AN: I'd like to thank all who read and favorited/alerted this story. :D

---

"That's not possible," Notte said, staring at Madame Domingo in shock. "My father's been dead since I was six."

"Dead?!" Madame Domingo screeched in laughter, "You think he's dead?! My dear boy, there are a lot of things you don't know! You are a lot less informed than I thought." She paused, looking thoughtful. "Hmm…this might go over my head." Another pause. "Who am I kidding, I am over my head!"

"Uhh…" interrupted Notte, "Don't you mean you're in over your head?"

Madame Domingo looked up. "Of course not. I'm over my head, not in it."

Notte stared at her. "Ooookay, cool. Now, I'm just gonna go inside and pretend none of this ever happened, if that's alright with you."

"It's certainly not alright with me," she said, "I've been sent here on a mission that I fully intend to carry out."

"Well," replied Notte, "You're not doing a very good job of getting anything done other than confusing, not to mention scaring, the hell out of me. So, plainly state what you want and then get the hell off my porch."

Madame Domingo sniffed. "Rude little man, aren't you?"

"Yes." Notte said, smirking.

"Well!" Madame Domingo upturned her nose and looked haughty. "Well, well, well, if you're going to be rude, I will be too!" At that, she snapped her fingers and Notte felt a tingle travel through his body, stopping at his nose and giving him the powerful sensation of one about to sneeze. He opened his mouth, gasping and his eyes watering, but the sneeze never came. Instead, he got the sudden feeling of running smack-dab into a wall. The force knocked him over onto his back and all went black.

---

Back across town in that airy loft above an art studio, a young woman stirred in her bed, rubbing her eyes. With a yawn, she turned on her side and was suddenly nose to nose with a strange man she had never seen before.

They both screamed sat up, the man backing away against the opposite wall and the woman picking up a nearby lamp as if it were a weapon.

"Who the hell are you!?" Tess Carol shouted, brandishing the lamp.

"Notte Important!" the man said, rubbing his eyes and staring at her in shock.

"What the hell are you playing at? Tell me who you are!" she said.

"I did! My name is Notte Important!" Notte yelled, tearing at his hair in frustration. Where was he? He vaguely remembered needing to sneeze, seeing stars burst before his eyes, and then waking up to see brick walls and a red-headed woman lying next to him.

Tess paused, looking him up and down. He was a lanky, fidgety man who looked just as shocked as she felt. Furthermore, he looked like he would snap in half if someone so much as punched him in the shoulder. She lowered the lamp.

"How did you get in here?" she asked.

"I don't know, I swear. Last night, I came home from a bar, and there was this lady who was threatening me and coming on to me and, fuck, I don't know what happened." Notte (attempted) to explain, realizing that he had one hell of a hangover. He sat down on a nearby stool, massaging his temples.

"You've got to be crazy." Tess muttered, "That, or an idiot. What'd you do last night, just wander in here? I locked the door last night." She looked at him once more. "C'mon, get up. Let's go see if you broke my door down or something."

Tess and Notte rode the elevator down, Notte staring at his shoes the entire time. When they reached the lower level, Tess noted that nothing looked out of place. The door was just as she left it; locked, curtain drawn, closed sign still up. As a matter of fact, the lower level didn't look any different.

"What'd you do, teleport here?" Tess asked, looking him in the eye. He looked back earnestly, no sign of ill intent anywhere on his pale face. Just confusion.

"Please don't call the police. I'll just leave. None of this ever happened." Notte said, pleading.

"Call the police? Why would I do that?" Tess asked.

"Why wouldn't you?" Notte replied. There was an ample pause during which Tess looked him over again. Nothing that weird about him. Just a sad looking man.

"You don't seem like a fishy guy, and for some wigged out reason, I believe you when you say you don't know how you got here." Notte visibly relaxed and threw her a shy smile.

"Now, that leaves us the question of how you got here, exactly…" Tess was interrupted by a series of three loud knocks on the door. Tess drew aside the curtain and looked outside, Notte peering over her shoulder. He gasped suddenly and fell backwards.

"T-T-That's her! The woman from last night!" he said, pointing at the door.

"Noooootte, my darling! Do come out and plaaaaay!" said the muffled voice of the woman standing outside. With raised eyebrows, Tess noticed that the woman was holding up an umbrella although there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

"Please, you've got to help me! Don't let her in!" Notte screeched, taking Tess by the shoulders and sounding desperate.

"Get back," Tess pushed him aside and opened the door a crack.

"The sign says we're closed." Tess said to the mysterious visitor, a woman wearing an elegant dress and a ton of make-up.

"Oh dearie, no use lying to me. Now why don't you just step aside and cast Notte out here, hmm?" the woman said, smiling humorlessly.

"Notte? There is no Notte here. I don't know what you're talking about." Tess lied, not very convincingly.

The woman scowled. "Sweetheart, I can see him. He's right behind you sitting on the ground and looking like he's just seen a ghost. I highly suggest you move aside and give Notte to me or suffer the consequences."

"Oh yeah?" Tess said, "Like what? What can an old broad like you do to me?"

The woman continued scowling, and even turned around as if to leave before her face lit up. "Ante, my dear! How do you do this fine morning?"

Tess stuck her head out of the doorframe far enough to see the strange grocery clerk from last night standing there on the sidewalk, a bouquet of flowers in his hands. He stared, wide eyed, at the woman.

"Oh. I forgot," the woman said, frowning. "You don't talk."

Ante's eyes, if possible, went even wider and he dropped the bouquet at his feet before turning on his heel and running as fast as he could in the opposite direction.

"He's like a rabbit. Too timid for my taste." The woman said, before turning back to Tess. "Alright, I'm starting to get bored. Either surrender Notte or I'm going to get mad."

"As I said, what could you possibly do to me?" Tess said, leaning against the doorframe and wondering, in the back of her head, why Ante had had those flowers.

The strange woman sighed. "Alright, you asked for it. I guess I'll just have to bring you with him."

"Bring us whe-" Tess's question was cut off as she got the sudden urge to sneeze, her eyes watering and her mouth opening but the sneeze never coming.

"Madame Domingo, what are you doing-" Notte yelled, before he was cut off by the want to sneeze as well. The two's last image before fading away was the sight of Madame Domingo's smirking face, and, in the distance, the sound of Ante's running feet.

---

AN: Questions, comments, anything thing at all? I'd love to hear from you guys. Tell me what you think! :D