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the history of the world

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Gabe Saporta is sitting outside her hotel room, his back against the door and his long legs stretched out in front of him, neatly bisecting the narrow hallway. He's reading her copy of The Visual Encyclopedia of Serial Killers.

"Gabriel," she says.

He looks up, closing the book over his index finger. "Greta, my peach, my gumdrop!" She rolls her eyes, but he carries on, blithely, "Did you know that the historical Sweeney Todd bore a striking resemblance to a notorious Scottish cannibal named Sawney Bean?"

"In fact I did," Greta says, raising her eyebrows, "as that is, in fact, my book you are reading."

"Ah yes," Gabe says, "that." He gets to his feet and leans languorously against the door. "I'm afraid I broke into your hotel room."

Greta crosses her arms and stares him down—stares him up, really, but it's the spirit of the thing—"Then I'm afraid there will be repercussions."

Gabe spreads his hands, "Well, that's the thing." He smiles, the picture of innocent insouciance, "I was hoping that perhaps we could—negotiate."

"Hmm." Greta trusts Gabe about as far as she can throw him, which, unlike most of the Decaydance family, is not actually very far. On the other hand, they have certain interests in common. "Let's go inside."

He steps aside, and she unlocks the door. The keycard sticks slightly in the lock and she shoots Gabe an annoyed glance, but he's paging through the book again, uninterested and unrepentant. Inside, her hotel room is almost—but not entirely—as she left it an hour ago. Her suitcase is haphazardly zipped and her books are out of order, but there's a distinct lack of either condiments or farm animals, so she's still ahead.

"You have some awesome underwear," Gabe says, behind her, "I particularly like the green frogs. And the black lace."

"Fuck you," Greta says, without much heat, and bends over to rifle through her suitcase. Somewhat surprisingly, her underwear is all still intact.

"Panty pranks are very 2006," Gabe adds, apparently reading her mind. "We try to keep ahead of the times in Cobra Starship."

"I see," Greta says, turning around. Gabe smiles at her, again, but if the angle of his eyes is anything to judge by, he was staring at her ass five seconds ago. "So what did you have in mind?"

His grin turns wicked, "I have a carton of kerosene, a bathtub full of green jell-o, Patrick Stump's second-best trumpet, a banana cream pie, and the master keys to the hotel and the venue. This year's Decaydance festival requires style."

Greta is impressed in spite of herself. "So what do you want me for?" she asks, and then immediately regrets her wording when Gabe leers at her. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't offer my not inconsiderable skills and this new information to William," she adds sharply.

"Ryan Ross."

"Ryan Ross?" Ryan is a deadly menace, an evil genius, and an excellent ally, but he stays out of all but the most extreme prank wars. Ryan Ross ups the stakes.

"I kidnapped him," Gabe clarifies, "and then Suarez wooed him with felt."

"That's—"

"Impressive?" Gabe suggests, "Extraordinary? Devastatingly sexy?" It is devastatingly sexy, is the thing, but Greta isn't about to let Gabe know that she's kind of turned on by his scheming. Her boys follow her lead fairly brilliantly, but sometimes they lack initiative.

"I was going to say foolhardy," she says, instead. "Ryan Ross is playing with fire."

"That's why I have kerosene," Gabe says promptly, "and a lot of felt. When I left, they were making Team Saporta hats and Ryland was getting out the puffy paints. Which is why I need you to keep them in line." He sighs, just a little too dramatically, "Also, Victoria went out with Travis and Katy, and I need a front man. Otherwise we're doomed, and all I'll have to show for it is a lot of hats and nowhere to take a shower." He widens his eyes at her, almost pleading, "Come on, Greta. Are you in, or do I have to let the sheep loose in your instrument trailer?"

She looks at the Visual Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, still in Gabe's hand, and starts to giggle. "It does seem a downright shame," she says, "an awful waste, even, when there's pie and jell-o and Patrick's trumpet involved. Not to mention Ryan Ross." She steps around Gabe to dig in the closet, and takes out the garment bag with Ashlee Simpson-Wentz's bear suit. "I might even have something to add." She unzips the bag just far enough to give Gabe a quick peak, and then quirks an eyebrow, "What do you think?"

Gabe drops the book on the bed, grabs her shoulders, and kisses her, fast and hard. "My dear Greta," he says, backing away before she can hit him, "What a charming notion!"

"Eminently practical and yet appropriate as always," she sings lightly, although it takes effort and determination to neither blush nor kick him in the balls.

"How I did without you all these years I'll never know," Gabe sings back, cheerfully, "how delectable and undetectable!" He links his arm through hers, grinning.

"Let's do this thing," Greta says, on key, and they go out the door together, singing in chorus.