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!   

"Hey - I am not gonna be Ivan again!" Bobby shouted, getting up and running after her.

Bob shook his head, and wondered if he'd ever been as cute as those two. Well, metaphorically speaking; he knew physically he met with general wide approval. He looked over at Brendan, who was busy feeling like the odd man out, and asked him, "Is there some place you always wanted to go, Bren?"

Brendan eyed him warily, which he expected. Since when do strange men ask you questions like that without being a molester or a guidance counselor? "Huh?"

"Any place in the world you always wanted to see? At all? The pyramids at Giza? The Eiffel Tower?"

Brendan continued to stare at him like he was going to recommend he go to trade school any second. "Why do you wanna know?"

Bob shrugged nonchalantly, pretending it was not a big deal. "I just think it says a lot about a person. For instance, I've always wanted to go to Ganymede."

Brendan's forehead creased as he wondered if Bob was an imbecile. "You mean some place in Europe?"

"No, Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter. Sounds fun."

He grimaced at him sourly, figuring he was shitting him. "So what are you, a big sci - fi geek?"

"Oh yes. I was once married by a Spock impersonator in Vegas." At his disbelieving look, he said, "Come on, I've made my embarrassing admission - your turn."

He looked away, further down the garden where some of the younger kids were playing a game that looked like a combination of softball and dodgeball, and said, "Cabo San Lucas."

Bob felt just a tad disappointed. "The frat party tourist trap?"

Brendan shrugged, looking away, now slightly embarrassed. "It's just looked cool on MTV, that's all."

He sighed, shaking his head. "Those Belials at MTV ... "


"Nothing. You want Cabo San Lucas? Okay. You won't feel a thing."

"What?" He repeated, this time sounding more startled.

But Brendan had something new to be startled about, as he had transported them to the hardwood deck of a  tourist trap restaurant with a view of the ocean that didn't show the pollution, except as perhaps a dark streak near the horizon of the otherwise clear blue water. They were seated at a small round plastic deck table, a green and white parasol shading them from the unforgiving Mexican sun, and no one around them thought their appearance was surprising, because as far as they knew they'd always been here. There were four couples at the surrounding table, all white of course, but slowly turning the color of a lobster since their sunscreens just weren't cutting it.

Brendan looked around frantically, not exactly hyperventilating, but close. "How in the hell - where in the hell - "

"We're in Cabo, Bren. That's another power of mine - teleporting. If I concentrate and are very careful about not shunting us into another universe, I'm golden."

Brendan stared at him, not so much disbelieving as unsure if he dared to believe him. "What the fuck are you?"

Bob grinned, and a short, slender Mexican waiter in a short red jacket came over to their table. Before he could ask if they wanted something, Bob told him, in perfect Spanish: "Just bring us a couple of the artificially colored "mocktails" you added to your menu to please the spa spill over crowd. But nothing too sweet."

The waiter nodded agreeably and went away without a word. Brendan was still staring at him like he'd grown a new and grotesque head from the center of his brow. "You're Mexican now?" He asked, wondering what his next disorienting trick was going to be.

"Technically, mate, I'm a little bit of everything because I'm not actually anything." Brendan's jaw didn't exactly slacken, but he glared at him like he had just put on a spangly party frock, pulled out a chainsaw, and asked him if he wanted to play "saw the tail on the donkey". The kid would have run, but he didn't know his way around the place, and figured his mutation was strong enough to help him here. "I know you think I'm on meth, but I assure you I am not, although this next question might make you think so:do you believe in demons?"

Poor Brendan. He was on the verge of throwing a chair at him. "Demons?" His red eyes widened, and a tiny blue vein began to throb in his temple. "Are you some religious nutjob, is that it? Does Xavier know you kidnapped me?"

"I haven't kidnapped you. And believe me, I can't stand those extremely pious religious folk. I mean, I can abide the ones that mean well, but the ones who try to nail shoes to the native's feet and indulge in inquisitions and " Our god is better than your god"  pissing matches just make me spit sparks. I can't stand them. Like those idiots who claim that the Bible - that Belial fun factory - supports their notion that mutants are devil spawn, and conversely, the mutant supremacists who say it supports their claim normal Humans are inferior dildos. If I can give ya a bit of wisdom, Bren, it's this: never rely on mythology to bolster your arguments, because mythology - like most history - is subjective, and like all things subjective, the truth may be a bit on the scanty side."

Brendan just stared at him, hands flat on the table, his body posture tense, a muscle in his jaw pulling taut. If he wasn't so frightened of him, he would have tried to punch him. "You're a crazy man."

"No, not really. I'm a Belial demon, Bren, a very old one, in spite of my appearance. And don't think the word demon instantly means bad, 'cause it don't: just like there's good and bad people, there's good and bad demons. I'm one of the good guys, trust me. Would Xavier let me around the kids if I was?" He wasn't about to add that Xavier actually couldn't stop him even if he wanted to, because he could push him as easily as the next non - telepath. But that would be counterproductive.

Brendan opened his mouth to call him a crazy person again, but shut it as their waiter came back with their bright red drinks in tall, vaguely opalescent plastic glasses, with small plastic spears of canned fruit chunks added for decoration. As he set them down in front of them, Bob gave him a polite smile. "Thanks, Hector."

Hector did a slight double take, as he knew he hadn't told them his name, but he quickly forgot about it and moved on along his rounds. Bob made a mental note to leave him a nice big tip in American money since he was just working this shit job to support his orphaned siblings. "I don't have to tell you life isn't fair, Bren - you know that very well," he continued, picking up his glass, already sweating from the heat. "But I have some shit to tell you that I know is gonna go down like a lead balloon. So you're just gonna have to trust me that it will all work out in the end, all right?"

Of course the poor kid didn't - how  could he? - so Bob didn't give him a push more than a nudge into a more receptive ( and calmer ) state of mind before he broke it down to the kid: demons did exist, in a fashion, and oops, he was half one. At least he was half Brachen demon, probably the nicest demons you had going, although their spikey green and red facade generally gave people who could only see the surface of things the opposite impression.

What he wasn't going to tell the kid was not only was life not fair, but sometimes some people had everything stacked against them for no reason at all, except entropy needed to even itself out somewhere.

It was too bad Logan wasn't around to act as a case in point.


At least it was a dry part of the sewer.

Not that that made the smell any better. Hell no - the only way to make a sewer smell better - no matter how clean it seemed - was to firebomb it, preferably with a high ignition temperature, so the place could be charred down to bedrock. And even then the sludge would probably reek.

He could smell some of what had gone on here too; the place still stank of demon blood and guts, even though they had pressure hosed it out. "How many people did they kill?" He wondered. He smelled the blood of almost a dozen different demons here, but some of the scents mixed in with others that must have been passing through.

Clia, standing near the mouth of the tunnel, had her arms crossed tightly over her chest and a sour look on her face that suggested she had places to be as of ten minutes ago. "I don't know. As soon as I saw how lame the festivities were, I left."

"Festivities?" He sighed and shook his head. "You're a hard case, you know that?"

"Me?" She scoffed. "That's rich, comin' from the growling guy who beats the shit outta people, then goes trolling for a one night stand."

"Who smelled blood on me and picked me up anyways?"

"Oh come on, I'm a demon - what do you expect from me?"

"Better. I ain't a civilian; I don't buy that excuse."  Since they'd cleaned the place up good, there was no physical evidence of anything, but under the scent of demon, he smelled Humans - a lot more Humans than he'd have expected. He suddenly had a very unsettling thought. "Are there any demons in the death cult?"

She shrugged, and stared at one of the cement walls like they were interesting. "Maybe a few. I didn't count."

"What the fuck kind of idiot Human joins a death cult?"

"Hey, it's Saint Michel. What else is there to do?"

Unbelievable. He wasted a glower on her again, but it was so dark in here she probably didn't notice. "If finding the fucking cult  is impossible, then give me somethin' on this reality barrier. What the hell does it do? How do we collapse it or get through it?"

She sighed and shook her head, as if he was being an impossible man, and put her hands on her hips, thrusting her breasts forward in a distracting manner. It helped that the orange t - shirt she wore was so tight it looked painted on. Conversely, her pants were loose enough that they sagged at the waist, and he could see a bit of the red lace fringe on her underwear. And did she have a pierced belly button last night?

Well, how the hell was he supposed to know?

"I already told you, just 'cause I'm a demon - "

"Fine. You have to know someone who knows all this occult shit."

She made a show of thinking about it, head cocked to one side, staring up at a point somewhere over his head. "Well ... "

"Don't try any Belial shit with me," he warned. How did he end up here? All he wanted to do was get away from the supposed "X Men" and forget everything, forget all this shit -

( forget Mariko )

- and yet here he was, hip deep in crap again. Maybe he should have gone back to Bob's cabin again. Or maybe he should have gone after Naomi. Or just gone to the States or Mexico or something.

He should never have come back to Canada. He should have stayed at the mansion with the super duper hero squad; they never dealt with shit like this.


Rachel stood outside the club, smoking a cigarette, wondering if she was a racist. Specist? Oh, fuck if she knew the exact terminology.

When she got this job at Club Exstacy, she thought it would be a dream gig: cool club, hot guys, gratis drinks - a party every night. But the reality was a bit jarring.

Slowly but surely, mutants were taking over the club.

Oh, at first you hardly noticed them; the really freaky looking ones wouldn't dare venture out in public. But more and more, they started coming, and the more that showed, the more the creepy ones dared to show  their faces. If they had faces.

She shuddered at the thought.

They were mostly kids. This place tended young, and in spite of claims that underage drinking never took place, nearly half the kids were never checked for i.d. - why would you card a mutant anyways? Half those fuckers could be any age at all, if they were, and who really cared if they killed whatever brain cells they had?

She wondered where they were coming from, and the other night a blottoed mutie  with webbed fingers and what looked like skin flaps on his neck  ( had he actually claimed they were gills? ) told her there was a mutant private school around these parts. Was that true? She'd never heard of one, but these kids all had to be coming from somewhere, and she didn't think there were group homes set up to take those kinds of things.

But could their be teachers for them? Would they be normal people? God, how could they stand it? Being locked in a room with those ... things.

Just the other night, some drunken mutie with a big yellow horn in the middle of his forehead, like a fucking unicorn , actually offered to buy her a drink. The fuck actually made a pass at her! It was disgusting. Even if she was blind drunk and lost the biggest bet in the world, she wouldn't even sit at the same table with that fucking freakazoid, nonetheless have a drink with him. Just because the manager was a mutie sympathizer - he didn't care if they had three asses and seven legs, as they paid in cash - didn't mean she was.

Sound started shaking the outside walls - someone was using an Audioslave CD to test the new sound system - and she stepped out from beneath the sickly green shadow of the neon sign over the doorway. She didn't know why they couldn't smoke inside - he let the customers do it.

But technically the club wasn't open yet. It opened at seven PM, and there was an hour and a half to go. Most of the traffic had thinned on the narrow street before the club, as the rush hour on the major thoroughfares brought everything to a virtual standstill, and only the locals with a good knowledge of the twisting and badly misnamed streets ( no one ever explained how 234th street could suddenly become Sprague Avenue, and then, two blocks later, become 239th street? It made no sense at all ) could get anywhere at all. The parking lot was all but empty, save for the three cars of the manager, the bartender, and the beer delivery driver's van. She came in on the bus, along with another server, Brenda. They were both poor students who couldn't afford a car, and besides, in this congested area it seemed like an unnecessary hassle to have one.

If she could get a better job she'd leave this freak hole in a second. Oh sure, her parents were footing her tuition, but even she had to eat sometimes. And so far this was all she could get. Maybe she really had to push that resume .....

She was glancing across the street at that frou frou clothing boutique, with that nice leather coat in the window display that she couldn't afford in a million years, when she saw dark movement out of the corner of her eye.

She started slightly, her cigarette dropping from her fingers as she saw a man walking across the street towards the lot - a man who appeared straight out of nowhere.

And maybe he wasn't a man.

He was vaguely shaped like one. A tall ( well over six feet .Seven feet? ) man with a barrel chest and extremely broad shoulders swamped in a huge and oily looking black coat that could have been giant wings enfolding him. He wore all dark clothing, but in a strange way it was hard to say for sure - it was as if looking at him was painful, like staring into the heart of a black sun. From what she could tell, his hair was strange too, more like a lion's mane than a regular hairstyle, a gleaming black halo that surrounded a face .. a face ...

She couldn't see it. For some reason she couldn't see it. She got an impression of a wide, regal brow, and eyes ... they glowed. They were spots of fierce yellow against shadow black,suns on the verge of eclipse. She had to look away because her eyes stung like ash had blown back in them, but when she dared to look back she started at street level, gazing at his black leather knee boots.

And his companions.

She thought they had to be dogs - they were heeled so obediently at his side they must have been - but they were huge, at least four feet tall and nearly twice as long, their thick coats of fur as black as ink. They had wicked tapered muzzles with long pink tongues lolling, revealing ivory teeth as serrated as blades, and eyes as yellow as their master's.

Wolves, she thought, they're wolves. But since when do wolves have black fur and glowing yellow eyes?

Something fluttered in the air, and she dared to look up, just in time to see what must have been a raven settle on the man's shoulder. But it was bigger than any raven she had ever seen, closer in size to a vulture, and its ebony beak looked grotesquely elongated, more like stilettos than a beak. The massive bird cocked its head, and fixed her with an eye like a drop of oil, somehow blacker than its feathers ,and more intelligent than it had a right to be.

"Smoking, my dear woman?" The man said, although his voice was strange: it was like he was speaking to her from a deep well of fire, his voice deep and resonate, but crackling like dried leaves underfoot. She tried to look at him again, but this time she winced and shut her eyes, as it seemed like needles stabbed into her brain. "Don't you know that's bad for your health?"

It felt like ice water had spilled down Rachel's spine, a cold shock, but she couldn't move. He was coming towards her, the panting of the wolves almost louder than the music coming from the club, and she thought even if she could scream they'd never hear her over the stereo.

Fucking mutie, her mind screamed, fucking freak bastard! But even as she thought that, she thought he might be worse than that, but what could possibly be worse than a mutie?

He chuckled, a sound like a wildfire through underbrush, the voice of fire itself. She didn't know why, but she had a feeling the state of her health was about to become irrelevant.


Rogue still didn't understand why Kitty didn't want to come, but at least she was nice enough to phase her through the wall.

Scott was always over reacting to something, and she didn't see how this was any different. Okay, a bunch of people got killed at that movie theater ( which was probably an endorsement for the mall cineplex ), but she didn't get how that might be "a threat to their safety". They were mutants - weren't they always under threat? And besides, this was New York - people were killed every day. It was sad, but it was life., didn't that killer strike at night? It wasn't proper dark yet, just that weird in between time, just after the sun set, but before the stars came out. The sky was like that midnight blue color of the velvet lining of Juli's jewelry box.

Bobby was supposed to sneak out and meet her at Exstacy, but he already warned her he might be late: Scott seemed to be watching him like a hawk lately, proving he had absolutely no sense of humor about that ice sculpture. Well, it wasn't like it was really obscene, and everyone else thought it was funny.

She had just walked up to the corner of Sprague Avenue when she noticed the flashing red and blue lights bouncing off the windows of the record store on the end of the next block. Police lights?

She proceeded up the block towards Club Exstacy with a sinking feeling in her gut, which was confirmed the moment she turned the corner, and saw an entire fleet of police cars and ambulances cordoning off the parking lot of Exstacy, putting out sawhorses as some unlucky cops tried to hold the small but nosy crowd back.

"Clear out," she heard one crabby cop say, as she quickly joined the crowd. Most of the obvious mutants had disappeared at the sight of the heavy police presence, so the crowd was mainly made of normals and mutants that could pass as normals. She was glad she went with her full length black duster, which she pulled shut around her before shouldering her way to the front of the crowd.

As she reached the front, they were finishing putting the last of the sawhorses in place, but before she could be pushed back and one of the ambulances backed up to block her view, she saw a white sheet covered lump on the ground near the front of the club. A body of course, a small one, that had left a big bloody stain
in the center, bogging down the sheet as it ruffled in the slight breeze.

The body looked concave in the middle, like it had no stomach at all, and that's where the biggest bloodstain was. Weren't the bodies that Scott and Jean found kinda like that?

Some tall guy in the crowd jostled her on the right as some cop built like a fireplug shover a sawhorse hard into place and shouted, "Disperse now or I'm takin' your names!"

She quickly slipped to the back of the crowd that did indeed start to thin, with a collective groan of disappointment, and she realized there was a funny smell in the air.

Of course there was blood, possible to smell even over the exhaust of all the emergency vehicles, but there was an undertone of something else, something sharp and ... weird. Burning; it smelled like someone had burned something. But the club wasn't on fire, and there were no fire trucks, so what was it?

She couldn't place it at all - absorbing Logan twice had still not been enough to capture his vast ( and somewhat frightening ) vocabulary of smells, but she wasn't sure it was some vestigial trace of Logan's ability she was experiencing here. Maybe it was from the last demon she absorbed, some shred of memory tugging at her, but since it wasn't her memory to start with she couldn't even begin to put a name to it.

Demons? Was that what happened here? Just as she turned back towards the club, now all but hidden by the ambulances, she felt a sudden chill that was anything but physical. She looked around slowly, carefully, scanning the street, sure now that she was being watched; they were all being watched.

But by what? The thing that did this?

Even while mentally blaming Logan's paranoia for this, she asked aloud, "Does anyone have a cell phone I can borrow?" She'd never take one of the Institute's ones - just  like the cars, they could be traced ( she'd heard Logan tell Jean that's why he didn't want one ).

A young guy, maybe five years older than her, said, "Sure honey, you can use mine." He was plain looking, with a pale, slightly pimply face and heavily styled mud brown hair, who smirked at her like he thought he was the biggest stud in the world. Yeah, whatever. "Thanks," she said blandly, not even giving him a smile. Mutant or Normal, he didn't get the hint, he just continued to leer at her, clearly staring at her breasts despite the fact that they were still hidden beneath her duster, and she scowled at him as she plucked the Nokia from his hand and turned her back on him to make the call. He was probably still listening, but that couldn't be helped - it was his phone after all.

The phone was picked up on the second ring, and before she could say a single thing, Xavier said: "What have you been told about sneaking off the grounds, Marie?"

It was freaky how he did that. "I know, I'm sorry. Look - I'm outside Club Exstacy now, and it looks like a bunch of people got killed, just like that movie theater last night." Only now did she realize she was so scared her hands were shaking, and she could feel tears in her eyes. But why was she freaking out so bad? In her short but whacked out life, she'd seen more dead things than she would ever care to think about. But there was something near by ... something really scary; something these cops with all their guns couldn't even begin to handle ... "I need Bob. Is Bob there?"

Xavier was quiet for a moment, but for him that was equal to an eternity. "Are you there alone?" Now he was scared for her, and that was never a good thing.

"Yeah. I was supposed to meet up with someone - " She wasn't going to name Bobby, even if everyone could guess. " - but they're not here. Is Bob there, Professor? I really think he needs to be here." She knew Bob had only showed up to talk to Brendan because he was a demon, not a mutant, but he seemed pretty cool, so she figured he was one of the nice ones. But she had no idea how long that would take, or if he was going to come back to the mansion - Bob or Brendan.

Now Rogue knew she was visibly shaking, but she couldn't help it. Whatever had done this was waiting close by, she just knew it, and he was waiting for .. what?

Whatever it was, it couldn't be good.

"Marie," Xavier began, and he was using his "remain calm" voice that made her want to start screaming now. "I want you to listen to me carefully. I want you to - " But of course she was barely hearing him anymore. Some sort of vestigial animal/demon bit in her brain was in full blown panic mode now, and it was almost impossible for her to contain it. And even if any of the others - Jean, Scott, Storm, hell, even Logan, wherever the hell he was - showed up, she didn't think it would help. She really got the feeling that only Bob could hope to hold back this thing .. whatever it was ...

Suddenly the phone was plucked out of her hand, and as she pivoted on her heels to protest, she found herself looking into Bob's chest. "I'm here, Chuck, I'll get her back to the mansion," he said smoothly into the phone. "And don't send anyone unless I tell you to. We'll be there momentarily." He then closed it and handed it back to the guy, who wasn't at all startled that Bob was suddenly there, and was content to ogle her.

"Stick to legal girls, mate," Bob told him, and then frowned. "Give me that."

Bob grabbed the guy's coat and opened it, and yet he seemed oblivious to it, in that way that only Bob could do it. Bob pulled a small brown bottle out of his inner pocket - cough syrup? - and said darkly, "Get lost, and lay off the meds, asshole."

The man just walked away as if dismissed, like he hadn't really comprehended a single thing Bob had said, but she knew he had. He was just zoned out, or whatever it was he did to people.

Although she was so happy to see him she could have hugged him ( but that was dangerous, right? ), she was a little confused about the bottle. "What's that?" She wondered, as he suddenly threw it towards the roof of the store across the street. She heard it shatter on impact, a small noise nearly drowned out by the crackle of police radios.

"GBH. Some wankers need all the help they can get." He looked down at her, and she wondered if he was wearing a "Mr. Bungle" t - shirt when she last saw him. She didn't think so ... but it was funny how Bob could make your memory falter. "Do me a favor, and never let a guy get ya a drink. There's a lotta fucks like that out there."

"Are you my dad now?" She replied, although not too harshly. She was glad he was here, and he probably had a point. And that feeling - whatever it had been - was gone. Maybe Bob's sudden appearance had scared him off.

"No, but I'm old enough to be your thrice great granddad at least, so humor me."

"Thrice?" She repeated, trying to do the math in her head. But she gave up, as she was no good at math, and she had yet to absorb anyone with a real gift for it.

The crowd parted easily for Bob, as if they sensed him coming and moved aside, and he walked past the sawhorse barricades like he didn't notice them. She followed him closely, wondering how he was going to play this.

A big cop with dark skin, younger than the fireplug guy who nearly hit her with a barricade, quickly moved to intercept Bob. "Sir, you have to get - "

Bob held his hand up towards him, palm out, and said, in an American accent: "I'm Agent Mulder from the F.B.I. Mutant Crime Division. We heard there might be a mutant connection to this crime scene."

The man blinked rapidly, and glanced at Bob's empty hand, scouring it like he was really looking at a badge and wanted to make sure it was legit. "How'd you get here so fast?" He asked, stunned but not disbelieving.

There was a Mutant Crime Division at the F.B.I. ?

"We were in the area; I was doing a follow up on the Lensherr case." He gestured to her casually. "This is my partner, Agent Scully. Can you give us an idea of what happened here, Detective Hendricks?"

Rogue worked hard to stifle a laugh. Mulder and Scully. She thought that sounded familiar.

"Of course," the man named Hendricks agreed. "Come with me."

As he led them past the ambulances, Rogue asked, "Could you get us backstage at a concert?"

"No door is closed to me." He said. That was sort of an answer.


"From what we can tell, the assailants seemed to have attacked this woman first, a club waitress tentatively identified as Rachel Crawford, twenty two," Hendricks reported dispassionately, sounding like a cop on one of those procedural crime shows. He led them to the covered body before the door, with the concave bloody stomach, and both the cop and Bob crouched down beside it, avoiding the splatters of blood dotting the pavement. She didn't join them, and almost didn't want to see it, but she kind of had to, you know?

Hendricks lifted a corner of the sheet ... and she suddenly found herself looking away. What?

"I'd hate to be flippant and say cause of death was a missing abdomen," Hendricks was saying, " but that's her only obvious external injury."

"Someone ripped her guts out," Bob said. He sounded like he was lost in thought, and not at all grossed out.

Rogue tried to turn back, but found herself unable to do so. She just kept staring at a Honda with a "Bite me, it's fun!" bumper sticker, which had taken on a sick irony at the moment. "Bob!" She snapped, annoyed. He was doing this to her, wasn't he? The bastard - he wasn't letting her look at the body.

But Bob ignored her, and Hendricks didn't seem to hear her. "Were all the victims killed in a similar manner?"

"No. Some had their necks broken, and some had both, making us wonder which killed them first."

"Stop it, Bob! I can handle it!"

He still ignored her. "But that's it? Any idea on the number of assailants?"

"No idea. There were five people in the club, all but one men, and two of those guys were pretty ripped. They couldn't have been easily taken down."

"But there were no signs of a struggle, were there?"

"No. There's a lot of damage - broken tables and bottles, a shattered speaker - but none of the victims have anything approaching defensive injuries."

"So this is just like the theater killings."

"Yeah. Except the killers seemed to leave a mark this time, although we have no idea what it's supposed to mean. Spinoza thinks it might be a gang symbol, but it's atypical to say the least."

"Show it to me."

Rogue suddenly found herself looking down at the body as Hendricks put the bloody sheet back in place, and she took a swing at Bob, who still managed to avoid it. "I could have handled it," she said angrily. "I wanted to see it!"

"Maybe, but I didn't want to see it, and I had to. Believe me, love, you're better off."

She didn't, and glowered at him, but he had turned to follow the Detective into the club, and she followed, wondering if he'd let her see anything this time.

As soon as they went in, she realized that Bob may have had a point.

The smell alone was enough to make her want to turn around and leave. While it was bad out there, it was open air and a single body; in here, it was a closed space with several bodies. The blood smell was terrible, and it wasn't only that; there was a smell of shit she couldn't account for, and that burned smell again, concentrated inside the club, and something else, a smell she couldn't identify to save her life. Maybe Bob had a name for it, maybe Logan had a name for it, but she didn't, and couldn't even begin to guess, save to say it was simply wrong.

In regular light, the interior of the club looked tacky, and right now it looked like Sabertooth and Toad had had some kind of mass, violent freak out in here: everything that could be broken was, and there was so much broken glass and wood on the floor that the police investigators and coroners ( ? ) had to step carefully, and even still so crunched around everything.