Disclaimer: Not mine, just borrowing. For full disclaimer please see Chapter 1.
Author's note: Yup, it's the last chapter.
Between a Rock and the Hot Place
If you spend all your time worrying about dying, living isn't going to be much fun.
-- From the television show Roseanne
Stanley, Carla and Kelsey were holding on to each other, long after they had been delivered safely to the field office in Fort Worth. Waldo had tackled them shortly after they arrived, adding his own body to the group hug and scolding Stanley for doing stupid things. He then apologised for figuring out where they'd disappeared too, since they'd gone to rescue Carla and Kelsey and then started scolding again for not telling him, and so on.
Johnny just watched it all, a slight smile on his face and no little worry on his mind. He just hoped that what had happened here wouldn't continue to be a danger to them in the future.
The next couple of days were busy. Lots of questions, lots of answers, or at least the ones that Murdock would allow him to give. With an agreement to overlook certain slightly illegal activities, trespassing on Micromation Dynasystems being the least of them, Johnny continued his conversation about Blackheart and Deathwatch, telling them what he could and skirting around the parts that wouldn't ever be believed. Thankfully since Blackout was currently hospitalized and refusing to talk, he had been able to keep Ghost Rider out of the equation altogether.
They'd offered to place him in the Witness Relocation Program, something that Stanley, his family and Dr. Hunter were looking at seriously for themselves. It was almost a given that they'd probably have to go into hiding until Deathwatch could be taken down. Something that could take a while, as there wasn't any real evidence to connect him to Stephen Lords.
He himself had turned them down on the relocation. If Deathwatch wanted him he was more than happy to take him on. Of course, this meant he'd need to keep away from Roxy for awhile, something she'd been very unhappy to hear about. Still, she had accepted the situation better than he'd thought she would.
And during all of this his window had even gotten fixed, the glass people doing a lovely job.
Johnny was just standing in his loft, admiring the new glass and packing to hit the road once more, when the bell to his lift went off. He shook his head, one of these days he'd actually remember to lock the thing regularly.
Thankfully it was just Stanley and Kelsey.
"No minders?" Johnny asked them, as they opened the lift doors.
"They're downstairs; I figured they'd cramp the conversation."
"Hi Johnny, can I play with Grace?" Kelsey asked.
Johnny looked at Stanley, who just shrugged.
"Sure, just be careful okay?"
"Okay," and she bounced over and started a high speed, seemingly one sided discussion with the bike.
Johnny and Stanley moved over to the living area and sat down. "So what are you planning to do?" Johnny asked the agent.
"Well, we've decided to not hide, at least not yet. I don't think we'd be good at it and while I don't like the looking over our shoulders we're doing at the moment, I think the program would make it worse, not better."
Johnny nodded, understanding all too well. "You can't live in fear."
"Exactly. So, how about you?"
"Well, I've got a job offer to consult on a motorcycle movie in New York, so I'm going up there to check it out. Murdock, my lawyer, his partner is going to look after the negotiations if I decide to do it."
"What's the movie?"
Stanley's eyes widened at that announcement. "Really? I loved that series when I was a kid. I hope they don't wreck it."
"Well the stunts look good at any rate, or at least they will if we can pull them off."
"Hope it works out."
The silence that followed would have been uncomfortable, but they heard Grace rev her engine suddenly and looked over to see Kelsey sitting on the motorcycle, pretending to drive while Grace provided the sound effects.
Stanley stuck out his hand and Johnny grabbed it and they shook.
"Stay safe, Johnny."
"You too, Stanley."
Johnny saw them off, giving Kelsey a hug and agreeing to read any letters she wrote Grace, to the motorcycle.
Johnny said good night to Grace and hit the sack, planning to finish what little packing he had to do in the morning.
Shadows, unlike the ones Deathwatch's ninjas cast, slithered through Johnny's loft, piling up beside a motorcycle named Grace. They finally coalesced into the figure of an old man, holding a skull themed, glass topped cane.
"Are you sure you want to use up the favour I owe you on that?" The figure asked the bike.
Grace revved her engine as quietly as she could, in what was an obvious yes.
"Very well," the being said with a sigh.
And then he was gone, dissolving into the dark like he'd never been there at all.
Stanley looked up from the personal report he was writing, one he intended to seal away with the files he'd made from that, oh so very dangerous piece of microfilm.
He thought he'd heard a couple of thumps, outside the house.
Grabbing his gun he checked the inside of the house first, making sure that Carla and Kelsey were safe. Then he checked the outside, getting the help of the two agents who were still assigned to them.
Stanley shook his head; it was going to be a while before they stopped starting at shadows.
He went back to his files, finishing off the one he was writing, to lock it away with the others. He'd come to the decision, once he'd gotten home, that if he was going to keep ending up knee deep in weirdness, then he might as well keep track of it. It would be a perfect addition to the weirdness he'd already collected. And he'd already made up his mind to never, ever, refer to them as his X-files. He laughed slightly at himself, before turning the lights off and heading upstairs to join his wife in bed.
The ten ninjas that Deathwatch had sent to take care of the Goodspeeds and Dr. Hunter came back to consciousness, levitating over the mouth of an active volcano.
"Ah, good to see that you're all awake." Said the old man with the glass topped cane, who was standing on the black encrusted molten lava like it was solid ground.
Which it wasn't, as the nine of them that he dropped in soon found out.
The old man walked closer to the tenth ninja, easily commanding his full attention.
"Tell your master that the Goodspeeds and," here he shuddered slightly, "even Dr. Hunter are under my protection. If anything unfortunate should happen to them, I will take great pleasure in divesting him of every single asset he has. After which I will stick him someplace where no one ever dies and watch him starve to death, understood?"
The ninja nodded, profusely.
"Good," and with a gesture the ninja was flung away to land in the nearby ocean. Once he'd made it back to land, he found the nearest tourist hotel and using the phone in an empty room, passed on the message as it was given to him.
Deathwatch hung up the phone and relayed orders to cease any and all actions against the Goodspeeds and Dr. Hunter. He templed his fingers and sat back, trying to figure out just why the old man was interfering in this, but after a while he decided it didn't matter. The agents and the family members were just a loose end. He'd liked to have cleaned it up, but leaving it hanging wouldn't really hurt anything, it wouldn't even be in the way.
Besides, he had more important things to deal with. After all, his new biochemist would be starting tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully in a few weeks he'd have the problems with that lovely poison all dealt with.
Additionally, all of the recent losses his ninjas had taken made him reconsider the humans in the troops. He'd decided to reassign them to security, as Hells knew he needed new men in that area, who wouldn't lose their heads.
He was also in need of a new assistant, as the last one had somehow neglected to find out that Mr. Goodspeed and Mr. Blaze could pass as twins.
And speaking of Mr. Blaze, he was another loose end to take care of.
And the old man hadn't said anything about him.
Johnny Blaze drove down the highway, Grace purring under him and the tall, tall buildings of the Big Apple just in sight in the distance.
He didn't know what the near future was going to hold, but knowing the way his life was, well...
It would never be boring.
Author's note: I do hope to do a sequel in the future, with a different crossover, but it probably won't be for awhile, so until then, thanks for reading.
Oh, and no, I don't know why Mephistopheles owed Grace a favour (although I could probably make up a few, but this way, so can you). I was just amused at the idea that he might.