Author: Notmanos
E-Mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
Disclaimer:  The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the
character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics.  No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the
arts, I won't object. ;-)  Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!   

Logan pulled the amber gem out of his pocket, and slapped it on the table, putting his forehead back down on his other arm and never once looking up at Bob. "This better be it."

He heard Bob shift in his chair, and after a moment, he said, "Nope - it's green."

He looked up at him in disbelief, only to find Bob giving him that Cheshire Cat smart ass grin, his white teeth nearly blinding him even in the dim light of the bar. "Just havin' ya on, mate - that's it."

Logan's eyes narrowed to deadly slits. "Don't even joke. Do you know what I went through for that fucking thing?"

"The Plano de los Caballos Mestenos with a couple of grumpy vampires," Bob replied, although not flippantly - if he had dared to be flippant, Logan would have been forced to smash his head into his computer. "And I'm really sorry about that, but Helga's off after the amulet of Ulm."

"You're making that up."

"Am not."

"Then why does it sound like something in a Monty Python sketch?"

Bob thought about that a moment, staring blankly at the monitor."You may have a point there. Well, I have no control over the names of these things. That wasn't my department." He went back to typing on his keyboard, the look on his face so serious Logan knew it was false.

"Another joke?"

"Of course."


"-up," the Sisters said. Logan looked at them just in time to see a beer bottle flying towards him at an insane speed. Still, he managed to snag it in mid air, and pretend they really weren't trying to bean him with it. He scowled at them, and from where they were sitting at the bar with their cups of blood, they gave him those stereo creepy smiles again. Man, never working with them again would still not be enough.

He put the bottle on the table and turned his gaze on Bob. "So what's with all this crap? How does this help us?"

"I'm building a finder."

"Huh?" The Sisters had thrown him an imported beer with a lid that needed an opener, so he briefly popped a claw and pried the cap off with the tip before retracting it inside his hand. If anyone noticed, no one looked twice - but then again, this was  a demon bar. What qualified as strange here?

"Basically a mystical GPS locator. It ain't like I can go pick one up at Kmart."

"So while I was off with them, getting a cattle prod in the balls, you were sitting on your ass surfing the web?"

Bob looked up, startled. "You got a cattle prod in the balls? Good god man, how the hell are you walkin'?"

"Not easily."

"Jesus. Get out of here, go catch a break while you can, okay? And I thought you smellin' of blood and cordite was bad enough."

Logan sat back and drank the entire beer in a single gulp; he was still thirsty from that desert heat, on top of all the fighting and digging. It wasn't a bad kind either - that helped.

He set the empty bottle down heavily on the table and sighed. "I dunno," he admitted, scrubbing a hand through his hair. He was tired, but he didn't know if he should waste his time that way - according to Bob, once things got going, they couldn't stop.

"Got a shower and a bed in the back if you really don't think you can make it back to your place."

That made up his mind for him. That and the continued ache in his balls and chest - there was nothing like multiple high velocity bullets to ruin your day. But a cattle prod to the balls pretty much ruined your year. "Nah, I'll be okay. Let me know the instant we're ready."

"Absolutely. Can't do it without you," Bob agreed, then gave him that mischievous wink before turning his attention back to his computer.

Maybe that was the problem here; maybe it would have been better for them all if he could.


Once Logan got back to his cheapo motel room, he considered taking a shower to wash the rest of the blood off, but he was remarkably enervated. He wanted to blame the heat - it was a hot day in Los Angeles too - but he'd been running hard on adrenaline and irritation since Mexico, and it was finally starting to flag.

He laid down on his lumpy mattress, which reeked of the industrial detergents all cheap motels and hotels used on their blankets and sheets, and listened to the old air conditioner crammed in the window rattle like a freight train. At least it was loud enough to cover up the street noises, and the hooker and the john in the next room finishing up their business transaction. He stared up at the old acoustic ceiling tiles - he didn't think it rained enough for water stains to appear...but then again, if those weren't water stains, he didn't want to know what the hell those were - and figured as soon as the ache subsided to a duller thud, he'd get up and take a shower.

But he fell asleep before he could.

He only realized he was asleep when he "woke up", only to find he wasn't in his motel bed. The bed he was in was much more comfortable, and he was laying on his side, looking at a wall with some strange neon palm tree hanging on it ... oh shit.

He was shirtless and achy, but it was an ache spread out to different parts of his chest and back, and it just felt ... different somehow, in a way he couldn't name. He felt Mariko get into bed beside him, conform her body to his, her breasts pressing against his back as she draped an arm around his waist. "I hate this," she whispered, her breath warm against the nape of his neck.

"I know," he murmured, putting his hand over hers. "I ain't thrilled about it either."

"Being a bodyguard doesn't mean you should be a human shield."

"Sometimes the Takabes bring it down to that."

"You're not indestructible. You can't keep doing this to yourself."

"I said I'd keep your family alive to the best of my ability."

"Not at the expense of yours."

"Actually, yeah - check the fine print."

She pressed her face into the back of his neck, interlaced her fingers with his, and said, "I don't want to lose you, Logan, and I hate seeing you hurt so badly."

"I recover."

"That's not the point, and you know it."

He did, but he didn't know what to tell her that would make her happy, so he didn't say anything. He just drifted in and out of a loose semi-consciousness while his healing factor made his whole torso feel like it was on fire, somewhere beneath the deep bruising. But he was aware of her, the smell of her, the warmth of her body, the comfort of her touch, and he knew why he was putting himself through this. It was all for her, yet he knew if he said that she'd be furious, or guilt ridden, or both, and he didn't want her to see this as "her" fault. He had no idea how he managed to get along all these years without her - they all seemed so empty now.

He drifted into consciousness feeling her kiss the back of his neck, and he drew he hand to his lips and kissed her palm, then kissed her wrist, savoring the taste of her skin. Suddenly he wasn't feeling the blood loss so acutely anymore. He shifted carefully before turning over, giving her fair warning, and he was hardly on his back before her mouth covered his, kissing him passionately, her hands gliding over the newly healed skin of his chest. She felt so warm, and in spite of the residual burning in his newly healed muscles and bones, he wanted her warmth like a drug.

But when she pulled away from him, he realized something was wrong, and he saw what instantly.

It was not Mariko looking down at him but a woman he had never seen before .... but why did she seem familiar anyways?

She had mid length straight black hair that seemed to hug her face in a flattering manner, setting off her creamy skin tone and the flecks of hazel and gold in her otherwise green eyes. She smiled at him sadly, her beestung red lip revealing the slightest hint of a scar on her top lip, so pale and faint with age it was almost invisible. There was something vaguely exotic about her ( Eurasian popped to mind ), and the way tiny lines gathered in the corners of her almost feline eyes, he knew she was at least in her thirties, although she hardly looked it. "They really did make you forget all about me, didn't they?" She said, her delicate soprano voice betraying a tinge of a Canadian accent.

Logan woke up and stared up at the ceiling, hoping that had been dream infringing on a memory.

He grabbed a pillow and pressed it over his face, using both arms, hoping somewhat obliquely that he could smother himself to death. No, no, no! He was tired of this, tired of mysteries his mind coughed up without explanation, ones he didn't dare trust.

But he knew ... he knew that face, that voice. He didn't know how. But he felt that dull knife twist in his gut again, the one he felt when he thought about Mariko ... who was she?

He kept telling himself she could have been a telepathic implant, something someone made up to torment him, and yet, even so, he knew one thing - she was another person he had failed. He failed so many, so goddamn much, so often, irrevocably, usually fatally. Damn it!

He screamed into the pillow, a sound of pure rage and anguish that hardly made him feel any better. He wanted it to stop - that's all he wanted. He wanted clear answers, things he knew he could trust with his heart and his gut, since he knew he could no longer trust his mind, but part of him was afraid to look for answers. He was afraid because he was afraid he'd trip over all the bodies in his wake; the killed, the wounded, the captive, and the let down - betrayers and betrayed alike.

He hurt, and he knew without knowing how that he had hurt others in turn. Bully and slave; victim and tormentor. What he didn't know was how much of that was of his own free will, and how much of that was others pulling his strings. And how many people he had left behind, living or dead.

Something inside him felt fundamentally broken, and he loathed the feeling. he wanted to fix it, or numb it, or make it go away - some part of him seemed to think violence would fill the gap, or balm the wound, but it hadn't, and he wasn't sure it ever would. He would never get the feeling to go away, and he would never be "fixed", never be whole. "So live with it, Logan," he muttered into the pillow. "Live with it!"

He lived with so much - what was one more?

He clutched the pillow harder to his face, unable to draw breath, causing a familiar sensation of suffocation tightness in his chest, but pain was good; even the nascent sense of panic in his brain, the autonomic response that told he'd been suffocated before, drowned before, been deprived of air and left to die, was good. Because it meant he was still capable of feeling something.

He wasn't completely broken, not yet.


Logan found a seedy bar up the street from his motel ( no surprise - this place, just south of Sunset, was a sleaze pit all the way ), a regular human bar as opposed to demon, and sat in a table at the back, swilling down awful beers and soaking in the general, slimy ambiance. He'd need a shower just to wash the smell of this place out of his clothes.

It was four o'clock in the afternoon, and the happy hour patrons ( more correctly for this place, it should have been called "Share the misery" hour ) hadn't started coming in yet, but this wasn't a bar for the casual; this was a bar for depressives and low lifes, obsessive drinkers who had simply given up and ceded themselves body and soul to their inner demons. It showed in the dark wood panel, darkened further by years of cigarette smoke, body odor, and despair, intangibles that always left marks whether people knew it or not. He could smell illness in here too, livers on the verge of failure, cancers, cells dying en masse; people in the grip of slow motion death. Sometimes you could see it in the color of their skin, in the sallowness of their eyes, but most time it was obvious only to him - the afflicted wouldn't know until it was far too late.

He was enjoying a little wallow in misery on their behalf, trying to block out the basketball game on the t.v. over the bar and the tinny rock music spilling from a radio somewhere down the hall leading to the reeking restrooms, and that's when he smelled someone familiar and too clean for this place. He sighed, propping an elbow on the scarred table and resting his head in his hand, and said, "You are stalking me, aren't you?"

"Now come now, I went by your motel and you weren't there," Bob said, taking the seat opposite him. None of the sad sacks littering the stools around the bar noticed the young looking pretty boy in the leather pants and the "My god is bigger than your god" t-shirt ( Bob really did like his little jokes, didn't he?) had stepped seemingly out of nowhere, never having come in the door. "I followed the trail of flop sweat and despair to here." He looked around, taking in the atmosphere with a long glance, and said, "Wow. This place wants to make you sniff glue and stick your head in a toaster oven, doesn't it?"

"Thinkin' of makin' the Way Station over in its image?"

"Oh yeah. This place'd be the ant's pants to the demon strata."

Ant's pants? He wasn't even going to ask. "Are you ready for the finder or whatever?"

"No, not yet, but Hel's inbound." He settled back in his chair, pushing it back slightly to accommodate his long legs as he extended them beneath the table, and folded his hands on his flat stomach, looking at him in a way that Logan really didn't like.

"Don't look at my thoughts," Logan growled. But he knew it was probably too late.

The way Bob cocked his head, he knew he was right. "Places like this really ain't good for you. You let the misery overwhelm your senses, so you can get the focus off your own, but really you're just increasing it without knowing it."

"Don't analyze me."

In a lower voice, he said, "I can try and find her for ya."

Logan felt like he'd taken a sucker punch straight to the heart. He glanced away, so Bob didn't catch the wince, but why did he bother? Bob knew everything; he was Bob. Looking at you, you were nothing but an open book, with no secrets, no thoughts too private to escape his view, and it wasn't even his fault really - it was just the way he was. "Please, Bob, I don't - "

"I know it hurts, mate. It does help if you try and spread it around a bit, and I don't mean by causin' pain to others."

Logan glared at him. "Just shut up, okay?"

But of course he didn't - why did he even bother telling him to shut up? "Thoughts in general aren't linear; memories are messy things. And in a case like yours, that's especially true."

"A case like mine?" He didn't want to ask, but again he felt he had to.

"Where the engrams are regenerating spontaneously. You could get them in any order at all."

He snorted derisively. "Yippee."

"You do realize, mate, that for all intents and purposes, you should be a vegetable. How many telepaths have tap danced around your cranium? And that ain't even counting the drugs. They took everything they could from; your brains should be the consistency of undercooked scrambled eggs. But you healed even from that, and continue to do so. You're a bloody marvel, you just don't realize it."

"Oh yeah, I feel lucky." He gulped down the rest of his weak beer, and on sheer bloody minded impulse he threw the beer mug across the room. It shattered explosively on the wall behind the bar ... and no one even looked up from their drinks. He quirked an eyebrow at Bob, but he knew what he was going to say.

"They can't hear us. We don't exist to these people."

"I don't exist at all."

"You do. You're out there somewhere. Maybe if you weren't so flamin' paranoid and good at covering your tracks, we'd have had more by now. But the people you remember - there's the key. They usually made no attempt to disappear."

"And that probably helped get them dead. That, and knowing me."

Bob shifted slightly in his seat, as if it finally dawned on him how uncomfortable they were. "If anyone's entitled to a pity party, it's you - "

"I ain't having a pity party," he snapped, then added, "But if I deserve one, why not leave me to it?"

He sat forward,shifting his chair closer so he could rest his hands on the table. "Because I need ya focused, mate. These beings were takin' on will be looking to take advantage of every weakness they can find, and I need you ready to get past it. I know you've sucked up a lot of pain, but things may get really ugly before they amp up to totally horrible."

Logan grimaced wryly, almost not trying to let his anger show before simply giving up on it - Bob knew anyways. "I can carry my end of things, all right? I told ya I'd help - I must be insane, but I did - and I don't fall down on the job. I keep my word."

"I know that. But I hate to see you hurting so much now before we even get started."

There was so much empathy in Bob's eyes that he hated it; he wanted to throw the table over and bludgeon him with it. But it wouldn't do any good, because even if Bob let him, he'd probably still feel sorry for him. "I'm fine," he said through gritted teeth, trying to fight down the raged that roiled through him. To no useful effect - what could he do against Bob? And why was he agreeing to this insanity? If he couldn't do anything to Bob, how could he possibly do anything Ares and Kumiho, and whoever else was in their god parade? "Just drop it."

Bob leaned forward, folding his hands, and he looked oddly serious for him. "You wanna know what scares me, Logan? I've never told anyone about this, but it was back in the Botany Bay days, before I married Maggie, before I lost her and the kids. I once had this dream that the whole Sydney Town colony was dead - not a big shock, considering the rampant starvation at the time. But they had been dead so long their  bones had turned to dust; I was alone in this ghost town with the ashes of the dead blowin' in my face. And the longer it went on, I finally realized it wasn't just the colony that was dead. I didn't have my powers yet, but I could feel it in here." He tapped his chest with his fist, and for the first time, Logan noticed tears welling in his eyes. "Everyone everywhere was dead. Everything was - the entire planet was dead. Not just people either - animals, insects, plants. I was the lone living inhabitant of a ghost town on a literal ghost world. Even the sea ... it was so still it looked like glass. There wasn't even bacteria, unless you counted me; I was it. I was more permanently alone than anything that ever had existed." Bob must have noticed he was tearing up, because he let out the slightest scoff of a laugh, and brushed the tears  away with his fist. "Look at that - a hundred years or so after the fact, and it still gets to me." A stray tear tracked down his cheek, and, to Logan's surprise, he saw it wasn't clear, but a faint, delicate blue - like an azure drop of the sky frozen on his face. He knew Bob was inhuman, but it was the little things like that that really hit it home, in a way that removing them from reality somehow couldn't. Maybe he was just so accustomed to the bizarre, it was never the big time freak show he noticed, but the devils in the details. "My point is - and I do have one - is that that will probably be the fear they use against me. I want you to be ready for that."

"Do you think I can help you somehow?" His anger had drained away, sputtered out, and Logan wondered if he had told him that little story to do just that. Bob was crafty like that - sometimes he came at you head on, and sometimes he snuck in the back door. And they called Scott a "tactician"? He had absolutely nothing on Bob.

"I'm gonna do somethin' different with the power transfer. You know I have to give you some to keep you alive, right?" Logan nodded tersely. He knew the score of being his "avatar" - didn't like it, but he knew it. "I'm going to put an emergency hatch - so to speak - in it this time. If it - if I - start goin' balls up, I need you to take over."

Logan raised an eyebrow and carefully combed that statement over in his mind, wondering if he actually meant that. "Take over? Take over you?"

Bob nodded, seemingly in control of emotions again. "Yes. But only when it all goes arse about face, so no tryin' to play around, got it?"

He didn't bother to hide his smirk. "I'll do my best."

Bob matched his smirk with one of his own, like he was daring him to try it, and then he sobered abruptly, like a new wrinkle had occurred to him. But as he began to talk, Logan realized that wasn't it. "You know, you're the only person who can really grasp it. A lot of people - Humans and otherwise - want immortality, but they really have no idea what it means. They don't realize that it means watching everything - everything you loved, everything you know, everything you ever created - die around you. Destruction is as much a part of life as creation, but there's something about watchin' it happen all around you while you wait untouched, and know that that's never gonna happen to you ... it's empty, and somewhere beyond fear. The only people who want immortality have never really looked eternity in the face, and seen how cold it is."

Logan felt that chill now, all the way down to his toes, wicked enough to make his balls shrivel. He was right; he knew he was right down to the pit of his soul.

Who knew he and Bob had something in common?


They'd been back at the Way Station barely five minutes when Helga came in the door, carrying a machete in one hand and something bloody in the other.

She was in what must have been her "ninja outfit" - everything from her hip hugger jeans ( better for her tail ) to her sneakers to her sleeveless t-shirt were pitch black, and made her green hair and skin that much more attractively jade - and she was lightly splattered with red drops that could only be blood, although it didn't smell Human to Logan.

She slammed the bloody thing in her hand on the table in front of them as they both stood up, not so much out of politeness but out of the need to avoid being splashed with demon corpuscles. "I hate Krenlon demons," she said, wiping her bloody hand on the thigh of her pants.

The core of the bloody mess seemed to be something as much metal as bone, and Logan felt his stomach twist. If adamantium could be cut, it could be a piece of himself he was looking at.

"Where'd he have it surgically implanted?" Bob asked, unfazed as always.

"Inside his left radius and ulna. Ain't gonna be using them again."

"Hope he's a righty," Logan interjected. Actually, he didn't care much - this Ulm thing was an evil gimcrack of some sort, that imbued its possessor with great strength. But not great enough to be of any use against Helga and her machete of doom, it seemed.

"Well,I'll clean this sucker up and get crackin' on making the finder. Cheers, darlin'." Bob didn't touch the thing; he made an odd hand gesture over it, and the thing disappeared. Probably a wise choice.

"No way josé," Helga said, a stubborn set to her jaw. Her peridot eyes blazed with anger. "You are not leavin' me out this time."

Bob sighed, and said in his most placating voice, "Hel - "

She didn't let him finish. "Get me a sponsor, power me up. I am not sitting out this godfight."

"Love, I don't want you hurt in my name."

"But me gettin' hurt is okay?" Logan asked facetiously. He knew it wasn't that simple, but he had to say it anyways.

As it was, they ignored him. She scowled at Bob, and while her face was lovely ( albeit green ), she could look pretty damn demonic when upset. "Bob, damn you, if you love me at all you're not gonna stand in my way. And you ain't even gonna consider pushing me." As if to emphasize the point, she shook the machete in a slightly threatening manner.

Bob raised an eyebrow, but he was smiling very faintly, as if impressed by her basic audacity. That was quite possible - Bob seemed to love people for all the wrong reasons. "Do you care what side of the fence they're on?"

She shrugged. "As long as they're on our side, who gives a fuck?"

He clapped his hands and rubbed them together, as if this part of the pre-freak show was over. "Lovely. Well, clean up hon, I'll see if I can call in my chits. But of course there's one more problem, if I can trust what I found in the Keskarain Arcana."

Logan rolled his eyes. There was always one more thing. "What now?"

"We're missing a piece. The "heart of Agrona" - a bloodstone, apparently in the private collection of a very rich and very paranoid Bolla demon in Shepherd's Bush. And he has spells protecting against people usin' spells to 'port in, and against the use of psychic energy, and all sorts of crap. Mucho freako."

"England?" Logan wondered.

"Know another one?" Bob replied. A fair point.

"But he's got nothin' against people just walkin' in there and taking it?"

"Why would he? Who would dare?"

That was a good point, but Logan had an idea. "Can you get this all rolling while I go and get it?" He was tired of waiting around - if they were going to do this thing, he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.

Bob grimaced sympathetically. "Bollas are pretty nasty, mate. Even you will have a fight on your hands - and I ain't even counting all the mechanical and wetware security he's bound to have. He has a huge collection of occult artifacts and dangerous arcana."

Wetware? He must have meant people - or, more appropriately, demons - on guard. "Well, I'm not lookin' for a fight. I think I know a professional who could help us out. Get me a picture of this bloodstone?"

Bob gave him that open, rangy grin, and clapped him on the shoulder. "Sure I can't hire you on full time?"

"You can't afford me," Logan riposted, as Helga chuckled appreciatively.

Well hell, there had to be something Bob couldn't buy.


She answered the door a half minute after he knocked, and she must have known it was him, as she instantly threw her arms around his neck, and gave him a passionate kiss. At least he hoped he hadn't shown up at a bad time and interrupted a tryst.

He pushed her back gently so he could breathe, and said, "I bet it'd be stupid to ask if you missed me."

Srina gave him a crooked but sweet smile, her purple lipstick ( not quite matching her magenta hair, but close ) slightly smudged from the kiss. Logan wondered how much he was wearing now. "I just read your e-mail. How'd you get here so fast?"

"Would you believe I was teleported in?" He said, as she stood back and let him inside.

Her flat above the bookstore was pretty much the same as it had been the last time he was here; airy and light, with an eclectic mix of expensive knick-knacks and used furniture. Even though it was night here, her flat was so well lit it seemed like day, and he could see the lights of King's Road through her gauzy curtain liners as the Barenaked Ladies played faintly in the background and pictures flickered soundlessly on her big screen television. No wonder she had it muted - it looked like a documentary about cheese making, unless this was an advert. "Uh, okay," she said, sounding like she was humoring him as she threw all the locks on her door. "So what's the deal, Logan?"

He'd emailed her about an hour ago, as Bob looked up a picture of the heart of Agrona. He and Helga had looked up as much information about this Bolla demon - he went by the name Desmond Bolton, and seemed to have made a fortune on the tabloid market ( insert your own jokes there - Logan had wondered if he was responsible for all those "Page Three" girls with the off center nipples ) - and through "connections" of hers, she found a plethora of stuff on his "compound", including a general schematic of the physical security set up of the place. He shifted the knapsack off his shoulder and put it  on the loveseat, as he turned to face her, wiping her lipstick off his face with the back of his hand. "I got this friend, Bob, who needs a specific artifact in a big ass hurry, and I told him you were professional and you were good. I was hopin' to talk you into an emergency gig."

"And sway me with your charms?" She said, giving him a mock seductive look as she went to the loveseat, folding her legs beneath her as she sat down. She sat back lazily and draped an arm over the back of the seat, a magenta eyebrow raised as she visually appraised him. She was dressed casually in loose silk pants, black but decorated with Asian style red dragons, and an oversized grey t-shirt with a couple of holes in the collar from the sheer age of the thing. But somehow she still managed to look good.

He sat on the opposite end of the loveseat, shifting the knapsack to his lap. "Would that work?"

"Will you not break the handcuffs this time?" She asked, lifting her eyebrows in an exaggeratedly suggestive manner.

He smirked. "I dunno. How strong are the new ones?" Before she could answer, he opened the knapsack, and handed it to her. "Although Bob did give me this for you, since this is how you make your living."

She took the bag, and looked inside curiously. She was quiet for a long moment. "This is cash."

"Yeah. He believes in payin' his contractors."

She pulled out a stack of money, quickly rifled through it to assess its worth ( and make sure it wasn't counterfeit ), and then counted the number of remaining neatly rubber banded stacks of money in the bag. She counted it twice, and then looked at him, slack jawed and wide eyed. "Logan, this is a million dollars."

"Uh huh. I didn't know your fee." He had no idea why Bob had a safe full of British pounds, but maybe he didn't - maybe he zapped it in. He hadn't suggested a million, but Bob felt that was a nice round figure that no one ever said no to.

She closed the bag, but kept it on her lap, hands over it protectively. "What the fuck do you want me to steal? The Crown Jewels?"

"You'd do that for a million?"

"No, unless it was for starters. What's the gig?"

He told her as he pulled all the computer print out of the schematics out of his inner coat pocket. He unfolded them and showed them to her, and then gave her the photo of the heart of Agrona. It didn't look like much - like a big red lumpy rock with flecks of black in it, about the size of his fist - but according to the myth Bob told him, it channeled the energies of Agrona, a Celtic war goddess. Why Bob needed it for his finder he didn't bother to say.

"So, I  bust in to this guy's fortress, steal this ugly fire opal, and that's it?"


"For a million dollars?"

"Are you tryin' to barter for a bonus?"

"I'm not sure. You want this tonight?"

"Well, from what we figured, the best time to hit the place is at the crack of dawn. Bolton's a Bolla demon, so he sleeps a lot, and his vampire guards have to pack it in before the sun's up, so the best time would be the shift change, after the vampires hit their crypts but before the Ressiks come on duty."

Her plum colored eyes studied him skeptically. "More demon shit?"

"More demon shit," he agreed ruefully.

"But no werewolves?"

"Not to my knowledge."

She sighed, and opened the bag once more, looking at the money. Even Logan had to admit he'd have a hard time saying no to a million dollars cash thrown in his lap. "It can't be as easy as it looks."

"I know. Want me to come with?" He was sort of planning to do so anyways. She knew nothing about vampires.

"You'll cramp my style," she said, sarcastically dismissive. "If it's a simple smash and grab - cat burglar bollocks - it'll be a cinch."

"I'm comin' with you anyways. I'll remain outside the estate grounds, just in case there's trouble, all right?" She looked like she was going to protest, so he didn't give her the chance. He pulled the communicator out of his pocket and held it out to her. "Wear this. It clips to your ear. If you get in over your head, just give me a shout."