"I find," Havoc said, "that if you turn a catgirl over and rub her belly, she'll be purring contentedly in no time. And they actually make for the best tantric masseuses you've ever had!"
          Demolition drew himself up and towered ominously over Havoc. "Oh yeah?" he said...and then pulled out a notepad. "When could you schedule me in for a half-hour session?"
          There was a collective groan from the couch being occupied by the Outer Senshi. "Dammit, Havoc," Setsuna snapped, "We're talking about something more important than that!"
          Havoc scratched his head as he tried to ponder what might hold a greater significance and meaning in life than catgirl masseuses. "Fanservice?" he ventured.
          Haruka rolled her eyes. "I shouldn't have expected anything better to come from the self-inserted pervert to end all perverts," she said in a particularly snarky voice.
          "Madame," Havoc sniffed, thoroughly offended, "I'll have you know I am the self-inserted pervert to *rule* all perverts."
          "Oh, please!" Michiru sighed. "Like any avatar, you're probably so full of yourself that you think it's a good thing you cry out your own name during a lemon scene."
          One of Havoc's eyebrows went up. "Oro?"
          Haruka sat up in her chair. "I call that little bluff," she stated. "Just what makes you think you're the author's gift to Anime?"
          Upon hearing this, Havoc rose to the challenge. He stood up, and proceeded to unzip his pants. Suddenly the room was filled with a celestial chorus proclaiming, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelu--"
          Havoc abruptly zipped his pants back up, and the singing stopped. Then he unzipped his pants again.
          The Inner Senshi facevaulted.
          Haruka just stared at Havoc's pants, her jaw hanging open, her eyebrow twitching fiercely. Michiru frowned and turned to her partner. "Now why don't your pants do that when you unzip them?"
          Pesti-chan groaned and shook his head. "You have no one to blame for that but yourself, Haruka."
          "I'm just amazed there wasn't a brilliant burst of light from his crotch to boot," Demolition said, suddenly filled with the urge to find a drink with lots of alcohol in it.
          "You're thinking of Kekko Kamen's open thigh attack," Dark Mayhem corrected him.
          Havoc whirled and stared at Dark Mayhem in utter astonishment. "It's an attack?" he exclaimed. "I thought her Open Thigh was a sandwich! I have one of those from her every day for lunch!"

          [Cue the facevaults!]

          "Before I get bombarded by another unnecessarily vivid image," Pesti-chan said as he crawled back into his chair, "who else is there we can consult to find Chaos?"
          Demolition gave a shrug. "There's always a lot of spiritualists and psychics running around Tokyo."
          "Too much time, and they cost more money than we're willing to spend," Riot stated. "To hire a member of the Sumeragi clan, we'd have to most honourably pimp Pesti-chan off."

Pesti: o.O;; "WHAT?!"

          "How much more money would you guys need?" Makoto asked. "I know a few friends who'd like him..."
          "Mako-chan!" Pesti-chan exclaimed, more than a little panicked.
          Riot peered into his large sleeves and inspected the fanboys' accumulated wealth. "Ano...we have three most honourable buttons, a Lunatic Party dojinshi, and some navel lint."
          Haruka straightened up. "Really? What volume of Lunatic Party?"
          "Haruka, love," Michiru sighed. "Focus here. Who else is there we can make use of?"
          "Well, there is Anarchy," Demolition said. "She's about as much of a godplayer as we've got in this universe. If Chaos and Hotaru got themselves lost in some other Anime universe, she's bound to know about it."
          Rei scratched her head. "Why would she care where Chaos is?"
          "Anarchy likes knowing where her older brother is at any given time," Pesti-chan explained.
          Usagi smiled. "Aw, how sweet of her!"
          "Just in case she wants to smite him for no good reason," Pesti-chan finished.
          Usagi's smile flitted away. "That's not so sweet."
          "So where is Anarchy, then?" Ami asked.
          "She's the ultimate self-inserted avatar," Carnage sighed. "Knowing her, she could be anywhere in any Anime world she so chooses! There's no possible way of finding out, or even managing to garner enough attention from her to listen to us! That's why she's the godplayer! Why she...what are you doing, Mayhem?"
          Dark Mayhem casually strolled into his room, then returned moments later with an unopened bottle of Daiginzyoo-syu Sake. Setting the Sake bottle down on the coffee table, he sat back in one of the chairs, and simply waited.
          Pesti-chan leaned forward and peered down at the bottle. "What's this supposed to do?"
          As if a painful answer to his question, Anarchy suddenly appeared out of nowhere and shoved Pesti-chan aside. "Don't crowd the alcohol!" Anarchy exclaimed. "Give it room!"
          At the risk of stating the obvious, everyone sweatdropped.
          "Like mothras to a flame," Dark Mayhem said.
          "That's great and all," warbled Pesti-chan from his large avatar-shaped dent in the wall, "but could someone get a crowbar and help me, please?"
          Rather oblivious to Pesti-chan's newfound part-time job as a piece of wall art, Anarchy continued to happily cradle the bottle of Sake in her arms. "Oh yes, you're such a full bottle of expensive rice wine," she cooed. "Anarchy's going to take you away from this horrible place and give you a good home now. But first, we're hitting the karaoke bar!"
          "I can only hope the most honourable karaoke bar's walls are reinforced enough to survive the impact," Riot murmured to Dark Mayhem.
          "So, uh, Anarchy," Haruka ventured, trying not to get too much between Anarchy and her alcohol. "Any guess as to where your idiot brother is?"
          Anarchy perked up from the Sake bottle. "Oh, Chaos?" she remarked, growing immediately bored. "He's off somewhere with Hotaru. Why? Should I care?"
          "Yes, you should!" Setsuna said rising to her feet. "He's probably doing something indecent with Hotaru-chan right now!"

Ebichu: [with a graphic set of diagrams!] "Hai, dechu! They could be doing this position right now, dechu! Or that position, dechu!"

Carnage: [punting Ebichu & her easel into the kitchen!] "We don't need the visuals aids for this!"

          As Ebichu's diagrams went flying everywhere in her wake, Dark Mayhem snatched one out of the air and took a look at it. "Though apparently in this one they need a rather elaborate aid," he remarked, and then frowned. "How many pulleys does this contraption have?"
          "Ah, Anime!" Riot said as he glanced over Dark Mayhem's shoulder. "How we love its most honourable disregard for physics!"
          Ami and Makoto peered over to see the diagram. "Um...Carrot- chan?" Ami said. "I think you're holding the diagram upside-down."
          Makoto could only blush. "Oh my...I didn't know you could get into that position!"

Havoc: ^-^ [boing!] "Oh, it's easier than you think! Here, just put your left leg over this way, and watch!"

Makoto: "FREAK!!"


          "Give me thaaaaat!" Michiru exclaimed, grabbing the diagram away from the others. She glanced at it for a moment, and then frowned. "And just what makes that talking hamster think that our Hotaru-chan is actually a redhead?!"
          "C-Creative license, dechuuuu," warbled Ebichu from somewhere inside the cupboards.

*          *

          The Fanboys, when you got right down to it, were friends if not family. They might have insulted each other, or occasionally beaten each other to near death (make that regularly beaten each other to near death), but they were still a group of people united in a cruel universe by unusual circumstances, and they stuck together. And when he saw them suffering as much as they were, Chaos reacted as any Fanboy would.
          Hotaru smiled, feeling pleased that her efforts to keep the Fanboys distracted were working. At the rate things were going, they'd take forever to find her and Chaos, even the cleverest ones like Havoc. If Havoc ever really cared about finding Chaos in the first place. And as for the other Senshi...she knew Haruka and the rest of her family had been "infected" by the Fanboys to a degree, but the way they were acting, it was almost impossible to tell the difference anymore. No, they'd have some time to themselves.
          Especially with the false trails and clues coming up. Setsuna would have a fit.
          Chaos finally managed to calm down. "We're taping this, right?"
          Hotaru grinned and nodded.
          He smiled, the happy, carefree smile of someone with a lot of blackmail material at his disposal.
          Hotaru decided to take this time to steer him away from the closed-circuit TV. "Well, we don't have to worry about them getting anywhere near us at the rate they're going. And we're snowed in pretty thoroughly. So...what do you want to do, Chaos?"
          Chaos blinked, his situation coming back to him once more. He glanced over at Hotaru, who did her best to look innocent and sweet rather than give him the hot, sultry looks she wanted to. He started to twitch nervously anyway.
          She sighed inwardly, knowing she was trying to break him of three years of bad habits all at once. She went over to the cooler in the kitchen area and got out two hard lemonades, handing one to Chaos. She then wandered over to the couch. "I thought we might talk a little bit. You know, nothing specific, just the sort of talk we never get the chance to do normally."
          Chaos grabbed the other Hard Lemonade, sitting at the other end of the couch. After seeing Hotaru's face twitch a little, he moved closer to her. "Um...OK." He grinned idiotically. "You start!"
          Hotaru sighed. "Well, what was your life like before we met?"
          "Um...well, typical high school antics. Going to school with the other Senshi, dealing with the occasional evil threat to all humanity--"
          Holding up a hand, Hotaru interrupted. "No, before that. What about before you came here?"
          He stared. "I don't understand."
          "Where were you born, what was your childhood like?" she said, starting to get a little frustrated. Then she saw how uncomfortable Chaos was looking. In fact, he looked almost pained.
          "What is it?" she said.
          He sighed. "I don't know. None of the Fanboys really do. There are occasional memories of stuff we did before we arrived here, like HentaiCon 98, but...face it, Hotaru, we're fanfic characters. We don't have pasts. Our author never bothered much with character profiles and backgrounds. He's lazy that way."

His lordship Chaos: [slowly turning to Sean] "Why do you take such perverse desire in putting neon signs over the gaping plotholes in my series?"

Sean Gaffney: [shrug!] "Why do you take such perverse desire pushing as many readers as you can into gaping plotholes in your series?"

His lordship Chaos: "Touché."

          "That's not true!" Hotaru insisted, grabbing Chaos' hand. "I remember everything about my life!"
          Chaos nodded. "And that's because Naoko set out your entire past. Your life was a plot necessity, Hotaru-chan. Try asking Haruka or Michiru about their lives before they met sometime, though."
          Hotaru looked down, feeling a cold lump settle in your stomach. "How can you stand that?" she whispered.
          "We don't think about it," Chaos said. "Why do you think almost all the Fanboys live for the moment? There is no past to think about." He tried to shrug it off, but something in Hotaru's expression stopped him. She was staring straight down, her hair falling over her eyes. He wondered if she was crying.
          He tried to cheer her up. "It's not such a big deal, Hotaru- chan. I mean, we don't think about it. You haven't met any of us who are that depressed, have you? Well, except Deso, but that's not about his past...."
          Hotaru reached out and put her hand over Chaos' mouth, stopping his run-on monologue. "Chaos, I'm trying to change the future. Change how everyone behaves, especially you. But this..." she waved her hand around aimlessly. "I mean, it's just one more proof that we're all pointless one-dimensional fictional characters. That when we go back home, nothing will be different, it'll all turn out the same. We'll all die...."
          She couldn't even face Chaos. She was so sure that if she looked up, she'd see him staring vacantly into her eyes, or even worse, grinning inanely. She loved that part of Chaos...but she wanted it to be only a part. If that was all there was of him...of all of them... then none of this was worth it.
          She was therefore startled out of her wits when she felt herself being pulled into a hug. "Ch-Chaos...." she murmured.
          He wasn't saying anything, just holding her close. Probably didn't want to say anything stupid, she thought cynically. That didn't mean she didn't drink in his comfort like a sponge, settling into the embrace and feeling herself grow warmer by the second.
          After a long time just resting in each other's arms, Chaos finally spoke.
          "Something about your story seems really weird to me," he said.
          She looked up. "What?"
          "Why are we dying if we're Fanboys? I mean, our lives aren't angsty destruction. Our lives are wacky hijinks. The death thing doesn't make sense at all. Not with our author."
          Hotaru sighed. "But I saw it."
          Chaos nodded. "Maybe someone else takes over our series. It's happened before. There's a rumour that's been going round that our author is," Chaos glanced around the room in a moment of paranoia, "looking to retire from fanfics."
          Hotaru thought about that for a moment, then smiled. "Chaos, thank you."
          He looked up. "Huh?"
          She grinned, now ready to enjoy the confused expression on his face. "You just gave me hope that all of this means something."
          "I did?" He puffed out his chest. "I mean, I did! Of course, Hotaru-chan! You don't have to worry about a thing as long as I'm here!"
          She grinned, then leaned over. "I know," she said throatily. She then gave him a quick, yet incredibly passionate kiss.
          For a moment, it looked like he might even return it. She could see his eyes flare up with desire....
          Then they widened, and he stopped moving. His face remained frozen in a rictus grin, awaiting the pain that he was sure would be coming any second.
          Hotaru sighed. "Well, he's getting a little better," she mused. She laid him out on the couch, put a blanket over him, then went to the other side of the cabin to get ready for bed.

*          *

          Crumpling Ebichu's unnecessarily graphic diagram up, Michiru tossed the paper over her shoulder. She turned back to Anarchy to ask about Chaos and Hotaru again...but unfortunately for her, Anarchy was nowhere in sight. Neither was the Sake bottle, for that matter.
          "She left?!" Michiru exclaimed. "Doesn't she care about her brother getting fanservice?!"
          "She's got Sake to binge on," Ruckus said. "I don't really think she has reason to care."
          Haruka shot Ruckus a look. "Well, someone should make her care! I mean, she's always been randomly beating him up ever since we met you guys. Why would she start being so laissez-faire about that now?"
          "I'll answer that when I know what a lasso fair has to do with this," Usagi replied.
          Haruka blinked. "Wha?"
          Setsuna turned to Michiru. "Perhaps someone got to Anarchy before we could. So long as she was distracted with gratuitous amounts of Sake, and a free all-night pass to a Karaoke Bar, she wouldn't even think twice about anyone else."
          "You mean I wasted a good bottle of Sake for nothing?" Dark Mayhem sighed, rolling his eyes. "That's the last time I summon an all-powerful force of evil for you ladies."
          With an irritated growl, Haruka stood up, pulling Michiru up with her. Setsuna took her cue and joined them. "That's it," Haruka stated. "We're going to go out and find Hotaru ourselves. Your way is too slow and stupid--and besides, our business with kicking Chaos' butt takes priority over yours."
          Michiru smiled as her fingers began to slip beneath Haruka's pants. "Oooh, I love it when you act so S-season, Haruka."
          "Not now," Haruka muttered.
          Their planned dramatic exit, however, was foiled by two things: first off, the fanboys all blocking the door; and second, Havoc stole all their underwear.

Setsuna: -.-;; "Dammit, how does he do that?!"

Haruka: -.-;;; "Of all the days to be wearing those complimentary panties from Najica Blitz Tactics. Now I'll have to buy another DVD box set just to replace them."

          "Stand aside," Michiru stated, unwavering. "Stay here and play with your childish gags and flat puns."
          "Hey!" Hysteria exclaimed. "Hysteria does so not have a flat chest!"
          "A-Ano..." Michiru stammered, sweatdropping.
          Haruka rolled her head about, letting her neck crack. "We're going to rescue Hotaru, and smite Chaos."
          Carnage's eyes narrowed. "The only ones here who get to hurt Chaos," he stated, priming a Fireball spell in his hand, "are us."
          Setsuna raised her big-assed key and levelled it with Demolition and Riot's heads. "We won't hesitate to attack if any of you try to get in our way."
          "Hmph!" Riot sniffed. "Your kung-fu is nothing but kids' stuff."

Usagi: "Ne ne, this is one of those fights we don't want to get involved with, isn't it?"

Inner Senshi: [nod nod!] "Hai!"

          "Looks like we'll have to do this the old-fashioned way," Dark Mayhem stated. He looked to the apartment's vast assortment of occupants. "Okay, ladies and fanboys, the deal stands as this: whomever finds and reaches Chaos first is the one who gets first rights on smiting his sorry ass. Agreed?"
          "Hai!" chorused the Outer Senshi.
          "Hai!" chorused the fanboys.
          "Hai!" chorused the Inner Senshi.
          "What are we voting on again?" asked Usagi.
          Needless to say, everyone was quick to split up into teams. Of course, the three remaining Outer Senshi banded together, and they wasted no time racing out of the apartment, down the hall, waited three and a half minutes for an elevator, discovered that when the elevator came it was going up, waited another minute for another elevator, passed on that elevator when the doors opened up and they saw that the car was already full of Puchuu bears, finally got an elevator going down, and then took the elevator to the visitor's parking level, hopped into Haruka's yellow sports convertible...and Haruka was forced to admit that, yes, perhaps they should have gassed up beforehand, since the little gas gauge needle was pointing to the big, red 'E'.
          Not about to see Chaos' butt get kicked when stroking it was by far a better option, Ruckus went solo and leapt off the balcony. Before plummeting to a painfully comedic landing below, he deployed his secret ninja glider-kite. Don't ask any of us how he managed to hide something so ridiculously big.

Pesti: "But...really! How could something that big be secretly hidden? Even ninjas have limitations!"

Ruckus: ^^v "Oh, that's an easy one. I've got an eight inch-long, pan-dimensional codpiece!"

Pesti: o.O;;;;;

          And that is why we told you not to ask us about it.

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