Author: Notmanos
E-Mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
Disclaimer:  The characters of Angel and Drusilla 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!   

Bob nodded,adjusting something on his keyboard."The guy's a complete cipher,I've got nothing on him,which leads me to think it's a pseudonym.I'm trying to find a picture of him;the Weird Sisters said they don't know what kind of demon he is, they've never seen him."Nirvana's "Negative Creep" started playing,and giving him a sarcastic smirk,Bob said,"Now they're playing your theme song."

He frowned at him."And don't you forget it."

Bob chuckled faintly."You're such a dag,Logan."

"A dag?Is that good or bad?"

"In this context,good.But I'm not even gonna try and explain it."

Logan took a swig from his beer and looked around the bar,only to find the Spanish vampire had left and the Weird Sisters were still looking at him,smiling in a predatory way.He wasn't sure if he should be unnerved or simply flattered at the amount of attention he was getting from them.

"Holy shit,"Bob exclaimed,regaining Logan's attention.


"I've got the connection.Check this out."Bob spun his iBook around to face him,and on the screen was something that looked like a meteorological map,with a segment of an island in the ocean-surrounded by several small blips of islands in a chain-converged on by several dark grey lines from over the ocean and intersected over the green topography of the tiny island.It looked like the entire island was fogged over.

"Okay.What am I looking at-a tropical convergence zone?"

"The decaying ley lines all meet there.Whatever's happening on Dis is causing the dimensional thinning,and it's occurring on such a massive scale that's it bleeding out along the lines and affecting other areas."

Logan nodded,still not at all sure what it was he was seeing."Which means what,exactly?"

"Which means there's a hell of a lot more going on than a rich guy entertaining himself with blood sports.I wonder if they're really sacrifices."Bob turned the computer back to face him,frowning in consternation.

"So he's letting these people kill each other as a sacrifice to...what?His god?His insurance agent?"

"To something that's causing the dimensions to erode unnaturally."Bob continued to scowl at the laptop as he quickly went to work on his keyboard."This is worse than I thought.This is some major shit going down."

"Should we check it out?"Logan wondered,regretting it the moment he said it.

He suddenly smelled the company,and looked up to see the appropriately named Weird Sisters flanking their table.

"Volta-"the one behind Bob said.

"-surrounds-"the one behind Logan continued.

"-himself with-"


"-hates telepaths.He-"

"-won't allow them-"

"-on his island."

Bob cursed,continuing to work frantically on his keyboard."That means I'll probably get pegged the second I set foot on the island."

"You're not a telepath,"Logan pointed out.

"No-"the first sister agreed.


"-better than-"


Logan was almost used to this constant back and forth.The fact their voices were identical as well helped you get used to it. It was like a recording where the vocals had been split into separate channels."Scanners pick up psychic energy of any kind, and I'm kind of a psychic equivalent of a nuclear furnace,"Bob explained,a little line of concentration appearing between his eyebrows as he stared at the screen."I can avoid them for a little bit-I mean,they know I'm there but they can't pinpoint me- but if there's a lot of them I'm screwed.How many are we talking about,girls?"



"-he's very-"


"-has at least-"

"-twenty five,but-"

"-could have as many-"

"-as many as forty."

Bob shook his head,scowling in disappointment."Too many."

"But does that matter?You can take care of almost any threat."

"True,but tell me this:is it wise to go into strange territory blind?"

Hell,he had him there."No,not at all.You need to know the lay of the land-no pun intended- and the exact nature and rough number of the enemies you're facing.Otherwise you're just asking to get killed."



"-ways of-"

"-dealing with-"

"-psychic threats."

"What sort of ways?"Bob asked,never taking his eyes off the monitor.




"-just what-"

"-we heard."

"And why we-"

"-aren't going to-"

"-to Dis."

"Telepathic vampires?"Logan asked,not all that surprised.It explained how they always knew exactly what to say and when to say it.




Bob grimaced,but not at their words;he was reacting to what was on the screen."Girls,do you think you can get me a picture of Volta?"



"-you,Bob."They cooed,giving them both stereo creepy smiles.

"Thanks bunches sweethearts.Try not to kill anyone."

The one closest to Bob trailed her long,purple painted fingernails on the back of his neck as they both walked away,and Logan watched them go warily,not trusting them in the slightest.

"I don't see why you don't stake them,or just tell them their dead,"he said sourly.One of them gave him a flirty wave as they left the bar.

"I could,but honestly they're entertaining,and they're the only narcs I have that I know will be one hundred percent safe. Nobody messes with them."

"And lives to tell about it?"

Bob smirked at him before looking back down at the laptop."Something like that,I imagine.I have a 'don't ask,don't tell' policy."

"Since when do you ever need to ask anyone anything?You just know."

"Not true.Sometimes I need to ask."


"If I run into an immune demon,like a Ressik,or a powerful telepath whose brains I don't want to blow out their ears."

Logan took another pull off his bottle of beer,wondering why he even cared about this conversation.This had nothing to do with him,and honestly he still didn't completely understand what was going on."Why do you think this Volta is so paranoid about telepaths?"

"My guess is he's up to something really foul,and doesn't want a teep-telepath in shorthand-to scan him and tip off the others.Also,he may want to guarantee real bloodshed in his champion contest."

"I follow the first,I don't get the second."

"A teep who knows how to do it can use their power in a-buzzword alert-proactive manner.They can counter any opponent's move before they make it by seeing it in their opponent's mind.A teep wouldn't have to kill,and would make short work of the others;there's no way to counter a telepath."

"Sure there is.Act don't think:react,use your instincts,just let your body do the job.If you don't know what you're going to do,they sure as hell won't."

Bob looked up and stared at him,not quite slack jawed but close."What?"Logan snapped,suddenly annoyed with him.

"You know how to counter a telepath,"Bob said,somewhat awestruck.

"No,I was just sayin'-"

"Yes you do,"Bob interrupted,sounding as supremely sure of himself as always."No wonder the government wanted you to get Xavier for them.Not only did you have access,but it was possible he'd never see you coming."

"I was just speculating-"Logan began,then stopped.He suddenly remembered his memory/nightmare,whatever the hell it was,and how he had thought he'd have to come up with a way to evade the telepaths,or he'd never escape.Escape and kill them all.

He really had blown up the Alkali Lake compound,hadn't he?Rather than escape,which seemed impossible,he just destroyed the place,probably figuring (correctly) that he would survive.Or maybe by then he really didn't care if he survived or not.

"It's easy to say,Logan,but do you know how hard it is to do that?To not think,just do?"

"I never said I could do it,I'm just sayin'-"

"You can do it,"Bob insisted."Wow.What led you to train yourself to do that?It must have taken ages."Logan just shrugged, not sure what to say,but before he could even try,Bob said,"No,I think I can guess."

Bob then looked down,chagrined,and Logan felt a surge of anger,although he wasn't sure if it was for Bob or himself.He was just the perfect little killer,wasn't he?He could even be used against telepaths.No wonder there was a 'bidding war' for him.
His stomach picked an opportune time to growl,and Bob,perhaps grateful for the subject change as well,said,"A friend of mine named Lily owns a diner on the next block.Nothing fancy,but it's open this time of morning,and anything's better than Denny's."He then gave him a big grin,his eyes bright with humor."Tell her you're a friend of mine,and you'll get a clean fork."

Logan smirked back in spite of himself."Yeah,maybe I ought to go get somethin'."

"I'll let you know if I find anything else on this guy or what the hell's going on.Got your cell phone?"

"Nope.It's with my bike."He'd left his motorcycle in Bob's garage ever since some greasy moron actually tried to steal it. Since Bob's place was in walking distance,he could get it whenever he wanted it,and he now had 'security system clearance', but as he pointed out he had never needed it-he could get in one way or another.

Bob frowned at him."You do that on purpose,don't you?"

"Yep,"he admitted,shotgunning the rest of his beer before getting up.He had a mild,pleasant head rush,but it only lasted a few seconds.He was stone cold sober by the time he got to his feet.Damn.

Bob gave him a teasing smile,and said,"You don't think you'll get away from me that easily,do you?"

The thing was,that was hardly a joke at all.


Logan was just finishing his Spanish omelet when a familiar figured walked into the greasy spoon named (appropriately enough) The Last Resort Diner.Unless it was another Stansin demon,but he didn't think so.She smiled at him,confirming it was her,and headed towards his window booth at the back.

Helga wasn't wearing much-a tight,sleeveless,red muscle tee,low slung khaki cargo shorts,and open toed sandals-but it seemed weather appropriate since it was still too damn hot,and only promised to get hotter.It wasn't time for sunrise yet,but the sky was lightening from hazy black to a hazy indigo,the light in the sky somehow tainted as if shining through a grey filter.The L.A. smog layer,he supposed.

"Hey tiger,"she said casually,slipping into the tan vinyl booth across from him.She reached out and plucked a piece of tomato off his plate.

"Hey,"he said,irritated,but he didn't actually care.It was the principal of the thing.

Only a guy who looked like a long haul trucker,gulping coffee and speed along with his eggs and bacon at the counter, did a double take and stared at Helga.Everyone else was accustomed to the sight of a green woman with a tail,or things even stranger than that."Did Bob send you?"He asked,only for confirmation.

To his surprise,she shook her head."No,he's still got his nose buried in his research.I thought I'd best leave him to it."He felt her leg rub against his beneath the table."You in the mood for some fun?I was thinking we could go for a swim."


"The pool.Bob's pool."

"Bob has a pool?"

"Yes,on the roof of his place.You haven't seen it?"

He stared at her in disbelief."He has a pool on the roof?"

"Oh yeah.It's really nice,and reinforced by a protection spell,so it never has to be cleaned."

He wasn't sure if she was joking or not,but she kept rubbing her calf against his,and while it felt nice-Helga always felt nice- he couldn't quite shake the reality that she was Bob's girlfriend.That didn't seem to matter to either of them,but he didn't like being the third side in a triangle.Which,if he thought about it,was typical for him,so he should be used to it by now.
"I think I'm a sinker anyways,"he finally said,pulling his leg back towards his seat."The metal skeleton and all."

"Oh,come on,that only adds what,one hundred pounds to you?You're a strong boy,tiger-that ain't gonna stop you from keeping your head above water."

He shrugged,finishing off his omelet.She probably had a point."I don't feel like swimming."

She gave him a sultry,calculating smile."Neither do I."She then raised her dark green eyebrows in an exaggeratedly suggestive manner.

He couldn't help but smile,although he felt Helga's foot gently nudge his under the table.She was not giving up.Then again, not giving up seemed hardwired into Helga's DNA.."Look,Hel,"he began,trying to think of a nice way to put it."It's not that I don't find you attractive-"

"You should see me in my new Riviera bikini,"she interrupted,still smiling."You know why it's a Riviera?No top.Just a bottom piece."She then leaned over the table,and said in a whisper nearly drowned by the air conditioner:"Although that's optional."

He could just picture that,and he didn't want to because that was counter-productive.Fun though.Very fun...

He shook his head,banishing the nude Helga image in his mind,and tried to say it again."I know you guys have some kind of 'open relationship',but I'm not-"

"No commitment,"she said,reaching across the table and caressing the back of his hand with her cool fingers,her deep green eyes locked onto his."No dates,no angst,just sex.What do you say,Logan?"

'Yes please,' was the first thing that popped to mind,and if he was to be completely honest,having a roll in the hay with Helga (or pool,as the case may be) sounded like what the doctor ordered.He could burn off some of this excess energy,and he'd probably get some decent sleep afterwards too.He could live with the additional guilt.

Helga quirked up the corner of her mouth,apparently picking up his slow shift on the subject,and said,"So you wanna blow this pop stand,tiger?"

Before he could say a world,Helga's cell phone rang.

She sighed,rolling her eyes as she pulled the small phone out of her pocket and flipped it open."This better be good,"she said,the petulant look on her face quickly dissipating."Oh,hi honey."

Bob.Oh god,could this get any worse?

"What?"She said to him.If Logan really let go he would be able to hear Bob's end of the conversation,but he'd also hear all the ambient noise in this place with crystal clarity,including people digesting their heavy meals at Dolby sound levels.For some bizarre reason,that held no appeal at all."Oh,I had just about talked Logan into having sex with me."

She did not just say that.No,she could not have!

He smelled as well as felt the shadow of the slightly haggard looking but attractive black waitress who had served him,and had heard what Helga said.Everyone in a twenty foot radius had heard what Helga said.The waitress raised a single eyebrow as she put his check down on the table,and said,"Better luck next time,sailor."

Logan buried his face in his hands,and wondered if there was enough room under the table for him.Maybe he could dig his way out of this fucking diner...

"But he's dead,"Helga said,her voice all business.That made Logan forget his embarrassment-momentarily-and look at her.

He mouthed the word 'who',but she just shook her head curtly:'Not now'."Shit.Yeah,we're on our way.Hmm?No,don't worry,I'll get a raincheck."She then closed the phone,and told him,"Trouble at the Batcave,Robin.We gotta jet."

"Who's dead?And what kind of trouble?"

"Oh,the usual shit,"she said cryptically,then picked up the check and waved it to get the counterwoman's attention.

"Pilar,put this on Bob's tab."The woman nodded,and Helga crumpled up the bill in her fist before continuing"You know, end of the world as we know it,blah blah blah."

"Oh,that shit again?"Logan replied sarcastically.Actually,it was getting a bit wearying.Didn't crazed megalomaniac have something better to do?Hadn't they ever heard of hobbies?If they had a Helga around,it would never even occur to them to destroy the world-they'd be perfectly happy with this one.

As they got up to leave,he just had to ask:"If I'm Robin,does that make you Batgirl?"

"Oh no,honey,I'm Catwoman."She then spun around and came face to face with him,gently catching his lower lip between her teeth before letting it go."I'm so bad I'm good."She then smacked him on the ass with the end of her tail before giving him a big smile and wink and continuing to lead him out the door.

The trucker,nursing his third cup of coffee,gave him the 'thumbs up' sign.

Logan shook his and sighed.He thought all that crap at Xavier's mansion was weird.Now that seemed hilariously naive of him.But he had to cut himself a bit of slack:he'd had no memory of ever being in Los Angeles.


By the time they got back to the Way Station,Bob had retreated to his claustrophobic back office,and he seemed deceptively casual,his feet propped up on one corner of his desk as he leaned back in his chair,but Logan almost suspected he was just showing off his natty snakeskin boots.

The Weird Sisters weren't here,but he knew they had been not too long ago by the smell.And Bob just seemed cool because he was cool,but there was something restless beneath his sanguine expression."Here's Volta.Or should I say the man who goes by the name of Volta,"Bob said,turning the computer around to face them.

What he saw was a man whose face might have been carved from granite:the planes of his face seemed too sharp,his cheekbones like cut glass,his nose like a blade,his eyes like two black holes punched through stone,and his skin even had the pale grey coloring of rock.What hair he had was steel grey and plastered to his skull;Logan wasn't sure it was actually hair. His lips were so thin and strange they resembled nothing more than two bluish grey worms attempting to burrow into his stoney face.He didn't look like a human attempting to look like the Tin Man;even though he couldn't quite point to it, there was something deeply unnatural-inhuman-about Volta's face.He wondered if he smelled as bad as he looked.It was rare that they didn't.

"Chaos demon,"Helga said,as if everyone should know that."But why do you think-"

He didn't let her finish the sentence."Here."He hit a button on the keyboard,and Volta's face seemed to morph.His sharply jutting forehead seemed to sink back into a scalp that now had oil black hair,while his razor sharp cheekbones seemed to recede into a slightly puffier face,his skin losing it severe tautness and his dramatically pointed nose swelling to a slightly wider,blunter tip.His eyes,like the two holes in a bowling ball,remained as they were,and they were all black pits,with no white to be had.

"Shit,why didn't I see it before?"Helga said.

"I almost didn't either,"Bob admitted,grimacing ruefully."I think he changed his appearance with a combination of plastic surgery and black magic:it's almost like the eyes want to slide off his face."

"Who is this clown?"Logan wondered,already growing impatient with being left out of the loop.

"A  piece of bad news who used to be named Svalt Renpin,"Bob told him,turning the screen back towards him.

"That can't be his real name."

"Unfortunately it was.Maybe that's what turned him into such a twisted fuck."

"He's supposed to be dead?"

"Yes.I killed him...oh,going on almost seventy five years ago now."

"Way before my time,"Helga admitted,leaning back against a crate with a 'hazardous nuclear materials' sticker on it.That was just Bob being funny again,right?

Bob nodded in agreement."He considered himself a black magician of a sort,although he was never very good at it.So he cut a deal with Arakis,the mother of all Pain demons,to help bring her into this dimension and open a very literal hell on Earth.He'd have had unlimited power,courtesy of her,if he broke the barrier that kept Arakis and her various ugly minions from invading this dimension.If he had succeeded,you could have kissed the entire human race goodbye:Pain demons look a lot like veloceraptors,only bigger,meaner,and uglier,although Arakis is more Godzilla sized,and Berserker like."

"Cute.So what happened?"

Bob sighed,running his hand through his golden brown hair,somehow managing to ruffle it just so that it looked styled.     "He needed a massive blood and psychic sacrifice to help open the portal between Arakis's place and here,so it wasn't too hard to track him down and figure out what he was up to.Course,he picked the Outback,because it was hot like Arakis's plane-less of a transitional shock-and who was going to disturb him in all that nothing?"

"You,"Logan pointed out.It seemed pretty obvious.

Bob smiled proudly."Absolutely.Well,what else did I have to do out there?"

"Please don't try the humble thing,"Helga warned him.

That just made Bob's smile even broader."Well,to make a long story short,I almost got there too late to save the drowning witch-he already had started attempting to open the portal in the mirror."

"The mirror?"Logan asked.

"He was opening the portal in a special enchanted mirror,which was integral to the whole sacrifice thing.Well,that's the long and complicated part of the story.Do you want to hear it?"


"Fair enough.So anyways he was starting to try and open the portal,and I knew without a spellcaster the thing would never stand,so I shoved him into it.The portal collapsed,the mirror went back to being a mirror,and to prevent any other moron from trying it or something similar,I busted the mirror into a billion pieces,frame included."

"Seven years bad luck,"Helga teased.

"With Ganesha on your side,there's no such thing as bad luck,"Bob countered,smiling back at her."Anyways,that should have been the end of that,but for some demons death is just a temporary condition."

"But you shoved him into the portal,right?Doesn't that mean he just went somewhere else?"Logan asked,struggling to understand it all.He really didn't follow all of this other dimensions stuff,but why the hell couldn't it be true?Life was so fucking strange.

"No,the portal was unstable,so it's the equivalent of shoving someone into an unstable wormhole;tidal forces on the event horizon would tear them apart.And did,in Svalt's case."

"Since when did you become a physics expert,Doctor Hawking?"

Bob smirked,not quite laughing but almost."It behooves me to know these things."

"An Aussie who uses 'behoove' correctly in a sentence.We should call Guinness Book."Helga said,continuing to tease Bob.

"Too right,Bruce,"he replied,giving her a wink.

"Okay,so somehow this guy is back,"Logan said,feeling like he was taking a major leap of faith."You think he's trying to open this pain dimension again?"

Bob shook his head,leaning back in his chair and finally taking his boots off the desk."No,that wouldn't be causing degradation along the ley lines.Whatever he's doing now,it's bigger than just opening the pain dimension.He would also have to be more powerful than the was last time we met."

"It explains why he's surrounded himself with Scanners,"Helga opined,crossing her arms over her chest.It was so cool in here he could see goosebumps on her arms."He doesn't want a rematch with you."

"My thought exactly.And I bet he has more than just Scanners waiting to greet me too."

Logan knew he'd regret saying it,he knew he shouldn't say it,but he gritted his teeth and did it."Maybe we should check it out."

"I'm glad you said that,"Bob admitted,with a strange amount of hesitation.That alone made Logan instantly wary,as Bob was not the type to doubt himself about anything."I need to ask a favor of you,Logan."

Logan already knew."You want me to go to Dis."

"You can't go,"Helga said instantly."You're Human.No offense,hon."

How was that offensive exactly?Oh,wait,the crankhead pimp."None taken."

"He can get an invitation,"Bob said,grimacing."According to the Weird Sisters,he has an 'agent' in the area,a vampire looking for good 'prospects' in his champion contest.He approached them,unaware they were telepathic and only worked as a team.They turned him down,but they did find out they will let mutants into the contest only if they're a big bad ass."

"I am."

Bob grinned broadly."I know.But if you want to get his attention you're gonna have to go out and prove it."

"We'll have to go,"Helga insisted."Logan's no demon expert,but I am."

"Hel,"Bob said pleadingly."I know you can handle yourself,but-"

"I used to be an assassin,Bob.'Handle myself' is putting it mildly."

"We'll watch each other's back,"Logan offered.He really wanted to do this on his own,but Helga could handle herself,and she did know more about demons and this hoodoo voodoo bullshit than he did.

Bob gave him a look that seemed to say 'please do'."You'll have to.I really don't want ya to do this,Logan.Even if you do get the invite,this is bound to be rough and bloody."

Logan smiled grimly,although honestly he felt somewhat weary of it all.His whole life boiled down to a series of big,endless battles."Sounds like fun."


Really,it was a hell of a way to spend a day.

All in all,she really would have rather spent the day in bed,but beating the shit out of people and tearing up cheap dives was an adequate substitute if sex was absolutely out of the question.And it seemed to be,at least for now,although she had hoped that later they'd make up for it.Certainly a good fight made Logan as randy as it made her-that's what she loved about him.

They left the remains of the Ram's Head bar,which for all it's supposed Wolfram and Hart connections was still a complete and utter dive frequented by losers kicked out of every other place.As soon as Logan heard there was a Wolfram and Hart connection,he quickly went about trashing the interior,and doing major damage to a retaining wall.Obviously he had no love lost for them either.

They had spent all day pretty much just smashing stuff:frequenting the worst parts of town and picking fights with large groups of people (mostly demons) that looked one sided,and were.They never had much trouble kicking everyone's scrawny ass.In fact,the problem was by noon they were running out of places,so they had to slow down and pace themselves.

Lunch,dinner,a movie (he wouldn't go for a blockbuster,but he was tempted by a run down theater in the Asian quarter showing untranslated chop sockey flicks from Hong Kong.Logan was probably even more surprised than she was that he could instantly translate everything that was being said-yet another language he didn't know he knew) and several drinks helped them keep the mayhem running until sunset,when their best time to encounter Volta's vampire agent was.It would have been nice if they found time for a quickie,but Logan was afraid he'd fall asleep after and be groggy later:better to remain awake and be totally pissed off.Also,although he didn't say it,the guilt thing was clearly back in full force.She was going to have to work on that again later.

Really,this was like a great date.Even though Helga knew dry cleaning would never get all the blood out,this had been a hell of a lot of fun.Logan knew how to show a girl a good time...well,if she was into breaking shit.Luckily,she was.

They climbed out of the rubble of the Ram's Head,leaving a collection of groaning demons and humans in their wake (if they were both conscious enough and able to groan),and they brushed broken glass off each other as she watched a bloody cut on his forehead instantly heal itself up."So where to next?"He asked,unconcerned about his injuries.Why did he ever need to care?

"Well,we could probably get a drink at the Roadhouse on La Cienda,but I warn you,that bouncer always tries to cop a feel on me."

Logan smirked,which always looked kind of sexy on him."Let's see him do it with a broken arm."

"Ooh,you're a mean bastard,"she replied,wrapping her tail around his waist.He put an arm around her shoulders too,as they had decided presenting themselves as a couple was the best way to go.Well,no one would ever believe they were related."No wonder I like you so much."

She leaned into him,enjoying his smell of beer and blood and cigar smoke,and wondered if there was any place they could hit after the Roadhouse.Maybe they should stop for a drink on the way.Did Logan play pool?Maybe she could challenge him to a game.The sky was a wonderful bloody sort of crimson,an only in 'L.A. with this kind of smog' sky,yet not quite close enough to sundown for the vampires to hit the streets.

Well,the main streets.But several alleys were all right for skulking,and as they came within several feet of one,Logan leaned in as if kissing her ear,and whispered,"Vamp ahead."

What a nose he had.It had to drive him crazy sometimes to smell that well,especially near landfills and men's rooms.

"So what are you two supposed to be?The two thousand two model Bonnie and Clyde?"An Australian man drawled from the mouth of the dark alley as they were just walking by.Bob had taken her back home enough that she recognized his accent as coming from Northwest Australia,where there was a hell of a lot of nothing.

They both paused and looked into the alley.After their eyes adjusted to the dark,they could see a lanky redheaded man in a dark trenchcoat leaning up against the wall,lighting up a cigarette.

His lighter flared,briefly illuminating his pale face,and he puffed lazily on his cigarette,which stank like a menthol.That proved he was a tasteless bastard."Who the fuck wants to know?"Logan snarled.They'd had no discussion on how to handle Volta's vampire lackey when they encountered him,but Logan had good instincts,and you could never go wrong with plain old belligerence.

The vampire smirked smugly at him,not aware he was treading on dangerous ground."You're a bloody human.Man,how disappointing is that?"

Logan moved fast,grabbing Red by the collar so fast he couldn't react,and slamming him against the opposite wall so hard his cigarette was ejected from his mouth like a heat seeking missile."And you're a fucking blood sucker.How dead are you?"

"That's a rather personal question,"Red rasped,grabbing Logan's arm.Logan was keeping the vamp pinned to the wall with a single hand around his throat,which should have been nothing for a vamp,but Logan was not only pouring on the strength (which was pretty formidable,for a human) but he had 'locked' his elbow,which meant an adamantium 'rod' was also holding Red in place.Vlad wasn't going anywhere.And after trying in vain to rip Logan's hand away from his throat,he seemed to realize that too."Look,I have a proposition for you."

"You ain't my type,"Logan growled.

"Cute.No,listen-how good a fighter do you think you are?"

"I'm the best."

"Willing to prove it?"

Logan scoffed in his face."Against you?You'll be dust in a second."

"Against people better than you."

"No one's better than me."

"Want to put your money where your mouth is,tough guy?"

Helga put her hand on Logan's arm,supposedly restraining him."How much money are we talking about?"

"Get 'im to put me down first,"he replied impatiently,his face starting to turn ruddy from the struggle to pry Logan's hand off his throat.

With reluctance,Logan let him go,although he kept close to him,threatening him with just his proximity.That was enough. "Talk,"Logan barked,still leaning heavily on the belligerence tip.

Red rolled his shoulders and straightened out his coat,smoothing down the front of his rumpled 'Bite Me' t-shirt and attempting to assume an air of tattered dignity as best he could.It was difficult,because he didn't have much dignity to begin with."I work for a gentleman-a wealthy gentleman-who is searching for the greatest fighter this dimension has to offer."

"Get to the money part,"Helga urged.

"Winner gets ten million dollars,"Red immediately obliged.