By Yoiko

It was a dark and stormy night. Quatre Raberba Winner rolled his eyes at the cheesy introduction and then chose to ignore the narrator, who was goofy as Hell and might very well slap him into a SPAMfic if he said anything. Being a wise boy with no masochistic tendencies, Quatre chose to keep quiet.

The rain poured down from an angry sky, and every few minutes a bolt of lightning ripped through the night, illuminating everything with stark light and then vanishing with a deafening thunderclap. Quatre clenched the steering wheel of his battered car nervously as the latest blinding flash made the inky blackness seem all the darker. Through bursts of static, the cheerful refrain of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" crackled over his radio. Quatre slowed to a crawl as the pouring rain cut his visibility drastically. He should probably stop the car and wait, but he desperately wanted to get home, and at least creeping along would get him there a little faster than standing still.

"I hate storms," Quatre muttered to himself, clutching the steering wheel in a white-knuckled grip as more lightning flashed.

"We interrupt 'Classics of Ancient Earth' to bring you an important news bulletin," the radio announced. Quatre turned the volume up a little without taking his eyes from the two feet of road visible in front of his car.

"City officials have just confirmed that a dangerous lunatic has just escaped from Arkham Asylum. Be on the lookout for this dangerous killer, and report anything suspicious to the local authorities immediately. And now, back to our regularly scheduled program." Quatre's wide blue eyes peered into the darkness nervously as the song "Like a Virgin" blared through the radio.

"No problem, don't worry about it," Quatre whispered to himself. "Just keep on going... oh, God, it'll be so good to get home..." Another crash of lightning made him jump, and then he heard a horrifying sound.

THUMPthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump... he slowly pulled the car to a stop, his heart sinking. A flat. Well, he could either sit here like a duck and wait for the dangerous lunatic to find him, or he could change the tire. This wasn't going to be pleasant.

The water pelted him in a cold wash as he stepped out of the car and scrambled over to the trunk to get the spare. Icy droplets soaked through his clothes, dripped off the ends of his bangs, trickled in tickling streams down the back of his neck. He yanked the spare out of the trunk, slipped, and landed on his backside in freezing mud with the tire in his lap. Muttering curses that should have peeled the paint off the car door, Quatre struggled back to his feet and dragged the tire over to the flat one, then went back for the jack.

He was lucky, at least, that there was nice, firm ground for the jack and tires to sit on. Jacking the car up wasn't nearly as hard as he'd thought it would be, and the rain was finally slowing down.

Fumble-fingered because of the cold and his haste, Quatre popped the hubcap off and placed the lug nuts in it as he removed them. He had just placed the new tire in its position and picked up the hubcap holding the nuts when a last bolt of lightning crashed nearby, lighting up the whole area... and he saw that someone was walking toward him, slowly. Quatre jumped, startled as the thunderclap followed, and the hubcap fell, sending lug nuts in all different directions.

Quatre's heart lodged in his throat, and a squeaky little whimper of terror worked its way past his lips as he saw the person walking toward him a little faster. He dropped to his knees, scrambling in the dark and the mud to try and find even one of the lug nuts.

The person was close enough that Quatre could hear the approaching footsteps over the steadily-slackening patter of raindrops, and in a moment of blind terror Quatre realized that when he had spotted the person, the black and white stripes of a prisoner's outfit had been clearly visible.


Quatre was ready to leap to his feet and run for his life when he felt a long, slender hand on his shoulder. Petrified, he turned to meet the lunatic face to face. Dripping long auburn bangs covered half the man's face, but one gleaming green eye was visible.

"Why don't you just take one nut off each of the other tires?" the man asked mildly, then continued on his way.

Muttering curses and death threats against the fanfic writer, Quatre did as the slender, green-eyed man had suggested, and drove home to the haunting refrain of "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight."