It was after midnight before Recker unlocked the door to the temporary haven where he'd left Anahandros. Finding the information he'd wanted had taken longer than expected, and he was thankful he'd had the foresight to lock his insane companion in. There's a happy thought… Anahandros wandering around a strange city by himself.

"Sorry that took so long, Anahan-" he cut off. "Oh, it's you." 'Zian sat in the middle of the floor, carefully arranging bits of string. Over near a corner was small pile of cigarette butts and burned matches. A quick sniff revealed that the room smelled strongly of cigarette smoke and gun oil.

"I think he's mad at you," murmured 'Zian.

"Whatever. Maybe you'd like to tell me why the Hell we came here in the first place?"

"Well, probably because sunlight hurts."

"Don't play stupid, 'Zian. Why are we in the city?"

"You're the one who got on the plane… you even bought us tickets."

Snarling in irritation, Recker grabbed 'Zian by his coat and dragged him out the door. 'Zian, for his part, trotted along placidly. Up the stairs and out onto the street, 'Zian humming to himself the entire way.

"I've got ADD, little purple penguins are chasing me…" Recker ground his teeth. Goddamn Malkavians… why do I put up with this? After about two blocks, Recker got fed up. Spinning around, the Nosferatu seized 'Zian's coat lapels and shook him. "Knives and sticks and metal-what now?"

"Cut the crap and stop it! I know you know a Hell of a lot more than you're pretending. Now, tell me why the fuck we're here!"

'Zian gazed up at Recker, seeming completely unconcerned at being grabbed and shaken. "Because he was coming, and we had to be there."

"Who is coming, dammit!"

"He's not coming anymore."

"What the fuck are we doing here, then?"

'Zian leaned to one side to peer past Recker's shoulder. "Because… I'd say he's already here."

Recker dropped 'Zian and whirled around. At first glace, the street was empty. A second look showed something laying half in an alleyway not twenty feet away. A body, he noted, moving closer. A vampire, judging by the decay. Fresh blood splashed up the walls and deep, ragged gashes on the body attested to some sort of fight.

"Diablerie," added 'Zian helpfully.

Turning his head to glance back at his companion, he asked softly, "How do you know?"

"Isn't it obvious? You can see the body, right?"

"No shit. But how do you know that it was diablerie? Can you sense it? Or did 'someone' tell you?"

"God, Recker, why do you ask so many stupid questions? We should go. Now. Before they show up."

"I suppose it'd be pointless to ask who."

"Well, you could stick around, if you're too terribly curious."

Shooting the decaying corpse one last look, Recker followed 'Zian back up the street and down another alley. Some days I wonder just how much of that 'insanity' is a sham…

"… little purple penguins are chasing me-"

"Just shut up, 'Zian!"

A/N - nice to see I haven't lost you, cadazar. Hi Frog... I'm blaming you for the song. You've got it stuck in my head. Again. Oh, and we just found out why Ver failed math... heehee. Really short chapters, for some reason. Ah, well. Means I update more often, which I guess could be considered a good thing... Looky, this is now my longest story, short chapters and all!