Misc: This falls within the Three-Ians-and-a-Severed-Hand continuity again. For this fic, it really helps to have read "Who's Your Daddy?" which should be on my ff.net author page. If anyone needs any clarification or a list of this series, please let me know. Anyhow, here there be the episodic humor fic for "Parabolic." Enjoy!

Title: Hey There, Little Red Riding Hood

Spoilers: Through the 8-12-02 episode, "Parabolic." Also, very oblique spoilers for the season finale, "Ubique," (unless you've read spoilers already, I doubt you'll notice,) and explicit spoilers for the movie "The Sixth Sense." Really.

Author: The Mad Fangirl

Archive: Wherever, but let me know.

Disclaimer: The characters herein are owned by other people and I make no money from their shameless exploitation.

Author's Note: "There are only two things in this world that I hate. People who are intolerant of other people's nationalities...and the Dutch!" - Michael Caine, "Goldmember"

* * *

In the morgue of the 11th Precinct, Bola lay in a drawer next to Lupo's. Of a sudden, her tiny frame was wracked by a shudder, and she drew a long, sharp breath.

Pushing her drawer out, she grabbed a convenient lab coat and slipped it on, then pulled out the drawer next door to check. "Ewww!" She shoved the hate monger's body back in. He was really dead; whatever was in the Witchblade sufficed to take out a werewolf.

Bola, on the other hand, was back again, and now, though the vestiges of Lupo's organization might hunt her till they self-destructed, her geas was satisfied. So, she was free to look up old friends.

She made her way to the elegant apartment, grabbing new clothes on the way, and knocked. The back of her mind buzzed with the knowledge that another of her kind was close at hand. Since she knew the same would be happening to the person on the other side of the door, she gave it a wide berth. When the door swung open, she entered with guns holstered, arms out and hands spread.

Then, when the room's occupant saw that the new arrival presented no threat, a statuesque woman with short black hair swept Bola up into a hug. "Bola! Darling! You should have told me you were in town!"

"Well, you know how it is, Amanda" she said, in her light accent. "Wolf hunting and all."

"Don't tell me... you got the bastard, didn't you!" And Bola grinned shyly. "Oh, congratulations! This calls for...wait, let me guess. Vodka?"

"And Lucky Charms."

"Of course!" Amanda leaned her sword against the wall and headed to the kitchen. Almost there, she neatly avoided a collision with a darkly handsome man, who was making his way out with two drinks, a mimosa and the spiked chocolate milk he preferred. He looked past Amanda to the entryway, where stood a very well armed Little Red Riding Hood. Unsurprisingly, he received an appraising glance in turn, as he was clad only in a black bathrobe and black silk boxer shorts.

Bola experienced a slight bit of cognitive dissonance. This man, after all, was tied to the world she'd just dealt with, not the one she walked in now. "You...you are Ian Nottingham, correct?"

"Yes - do I know you?"

"I was just involved in one of Sara's cases! I watched her, and saw you watching her, and watching me watching her. You should know of me as I know of you."

"Oh, I get it," Amanda chimed in. "Bola, that's easy. There's three of him. You saw his little brother."

"Ah," Ian said. "My brother did mention you in passing. He admires your aim." Bola grinned and bowed slightly.

"It might take time for gossip to spread amongst the brothers Nottingham, but it does get around." Amanda smiled and reached for the vodka, deciding to go ahead and fix Bola a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) to go with her breakfast cereal. Nottingham, for his part, sat at an angle to the young-looking girl on one of Amanda's overstuffed couches.

"So," he said, "Your great quest is over; have you given any thought to what you're going to do now?"

"Well, I think I *am* eventually going to Disneyland," she said, "but I'd also like to move to a country with a much younger drinking age," as she took her glass from Amanda, who slid in next to Ian. "For now, though, I've been moving around so much! I'd just like to stay in one place for a while and get my bearings."

"Oh!" Amanda said. "I've just had a wonderful idea! She can stay at the mansion with you and the family!"

Ian the First shook his head as if to clear water from his ears. "Amanda? I could have sworn you said..."

"It's the perfect solution! I love Bola dearly, but I've only got the two bedrooms and Adam's taking up the other one. You've got at least ten perfectly good bedrooms you're not using. I know one of them will be just perfect!" She leaned in close, and in his ear murmured, "Ian, honey, say yes. You know you want to."

Nottingham One sighed. He was a goner, but he tried nonetheless to delay the inevitable. "Are you sure the mansion is an appropriate place for such a girl?"

Amanda pulled back an inch and looked him in the eyes. "She's a four hundred year old Immortal who's as good with a gun as she is with a sword. I think she'll fit in just fine."

* * *

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Hades, (or a cul-de-sac in suburban New Jersey, close enough,) a small portal held open by dark powers provided access to the world beyond. Through the agency of a curse laid upon a damned soul by the Devil himself, three of the vilest beings in creation sat across from one another, at a minimally appointed dining room table.

The blonde demon Del Toro took a moment to reflect upon his punishment. Usually the master of Hell set his victims up to relive repeating loops of the poor decisions that had brought them to his domain in the first place, sometimes from their own victims' point of view if they were enjoying themselves too much. Sometimes even that got old, though, so then Satan got creative. In Del Toro's case, he was stuck in this house with Kenneth Irons, a spirit who'd gotten the better of him in a deal, and had now been given a provisional amnesty by the Devil so long as he showed up on occasion to annoy the evil priest cum drag queen. But if that wasn't bad enough, he was also made to keep company with one of the more annoying newbies to come down the pike in rather a while.

"Hate is my life, my goal, and my shepherd!" Lupo declaimed, rolling dice and moving a game piece. At the moment, they were playing RISK.

"Actually, it seems you're your own shepherd," Kenneth replied. "Apparently the German variety, if I'm any judge."

"I've been German, yes. And Roman, and a legion of other nationalities."

"That just went right over your head, didn't it?"

"And this surprises you how?" Del Toro ran a hand through the long brown hair of his wig. His satanic master had also thought it amusing that he be stuck in his Madame Sesostris getup. "I'm going to get something from the kitchen. Anyone else hungry?"

"I thought the pantry full of cookies with no milk was an excellent touch," Irons remarked. "I'll have one of those, and some water."

"He loves that commercial," Del Toro sighed, jingling as he walked.

"Where is my new landlord, anyway?" Lupo asked. "I thought he'd be by on occasion to view the depths of mediocrity in which he's steeped us."

"Speak for yourself," Irons grinned. "I can leave any time I want to."

Del Toro shrugged in a settling of shawls. "I'm given to understand that he has other plans."

* * *

As Sara Pezzini shrugged out of her jacket and shoulder holster, she put a pot of tea on to boil. It whistled, steam clouding up and almost masking the sound of a knock at the door. Shutting off the heat, she walked over, looking through the peephole. Outside stood one man, unarmed if she was any judge. He wore a fedora with a tailored suit and topcoat, and looked up at her, removing the hat and sketching a bow. His hair was straight and black, and his face was gaunt, yet with a handsome character.

"Detective Pezzini?" he inquired. His voice was low and smoky, whiskey on the rocks.

"Yeah. Um, whatever you're selling, I'm not buying."

"Oh, I only wanted to request the pleasure of your company for dinner tonight."

"And...you are?"

Then he was no longer behind the door, but rather behind her back. She whirled, grabbing for the gun that she'd already removed.

"Oh, I'm the Devil, of course."

"Of course..." Pez replied. "Sorry. Like I said, not buying. I met the Devil a while back."

"What you met, Detective, was one of my damned escapees. He'd been posing as a Vatican lawyer and as a fortune-teller, but most annoyingly, he'd been posing as me. But here, let me show you..." He reached for her Witchblade hand, which she pulled back immediately. The blade went ahead and showed her anyway, rerunning the events of that fateful morning after she'd departed the manse.

"Okaaay...so, what's the scam?" Pez asked, moving to the kitchen to make her tea.

"No scam," he said. "Honest." The Devil grinned infectiously. "I just noted that you'd been courted by both Lupo and Irons, amongst others, and thought, why should you settle for the lesser evil?"

"You've got to be kidding me."

He spread his hands and shrugged. "Dinner at Primavera, on me. It's not like I'm asking for your mortal soul or anything. With the unique challenges you face, it might behoove you to, ah...have friends in low places?"

Pez swung open her fridge and peeked inside. Empty, save for her half-and- half and some fossilizing Chinese in the lower left-hand corner. She poured the creamer into her tea, replaced it, and said, "What the Hell. Why not?"

He actually looked surprised. "You'll go?"

Pez shrugged. "You haven't done anything except ask me to dinner, the Witchblade's quiet, I'm out of food, and if you were going to spring anything on me, you'd do it whether I went with you or not."

"That's the spirit! Correct on all counts, Detective. So, shall we?" Rather theatrically, he swept his arm forward, and she moved to precede him.

"Let's."

* * *

Del Toro sighed, yawning, but it was part of his torment that no matter how bored he got, he would not fall asleep. The game of RISK (not world domination, but the next best thing,) continued apace.

"All I'm saying," Irons said as he rolled the dice, "is that hate is a tool by which you sow confusion amongst your enemies. That's all! It's just pointless to cultivate something like hatred as an end in and of itself."

"Oh, like immortality isn't?"

Irons rolled semi-corporeal eyes. "Immortality is practical! It's something you can use! Anyway, you had quasi-immortality, and you squandered it, else you wouldn't be here."

"Occupational hazard. If I'm going to deal in hate, I'm not going to make many friends."

"Which proves my point," Irons replied. "Oh, and," he said, looking down at the game board, "I've just captured Italy and Germany."

"Dammit!"

Kenneth smiled. "Too late."

* * *

Ian Nottingham the original arrived at 1111 Faust Street and led Bola into the house. As they walked past the study, Bola pulled back a curtain and saw a sealed room with the posed figure of a woman inside.

"Who is that?" she asked him.

"That is my mother."

"Oh, that's so sweet," Bola said. "My parents died before photographs were invented, you understand, and we had no money for portraits, so I have nothing to remember them by. It seems such a luxury to have an entire statue of your mother."

"No, you misunderstand," Nottingham replied. "That really *is* my mother. It's a freezer."

"Oh." Bola cast her eyes about the room. "And the hand on the table..."

"Dad."

"Hmm." //I think I'm sleeping with my guns tonight.// "So, where are your brothers?"

"My youngest brother is out, but the middle ought to be here somewhere." As if on cue, an Ian with short, slicked black hair and tiny goatee ran past at nearly a blur. He was cat-silent even at that speed, but he was pursued by a red and black whirlwind that shrieked at the top of its lungs. It was a woman in a red and black clown's costume and white makeup. She appeared to be swinging a set of nunchuks made of croquet mallets.

"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times! If you have to explain a joke, IT ISN'T FUNNY!!!" Ian disappeared around a corner and Harley barreled full-tilt after him, when an outstretched foot sent her sprawling, chin rebounding on the floor. "Ooh..." she said, staggering, but when Ian 2.0 doubled past her, she pounced, tackling him to the ground. Then she rolled backwards, tossing him into a wall and pinning him there...where she proceeded to kiss him thoroughly, covering his lips in black greasepaint.

Ian the First cleared his throat, and the two kept kissing. Idly, he pushed over a standing suit of armor, and the resulting clamor had the desired effect as the two jumped apart and looked around wildly. Bola smiled as the two gave her the once-over and then turned their eyes to Ian One.

"Hiya hot-buns," Harley said finally. "Who's your friend?"

"This is Bola," he replied. "Treat her well. She is a good friend of Amanda's, and she is very well-armed." At this, Bola pulled her sweatshirt up a bit to expose her semi-automatics, and Harley whistled. "Nice guns, honey," she smirked.

Ian 2.0 just smiled his psychotic smile, and said, "Charmed."

Taking Bola aside, Nottingham One murmured in her ear. "This one was a bit of a rush job, and he isn't quite right in the head. I have no idea what's wrong with Harley and I haven't asked."

"It's okay," she replied, sotto voce. "I haven't been this entertained in centuries." //But I am *definitely* sleeping with my guns tonight.// "So, your little brother is out? Can I take this to mean he's gone Sara- stalking?"

"It's likely," Ian replied.

"Well, I think I'll dump off my things and go let him know I'll be staying here. The last thing I'd want is to surprise any of you Nottinghams."

"But how will you find him?"

"Ian, I've been trailing a malevolent wolf-spirit from continent to continent for the better part of four centuries." She grinned. "I'm a better tracker than you are."

Head tilted, he looked at her curiously. "Is that a challenge?"

A winsome smile. "Maybe."

"You're on."

The two matched gazes for a long moment and then sprinted from the room. Still, before they were out of earshot, Ian 2.0 removed a C.D. and placed it in the study's stereo system. To a swing beat came the lyrics.

"Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood, you sure are looking good, you're everything that a big bad wolf could waaaant!"

As she ran, Bola rolled her eyes.

* * *

Not too long thereafter, Ian 3, the Nottingham of the current season, looked across the crowded dining room. As part of his nightly Pez- watching, he'd tracked Sara to the restaurant. When he spotted her dinner companion, subtlety was abandoned as his jaw dropped halfway to the floor. He'd met this personage at the aftermath of the "V" affair, and knew him.

"The Devil. She's having dinner with the Devil, and I'm still out of luck?" He put his head in his hands. "I just can't win."

"Well," came a light voice beside him, "You really haven't the best track record."

"Oh, hello Bola."

"I mean, you cut her boyfriend's throat, and then you throttle that sweet Gabriel boy who has such a crush on her...If I were her, I'm not sure I'd even like you much."

"Everyone with an unnaturally-long lifeline wants to give me romantic advice," Ian 3.0 sighed. "Is it some side-affect of immortality or the afterlife that you must play matchmaker for the thirty-year-old virgin?"

"Well, you've got to admit, it's an opportunity that doesn't come along often in this day and age."

"There is that," he admitted. "So, I assume you've been talking to my brothers if you're acquainted with my greatest hits."

"That's part of the real reason I'm here," Bola replied. "I'm going to be staying at the mansion for a while, until I figure out where I'm going next."

"Well, you're certainly welcome," he said. "So, what's the rest of the reason?"

"Oh, I bet your oldest brother that I could find you before he did."

"Well, you seem to have won that wager," Ian 3.0 replied. "I don't see him anywh-"

"May I show you to a table?" came a very familiar voice from behind them. There stood Ian One, impeccably groomed in a maitre d's tie and jacket, and showing not the slightest sign of exertion.

Bola hit her head with the heel of her hand. "D'oh!" Ian the First just smiled oh-so-slightly, and shrugged.

"Well, since I'm here," the Immortal girl continued, "I might as well catch up on the gossip. Is she really having dinner with the Devil?"

"It looks that way," Ian One confirmed. "I met him too."

"Hmm. Well, I've got something to ask him." Taking a roundabout route so that Pez wouldn't see her immediately, she approached the table, listening in on some of the conversation.

"Look," Pez was saying, "If it's a relationship you're after, I don't think that's going to happen. I'm really not interested in bearing the Antichrist."

"Oh, that's nothing to worry about," the Devil replied. "It's already in the works. Lex is progressing quite nicely, I might add." As Pez gave him a cockeyed look, Bola moved into her field of vision. Pez goggled for a moment, then looked resigned.

"Oh, yeah. Immortal. Well, you checked into the morgue with Lupo, so that case is closed." She grinned. "I know nothing."

"How delightfully dishonest of you," her dining companion said. Bola noticed that he was idly unscrewing the top of the saltshaker. "Now, did the young lady have a question for me?"

"I did. I want to know if Lupo is safely locked away in Hell, enduring torment the likes of which I could not conceive."

"Oh yes," said the Prince of Lies. "Absolutely."

* * *

Lupo looked down at the game board. Irons controlled nearly the entire world, and he was confined to a small patch somewhere near Abu Dhabi. "This is boring," he said. "What's on TV?"

"M. Night Shyamalan movie marathon," Del Toro replied. "Sixth Sense is next."

"Oh, good," Lupo said. "I never saw that. Was a banner year for hate, you know." He flipped on the TV and noticed that Irons had vanished. Oddly enough, the computer was on. He ignored it.

The Sixth Sense began, and Lupo noticed a small crawl of letters over the bottom of the screen, impossible to ignore. It said, over and over, "Bruce Willis is dead."

"Damn it!" the lupine creature raged.

Del Toro looked up from the card house he was building with his tarot deck. "Could it be you're finally catching on?"

* * *

~~~~~MEANWHILE, IN THE NETHERWORLD, WHICH IS DIFFERENT FROM HELL~~~~~YOU KNOW, GHOSTBUSTERS, EARLIER STORIES, BLAH BLAH BLAH...~~~~~

...

...

...

...

~~~~~UH-OH...~~~~~

* * *

END

TMF

Extra Credits: AudreyCherie, thanks for the brainstorming session! Thanks to all my regular reviewers for your feedback - love you guys!

Rejected titles for this fic included:

"Three Little Nottinghams"

"Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard"