A.N.: (pokes head off) Oh, um, hi. (ducks quickly behind safety glass)

"Well, his voicemail is working," said Stella lowering her cell phone, "Which means his phone is off but Lindsey said he hasn't come in yet."

"I'm only getting an answering machine," replied Flack, shutting his own phone. His face was set in the unreadable expression he used to start an interrogation as he looked at her, "I'm not liking the look of this, Stell."

"Neither do I," said Stella, biting her lip. She glanced along either side of the block, as if expecting Danny to walk up past the police cars. When he didn't, she looked back at Flack and added, "Can you put out an APB on his..."

"No good," replied Flack, "He said he had car trouble yesterday. Walked into work. That was my first thought, though."

Stella frowned. Flack's tone had become sharper. It was obvious to anyone the detective was worried. She didn't blame him. Over the past couple years, Danny had grown a habit of attracting trouble, whether on his own or by uncontrollable circumstances. It wasn't hard for her to imagine something happening to him. Glancing down at her phone, she redialed Lindsey's number.

It was cold. Colder then it should be, but then everything seemed more intense with the Old Ones so close. Lucinda gazed back at her make-shift camp. The reflexive shielding remained in place at the appropriate pattern. Lucinda let out a sigh. Many good men had died to make this place safe and just as many had been transformed. Her fallen angel's mind would at least be protected. But it would be little use if his physical body was further damaged. The Old Ones had already shown a particular interest in this one. She had never seen one of their personal guards dispatched to annihilate one.

A small shudder ran through her. The image of the angel pressed against the wall assaulted her. The crude club like weapon of the personal guard descended towards his head, promising a slow death if she hadn't been there. No, no, she thought, closing her eyes, Don't think about it. Don't remember. She covered her face with the her hands, trying to block out the memory and a thousand more like it. She would never forgive the Old Ones for this advancement.

Shaking her head, she pulled her hands back down to her side. It was no good thinking over what couldn't be changed. She still had to protect the fallen one. Turning left, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a pair of thick gloves. In front of her the first few bars of her defense grid glittered in the afternoon light. A mesh of long, barbed wire strands stretched out the length of the camp, held up by four wood poles. Bits of sharpened tin and glass hung tied by string or stuck on the barbs themselves. Putting on the gloves, she squated and reached out to push against the first strand. A small smile crossed her face as the taunt wire offered resistance.

Standing up, she carefully stepped over the wire, making sure to step only in the dirt patches. Shredded pieces of cloth littered the ground beneath the wire. She knew from experience agents of the Old Ones had horrible vision. It was nearly impossible for them to destinguish between the color of the cloth and dirt, a defensive advantage. Stepping over the last wire, she let out a satisfied sigh. The angel would be safe until she came back.

A.N. So, anyway, yes, I'm back. Sorry for the short chapter, but all the pieces needed to be brought together. Hopefully, I'll be able to update the next chapter soon. So, so sorry for not being back.