The archeologist sleeps deeply, clearly caught up in the dream realm. Occasionally a foot twitches, the eyelids flutter and incoherent babbling is heard, but otherwise the woman lies still.

Destruction watches her from across the fire--light flickering and dancing over her huddled form and playing over his sitting one--and dimly he reminds himself to thank Dream for allowing the woman to sleep so soundly. Morpheus is not always as kind as he is tonight, but–Destruction muses–neither is he.

They all have their flaws and slight quirks. He is no different.

"Feeling good about this, little brother?"

Death isn't skipping as they weave their way past the throes of people in the concourse, but the happy bounce in her walk certainly doesn't go unnoticed.

He shoots her an irritated look.


The bounce slows for a minute, considering...but then she winds back to her normal speed.

"I think you're taking this too seriously," Death says. "It'll just be a few people...nothing major."

A snort on Destruction's part.

"Destruction," he clips, "is never minor."

Another glance from his sister, though this time the worry is only barely hidden behind humor.

"Maybe," she muses, "but our mission today won't make headlines. Not the way you normally worry it will."

He stops suddenly, abruptly off balance. Death trips over her feet to keep from walking in front of him and frowns when her younger sibling abruptly grabs her arm and pulls her to his side.

"No families," he says seriously, amber eyes grave. "You know I will not help you in that."

Death gently reaches down and extracts her arm from his hand, patting his forearm carefully.

"No family today, brother." At a wary look for him, she reaches up and squeezes his shoulder.

"I know how far you will go for your realm right now–" his jaw twitches at this, and Death continues–"but trust me, you won't have to push it. No families today."

Conversation fills in the silence between them as Death and Destruction eye each other carefully. A man with a suitcase jostles Destruction and gives an exclamation of disgust, but at the ice cold glare from the six-six, 220 pound beast, quietly peters out and vanishes into the tide of people. Death continues to stare up at him, unblinking.

Finally he relaxes, shoulders losing their tension. Death smiles, gives another comforting pat on the shoulder and then motions for them to continue walking.

Destruction obeys.

It's not until they reach the food court that they start talking again.

"So what is it," Destruction asks, "that you need me for?"

Death frowns for a brief second–the hesitation flickers over her face like a flame–as she searches for an answer.

"The mortals," she says, dodging out of the way of a screaming toddler and his older brother, "seem to be getting into a nasty habit of uncovering things that should remain hidden."

He instantly thinks San Raphael but only asks what would be most obvious.

"The realms?"

Death shakes her head. "Not quite. More on the bounds of history."

Yup. San Raphael.


Her black eyes dart up at him. "Yes." She splits off for a moment–vanishing into the crowd like smoke–before returning as they walk past a McDonald's. He considers asking if she just went off on business but at the look on her face keeps him quiet.

"The future keeps appearing where it shouldn't," Death continues, even over the panicked shriek of a woman behind them–"who knows CPR!?!"– that echoes through the food court.. He shoots her a bemused glance but winces when she reaches over and digs a sharp nail into his side.

A Rent-a-Cop rushes past Destruction and like a dancer Death dodges to the side.

"I'd blame the Endless–" she says, kicking off her last sentence's spring-board.


"–but this stinks of Time's family." She stops abruptly, considering. Destruction jerks to a halt and glances back at her in irritation, but the sister is unmoved; for a long moment she stands there, pursing her lips and tapping her cheek, before she casts a look up at the ceiling and starts moving again. Destruction purposely makes his strides long, forcing his sister to keep up.

"Destiny is Time's cousin," she says, frowning as she struggles to match him, "but he doesn't enjoy having the Endless as extended family." At this Death elbows him in the side and winks.

"We tend to be a pain in the ass."

He knows where this is going and smiles dryly. "While he dies every century and is reborn, always having to rebuild his empire..."

"...we continue to live, existing for all of infinity." Death smiles and the barest twinkle of amusement flickers back over her face before she turns serious.

"It's a dig, brother." she says, a smile pulling at her lips. "Stop me if you've heard this before. An archeological marvel, something that will rewrite history books..."--she waves her arms dramatically for emphasis, then at his lack of reaction stops--"ring a bell?"

Yes. A part of him rumbles.


She prods him with an elbow again and grabs his hand, forcing him to slow down and walk her gait. "You lie." Death says, eyes narrowed. "You lie like a rug."

He considers being insulted, but at the mortal slang laughs.

"'Lie like a rug'?"

She blinks owlishly, as if hurt. "What, you haven't heard that before?"

Destruction shakes his head. "No, I've heard it, but I never expected mortal slang from you, one of the more mature of our siblings."

She snorts. "Maturity has the tendency to be overrated," and then there's a wry grin, "just look at Desire."

Now he snorts.

"Desire's a prick."

She raises an eyebrow. "Mortal slang from you, dear brother?"

He shoots her an irritated look but says nothing. They walk in silence for a few moments longer before Death speaks.

"I know about San Raphael, Destruction."

He freezes, and Death rolls her eyes.

"Don't act so surprised, brother," she says, looking caught between amusement and seriousness. "I had to go there, too," and suddenly the humor vanishes from her face. "Just because you destroy them doesn't mean they're dead...and I'm the clean-up crew, remember?"

He initiates the walk this time, but listens as she continues.

"We have to get rid of that site and those in the camp before the future gets out," Death slowly tells him this, careful of his earlier reaction, "because if we don't, Destiny's gonna have a helluva lot of trouble reading his book...and you know that being blind didn't help his situation in the first place."

Destruction clears his throat.

"It's that big, huh?"

She nods, a sad look on her face. "Yeah. Really that big."

The slights sounds of waking pull him out of his reverie and then abruptly Destruction blinks, realizing that the sleeping form across from him is reaching the point of waking.

She didn't fall asleep outside next to a fire.

She didn't start a fire.

She hasn't seen the man sitting across from her in over three years.

This woman will be very disgruntled upon coming to reality.

He braces himself for the attack that will inevitably follow as her body slowly shifts, turning, and then freezes, muscles stiff as the mind realizes that something is there that wasn't there before.

Eyes stare out from a blanketed head at him in confusion. They narrow, blink a few times, and then narrow again.

She finally speaks.

"Hey," the woman–Rachel–says, voice sounding sleepy and bewildered, "do I know you?"