam. Always room for more Spam." Burger nodded, obviously warming up to the Brit now. He heard a choking noise and finally noticed Ash trapped under the couch. "Err...help me out a bit?"

Derek looked annoyed but sighed and shuffled over. "Fiiine. On three-"

"Three!" Ash groaned, pushing inaffectually at the couch.

The other boys managed to get the couch off of him and Ash scuttled away from the sinister furniture, feeling rather traumatized. At least it seemed Burger and Derek were getting along now. Ash dusted himself off and shook out the dust bunnies from his dark hair before following Burger and Derek out of the apartment. He smiled to himself, feeling better as they trekked down a few flights to Derek's apartment.

TBC...

Alright, let's see how many reviews this will scare up. This isn't a big fandom but I'd like to know who I'm writing for! After all if there's enough enthusiam, I'd like to take requests after this four-shot is done! Anyway, suggestions, critisms and questions are always welcomed. Stay tune for part two!